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Comment on my choice for a cheap HTPC build

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October 23, 2010 11:17:49 PM

Hey guys,

With a bit of help from some of you I've managed to come up with a selection of parts to build my ~$700 HTPC. I've got the list below and before I start buying this, I'd really appreciate any final words of wisdom!

i3-540
Asus P7H55-M PRO
LiteOn iHOS104 Blu-ray drive
G.Skill F3-10600CL9D-4GBNT 2x2GB Value pack
Lian Li PC-C37B MUSE Multi-Media M-ATX Home Theatre Case
Antec Earthwatts EA380D
Caviar Blue WD10EALS, 1000GB, 7200rpm, 32MB Cache, SATA-2
2 x Hauppauge WinTV Nova S Plus PCI Satellite Tuner

General notes:
- I'm not 100% sold on this case. It's relatively cheap and I like Lian-Li, but I'm open to suggestions
- I need 2 x PCI slots for the TV tuners I already own
- This is a general purpose HTPC. I'm not going to be doing any encoding or ripping on it, just solid media playback (video / audio), with PVR functionality. I'm looking currently at putting Windows Media Center 7 on it, We've been using an Xbox 360 extender and the PVR functionality works brilliantly as does the media playback.

Any suggestions would be really appreciated! Your opinions matter to me a great deal :) 
October 24, 2010 7:11:15 AM

$388AR
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Best solution

October 24, 2010 7:21:10 PM

I built a client an HTPC using that case. While it's well-built I thought it was a big pain (re: little black screws holding the drive cage) and overpriced. I don't think it's a good value. The nMediaPC 1000B case I have I think was a better value and it less than half the price the Lian-Li.

nMEDIAPC Black Aluminum panel & Steel HTPC 1000B Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$69.99 + shipping

I also like this case though I haven't used it yet. I will on the next HTPC build I do:

nMEDIAPC Black Aluminum / Acrylic / Steel HTPC 1080P Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$64.99 + free shipping

At the price point of the Lian-Li case I'd rather have this case albeit a much bigger case:

Antec Black Aluminum / Steel Fusion Remote Black Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$139.99 + shipping

I see the silver/black version is on-sale at Newegg for $119.99 + free shipping

I'd pick this one of these CL8 kits for memory instead -- slightly faster and better rated.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I use the latter exclusively in 2 x 2GB DDR3 builds -- never an issue and very fast.

I'd also pick this 1TB instead:

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$69.99 w/ free shipping

FYI, the LiteOn iHOS104 has an -06 and -08 model. The -08 model is more expensive but it has a 1 yr warranty vs. 30 days for the -06.
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October 25, 2010 10:15:59 AM

This is fantastic advice, thank you SO much Dougie :) 

I'll definitely take your advice re: the RAM, HDD and optical drive. I'd seen other people recommend nMEDIAPC HTPC cases too and unfortunately, they're not available here (New Zealand) and Newegg won't ship here. I think after shipping costs they'll end up being too expensive.

I did however like your comments about the Lian-Li case -- so I'm looking round.

Your recommendation for the Antec Fusion Remote is one option I'm checking out --

what do you think of the Antec NSK2480
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Again many thanks for your help. Can't tell you how nice it is to have proper advice!
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October 25, 2010 3:14:04 PM

The Antec Fusion Remote is built from the NSK2480 case. You can't get the NSK2480 in black and the Antec Fusion Remote adds an LCD display, a knob and a remote control and is available in either silver or black. Here in the states the difference is about $20 to get the black and I see the silver NSK2480 and silver Remote Fusion are the same price. I think given that it's a matter of your personal taste and if you want the added features of the remote, LCD and shiny knob and the black case.

Add about 1/2" to the width they quote on the details page. There are two fan grills that stick out on the right side of the case that add to the width but they don't account for it in the specs.
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October 26, 2010 2:50:04 PM

Yes, those are what I am talking about. There's little if any price difference here in the states. That's quite a premium for the Fusion Remote! I also can't find a black NSK2480 here in the states. Google search finds them in NZ though.

You can easily tell they are the same case, just one has some extra doodads:




If you don't care about the LCD, shiny knob and questionable remote (reading reviews here) I'd go for the NSK2480. You can certainly pick up a MCE remote for less than $100.

IMHO.

Man, I wish I could get the black NSK2480 here. Maybe I need to look harder.
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October 26, 2010 8:16:20 PM

Yeah, I'm not too fussed about the knob and the screen and I've got a Logitech Harmony so I'm good for remotes - I'm interested to know where the IR is on the NSK2480 though, would you have to get an external one to sit outside the case?

I'd be happy to ship a black one to you if you want one!
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November 1, 2010 11:56:47 PM

Best answer selected by leemarrett.
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November 2, 2010 12:03:00 AM

I have the Antec Fusion black, the LCD is meh. I want it to just display the time and nothing else and it can't seem to get it right. It's not worth the cost. Also the volume knob is also meh, I never use it.

If I could get it without those features for a lower price I definately would!
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