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Please Advise....new HTPC build

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January 22, 2011 3:47:39 AM

Hello, all. I am planning to build a new HTPC to use with my Samsung 52" HDTV, Directv satellite DVR receiver and Emotiva home theater sound system.

Approximate Purchase Date: Within the next two weeks.

Budget Range: Not more than $1200.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Watching streaming internet HD video and blue-ray. Listening to digital music collection. Surfing the internet. Photo and graphic editing. Moderate gaming. Light video editing.

Parts Not Required: speakers, subwoofer, monitor, cables, sound card

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com, tigerdirect.com

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: Leaning toward an Intel cpu. I like Sapphire, Asus, MSI, Lite-on, Samsung, Western Digital, Corsair, Antec, as I have had good experience with all these in the past, but I am willing to listen to any advice on other brands.

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: Need black HTPC case to coordinate with my other components. I want full ATX.


Here is what I have selected so far, but I have not selected a blue-ray drive, memory or PSU yet, although I am leaning toward Asus, Corsair and Corsair or Seasoniq respectively. Would someone be so kind to take a look at this list to help me ensure a good build for my stated needs:

Intel Core i5-2500 Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52500 $209.99

ASUS P8P67 LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard $159.99

LIAN LI Black Aluminum PC-C33B ATX Media Center / HTPC Case $179.99

Crucial RealSSD C300 CTFDDAC064MAG-1G1 2.5" 64GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) (for boot drive) 134.99

x2 - SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3R HE103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive (for data drives) $199.98

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM $99.98


Is this too much or not enough system for my needs? I am looking at four or five years before replacement, so the system must be the latest technology. Video quality is priority one. My thoughts in possibly choosing the Intel Core I5 2500 Sandy Bridge is that I want the latest technology while getting great bang for my buck, and if the on chip video quality is not suffiecient, I can still upgrade with a good quality video card. This will be my third build. I am typing this on my five year old Pentium 4 system that has just been an awesome computer, and will continue to function as my regular home computer for at least a couple more years. I got some great advice on Tom's Hardware then too. Thanks.

More about : advise htpc build

January 22, 2011 9:32:25 AM

You might consider this case. Probably quieter than the all-aluminum Lian Li, and cheaper too. http://www.ncixus.com/products/53537/DEFINE-R3-BLACK/Fr...

For the extra few bucks, the 2500K might be a good choice as well. You'll want to keep a HTPC quiet, so won't want to overclock too far, but you could probably get away with a mild one, and it would give you a bit more longetivity.

I like the SSD and HDDs. Something I've been recommending lately is that people check out HyperDuo. See this thread: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/265724-32-hyperduo-la.... Up to you, but since you're already getting the drives, it would just be a matter of switching to the P8P67 Deluxe MB.

Graphics card depends on what exactly you mean by light gaming. Since you presumably want a quiet htpc I'd say stick with a single card. The Radeon HD 6950 is good bang for buck right now, but you may be able to get away with a cheaper card.

As far as memory, mem speed doesn't mean much for Sandy Bridge, so I'd go for the cheapest 1.5V DDR3 1333 ram you can find - basically whatever's on sale. Probably worth it to get 8GB though, since it's pretty cheap. (And given your existing choices I assume you're willing to pay an extra $30 for improved performance.)

As for PSU and CPU cooler, it really depends on how much you're willing to pay to keep your machine quiet. The best PSUs out there right now are probably the Seasonic X series and the Corsair AX series (which are the same). If you know you're going to stick with one graphics card, the X650 would be great

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168....

Otherwise the corsair AX750 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168....

If you'd rather save some cash though, the TX750 is also a very nice supply; it's just lower efficiency, so the fan will be a bit louder, and it doesn't have the modular cables http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168....

And finally, you can stick with the stock CPU cooler, but I'd get a Mugen II Rev. B - should allow you to get a bit of an overclock while actually keeping it quieter than stock. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Edit: One note. If you end up getting fancy RAM with tall heatspreaders, like the G.Skill Ripjaws, you'll want to avoid the Mugen 2 since it may interfere. In that case I'd go for a Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus. It's smaller with a bit louder fan, but you can replace that with a nice Scythe fan or something for $10-15 if you find it bothers you.
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January 22, 2011 11:07:11 AM

IMO this is way overkill for a media center rig. I understand you are trying to make it last for 5 years and that can easily be done with about an 800.00 rig since you don't need a monitor and speakers.

