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Bedroom HTPC <$500

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March 18, 2011 2:57:35 PM

My girlfriend recently moved in and brought along a 40" Sony Bravia which we have put in the bedroom. My old rig was a buzzsaw which needs to exit the bedroom. Now I'm looking for a replacement for web browsing and netflix/hulu streaming. As it will be in the bedroom and used during the evenings, elimination of noise and lights are necessary. I'd like something about the size of a dvd player that can look nice sitting on top of our dresser. Limited power consumption should also be stressed, but not at the cost of reducing performance. Onboard HDMI is a must, onboard wifi would be nice, but not entirely necessary.

Approximate Purchase Date: 2-3 weeks

Budget Range: $300-500

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Streaming Video, DVD playback (1080p), light classic gaming

Parts Not Required: Just need a box & components

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Have used tigerdirect.com and newegg.com in the past, but other suggestions are welcome

Country of Origin: Indiana, USA

Parts Preferences: I'd like to try a mini-itx system to minimize space, but I have no real brand loyalty.

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1080p

Additional Comments: Need a quiet, unobtrusive pc for nighttime viewing. A sturdy black metal case with a dull finish would be preferred.

Combos I've found on my own:
mini-itx combo - Reviewers say case fan is loud, but I could possibly unplug it
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

uATX Combo - A bit of overkill, but I like the box's aesthetics - I'd be concerned about noise from this build
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboBundleDetails.aspx?I...

More about : bedroom htpc 500

March 18, 2011 3:27:31 PM

Those aren't the best ideas. I'd look at something like this:

CPU/Mobo: i3-2100 and ASRock H67M-ITX $217 with shipping
RAM: Corsair XMS3 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 9 $35 after rebate
HDD: Seagate 7200.12 1 TB $65. I think it's a little quieter than the Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB, but verify this before buying it.
Case: hec ITX HTPC case with 200W PSU $60 with shipping
Optical: Slim SATA DVD burner $38 with shipping

Total: $415. I make no garuantees about that PSU. I'm not that experienced with small form PCs, so you might want to try out the PSU before trying to find a replacement for it. That way you'd have a way to actually measure how much space you have for one.

You could also replace the case with one you like better. Some reviews did complain about the fan's noise, but you can replace it.

Best solution

March 19, 2011 12:44:47 PM
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Consider this for a super low-power & entirely passive (quiet) build:

Case: GIGABYTE GZ-SPIM51-P0B Black 0.6 mm SECC / ABS Mini-ITX Desktop Computer Case 65W adapter Power Supply $61 (inexpensive, mini-ITX, bundled 65W picoPSU, and looks just like a blu-ray/DVD player when you don't use the monitor stand, takes a full-size 3.5" HDD and full-size 5.25" optical drive too!)


Mobo/CPU/VGA/WiFi/BT: ASUS E35M1-I DELUXE AMD Zacate E-350 AMD Hudson M1 Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU Combo $175 (passive cooled AMD Fusion board that includes everything but the kitchen sink onboard including wireless n and bluetooth, and it can play any media you throw at it).


RAM: G.SKILL Value Series 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Desktop Memory Model F3-10600CL9S-4GBNT $39 (a single stick of basic RAM- Zacate only supports single channel memory BTW)

HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F4 HD204UI 2TB 5400 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive $90 (It's a quiet 5400rpm drive, but is relatively fast due to its high platter density- I have this drive and it benchmarks faster than my 1st gen 1TB WD 7200rpm black drive... except for access time)

BD: LITE-ON Black 4X BD-ROM 8X DVD-ROM 32X CD-ROM SATA Internal 4X Blu-ray Disc Reader Model iHOS104-08 $55 (comes with blu-ray player software, a bargain)

That all comes to $420 not including OS. You may want to pick up a small wireless keyboard and/or remote to complete the HTPC experience.






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March 21, 2011 6:15:20 PM

Those options look great. Thank you both!

Are there any strong opinions on this Habey Case? I love its look, but have read a few accounts of circulation problems. My current mATX HTPC runs around 30-40C (with plenty of circulation) while this one seems to run in the 50s using that ASUS/AMD combo board even after cooling measures have been put into place. Seems high in comparison, but I guess they're different beasts.

If this case becomes available soon (currently out of stock on Newegg) I'd likely go with the ASUS/AMD Board, G.SKILL 4GB Ram, SAMSUNG 2TB HD, and a Lite-On Slot-Load DVD burner for its aesthetics. I'll probably have to get a small 60mm fan for the case, but if it looks nice enough, a small amount of fan noise would be bearable.
March 21, 2011 6:15:36 PM

Best answer selected by niceguy250.
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