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New to HTPC- Recommendations please?

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May 2, 2010 6:44:49 PM

Hi,

I've been building my own PCs for the past 18 years or so but am new to HTPC building.
I put together a wish list on Newegg that from my research, should fit the bill nicely. However, as I am new to this type of system build, I would really appreciate any recommendations to the parts I have listed here...

My priority is to be able to play 1080p content onto my flatscreen TV via HDMI. I would like for my video and audio to be pumped through the HDMI into my HT Receiver. I'd like for it to be as low profile as possible so I chose to go with a MicroATX form factor MB and PSU.

I will NOT be gaming on this PC, at most, email and light web surfing along with HTPC duties.

My sources will be iTunes and Windows Media Center via Windows 7. I have a NAS for storage that runs iTunes Server as well as does my backups and serves as my general file and media storage. So storage in the HTPC itself doesn't need to be huge. Although I am considering a small SSD as a boot drive for faster bootup times, as I don't plan on leaving this on all the time, only when I want to watch or listen to my media.

This list does not include keyboard/mouse/case as I already have those.

Is any of this overkill and can be downgraded to save on costs? I have no idea what is the minimum CPU needed to play 1080p video...

Same with upgrades, any components that you feel should be upgraded for what I would like to do?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


ASUS M4A785TD-M EVO AM3 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
Model #:M4A785TD-M EVO
$89.99

OCZ Platinum 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model OCZ3P1333LV4GK
$109.99

AMD Athlon II X2 250 Regor 3.0GHz Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core Processor Model ADX250OCGQBOX
Model #:ADX250OCGQBOX
Item #:N82E16819103681
$64.99

Western Digital Caviar Green WD5000AADS 500GB SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Model #:WD5000AADS
$54.99

Athena Power AP-MP4ATX55FEP8 550W MicroATX SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply
Model #:AP-MP4ATX55FEP8
$119.99

More about : htpc recommendations

May 3, 2010 8:44:29 PM

Not a great build overall. I would make several changes.

First, switch the CPU/board entirely. Grab the i3-530 and Asus P7H55-M Pro for $205 total. This will offer a lot less heat, quieter operation and better graphics.

Second, ditch OCZ altogether. Their RAM is extremely hit or miss, especially with Intel board. Pick up some CORSAIR XMS3 DHX 2x2 GB DDR3 1333 for $95.

Third, WD HDDs are really slow right now. I would just get a Samsung Spinpoint F3 500 GB or Seagate 7200.12 500 GB for the same price.

Finally, that PSU is a POS. Here's a geat HTPC PSU: Antec Earthwatts 380W 80+ Bronze for $45. It's from a great company, is extremely efficient and has more power than you'll need.

All of that will cost $400, which gives you a better build for $40 less than what you had picked out.
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May 5, 2010 3:08:42 PM

Thanks for the advice!

I have one question: The PSU you recommended is a standard ATX size, whereas I think I will need a micro-ATX sized PSU to fit in the HTPC case I selected... and the PSU in my list was chosen because that's all that Newegg had in that size.

Do standard ATX PSUs fit inside most Micro-ATX cases such as the LIAN LI Black Aluminum PC-C37B ?

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May 5, 2010 3:30:34 PM

Looks like an ATX power supply will work....

Reviewed By: Jason on 4/9/2010 Tech Level: somewhat high - Ownership: 1 day to 1 week
This user purchased this item from Newegg
Pros: Great quality, really light weight, everything is spaced out very evenly. Removable bays makes installation much easier. Has room for an ATX power supply.
Cons: The cd drive flap that comes down when you eject a disk a little flimsy. It doesn't close all the way when the cd drive is closed.
Other Thoughts: If you choose to go with an ATX power supply, you will be riding very close to your CD drive. Make sure you plug everything into your power supply (if modular) and everything into your cd drive (and harddrive if you have one here also) before putting the cd drive bay back into your case. The (small) deadspace between the cd drive bay and power supply is a great spot to route unused cables.

Also, if using an ATX power supply, the case-mounted fan near the power supply will have to be moved to a new location as it interferes with the placement of the power supply. No biggie, I put mine over the cd drive and harddrive.
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