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Advice for HTPC build

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March 1, 2011 3:56:34 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: 1-2 weeks

Budget Range: ~$400-$500

System Usage from Most to Least Important: HTPC for big screen LCD (mostly for movie files), light browsing, some light gaming (I have a rig for heavy gaming already, but in separate room)

Parts Not Required: OS, monitor, dvd drive

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

Country of Origin: US

Parts Preferences: Leaning AMD, but not picky

Overclocking: no

SLI or Crossfire: no

Monitor Resolution: 1080P TV

Additional Comments: Would like a quiet setup, at least more so than an Xbox 360 (I know that
shouldn't take much). Planning on using Media Center on windows 7


Some parts that I've found so far:

COOLER MASTER Elite 360 $39.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
This case is on the top end of my size range, but is inexpensive and flexible with ATX mobo option.

XIGMATEK ACXTNRP-PC402 400W ATX12V $34.95
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Never heard of the brand before personally, but I've seen some good reviews.

AMD Athlon II X3 435 Rana 2.9GHz Socket AM3 95W $71.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MSI 880GM-E41 AM3 AMD 880G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard $74.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Would a separate graphics card work better?

Crucial 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) $44.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Western Digital Caviar Green WD20EARS 2TB SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" $79.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Too slow?

Total= $346.90

Don't think I need a disk drive, I'm sure I'll almost never use it and I can steal from my rig to install.

Any suggestions about controls? I'll be sitting about 10 feet from the tv and htpc. Will wireless mouse and keyboard work okay, or is it too far? I like the idea of using a universal type remote to power on/off the system, but I can't seem to find any simple solutions to that.

Any input would be appreciated.

Thanks

More about : advice htpc build

March 1, 2011 6:57:42 PM

The onboard video is fine but you can get the new stuff with IGP in the new CPU but that's not for gaming:

GIGABYTE GA-E350N-USB3 AMD E-350 (1.6GHz, Dual-Core) AMD Hudson-M1 FCH Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU Combo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F4 HD204UI 2TB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
SILVERSTONE Sugo Series SG05BB-450
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$396.96

Otherwise here's a nice HTPC case for your rig above.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
March 1, 2011 10:49:20 PM

Your budget range of $400 - $500 is similar to mine, except that I went with a more compact mini-itx motherboard and case. Otherwise, my recently finished HTPC build is similar to what you describe. I ordered all the parts from Newegg, Amazon and Buy.com. It consists of:

Mobo, etc.: I used a Low-power Gigabyte mini-itx GA-H55N-USB3 motherboard with 4GB Corsair DD3 Ram and a 2TB Seagate Barracuda drive. I used the Intel Clarkdale i3 CPU with its integrated GPU core, since this motherboard has no GPU of its own. It is driving my HDMI 1080i Philips 47" TV very nicely.

Case w/ PSU & 80mm Fan: I wanted something that would fit neatly into a bookshelf, so I chose a low cost mini-itx Rosewill RC-CIX-01 black steel case ($49 from Newegg) - much better quality than I had expected - everything fits in easily using the stock Intel cooler. This is a really low power motherboard that runs cool and fairly quiet. The 150W P.S. is adequate since I don't need a separate graphics card.

Remote Control: I found out that a low-cost Xbox Universal Remote Control can be converted for use with Media Center with a simple registry change.

TV card: You didn't mention watching TV but I am strongly against paying for cable! There is a single PCI-E slot on this motherboard so I installed an AverTV Duet PCI-E tuner card for Over The Air TV watching. For streaming video, Netflix, Hulu, Kylo and Boxee run smoother than on a previous Zotac/Ion build for my son-in-law.

The entire build came to around $500, less the Windows 7 O.S. You can see this build here: http://technocatsblog.blogspot.com/
Related resources
March 1, 2011 10:52:32 PM

You could try out the build in my siggy. It's a 350$ HTPC build. Plus the CPU power (if you need it) will be more than that of the Zacate. The Zacate is a good CPU though for mini-ITX builds.
March 2, 2011 1:43:57 AM

i3 / H55 is still my choice for a "mid-level" HTPC build.
!