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Help me to complete this puzzle ... (SB HTPC)

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February 1, 2011 5:15:10 PM

Hi, I have already bought few components for my future-to-be HTPC/Light gaming system, I need your help in deciding what to buy in order to fulfill the whole components.

Already bought:

CPU
Intel Core i5-2400S 2.50GHz - 65W

CPU Cooler
Scythe Big Shuriken Low Profile CPU Cooler SCBSK-1000

SSD
OCZ VERTEX 30GB

HDD
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA x 2

Memory
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 1333 CL8

Remote Control
Logitech Harmony One


Planning to buy:

MOB
Dunno ... but should include the latest I/Os and features, 1155-based, no OC shall be done

PSU
Might buy the Enermax Modu87+ 500W or Seasonic X-650

Case
Wanted to buy Silverstone Grandia GD05 (3x120mm fans) but no units left in my country :(  I'd like to get your comments on the following cases while looking for the minimalistic yet stylish look (no lcd) with mATX or ATX MoB, 120mm fans and good reviews:

- Lian Li PC-C31
- 3RSYSTEM MStation HT-1000 Light
- Any others you can think of?

DVD/BR
Asus External DVDRW SDRW-08D1S Or any other BluRay silent drive

Mouse/Keyboard
Thought about buying the LOGITECH BLUETOOTH KEYBOARD DINOVO EDGE - any other ideas?

GPU (Optional)
Sapphire HD5670 1GB Ultimate Edition (passive)

Case Cooling
Might also consider replacing the case fans (if they are too loud) to
120mm Fans - Scythe SY1225SL12VBL undervolted to 5v/7v

Please help me to complete this puzzle :sarcastic: 

More about : complete puzzle htpc

February 1, 2011 6:48:57 PM

SB products are currently being recalled due to a chipset issue. So, no SB CPU's/mobo's until issue is fixed. Estimate is April.
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February 1, 2011 7:03:05 PM

banthracis said:
SB products are currently being recalled due to a chipset issue. So, no SB CPU's/mobo's until issue is fixed. Estimate is April.


Well ... old news ... already know that.

It's not an issue since the other components need to be bought ... have any recommendations? (think positive ...) :D 
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February 1, 2011 7:06:13 PM

I'd also throw in a couple of my opinions.
1) "light gaming" and "HTPC" usage does not require anyting close to a SB processor. An Athlon II X2 or an i3 1156 processor is more than enough, especially given you're getting an HD5670 separately anyways. Why spend twice as much for an SB chip and board when a basic 880G/Athlon II is half as much or an i3/1156 P55 board is probably 60-70% as much?
2) Why on Earth would you buy an aftermarket CPU cooler when a) you can't overclock a 2400, and b) it's being used in an HTPC and for light gaming? Wasted money.
3) An SSD in an HTPC is completely worthless. Buy a 1Tb WD Green drive as you simply won't notice the difference. Heck, my HTPC with 5 TV tuners (all in use on several nights) is using an old school 250Gb Seagate for the boot drive/installs and an external 1Tb eSATA drive for recorded shows storage. It's usually on 24x7 so boot times are irrelevant and the applications that are in heavy usage (BeyondTV and Boxee) are on all the time. Most HTPC use will see the same style of usage and therefore saving 10 seconds on boot or application loading is pointless. Considering a 1Tb drive costs as much as a 30Gb SSD, it seems a no brainer. The same holds true for using a high-end hard drive like the F3 for your primary drive. I have zero problems recording 5 shows at once to an external green drive. That said, it isn't like you're saving that much money ($10 a year, maybe $20) by using a green drive and the cost difference between a new FARS drive and the F3 isn't that big, so I'd be okay with that.
4) Given the SB recall, I'd avoid any SB usage until mid-April

Other than that, the rest of your build looks good. The graphics card will support bitstreaming TrueHD/DTS-MA in addition to fulfilling the light gaming requirements, but keep in mind that light gaming at 1080P TV resolutions means cranking down every bit of detail when using a 5670. You'll need to up it to a 5770 for smooth 1920x1080 gaming with decent frame rates and higher details. The 5670 is more intended for 1680x1050 and 1400x900, not 1080P. Really depends, though, on the games you play.

