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Building a HTPC - Need Advice Please

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July 10, 2010 11:03:55 PM

Hello ... I am an 'old school' gal with no techie background. Got interested in building my own HTPC and need some advice.

Ques: the only thing I ever built was a swing in my backyard, can I follow the instructions/advice/lessons found on various websites and actually build a working trouble-free HTPC?

If so, here's what I am looking for in a HTPC - Please share your advice on components to use for my project as well as their pros and cons.

Must be attractive to look at (sitting next to or under the TV).
Low power consumption/ low or no noise.
Watch TV, DVD & Blu-ray
Blu-ray, DVD & CD writer
DVR
Play CD, MP3, IPod
HDMI, RCA & USB connections
Connect and play my camcorder storage
Connect and show my digital camera
Audio out to a 5.1 Surround Sound speaker system with power & quality comparable or better than a A/V Rec.
(Do I need a A/V Rec?)
HD 1080p/1080i/760p
Wireless to home network
Surf the web
Keyboard & Remote functions


I have a Sony 40" Bravia LED TV, a Energy 5.1 Mini Speaker system & OTA Antenna.
Do not plan to get or use cable or satellite TV.
Cost is not a problem ....
Should not have to upgrade any time soon.


For components:- Please help. What will I need and/or what should I get?
Motherboard
CPU
Case
Fan(s)
Power
RAM
HD
Graphic Card
Sound Card
Wireless card
TV Tuner
OS
BlueTooth
Keyboard & Mouse
Remote


Putting it all together is for another forum I guess:-)

Thanks.

More about : building htpc advice

a c 159 à CPUs
July 11, 2010 12:01:04 AM

I'm going to recommend you check your local craigslist for used shuttle htpc boxes with the board, cpu, and power supply already installed, so all you have to add is ram and a hardrive. If you don't find anything you like, newegg has a shellshocker deal today only for $74.99 with free shipping. It's an antec black M fussion remote 350 htpc case with power supply. It works with any micro atx motherboard, so you will have a wide selection of boards to choose from. I suggest a foxconn cinema II deluxe am3 and 785G micro atx board ($104.99 plus shipping) which comes with plenty of toys to play with. I don't see anything else with all these features including remote. For the cpu, the amd regor 245 dual core retail box for $58.99 shipped is really all you will need. A quad core uses alot more energy, and is a waste of money. For ram, the gskill ripjaw series 1333 ddr3 in a 2x2gb for $93.99 shipped is a good choice. For the optical drive, newegg has the Asus 24x dvd burner for $18.99 shipped. For the hardrive, the seagate barracuda retail boxed 1.5 TB 5900 rpm is quiet and reliable for only $79.99. If you want something else, I strongly recommend a retail boxed unit which comes with better protection during shipping and the software cd, which also can be used to set up your new drive and acts as a bootdisk. Prepping the drive first using the cd sometimes makes it easier for windows to install. Be aware that this foxconn board has no ide ports for older devices. Everything has to be sata, which is good. You won't need to use a separate video card. Try the onboard video first. First time builds are a nightmare for some folks. You must be patient and not blame the parts. You can install just the cpu/heatsink, ram, keyboard, and video connection to try a bare post. With the power supply plugged in and the monitor cable connected to the board, I simply touch the pin cluster for the case connections and be sure the board posts before atatching the hardrive or optical drive. You press the "f" key on the screen to enter the bios. Set your boot order to cd (or dvd)>hardrive (or ide 0), then save and exit and finish installing the other components. I use a wireless keyboard and mouse, and they work great. The usb adapter for these simply plugs into any usb port and each item uses one or two batteries, depending on the brand. Good luck.
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a b à CPUs
July 11, 2010 12:07:58 AM

^+1, if you want a speedier HDD then you could go for the SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 1TB (500 GB less) for the same price, although it is much faster. Otherwise what o1die suggested is good. Otherwise you could just buy a slower WD Caviar Green 1.5 TB & bootup SSD.
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a c 159 à CPUs
July 11, 2010 1:42:57 AM

I forgot to mention that to start your board for a bare post test, you use a plain flathead screwdriver to touch the case connections pin cluster. You just work it around until it contacts the power switch pins, and viola, the board magically starts up. I have been building systems for almost twenty years, and still haven't learned how to post links. But hardware I know.
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July 11, 2010 12:52:08 PM

O1die,

Thanks for your advice.

I noticed that you recommended a DVD burner, what about Blu-ray?
And would the sound from this config be good enough?
Would I need to hook up a A/V Rec?
What about Wi-Fi?

I popped over to Newegg .... the prices are great.

Anymore ideas from anyone else? Maybe we can compare thoughts.

Thanks.
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a c 159 à CPUs
July 11, 2010 1:11:58 PM

I can't recommend a blueray player. Check some newegg reviews for the noise factor. With blueray, you can skip the dvd burner. The foxconn board has an antenna which can either be used for wi-fi or tv reception, but you may want to check the specs carefully. Onboard sound is usually pretty good with decent speakers. I would try it first before buying a separate sound card.
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