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Gaming Media Center < 2000$

Last response: in Systems
November 16, 2010 10:54:39 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: Soon, might be the current/next month. Would it be better to wait?

Budget Range: <$2000

System Usage from Most to Least Important: HTPC, Gaming, Graphic applications (3D Rendering, Photo retouch etc ...), Other random stuff

Parts Not Required: Listed below

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Preferably amazon because of no tax and free shipping, but things that are out of stock on amazon I can go to newegg or maybe tiger direct.

Country of Origin: Israel, but I can order from the US as well.

Parts Preferences: by brand or type: Intel/AMD CPU and preferably top of the line video card

Overclocking: Nope

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe in future.. probably not.

Monitor Resolution: Will be connected to a 720p 42" LCD Screen and in the future will be 42-45" 1080p LCD screen

Additional Comments: (by priority)
- I need a very quiet HTPC (even on gaming) so there's a priority for passive cooling components or very silent (no water cooling)
- Shall be connected to a receiver (might be onkyo tx-sr607), so I'll need the most advanced audio formats supported
- Power consumption should be as low as possible (mainly on idle)
- Stylish but sleek and simple look - in order to get my wife confirmation and in order to comply with my living room smooth and sleek look
- Fast - I like quick and fluent windows menus, home theater applicaitions running smoothly and it shall be also used for 3D homeplan rendering (but that's the lowest priority)

Parts I have in mind (Any insight or suggestions on these would be helpful):

CPU: Intel i5-760


MOB: Gigabyte GA-H55M-USB3 (Kinda lost here, not updated with all the new features ...)

Case: Silverstone Grandia GD05 (Kinda old model, but it suppose to be quiet and sleek designed, isn't it?)

1. OCZ VERTEX 30GB (Already have it) (OS+Apps)
2. WD 2TB 7200RPM 64MB GREEN SATA2, WD20EARS (Heavy Apps+Storage)

- HIS Silence H555HB512 Radeon HD 5550 512MB
- GIGABYTE GV-R575SL-1GI Radeon HD 5750 1GB

Memory: G.Skill 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3-1333, 1.35v, 7-7-7-21, CL7 240-pin DIMM

PSU: Enermax Modu87+ 500W

Keyboard: LOGITECH BLUETOOTH KEYBOARD DINOVO EDGE - or - PERIXX-708 (Again, need your help here as well)

Remote control: Logitech Harmony one (Already have it)

More General questions:
- Any good AMD alternative to fullfil all requirements? which components should I add to it?
- Will all my components can be attached together in this suggested case?
- How much power or $ will I save if using for example Intel i3 core instead? or any AMD CPU will < 95W power consumption? does it worth the effort?
November 16, 2010 12:41:21 PM

Alright bro here we go :) 

The Intel i5-760 Lynnfield is a great choice, very affordable and great for gaming and doing other things as well

For a CPU cooler, I would (as well as just about anyone else) recommend the Cooler Master Hyper 212+

It's extremely affordable, and without a doubt the best bang for the buck

If you'd like a push-pull configuration (one fan pulls the air and the other pushes it) then you can buy a nice fan for a cheap price to add to it

For a HDD, go with the Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB x 2

Id recommend the F4 2 TB model but it runs at 5400 RPM and you want at least 7200 RPM to prevent bottlenecking, drives over 1 TB are usually not too reliable, you'd be better off with 2 x F3 1 TB, great great great drives, super affordable

You have a huge budget, a 5550 would be a shame, get the new 6870s, if you'd like, get 2 for a crossfire setup, you'll get amazing FPS with that

Your PSU is very weak and not from a good brand

I highly suggest this fully modular 750W PSU from Corsair

Don't get an i3, get the i5-760 :) 

For the case, maybe NZXT? Beautiful cases with lots of features

NZXT Phantom (Full Tower)

White or Black -

NZXT Lexa S (Mid Tower)

Mobo - Ask someone else, you wanna be able to crossfire so the one you picked doesn't support that I think...

Hope I helped, reply if you have any questions
November 16, 2010 3:12:25 PM

Thanks for the reply Reaper.
Your components looks very nice but have one small issue, they are not silent :p 
CoolerMaster 212 is 46dBA while the Shuriken is ~20dBA

I accept your idea of HDDs, it might be a good idea, but why are these HDDs are better than the green WD ones?

My suggested GPU is passive and silent, I guess it is pretty weak for games graphics but at least it's silent and it is better than onboard graphics.
As for the case etc ... please read again my reuirements, I'm talking about HTPC, so the case should be a HTPC case etc ...

I'll need a desktop pc as well soon for games only, I guess your component will fit just right for this purpose ;) 
Related resources
November 16, 2010 3:27:20 PM

Aah I see, didn't think you'd want a HTPC kinda case. I dunno if that is a must, but I'd stay away from it and invest it in just a nice gaming rig cause that would also serve as an HTPC, this way it'd be all in one and you'd save money since an HTPC build doesn't require parts that you suggested as its made to just run movies

The Shuriken may be quieter, Im not sure if that is a big factor for you or not, personally it isn't to me since it's not gonna be loud when you're doing simple things, but when you're gaming it'll be a little louder but Id figure youd have speakers or a headset to listen to the game anyway

The Hyper 212+ is recommended by just about everyone, if noise is a big factor, then I'll leave that up to you but Ill stick to my recommendation

The F3 is better because it has 3 platters instead of 4 if Im correct, therefore it is more reliable (less moving parts = better) and it also generates less heat

If you want an HTPC, Im pretty sure onboard graphics would be fine enough and you wouldn't need a cooler either, coolers are simply for OCed CPUs and the only reason one would OC their CPU is to get better performance for gaming/3d rendering and stuff of the sort

Keep the questions coming :) 
November 16, 2010 3:40:10 PM

Not that you can't do it, but HTPC is frequently seen as almost the opposite of a gaming rig. Gaming rigs usually sacrifice noise/heat for more performance, while HTPCs sacrifice performance to get lower noise/heat...or at least they don't go overkill on performance.

