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HTPC + audio/video ripping/converting, not gaming

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August 27, 2010 8:48:17 AM

Hi,

Well, my title says most of it. I would like to build a moderately priced HTPC that would also serve some other functions. I'm not a gamer and don't do too much serious video/photo editing. But would be nice to be able to watch an HD movie while ripping/converting audio or video in the background simultaneously. Also might host audio or video for my netbook or roommate's laptop, etc. Would like it to be as low power as possible, as it will likely always be on. This is my first time building a computer.

Budget is $500-$800, not counting OS (I'd like to be on the lower end of that!). The build below comes to $588 - $681 depending on RAM.

Core i3-540 (Microcenter) - $100 - I like the 73 W and good performance/price. I think for my purposes, quad core is unnecessary, esp with hyperthreading.

ASRock H55M Pro LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI Micro ATX (Newegg) - $90 *or* ASUS P7H55-M PRO LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI Micro ATX (NewEgg) - $90 Both seem pretty comparable. Thoughts? Others I should consider?

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (Newegg) - $93 *or* 2 for $170 - Do I need 8 GB? Any reason to get faster memory?

Kingston SSDNow V Series SNV425-S2BD/64GB 2.5" Desktop Bundle 64GB SATA II SSD (Newegg) - $116 *or* Kingston SSDNow V Series SNV425-S2/64GB 2.5" 64GB SATA II SSD (Newegg) - $100 - I love the quick boot times I hear about with SSD drives, which seems especially nice for an HTPC - maybe it wouldn't have to be always on after all. I was considering the Intel 40 GB X25, but that doesn't seem like quite enough for OS + Program Files. Win 7 Pro with XP mode alone (not sure if I'll need XP mode, but don't want to limit myself) looks like it takes ~35 GB alone. The only difference between the two Kingston models is the desktop compatibility kit. Do I need this? Or could I buy a cheap cable adapter and rails for less than $16?

Seagate Barracuda ST315005N4A1AS-RK (NewEgg) - $70 - Price is awesome for 1.5 TB, but a number of reviewers have mentioned it died quickly.

LITE-ON Black 24X DVD Writer w/ LiteScribe Support (Newegg) - $20 One of several burners at this price point. LiteScribe is nice, but I mostly want it to work...

nMEDIAPC 1000B Micro ATX Media Center/HTPC Case (Newegg) - $70 - Seems like a nice case with good reviews, but I'm open to other options. Style is nice, but price and functionality are more important.

Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D 380 W 80+ Bronze ATX Power Supply (Newegg) - $45 - Not sure about how much power I need. Seems like this is enough power for everything I have with room to expand, right?

Windows 7 Professional x64 (Newegg) - $140 - The only reason I'm getting Pro is for remote desktop access from my netbook.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

August 27, 2010 9:05:00 AM

1. The SSD for HTPC is not a must. HDD capacity has much more advantage for HTPC. Faster boot? yes, with SSD on the system, booting time is a lot faster, programm loading ime is also a lot faster. but it is your choice here.
BTW : Kingston V series are slow, better get Crucial C300 or OCZ Vertex 2, the price is almost similar anyway.

2. Converting and/or editing HD videos will take more than 4GB RAM, so, stock them up, let say 8GB. RAM size is more important than RAM speed for your case.

3. HDDs over 1TB are not yet ripe, at least from my point of view.

4. Reading BR is also a nice addition.

5. Quad core unnecessary? Well...it depends on what converting software you are using, some support multi threading some not.

6. No need to go Win 7 pro, home premium is enough. for the remote stuff, You can just use a third party softwares for that. I don't see why do you need remote stuff at home, but it is your choice.

7. I have never used the case, but it looks nice.
August 27, 2010 9:06:08 AM

Oops, I read the *How To Ask For New Build Advice*"Read Before Posting" sticky after I posted.

Here's what I neglected in my original post:

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Sometime in September

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Speakers, Monitor. I didn't list keyboard and mouse, in my build, but would welcome recommendations on a rechargeable wireless set. Cheap and functional is good.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: No specific preference. The cheapest site that is reputable. Newegg generally seems to fit the bill, but I'm open.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

OVERCLOCKING: No

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: I have a 32" 1080p TV that I will use for the monitor. So resolution will be 1920 x 1080

Let me know if I can clarify anything else. Thanks.


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August 27, 2010 9:27:39 AM

guanyu210379 said:
1. The SSD for HTPC is not a must. HDD capacity has much more advantage for HTPC. Faster boot? yes, with SSD on the system, booting time is a lot faster, programm loading ime is also a lot faster. but it is your choice here.
BTW : Kingston V series are slow, better get Crucial C300 or OCZ Vertex 2, the price is almost similar anyway.

2. Converting and/or editing HD videos will take more than 4GB RAM, so, stock them up, let say 8GB. RAM size is more important than RAM speed for your case.

3. HDDs over 1TB are not yet ripe, at least from my point of view.

4. Reading BR is also a nice addition.

5. Quad core unnecessary? Well...it depends on what converting software you are using, some support multi threading some not.

6. No need to go Win 7 pro, home premium is enough. for the remote stuff, You can just use a third party softwares for that. I don't see why do you need remote stuff at home, but it is your choice.

7. I have never used the case, but it looks nice.


Thanks for the quick response!

1. Looks like Vertex 2 60 GB is $35 more and C300 64 GB is $45 more than the price I quoted the Kingston V, which included a $30 Mail in Rebate. Worth it?

2. I don't do a whole lot of vid converting/editing, but want to be able to in the future, so I figured I might start w/ 4 GB and then could easily upgrade to 8 GB later if I needed more.

3. Which 1 TB drive would you recommend?

4. Good call. I have a standalone BR player now, but might want the ability to rip BRs. Looks like that's gonna add another $50.

5. Hmm, I'll have to look into it. What quad core CPU and mobo would you recommend for me?

6. Any suggestions for (free) 3rd party remote desktop software? I like rdp for home use, because sometimes I am in a different room with my netbook, and would be nice to check on stuff I have running on my desktop.


August 27, 2010 9:39:39 AM

1. The performance differs greatly. Kingston V series is lame compared to OCZ Vertex 2 or Crucial C300. I say, It worth the price.

2. Samsung F3 7200rpm is the best available right now.

3. X4 945 and Gigabyte GA-880GA-UD3H are nice. I tend to use AMD for HTPC, but it is just my preference.

4. try reading this :
http://www.online-tech-tips.com/cool-websites/5-free-re...
http://www.intowindows.com/how-to-enable-remote-desktop...
Note : you have to install the same remote software on each pcs you wanna remote, this is valid for some remote softwares.
August 27, 2010 3:43:59 PM

Converting Video is the hardest thing for that machine. The more cores the better, although that i3 will do a decent job at least for DVD.

RAM: If you want to keep the price down, just get a dual channel 2x1GB kit. You don't really need much memory for converting/watching video, even in HD. Note that you should get a 32-bit OS if you get only 2GB.

The SSD just seems like a big money sink. You want fast boot times, but you also want it to be on all the time. The 1999 computer I have sitting in my living room as a router (which is on all the time) takes several minutes to boot (much much longer than any win 7 system with an i3), and it isn't much of a problem at all (since it's on all the time); and I (nor my roomates) can get internet until it finishes booting.

Final recommendations:
the i3 you have is pretty good (it may take a couple hours to convert Blu Ray, but should be acceptable for DVD). I'd get 2GB of memory in 2x1GB dual channel. Samsung Spinpoint F3 in 1TB, drop the SSD.

Good Luck!
!