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HTPC/Home Media Server Build: $3k-$4k

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April 26, 2010 8:28:56 PM

I'm a new builder and considering a PC to act as the center/server for a home theater network. Info as follows:

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE:
Next Month

BUDGET RANGE:
$3000 - $4000

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT:
1. Stream video, music and other media to various devices in the house (DLNA ready).
2. Provide a home server (Windows Home Server or similar storage capabilities) in the same box as the PC for streaming media
3. Centralized DVR functionality for the home
4. Ripping movies (BD and DVD) and CDs
5. Managing (and some editing) of home photos and movies
6. General PC work (email, MS Office, web)
7. Unlikely to do any gaming on the PC

PARTS NOT REQUIRED:
Starting from Scratch

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS:
indifferent

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
U.S. (Chicago)

PARTS PREFERENCES:
indifferent

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION:
1920x1080 or 1920x1200

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
Desired Characteristics
1. Be reasonably power efficient
2. Be reasonably future proof
3. Keep the PC and server in a single box if possible with significant room to add capacity

Questions:
1. Are the components selected reasonable for the desire uses?
2. Do I need a video and sound card?
3. Can I run Windows Home Server with this setup?
4. Is the power supply overkill? I calc'd to 529 watts on eXtreme Power Supply Calculator Lite v2.5 http://extreme.outervision.com/PSUEngine
5. Is there something that I'm missing the I should have included? Are there things that are duplicative in this?


COMPONENT LIST:

CPU: Intel Core i7-930 Bloomfield 2.8GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Desktop Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115225&cm_re=Intel_Core_i7-930-_-19-115-225-_-Product

MoBo: ASUS P6X58D Premium LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductReview.aspx?Item=N82E16813131614

RAM: CORSAIR DOMINATOR 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model TR3X6G1600C7D
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145253

GPU: EVGA 896-P3-1255-AR GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 896MB 448-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130434&cm_re=EVGA_260-_-14-130-434-_-Product

Sound Card: Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Professional 70SB088600002 7.1 Channels 24-bit 96KHz PCI Express x1 Interface Sound Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829102019

CableCARD Tuner Ceton InfiniTV 4
http://www.cetoncorp.com/buy.php

Case: LIAN LI PC-B71 Black Aluminum ATX Full Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811112225

PSU: CORSAIR CMPSU-850HX 850W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139011

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Full
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116716

AV: bitdefender Internet Security 2010 (3PC / 2YR)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832719051

Server Software: Microsoft Windows Home Server 32 Bit 1 Pack (Power pack 1)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116550

SSD: Intel X25-M Mainstream SSDSA2MH160G2R5 2.5" 160GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820167024

HDD(x3): SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3EG HD203WI 2TB 5400 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152202

Blu-Ray Drive: LG UH10LS20 Blu-ray Disc Combo Internal SATA 10x SuperMulti Blue LightScribe
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827136185

Monitor: ASUS MT276HE Black 27" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor 400 cd/m2 ASCR 50000:1
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824236080

Wi-Fi Router: NETGEAR WNDR3700-100NAS IEEE 802.11n Draft 2.0 Rangemax Simultaneous Dual Band Wireless Gigabit Router - Premium Edition
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833122326&Tpk=WNDR3700

More about : htpc home media server build

April 26, 2010 8:37:11 PM

personally I'd get a better mobo with very good onboard sound and leave out the sound card.
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Best solution

April 26, 2010 8:48:09 PM

Well, besides being completely overkill, there's a few thing's I'd change.

First, switch the board for a Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R. It'll save you $100 and have absolutely no difference to the build.

Second, nVidia cards are a poor choice right now. You should really look at the HD 5770 (or even down to the 5450). They're a lot quieter, run cooler, and use a lot less power. They're perfect for HTPC cards.

Third, Corsair RAM is overpriced, especially their Dominator series. Grab these G.Skill Pi 3x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 and save clost to $100.

Fourth, you don't need a 160 GB SSD. You'll only be storing the OS and programs on it, so surely an 80 GB (or 128 GB) one will suffice.

Fifth, onboard sound is extremely good now days. I highly recommend leaving out the sound card and seeing if it's good enough. If not, you can always buy the card later.

Sixth, you don't need a $300 case. There are hundreds that are around $150 (or less) that are better. Check out the Antec 1200, Antec 902, HAF 922, and Coolermaster Cosmos.

