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All-In-0ne 3D HD-Audio HTPC/15-20TB Media Storage/Main PC

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November 5, 2010 3:05:25 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: ASAP
Budget Range: $800 (Not a firm number, could go more if needed)
Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, EDIT: Don't need HDD's for storage right now.
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Any reputable vendors.
Country of Origin: USA
Parts Preferences: Any
Overclocking: Maybe
SLI or Crossfire: No
Monitor Resolution: 1024x768 & 1920x1080


What i want to build is a new PC that will basically be for the following tasks(in order of importance; descending):

  • 3D HTPC w/full Dolby TrueHD & DTS-HD MA HDMI bitstreaming (3D Gaming/Bluray 3D via NVIDIA 3D Vision)
  • 15-20TB Media Storage w/good data protection (maybe unRaid)
  • Main PC w/some HD Endcoding/Re-Encoding, Browsing, etc.

    I've been researching different components for the last few weeks, but to be honest i'm not making much progress. The one component i know i have to get is the NVIDIA GTX 460 GPU (only solution for 3D Vision/Bluray 3D AND HD-Audio Bitstreaming). Other than that, here's what i've come up with on my own:

    CASE
    COOLER MASTER RC-692-KKN2 CM690 II Advanced Black Steel ATX Mid Tower = $79.99

    CPU
    AMD Phenom II X3 740 Black Edition Heka 3.0GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Desktop Processor HDZ740WFK3DGI - OEM = $88.99

    MOBO
    I just know i need HDMI, but don't have a clue otherwise?

    GPU
    MSI N460GTX Hawk Talon Attack GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card = $184.99(AR)

    I hope some of you guys can offer some suggestions to help me complete and/or modify my parts list. This is my first ever build, but i really don't want that to hold me back from building the best rig i can for the money. Thanks for taking the time to read this over...you're advice is very much welcome!
  • More about : 0ne audio htpc 20tb media storage main

    November 5, 2010 1:08:28 PM

    You won't be able to fit 15-20TB in with that budget. You'd be looking at over $2000 for a decent encoding system with that amount of space and data protection. At best, you can probably get maybe 2-4TB.

    Here are your choices on an $800 budget:
    - A file server with 5-10TB storage
    - A budget PC with 2-4TB storage.
    - A mid range PC with 1-2TB storage.
    - A high end PC with 1TB or less storage.

    If you want data protection like RAID0, you will essentially only have half of the storage you buy. If you mean something like encryption, then that's not really a big deal.
    November 5, 2010 2:25:40 PM

    Sorry, i forgot about the HDD cost being added on. I'm not going to get all of the HDD's right away, but will start with 4TB(a 2TB and two 1TB HDD's) that i already have. I just want a case that will allow me the proper room to expand as i need the extra storage. Sorry for the confusion on that. I edited my original post to make it more clear what the budget is for(thanks for pointing it out, kureme...no wonder no one was answering my OP)

    So i guess the only HDD i will need right away is the OS drive. I also could go over budget a little if necessary.

    For data protection, i'm thinking something that only requires 1 parity drive and abiltiy to add different size hdd's like unRaid or BeyondRaid.
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    November 5, 2010 2:51:13 PM

    Ah that sounds more reasonable. So you're looking at a full tower case and a MOBO with plenty of SATA connectors.

    A few questions:
    will you be using any IDE HDDs?
    Do you also need an OS?
    Do you live by a Micro Center?
    November 5, 2010 3:51:33 PM

    IDE HDDs
    I don't think i'll be using any IDE HDDs. ATM, i have two 1TB WD Elements Ext. HDDs (nearly full) and one new 2TB Samsung F4

    Besides that, i have 2 HDDs in my current pc(P4 w/2GB RAM) that i believe are IDE drives(80GB & 320GB). But i don't know if it's best to leave them in the old P4, or somehow use them in the new build. I will, on down the line, want to do a NAS build...i don't know if they could be used somewhere in that build?

    I'm also thinking about getting this one for a great price: 2TB WD Caviar Green WD20EARS 2TB 64MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive = $80.99


    OS
    I'm not sure about this, but will most likely need Windows 7. I've read i could go with linux(free), but i don't know if that would be a good idea or not since i'm not at all familiar with that OS(no more than a novice pc's to begin with).


    Micro Center
    The closest Micro Center is about 90 minutes away from where i live, so not unless there are substantial savings to be had with making the trip.
    November 5, 2010 5:41:29 PM

    Yeah.. 90 minutes is too far and at most you'd probably save is less than $50. You would probably save more if I put together an intel build but for your purposes, the AMD x6 would be more cost effective.

