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Help with HTPC build

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May 21, 2010 9:53:37 AM

BUDGET RANGE: £550 / $720
SYSTEM USAGE: Mainly used as HTPC (HD video), casual internet use.
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S): Anything UK based (as long as it's reliable)
PARTS PREFERENCES: Not too bothered. Currentlly have AMD 955 and GTX 260 in main set up for gaming. But will switch to whatever is best for the money.
OVERCLOCKING: Maybe
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe
MONITOR RESOLUTION: Currently using an LG 50PS3000 at 1600x1200 and also using a 5.1 LG surround sound system (has optical).
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I'm a fan of windowed cases, would like to try and keep it as quiet as possible. These arent too important for me.
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Monitor/keyboard/mouse - Maybe OS (Have a spare Vista Disc to use, but may want to upgrade to Win7).

I'd also like to put in as much storage as possible. Would like to start with at least 1TB, then add to it later if this isnt possible, then at least 500GB. Also, I'm not bothered about having a Blu-Ray drive as I have a PS3 for this and I just think it would be waste.

Cheers guys and girls!

More about : htpc build

May 21, 2010 10:05:31 AM

I know the case is the buyers preference but I personally went with an Antec HTPC case that simply looks like a regular receiver you'd have in an entertainment center.

Antec HTPC case $139.99 newegg.com

From my research I recommend a motherboard with integrated graphics, as this is all thats necessary for an HTPC and keeps temperatures low as well as power consumption. Since HTPC's are usually micro ATX cases, temperatures can become a problem.

I also went with a 500 GB OS drive and a 1.5 TB 5400 RPM media drive.

This is all my two cents, if you want me to post my build I'd be happy to
May 21, 2010 2:23:12 PM

@ Cypherchild -

Like cmcghee, I went with an HTPC case that looks like a regular receiver type component (NMediaPC 200B). One thing I would mention is storage capacity. This style of case often comes with only one or two 3 1/2" internal drive bays. Makes expansion of storage capabilities quite limited.

There are HTPC cases like cmcghee's and mine that have more internal drive bays, so you may want to keep looking.

-Wolf sends
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May 21, 2010 8:01:01 PM


Thanks for the input guys. I've been researching this most of the day (at work.... I have nothing better to do :D  ). Anyway, I'm going against the "receiver" look and going with a standard case, mainly for capacity and looks. Also, I was hoping you could take a look at what I've chosen so far and point me in the right direction to finish it off!

CPU - AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition - Planning on opening up the other cores

MoBo - Not sure on what the model number actually is.. but this one because from what I can see, you can open the extra cores on the 550
http://www.ewlink.co.uk/sapphire-technology-pure-crossf...

RAM - Kingston 4gb (2x2gb) DDR2 800mhz Memory Non-ecc Cl5
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/143803

Case - APEVIA X-Cruiser
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/148403

HDD - Samsung EcoGreen F2 1TB Hard Drive SATAII 32MB Cache - OEM
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/164282

I plan on getting another 2x 2TB HDD's with next months pay, possibly 3 if they will all fit in the case.

GPU - Would like to get something like GTX 240. (Is that a bit overkill?)

PSU - No idea (I'm rubbish with these). Need something to support all of the above.

Optical Drive - Again, I'm rubbish with this. No need for blu-ray player, so should I just get a cheapo one?
May 21, 2010 10:59:13 PM

Bump for great justice :) 
May 21, 2010 11:14:45 PM

CPU - It's my understanding that opening up additional cores on CPU's is rather hit and miss. By no means will you be guaranteed success. The other thing is, if all you're doing is playing back video (dvds, internet video), you don't need anything more than a dual-core processor. Heck, my mom's ATOM330 (dual-core 1.6GHz) does that. For your purposes, I'd stick with a straight dual-core or tri-core AMD or if budget allows, look at the Intel CoreI3 530/540

MOBO - That's the first Sapphire Technologies motherboard I've seen. I know they do graphic cards (one of my preferred manufacturers). It always bothers me when a motherboard manufacturer does not have a clear link to a particular boards supported CPU list. From what I can see, however, this board only supports AM2/AM2+ CPUs. No AM3s.

RAM - This is going to be based on which board you end up with.

Case - Really, it's your personal choice. I would think that the front display dials might be distracting, but it's really up to you.

HDD - I've heard some bad things about the Samsung F2 series that were corrected/fixed with the F3 series. If possible, go with an F3. The case you're looking at has 6 internal 3.5" expansion bays, so theoretically, you can fit up to 6 hard drives into the system. Personally, I'd get one small drive for the OS/Applications and two large drives for media storage (with the second drive acting as backup).

GPU - Again, this kind of depends on which motherboard you end up getting. Most (if not all) of the newer AMD boards will handle HD video playback without using a discrete graphics card. On the Intel side, going with a CoreI3 processor and H55 motherboard falls in the same category of not needing a discrete graphics card. If you do decide to use a graphics card, you're right in that it doesn't need to be that much of one. I'd say the GeForce 240GT is about right

PSU - This is actually rather easy: Antec, PC Power and Cooling, Seasonic, Corsair. Any of those four in the 400-600 watt range (you'll want higher in that range as you add more hard drives) will suffice.

Optical Drive: Really hard to go wrong here so long as you go with a SATA drive.

-Wolf sends
May 21, 2010 11:25:42 PM

Thanks for the advice. Still sticking with the AMD 550 / Geforce 240 then, what MoBo would you recommend?

I have a spare 500GB HDD, will use that for OS and look at the F3's as well. Might just go slightly higher in the PSU, may as well future proof it for adding the HDD's in later.
May 21, 2010 11:54:03 PM

So long as you're going with a discrete graphics card, pretty much any of these will do (note: there are five pages). Just make sure you check for the CPU Compatibility Chart before you buy. Personally, I like Gigabyte and ASUS brands, but that's just me. The system I just built for my mother uses an MSI board.

You'll also need to check if you need to go with DDR2 or DDR3 memory: Kingston, G-Skill, Corsair... any will do so long as it works with your selected motherboard.

-Wolf sends
May 22, 2010 12:38:34 AM

Awesome. You've been a huge help! Thanks a lot :) 
May 22, 2010 2:29:43 AM

Gigabyte GA-785GMT-USB3
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/194686
AMD Athlon II X2 250
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/166519
Kingston DDR3 2GB 1333MHz
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/147903
Samsung HD103SJ Spinpoint F3 1TB
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/173804
LG GH22NS50
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/169683
Corsair 400W CX PSU
Antec Fusion MAX VERIS Black ATX Media Center Case
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/148792

Cart total inc vat: Cart total ex vat: £428.02

The onboard graphics is more than OK for 1080p. For the case, whatever floats your boat but it must take ATX mobos that is if you don't switch to a mATX mobo.


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