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New HTPC Build $400 i3, Nervous Please Review

Last response: in Systems
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August 31, 2010 5:27:44 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: This Week

BUDGET RANGE: (e.g.: 600-800) $400 after rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Watching HD movies, ripped and

physical, DVR(Media Center), Streaming video(Netflix, Hulu)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, Mouse, monitor, harddrive

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS:New Egg

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: US

PARTS PREFERENCES: Liking the Intel i3 setup.

OVERCLOCKING: NO

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: NO

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1080p, will only be hooked up to a HDTV.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: This is my second attempt at an HTPC, first one was a

older gaming rig that I attempted to convert that didn't work out well. I

want a solid DVR that my wife can use replacing the Tivo and the service fee

that Tivo demands. Any help from the veterans is greatly appreciated.

Here is my stab at the parts list

TV Tuner for Over the air digital only, no cable
AVerMedia AVerTVHD Duet - PCTV Tuner (A188 - White Box) MTVHDDUWB PCI-Express

x1 Interface - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Model #:MTVHDDUWB
Item #:N82E16815100041
Return Policy:VGA Standard Return Policy
In Stock
Note (Add)
$64.99 -$8.00 Instant $56.99

Optical Drive
LITE-ON Black 4X Blu-ray Reader SATA Model iHOS104-06 - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Model #:iHOS104-06
Item #:N82E16827106325
Return Policy:Standard Return Policy
In Stock
Note (Add)
$49.99 $49.99

Case/PSU
APEX DM-317-A Black/ Silver Steel Micro ATX Media Center / Slim HTPC Computer

Case w/ ATX12V Flex 275W Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Model #:D M-317-A
Item #:N82E16811154061
Return Policy:Standard Return Policy
In Stock
Note (Add)
$44.99 -$5.00 Instant $39.99

Case Fan-Reviews on case said the fan was noisy.
ENERMAX UC-8EB 80mm Case Fan
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Model #:UC-8EB
Item #:N82E16811999199
Return Policy:Standard Return Policy
In Stock
Note (Add)
$8.94 $8.94

MOBO
GIGABYTE GA-H55M-S2H LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Model #:GA-H55M-S2H
Item #:N82E16813128420
Return Policy:Standard Return Policy
In Stock
Note (Add)
$89.99 $89.99

CPU
Intel Core i3-530 Clarkdale 2.93GHz LGA 1156 73W Dual-Core Desktop Processor

BX80616I3530
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Model #:BX80616I3530
Item #:N82E16819115222
Return Policy:CPU Replacement Only Return Policy
In Stock
Note (Add)
$124.99 -$10.00 Instant $114.99

Memory
Rendition by Crucial 2GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Desktop

Memory Model RM25664BA1339
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Model #:RM25664BA1339
Item #:N82E16820148352
Return Policy:Memory Standard Return Policy
In Stock
Note (Add)
$40.99 $40.99
Subtotal: $401.88


Best solution

August 31, 2010 5:38:59 PM

Is that $40 for both the case and PSU? That's cutting quite a bit off quality.

I'd be scared of putting anything near that PSU. I'd highly recommend getting something decent. Check out some offerings from Antec, Silverstone, SeaSonic or Corsair in the 300-450W range. I know of a good SeaSonic 80+ Bronze unit that's about $40 that would be ideal, but there may be some cheaper ones. I wouldn't fully trust anything that isn't from these brands.

I'd also want to get dual channel RAM. Here's a good, cheap set: Crucial 2x1 GB.

I'd also do a lot of research into the TV tuner. I know that it's a very complicated system and not every tuner will actually allow you to record anything but over-the-air channels. That means nothing off cable or a dish.
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September 1, 2010 2:03:43 PM

I've been agonizing about the case. Seems everyone has different opinions on whether to use HTPC cases or not. Thanks for the heads up on the power supply, hadn't thought much about that.

As far as cases go there doesn't seem to be a consensus choice out there.

Thank you for your reply.
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September 1, 2010 2:11:25 PM

I personally fall on the side of not using an HTPC case. I find the quality ones overly expensive and poor performing. Just about all of them have complaints about the heat and noise they put off. I'd get a cheap, small mid tower case that looks decent.
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September 1, 2010 2:31:08 PM

the other option is get a bigger case and double it as a file server then just run long cords from somewhere else for the video
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September 11, 2010 1:46:03 PM

Best answer selected by Tacoking1.
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September 11, 2010 1:49:43 PM

Thank you for the replies. The build is complete and exceeding expectations. I did change the case from the original specs and bought a veer nice ANTEC desktop case instead of an HTPC case.

Everything is running smooth quiet and fast. Blu-Ray playback is excellent and HD tv shows are likewise excellent.

On a side note I was sceptical about the new i3s with the on board graphics for the 1080p playback and I am very impress with this chip. I would highly recommend this chip over a discrete card for dedicated builds.
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