If you want to save some $$$ on more economic setup that will perform very well then let us know...
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January 22, 2011 11:49:16 AM

englandr753 said:
IMO this is way overkill for a media center rig. I understand you are trying to make it last for 5 years and that can easily be done with about an 800.00 rig since you don't need a monitor and speakers.

If you want to save some $$$ on more economic setup that will perform very well then let us know...



Thanks to both for your replies. Sounds like good advice.

englandr753, this is what I am really wanting to know. If excellent video quality is my number one concern, are my choices overkill? I would definitely like to hear your advice. Thanks.
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January 22, 2011 9:36:07 PM

Just noticed BTW that you mentioned the onboard video chip on the 2500. Just FYI, you can only access that chip with an H67 motherboard. And if you do go with an H67 MB you can't overclock, so ignore my suggestion of upgrading to 2500K.

Definitely agree with englandr though that if you're just looking for an HTPC you can definitely go with cheaper. Probably an AMD system. I'm not the guy to suggest components for that though.

Also, if you're sticking to one GFX card and are more interested in cheap than silent, here's a decent PSU with a nice sale/rebate combo:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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January 23, 2011 5:16:48 AM

bird_head said:
Thanks to both for your replies. Sounds like good advice.

englandr753, this is what I am really wanting to know. If excellent video quality is my number one concern, are my choices overkill? I would definitely like to hear your advice. Thanks.

ENTIRELY overkill. I have an HTPC with 5 TV tuners (and I've used them all at once several times) and a 1Gb HD that functions as a DVR. It records the shows, does video conversion/compression over night (adds commercial skips, too) and functions as my BR player. A simple i3-540(ish) processor is fine and obviously that's any ol' basic H55 board. If you want to look at some future upgrades, then you may want to go ahead with an H67 but you only need the most basic 1155 processor for it. Even the lowliest i3s on an 1156 do full DTS-MA/TrueHD bitstreaming for blurays and that's really all you need. You can also go with a basic AMD dual core (like the X2 250) but they (AMD) don't have a board that does full 7.1 bitstreaming so you'd need to add at, if you want to do moderate gaming, an ATI 5750/5770 or nvidia GTS450, video card for that. You'll get excellent video quality out of either, full 7.1 bitstreaming, and the ability to play most games with lower details at 1080P. An HTPC, does not need a lot of horsepower. Gaming, really, you only need a dual-core for 99% of the games out there, and an Athlon II X2, the i3-540 on 1156, or the 2300 on 1155, are all fine for that. Even for moderate gaming, though, the 2600K does not have the horsepower to drive anything at 1080P resolutions so you'd still need a video card.

And, an SSD? REALLY way overkill as you sure as heck aren't going to store any encoded/ripped/recorded video on it unless you plan on spending $700 and up for something even close to being big enough...and the O/S, once it boots...let's just say you won't notice at all. For $100, you can get a Western Digital 2Tb EARS drive and be perfectly happy. I use SSDs in almost all of my new builds for customers, but it would be wasteful to do so in an HTPC unless it was strictly your boot drive and you also had a standard HD for everything else.

Heck, if you have a Microcenter near you, you can get an Athlon II X4 for $100 and get a free motherboard for it. I just built a buddy of mine an HTPC to do just what you are wanting to do (not TV tuners - just watching internet TV, streaming video on Netflix, and his ripped movies) with 2x2Tb EARS drives (one for backup), 4Gb of memory and a 5450 with said X4 and free motherboard, along with the O/S, a cheapo mATX case, a wireless adapter, a bluetooth keyboard and mouse (for using it across the room) and a good Antec PSU, and his total, with my $100 setup/install fee, was $900. He doesn't game, so he didn't need anything other than the 5450 for the HTPC, but you're only adding another $100, tops, and your experience will be far better than the onboard 2xxx chips.

Anyways...enough rambling. A 2500K is just WAY more than you'll ever need for an HTPC. The Proc and board alone are about $350, which is enough for an AMD dual core, cheapo motherboard, a 5750, a 2Tb drive and 4Gb of memory.

Just my 2¢.
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January 23, 2011 11:32:55 AM

Sorry, I was at work all day yesterday and its a little difficult to type everything I wanted to say from my iphone.

I agree with everything dkapke said. I would try to build around one of these two cpus:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

or

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The 5770 is a great card but go for the XFX brand for the warranty. If you go with the GTS450 get an EVGA for the warranty as well.

