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Low Budget HTPC - seeking general advice

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Last response: in Systems
July 9, 2010 10:23:41 PM

So I am looking to build a new HTPC (instead of a gaming machine at this point) and I don't know much about HTPCs. Haven't been on the threads in a while, and all the stickies disappeared. Anyway, I was curious how cheap I can build a decent HTPC for? I will want to stream and watch HD video to an HD tv. This is the only thing the box would be used for.

I will later build a gaming PC and get some decent external storage for a home network, so this would be pretty bare bones, and I have a Win7 64-bit OS already to put on it.

I will have to pick up a second OS for the gaming PC when I ever get around to building that.

Also, is there any specific software I might want for the HTPC, or having Hulu/Netflix is enough for it all. I will eventually want to either put a tuner in or hook it up to cable and use it as a DVR, but won't be doing that for now.

Let me know if you need any additional information.

Thanks guys and gals!

More about : low budget htpc seeking general advice

July 10, 2010 12:43:25 AM

If you can live caseless, you could probably live using a 300 dollar budget using some used parts

Best solution

a b 4 Gaming
July 10, 2010 2:00:23 PM

Here are two options.

#1 is a full sized full-size, low budget DIY HTPC

Antec Black M FusionRemote 350 Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case $100

Sempron 140 + Asus 785G Combo $98

G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10600CL8D-2GBHK $57

ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM $19

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive $55
Total = $329 + S&H

#2 is a barebones ASRock ion setup. All you need is software:

ASRock ION330 PRO/BLACK Intel Atom 330 (1.6GHz, dual-core) NVIDIA ION NVIDIA ION graphics 1 x HDMI Barebone (OS NOT Included) $330 (DVD)

ASRock ION330-HT Intel Atom 330 (1.6GHz, dual-core) NVIDIA ION NVIDIA ION graphics 1 x HDMI Remote Control Barebone (OS NOT Included) $420 (DVD+Remote+WiFi-n)

ASRock ION330-HT-BD Intel Atom 330 (1.6GHz, dual-core) NVIDIA ION NVIDIA ION graphics 1 x HDMI Remote Control Barebone (OS NOT Included) $500 (Blu-Ray+Remote+WiFi-n)

The ion may struggle if for some reason you can't get hardware acceleration to work. Also, you would be limited to USB or ethernet for tuners. But it is compact and professional reviews have been very positive.

For software, Netflix is integrated into Wndows Media Center with an MS plugin. Hulu can be integrated using this tool.

I also highly recommend Media Browser as a front end for ripped movies (and music too). If you decide to go Blu-Ray, I recommend Total Media Theatre 3 Platinum ($60 on sale)
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July 12, 2010 6:09:23 PM

Thanks for the responses guys.
July 12, 2010 6:09:33 PM

Best answer selected by jared51182.