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Build a medium budget HTPC

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March 24, 2010 11:40:53 PM

Hello, First time HTPC builder, but have build several computers in the past. I have always been happy with Intel, so would like to stick with that for the processor. All other items are open.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: withing the next 2 weeks

BUDGET RANGE: $600-$1000 After Rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: OTA(over the air) HD 2 tuner DVR, Win7, watch/store ripped movie (ripped from laptop), family videos/pictures, music(mp3), HULU, web browsing

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: I have Logitech Harmony remote, also have a wireless keyboard and mouse

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com, Amazon, whatever COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:US

PARTS PREFERENCES: Hooking up to 1080p 50" Samsung Plasma (HDMI to a DENON AVR-590 receiver then HDMI to TV)

OVERCLOCKING: No SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 50" 1080p plasma

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Would like the possibility of adding an additional tuner card in the future if needed.(not a deal breaker)
Would like to stay a quiet as possible. I would like to have the highest quality sound and video without breaking the bank. Would also like the ability to add additional hard drive space in the future (we can start with 2 t) I would like the case to be Black, have front USB port(s). This case looks pretty good, but open to whatever . Blu-Ray not needed. Would like to use the Harmony to control the TV/DVR.

Thanks for your time.

Rich
a b B Homebuilt system
March 25, 2010 12:07:50 AM

For the record, AMD based ones with a 785G motherboard for graphics is plenty to run blu-ray really well. You've stated a budget of a gaming computer for something that requires alot less.

Sound is good enough from that motherboard, or pretty much any other one. You'd need crazy expensive speakers to tell the difference between integrated sound and any dedicated card. (if then)

The 2 terabyte drives are alot, it's much cheaper to get a couple 1.5 terabyte drives. (not to mention more space.)

I couldn't help you with tuners, because those were too much compared to just getting a HD DVR from direcTV which allows recorded shows to be streamed to any computer.
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March 25, 2010 3:25:21 PM

Cool, less is good. Having the sound and hdmi out on the mainboard is cool with me. I am just looking for some recommended mainboard/cpu combos that will handle my needs without any issues. I have found the case I want: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Just need some help with the rest of the config. I dont want to buy a 2T drive, but want 2T worth of space, whatever way I need to get there. (Can use eSata for any additional needs?)

Thanks,

Rich

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a b B Homebuilt system
March 25, 2010 3:41:49 PM

Here's a list to get you started:


Antec New Solution NSK2480 Black/Silver 0.8mm cold-rolled steel MicroATX Desktop Computer Case 380W
$99.89

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3EG HD203WI 2TB 5400 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
$149.99

AVerMedia AVerTVHD Duet - PCTV Tuner (A188 - White Box) MTVHDDUWB PCI-Express x1 Interface - OEM
$64.99

Kingston ValueRAM 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Dual Channel Kit Desktop
$94.99

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
$104.99

LITE-ON Black 4X Blu-ray Disc Reader SATA Model iHOS104-08 - Retail
$64.99

Kingston SSDNow V Series SNV425-S2BD/64GB 2.5" 64GB SATA II Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) - Retail
$144.99

Intel Core i3-530 Clarkdale 2.93GHz LGA 1156 73W Dual-Core Desktop Processor Model BX80616I3530 - Retail
ASUS P7H55-M PRO LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
$214.98 Combo

That all comes to $939.81 before S&H

That will get you Blu-Ray with basic playback software (might as well), SSD for boot (quiet), 2TB storage, dual ATSC tuner.
You can adjust whatever you like. Hope this helps get you started.

RP
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March 25, 2010 4:37:11 PM

Thank you!
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March 25, 2010 6:38:32 PM

Best answer selected by rich2323.
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 25, 2010 11:04:59 PM

You seriously got an SSD for an HTPC? Mine runs just fine on an old 160 gig hard drive. (holding files is the file server's job)

Also for the record, the onboard graphics on that CPU is crap compared to the AMD integrated graphics.
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 26, 2010 12:55:28 AM

False_Dmitry_II said:
You seriously got an SSD for an HTPC? Mine runs just fine on an old 160 gig hard drive. (holding files is the file server's job)
Top priorities for an HTPC: #1 must be quiet #2 must be cool. An SSD fits the budget and meets both #1 & #2 plus you get a nice speed increase too.


