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HTPC (less optical drive)

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April 29, 2010 6:30:04 PM

I need some advice on an HTPC build. I would like to build something from scratch, but I have never done it. You may see that a prebuilt system is easier or more economical based on what I want to do (prioritized):

1. Internet streaming (Boxee, Hulu, etc.)
2. Play movies from a connected hard drive (USB, preferably Firewire though)
3. Stream media from other network computers
-There is a macbook pro and a windows 7 machine on the network as well as an iPhone and iPod
-iTunes is the hub for most music
-There is also a lot of music in FLAC and other lossless formats that I would like to stream
4. Light internet browsing
5. Photo storage and viewing

I don't have a need for an optical drive. I have a high end Bluray player and higher end receiver and I want to avoid duplication of functionality. Wired ethernet is available, but I would also like wireless capability. HDMI video output is a must. Audio isn't as important, because I don't think hulu has anything but stereo sound.

What do you think? I have been looking at Dell Zino's for simplicity's sake. Thanks





More about : htpc optical drive

a b B Homebuilt system
April 29, 2010 7:34:48 PM

If you wanna stream the wired is a must. (for really high bitrate stuff anyway. For building from scratch I'd suggest a 785G mobo with a dual core AMD CPU and some kinda ram.

As such what is in that win7 computer? What happened on my newest HTPC was that it's basically the stuff that was leftover after an upgrade so you might use this as an excuse to do so.
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a b B Homebuilt system
April 29, 2010 7:46:01 PM

What's your budget for the build? What's included in the budget? Where will you be buying the components? Please read the "How to ask for new build advice" sticky and provide us all that information so we can best help you.
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April 30, 2010 11:48:46 AM

ellistyle said:
I need some advice on an HTPC build. I would like to build something from scratch, but I have never done it. You may see that a prebuilt system is easier or more economical based on what I want to do (prioritized):

1. Internet streaming (Boxee, Hulu, etc.)
2. Play movies from a connected hard drive (USB, preferably Firewire though)
3. Stream media from other network computers
-There is a macbook pro and a windows 7 machine on the network as well as an iPhone and iPod
-iTunes is the hub for most music
-There is also a lot of music in FLAC and other lossless formats that I would like to stream
4. Light internet browsing
5. Photo storage and viewing

I don't have a need for an optical drive. I have a high end Bluray player and higher end receiver and I want to avoid duplication of functionality. Wired ethernet is available, but I would also like wireless capability. HDMI video output is a must. Audio isn't as important, because I don't think hulu has anything but stereo sound.

What do you think? I have been looking at Dell Zino's for simplicity's sake. Thanks


I would like to spend between $500-600. Absolute cap is $800 (wife would be pissed). Would like to buy in a month or so.
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a b B Homebuilt system
April 30, 2010 6:05:18 PM

What I was talking about is in the $300-400 range. You can build good gaming computers with AMD for $800, to me that's way too much for a glorified DVD player.

Like I said, I have one too, and it's had like 3 incarnations over the past year. All of which were (mainly) leftovers of some kind. The first one was a 1.8 gigahertz pentium 4 that I found in the attic.
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May 1, 2010 6:08:19 AM

MOBO - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $110

GIGABYTE GA-H55M-USB3 LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

CPU - i3-530 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $120 ( $100 if you have a local Microcenter)

Case - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $90

SILVERSTONE Black Aluminum / 0.8mm SECC GD05B micro-ATX / Mini-DTX / Mini-ITX MB, 1x5.25", 2x3.5"+1x2.5"HDD or 1x3.5"+2x2.5"HDD, 3x120mm golf bladed fan, 11" expansion card capable HTPC Case

RAM - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $105

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-4GBRL

PSU - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $60

Antec EarthWatts Green EA-430D Green 430W Continuous power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS 12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply

HDD - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $80

Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST31000528AS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

CD/DVD - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $22

Sony Optiarc Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD/CD Rewritable Drive - OEM

OS - Windows 7 Home Premium - $100

Keyboard/Mouse - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $34

Logitech Black USB Wireless Desktop MK300 Keyboard and Mouse



Total - $601 (Before rebates and shipping)




With this setup you will not require a video card...the i3 has more than adequate video capabilities for HD playback. I just completed a build with these components and I am very happy with the outcome. We just completed backing up our DVD collection. We were just watching the other day and we could hardly tell a difference between playing a DVD in our Blu-Ray player (which is supposedly up-converting) and watching the DVD backup on the i3 PC.

If you ever wanted to get into recording TV...a TV tuner card would be required something like this...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $124
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May 1, 2010 11:13:59 PM

Thanks everyone. A couple of more first time builder questions:

1. Some cases come with a power supply it seems. Is there a reason to avoid those and buy them separately?
2. How quiet will these types of setups be? How can I make it quieter?
3. I had my eye on the i3 processor already. Do I need a heatsink and fan too?
4. Is there a way to install the OS without an optical drive? They're cheap but I would only use it once in all likelihood for that purpose.
5. Ideally I would turn this system on and off like any other component in a home theater system. What can I do to approach that sort of functionality? I am not really familiar with alternative OS's other than OSx. I want my wife to be able to use this--she is nearly retarded when it come to this stuff.
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a b B Homebuilt system
May 2, 2010 12:26:26 AM

1. Yeah, the ones with power supplies typically come with terrible quality power supplies. Exceptions are when the good PSU companies are selling them both together, like antec.

2. Pretty quiet just depending on what fans you've got. My current case is the cooler master elite 360 and it does a pretty good job of being a HTPC case.

3. Going intel for this is way too much money. (and the AMD Integrated graphics is better besides a few specific things, like possibly bitstreaming IIRC) But unless it says OEM on it, it will come with whatever you need like a heatsink and fan.

4. Well, you could borrow an optical drive out of some other computer just for the duration then put it back. That's about it other than preparing a USB stick for installation, but I've never bothered doing that. You'd have to google it.

5. Congratulations, you just made this way harder. You could use vista/7 and windows media center. You'd have to look up remotes/IR receivers. I think they work in windows media center but I doubt they'd turn it on. I use a wireless mouse/keyboard. There are also certain linux ones that are made to do this, but I've not used any of them personally, I'd imagine google being your friend as to finding them. I also doubt any remote would be able to really control Hulu, besides maybe hulu desktop. (which I only barely ran once)
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