Just my 2¢
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February 1, 2011 7:13:53 PM

hey dkapke i was planning a build similar to yours just to record tv. What servace provider do you use and what software/tv tuners I cant seem to get any channels out of my cable box into pc. I am using win 7 I just want to save my tv shows and be able to write them to different drives. is HD my problem?
current build.
i7 950
gigabyte x58a ud3r
radeon 6870
500gb samsung drive
I know it overkill for tv but i also game
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February 1, 2011 7:18:51 PM

lirsch said:
Well ... old news ... already know that.

It's not an issue since the other components need to be bought ... have any recommendations? (think positive ...) :D 



All the parts for a PC should be bought at same time, not over a period of months.

Hence, if you want to go SB, no real point building it now. Prices change greatly over a 3month period and what's best now may not be what's best then.

If you'd like to go SB, then come back in early april and we can help you with the best build then.
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February 1, 2011 8:12:49 PM

dkapke said:
I'd also throw in a couple of my opinions.
1) "light gaming" and "HTPC" usage does not require anyting close to a SB processor. An Athlon II X2 or an i3 1156 processor is more than enough, especially given you're getting an HD5670 separately anyways. Why spend twice as much for an SB chip and board when a basic 880G/Athlon II is half as much or an i3/1156 P55 board is probably 60-70% as much?
2) Why on Earth would you buy an aftermarket CPU cooler when a) you can't overclock a 2400, and b) it's being used in an HTPC and for light gaming? Wasted money.
3) An SSD in an HTPC is completely worthless. Buy a 1Tb WD Green drive as you simply won't notice the difference. Heck, my HTPC with 5 TV tuners (all in use on several nights) is using an old school 250Gb Seagate for the boot drive/installs and an external 1Tb eSATA drive for recorded shows storage. It's usually on 24x7 so boot times are irrelevant and the applications that are in heavy usage (BeyondTV and Boxee) are on all the time. Most HTPC use will see the same style of usage and therefore saving 10 seconds on boot or application loading is pointless. Considering a 1Tb drive costs as much as a 30Gb SSD, it seems a no brainer. The same holds true for using a high-end hard drive like the F3 for your primary drive. I have zero problems recording 5 shows at once to an external green drive. That said, it isn't like you're saving that much money ($10 a year, maybe $20) by using a green drive and the cost difference between a new FARS drive and the F3 isn't that big, so I'd be okay with that.
4) Given the SB recall, I'd avoid any SB usage until mid-April

Other than that, the rest of your build looks good. The graphics card will support bitstreaming TrueHD/DTS-MA in addition to fulfilling the light gaming requirements, but keep in mind that light gaming at 1080P TV resolutions means cranking down every bit of detail when using a 5670. You'll need to up it to a 5770 for smooth 1920x1080 gaming with decent frame rates and higher details. The 5670 is more intended for 1680x1050 and 1400x900, not 1080P. Really depends, though, on the games you play.

Just my 2¢



Well, first, thank you for your 2¢, It seems that you are very familiar with the HTPC business, right? :) 
Now ... I'd like to know if you're familiar with any passive 5770 or any suitable case (which is my main problem now) that will suit all my components
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February 1, 2011 8:35:17 PM

dkapke said:
3) An SSD in an HTPC is completely worthless.
I'll respectfully disagree with you on this one. Though I would still classify it as a luxury item unless your budget allows. Boot and application load time are not the only reasons for an SSD in an HTPC. They have other advantages too. Such as:
  • They are completely silent (even 5400rpm green drives are too noisy by my standards)
  • They run a bit cooler
  • Front ends such as Media Browser that pull their image and metadata cache for large media libraries from an SSD are MUCH more enjoyable to navigate
  • They are small (physically) and are ideal for smallish media centers, like ITX

    My HTPC upgrade to an SSD made sense for me (for reasons above) and was worth every penny. I haven't read anything by the OP that warrants an SSD, but I just wanted to counter your blanket statement that SSD's are "completely worthless for HTPC".
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    February 2, 2011 12:26:05 AM

    rwpritchett said:
    I'll respectfully disagree with you on this one. Though I would still classify it as a luxury item unless your budget allows. Boot and application load time are not the only reasons for an SSD in an HTPC. They have other advantages too. Such as:
  • They are completely silent (even 5400rpm green drives are too noisy by my standards)
  • They run a bit cooler
  • Front ends such as Media Browser that pull their image and metadata cache for large media libraries from an SSD are MUCH more enjoyable to navigate
  • They are small (physically) and are ideal for smallish media centers, like ITX

    My HTPC upgrade to an SSD made sense for me (for reasons above) and was worth every penny. I haven't read anything by the OP that warrants an SSD, but I just wanted to counter your blanket statement that SSD's are "completely worthless for HTPC".

