Re-Build HTPC: Need Recommendations for Components

I have an existing HTPC I am planning on upgrading with new MOBO, RAM, Processor, and Tuner Card

Existing is a Dell Vostro 200 dual core 1.8GHz, with a Sapphire Radeon HD 4550 Video Card, and Hauppauge 2250 tuner card. - running windows XP with SageTV 7 for HTPC software, and the monitor is my Sony Bravia TV (over HDMI). Twin harddrives, small system drive with a 1TB drive for video. The system has been put in a proper HTPC case (threw the dell one away)

I am moving where over the air is not really available, so am thinking of upgrading to the Ceton InfiniTV4 tuner card with a CableCARD to pick up cable. The catch is it looks like the CableCARD will not work well with the rest of my existing system, mandating a rebuild to do it..

It looks like I have a budget in the $6-700 range, the card itsself is great, the hard drives and DVD-RW is fine. I already have a dedicated Blu-Ray player I'm happy with, so I don't need that.

Motherboard Requirements:
Native HDMI with HDCP compliance on motherboard. Needs to be able to run 1080p resolution (1920x1080 at 60Hz)
Digital audio output (toslink)
Minimum of 2.8Ghz processor, dual or quad core, amd or intel doesn't matter
STABLE and Quiet running
Micro ATX form factor
It also looks like I need to upgrade to Win7
Cheaper is better, but I want a good performing system.

Thanks!
11 answers Last reply
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  1. something like this ?
  2. Close. The main problem I see is I want to use TOSLINK (fiber-optic) audio out to my home theater amp. The motherboard would need a pretty decent built in video card and built-in sound card.

    The other real concern is I want the CPU to run with a quiet fan. I don't want to be able to hear the fan at all when sitting 5' away from the cpu, even under load.

    I did like the energy-saving features on that board, though. Being a HTPC it idles about 50-60% of the time anyway (when it's not recording or playing back) and will be running 24/7 for years.
  3. The A8-3850 uses an APU which is better than any onboard graphics out there. The 6550D is probably the equivalent of a 5670. Which is pretty good. Plus as a CPU it is a great one.
  4. The A8-3850 does look like an interesting CPU. Anyone know of a good motherboard to run it with?

    I found this, but know nothing of the board. On paper, it looks like it meets my requirements, but is it actually any good?

    http://www.amazon.com/GIGABYTE-GA-A75M-UD2H-AMD-A8-3850-Bundle/dp/B005AY5QHI
  5. That's the same combo I list in mah guide for the $400 build :D
    http://www.squidoo.com/electronicandmore
    The 3850 is a solid chip no doubt about it, specially for HTPCs it'll save since you don't need a dedicated card + CPU.
  6. ^All good advice so far.

    excalibur5 said:
    I am moving where over the air is not really available, so am thinking of upgrading to the Ceton InfiniTV4 tuner card with a CableCARD to pick up cable. The catch is it looks like the CableCARD will not work well with the rest of my existing system, mandating a rebuild to do it.
    Just curious, why won't the Ceton card work with your current setup?
  7. Just going off of the MFG website at http://www.cetoncorp.com/products.php (click on the "requirements" tab), it looks like my system is deficient in the following ways:

    Processor: Mine is 1.8 GHz; it says 2.0 GHz min, with 2.9 Recommended
    Memory: Mine is 2 Gigs, it says 3 gigs min, with 4 recommended
    O/S: Mine is WinXP Pro, it apparrently will only run on Windows 7.

    I THINK it requires the heavier processor and memory due to the massive data it can acquire (capture 4 Hi-Def channels at the same time)
  8. Is it possible for you to find out the 1.8ghz dual core for us? It could be a solid chip for all we know.
  9. I always take minimum requirements with a grain of salt. The manufacturer has to cover their arses, so they tend to over do it.

    The processor speed could be based on Pentium 4 equivalent numbers. But, a 1.6GHz C2D is faster than a 3.6GHz P4.

    TV recording isn't all that resource heavy. I'm with shinobi... tell us what 1.8GHz CPU you have and we'll see how good it is. If it's a recent chip, I say try the Ceton in your existing setup.
  10. ^+1

    Requirements are a bunch of baloney. You could clock any chip below 2GHZ (By underclocking which people do to lower the TDP)
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