Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question
Solved

Low Budget HTPC Build

Last response: in Systems
Share
August 16, 2011 9:41:49 PM

I'm putting together a cheap HTPC and wanted some advice. I have some concerns over heat, as the case will be enclosed in a media cabinet. Also, all of my storage will be on a 6TB drobo device I already own. I have a spare 100GB hard drive that I'll throw in here for OS/Apps. Also, I'm hoping I can just use the onboard video, but can add separate video card if I need more power for watching HD content.

AMD Build:

Motherboard: ASUS M4A88TD-M/USB3 AM3
Processor: AMD Athlon II X2 265 Regor 3.3GHz
Memory: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 SDRAM 1333 F3-10600CL8D-4GBHK
Case: Silverstone Grandia Series GD05B
PS: Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W

Intel Build:

Motherboard: ASUS P8H67-M PRO/CSM
Processor: Intel Core i3-2100 3.1 GHz
Memory: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 SDRAM 1333 F3-10600CL8D-4GBHK
Case: Silverstone Grandia Series GD05B
PS: Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W


It's possible I would eventually play a few games on this box, but I'll probably need to get a discrete video card for that. I would eventually add a TV tuner as well. The AMD build is slightly cheaper, is there any advantages I would get with the i3 build? Or should I save a few bucks and go with the AMD?

Would the PS also be good enough for my future plans (discrete Video & Tuner)? Or should I go with something with more power?

More about : low budget htpc build

August 17, 2011 12:17:19 AM

For the Intel Build, If you are going to use on board graphics, get this processor:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This one has HD 3000 vs the HD 2000 the processor you chose. Thats the one thing you MUST do in my opinion. Since I just planned my HTPC build and the parts are coming tomorrow, my other suggestions would just be make my build. So I'll just post my build.

CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
TV Tuner: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Here are the points why I chose what I chose:
CPU: low power, HD 3000 graphics
Motherboard: SataIII for my SSD, USB3, Dual monitor for onboard graphics(not sure if other motherboards will allow this but that point is advertised about the Intel board)
RAM: Low voltage and fast. I will have to underclock it to 1333vbut that should even allow lower voltage. Good timings. Designed for 1156 but should work on 1155.
Case: Antec is awesome. It has a fan. It's SMALL. It Has a small modular power supply. It is low power but this rig should not need much. Im hoping for 30 Watts. I'll find out tomorrow. Antec offers a 150 W version of this case if that's what you want.

The 300 Watt supply you have seems like overkill. If my rig works with 65Watts then yours should be around the same. My rig is mini ITX. I would go Mini if I were you but then you are limited to either a TV tuner or a GPU. If you want both, then Micro it is.

I dont know much about AMD but I think Intel's on board graphics is better. Don't quote me, you should look that up. If it is better and you plan on using on board graphics then Intel is the way to go. If not, then I would say save a few bucks.
m
0
l
August 17, 2011 1:56:16 AM

Pearlmam - Thanks for the reply! Let me know how your build works out. I'm probably a week out from making a decision on something, but would be interested to see if the machine you put together would meet my needs.
m
0
l
Related resources

Best solution

August 17, 2011 2:32:26 AM

Im with Pothead on this .

Check out a system using AMD's Llano processors . They have the best integrated graphics , are all quad cores and very decently priced .
You will not need the top of the range a8
Share
August 17, 2011 7:08:56 AM

Outlander_04 said:
Im with Pothead on this .

Check out a system using AMD's Llano processors . They have the best integrated graphics , are all quad cores and very decently priced .
You will not need the top of the range a8


Wow. The integrated Graphics are good! I found this page with some benchmarks:

http://translate.google.com/translate?js=n&prev=_t&hl=e...

It was in Swedish so that was a translated version. The original copy is:http://www.3dcenter.org/artikel/amd-llano-radeon-hd-655...

This makes me want to get one, however, I think I would still go for my build because of the lower power and the ability to use mini ITX board. If I gave AMD a chance and looked into this before I pulled the trigger on my build, I would seriously consider this. It makes me doubt my decision to go Intel, but before looking at anything, my goal was to build a small and low power build to watch TV on, not to play video games. I really don't need the GPU, but it would be nice to have.

Broster, If you plan on getting a dedicated GPU, then none of this matters. If not, and you will play games, then you need the most power you can get. It seems AMD delivers that.

I'll post again with the power consumption of my build with the tv tuner.
m
0
l
August 17, 2011 1:58:17 PM

Would I have any trouble with heat using a quad core processor? One of my other machines has a Q6600, which puts off a good bit of heat. Since this htpc will be enclosed behind glass, I just want to make sure I'm not running into heat issues...
m
0
l
August 17, 2011 4:30:35 PM

I would be worried about heat if I were you. Heat is basically proportional to the power used. The more power the more heat. That being said, I don't think your build will use that much more power then the Intel(<--speculation). If you get a dedicated GPU then I would really worry. You can try under-clocking and under-volting the CPU to conserve power but I wouldn't want to do that on an already "low" clock speed. If I were you, I would modify the cabinet that you plan on using to let some air to flow through. Drilling/cutting some holes in the right places may be the way to go. Even the lowest power build with no ventilation will get hot as hell. You need to dissipate that energy somehow.

Buy whatever build you plan on buying. Run some temperature benchmarks on it within the unventilated cabinet. Open the glass and run some benchmarks. And then think about modifying the cabinet to accommodate your specific case. Think about where the air comes in and where it goes out. Good luck.

m
0
l
August 17, 2011 8:00:12 PM

The Llano might be a quad core but it is also 32 Nm like the intel . Basically AMD can make transistors as small and power efficient as intel can . Integrating the graphics in to the cpu , instead of on the motherboard chip set like the 880g, reduces power consumption further
Variations of Llano are used in laptops

And with a GD05 and the large fans you could run the hottest cpu and a huge graphics card anyway . With either of the rigs suggested you can run the fans at low speed
m
0
l
August 17, 2011 9:46:33 PM

Thanks for all the good info. I'm leaning towards the llano, it seems like it would handle the requirements I'm after, plus from what I've been reading it would be able to run starcraft 2 just fine.

ScrewySqrl, thanks for the info about the combo deals. I think I'm going to order the parts I need from Amazon, as I'll get free shipping and no taxes (NewEgg owns a warehouse in my state...). NewEgg has better prices, but once add those factors in, Amazon is cheaper.

I'm still going to wait a few days (maybe this weekend) before ordering. Just want to be sure I'm getting exactly what I want!
m
0
l
September 5, 2011 8:50:58 PM

Pearlmam said:
The 300 Watt supply you have seems like overkill. If my rig works with 65Watts then yours should be around the same. My rig is mini ITX. I would go Mini if I were you but then you are limited to either a TV tuner or a GPU. If you want both, then Micro it is.


I would like to build in the same case as you, but with the A6 or A8. Do you think the 65W power supply is fine for that?
m
0
l
September 12, 2011 1:18:54 PM

Best answer selected by Brosto.
m
0
l
!