I think most of your (lirsch) selections are fine and well-reasoned. I would stick with the stock cooler, and then only if you think it's too loud, pick up the Shuriken. For most HTPC applications, you're not going to be driving the CPU hard enough to kick the CPU fan into high gear.

If you're ok with weaker graphics to get silent operation, then the 5750 is about as high as you're going to be able to go.

The 1 TB Spinpoint F3 uses 2 500 GB platters, and it is the most frequently recommended drive around here, as it offers great value for the price (as does the Seagate 7200.12 1 TB). The WD Green drives are fine too, though, as they're designed to be low power/low noise.

The i5-760 is overkill for HTPC applications, and if you're building a separate gaming rig in the future, I would consider switching to an AMD Athlon II X2 or X3 & 870 mobo (only changes needed from the i5 build). Or you could go with an Intel i3 & H55 motherboard build and do away with the discrete graphics card. The i3 is more than capable of HTPC duties, though it's weak on gaming.

I would consider getting a different power supply. A poor power supply can be louder than anything else in your system. If you want truly silent, look at the Seasonic X Series 400W fanless or 460W fanless power supplies. They're 80+ Gold certified and have no moving parts. They're more expensive, but you usually get what you pay for with power supplies.
November 16, 2010 3:45:20 PM

Thank you coldsleep for the correction, it uses 2 x 500GB platters :p 

Yeah, a 5750 would be cheap and would also run light games if ever wanted to, and the 760 is definitely overkill for an HTPC build so definitely go with an i3 & H55 combo

Save the i5 for your gaming build :)  The hard drive also shouldn't create much noise so definitely get the F3 :) 
November 16, 2010 6:10:25 PM

To tell the truth I want a HTPC first, but, the gaming rig will be build (if ever) few months from now so for now, I'll have only one system.

The i5 is definitely an overkill for HTPC but I'll need it when playing games and rendering 3D objects (as written above).

I'll need the extra power (i5 CPU, 500W PSU and GPU) when playing games (Fifa2010, Americas Army and other mid-level graphics games) and using 3D applications for rendering, so let's focus on the whole picture...

Any over-all recommendations after these clarifications?
November 16, 2010 6:12:16 PM

Im a bit confused. If you want to game and have a media center, why don't you get a normal mid-tower that will do both games and rendering and your media in 1 package?
November 16, 2010 6:45:09 PM

It's located in my living room, under the LCD, it should be a lying case with a sleek look.
November 16, 2010 6:52:22 PM

Well I dunno if you can find a way to put it man but if you want sleek, a nice case like the NZXT Lexa S is gonna provide that, not some boxy plain HTPC case, it'll still be somewhat bulky, a case can only be so small
November 16, 2010 7:11:50 PM

With the clarification, I think your original build is pretty good.

Another case to consider might be the Antec Fusion Remote. Comes with a built in IR port. I have one and use my Harmony with it for some tasks.

The Gigabyte mobo you selected originally is what I have in mine. I'm just running with an i3 and the integrated graphics and it's been working fine.
November 16, 2010 8:08:57 PM

I would suggest 2 different builds a $1000 Gaming PC and a $500 HTPC
November 16, 2010 8:09:43 PM

Yeah... I dont even see the point of the HTPC but yeah
November 17, 2010 3:43:53 AM

Guys, please unserstand that the gaming system might not even be bought, so, I have to put my effort on the HTPC system.

Best solution

November 17, 2010 5:45:07 AM


What everyone on this thread is trying to convey is that spending anymore than $500 is overkill !!!

An HTPC can actually be built with a

Gigabyte H55M-S2V board
2 GB of ram (of your choosing) 1333Mhz/1600Mhz
Core i3-540 or i5-661 take a look at this
storage depends on what content you watch alot (blu-ray,dvd,HDTV) - but i have 2TB
Hauppauge 2250 tv tuner (2 if you want to record one show and watch another - both in Hi-Def tho)
GPU isnt needed as your running off the i3's IGPU
Thermaltakes DH101 (with remote is cheap and good) - but will cost you

'IF' your adding gaming into this HTPC equation - than look at this...getting it after a month to accomplish both gaming and htpc needs is also kinda a waste of time. Get what seems to be your first priority - HTPC - get the gaming rig when you have enough cash saved. In essence you have a newer GPU line available for gaming and the hardware/tech specs will change. Cheaper or newer CPU-mobo-cooler combo.
November 24, 2010 7:58:52 AM

Best answer selected by lirsch.
November 24, 2010 8:44:31 AM

And thank YOU for the VOTE!

G'luck on your build! - I don't game on my HTPC but a friend of mine who bought a rig similar to mine (minus the TV tuner and case/PSU) showed me he can play Prince of Persia - The Forgotten Sands with a lil lag - but @ playable framerates...though this can't be possible for all game titles :) 

Btw, a 450W PSU should do you good - get a Corsair modular 80plus Gold series PSU.

PM me if you need anything else bro!