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Media PC build

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October 27, 2010 9:46:02 PM

I'm looking for a box that can run Win7 Media Center (or if there's a better software please let me know!) to playback all the media that I've ripped. DVD's, mp3's, etc. I'll also likely use it for my Netflix streaming, and other internet streaming. I want to be able to retain all the original playback features such as menus and bonus features. I want to be able to use the box for some gaming (WoW, Civ5...nothing terribly taxing), but as I'll be using this with a 65" panasonic plasma, 1920x1080 will be somewhat important. I don't want the games to look like dookie on that giant screen. Bottom line is I want a media jukebox that can also play some games and stream from the web.

What I likely won't be using it for playback of any physical media, nor as a DVR.

Here's my proposed build. Please let me know if there is anything obvious I'm forgetting (hardware or software)

Note: as this is in my living room, I want it as quiet as possible...and obviously I'm not looking to waste any dough.

Windows 7 Ultimate (32bit)
Intel i3 - 530 cpu
ASUS P7P55D-E Motherboard
4GB Corsair RAM
Antec Sonta Proto Case
Seagate 1TB
ATI Radeon HD5750 fanless
550W power supply
ASUS DVD drive

I'd like is some sort of IR interface so I can use my Harmony remote. Is that possible?

Lastly, not sure how much this effects anything, but the goal is to run HDMI out of the video card into my Onkyo TX-876SR receiver.

More about : media build

October 27, 2010 10:55:40 PM

Sounds like you need a TV tuner.
BTW I'd get at least an i5, and a better GPU.

large screens = low refresh rate.... and are harder to game on, you can't see the whole screen with your eyes.

Maybe a good NIC card? maybe Xeno Pro or killer 2100, they let you dedicate more bandwidth to specific items, such as streamin'.
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October 27, 2010 11:28:17 PM

If I'm not going to use it as a DVR, do I need a TV tuner card?

Gaming is a distant second priority.

Dedicated NIC sounds interesting. I've never heard of anyone using one before. Mostly for hardcore gaming? Would I see any benefit streaming Netflix for example?

fyi...I have superfast FiOS internet connection.

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October 27, 2010 11:33:26 PM

Since you're not using this system as a DVR and did not mention watching TV on the system, you do not need a TV Tuner Card.

Since you do intend to game on this system, I would agree with 'noob's recommendation to go with a CoreI5 system.

Given that you're gaming at 1920x1080, I'd probably stick with your HD5750, but if the budget is too tight, drop down to a 5670 in order to cover the cost of the CoreI5 processor.

I would not recommend going with a discrete NIC as I've never had any problems streaming Netflix or Hulu or XFinity over my standard on-board NIC.

The only other recommendation I would make is to drop Windows 7 Ultimate and go with Windows 7 Home Premium (unless you already have it or can get it for the same or lesser price). Also, if you are purchasing the OS, go with the 64 bit version (unless you have a specific need for the 32-bit version).

-Wolf sends
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October 28, 2010 12:13:15 AM

spiffnme said:

Dedicated NIC sounds interesting. I've never heard of anyone using one before. Mostly for hardcore gaming? Would I see any benefit streaming Netflix for example?

fyi...I have superfast FiOS internet connection.

It lets you monitor outgoing, and incoming internet connectivity, and limit specific ones, to increase the bandwidth on others, if you have a fast connection, then you can forget if, unless you are interested and just WANT to have one, and have the extra PCI-e slot.

Wolfshadw said:

Since you do intend to game on this system, I would agree with 'noob's recommendation to go with a CoreI5 system.

Given that you're gaming at 1920x1080, I'd probably stick with your HD5750, but if the budget is too tight, drop down to a 5670 in order to cover the cost of the CoreI5 processor.


You really should have a better gpu for a larger screen, my friend used a 5670 with a 52 in. screen, and got like 2FPS....



I would not recommend going with a discrete NIC as I've never had any problems streaming Netflix or Hulu or XFinity over my standard on-board NIC.
said:


I would not recommend going with a discrete NIC as I've never had any problems streaming Netflix or Hulu or XFinity over my standard on-board NIC.


Not saying there is anyone WRONG with it, it just lets you control the internet goin' in and out....


The only other recommendation I would make is to drop Windows 7 Ultimate and go with Windows 7 Home Premium (unless you already have it or can get it for the same or lesser price). Also, if you are purchasing the OS, go with the 64 bit version (unless you have a specific need for the 32-bit version).

said:

The only other recommendation I would make is to drop Windows 7 Ultimate and go with Windows 7 Home Premium (unless you already have it or can get it for the same or lesser price). Also, if you are purchasing the OS, go with the 64 bit version (unless you have a specific need for the 32-bit version).


+1

edit for typo in BBC code.
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November 2, 2010 2:13:59 AM

spiffnme said:
I'm looking for a box that can run Win7 Media Center (or if there's a better software please let me know!) to playback all the media that I've ripped. DVD's, mp3's, etc. I'll also likely use it for my Netflix streaming, and other internet streaming. I want to be able to retain all the original playback features such as menus and bonus features. I want to be able to use the box for some gaming (WoW, Civ5...nothing terribly taxing), but as I'll be using this with a 65" panasonic plasma, 1920x1080 will be somewhat important. I don't want the games to look like dookie on that giant screen. Bottom line is I want a media jukebox that can also play some games and stream from the web.

