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Components for bare bones HTPC

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February 26, 2010 10:11:02 PM

I want a computer for the LCD TV in my living room. Doesn't have to be tiny but a tower won't do; wife agreed to split the cost if its not unsightly. I've added/ removed plenty of cards and hard drives but I'm not up for installing mobo, power supply, etc so I want to start with a barebones system. I've been looking at a lot of bare bones so would appreciate it even if you just have a reco on system to start with.

Here are the specs I'm looking for:

PURCHASE DATE: Before 3/12/10

BUDGET RANGE: $500-600 After Rebates, if you come up with something less than that I

SYSTEM USAGE: watching movies (AVIs > DVDs), surfing the internet, playing music during parties (TV=speakers)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: HDD (have 1TB 3.5" drive), OS (have Win7), keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, Blu-Ray

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com, tigerdirect.com, ncixus.com, etc

PARTS PREFERENCES: Input on processor would be helpful. I can figure gpu and ram on my own once the other pieces are in place but feel free to comment there too
PROCESSOR: Intel processor. Feel safer with a Core 2 Duo or Quad but open to suggestion if someone swears by Atom for the uses mentioned above
GPU: No pref b/t nvidia and ATI. have done well with both but HDMI is a must
RAM: No personal pref on manufacturer but looking for 2-4GB

OVERCLOCKING: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: LCD HDTV 1920x1080

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: something quieter than my Xbox 360 would be nice, but that shouldn't be hard

Let me know if I left anything out.

Thanks
a b B Homebuilt system
February 26, 2010 10:23:52 PM

I take it AMD is out of the question then. Though the low end ones are practically made to be HTPC's, especially if you get one with the integrated graphics, since those're better than anyone elses,(by a large margin) and easily able to decode even blu-ray discs.

A word of warning however: when you buy a barebones from websites like those, they usually say "barebones kit" which means that you get all the original retail boxes of everything involved. Meaning you get to build it completely anyway. IMHO doing the motherboard and stuff can be annoying but it certainly isn't hard.
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a b B Homebuilt system
February 27, 2010 12:11:44 PM

extremely underwhelmed
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February 27, 2010 1:49:28 PM

whats the main concern or where do you think it would be underwhelming? i only need a machine for:
-watching AVI movies (has ION and HDMI, I use VLC)
-surfing the internet (has dual core atom, I use win7+chrome/ff)
-streaming movies/ music (has LAN and N wifi, I use WMP + Boxee. it'll be connected to LAN)
-not killing my wallet (has $330 price tag for the full system and comes with bonus mouse/ keyboard)

thought this machine would be fine for that but let me know if theres something particular about it i should avoid or which of those it wouldnt do well. again, i'm new to nettops so feel free to tell me why they suck in general if thats the case or if this one isnt that great.

thanks
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February 27, 2010 2:09:26 PM

i just read somewhere that one of the best nettops is the Asus Eee box b202, and it's about the same price. but i don't know if you can build in harddisk easily in nettops...
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a b B Homebuilt system
February 27, 2010 2:25:51 PM

meepmop said:
whats the main concern or where do you think it would be underwhelming? i only need a machine for:
-watching AVI movies (has ION and HDMI, I use VLC)

ion is already struggling to keep up with newer HD formats

-surfing the internet (has dual core atom, I use win7+chrome/ff)

dual core atom? an old e8400 is 4 times more powerful

-streaming movies/ music (has LAN and N wifi, I use WMP + Boxee. it'll be connected to LAN)
-not killing my wallet (has $330 price tag for the full system and comes with bonus mouse/ keyboard)

and when it comes time to upgrade?

thought this machine would be fine for that but let me know if theres something particular about it i should avoid or which of those it wouldnt do well. again, i'm new to nettops so feel free to tell me why they suck in general if thats the case or if this one isnt that great.

thanks

i dunno what you have against amd but they ruling the market on the budget end like this here

Sony Optiarc Black 24X DVD+R

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec New Solution NSK3480 Black/ Silver 0.8mm cold-rolled steel construction MicroATX Mid Tower Computer Case 380W Power Supply

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 133

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

AMD Athlon II X4 620 Propus 2.6GHz Socket AM3

GIGABYTE GA-MA785GMT-UD2H AM3 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

now thats for $391.95, using the stuff you already got

POWERCOLOR AX5570

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$489.94 with the graphics card

you can throw in a low end graphics card and you got a serious htpc on your hands



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February 27, 2010 2:31:46 PM

aren't there motherboards that have graphic cards built in? couldn't you get a good deal with such a mb? or are they either really expensive or really bad?
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a b B Homebuilt system
February 27, 2010 4:13:20 PM

That motherboard that he listed is with graphics. But if you used the 5570 you'd be able to play games like Batman : Arkham Asylum with the 360 controller.

Personally I'd knock it to 2 gigs of RAM and a dual core AMD CPU. There's no reason for it to need that much; this is just a HTPC.
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a b B Homebuilt system
February 27, 2010 4:34:45 PM

just thinking ahead
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a b B Homebuilt system
February 27, 2010 4:56:48 PM

The HTPC I'm using now is basically my dad's old parts: a 4200+ x2, 3 gigs of RAM and a 4670. and vista x64. It can play that batman game itself, (maxed at 720p) and it's slower than a new dual core would be.
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