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Need help finalizing HTPC build!

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June 13, 2011 4:11:14 AM

Hey guys,

I posted this some time ago and Striker helped me with the build. So far I've ordered some of the parts and am missing the main components of the system. I was planning to wait until the Llano desktops get released and maybe catch a price drop on Intel's part, but with all this Father's Day sales nonsense I just might cash in now.

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Approximate Purchase Date: either very soon or after AMD's first batch gets released

Budget Range: 400 for remaining parts before rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: HTPC streaming, gaming

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: NCIX, directcanada

Country of Origin: Canada

Parts Preferences: Intel CPU

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

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What I have already:

Apex SK-393-C Mid Tower ATX Case Black ------------ $24.48
Antec Earthwatts Green 500W Power Supply ---------- $69.68
Western Digital WD10EARS Caviar Green 1TB -------- $65.34

This ends up at about $170 CA.

I'm looking for a CPU, motherboard, RAM, and GPU.

CPU:
i3 - 2100

MOBO:
I'm wondering how low I can get the mobo to be, since I don't need to many features. I will need to hook up to an HDTV, but I suppose that can be done through a graphics card?

GPU:

Sapphire 5770 for $119.99

Powercolour 5770 for $90

XFX 6870 for $179.99

EVGA GTX 460 for $139.99

Of course, I'm open to any suggestions that are within budget. As a side note, I'm not really looking to future proof at all. Thanks in advance!

Edited and shortened :) 

After much reading, if anybody comes across this thread:
If you're looking for a quiet system (like me), do NOT get the sapphire 6870.
Go for the MSI twin frozr instead, which runs much much quieter for a minor sacrifice in performance.

More about : finalizing htpc build

Best solution

June 13, 2011 4:32:39 AM

Hey vz7! It's me again. Not to post whore, but I have some more advice.

-Dont get the i3+P67. What you need is i3+ H67 or Z68! That will allow you to use the IGP on the CPU, and negate the need for a GPU (unless playing anything more graphics intensive than starcraft 2 on low). That will significantly cut down on cost.

Might I suggest this combo? Better than anything I could find at the NCIX sale: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Item... It will allow you to use the IGP, and has usb3 and sata3.

This ram is plenty for your needs: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

And stock cooling is just fine.

That should get you started ;) 
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June 13, 2011 4:44:08 AM

Hey! I was actually hoping you'd drop by hahahah. That newegg combo is alot better! I am looking into getting a GPU too though, the reason being that my roommate and I may want to play some of the newer games like Witcher 2 or something. That said, I may yet hold off on the GPU, as the roommate won't be moving in for another 2 months.

Also, what do you think about llano? It seems like a HTPC kind of chip, it also seems to manage GPU power consumption better. Should I wait for that (or the theoretical intel price drop that comes with that)?
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June 13, 2011 5:02:48 AM

the Llano fusion APU's ( E-350) are out, and they are very good HTPC options. However, you better not be playing anything more intensive than minecraft. Even with powerful graphics cards, their low clock rates dont allow them to scale well.

And for a GPU, the witcher 2 is a VERY intensive game. I would go no lower than 6850/GTX 460.
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June 13, 2011 5:10:39 AM

I was actually thinking about the llano A8 or A6 that have yet to be released.
These guys actually benchmarked a bunch of cards for Witcher 2 and it seems you're dead on in terms of acceptable frame rates!.

They don't seem to be producing the 5850 xtremes any more, and I will probably go with a 6850 or 6870 as opposed to NVidia as it seems that the GTX cards draw more power for around the same price and performance. How does that sound?

Regardless, it seems that CPU + mobo will cost around 200, RAM around 40, and the rest is left to a GPU at about 160.

Thanks for your help again!

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June 13, 2011 5:32:06 AM

I would second your view on getting a 6850 or 6870. The 6870 rivals the more expensive GTX 560 Ti, while the 6850 competes with the GTX 460. I however think that saying GTX cards have higher power draw is like saying Chevy's Vs. Cadillac's use more gas. For power to performance, the 6000 series and the 500 series are about on par. However, the 6850 and 6870 are pretty unbeatable values.
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June 13, 2011 5:44:06 AM

So from the looks of it:

i3-2100 ----- 114.69

ASUS P8H67-M LE ----- 97.14

G.SKILL F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL ----- 40.36

Total comes to about $250, which actually meets the 400 HTPC I posted some weeks ago! I do wish that there was a microcenter in Canada that would cut my price by much more though!

One last question here:

If I grab, say, a sapphire 6870, will my power supply be able to handle it? And will I need additional cooling?
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June 13, 2011 5:48:53 AM

Coolio!

And yes, your PSU will handle a 6870 with ease.
No, no additional cooling is needed. Stock is fine.

