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New HTPC build for ~$600. Seeking suggestions

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July 30, 2010 3:16:01 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: 1-2 weeks

BUDGET RANGE: Hoping to keep it near $600 or under

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Web & email, some Hulu, music & videos, MS Office apps, and light gaming (e.g. WoW and older RTS’s)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: need em all

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: no preference

OVERCLOCKING: No

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Looking to build a near entry level HTPC for some fairly basic use. I have a DVR from my cable company that I am happy with, so I am not looking to run a cable feed thru the pc. I also have a PS3 and BluRay player, so I do not require one in this new build. I do not have a preference for AMD or Intel, just looking for good price/performance. My only requirements are that is runs fairly cool and quiet, and it must have a media center case so it looks good and fits in my entertainment shelving.

I put together the components below and I’m sure they could use some fine-tuning. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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- CPU & Mobo
i3-530 Clarkdale 2.93GHz
Asus P7H55-M
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... - $180


- RAM
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $99


- Optical Drive
LG 22x DVD + R
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $20

- HDD
1TB Samsung F3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... - $76

- PSU
Thermaltake 430W ATX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $40

- Case
Antec Fusion
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $140

- OS
Windows 7 Home Premium
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $150


I came in at $705 with this build and would like to shave off about $100 if possible.
July 30, 2010 3:59:39 PM

I liked the build unit you got down to the PSU. That's not a good choice. Also, are you dead set on getting an HTPC case? I don't think they're that great and they're very expensive.

Here's my changes. They're pretty minor except the PSU.

RAM: GeIL 2x2 GB 1333 mhz CAS Latency 9 $80
OS: Windows 7 Home 64-bit OEM $100. There isn't a real reason to buy the full version.
PSU/Optical: Corsair 400W and cheap SATA DVD burner $42 after rebate. A great PSU at an amazing price.

With all of that, you're down to $618. If you take a look at some other cases, you can easily get that down another $80-100. All it would take is looking as some regular desktop cases.
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July 30, 2010 4:26:50 PM

The Antec Neo Eco 400W for $30 shipped is a great deal.

Wrong link/price on the NSK2400, updated below.
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July 30, 2010 4:34:45 PM

Admiral,

I wasn't sure about the PSU either, thanks for pointing out that combo deal! I'll swap the PSU & Optical as per your suggestion. As for the case, an HTPC is not vital... I just think they look so much nicer in a Home Theater environment. They are a bit of a rip off though! I'll look around at some of the desktop cases and see if I can find a suitable replacement.

One other thought.. I'm not very good at this and would feel better if one of you more knowledgeable folks could confirm that all these parts would work well together with no compatibility issues.

Thanks!
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July 30, 2010 4:39:45 PM

There aren't any compatibiilty issues. If there were, we would have pointed them out.

Those Antec PSUs are definitely great deals as well. They'd be a little more expensive (I think like $5) counting the reabte, but then you wouldn't have to mess with the whole rebate process. I've never had an issue with Corsair's rebates though.
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July 30, 2010 4:41:58 PM

Ooooh, great combo find, Timop. Thanks for pointing that out!

Arx
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July 30, 2010 4:43:25 PM

MadAdmiral said:
There aren't any compatibiilty issues. If there were, we would have pointed them out.


I figured as much, but wanted to make sure. Thanks for relieving my fears! :) 
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July 30, 2010 4:45:11 PM

Sorry, but heres the right link for the NSK2400.

Comes out to be $125 shipped, and includes a PSU.
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July 30, 2010 6:31:08 PM

One last question fellas:

Considering I will likely do some light gaming, does it make any sense to throw a GPU in there or is the iGPU sufficient for light gaming?

Thanks!
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July 30, 2010 6:35:04 PM

Define light gaming. What titles?
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July 30, 2010 6:35:10 PM

Arxin said:
One last question fellas:

Considering I will likely do some light gaming, does it make any sense to throw a GPU in there or is the iGPU sufficient for light gaming?

Thanks!

How "light"? the Intel HD should do older games on 1024*768 and medium-low settings.
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July 30, 2010 6:47:02 PM

Like WoW, and some older first person shooters like Team Fortress.
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Best solution

July 30, 2010 7:00:04 PM

Then you'll want a discrete GPU. Here's what I recommend:

CPU/GPU: X3 440 and HD 5770 $210 after rebate
Mobo/OS: ASRock 770 Extreme3 $165
RAM: GeIL 2x2 GB 1333 mhz CAS Latency 9 $80
Case/HDD: HEC 6T Series 6T10BB and Seagate 7200.12 500 GB $70
Optical/PSU: OCZ ModXStream Pro 500W and cheap SATA DVD burner $44 after rebate

Total: $564. Please note that the board is an ATX board, so you'll need a case that supports it. Feel free to pick out a different case. If you do, switch the HDD to either the Samsung Spinpoint F3 500 GB or 1 TB.
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July 30, 2010 7:09:06 PM

Wow, looks great, Admiral. I think I'll go with that build. I think I'm going to go with an HTPC case though (it's gotta look good in the entertainment center! =)

Thanks again for all your help guys!


~Arx
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July 30, 2010 7:10:32 PM

Arxin said:
Wow, looks great, Admiral. I think I'll go with that build. I think I'm going to go with an HTPC case though (it's gotta look good in the entertainment center! =)

Thanks again for all your help guys!


~Arx

Do note that both HTPC cases only fit uATX boards.
Good Luck!
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July 30, 2010 7:22:08 PM

Arxin said:
Uh-oh.. I wish I knew exactly what that meant! Will the mobo fit in this case?
u = µ = micro

uATX = micro-ATX

IOW, make sure your motherboard will fit in your chosen case. If your case is ATX, then all is good.
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July 30, 2010 7:34:05 PM

Ok, I got now. You guys are awesome, btw.. Can't thank you enough!
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July 30, 2010 7:34:33 PM

Best answer selected by Arxin.
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