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Building an HTPC on a budget

Last response: in Systems
November 18, 2010 11:45:16 PM

Hi, I'm looking to put together an htpc in the next few weeks, and would appreciate any input into making the best system for me. I went through newegg and put together a build based on some quick research, but again, would appreciate any insight/thoughts, etc.

Approximate Purchase Date: 2-4 weeks

Budget Range: less expensive the better, but no more than $500-700

System Usage from Most to Least Important: watching/streaming video (Netflix, Hulu, 720p & 1080i/p video files); watching & recording HDTV (digital cable); music/media center (ripping/playing CDs, mp3, etc.); everyday use; possibly light gaming in the future (not needed immediately)

Parts Not Required: monitor, speakers

Preferred Website(s) for Parts:

Country of Origin: US

Parts Preferences: none

Overclocking: probably not, but can/will

SLI or Crossfire: don't know

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: would like to connect to 50" 1080p plasma in living room through hdmi;

Here's what I've got set up @ newegg currently:

Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

AMD Athlon II X3 445 Rana 3.1GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Desktop Processor ADX445WFGMBOX

ASUS M4A785TD-M EVO AM3 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10600CL8D-4GBHK

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W Continuous power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply

ASUS Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM

Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 Media Center Kit Dual TV Tuner 1213 PCI-Express x1 Interface

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM

TOTAL: $618.87

Haven't looked through combo deals yet, as I wasn't sure they'd still be active when I'm ready to buy. Also, was planning to use the 500gb hd for OS and add a 2tb drive for storage down the road (have another 500gb external drive in the meantime). I'm assuming the onboard graphics will be sufficient for HD playback/streaming, so I didn't opt for a discrete gpu.

Thanks again.

More about : building htpc budget

November 19, 2010 11:46:40 AM

^+1 to gkay's comments.

I would also add a suggestion to put the money you have for the DVD drive into a BD drive. They've come down to ~$40-50 without playback software, and ~$70-90 with playback software.
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November 19, 2010 12:22:01 PM

gkay09 said:
Mobo - Check this one- Has a better onboard

RAM - This would do the job -

CASE- Anted 300 is good, but maybe a HTPC type case >?

Rest look good...

Thanks. Swapped out mobo and ram for your suggestions. Aesthetics aren't a big deal, and it seemed like a normal mid tower or mini tower would be cheaper, so I didn't look too closely at htpc cases. Did see a few, though - anyone with thoughts on these cases?

nMEDIAPC Black Aluminum / Acrylic / Steel HTPC 5000B Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case

SILVERSTONE Black Aluminum / 0.8mm SECC Grandia Series GD05B micro-ATX / Mini-DTX / Mini-ITX MB, 1x5.25", 2x3.5"+1x2.5"HDD or 1x3.5"+2x2.5"HDD, 3x120mm golf bladed fan, 11" expansion card capable HTPC Case

I would also add a suggestion to put the money you have for the DVD drive into a BD drive. They've come down to ~$40-50 without playback software, and ~$70-90 with playback software.

Have a ps3 already hooked up, or I would add a BD drive.

November 19, 2010 1:20:41 PM

As an nMediaPC case owner (I have to 200BA), I can say their smaller cases (microATX) do not leave a lot of room for cable management. It's definitely a tight fit.

Also the front drop-down door is somewhat flimsy. A lot of reviews of earlier models state these doors are broken easily. I took great care with mine and the drop-down door lasted for four years before it finally broke (constantly moving the case for updates/cleaning/etc... was the cause for it breaking).

Aside from these two issues, it is a good case, but if it's in the budget, I'd recommend going with the Silverstone case.

-Wolf sends