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Very Cheap ($200 - $250) HTPC Build

Last response: in Systems
March 15, 2011 8:19:39 PM

*** Edited to match the forum template ***

Approximate Purchase Date: this week

Budget Range: $200 - $250 after rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: I would like to build a computer that can play Netflix watch instantly, hulu, youtube, DVDs, and 1080p videos -- and to do so cheaply. It doesn't need to do anything else.

Parts Not Required: case, CD/DVD drive, keyboard, mouse

Preferred Website(s) for Parts:

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: I don't care as long as it's dirt cheap, but here are the items I was thinking of getting:

Mobo: BIOSTAR N68S3+ AM3 NVIDIA MCP68S Micro ATX AMD Motherboard

PSU: LOGISYS Computer PS550ABK 550Watts ATX12V Power Supply With SATA and 20/24 Pin connectors

CPU: AMD Athlon II X2 255 Regor 3.1GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor

HDD: HITACHI Deskstar 7K1000.C HDS721010CLA332 (0F10383) 1TB

Memory: PNY Optima 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333

Subtotal: ~$210

Overclocking: Don't care

SLI or Crossfire: Don't care

Monitor Resolution: 1280x1024

Additional Comments: The real question I have for the forum is: will this configuration be powerful enough to handle the media-playback tasks I want it to do?

To keep the costs down, I'd like to use the on-board GPU that comes with either of the motherboards, but I am concerned that the NVIDIA GeForce 7025 / nForce 630a that comes with the motherboard will not be able to cut it. (I might consider getting the BIOSTAR A880G+ AM3 AMD 880G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard, but I have the same concerns about whether the onboard video would be good enough, and would probably rather have NVIDIA than ATI.)

Any comments on this specific issue would be helpful, as would any general comments and advice. This is my first time building a computer for this purpose, so any words of advice are much appreciated!


Best solution

March 15, 2011 9:11:34 PM

Go with that 880G board - way more capable Blu Ray/HD DVD worthy IGP hehe
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March 15, 2011 9:16:17 PM

Edit: Thanks for the response, batuchka -- you posted before I was able to get a reply up, but I think that resolves the below question at least.

Does the BIOSTAR A880G+ AM3 AMD 880G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard ( mentioned in my first post meet that criteria sufficiently? Is there a reason to pick ASUS over Biostar?

To add a complicating factor -- will all of this work on Ubuntu? (I'm not committed to using Ubuntu -- I have a Windows 7 license -- but I thought I might give it a try.)
March 15, 2011 9:34:59 PM

Nope - that Asus is a 760G chipset and so sports a Radeon 3000 IGP which lack Universal Video Decoder (UVD) found in later chipset/IGP like 780G and better and hence makes it less than ideal for HTPC duty ^^
So ya that 880G is about just the sweet spot at that price/for your tasks hehe
March 21, 2011 11:56:54 PM

Best answer selected by jakeandbake.