Seventh, an 850W PSU is way overkill. You don't have a massive GPU (or two), so a 500W or less will be fine. I'd actually recommend this SeaSonic 650W 80+ Gold unit simply because of it's super efficient rating (which means the build is quieter).
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April 26, 2010 9:19:41 PM

I agree with everything MadAdmiral said above.
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April 26, 2010 9:31:03 PM

MadAdmiral,

I appreciate all of the suggestions and each appears to make more sense than my initial shots. I did have a couple of questions:

To quote MadAdmiral:

Quote:
First, switch the board for a Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R. It'll save you $100 and have absolutely no difference to the build.

......

Seventh, an 850W PSU is way overkill. You don't have a massive GPU (or two), so a 500W or less will be fine. I'd actually recommend this SeaSonic 650W 80+ Gold unit simply because of it's super efficient rating (which means the build is quieter).



When i choose the ASUS board, I had been considering a Gigabyte board, but was scared off by the negative customer reviews on the newegg.com site for the GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD7 board (). It seemed that there was a high rate of problems with the board, and as such I avoided the brand. Are these issues with the GA-X58A-UD7 isolated to that MoBo?

And would the 650W PSU be adequate if I wound up with 6-10 HDDs in a year or two? Or should I go with the 750W version of that PSU ()?


And one general question. Has anyone put a WHS server inside of the PC case and does it create any issues that I should be aware of relative to using something like the HP MediaSmart Servers?
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April 26, 2010 9:39:30 PM

That's not the board I'm recommending. I'm recommending the UD3R. Besides that point, I don't buy into user reviews. The average Newegg reviewer shouldn't be trusted with a pointy stick, much less a computer. Most of the problems reported are caused by user error or a minor beef with shipping, rebates, prices, etc.

650W would be more than adequate, especially since you wouldn't be adding another GPU or overclocking (adds heat, which is bad for HTPCs). 650W would be enough for dual 5770s, and 6-10 HDDs is about equivalent of that. Of course, if you want the extra peace of mind (and you certainly have the cash), grab the 750W version.

No idea on the last question.
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April 26, 2010 10:49:21 PM

Is there a particular reason you need Windows Home Server as your OS?
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April 26, 2010 11:14:34 PM

I would like to suggest that you use a 64-bit OS because the one you listed is 32-bit OS and it will only recognize 3GBs out of 6GBs you plan to put into your computer.
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April 26, 2010 11:24:16 PM

Sounds to me like he doesnt even need Microsoft Home Server. Win7 does everything that he needs. In my house I have my computer in the office, and every computer and game system networks to it.

I can play video's from my H: drive through my PS3 onto my plasma in the living room. In Hi Def.

Just sounds to me like he's looking for a centrally located computer with lots of HDD space that his other computers can access.
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April 27, 2010 4:06:08 AM

the thought behind the WHS was to house a server in the same case as the PC. In reading this afternoon, it appears that this type of setup may require a virtual machine arrangement.

If Win7 offers the same functionality as WHS, without the need to create a VM, than I would consider that alternative.
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April 27, 2010 4:27:07 AM

Whats your definition of a server tho. From your checklist of:

"SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT:
1. Stream video, music and other media to various devices in the house (DLNA ready).
2. Provide a home server (Windows Home Server or similar storage capabilities) in the same box as the PC for streaming media
3. Centralized DVR functionality for the home
4. Ripping movies (BD and DVD) and CDs
5. Managing (and some editing) of home photos and movies
6. General PC work (email, MS Office, web)
7. Unlikely to do any gaming on the PC "

You can simply map a network drive over a router in windows and any computer that has the admin password can access those drives labeled as shared. This allows files to be located on the 1 computer, as well as accessing video/audio from that mapped drive and stream it to laptops, other desktops and even PS3/Xbox on the home network

If you install a TV card into your computer it can use Windows Media Center to act as a Tivo and record programming(Not ALL programming, only "over the air" high def and in my case 640x480 cable signals up to channel 99

If you have a blue ray player/burner you should be able to rip blue rays(I dont own blue rays, so this is simply theory)

Managing and editing photos/movies should be done at the actual PC they are stored so you arent bottlenecked by the potential home network bandwith or wi-fi signal.

And as a general PC, it will function fine.

I think you are looking for a set up very similar to what I have at home. I store everything on my 750 GB H: drive, which is shared on my network. I can access that drive from my wife's laptop, as well as stream my recorded television from the H: drive to my PS3, that then displays it on my plasma(in lieu of a PS3, a simple HTPC would work as well)
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April 27, 2010 4:37:27 PM

cmc -- Thanks for the suggestion. I will try that after I build the PC and see how it works. It might save me a lot of hassle.
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April 27, 2010 4:37:44 PM

Best answer selected by mjv.
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