  • Fair enough. Probably was a bit too blanket. :-)

    I could, though, counter with a few other arguments. heh-heh.
    1) Silence? In an HTPC? To a certain extent, yes, but there's no way you can hear a green drive over the normal volume of a TV/movie. Heck, in a dead silent room, I can hear the two 60mm fans on the back of my HTPC, but with the TV on? No way. I sure can't hear a hard drive.
    2) Cooler...obviously I can't argue with that. But...you still have to have a hard drive so what are you gaining? Well, at least my HTPC with 5 tv tuners and functioning as a DVR does. So, now I'm using twice the power with an SSD boot drive AND a hard drive? I'm not sure cooler as an argument works.
    3) I use Media Center, Boxee, VLC...probably none of those do what you're referring to. BUT...how on Earth would you put a "large media library" on ANY SSD on the market right now unless you were willing to spend $600+ on a 256Gb and up SSD? As the OP mentioned, he was thinking of a 30Gb SSD which you sure as heck aren't putting anything other than the O/S on. So...caching does nothing...unless you can specify (which maybe you can???) where to store just the cache.
    4) Size doesn't matter (heh-heh) when you still need a hard drive for storing movies and recorded shows and installed game files (he did say he's a light gamer). For anybody that even installs a couple of games, a 30Gb drive is DEFINITELY worthless. JUST my Fallout 3 New Vegas install is 7Gb. Install 4 or 5 of those and you need a minimum of 60Gb to hold the O/S, too, and you still have 0 room left for storage. The OP mentioned a 30Gb for what I can imagine is cost. Sure...a 256Gb SSD would be good for an HTPC, though at a cost difference of $500-$600. So, once again, you still need another hard drive to store games, so size of the SSD is irrelavent at that point.

    I do agree, though, that when using an HTPC as a DVR you definitely see a difference with a boot drive, and in that case an SSD probably works, but ONLY if it's not being used for game installs. With no TV Tuners, and thus no massive writes to the disk, you really don't need a separate boot drive - whatever your "storage" drive is, that's good. But...no TV Tuners and game installs - stick with a regular hard drive. You'll get REALLY annoyed when you hit 30Gb (27Gb usable) after installing Win7 and a single game, and a 60Gb drive won't buy you that much more time after installing WoW and all the expansion packs and maybe one other game. Now you're up to a 100-120Gb drive and $250, plus your storage drive. It just doesn't make sense for 99% of the people out there.

    Again, my 2¢ based strictly on the OP and his thought on a 30Gb SSD. Now, when you can get a 1Tb SSD for $500-$600 I will probably move my HTPC over to one. Actually, I'll move every single PC in the house to one (not just my main PC and my laptop). Until then...

    Gotta love a good debate when it helps someone decide how to spend their money...right? :-)
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    February 2, 2011 12:42:14 AM

    lirsch said:
    Well, first, thank you for your 2¢, It seems that you are very familiar with the HTPC business, right? :) 
    Now ... I'd like to know if you're familiar with any passive 5770 or any suitable case (which is my main problem now) that will suit all my components

    Yeah...I've built 4 different HTPCs starting with a quad-core Phenom II and a 5670 thinking I just had to have speed and power. I then started "downgrading" until I found something that sipped power (and thus could run on the UPS for 45 minutes if needed) yet still did everything I needed to. That's when I settled for the i3-530 and it's built in graphics and audio support and called it a aday. I found I never played games on it because the wife actually uses it to watch TV, believe it or not, and I already have an x-box hooked up to it. If I'm going to game, I may as well do it on my beast in my office.

