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Ubuntu HTPC build help

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August 12, 2011 4:03:40 PM

Hi guys!

I am looking for some guidance from experts as I am about to build my first HTPC/Web server. Here are details.

Approximate Purchase Date: The sooner the better.

Budget Range: I don't really have a budget for this purchase. The least expensive, the better.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Apache web server, BitTorrent seed box?, streaming movies to HDTV, browsing Internet - all under Ubuntu Linux.

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg

Country of Origin: US.

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 (via HDMI with audio)

Additional Comments: I am looking for a small, quiet, low power consumption and low budget PC that can also double as a webserver. I'll be passing HD video through a capable Yamaha receiver, so 7.1 audio is a plus. Ubuntu and XBMC is my OS and media center of choice. The smaller the form factor the better. No need for a TV tuner or Bluray/DVD drive.

Parts Preferences: I am not up-to-date with new PCs so I need an advice here. The research I have done is spinning me in circles!!

More about : ubuntu htpc build

August 12, 2011 4:10:59 PM

the question is "how cheap do you want to go"? a bare-bones AMD Athlon II X2 box for about $300 can do the job
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August 12, 2011 5:04:54 PM

yes, you can go cheap and make this work, even though alot of people like AMD video cards, Nvidia has better drivers for ubuntu especially when it comes to video acceleration,,
3.0 GHZ x2 60$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
4 GB Gskill DDR3 30$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

your motherboard is most difficult decision, do you know if your TV bypasses DTS from the HDMI signal it receives to the stereo? if so (you must know for sure), go with cheapest option below,,, if not, go with the ASUS
Motherboard Biostar 785G chipset (some people say its good for HD, but I don't think so) 40$ --- (also amd video chipset not so good for ubuntu and hard for me to recommend a better board that MIGHT be good enough to do onboard HD)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Asus 760G chipset - OPTICAL OUTPUT FOR DIRECT CONNECTION TO STEREO 65$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec 300 60$ - relatively cheap, well built, lots of spots for hard drives for lots of media nuff said
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec earthwatts 430W 45$ - 5 sata connectors & 4 molex, quiet and efficient
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Video card - this one is subjective however i think 240 might be a tiny bit of overkill, it is a really good card with good acceleration, low power,, anything lower down the line may sacrifice some video quality and anything newer only has trivial things you probably aren't too worried about such as 3d bluray acceleration -- this can easily handle 1080p playback,, i have an evga card does the job beautifully and you can pass through the 7.1 on the HDMI (if TV can handle it - My TV will bypass DTS to the receiver, it just won't play it on the TV speakers --- also if running XBMC, you can just uncheck the "DTS Capable" setting and it will force PC to convert everything to AC3 which should bypass OK, however it won't sound as nice either.
Palit 240GT 512MB DDR5 50$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DVD drive - your call
Hard drive - your call - i would stay with green WD drives with high capacity, though, just make sure you make a partition just for the OS so you can upgrade the OS easily without worrying about media loss

total cost $285 + DVD & HDD drives if TV bypasses DTS
$300 if TV does not bypass DTS, but also a bit safer of a choice
to upgrade CPU, it is only a few dollars more, but will leave that up to you.
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