Although your choice of case is expensive, its versatile and has great ratings. I could suggest others that are cheaper but probably not as nice. I like the fact you can go full atx and a full size high end video card if you choose to do so later.

Let us know what cpu you want to build around and we can make suggestions for other parts or you can paste links to your items you picked out and we can verify they are the best fit.

I'm at work today too but should be home earlier to respond...

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January 23, 2011 8:09:14 PM

Can you define "moderate gaming". I think that's really the key here to deciding what is or isn't overkill. What titles are you planning to play? What you want to play is really the difference between suggesting a i5-2500K/H67 system vs. i5-2500/P67/discrete GPU.

As for SSDs, I find my HTPC is much more responsive with the SSD than without. I think it's worth it, especially if you'replanning to have your media on separate drives.
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January 25, 2011 7:08:03 PM

englandr753, dkapke and Dougie Fresh, thanks all for your excellent input. This is exactly what kind of advice I was hoping for.

I want the Lian Li case, even though there are cheaper cases out there because of its quality, size, ease of use and it will look really nice in my rack with its simple but elegant looks.

I want the SSD only for my boot drive, and will use a large 7200 rpm Western Digital or Samsung for data storage.

I also want a top quality power supply, because I want stability, longevity, efficiency and low ripple. I will most likely go with Corsair, Seasonic or Antec. My current Antec Tru-power has been an exceptionally good PSU.

As for my "light" gaming, I play mostly strategy, poker, golf and racing games. I am not really into the first person shooters or other 3D intensive types.

Based on your advice on the other parts, I will put a system together for your perusal to see what you think.

Thanks again.
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January 25, 2011 10:08:58 PM

I'm a big fan of all things Lian-Li, Antec and Seasonic. I've had good luck with them. They aren't perfect but I've been very happy. For motherboards, Gigabyte and ASUS have served me well. WD and Samsung have given me the best luck with HDDs. I have also had good luck so far with Kingston SSDs -- not the sexiest or fastest but good. That goes for their RAM too -- and G-Skill as well.

i5-2500K
H67 (required to use onboard GPU)
64GB SSD
2TB 5400rpm drive (Samsung F4 2TB would be my first choice)
4GB RAM
Seasonic 350W or Antec 380W PSU
Lian-Li case
Lite-On Blu-ray ROM
IOGear GKM561R wireless RF keyboard/trackball
WMC remote
Win7 x64 HP

You might also want to consider one of these for the other 5.25" bay on that case: http://www.amazon.com/Antec-30125-Elite-Multimedia-Stat...

It comes with a remote -- a very good one -- so you can drop that from the list above. You also get an internal IR receiver which is nice and of course, the display.

When you were looking at cases did you see this one: http://www.amazon.com/Antec-FUSION-REMOTE-MAX-Fusion/dp... ?
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January 29, 2011 8:08:44 PM

After careful consideration and research, along with you folks advisement, I believe I have managed to put together a pretty nice system that will meet all my current needs for a HTPC at a little over half the cost. Please take a look, and let me know if this will be far less overkill than my original list yet still cover all the bases for my HTPC:


nMEDIAPC Black Aluminum / Acrylic / Steel HTPC 6000B ATX Media Center / HTPC Case
Model #:HTPC 6000B $79.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

AMD Athlon II X4 645 Propus 3.1GHz Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor ADX645WFGMBOX
Model #:ADX645WFGMBOX $108.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GIGABYTE GA-880GMA-UD2H AM3 AMD 880G SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
Model #:GA-880GMA-UD2H $99.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec BP550 Plus 550W Continuous Power ATX12V V2.2 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
Model #:BP550 Plus $64.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory
Model F3-10666CL8D-4GBRM $46.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Model #:HD103SJ X2 $109.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HP BD Combo SATA Model BD240I-h01 LightScribe Support
Model #:BD240I-h01 $69.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

IOGEAR GKM551R Black 2.4GHz Wireless Slim Media Center Desktop
Model #:GKM551R $49.99
IOGEAR GKM551R Black 2.4GHz Wireless Slim Media Center Desktop

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
Model #:GFC-00599 $99.99

Grand Total: $730.90


Oh, and again many thanks.
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January 30, 2011 1:36:48 AM

if i were you i'd add a 32GB ssd for the OS, having to wait ages when you turn on your tv to watch a film/etc is a bit of a drag. slc is better than mlc. for the moment at least.
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January 30, 2011 2:42:11 AM

I'd drop the 550W PSU and get the Antec EA-380D 380W instead. It will be more than sufficient.