    Noise in an HTPC is really overrated, though I'd admit that a 5770 will put off a little more sound than I'd like. That said, I've never tried it. My son's PC does have a 5770 so I could easily slap that in my HTPC. I will tell you in my experience with the 4 HTPCs that I've used, I NEVER heard the sound coming from any of them. The first one I built, with the big ol' Phenom HSF and a 7200RPM 7200.10 and 120mm rear case fan...I thought for sure that thing would annoy the crap out of me. Honestly, the only time I ever heard it was when there was a silent moment in a movie and I could hear the case fan a little. But you know what? It wasn't any louder than the cable box sitting right above it, which definitely has a purr to it. I've used a 785G onboard, a 5670 and a 5570 both with fans, and the current i3 onboard, for graphics. You have to realize that you're watching TV or something on YouTube or Netflix or you're watching a movie that you ripped, or you're playing WoW or Fallout or whatever, and 90-95% of the time the volume from the TV/Stereo is FAR more than the PC will ever put out in terms of dB level. It's simply almost impossible to hear even the case fans over the volume of what you're watching/playing. In reality, it's the 5-10% of the time that the movie goes silent (maybe in some romantic, quiet moment), or you pause your game, that you can hear it, and only then do you really have to ask if it's worth it to spend the extra money on silencing something that you can only hear in dead silence. I have 2 60mm rear case fans that have a nice little buzz to them, but I can only hear it when the TV and everything else in the entertainment center is off (the HTPC is on 24x7 for recording and converting duties), and that's only when I'm within 5 feet of it which begs another point - how loud something is when you're right next to it is NOT how loud it is from the couch.

    Anyways...enough of my ranting. Heh-heh. Honestly, I'm not sure you could passively cool a 5770, nor would I even trust a passively cooled 5670 to last that long. 5570 and below, yes. For NVIDIA, the GT230 can be passively cooled, but it's WOEFULLY underpowered compared to a 5670 and wouldn't play much of anything at 1080P, though it would serve your HTPC duties wonderfully. Honestly, I can't fathom that you'd hear a 5770 from 10 feet across the room with the TV on, but...maybe I'm just getting old and deaf? Then again, my doc says I have some of the most sensitive hearing he's ever tested, so take that for what it's worth.

    Hope I'm helping.
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    February 2, 2011 11:16:22 AM

    dkapke said:
    Gotta love a good debate when it helps someone decide how to spend their money...right? :-)
    Oh, I love spending other peoples money! :lol: 

    dkapke said:
    Yeah...I've built 4 different HTPCs starting with a quad-core Phenom II and a 5670 thinking I just had to have speed and power. I then started "downgrading" until I found something that sipped power (and thus could run on the UPS for 45 minutes if needed) yet still did everything I needed to. That's when I settled for the i3-530 and it's built in graphics and audio support and called it a aday.
    Your story sounds exactly like mine. My first HTPC attempt was overboard, ran too hot and was too noisy. My current HTPC is (version 3.0 :) ) was scaled back , but I invested more where it mattered (adequate IGP, storage, lot's of tuners). Now I'm rethinking my current setup. I think the ideal setup would be a ultra low powered HTPC with IGP capable of HD bitstreaming (fusion... drool), SSD with no media storage (but enough to hold time-shifting buffer for live TV), and a networked CableCard tuner (HDHomerun Prime) or a couple of standard OTA networked HDHomerun Duals. A NAS holding all of the TB's of media somewhere hidden would make it complete/perfect. A gigabit wired network would be the icing on the cake.

    dkapke said:
    I have 2 60mm rear case fans that have a nice little buzz to them, but I can only hear it when the TV and everything else in the entertainment center is off (the HTPC is on 24x7 for recording and converting duties), and that's only when I'm within 5 feet of it which begs another point - how loud something is when you're right next to it is NOT how loud it is from the couch.
    Your case sounds like mine. I have 2x 60mm rear fans too and that was quite a challenge to get quiet... I'm still not happy with the noise/cfm ratio. Currently I'm using thermal sensor controlled Vantec stealth fans. I had to do a 7V mod to quiet them down though. I've been considering the Noiseblocker 60mm fans, any idea if they are any good? Part of my problem is my case is aluminum which is inferior to steel for blocking sound and vibration. Unfortunately, the case was $300 and I'll have a very hard time convincing the wife that I need to buy another case :??:  .

    dkapke said:
    Anyways...enough of my ranting.
    I see no ranting, all your info/advice is spot on.

    I'm currently mapping out my HTPC #4 which is going into the master bedroom. It's ITX, and I'm going to attempt a completely passive build (maybe 1 fan). I'm waiting very patiently for the Asus E35M1-I Deluxe fusion board and plan to pair it with a picoPSU. And yes, it will get an SSD :kaola:  . Since it's going in the bedroom, absolute silence is a must (light sleeper). I don't want LED's either. We'll see how it turns out.


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    February 9, 2011 3:02:58 AM

    Best answer selected by lirsch.
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