New HTPC Build

I appreciate the communities feedback and assistance with the build below!

Approximate Purchase Date: This week or the week after Christmas

Budget: $500 to $1,000

System Usage: HTPC in family room – Blu-Ray and DVD movies, OTA HDTV (via ATSC tuner card), Netflix, Hulu, ESPN3 – attempting to ditch ATT Uverse except for the DSL service

Parts Not Required: None (I think)

Preferred Website: Newegg or Amazon

Country of Origin: Texas

Parts Preferences: Intel CPU

Overclocking: No – though specific components may be repurposed for future builds

SLI or Crossfire: Don’t know if there is a need for HTPC

Monitor Resolution: 50” 1080p Samsung LCD

Additional Comments: Trying to build as quiet a PC as possible, will probably use Windows 7 (64-bit) Media Center with additional add-ons. Build should offer expansion capabilities for future, to include adding a video card to output 3D-video meeting HDMI 1.4a standards (or potential future standards). Needs to be able to access content for network connected Infrant ReadyNAS. Playback of 1080p video and 5.1 or better surround sound. Record up to 4 HDTV streams simultaneously via ATSC

Current component selection – I’m open to changing any and all of these parts. I’ve tried to select parts first on what I’ve been able to learn from these forums and then rated as editor’s choice by Silent PC Review; including case, HDD, PSU.

I am open to suggestions to reduce the total cost of this build.

CPU: Intel Core i3-550 Clarkdale 3.2GHz 4MB L3 Cache LGA 1156 73W Dual-Core Desktop Processor BX80616I3550 - $114.99

Motherboard: ASUS P7H57D-V EVO LGA 1156 Intel H57 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - $149.99

Case: SILVERSTONE Black 8.0mm aluminum front panel, 0.8mm SECC body GRANDIA GD04B Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case - $99.99; or,

HDD: Western Digital Caviar Green WD20EARS 2TB 64MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive - $89.99

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-8GBRL - $99.99

PSU: SeaSonic X650 Gold 650W ATX12V V2.3/EPS 12V V2.91 SLI Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power - $119.99

Optical Drive: LG Black 10X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-ray Disc Combo Model UH10LS20 LightScribe Support – OEM - $76.99

Tuner Card(s): Need help selecting the right card, I believe these are the best choices.
AVerMedia AVerTV Combo G2 (White Box) MTVCOMG2W PCI-Express x1 Interface - $84.99;
AVerMedia AVerTV Combo G2 (Media Center Upgrade Kit) ATSC/NTSC/QAM Tuner Card w/MCE Remote & L-P Bracket MTVCOMG2M PCI-Express x1 Interface - $115.99;
AVerMedia AVerTVHD Duet - PCTV Tuner (A188 - White Box) - $74.99;
Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 Media Center Kit Dual TV Tuner 1213 PCI-Express x1 Interface - $129.99; or,
Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 Dual TV Tuner / Encoder 1229 PCI-Express x1 Interface - OEM - $104.99


HDD - According to Wikipedia, ATSC OTA broadcasts carry 19.39 Mb/second, so this drive with write speeds of 100MB/s should provide ample resources to record up to 4 HD streams simultaneously. Correct?

Tuner Cards – I know to record four streams simultaneously requires 2 dual tuner cards. Any preference as to the AverMedia vs. Hauppage cards? I know I need a remote, would either the Hauppage or AverMedia combos with remote work?

HDTV Out – I believe the Intel i3 with selected motherboard should allow me to push full 1080p (and lesser resolutions) out to my TV as well as HD sound. Do these components meet the HDCP end-to-end requirements or will Blu-Rays downsample the audio?
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  1. I can help you with your ?'s.

    HDD - I use a 1st gen WD green 1TB drive. I have recorded 4 streams at once without any problems so you're good there. I suggest you consider the new Samsung Spinpoint F4 2TB drive though. It has denser platters and is faster than the WD green drives (both are 5400 rpm).

    Tuner cards - Drop the AVerTV Combo cards from your list. They have two coax inputs, but only one of them is for ATSC. The other is NTSC (pretty much useless). BTW I have one of these cards. I also have the A188 Deut. It works great for me and is a dual ATSC tuner card. There are some known issues with this card if you Google around about it disappearing after S3 sleep. I had that problem too and had to RMA my first card. The best card of the bunch you've listed is the HVR-2250. I do not have that card, but I've read nothing but good things about it. Also, you may want to consider the HDHomerun network tuners. The HDHomerun Dual is a dual tuner, and all PC's on your home network can access those tuners. Here is a good site to do some more research on tuners:

    HDTV Out - the Intel i3 will easily do 1080p AND it will bitstream blu-ray HD audio without downsampling. It is fully HDCP compliant too. Another suggestion (I can't help it...), wait just a bit for Sandy Bridge to be released in January. It's supposed to be quite the upgrade from Clarkdale, with all the HD goodies carried over. It may even drop the prices of the current processors, so you might as well wait a few more weeks.
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