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$600 HTPC build in need of review

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June 25, 2011 2:26:30 AM

I'm new to both the forum and system building, so I'd like to run my ideas by some experts.

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Approximate Purchase Date: within the next month

Budget Range: ~$500-600 before rebate

System Usage from Most to Least Important: streaming Netflix and sports, light gaming, web surfing, music

Parts Not Required: monitor, peripherals, OS

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg, as long as it's available there

Country of Origin: United States

Parts Preferences: see below

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire:No

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 HDTV

Additional Comments: It should be cool and quiet enough to live inside an entertainment center

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Motherboard: MSI H67MA-E35 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel H67 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

Video Card: SAPPHIRE 100321DDR5LP Radeon HD 6450 512MB DDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready Low Profile Ready Video Card

PSU: SeaSonic SS-350SFE 350W SFX12V V3.1 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - OEM

CPU:Intel Core i3-2100 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I32100

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL

HDD: Western Digital Caviar Green WD15EARS 1.5TB SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

DVD: ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM

Case: SilverStone GD02S Aluminum/Steel Micro ATX Media Center/HTPC Case - Retail (Silver)

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This is my first build and my main concerns are that everything will fit inside the case without overheating and that I not make any boneheaded component choices. I'm really attracted to the GD02, but I recognize how impractical it is. Recommendations of other similarly solid (i.e. all metal) and minimalist cases would be great. There's probably way more power there than an HTPC needs, but I'd like it reasonably future-proof. Again, I'm a total novice, so any suggestions or corrections would be most appreciated.

More about : 600 htpc build review

June 25, 2011 1:40:40 PM

I have a few comments to offer.

First, the H67 chipset boards cannot run RAM at 1600 speed. 1333 is the max. You can still use the 1600 memory you selected, but be aware that it will only run at 1333 and you may be able to save some money by just going for 1333 sticks to begin with.

Second, the graphics card is only marginally better than the on-chip video on the i3-2100. If you are truly gaming, I suggest a stronger card. If your gaming is light enough (emulators, solitaire, etc.) then the i3-2100 video may be good enough. What games do you intend to play?

Third, it would be a shame to build a modern HTPC without a blu-ray drive. That's just my opinion, though. Maybe you have no current or future interest in blu-ray. Anyway, BD drives are only about $40 more than DVD drives if you are interested.

That's my 2¢.
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July 1, 2011 12:45:54 AM

Thanks for suggesting the Lian-Li cases - I had totally forgotten them, and I'm going to take this model. I hadn't even noticed the speed of the RAM, so that's another change made.

I'm still not sure what to do about the video card - I've spent some time trying to educate myself, but I feel like I'm getting contradictory messages. I've seen claims that a discrete video card is basically necessary to play HD video, and others that Sandy Bridge integrated is sufficient. I'm sure that I won't need any more for gaming - nothing I'm planning to play is less than five years old.

So my question: Can I get by with integrated graphics and still do all the things I need from an HTPC? And if I really need a graphics card, will the lower-powered 6450 be significantly cooler/quieter than the 5570?

Thanks for clearing up my probably absurd ignorance.

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July 1, 2011 4:44:08 AM
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Personally, I recommend just going and waiting on Llano. It'll produce less power than a dedicated card + i3 2100 (2105) and performs pretty well. The 6550D on the Llano is pretty good performing way better than the HD2000.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/amd-a8-3850-llano,2...

Now of course there is the sacrifice of performance, but it isn't too noticeable IMO. The Llano performance is fairly close to the Phenom's performance and somewhat you could say passed the Propus's performance. I'd personally think going with the Llano route is a good HTPC option.
July 7, 2011 9:39:41 PM

Best answer selected by pepperfez.
July 7, 2011 9:43:18 PM

aznshinobi said:
Personally, I recommend just going and waiting on Llano. It'll produce less power than a dedicated card + i3 2100 (2105) and performs pretty well. The 6550D on the Llano is pretty good performing way better than the HD2000.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/amd-a8-3850-llano,2...

Now of course there is the sacrifice of performance, but it isn't too noticeable IMO. The Llano performance is fairly close to the Phenom's performance and somewhat you could say passed the Propus's performance. I'd personally think going with the Llano route is a good HTPC option.


Turns out Llano's exactly what I want - I thought it was coming out much further in the future. I'm going to wait on the 65W variety, but I have no idea how long a wait that will be. Any idea on a release date for the 3800?
July 8, 2011 3:04:34 AM

No clue atm. Should be soon though, after all the FM1 flagship is already out (A8-3850)
GL and hope you get your build.
!