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New HTPC 300€

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Last response: in Systems
January 16, 2011 12:52:18 PM

Hi to all, is my first post in this comunity, my friend had suggested me this forum for hardaware issues.
I have to built an HTPC for store family images and videos, see HD videos and listen to music. I think that i use that computer also like a small file server.
I whant to use Arch Linux + Moovida, but I don't have any idea af hardware configuration for this pc, but I've an hold homemade case, so I need only inner components.
Can you suggest me some configurations?

Thanks and i'm sorry for the bad english, ma non sono molto inglese :p 

More about : htpc 300

January 16, 2011 2:19:19 PM

Welcome newcomer. Io non sono italiano, ma farò del mio meglio.

A homemade case? How old is it? We need to see if it will still fit modern components - can you find out what motherboard was in there before? Was it built for a home theater machine? Does it have an infra-red sensor? Pictures might help.

An HTPC does not require a lot of hardware, especially if you are going to use Linux for an OS. Finding the best prices for the optimum conponents will be a challenge, because I am not familiar with the Italian computer stores. I can give you some guidelines with $US, but don't be surprised if they cost a lot more from Italian suppliers. It would help if you can find some sites like Newegg that will deliver to your address, or provide the website of your preferred local computer store.

Next, need to know your budget. A low end machine is $400 to $500. Mid range is $600 to $800 and a high end is $900 to whatever you want to spend (all of this is adjusted based on pricing in Italy). If you tell us how much Lira you want to spend, and we can get an idea of how much parts are, then I can start recommending your build.

I take it from the fact that you are going to use (and probalby have to mod) on old homemade case, that your expertise level is fairly high. Do you want to watch Blu-Ray movies? What kind of access do you have to your television stations - cable? satellite? Not sure how Italitan TV works, but here in the US, it is a mess to try and get a TV-Tuner card to unscramble the encrypted signal. Also need to know what components you already have - like mouse and keyboard, the resolution of your TV, other monitors you want to connect, etc.

OK, that is the information needed from you. Now let's put this site to work with some of the reference materials available. Here is a section of this link from Tecmo34 that has a sample HTPC build. There are all sorts of references to other resources in this link.

If that is not enough, and you wish to read more:

guide to choosing parts

Homebuilt buying guide

Yes, your friend was right.

January 16, 2011 3:07:56 PM


First of all, the case i'm going to use is an old DVD reader, that i'm modding for suit with computer components: infact, when I've decided all components, I will make the case project, by adding supports for all components, so don't worry about the case, I will build it ;) 
For the components, you say that you know US prices, but i've posted on a english site also because my cousin live in NewYork, so he can buy components for me and than take them to me.
I've a budget around 400$;
I want to see blu-ray videos;
I've a satellite entry, and it could be very good if I can unscrambe encripted signals ;-);
i've a keyboard, a mouse and a SONY Bravia KDL-46 T 3500 and you can se his features at this page.
For the InfraRed sensor i think to buy a USB sensor, and then integrate it in the case.

There should be all the informations you need, thankyou for helping (and also understanding :p ) me ;)  :hello: 
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January 16, 2011 4:07:34 PM

OK, this changes the game quite a bit.

$400 is very low, so your options are limited. Blu-ray would cost extra, so that might be outside the budget. Let's leave off infrared and TV-tuner just to simplify, and not worry about money.

I am going to use Newegg, but there are many places around the City that have very good prices, so if your cousin can get to a MicroCenter, or has another store that he likes, that would be good to know.

Yes, I have one more question: when do you want to buy? It is best if you want to purchase immediately, because prices change so quickly, and the best deals are often available only for a few days or less.
January 16, 2011 6:00:16 PM

I think i'll buy components in, at least, two week.

For moneys, if 400$ is very low, we can increase it at 600$, if it's enough...
January 16, 2011 6:17:27 PM

Try this build out for starters:

You need to get to your cousin today so that he can start ordering the special deals.

CPU: AMD Athlon II X3 440 Rana for $76

Motherboard: ASRock N68C-S UCC Micro ATX AMD for $45

RAM: Patriot 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 for $40.

Video: ASUS EAH5450 SILENT/DI/512MD2(LP) Radeon HD 5450 for $31 after rebate.

HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB for $55 after rebate. Order this now, because the price will not last.

DVD: ASUS Black 24X DVD for $17

PSU: CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 CMPSU-430CX 430W for $37 after rebate.

There are some rebates involved here, so your cousin will have to do some paper work, and wait for the refunds - is that OK?

Forgot the Blu ray and total: ASUS Black 4X BD-ROM 8X DVD-ROM 32X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-ray Drive for $44 after rebate.

