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First HTPC Build, advice welcome!

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April 3, 2011 11:25:09 PM

I am going to build a HTPC for myself this summer, preferably late June/early July. I would like to be able to play 3D Blu-R=rays as I have a 3D TV and no 3D content. I decided on the Sandy Bridge route because it seems to offer the cheapest way to do 3D Blu-ray. The other route I could possibly go is with a Radeon HD 6xxx card and an Athlon x4 635 I have laying around doing nothing, but this way is more expensive. My absolute max is US $500. I love Newegg, but Tiger Direct is good too. Amazon is fine, although I don't love them. Also, I am paranoid about sound, so it has to be less than 20dBA.

Parts List:
Case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Silverstone Black thin, lots of space for fans.

Case Fans: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
4 of them should do.

Motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
USB 3.0, SATA III, HDMI and cheap.

Power Supply: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Won't need more than 300w and this one is quiet.

CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Sandy Bridge, not going to be gaming on it so this should be more than sufficient.

RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
4Gigs should be overkill, but it's cheap.

Optical Drive: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Cheap, 12x read on blu-ray should be plenty.

Heatsink: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Short to fit in case and it has copper.

Heatsink Fan: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Quieter than the one that comes with the heatsink, trying to avoid noise. Moves a decent amount of air.

A thermal compound and a remote bring it to $497 and some change, free shipping.

What do you think? I'm open to suggestions!

Thanks in advance!

More about : htpc build advice

April 4, 2011 5:00:56 AM

I'll suggest you hold off on fully loading the case with fans, and also hold off on the aftermarket HSF (and added quiet fan). With the money saved, get a better PSU than the Coolmax you've selected. Look for Seasonic, Antec, Corsair, or Enermax brands. They are better quality, and quiet too.

If you find the stock HSF is too noisy, then entertain the option of an aftermarket cooler and/or fan. Same with the case fans... only get what you need, if you find you need it.

That's my 2¢.
April 4, 2011 5:05:20 AM

rwpritchett is SO right. I'll tell you now, he's is probably the best HTPC expert I know. My builds were... not really, they were mostly based off my opinion (Harhar).

BTW, you don't need a 500$ HTPC. A 400$ tops. $300 would give you the perfect HTPC, and rw's extras would bring you to $400 (Blu-Ray, Fans, ETC ETC) more like $350.

Love the project rw, compliments on the wiring. I hate disgusting wire jobs. That's why I like Modular, :D  My 902 is awesomely clean har.
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April 5, 2011 1:17:24 AM

Ok, so I dumped 3 of the case fans and the after market cooler with the quieter fan. I also don't see a need for that specific case.

New Case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It's cheap and not completely ugly. I'll live with it.

This all brings me to $402.98

Now, I realized I forgot a hard drive, but I have a few laying around so I'll just use one of those. I also need a wireless card. I found this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I don't mind the extra $36 just to not have to run cat5 cable through the floor of my house.

Only question I have left is, where do I get antennas for that card?
April 5, 2011 1:18:36 AM

Oh forgot to mention, the new case comes with a PSU. It's nothing amazing, but I'm not complaining.
April 5, 2011 6:09:40 PM

aznshinobi said:
rwpritchett is SO right. I'll tell you now, he's is probably the best HTPC expert I know.
Thanks for the kind words. :) 

swaj5 said:
Ok, so I dumped 3 of the case fans and the after market cooler with the quieter fan. I also don't see a need for that specific case.

New Case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It's cheap and not completely ugly. I'll live with it.
Case selection is a subjective matter, so whatever floats your boat. I personally like the Silverstone you originally selected. Pair it up with a good quality low-power PSU (Antec Earthwatts maybe?) and you have a winner. Don't settle for a case just because it comes with a bundled power supply. Bundled PSU's are rarely any good. If you are interested in a case/PSU HTPC bundle, maybe consider one from Antec: Link and Link

swaj5 said:
Now, I realized I forgot a hard drive, but I have a few laying around so I'll just use one of those. I also need a wireless card. I found this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I don't mind the extra $36 just to not have to run cat5 cable through the floor of my house.

