Ultra budget htpc

Hello all, :hello:

I have been following the forums for a while now but this is my first post ever. I have been thinking about building an HTPC for my living room but I am kinda new to the HTPC scene, so I would like to get some advice. Even though I have built my own computer before, I am not an expert so feel free to correct me if I say something wrong or silly. Also please offer any other alternatives to what I've chosen as I could have missed some better alternatives.

Approximate Purchase Date: within 2-4 weeks
Budget Range: less than $350 (I have a strict budget at the moment, but I would like to have the opportunity to upgrade in the long run)
System Usage from Most to Least Important: I am going to use it strictly for streaming media from the web to my TV for now and perhaps watch DVD/Blu-ray in the future. I might also use it to download torrents and other files. I already have a gaming PC so I don't care about gaming.
Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, speakers, optical drive, OS (I will be using Ubuntu)
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg
Country of Origin: USA
Parts Preferences: I prefer AMD for their low prices, although I am open to any Intel product if it's a good deal.
Overclocking: No
SLI or Crossfire: No
Monitor Resolution: This is what I have:
TOSHIBA 32" 720p LCD HDTV - 32AV500U
but I might get a better one in the long run
Additional Comments: Although my build is cheap, I still would like to have the opportunity to upgrade in the future in case I got a 1080p TV so tell me if my build has potential for upgrades, or what I should do to make it more upgradeable. Also I would like my build to be as silent as possible


I decided to go with a 880G, but I can't decide between these two:
JetWay JHZ03-GT-LF AM3 AMD 880G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
Foxconn A88GMV AM3 AMD 880G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
(I'm also tempted to get http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813138194 ...what do you guys think?)

AMD Athlon II X2 255 Regor 3.1GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor ADX255OCGMBOX
or any other Regor processor

Although GeIL is cheaper than G. Skill, I am more familiar with G. Skill than I am with GeIL, so I can't decide which one to get
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBRM
GeIL Value PLUS 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model GVP34GB1600C9DC
also do you guys think 4GB is overkill? Should I just get 2GB or should I stick to 4GB just in case?

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

Optical Drive:
I have a spare DVD Burner, so I might use that before I buy a blu-ray drive

hec Black 0.7mm Thickness SECC Steel 7K09BBA30FNRX Micro ATX Media Center 300W Power Supply / HTPC Case
Now this case combo looks like a very good deal. A 300W PSU is included and I think 300W going to be enough for this build until I get a GPU (I hope I'm right), but the problem is I've never heard of this brand and from what I see from the reviews, PSU seems to be bad. Still I think I'm going to take my chances with this one. Also I'm not sure if the fan is going to be as silent as I think, so I might replace it with a better one (I'll probably get a Scythe)

I think the integrated graphics on 880G is good enough to play 720p content. Do you guys think it could handle 1080p? If ever buy a 1080p HDTV, my plan is to get a GPU and upgrade my PSU as well as my case, does that sound like a good plan?

So without the optical drive, the build comes around to $300-$325. I hope I didn't leave anything out. Does my build have any potential for future upgrades? Let me know what you guys think.
8 answers Last reply
More about ultra budget htpc
  1. BIOSTAR A880G+ + AMD Athlon II X2 245
    G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB

    Maybe you can get this in you budget:
    SILVERSTONE Black Aluminum / 0.8mm SECC Grandia Series GD05B
    Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D

    LE: The integrated video is good for 1080p and more.
  2. This is my suggestion.

    CPU: AMD Athlon II X2 250 Regor 3.0GHz Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor



    Motherboard: MSI 880GM-E41 AM3 AMD 880G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard



    HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5"



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



    Case: Antec Minuet350 Piano Black Steel MicroATX Slim Case Computer Case 350W 80PLUS Certified Power Supply



    Total: $342

    Motherboard is a 880G MSI, with quite a bit of upgradeable for an Micro-ATX board. Plus it has an HDMI out, and an onboard HD 4250 GPU, which can play 1080P HD just fine.

    CPU, is a dual-core, but still has a lot of bang for buck.

    Memory, no need for anything fancy, this stuff works perfectly fine.

    HDD, 1TB Spinpoint F3, massive storage, for lots of media, and the speed of an Spinpoint.

    Case, first off its an Antec, so you will have a good quality case, plus it comes with an 350w 80+ PSU, which is good for HTPCs.

    You have the potential to upgrade all the way up to an quad-core if you want to in the future, also you could add an HD 5570 in the future too, if you want a really good GPU. 4-memory slots means you can easily go to 8GB when you need too.
  3. Thank you guys for the answers, I got one more question to ask; do the MSI 880GM-E41 and the BIOSTAR A880G+ support ATI Hybrid? It doesn't say anything about it on newegg but some websites say the biostar one has it. Also I've never worked with a mobo with ATI Hybrid support, so is it something good to have just in case?
  4. Do you know if you live anywhere near a Microcenter store? They have very good combo discounts right now on AMD processors with AMD motherboards.
  5. actually I do, I'll check that out as well, thanks
  6. mattius92 said:
    This is my suggestion.

    Case: Antec Minuet350 Piano Black Steel MicroATX Slim Case Computer Case 350W 80PLUS Certified Power Supply



    Despite being and Antec fanboi myself, I don't think this is the best case for future upgrades. I would spend the $10 more and get this Antec case instead:

    $117.99 w/ free shipping

    If you get it from Amazon, it's free shipping so that about evens the price with the Minuet from Newegg.com. You'll have a great PSU and more room to upgrade in the future. For instance, the 2nd 5.25" drive bay you can put and IR receiver / LCD display in if you want (ala Antec Fusion Remote).
  7. 86542 said:
    actually I do, I'll check that out as well, thanks

    Look at page 29 of their online catalog: http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/1d7e23e6#/1d7e23e6/29

    You can get this motherboard

    With this processor

    And they'll take $40 off the combination so it ends up being $131 together.

    This is just one example. There are lots of other motherboards. If you look on page 4, you'll see if you buy this motherboard:

    MSI S785GTM-E45 Socket AM3/AM2+ 785G mATX AMD Motherboard

    With the processor above, the MB ends up being free after rebate.

    Later on you can always a discrete GPU to these.
  8. You wouldnt want an AM3/AM2+ Mobo, since they only support DDR2 memory. Go for an full AM3 mobo, and get DDR3 support.
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