What I likely won't be using it for playback of any physical media, nor as a DVR.

Here's my proposed build. Please let me know if there is anything obvious I'm forgetting (hardware or software)

Note: as this is in my living room, I want it as quiet as possible...and obviously I'm not looking to waste any dough.

Windows 7 Ultimate (32bit)
Intel i3 - 530 cpu
ASUS P7P55D-E Motherboard
4GB Corsair RAM
Antec Sonta Proto Case
Seagate 1TB
ATI Radeon HD5750 fanless
550W power supply
ASUS DVD drive

I'd like is some sort of IR interface so I can use my Harmony remote. Is that possible?

Lastly, not sure how much this effects anything, but the goal is to run HDMI out of the video card into my Onkyo TX-876SR receiver.


OK...this build is getting pricier than I wanted. What if I were to eliminate gaming all together. What's the minimum specs I could get away with streaming media from another computer in my home, as well as off the web. I currently rip my DVDs uncompressed, and intend to do the same to blu-ray at some point. Is the onboard video of the i3 chips good enough?




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Best solution

November 2, 2010 2:48:30 AM

If you just want support for rendering/streaming HD video substitute an H55 motherboard for the P55 and drop the discrete GPU. The onboard graphics will handle HD video just fine. Then, you can drop down your power requirements and get an Antec case with a built in PSU like the NSK4428B which comes with a 380W PSU. Or, get the Antec Sonata III 500 which has a 500W PSU that way if you do decide you want some light gaming you can add a discrete PSU later (though the 380W PSU will handle a HD5670 GPU just fine). Those two Antec cases ship with highly rated PSUs from the EarthWatts line.
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November 2, 2010 4:21:29 AM

That's what I was thinking. H55 board, i3-530 cpu, skip the GPU card. I like that NSK4482B case. Looks perfect and doesn't cost too much.

What do you recommend I use for a remote? I'd love to be able to use my Harmony remote.

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November 2, 2010 12:55:33 PM

As already said, I would also recommend going with the i3 530, H55 board and the onboard GPU that it offers. The Asus P7P55 board is a bit overkill, and the i3 530 GPU has been proved to stream 1080p. I have seen many HTPC builds with this setup.

As for using your remote, it's as simple as getting a case that comes with an IR receiver. Have you looked at HTPC cases at all? This is a standard feature on many of them and you can find an antec one with an 80+ rating psu. As well they occupy less room than a standard case, and since your going to be displaying this in your living room it would be a plus.

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129046
This case is a bit pricer than you would pay for a standard ATX case, but it comes with an IR receiver as well as an LCD display. It is also highly regarded.

With that, you should be able to keep your budget down a bit lower.
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November 2, 2010 6:13:40 PM

I think I finally nailed it down...I'm really not going to ever game on this, so I think this pared down setup may be a-ok.

Intel i3-530
ASUS P7H55-M Pro
4GB Corsair DD3 1600
Lite-On DVD (slightly shorter chasis, easier to install in case)
WD Caviar Green 500GB
Antec Micro Fusion 350

Am I forgetting anything???

All together $475 from Amazon.com (newegg.com has far and away the best search features, and the reviews are handy, but their shipping charges can get steep, and as I live in California, the added 10% tax makes amazon.com the best bet for me!)
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November 2, 2010 6:22:19 PM

With no gaming, taht build looks pretty good.

Did you remember an OS? I'd suggest Win 7 64-bit if you're going with Windows. Don't get 32-bit, there's no reason to.

Is 500 GB going to be enough space for your media?

I recently built an HTPC (with a different Antec case with an IR receiver) and use my Harmony with it, though I'm still nailing down everything...using the mouse & keyboard a lot still. Though that's probably to be expected for web browsing. :) 
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November 2, 2010 6:25:01 PM



Quote:
Did you remember an OS? I'd suggest Win 7 64-bit if you're going with Windows. Don't get 32-bit, there's no reason to.

+ as many as I can
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November 2, 2010 6:26:47 PM

Looks good to me. You will be quite happy with the i3 - 530. I recently built a computer with that same cpu and mobo and it has been quite powerful for the price.

I would recommend the samsung spinpoint f3 500gb over the HD you have, but without a link to compare the cost I can't offer much more advice.

Without a link to the memory as well, I can't offer the best advice since I don't know the full specs/price. Would be nice to know the timings on it.

Good luck with your build! I am also looking at HTPC build in the next few months.
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November 2, 2010 6:46:35 PM

Win7 64 bit is the plan.
The WD is $48.45
I used Corsair's memory selector to get proper memory for MB. Here are the specs...though it's $82, no tax and free shipping through amazon. (I don't want to bother with a mail-in rebate)

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November 2, 2010 7:12:39 PM

Corsair. Not G-Skill. I can't read :D .
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November 2, 2010 7:14:36 PM

Spintpoint F3 is much better, it is like always recommended...
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November 4, 2010 12:28:13 AM

Best answer selected by spiffnme.
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