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Please help with HTPC

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January 29, 2011 7:21:03 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: Within 2 Weeks

Budget Range: under $1000 CAD. The lower the better :) . Enough for me to do what i need.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Bittorrent movies, Web, Little Gaming (Starcraft 2)

Parts Not Required: None

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: NCIX

Country of Origin: Canada

Parts Preferences: HTPC horizontal case, SSD, no blue ray

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: I am going to run it off my 46" tv. I want to run computer speakers for sound when i watch tv and watch movies on the computer. I also have a PVR from the cable company.

More about : htpc

January 29, 2011 5:45:37 PM

^bump!
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January 30, 2011 4:36:53 AM

Case: With 275W PSU, should be enough to power an i3. A reviewer said that you can put another HDD besides an SSD in the floppy disk bay. He also said you can get an HD5450 in using the 275W PSU. Consider an HD5570 for better performance if you see fit.

http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=23679&vpn=DM-317...

DDR3 RAM: 4GB is more than enough for watching HD videos.

http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=55546&vpn=996768...

M/B: A mini-ITX is the best option for HTPC platform.

http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=51928&vpn=H55ITX...

SSD: For the OS, 60GB is plenty

http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=53308&vpn=OCZSSD...

CPU: Even the cheapest is an overkill for an HTPC. But it has lower power consumption than the older LGA775 platform, which makes it a reasonable option. Plus, its IGP is equal, if not better, to AMD HD4250 IGP. You may not need a graphic card if its performance meets your standards.

http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=48957&vpn=BX8061...

DVD-RW: Any will do.

Those are the parts available at your preferred website. Should be more than enough for your needs. Consider a low profile GPU and a better PSU for better performance and stability.

Good luck!
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January 30, 2011 4:49:23 AM

As for the computer speakers as TV audio output, you may need to switch it manually between PC output and TV output to the speaker.

Using the PC as a hub is possible, but it may decrease the output quality. You may need a capable sound card for that task, which is usually expensive.

I've never tried it before though. I always switch the two sources on my PC. Just a thought. Maybe the HTPC experts here can fill you in on that one. :) 

For the PVR, I've never got my hands on those. But it should be directly connected to your TV, which means it has nothing to do with the HTPC.
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 30, 2011 5:52:35 AM

basic idea:

Athlon II X3 450 ($80)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Solid and reliable!

MSI 880 motherboard ($80)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
This has HDMI on motherboard and is from a reliable company

Mushkin 4 GB DDR3 ($38)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec Microfusion case w/ 350W 80+ Bronze PSU: ($100)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Great case, VERY reliable Power supply from one of the top 3 PSU makers.

LG Blu-Ray Burner ($100)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Samsung 1 TB HDD: ($55)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

this totas up to about $455
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January 30, 2011 6:01:50 PM

any other suggestions?

will i need a tv tuner card? cheap sound card? or a remote?
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 30, 2011 7:30:42 PM

No, no and no. And I strongly recommend against an SSD in an HTPC, mainly because most HTPCs stay on 24/7 so the OS drive SSD sees very little performance gain.

Also I recommend Screwy Squirrels build, which is very similar to my own.
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January 31, 2011 9:50:33 AM

really....i didn't know people keep htpc on at all times...i was thinking only turn it on when i need it....

i wonder if the power consumption would be a lot if i leave it on all the time.
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 31, 2011 10:02:39 AM

You'd only need a TV card if you were using this to record cable or sat TV.

powering it on all the time is fine, as is only turning it on when you need to.
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January 31, 2011 2:12:51 PM

The HTPC might be "on" all the time but it's usually sleeping. I find that since I swapped out my HDD for a SSD it's much quicker to come back from sleep. It also launches a lot of media-related apps a lot faster. Overall, the experience is just better with the SSD compared to the HDD. It was definitely a bigger bottleneck than I thought.

Watch out for no-name or 2nd-tier cases with built-in PSUs. The only case manufacturer I'd buy a case that came with a PSU from is Antec.
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February 1, 2011 4:16:33 AM

good to know...i really don't want to keep it on at all times...putting it to sleep sounds much more better to me

glad to know that the ssd does help in that department of things.
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Best solution

February 2, 2011 8:11:33 PM

Jacks_85 said:
really....i didn't know people keep htpc on at all times...i was thinking only turn it on when i need it....

i wonder if the power consumption would be a lot if i leave it on all the time.


Your #1 priority was torrents. I would assume then you'd have it on all the time for that?

A low-wattage highly efficient power supply and quality low-power parts will certainly help with the power consumption. The lowest power-consuming parts that are decent for your usage would be Core i3 / H55.

Looking an NCIX something like this would work (sorry for the lack of links & prices -- I have to do this quickly but these are all on the NCIX site):

nMediaPC 5000b case
Core i3-540 CPU / Seasonic 400W PSU combo
ASUS P7H55-M Pro mATX H55 LGA1156 motherboard
OCZ Vertex 2 Extended Sandforce 60GB 2.5IN SATA2 Solid State Disk Flash Drive SSD (boot)
Western Digital WD20EARS Caviar Green 2TB SATA2 3GBPS 64MB Cache 3.5IN Hard Drive OEM (data)
Kingston ValueRAM KVR1333D3N9K2/4G PC3-10666 4GB 2X2GB DDR3-1333 CL9 240PIN DIMM Memory Kit
ASUS DRW-24B1ST 24X SATA DVD Writer OEM Black
IOGEAR Wireless 2.4GHZ Multimedia Keyboard with Laser Trackball and Scroll Wheel (GKM561R) / Win7 x64 combo
Pcusa Vista Remote Control with IR Receiver Silver



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February 3, 2011 2:37:45 AM

Thanks for everyone replies!

i have bought all the stuff now with the help of your guys and my little knowledge about computers.

I went with AMD build instead just to save a few bucks.

AMD Athlon II x3 445
Gigabyte GA 880GM UD2H
Silverstone Lascala HTPC case (like the black alluminum look)
Western Digital Black 1TB (don't think i'll need 2TB of storage, as i don't really rewatch movies)
Antec 550W truepower supply (pick this one b/c it was on sale and i will be putting in a videocard in the future)
OCZ vertex 2 60G SSD
I-Rock RF-6572L Nano wireless keyboard and mouse combo
Window 7 64bit premium edition
Creative labs sount blaster (for my 5.1 speaker setup)
Total with tax is 860 CAD
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February 10, 2011 5:25:36 PM

Best answer selected by Jacks_85.
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