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My first build - Budget HTPC

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Last response: in Systems
May 25, 2010 9:07:30 PM

Hi, this is my first post on the board :hello: 

With some help from a friend I've come up with a list of parts I'm considering for an HTPC build. Total including shipping comes out to under $350 so I'm pretty happy there.

Just wanted to get your opinions on whether this setup will do the things that I want:

-Run Ubuntu or other Linux using XBMC as the media center
-Play movies in standard definition for now, and maybe 1080p later. The motherboard has an extra slot for a video card if I want, or need, to upgrade in the future
-Output XBMC in 1080 very smoothly without lagging or slowing framerates
-This will primarily be used as a media center but will sometimes perform other tasks, surfing the wed etc., no gaming though
-Not be too power hungry or noisy, neither is a top priority though

Thats about all I can really think of, heres the list of the parts

Case - In Win BP655

Motherboard - Zotac GF9300

CPU - Intel Celeron 2.5ghz dual core

Memory - PQI 2gb

Harddrive - 1tb Seagate Barricuda

Thanks for the help

More about : build budget htpc

May 25, 2010 10:20:39 PM

Looks like a winner. Very nice choices!
May 25, 2010 10:22:23 PM

Have you picked out any of the peripherals like IR remote, wireless keyboard, etc?
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May 26, 2010 3:07:31 PM

WR2 said:
Have you picked out any of the peripherals like IR remote, wireless keyboard, etc?

Not yet, I have a few wired keyboards that I was going to use until I made up my mind.

I was kind of thinking on a Denovo Mini along with a full sized keyboard for web surfing etc.
May 26, 2010 4:21:34 PM

This is just a better all around system...
- Better RAM
- Better MOBO
- Better CPU (and the socket is not dead like 775 - you could put the newest 6 core AMD in this)
- Better PSU
- Better HDD


AMD Athlon II X3 440 Rana 3.0GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Desktop Processor



ASUS M4A88TD-M/USB3 AM3 AMD 880G HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard



G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10600CL8D-4GBHK


Case -

nMEDIAPC Black Aluminum / Acrylic / Steel HTPC 5000B Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case



Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W Continuous power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply


NOTE ABOUT PSU - The PSU is probably one item that you SHOULD spend extra $$$$ is perhaps the MOST vital piece of equipment in your PC...if it dies, you PC dies!!!


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



EDIT: Changed out the case...oops...didn't catch that one...
May 26, 2010 4:27:41 PM

The OP's case is mini-ITX. The micro-ATX motherboard you selected will not fit (nor the PSU for that matter).
May 26, 2010 6:40:19 PM

That definitely a nice setup but for $100+ more dollars I don't know if I'd really need, or use, the extra power. And I'm kind of on a tight budget... The ability to upgrade the CPU down the line would be nice though.

Is there anything inherently wrong or not good about the setup I chose? Or is it just that thats a better system for a little bit more money? It's not going to be used for much else besides web browsing and XBMC..
May 26, 2010 8:23:57 PM

Well, here's the thing...with the system you originally built, you're using older 2 year old technology...there is nothing inherently wrong with the build, it's just using older technology...

The CPU socket is already dead...Intel does not make processors for it anymore. There is no upgrade path in the future

The hard drive is also older technology...5400 RPM vs one of the fastest 7200 drives out right now.

The AMD processor I have chosen is the latest edition of the Athlon II's not the latest/greatest technology, but the socket chosen IS the latest/greatest AMD socket type. Given that AMD sockets last 4+ years, you have an upgrade path with the processor (if required/needed)

The motherboard also has the latest/greatest technology...SATA 6 and USB 3.0. Newer hard drives are coming out with SATA 6 capabilities and external add on's are starting to use USB 3.0

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to point you in a direction you don't want to go...I look at this as the best bang for your buck...Yeah, sure the computer you put together would do what you want...but for how long?

In the end it's up to you.

EDIT: Also, I wouldn't trust any "no-name" power supply with any computer I build. It's a small portion of the investment than truely can RUIN every component plugged in. Whatever direction you choose to go, I can't stress enough that you seriously consider a high quality, Active PFC, power supply. Highly recommended brands are Corsair & Antec
May 26, 2010 9:22:12 PM

After looking around some I've put together a new build using that processor, mobo, only 2g of ram, different case etc. and have gotten it down to only about $40-$50 more. Which, even to me, is well worth it.

I definitely like the upgradeability of it over the other build. Thanks for the help, I appreciate it.