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Budget HTPC

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June 2, 2010 4:29:59 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: By September this year (doesn't really matter when and can wait for sales on items)
BUDGET RANGE: As cheap as possible
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: watching flash videos, DivX, video's stored on the hard drive, web browsing, blu-ray in the future...normal kind of stuff.
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS, optical drive.
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: I use a combination of Newegg.ca, Tigerdirect.ca and pccyber.com
PARTS PREFERENCES: no preference
OVERCLOCKING: No
MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1080p

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Would like a small form computer to attach to my 40" TV to use as a HTPC. Basically don't need it to do much, just work. May add a blu-ray player at a later date. May also like to add a TV Tuner and have PVR Function if that doesn't cost too much.

The machine just needs to be able to get the job done and be as cheap as possible. Doesn't need to be amazingly fast or anything.

Here is kind of what I was thinking so far...I'd like you opinions on the build and if you have any suggestions for making it cheapr but still functional.

Case: APEX DM-387 Black Steel Micro ATX Media Center / Slim HTPC Computer Case w/ ATX12V Flex 275W Power Supply $42

HDD: Seagate ST3500418AS Barracuda 7200.12 Hard Drive - 3.5", 7200 RPM, SATA 3G, 500GB, 16MB Cache $55

RAM: Crucial 2048MB PC6400 DDR2 800MHz Memory(0.5 lbs) $60

CPU: AMD Athlon II X2 240 Regor 2.8GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core Processor $59

Motherboard: ASUS M4A785-M Motherboard - AMD 785G Socket, AM3, MicroATX, HDMI, USB 2.0, PCIe(2.4 lbs) $80

Thanks in advance guys!

More about : budget htpc

June 2, 2010 4:48:58 PM

I'd recommend a dual core at the least. Also the fact you can find Athlon IIx3's for 60-70 bucks means you should also consider that as well.
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June 2, 2010 4:49:38 PM

Also you have a microATX motherboard going into a Mini ITX case. That most likely wont work.
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June 2, 2010 5:22:22 PM

There seems to be a high % of those Semprons unlocking the second core when locking the HT speed at 1.6GHz. I say go for it!

How about an AM3 board with DDR3 rather than DDR2?
Crucial 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model CT2KIT12864BA1339 $61.49 CAD

Change the motherboard to
ASUS M4A785TD-M EVO AM3 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard $94.99 CAD


and change your case to a micro-ATX version.

Here's a similar one:
APEX DM-387 Black Steel Micro ATX Media Center / Slim HTPC Computer Case w/ ATX12V Flex 275W Power Supply $41.99 CAD

I don't know about the quality of the case or PSU, but you get the idea.
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June 2, 2010 6:16:49 PM

Oh geez, didn't even realize that was a micro ITX case!!! whoops lol thanks for that!

Ok editing my main thing now!

Thanks for the suggestion rwpritchett! I like the case. I'm trying to do as cheap as possible so unless there is a huge advantage going from DDR2 to DDR3 (do you think there is?) then I'd rather save the $15 extra it would cost, I'll have to keep my eye out for sales though!

I'm not quite sure what you mean by unlocked the semprons second core, but a dual core Athlon II isn't that big of a difference...gah! So many choices.

What do you guys think of something a bit more like the edited version?

Oh, also I'm right to assume that Audio and Video comes out of the HDMI right?
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June 2, 2010 6:55:13 PM

Yep, HDMI generally carries the audio signal.
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June 2, 2010 8:09:56 PM

do you plan on hooking this HTPC up to any type of surround sound system??

If you do, I highly recommend the i3-530 with an 1156 MOBO...you can pick up these two items for around $180

The reason - DTS - with the AMD system you have above, you'll need some type of additional graphics card or sound card in the future if you plan on doing any surround sound with HD capabilities

The i3-530 already has this capability - no additional hardware would be necessary
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June 2, 2010 8:31:22 PM

I do plan on having it hooked up to a surround sound system (a bit of an older one)...but wouldn't it already output in surround sound? I'm definitely not an audiophile so as long as it sounds ok and has surround sound I'd be ok with that!

Besides, wouldn't the PC output it in some sort of surround format? As far as I know any computer with 8 channel audio can do that...no?
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June 2, 2010 8:49:24 PM

snow is referring to the HD audio that comes on blu-ray discs. The AMD integrated HDMI can bitstream standard Dolby Digital (AC3) and DTS surround sound just fine.
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June 2, 2010 9:08:23 PM

Yeah, I'm ok with not having the super fancy HD Audio, as long as it's still surround! yay!

You guys are the best!
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