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Building a HTPC and need advise

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November 15, 2010 7:09:17 PM

I was hoping to get some information from those who have built systems and had experience with different hardware.

I am attempting to build a HTPC. Throw my dvds, music, photos on there, and use it to surf the web and just play online games (no intense graphics), e-mail and maybe photo editing.

I have a Intel DH57DD motherboard, and an Intel i5-670 CPU. I had a few questions about other hardware.

-What kind of power do you think I need for this systems? From what I've read and gathered, a 350-400 watt power supply should be just fine

-Any particular type of case? There are so many out there, and its hard for me to choose. I'd like to keep it under $80.

-RAM. I'm trying to stick with Kingston, from what I've read it is a good brand, reliable, and relatively cheap for what you get.

I have two models that I'd like to use. Part number (KVR1066D3n7/2G, and KVR1333D3N9/2G) I'd get two sticks (4 gigs) My confusion is with the 1066, and 1333. Will my motherboard accept either piece of memory? Or do I need to use one or the other?

I plan on using the on board graphics card since I don't play any games that have a need for a better graphics card.

-Hard Drives-Was told either Seagate or Western Digital, but after comparing both it looks like it is a hit or miss. I'd like to get 3-4 1TB drives, and try to make a raid array for backup. If I rip 250 DVDs, I don't want to lose my info because of a bad drive. If it can be backed up then awesome.

-Optical Drive-Looking to find a good drive. Blu-ray read, dvd-rw combo, and possibly lightscribe if I want to back my music up to disc. I know there are a lot of OEM drives that do not come with any software, but I'm open to using them, as long as I can find some good cheap software to use for ripping and playing the blu-rays.


I'll also install a wireless card, and other minor peripherals. Just wanted some advice on the above, and I'm open to other options as well.

Let me know if there is any other information you need.

Thanks in advance,

John

More about : building htpc advise

November 15, 2010 7:18:02 PM

The 350 - 400 watt power supply should be sufficient but with 4 1gig Hdd it might better to go for 450 - 500 watts.

As far as the case is concerned make sure it has plenty of space as the 1gig Hdd tend to run a little hot so add case fans as well.

The memory i would stick to one make and one speed through out dont mix and match i have had bad results trying that - the errors dont always point to the memory being the problem so this can give head ache if you mix them.

hope this helps
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November 15, 2010 7:26:01 PM

SeanL said:
The 350 - 400 watt power supply should be sufficient but with 4 1gig Hdd it might better to go for 450 - 500 watts.

As far as the case is concerned make sure it has plenty of space as the 1gig Hdd tend to run a little hot so add case fans as well.

The memory i would stick to one make and one speed through out dont mix and match i have had bad results trying that - the errors dont always point to the memory being the problem so this can give head ache if you mix them.

hope this helps


Thanks!

About the memory, do I have to use the 1066, or would I be safe with the 1333? I knew I would stick to one make and one speed, but wasn't sure if my processor could use either speed or if it was more specific.

Thanks again.
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November 15, 2010 7:46:07 PM

Quote:
i5 runs in dual channel memory mode
so for optimal performance it has to be 4GB(2x2GB) in dual channel configuration.
memory has to be the same specs.... so preferably get matching sets.
4GB is minimal for 64-bit OS.
if your not heavily multi-tasking then that should be sufficient..

using on-board graphics and 4GB you could run 32-bit OS which has slightly better compatibility than 64-bit and be fine.
your looking at 3.5GB - 3.25GB available.
just FYI.


Thanks Malmenal, I figured I would use 32 bit Windows 7 over th 64 pro.

I'm a newbie with computer building, so not exactly sure what I'm doing. Can't be to hard to put a computer together though, just setting it all up and figurign out whats compatible and whats not.

Thanks for the advice.
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 15, 2010 7:56:20 PM

Jakowalski said:
Thanks Malmenal, I figured I would use 32 bit Windows 7 over th 64 pro.


Any particular reason for going with 32-bit? Vista 64-bit had some well-documented problems, but Win 7 64-bit is pretty much flawless as far as compatibility goes.
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November 15, 2010 7:57:06 PM

Quote:
np.
tom's has some assembly guides and other build guides.
you sound half-way intelligent..;)
just hit me up and I'll always offer my 2-cents..


