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Building a new HTPC/Desktop Hybrid

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July 30, 2010 5:00:26 AM

Let me lay down the base framework for the use in this computer, as I think it is a hybrid between a HTPC and a low/mid-range gaming computer. I would like to be able to use the computer to play blu-ray video onto a HDTV, and also play games like World of Warcraft and Starcraft II on a computer monitor. I don't need as much gaming power as some of the new demanding games but would like to be able to run those games on very high settings at a reasonable resolution (1680x1050). I don't plan on playing blu-rays on the HDTV while doing anything on the computer, maybe at most working on word document at most. My biggest dilemma right now is finding a case to fit this build, whether it is a HTPC case or other, I would like it to be subtle and sleak. I would prefer it to be black, quiet, and not too bulky. When not gaming or watching a blu-ray, the computer will be used for basic internet and microsoft office programs. I just stumbled upon Thermaltake HTPCs and would like something very similar to those if they can fit into the price range. If it is not possible to get something of that quality and still fit into the price range, a small (possibly micro) case could suffice. Use of remote control is a definite plus, but again if it can't fit into price I can pass for the time being. Ultimately, any ideas or insight is much appreciated, and even if it is out of my price range just some other ideas of what is out there are great help, thanks!

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: 3 weeks to a month from now

BUDGET RANGE: $400-$800 Before Rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Blu-ray, Connect to Monitor and HDTV at same time, Games, Microsoft Office

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: I have wireless mouse and keyboard but if the budget permits I would like to buy new ones

PREFERRED WEBSITE FOR PARTS: www.newegg.com

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: Mostly AMD because it's price/performance is nice, but if there is a good Intel processor at a good price I am open to that.

OVERCLOCKING: Limited OCing, plan to a little on the CPU and GPU as long as I can still keep the system cool and quiet.

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe at a future date, neither for nor against it as long as it fits in the price range.

MONITOR RESOLUTION:
1680x1050

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Most of it was covered at the top but I have Windows 7 Home 64-bit so don't need to worry about OS.
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I've been back and forth a ton the past few days on parts and this is the base setup that I'm looking at. I greatly appreciate you looking this over and commenting on anything! I am not set on any of these but hope this gives you a general idea of where I am going. Some of these are just thrown together and some have taken tons of thought!

CPU: AMD Phenom II X2 555 Black Edition Callisto 3.2GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 80W Dual-Core Desktop Processor - C3 Revision HDZ555WFGMBOX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mobo: ASUS M4A785TD-M EVO AM3 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I am completely lost here, mainly because as I said, I am unsure about the case, just an idea but in no way set in stone.

RAM: OCZ 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model OCZ3F1600LV4GK
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU: MSI R5750-MD1G Radeon HD 5750 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Not locked in but as TH posted recently, this is one of the best cards in the $125 range, could use help here too! I realize I need help everywhere hah!

Blu-ray burner: LG WH10LS30K 10X Blu-ray Burner - LightScribe Support - Bulk - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If it helps me fit into my budget with other things, I can get just a blu-ray reader instead of burner to cut costs

HD: Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I have also looked at 1TB Samsung Spinpoint F3, if anyone can help steer me either way, they are both the same price right now.

So obviously my real questionable parts right now are case and power supply, and then mobo. Any help with parts, setup ideas, anything really is greatly appreciated! Thanks again, Andrew.
July 30, 2010 5:32:24 AM

Here is a setup...

CPU - IMO the X3 440 would be a good option...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mobo + RAM -
As you will be using a discrete graphics, get this combo
Gigabyte 870A + GSKillz 4GB DDR3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

CASE - This would double up as a nice HTPC case
COOLER MASTER Elite 360
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU + Graphics - Why not the HD 5770 - with this combo, it would come to the same price...
Modular PSU for a small case...
OCZ 550W + Gigabyte HD5770
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

HDD - 1TB Samsung F3
- Faster
- More space
- Free cable
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

BD - Same
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

KB + Mice
http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/productdetail.aspx?s...

Total - ~$692 | $662 Including rebates...
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July 30, 2010 3:18:30 PM

If small is important here, check out the Lian Li PC-Q08. It will take a full-sized PSU (I recommend modular, like the one Batuchka chose). Use an i3 or i5 CPU depending on budget. I used the ECS H55H-I mobo that Tom's got. For less demanding games, a HD5670 would be sufficient, but you could put a HD5770 or GTX460 in that case without difficulty. It runs cool, stays quiet, and sits behind the 22" monitor on my desk.
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July 30, 2010 3:32:55 PM

I have been impressid by the lian li PC-V351 case.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It is small, but takes a standard ATX psu and can hold long graphics cards(up to even a 5970 by relocating a fan).
It has two 120mm intake fans which will give quiet cooling.
There is no "bling" which makes it unobtrusive.
There is a v352 version which is newer with a few changes and a bigger price tag.

For a HTPC, I suggest that you look at the 32nm Intel clarkdale cpu's.
They are reasonably priced, and run very cool. That means your HTPC will be quieter.
For what you are doing, a $115 i3-530 would be more than adequate:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Here is an article on what a i3-530 can di in gaming with a 5850.

If you have a HDTV, it will be 1080P which is 1920 x 1080.
It would be a shame to not be able to use the full resolution.
A 5770 at about $150 would be the minimum.
Better yet would be the GTX460 at $200 to $220, depending on the model.

You might want to get a media center remote kit to use with windows-7 media center.
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July 31, 2010 12:51:51 AM

Thanks alot for the help guys! Yeah I guess I only posted the monitor's resolution and not the HDTV, but I'm hoping to have a 1080p by that time. I hadn't seen that Silverstone case before but it really has the look I am going for, albeit at a premium compared to the Cooler Master. You guys definetely helped me with some ideas and I have changed nearly all my original part ideas. I'm going to keep looking it over a little more and maybe compile it again and see what you think if I could. Again the help is much appreciated, I have been using the articles and reviews from this site for years and never thought to view the Forums, but it seems like an awesome place and I hope I can help contribute in the future!
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