Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

~$500 HTPC i3 build questions

Last response: in Systems
Share
May 13, 2011 6:56:46 PM

Hi, as the title says I'm trying to build an HTPC for my parents for approximately $500 with an i3 cpu. I want to show them the world of watching television programs with no commercials, any time they want :) 
This is my second build, but I'm pretty inexperienced with the whole high-def TV side of things, so bear with me. Thank you in advance for your help

Here's the FAQ:

Approximate Purchase Date: ASAP

Budget Range: $350-$500

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Streaming Netflix, Hulu, avi's, dvd/blu-ray rips to a 42'' high-def tv with 1080p; browsing and other normal tasks.

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com or amazon.com. Would like all my parts to come from the same place though.

Country of Origin: US

Parts Preferences: Trying to fit everything into something with a small footprint. Currently have a MicroATX Midtower chosen but am willing to take suggestions (on everything, not just the tower).

Overclocking: No. The build is for my parents, and though they are not technologically illiterate, they wouldn't be interested in anything for power users like OC'ing.

SLI or Crossfire: Nope

Monitor Resolution: 42'' High-def TV

I have a bunch of questions regarding the following build:

1. I guess my most important question is "will this build be overkill ?" If I can spend less money, I'd like to. I did research and found people saying an AMD athlon x2 could do what I need this current build to do. What are your thoughts?

2. I have the i3-540 listed as the build. Will I benefit from having another iteration of the i3 like the i3-2100 instead? If I change to the 2100, will I have to change any other parts due to compatibility?

3. Regarding the motherboard: I've seen threads in which people recommend the h55, h61, and h67. If it's between h61 and h67, do I really need the more expensive one?

4. I didn't include a Blu-Ray reader in the build because the cheaper ones on newegg seemed to require the purchase of software in order to play certain movies. I don't mind just going DVD and buying a Blu-Ray player later if my parents decide to watch Blu-Rays.

5. My dad plans on keeping this on his office desk, which is in the room adjacent to the TV room. A long cable seems easily runnable between the tower and the TV. Are there any reasons to not do this? Any alternatives? I read that HDMI cables have a limit to how long they can be. Suggestions?

6. Thoughts on the Caviar Green? Does the hit to performance it takes in comparison to the Blue make a noticeable difference? I wouldn't mind the opportunity to consume less power.

Additional Notes:
Most likely wont be doing DVR so a TV tuner wont be necessary unless you guys can convince me otherwise. Also, I wont be going 3D either because my dad is unable to see it do to an eye injury.

Here's the build:
Intel Core i3-540 Clarkdale 3.06GHz 4MB L3 Cache LGA 1156 73W Dual-Core Desktop Processor BX80616I3540
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
118.99

ASUS P7H55-M PRO LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
104.99

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL8D-4GBHK
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
46.99

LITE-ON Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 24X DVD Writer LightScribe Support
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
25.99

Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
44.99

Antec New Solution NSK3480 Black/ Silver 0.8mm cold-rolled steel construction MicroATX Mid Tower Computer Case 380W Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
94.99

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit English 1-Pack - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
99.99

Total: $536.93

Thanks Again Guys
May 14, 2011 1:14:19 AM

noclue11 said:

And the mother board with a h61 chipset board like this one http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


AFAICT, that motherboard does not have HDMI out.

Try this one:
ASUS P8H61-M (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel H61 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$79.99 w/ free shipping

I have the mini-itx version of this motherboard and so far I am very happy with it.

This case is a little more updated than the older NSK3480 and the same price (plus a little more in shipping which might not make a difference if you have more items in your order)

Antec NSK 4482B Black 0.8mm cold rolled steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 380W Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$89.99
Related resources
May 14, 2011 1:19:56 AM

If your budget allows I would stick with the i3-2100/H61 build over an AMD build, at least until the next generation AMD stuff shows up in the summertime (aka Bulldozer). The current AMD offering are very long in the tooth, do not support a lot of the features the modern chips do and use a lot more power.
May 15, 2011 12:31:21 AM

Guys, I really appreciate your posts... they helped me out a lot.
Will be witching to the motherboard Mr. Fresh recommended:
ASUS P8H61-M (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel H61 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
And as for the links, they strengthened my conviction that this was a good idea :) 
Thanks again--
!