    Here is what I recommend you go with:

    CPU and GPU: AMD Phenom II x6 1055T and MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GD5 $359.00 + $15 Rebate
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

    RAM: Mushkin Enhanced Silverline 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1333 $124.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    MOBO and OS: GIGABYTE GA-870A-UD3 and Windows 7 Pro $208.98
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

    PSU: CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W $89.99 + $10 Rebate
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    DVD: Asus 24x DVD Burner $18.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    CASE: NZXT WHISPER WHI - 001BK ATX Full Tower $119.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    TOTAL Price: $921.94 - $25 Rebates = $896.94

    For only $100 more, you will have six cores and double the RAM which will help greatly with your encoding.

    No HDDs included as you stated you already have them.

    I included a decent mobo with USB3.0/SATA 6gb/s support and 8 SATA connectors as well as a full tower case that can hold up to 9 drives (or 10 with a drive bracket). Should be plenty of room and expandability for your future drives.

    Can probably downgrade the system to the AMD 740 you suggested and go with 4gb ram for about $150 less but everything else would pretty much remain the same.
    November 5, 2010 6:56:06 PM

    Thanks so much for all the help, kureme! I just have a few quick questions:

    *How much would i be losing by stepping down to the AMD 740(OC'd) in the HD Encoding realm?

    *Can i OC the 1055T, and should i do so...would it be worth the effort?

    *Would the case i listed in my OP be ok to use, too?(i think it has just as much expandability for hdds)

    *You said for $100 more...do you mean $100 more than what you listed($896.94), or in reference to the step-down AMD 740 build?
    November 5, 2010 7:03:57 PM

    if you want HD audio you need a sound card. The creative x-fi extreme music is popular for the rest bassically all omega, auzentech and asus sound cards are pretty good.
    November 5, 2010 7:34:23 PM

    1) Encoding is pretty CPU and memory intensive. In terms of losing it's nothing more than time. It may take the AMD 740 much longer to encode the same amount of data than the AMD 1055T. If you feel you can wait, go with the AMD 740 but keep in mind the time will scale with the more data you encode.

    Here's a comparison: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/83?vs=147 (Sub'd AMD 720 in place of the AMD 740.)

    2) The AMD 1055T is a great OCer and is highly recommended. It is know to hit 4GHz easy on air.

    3) The case you listed is fine as long as its fine with you. I was simply going with the most expandability for price on the case since you were planning on 15-20 TB which would mean 10 drives minimum or double that if you decide to RAID0 them.

    4) I meant $100 more than your $800 budget you listed on OP. The AMD 740 build can be done for about $80 less if you keep the 8GB RAM, or a little under $150 less if you go with 4GB RAM as well.

    5) The mobo already has HD audio. You don't really need a discrete sound card unless you are an audiophile and must have the best quality sound. Nothing wrong with on board sound.
    November 5, 2010 7:54:58 PM

    Actually, the GTX 460 can bitstream HD-Audio, so i'm covered there.

    Thanks so much for your suggestions, kureme! Now that it laid out in front of me, i can't wait to order everything. If i get the AMD 1055T, could you point me in the right direction as to where i can get help with OC'ing it?
    November 5, 2010 8:15:15 PM

    The terms HD audio is thrown around easily these days. My onboard chip is supposedly HD yet my sound card blows it out of the water.
    November 6, 2010 10:53:12 AM

    Thanks a lot kureme!

    @Somebody_007
    The way i understand it with the GTX 460, it basically passes through Dolby TrueHD & DTS-HD MA to the AVR, and the AVR does the decoding. So wouldn't the quality of sound of the Dolby TrueHD and/or DTS-HD MA track be solely dependent on the AVR(and speakers, of course).
    November 6, 2010 11:27:08 AM

    staindrocks said:
    Thanks a lot kureme!

    @Somebody_007
    The way i understand it with the GTX 460, it basically passes through Dolby TrueHD & DTS-HD MA to the AVR, and the AVR does the decoding. So wouldn't the quality of sound of the Dolby TrueHD and/or DTS-HD MA track be solely dependent on the AVR(and speakers, of course).


    Aahh I thought you wanted your pc to do the decoding. Well nevermind then since well it would all depend on your avr then. Anyways good luck with your build.
    November 6, 2010 6:57:35 PM

    Thanks 007! :) 

    I'm hoping it works that way...at least, that's the way others who own the 460 have explained it on various forums/websites. I guess the good thing about a sound card is that i can always add one later if i'm not happy with the 460's HD-Audio capabilities.
    !