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Mini-ITX HTPC Build

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Last response: in Systems
August 19, 2010 8:02:50 PM

Hey folks, I'm looking to build a mini-itx HTPC. Purpose would be solely to play media files and physical media - I will not be using it for gaming. That said, I do want to be able to stream 24/96 audio, be it FLAC or HD-DVD / Blu-Ray soundtracks, to my receiver. I have a new LG combo HD-DVD / Blu-Ray drive sitting in its box unopened (I picked it up about 9 months ago when it became clear they were becoming harder to find) which I plan to use in the system.

For a motherboard, I want to use either the ZOTAC H55ITX-C-E (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...) or the Gigabyte GA-H55N-USB3 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...). I'd be connecting the board by gigabit, but the Zotac's inclusion of wireless is attractive for future use. It would also allow me to situate the TV and router in different rooms easily in a future location. Some people have mentioned that the Gigabyte uses a superior audio system, which is more important than wi-fi if true.

For a case I really like the Thermaltake Element Q. It seems to be a good size, and can fit the LG drive no problem. I figured I'd install a memory card reader and 5400 RPM 1 TB HDD, and likely a Hauppage WinTV-HVR-2250 Dual Tuner (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...) in the PCI-e slot.

What do you folks think? Am I missing an obvious problem with the config? Is there an awesome component I've missed? To be clear, I don't intend to overclock the system, and plan to use a Core i3 processor - the only concern I have is media playback and recording.

More about : mini itx htpc build

August 19, 2010 9:14:16 PM

Consider the size of the Element Q, you might want to stick with the lower wattage Core i3 instead of a Quad-Core Athlon.
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August 19, 2010 9:48:33 PM

Timop said:
It looks like a great build actually, However feature wise, consider this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... + a AMD Athlon X4.

Don't worry about audio for this board as you're going to be using HDMI audio from the GPU anyways.


why Athlon II X4, when the Athlon II X2 will do just fine
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August 23, 2010 10:35:04 PM

The Gigabyte board is rather attractive, and seems to have similar features. I feel silly for not knowing this, but is there a substantial difference between an Athlon II X2 and Core i3? For both the AMD and Intel Boards, I could output 1080p video and 24/96 audio?
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August 24, 2010 4:52:48 PM

Intel can bitstream lossless HD audio with integrated GPU, AMD requires a discreet card to do the same.

If HD audio interests you, then go Intel.

That being said, I'll put my vote for the Gigabyte H55 ITX board... better quality. Onboard WiFi is nice, but you can easily add WiFi to the Gigabyte via USB adapter or a wireless bridge.
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August 26, 2010 12:11:43 AM

So I'm going for the Zotac...I'm not so worried about stability. I'm gonna use an i3, I'm not going to overclock anything. Sometimes you just see a motherboard and fall in love, y'know.
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November 14, 2010 3:41:06 AM

Hey did you ever build that system? Wanted to know if you had any issues putting the Hauppage WinTV-HVR-2250 pcie card into the PCIe x16 slot and getting it working on the Zotac. I actually have the Zotac board and the Gigabyte board as well. I put the Zotac into an Apex MI-100 case and the Gigabyte in the Thermaltake Q and both with Intel Core I5 650's. I could never get a confirmed answer if the Hauppage WinTV HVR-2250 would work in the PCIEx16 slot in either motherboard.
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