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What R Musts haves/common mistakes for HTPC Build

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August 5, 2010 1:58:44 AM

I have an extra MSI 890GSX GM Motherboard with a decent integrated graphics solution.
I wanted to build something for the front room to be able to store movies and link internet to tv for browsing.
Since Sony Refuses to innovate with regard to the PS3 which I purchased solely for the blue ray feature,I would like to find a solution for integrating web browsing and bring some online services into the family rooms entertainment centers capabilities. I have a Denon A/V receiver and Samsung 46"1080i TV.

What are some common builds for the average HTPC?
What are the most common mistakes made by builders?
what componants they regret not including in the build?

Where do you see the future headed with respect to how content is delivered? Should I wait for a corporate solution such as Google TV,(but they partnered with Sony)or similar solutions?
Out of the love I have for my wife, I have decided to leave her completely out of the loop since she may disagree with timing of this purchase, so I'm using my hiddden account and the budget is therefore not an issue.

Thank You

More about : musts haves common mistakes htpc build

August 5, 2010 4:13:59 AM

Your first mistake is using a board with onboard video. You want a GPU video card PCI16X that will use less of the board resources, and a board without video on the board.
Second mistake: Not using a quad core processor.
Third mistake: Not enough high speed RAM, 4 GB or MORE.
Fourth mistake: No cable internet.
No, I would not buy a Sony computer.

Example:
Antec EarthWatts EA650 650W Power Supply Shipping $ 8.53
Reason: efficient PCM design cuts power consumption and heat by 33%. $78.99
Note: 500 watt power will run this system, if the supply is rated continuous true power.

Gigabyte 890FX/SATA3&USB3.0/A&2GbE/ATX Motherboard GA-890FXA-UD5
Note: You want a motherboard with video card instead of onboard video, uses less system resources to maintain system speed. 1GB DDR5 video card memory minimum recommended.
Reason: PCIe 16X video support, advanced chipset, reliable manufacturer $179.99 Shipping $ 7.19

LG Electronics 10X Blu-ray SATA Writer Drive with Software WH10LS30K - Bulk (Black)
Reason: Highly rated, reasonable price, higher writing speed. $128.49 Shipping $5.49

Cmple HDMI Cable, 30 feet $ 9.49 Shipping $5.49
Note: Very expensive HDMI cables are a waste of money. You should be able to buy a good long cable for about $10, that’s certified and tested. Limit HDMI cable to 50 feet maximum.

Logitech Internet 350 USB Desktop Keyboard and Mouse $ 22.99 Shipping free

Hauppauge 1183 WinTV HVR-1600 Internal PCI Dual TV Tuner/Video Recorder Media Center Kit $99.24 Shipping $8.68
Reason: Highly rated dual input HDTV, NTSC, FM tuner with S video/audio inputs.
Note: It is recommended to use Windows Media Center instead of the supplied software, just load the drivers from the CD.

Windows 7 PRO 64 Bit System Builder 1pk $139.99 Shipping free
Reason: Media Center included, much better quality resolution video compared to XP, more advanced record playback features. Drivers are from supplied manufacturer CD’s or manufacturer’s websites. This version does not contain many hardware drivers.

Zalman ZM-MC1 Multi-connector PS to Add Fan $ 3.70 Shipping $6.88
Reason: provide 5,7,12 volt breakout connectors to control fan speeds.

2 X G.Skill Ripjaws F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL - Memory - 4 GB : 2 x 2 GB - DIMM 240-pin - DDR3 - 1600 MHz / PC3-12800 - CL9 - 1.5 V - unbuffered - non-ECC $229.96 Shipping $9.98
Reason: Provide excellent high speed RAM for 64 bit operating system, video, audio, photo, film editing, photoshop, scanning, increased support.

Antec Three Hundred Gaming Case External 3 X 5.25; Internal 6 X 3.5 2*Usb2.0
$ 53.38 Shipping $36.10
Reason: Better case will have plenty of high flow ventilation and spaces for fans. A standard “home theater” computer case will have very limited space and poor ventilation.

Fan 3 Wire to 3 Wire Y Connector $ 2.39 Shipping $4.88
Reason: split circuit for 2 cooling fans.