Now, did you but the case already? For an HTPC it's fine, but a 6870 might get a little hot in there.
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June 13, 2011 5:54:52 AM

Yes I have the midtower case already, I also bought a fan:

Coolermaster R4-L2R-20AC 120MM Blue LED Case Fan 2000RPM 69CFM 19DBA 3/4 Pin

I don't know how much that will help? Do you have any recommendations as to how to keep the temperature reasonable?

This build is looking nice! The price is around where I'd like it to be even after overspending a bit to get quiet parts!
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June 13, 2011 5:58:55 AM

Well the easiest is to establish proper airflow. Air needs to come in the bottom front, and go out the top/back. I couldn't tell if that case had room for a front fan, but it needs one. If it doesn't, a little clever modding and you'll be in good shape ;) 

P.S. where are there fan mounts? The pictures weren't very clear.
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June 13, 2011 6:13:24 AM

There is a 80mm fan mount at the back. There also seems to be a fan mount on the lower front of the metal cage, but the outer plastic cover blocks most of it, leaving only a small airduct of roughly 2 cm high at the very bottom. From the looks of it I don't think the air duct is placed well enough to draw in enough air, so perhaps I'll need to make some changes there!

My intention is to actually mount the 120mm fan onto the venting holes on the side, drawing air out that way.
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June 13, 2011 6:19:08 AM

Ahh, that should help with the GPU heat a little. And yes, I think you may want to do something about that front slot. The front intake is arguably the most important factor in airflow, as it goes straight over the HDD's, cooling them down. Hot HDD's=more risk of failure. However, be careful with your modding. You don't wanna end up with an ugly case.
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June 13, 2011 6:21:04 AM

Okay will do! Thanks again, I'll probably post how everything goes once I start building!
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June 13, 2011 6:21:27 AM

Best answer selected by vz7.
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June 16, 2011 2:02:33 PM

vz7 said:
Hey guys,

I posted this some time ago and Striker helped me with the build. So far I've ordered some of the parts and am missing the main components of the system. I was planning to wait until the Llano desktops get released and maybe catch a price drop on Intel's part, but with all this Father's Day sales nonsense I just might cash in now.

--------------

Approximate Purchase Date: either very soon or after AMD's first batch gets released

Budget Range: 400 for remaining parts before rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: HTPC streaming, gaming

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: NCIX, directcanada

Country of Origin: Canada

Parts Preferences: Intel CPU

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

---------------

What I have already:

Apex SK-393-C Mid Tower ATX Case Black ------------ $24.48
Antec Earthwatts Green 500W Power Supply ---------- $69.68
Western Digital WD10EARS Caviar Green 1TB -------- $65.34

This ends up at about $170 CA.

I'm looking for a CPU, motherboard, RAM, and GPU.

CPU:
i3 - 2100

MOBO:
I'm wondering how low I can get the mobo to be, since I don't need to many features. I will need to hook up to an HDTV, but I suppose that can be done through a graphics card?

GPU:

Sapphire 5770 for $119.99

Powercolour 5770 for $90

XFX 6870 for $179.99

EVGA GTX 460 for $139.99

Of course, I'm open to any suggestions that are within budget. As a side note, I'm not really looking to future proof at all. Thanks in advance!

Edited and shortened :) 

After much reading, if anybody comes across this thread:
If you're looking for a quiet system (like me), do NOT get the sapphire 6870.
Go for the MSI twin frozr instead, which runs much much quieter for a minor sacrifice in performance.


Why not buy a motherboard that allows you to use your CPU's on-board graphics, and do away with the heat and fan noise of a GPU card? The H67 motherboards are cheaper now - about $100 US for an ASUS. Consider a simple heat sink instead of a noisy CPU fan (Silverstone NE-01). Use a quiet (Nexus or Noctua) case fan to cool your heat sink, which would be your only heat source, and with a 65 watt (max) CPU, that would be minimal heat.
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June 22, 2011 3:17:46 AM

Just to update for those interested:

The computer is set up, with a 40 inch Dynex HDTV and basic 2.1 Creative speakers.
After taxes, everything (including the TV) comes to about $1100 CND.

In the price I've also included a EVGA 460 which were on sale at $105 after rebates, a fan controller, and 4 quiet case fans.

The system is set up with Windows 7 and Boxee. The speakers combined with iTunes hotkeys allow it to be used as a media player without turning on the TV. Dropbox makes it double as a online print server. I'm controlling the system with wireless keyboard and mouse right now. I might look into getting a remote.

As a side note I've also set up a Voip DID with VoIP.ms using an ATA for something like 2~3 dollars a month.

All this composes an awesome, decently priced home system! Thanks for everyone's help!
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