You have a micro-ATX motherboard in an ATX case. Did you mean to do that? If not, the nMediaPC 5000B is the micro-ATX version of the 6000B http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... and is $10 cheaper.

Did you see this CPU/motherboard combination for about $7 more than your Athlon/880G combo?

Intel Core i3-550 Clarkdale 3.2GHz LGA 1156 73W Dual-Core Desktop Processor BX80616I3550
ASUS P7H55-M PRO LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

As for an SSD boot drive, you can find 64GB SSD drives now for under $100. That's what I would go with. 32GB will format to 29GB and I know with W7 and some apps, I am using close to that. You don't want to spend all your time managing your disk space.
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January 30, 2011 4:26:14 AM

I have my HTPC on 24/7 because it records HDTV at odd hours. Even though you aren't using it for live TV, I agree with others that an SSD in an HTPC isn't warranted at all.

My HTPC is in my specs, and it does 1080p without issue.
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January 30, 2011 3:06:55 PM

I really appreciate your input, Dougie Fresh. Please read my responses, and post your thoughts to my reasoning.

Dougie Fresh said:
I'd drop the 550W PSU and get the Antec EA-380D 380W instead. It will be more than sufficient.

I chose the Antec B550 Plus because it appears to be the best quality, yet cheapest PSU that is modular. I like the fact of less cable clutter, and the extra power for future expandability.

Dougie Fresh said:
You have a micro-ATX motherboard in an ATX case. Did you mean to do that? If not, the nMediaPC 5000B is the micro-ATX version of the 6000B http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... and is $10 cheaper.

I chose this microATX because some of the feedback for the nMedia case stated that using an ATX board was very tight and tough to work with in that case. I am leery of this case. It seems that quality may be a serious issue based on feedback. I really want the Lian Li ATX case that I first chose, but I guess at nearly a c-note more, is it really worth it? Something I have to further ponder.

Dougie Fresh said:
Did you see this CPU/motherboard combination for about $7 more than your Athlon/880G combo?

Intel Core i3-550 Clarkdale 3.2GHz LGA 1156 73W Dual-Core Desktop Processor BX80616I3550
ASUS P7H55-M PRO LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

From what I have been able to gather, the on-board VGA of the AMD CPU's outperform the Intel. Also, Sandy Bridge seems to be the way to go now with Intel, but there is no core I3 Sandy Bridge yet, and the prices are much higher for the core I5. Is it worth the extra money for my needs. If I went with the Intel combo you suggest, what would be the advantages and disadvantages?

Dougie Fresh said:
As for an SSD boot drive, you can find 64GB SSD drives now for under $100. That's what I would go with. 32GB will format to 29GB and I know with W7 and some apps, I am using close to that. You don't want to spend all your time managing your disk space.

I may still do this, as I really like the idea for SSD for the boot drive.

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January 30, 2011 3:21:38 PM

matt2k said:
if i were you i'd add a 32GB ssd for the OS, having to wait ages when you turn on your tv to watch a film/etc is a bit of a drag. slc is better than mlc. for the moment at least.


The high cost of slc would preclude its use in my system. I may still go with SSD, but with W7, I would go with at least 64MB as Dougie Fresh advised. Thanks for your input.
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January 30, 2011 3:24:16 PM

cmcghee358 said:
I have my HTPC on 24/7 because it records HDTV at odd hours. Even though you aren't using it for live TV, I agree with others that an SSD in an HTPC isn't warranted at all.

My HTPC is in my specs, and it does 1080p without issue.


I noticed that the system you list you do not have a discreet GPU, so I assume you are using on-board graphics. 1080p is my main concern, so this is good to know.
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January 31, 2011 2:19:20 AM

I don't feel a SSD will do you much good beyond bootup and maybe a slightly snappier feel. For now a standard hard drive should be plenty. Later when SSD tech expands to larger drives and are mainstream and cheaper, grab one then for a future upgrade...
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January 31, 2011 9:06:52 PM

englandr753 said:
I don't feel a SSD will do you much good beyond bootup and maybe a slightly snappier feel. For now a standard hard drive should be plenty. Later when SSD tech expands to larger drives and are mainstream and cheaper, grab one then for a future upgrade...


