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HTPC/Server ~$2000

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March 1, 2011 4:01:25 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: March/April
Budget Range: $2,000
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Watch movies, media server, web browsing (simultaneously)
Parts Not Required: Monitor, boot drive (have 2TB WD Green drive), Win7 64
Country of Origin: USA
Parts Preferences: Intel CPUs and Vapor-X (AMD) graphics cards
Overclocking: No
SLI or Crossfire: No
Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080, Panasonic TC-P50GT25 50-inch, 3D

Additional Comments: I would like a quiet HTPC with room for 7 hard drives. I intend to use FlexRAID for media storage; only have about 4TB of media today but want space to expand. Would heavily multitask, including play a movie, serve a separate movie stream, and download simultaneously. I'm looking at the iPad + iRule as the remote control. This will be on 24x7.

I understand from the reviews that it will accept an 8th HD if I drill a few holes.

Ordered/Delivered

$210 CPU: Intel i5-2500 Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz
$ 65 RAM: Patriot Sector 5 8GB DDR3 1333
$100 PSU: Antec TruePower TP-750 750W
$230 GPU: SPARKLE GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 1GB
$135 OS HD: Crucial RealSSD C300 2.5" 64GB SATA III
$510 HD (3x3TB): WD 3TB Green [after disassembly, these format to 2.794 TB]
$ 75 Cooler: Noctua NH-C12P
$130 Case: SILVERSTONE LC10B-E
$ 48 Case Fans (4x80mm): Scythe Kama Flow 2 80mm
$ 15 CPU Fan (1x120mm): Scythe Kama Flow 2 120mm
$ 8 Thermal Compound: OCZ Freeze

Pending

$TBD Motherboard: TBD [Looking for 8 SATA ports, but an expansion card is also inexpensive.]
$TBD DVD/BD-ROM: TBD
$TBD Keyboard: TBD [Wireless]
$TBD Mouse: TBD [Wireless]

Questions: I'd appreciate perspective on this parts selection, whether I should consider a 775 or 1156 solution, recommendation for wireless keyboard/mouse, and whether I can play games on this TV in 3D using Pioneer's glasses (nVidia's 3D solution has received more press). If yes on the last question, I may elect to go with the 6870 Vapor-X for ~$230. Thanks!

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March 2, 2011 1:15:18 PM

Hello cme;

Asus P8P67 PRO motherboard (about $185) has the 8 SATA ports you want, plus 2 xExternal SATA 3.0 Gb/s ports.
ASUS P8P67 Pro LGA 1155 ATX Motherboard Review @ PCPerspective

Do you already have a 3D Blu-Ray player for movies and videos?
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March 2, 2011 1:24:47 PM

AMD HD3D Technology Supported Hardware
Your Panasonic TC-P50GT25 50-inch 3D TV is not on the supported list of Supported Hardware for AMD HD3D gaming.
Panasonic 3D Glasses (TY-EW3D2MU, TY-EW3D2SU) are on the supported hardware list. You didn't mention what model you have.
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March 3, 2011 2:50:16 AM

Thanks - I see that the Panasonic P50GT25 3D TV is on the compatible display list for nVidia, so I'll probably recycle an existing HD4770 and do more reading. I'm also waiting for 1155 motherboards to come back in stock; they appear to be trickling in.

I don't have a 3D Blu-ray internal drive - I just incorrectly assumed any current Blu-ray drive would work. I'll search for a replacement.

Edits:
PSU: Replaced the HX650 Corsair with the Antec TP-750; which appears to stay under 18 dB through 300W draw and happens to be $100 today.
RAM: Replaced the 4GB kit with 8GB since my desktop uses ~3.5 GB today while streaming and future applications will likely be more demanding.

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March 3, 2011 5:00:15 AM

cme said:
RAM: Replaced the 4GB kit with 8GB since my desktop uses ~3.5 GB today while streaming and future applications will likely be more demanding.
8GB is not a bad thing and I won't try and talk you out of it. But the assumption is that using ~3.5GB of RAM today is somehow bad. It's actually GOOD. Unused RAM is wasted RAM.
If you put in 8GB of RAM in your current machine it would start using it, quite a bit more than 3.5GB just because it's there and Win7 works to keep programs, files and data expected to be needed in RAM. It's faster for your system to grab what's needed from RAM than load it up from the HDD.
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March 7, 2011 12:35:36 AM

8 GB of RAM seems reasonable for a device that will constantly be multitasking.

Edits:
OS HD: Replaced the 2TB WD Green drive with a 64GB C300 SSD.
GPU: Replaced the Vapor-X 5770 with a nVidia 560 Ti. This card appears to have excellent sonic characteristics and allows 3D gaming via the Panasonic TV.
Fans: Replaced the 120 mm drives with 80 mm drives: after looking at the pictures of the HD bays, I don't see how 120 mm drives would fit there.

I've also separated the list between ordered components and pending decisions. I missed out on the MSI 1155 MBs which were in stock at Newegg over the last few days, so need to make a decision on MB, 3D Blu-ray drive (Lite-On appears to be the only choice), and wireless remote/mouse.
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March 16, 2011 2:59:17 AM

Best answer selected by cme.
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