Total is $345, and we can add from there.
January 16, 2011 6:40:52 PM

ok, I'll take it to my cousin, then i'll write the response
January 16, 2011 7:44:20 PM

All he needs to buy today or tomorrow is the Hard Drive. This is a very good price, and I am buying two for own builds. Have a good evening, and talk to you tomorrow.
January 17, 2011 3:44:35 PM

Hi, i've some news for you:
1. My cousin isn't in the USA in this period, he is going to Tokio, so, if you can suggest something according to japan market, it would be better ;) ;

2. I've found on Tom'sHardware Italian Forum this configuration:

Motherboard: ASUS M4A78LT-M LE socket AM3 chipset AMD 760G MATX 49,99
CPU: CPU AMD Athlon II X2 240e 2.8GHz Socket AM3 45W Regor Boxed AD240EHDGQBOX 52,50
RAM: Corsair Ram DDRII 800 Mhz 2GB CL5.0 Corsair XMS (TWIN2X2048-6400)
VGA: integrated in motheboard (I don't like very much this thing)
HD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB

What do you think about? Be onest ;) 

3. For insert the power supply I've to insert in the case only the inner components, because the PSU case is too much higher (8 cm instead 7cm), so I think that I don't need a very much silent PSU, because, taken apart, I think the noise level will be altered;

4. Is possible to insert a notebook dvd reader, instead of a normal reader? it's the only thing that can't fit in the case :D 

I hope that my demands aren't too difficult, and thak you for your patience ;-)
January 17, 2011 10:00:02 PM

Wow, your cousin is in japan. I have never recommended purchases for Japan, and have no idea. He does not live in New York? That changes the situation somewhat.

The quote for the parts has problems. The video chipset (Radeon 3000) is not advisable for Blu-ray. The CPU is only dual core, so that will not have the same longevity. The RAM is slower, and there is less of it, but that should not present too much of a problem. If you are looking to conserve money, this configuration would probably work, but you would still need to get the dedicated graphics card. If you really need to spend less, you can also get a cheaper video card too - I found a nice one for you that fit your budget.

I am having trouble understanding point three about the power supply. Is a full size PSU too big? If so, what dimensions would fit inside the case? There are smaller power supplies available, and we might be able to get one that fits.

I am not sure what kind of connection the notebook dvd reader uses - could you provide a link so that I can llo at it? If it uses SATA connection, then no problem. Something else would be more challenging. You could also think about getting an external reader such as a SAMSUNG 8X DVD.
Also, does the Blu Ray player fit? You might be able to skip the DVD and just use the Blu ray instead.
January 18, 2011 3:50:17 PM

You are right, he lives in NewYork, but he is going on holiday in japan from 17/01 to 01/03, but that isn't important, because i've found components suggested by you on italian sites, and are cheap ;) 

Don't take account of quote pc configuration, because I don't whant to conserve too much money :) 

The case that i'll use is 7cm tall, so the PSU won't fit in that: so I need a smaller one...

For the reader i think that, if the new PSU is enough small, I can change the HD position, and free some space for the normal DVD reader, else i've to buy a notebook dvd reader (that use SATA connectors), or an external dvd reader, that, i think that is cheaper than notebook reader.
January 20, 2011 12:56:01 PM

I've found a Pinnacle PCTV card, that have also a remote controller... now i'm going to make a virtual machine for test all software, for se if there are bugs...

You don't have any news for me?
January 20, 2011 7:53:57 PM

Sorry, elQuero, I have been sick with the flu. I wll look tomorrow for you.
January 21, 2011 11:47:46 AM

This is the smallest PSU that I could find, and it is only 300 watts: SeaSonic SS-300TFX Bronze 300W. It is 7.11 CM tall, so could you check your case to see if you can spare a couple of mm?

With the original configuration that I gave you, 300 W should be just adequate, as long as you purchase from a reputable manufacturer. You won't find anything much more powerful at that size, so you may be stuck with external power.

January 21, 2011 5:21:32 PM

If you need small, you could also look into these components for an HTPC

Gigabyte GA-H55N-USB3 mini-itx motherboard
Intel Core i3-540 CPU

Use these with 4GB of DDR3 (see motherboard compatibility to find one that suits your price), notebook hard drive and a slim blu-ray player and you'd have a very small system that uses less power and does not need a discrete graphics card to play blu-ray, including bitstreaming HD audio.

There is also a 250W Seasonic 1U power supply: It is 150.0 x 40.5 x 81.5 mm. It doesn't seem to be very expensive. Seasonic makes very good efficient power supplies.
January 22, 2011 12:14:40 PM

Well, yesterday I was tyding up my attic and i've found a 350Watt PSU that suit also with my case! so i don't need to buy it! But i thank you for your patience ;) 

So, the components are:


CPU: AMD Athlon II X3 440 Rana

RAM: Patriot 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333

Video: ASUS EAH5450 SILENT/DI/512MD2(LP) Radeon HD 5450

HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB

DVD: ASUS SDR-08B1-U USB 2.0 External DVD Drive

I think that i've to buy some frontal USB ports and a card reader...
January 23, 2011 2:46:25 AM

Hey elQuero, please just check the size of the motherboard one more time to make sure it will fit. Dougie Fresh has a good suggestion if you are going to have size problems. The difference between the mATX and an mini-itx sizes might make your build a lot easier.
January 31, 2011 10:13:27 AM

Ecuse me for the big answer delay, but I had problems with the connection... I've cecked the case size and i've found that the components fits all in, and with your configuration i can save moneys... Now I'm builting the case, I'll post some photo when I'll finish the work...

So, stay tuned :p  Bye
January 31, 2011 11:14:57 AM

Wonderful! Good luck.