I think this is sound advice that I will follow.
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January 31, 2011 9:31:09 PM

Needless to say, as of now it's strongly recommended not to buy any Sandy Bridge CPUs because of the chipset failure by intel
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January 31, 2011 9:47:16 PM

The AMD integrated graphics (HD 3xxx, HD 4xxx) are very good but they have one feature not supported that the integrated graphics of the Intel IGP has: support for bitstreaming HD audio formats over HDMI to a compatible receiver. Those are the formats you find on Blu-ray (Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA). If you want that today with an AMD setup you need to get a discrete GPU. So, it's one less part, something that can go wrong, something that consumes power and gives off heat, to have all the features.

I have both an AMD system with discrete GPU and a i3/H55 system. The former is in a nMediaPC 1000b case. I think this case is a really good case. I have had no quality issues with it. The 2000b would be the ATX version of my case. The latter is in an Antec Microfusion 350 which required a low profile system so I was happy to not need a discrete GPU. The i3/H55 I know is also going to use less power.

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January 31, 2011 10:00:32 PM

Dougie is absolutely correct. I have a simple Dolby 5.1 system so the BitStreaming wasn't a consideration for me.
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February 1, 2011 1:17:56 AM

Okay, I am about ready to order my parts. Here is my final list, unless someone kindly points out any errors in my judgement by tomorrow, along with the reason I chose each component:

SILVERSTONE Black Aluminum / Steel LC13B-E ATX Media Center / HTPC Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I decided to go with the Silverstone case. Allthough cheaper, I just was not confortable with the choice of the nMediapc case. The Silverstone's price falls between my original choice of the Lian Li and the budget nMediaPc. It is full ATX and is a better design, and it is built about as well as the Lian Li, albeit heavier. It has received glowing reviews and good feedback from builders. It has lots of space for expansion, and its dimensions and looks would nicely match my amp, preamp and cd player.

AMD Athlon II X4 645 Propus 3.1GHz Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor ADX645WFGMBOX
ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3 AM3 AMD 890GX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

After reading advice on this forum and other sources and doing further research on my own, there was no doubt that my original choice of cpu and motherboard components were overkill. Since processing power is not so important to me, but the best quality onboard graphics is, I went with AMD Athlon II x4. Paired with the ASUS board with 890GX, I believe I will get the best video/graphics performance short of having a discreet graphics card. This board is perfect for a media center pc. In the event that I do want better graphics performance to play games at higher resolutions, I can simply add a reasonably priced single graphics card in the future and utilize the ATI Crossfire Hybrid technology.

SILVERSTONE Strider Plus ST50F-P 500W ATX 12V v2.3 & EPS 12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I chose the Silverstone PSU over my earlier Antec choice, because this PSU is 100% modular whereas the Antec is not, it is 40mm shorter in length, and has tested well too. The price is also nice. When I used a PSU online selection help tool, I was advised that 340 watts would be sufficient. Leaving room for future expansion, I decided to go with 500 watts to be on the safe side. I hate unused cable birdnests, so 100% modular is the way to go for me.

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL8D-4GBHK
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I chose this memory from the ASUS's boards compatibility list. It has an excellent combination of price, decent latency along with G.Skill's reputation for quality. 4mb should be sufficient.

x2 - SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

At this time I have decided to skip the SSD I chose earlier. The cost per gigabyte is just too high right now for a media pc that will stay on a great deal of the time anyway. Not enough bang for the buck.

LG Black Blu-ray Disc Combo SATA Model UH10LS20 LightScribe Support - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This LG has a good combination of cache and BD-ROM read speed at a moderate price.

Logitech MK520 USB RF Wireless Ergonomic Desktop
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Nice media functions, great range, and less squawking among the feedback compared to the other similar combos.

All components should work with Windows7 64-bit.
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Best solution

February 1, 2011 2:45:42 AM

bird_head said:
Okay, I am about ready to order my parts. Here is my final list, unless someone kindly points out any errors in my judgement by tomorrow, along with the reason I chose each component:

SILVERSTONE Black Aluminum / Steel LC13B-E ATX Media Center / HTPC Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I decided to go with the Silverstone case. Allthough cheaper, I just was not confortable with the choice of the nMediapc case. The Silverstone's price falls between my original choice of the Lian Li and the budget nMediaPc. It is full ATX and is a better design, and it is built about as well as the Lian Li, albeit heavier. It has received glowing reviews and good feedback from builders. It has lots of space for expansion, and its dimensions and looks would nicely match my amp, preamp and cd player.