Thanks lol. I'm sure I'll have plenty of questions in the near future. Once I get my case, power supply, harddrive, memory and optical drive in I'll start my building.

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November 15, 2010 8:00:02 PM

coldsleep said:
Any particular reason for going with 32-bit? Vista 64-bit had some well-documented problems, but Win 7 64-bit is pretty much flawless as far as compatibility goes.


Compatibility, but I doubt that'll be much of an issue for me. It's still up in the air. I know through newegg with the purchase of memory or the harddrive...I forget which one, I can combo it with the 64 bit win 7, and that'll make the win 7 price as $99.

Is there any cons to using Windows 7 64 over the 32? Other than compatibility issues with older software?
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 15, 2010 8:05:08 PM

Jakowalski said:
Is there any cons to using Windows 7 64 over the 32? Other than compatibility issues with older software?


None that I'm aware of. I haven't had any compatibility issues whatsoever. I spent a good portion of the weekend playing a game from 1994 on dosbox. :)  You might try googling to see if any of the software you use regularly has issues with Win 7 64-bit.

I'd only go for Pro or Ultimate if you know you have software that doesn't work well. For the vast majority of users, Home Premium works fine.

As malmental metioned, the primary con of going with 32-bit is that you wouldn't be able to access the full 4 GB of memory that you're paying for.
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November 15, 2010 8:11:31 PM

Quote:
honestly i'd go for win7 professional or unltimate.
they have xp mode, home premium does not.
something to think about..


Thanks, pro it is then. I don't use a lot of software anyways. If I can get it for the same price as home, I might as well do it.

Thanks,
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November 15, 2010 8:12:22 PM

coldsleep said:
None that I'm aware of. I haven't had any compatibility issues whatsoever. I spent a good portion of the weekend playing a game from 1994 on dosbox. :)  You might try googling to see if any of the software you use regularly has issues with Win 7 64-bit.

I'd only go for Pro or Ultimate if you know you have software that doesn't work well. For the vast majority of users, Home Premium works fine.

As malmental metioned, the primary con of going with 32-bit is that you wouldn't be able to access the full 4 GB of memory that you're paying for.



Thanks Coldsheep. That makes sense. I'd like to be able to utilize the 4gig of ram, if not more in the future depending on my needs.

Glad I found this forum.
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November 15, 2010 11:06:31 PM

Just my two cents:

Concerning the case: For HTPCs, I prefer to go with HTPC style media cases. Unfortunately, finding HTPC cases with four or more well placed, internal 3.5" drive bays and still within your price range gets a bit tricky. You may want to consider going with a standard Mid-Tower case instead or increase your case budget. Which ever way you go, make sure you have sufficient airflow through your case.

Memory: Your motherboard specifications (found here) states it can use either DDR3-1333 or DDR3-1066. However, your CPU specs (found here) specifically stated DDR3-1333 MHz in dual-channel. What this tells me is that while you can use either 1333 or 1066, you'd be better off going with DDR3-1333 RAM

Power Supply: I've always preferred going a bit overkill on the power supply. I had a nasty instance where I cut it just a bit too short. 450 watts should be more than enough, but I'd probably look at 500-550 watts (but that's just me). Also, make sure you're getting a power supply from a quality manufacturer. Companies I'd recommend include, Corsair, Antec, PC Power and Cooling, Seasonic and FSP (Fortran Source).

Operating System: Normally, I'd recommend going with Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit and leave it at that, but then I ran into a situation where I lost all of my media (hard drive failed) and I did not have a backup. Windows 7 Pro does include the ability to back up to a home networked computer. This is what I do now, with Windows Ultimate (that I get from Technet). You could set up a back up schedule with Windows 7 Pro or just do it manually with Windows 7 Home Premium. Either way, make sure you have a back up of all your media! At this time, I see no reason to go with a 32-bit operating system, unless you have a specific piece of software that does not run well on 64-bit operating systems.

Anyway, those are my two cents. If you have any further questions, I'm sure Malmental, SeanL, ColdSleep, or myself will be willing to offer advice.

-Wolf sends
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