Phenom II X4 965 Black AM3 3.4Ghz 512KB 45NM 125W $179.99
NZXT CB-3F Sleeved 3-Pin Fan Extension Premium Cable $ 3.99
RADEON HD 5870 1GB DDR5 HDMI Graphics Card HD587XZNFC 379.99 Shipping $6.54
Reason: You will want the best HD graphics card, with HDMI output, for the highest resolution video quality, to interface to your HD wide screen TV. Dual output card allows hooking up computer monitor also.

2 of: Zalman ZM-F3 120mm Quiet Case Fan with Silicone Pins 9.99 shipping free

OEM Western Digital 74GB 10K VelociRaptor WD740HLFS $ 89.99 shipping 8.94
Reason: Fastest available drive for operating system and programs only. Use additional 1 TB drive for video download files and office files.

Computer Parts Totals 1602.57 108.70 SHIPPING PARTS

Also recommended peripherals…

Canon CanoScan 9000F Color Image Scanner $233.99 + 22.21 tax
Note: Scans negatives, film, pictures, documents, 9600 X9600 dpi shipping was free

Acer 24” WUXGA HD HDMI DVI VGA monitor $249.99
Shipping free







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August 5, 2010 8:40:01 AM

I disagree with most of the above recommendations. You are building an HTPC - right? The main purpose is going to be putting video on the TV screen. You do not need a fast, powerful computer to do that.

You need to minimize heat and noise, though. You do not need a VelociRaptor HD - it's hot and noisy :)  and of limited storage capacity. Get a big "green" drive. Or, if budget permits, an SSD.

A 5870 is massive overkill for a pure HTPC. Check out the "Best graphics cards for the money" article in the Graphics Section on the home page. You will be surprised at how little you actually need for an HTPC. Smaller video card means less noise and heat.

You do not need a fast, powerful quad core CPU either. A medium speed dual core will be enough, reducing noise and heat even more.

Antec Three Hundred Gaming Case
Reason: Better case will have plenty of high flow ventilation and spaces for fans. A standard “home theater” computer case will have very limited space and poor ventilation.

The standard home theater case does have poor ventilation compared to a gaming case. But because you should not be generating much heat, it doesn't matter.

Memory - 2 GB's are enough.

What soundguruman has is not an HTPC. He has a gaming machine (the 5870 is the giveaway) with a TV card in it. Nothing wrong with that if that's what he wants.

I went through all of this because I was going to build an HTPC. Then I sat down and though about what I really needed. All I needed to do was move video content from my torrent box (one of three systems tied to a KVM switch in my home network) to the TV. And I found this:
http://www.westerndigital.com/en/products/Products.asp?...

I am mentioning this primarily because it shows how little computer power you really need to move video from a hard drive to a TV screen. This little box is about 2/3's the size of a WD MyBook, uses 512 k of RAM, and consumes about 20 watts.



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Related resources
August 5, 2010 9:07:24 AM

+1 jsc
Our very own forums doing HD DVD/Bluray on 780G IGP and a Sempron (yes no kidding)
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/amd-780g-chipset,17...
Also that 890G/mATX is overpriced (but irrelevant as u already have it) as your needs do not require a 8/8 CFable mATX hehe So i would either hit a 785G or if u want SATA/USB III 880G for a fresh build
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August 5, 2010 9:13:37 AM

soundgurumans suggestions are utter crap for htpc.
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August 5, 2010 1:41:05 PM

^+1, and +1 @jsc.
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August 5, 2010 2:03:47 PM

If this system is going to be used to create the media you intend to watch (transferring camcorder video to hard drive and that sort of thing), then you'll probably want to go with something more like Soundguruman's system (though I agree the graphics card is way overkill).

If this system is just going to be used for media playback, then I agree with the others in that you don't need much of a system at all.

Just for reference, here's my HTPC (and I consider this to be overkill as well):

CPU - Intel Core2Duo E6600
Motherboard - Gigabyte GA-965GM-S2
RAM - (unknown brand) 2x1GB DDR2-667
Graphics - Sapphire ATI Radeon HD4670 (more for the HDMI Audio out)
HD1 - smaller SATAII drive - OS Drive (don't recall the actual size, but I'd guess 160GB)
HD2 - Seagate 750GB SATAII drive - Media Storage
TV Tuner - AVerMedia PCI-E Combo Tuner Card (ATSC/NTSC/QAM)
PSU - Antec 500Watt
Case - NMediaPC 200BA
OS - Windows 7 Ultimate (though Home Premium would more than suffice).

-Wolf sends

P.S. The biggest mistake I ever made was not having a back up of my media when my first Media Drive failed on me (WD 500GB).
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