Good looking case. My one question is, do you have to drop the front cover to use it everytime? That might get annoying... maybe.

AMD Athlon II X4 645 Propus 3.1GHz Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor ADX645WFGMBOX
ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3 AM3 AMD 890GX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

After reading advice on this forum and other sources and doing further research on my own, there was no doubt that my original choice of cpu and motherboard components were overkill. Since processing power is not so important to me, but the best quality onboard graphics is, I went with AMD Athlon II x4. Paired with the ASUS board with 890GX, I believe I will get the best video/graphics performance short of having a discreet graphics card. This board is perfect for a media center pc. In the event that I do want better graphics performance to play games at higher resolutions, I can simply add a reasonably priced single graphics card in the future and utilize the ATI Crossfire Hybrid technology.

You will be pleased with this chip. Good choice...

SILVERSTONE Strider Plus ST50F-P 500W ATX 12V v2.3 & EPS 12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I chose the Silverstone PSU over my earlier Antec choice, because this PSU is 100% modular whereas the Antec is not, it is 40mm shorter in length, and has tested well too. The price is also nice. When I used a PSU online selection help tool, I was advised that 340 watts would be sufficient. Leaving room for future expansion, I decided to go with 500 watts to be on the safe side. I hate unused cable birdnests, so 100% modular is the way to go for me.

I have to say, this psu looks pretty good for what you're going to use it for. They also offer this if you want to further reduce the clutter:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL8D-4GBHK
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I chose this memory from the ASUS's boards compatibility list. It has an excellent combination of price, decent latency along with G.Skill's reputation for quality. 4mb should be sufficient.

Agreed. Go for it.

x2 - SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

At this time I have decided to skip the SSD I chose earlier. The cost per gigabyte is just too high right now for a media pc that will stay on a great deal of the time anyway. Not enough bang for the buck.

Samsung is a good choice. I always went with Seagate after I got ditzed by WD. After I purchased 5 seagate drives it later became known of the heating problems with these drives and they reduced the rpms to compensate for the problem.

LG Black Blu-ray Disc Combo SATA Model UH10LS20 LightScribe Support - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This LG has a good combination of cache and BD-ROM read speed at a moderate price.

Good drive. The only thing you will want to think about is, will you eventually want to burn blu ray disks? If so, go ahead and go with LG's blu ray burner reader/writer combo. I see it for 99.99 but I got it on a deal for 79.99.

Logitech MK520 USB RF Wireless Ergonomic Desktop
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Nice media functions, great range, and less squawking among the feedback compared to the other similar combos.

Logitech is a great brand and 2.4 is what you want if you don't want to spend the money on a bluetooth set up. I finally got my hands on this:

http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Cordless-Revolution-Blue...

I'm extremely impressed with this. The smoothness is unbelievable IMO. It's Windows 7 compatible, I'm using it now on 32 bit win 7 and should work with 64bit as well.


All components should work with Windows7 64-bit.
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February 1, 2011 2:50:54 AM

Be aware that Windows 7 doesn't natively support BluRay, but "some" OEM BluRay drives do come with PowerDVD9. But it's hit or miss. PowerDVD can cost from 50-100 dollars.

Otherwise I think you'll thoroughly enjoy your PC. Also a wireless keyboard with a built in trackball is a must imo.

All your friends will marvel at your media center, all of mine do.
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February 1, 2011 4:28:14 PM

Best answer selected by bird_head.
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nThanks to all who gave me advice and that helped steer me in good directions. There was none bad. I will be saving a lot of money and getting a system that should meet my needs almost to perfection.
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February 1, 2011 9:06:50 PM

That's a cool looking PSU. The reviewer on Newegg.com makes a really good point about the Lian-Li mini-ITX cases that take a full ATX PSU. I like to build with those cases. Thanks for turning me on to it.

Too bad you missed this deal though:
Antec TruePower New TP-550 550W 80+ Bronze Modular PSU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$89.99 - $25 off w/ promo code EMCYTZT277- $25 rebate = $39.99 w/ free shipping
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February 2, 2011 3:21:05 AM

That psu went fast. Was a good deal.

No problem OP. You will be plenty pleased with that setup for a while to come. The next problem you will find is how you want to set up your media center to access all your data.

This is an extensive and fun process! Enjoy!
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