Only question I have left is, where do I get antennas for that card?
That is a mini-PCIe card and it is only used for notebooks, netbooks, or some desktop ITX boards. It won't work with the motherboard you've chosen above. What you want is either an internal wireless PCI or PCIe low-profile card, or a USB network adapter. Which exact wireless card you need depends on what network your plan to connect to. Wireless n? 2.4GHz or 5GHz? Maybe something like this.
April 5, 2011 7:51:55 PM

That wireless card is exactly what I'm looking for, thanks!

The reason I went with that case is simply because black matches my TV and stand well, and because it's cheap. I don't really see anywhere else where I can save money.

As for the PSU: I will not be putting anything else into this PC that would be power hungry, so I'm not sure if I need anything more than the bundled one. Plus, I'm already paying for it, so I might as well use it. If anyone feels very strongly against me using it, can you tell me the form factor so I can get a good one? Thanks!

And again, thank you all for your input. It is greatly appreciated.
April 5, 2011 9:39:40 PM

OK, as I said case selection is a subjective matter and you know what is best for your own set up.

You'll probably be alright with the PSU with a low power system. Just don't expect to install anything power hungry like a video card in there. If it does blow, you can always replace the PSU with a better brand. It's a TFX form factor PSU, Seasonic and FSP have replacement parts if you need them (link)

Be sure to update us with the status of your build!
April 6, 2011 4:09:19 PM

swaj5 said:
Ok, so I dumped 3 of the case fans and the after market cooler with the quieter fan. I also don't see a need for that specific case.

New Case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It's cheap and not completely ugly. I'll live with it.

This all brings me to $402.98

Now, I realized I forgot a hard drive, but I have a few laying around so I'll just use one of those. I also need a wireless card. I found this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I don't mind the extra $36 just to not have to run cat5 cable through the floor of my house.

Only question I have left is, where do I get antennas for that card?



Be careful with case size, I originally bought a full ATX Apevia, which was too deep to fit in my cabinet. Make sure you have room for your case.
April 9, 2011 11:57:57 PM

aznshinobi said:
rwpritchett is SO right. I'll tell you now, he's is probably the best HTPC expert I know. My builds were... not really, they were mostly based off my opinion (Harhar).

BTW, you don't need a 500$ HTPC. A 400$ tops. $300 would give you the perfect HTPC, and rw's extras would bring you to $400 (Blu-Ray, Fans, ETC ETC) more like $350.

Love the project rw, compliments on the wiring. I hate disgusting wire jobs. That's why I like Modular, :D  My 902 is awesomely clean har.



Amen to that bro ,RW helped me fly off by recycling my C2D E4300 PC into an HTPC...gracias RW, you da man!!!!

how you doin aznshinobi? when was the last time we battled it out for a budget build?

Quote:
Only question I have left is, where do I get antennas for that card?

did you look here

* by the time i've posted this RW beat me to the punch :D  - apologies here...disregard my posted link :) 

Quote:
If it does blow, you can always replace the PSU with a better brand.
provided the components are intact after a blown PSU :p 
April 10, 2011 4:53:41 AM

^ I've been good. I don't even remember, you?
April 10, 2011 8:28:53 AM

^should be 6 months 'maybe'. That first gen i3 build where we were trading blows over what PSU and the 80+ratings the OP should get :)  lol

^Great Link there. In the hands of a semi educated techie - your site can do wonders! Ofcourse, with rwpritchett around you're second in command, i think :p 

Hopefully I'll be looking forward to building 2~3 HTPC/mild gaming (@ 1080p) builds for my friends. Be letting both you and rwpritchett in on the parts when i get my hands on the dough.
April 10, 2011 8:45:53 AM

Wow that is a long time ago.

Haha yeah, my knowledge is to the extent of what I seen on the forums and what I've researched. Thanks for the compliments.

Yeah HTPC's aren't my strong suit. Probably let rwptritchett handle that. I'm more of the desktop guy. I like to have room to work with. More power, yah know. The powerful systems. Well, I actually am more of a budgeter (low 1000s high 400s)

April 10, 2011 8:48:20 AM

:D  cheers mate!
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