False_Dmitry_II said:
Also for the record, the onboard graphics on that CPU is crap compared to the AMD integrated graphics.
OP said he preferred Intel. I run a 785G + Phenom II myself. The i3 is not as good at VC-1 decoding from what I've seen but the HD audio bitstreaming makes up for that though. I wouldn't call it crap if you are purely talking about media playback though.
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 26, 2010 2:10:22 AM

I always factor in some amount of gaming as a matter of course. Also just because something fits a budget does not mean all of that "budget" needs to be spent on it. My HTPC is pretty much the parts left after an upgrade and it handles everything. (including playing batman arkham asylum on max at 720p) This is not a thing that is expensive. I also cannot hear it from across the room plus stuff is playing.

It may not be total crap for that, but it is slower in some media instances as well. (I don't feel like looking up the benches tom's did) There's no reason to not spend less and get as good or better, no matter what brand it is. I do lean towards AMD/ATI in general at the moment, but my laptop is intel/nvidia simply because AMD had nothing anywhere near it in terms of price/performance when I bought it. (and I'm pretty sure they still don't)

For the SSD, that's adding an extra component that is not needed after you already have storage mechanical drives, making the same noise and same heat that they would normally, added with an extra device and extra power from the PSU.
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March 26, 2010 6:02:47 PM

So do you think AMD is a better option for my needs?
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 26, 2010 6:09:09 PM

amd have quad cores at the same price as an i3
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 26, 2010 6:53:48 PM

Indeed. But you don't even need that much. Not for just an HTPC. You could probably get away with using the lowest dual core they offer. You may wanna go with an upper triple core because you're driving an actual tuner.

It may be worth finding out what your normal computer is now, potentially upgrading/replacing that and using the old stuff for the HTPC.
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March 26, 2010 7:49:59 PM

Well this machine is basicly going to be my DVR, streaming server, my main device to control TV, and host all my video/pics/mp3,ect... . I don't want to fall short on any of these areas just to save a few bucks. I would rather spend the extra $100 or whatever and know that I will not have any issues at all. So now with that being said, where do we stand with a recommendation? (by the way thanks for the help!)
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 26, 2010 9:09:56 PM

3d is coming to home cinema and its gonna require serious muscle to decode so i think anything from triple cores and higher would be recommended for 3D viewing
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 26, 2010 9:30:18 PM

That's the thing though, it doesn't need to be anywhere near $1000 that isn't skimping to save a few bucks, it's buying what is actually needed instead of overkill.

My file server is simply my old 3200+ single core gaming mobo and whatnot from 2005. It does an excellent job. Before I got it back for that I was using a 600 megahertz pentium 3, which also ran just fine. (granted it's running linux, but that's what linux does better than windows could)

The only thing in that list of stuff that actually needs a little muscle is the DVR part, and that would be easily handled by a athlon II x3 or x4.

You still didn't say what your current computer is so I don't know if that's an option instead.
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March 26, 2010 11:57:42 PM

False_Dmitry_II said:
That's the thing though, it doesn't need to be anywhere near $1000 that isn't skimping to save a few bucks, it's buying what is actually needed instead of overkill.

My file server is simply my old 3200+ single core gaming mobo and whatnot from 2005. It does an excellent job. Before I got it back for that I was using a 600 megahertz pentium 3, which also ran just fine. (granted it's running linux, but that's what linux does better than windows could)

The only thing in that list of stuff that actually needs a little muscle is the DVR part, and that would be easily handled by a athlon II x3 or x4.

You still didn't say what your current computer is so I don't know if that's an option instead.


Sorry False, I don't have a current desktop/server computer now. I am using a laptop. I do hear what you are saying about overkill. Lets shoot for a $500 - $550 mark.
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 27, 2010 2:41:05 AM

I'll just steal from what he did, same case, tuner, OS (maybe 32-bit instead), and hard drive. The last time I looked 2 terabyte drives were more like $200-300 so that one isn't so bad, though you could get a smaller one. Tuners are not cheap.

Possibly about $50 for 2 gigs of RAM if you wanna go to that, if you do get 32-bit OS and it should be fine. Toss the SSD entirely.

$70 triplecore AMD CPU, about $90 for a motherboard with graphics. Oh and a $23 dvd burner would also be cheaper, but it's not like that blu-ray was superexpensive. So with just 2 gigs of ram and whatnot it's $650.

I personally got a cooler master elite 360 case when it was like $30 at microcenter, and just added a $50 powersupply to it.
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