Need Advice on Frankenstein HTPC

Hello all,

This is my first post so I'll try my best to do this correctly. I am wanting to consolidate my current "HTPC" and WHS server into one device. What I mean is, that I no longer really have a need for two devices and I'm wanting to Frankenstein parts from both machines to make a budget HTPC. I plan on using the hard drives, case, and power supply from my WHS, and the CPU, RAM, Bluray drive, CD/DVD drive, and OS from my current HTPC.

Parts Currently On Hand:

Case: Sony VAIO VGC-RB43
I believe this is a MicroATX form factor

Hard Drives: (1) Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

(2) Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST3500320AS 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

(1) SAMSUNG SpinPoint P Series SP2004C 200GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive -Bare Drive If needed, maybe as the system drive.

Power Supply: From the Sony VAIO case listed above. Note: I also have a Dell XPS720 that I am retiring if the power supply from it would be better to use. XPS720 link

CPU (from the XPS720): Intel® Core™2 Quad Processor Q6600 (8M Cache, 2.40 GHz, 1066 MHz FSB)

RAM: 4 - 1GB sticks of DDR2 (PC2-5300), 333 MHz (DDR2 667), 1.8 volts

Bluray/ CD/ DVD Drive: LITE-ON Black 4X BD-ROM 8X DVD-ROM 32X CD-ROM SATA Internal 4X Blu-ray Reader Model iHOS104-06 - OEM (or similar)

Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium

Approximate Purchase Date: 2-6 weeks

Budget Range: Hopefully under $200

System Usage from Most to Least Important: watching movies, surfing the net, maybe watching TV/ PVR

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, parts listed above unless necessary to replace

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I like newegg, but I'm open to suggestions

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: by brand or type: I'm not brand loyal, but I'd like to use the processor that I already own so I guess an Intel mobo is necessary.

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: Not sure what this is.

Monitor Resolution: 46" LCD TV, model Samsung LN46A650, 1920x1080

Additional Comments: Now for my questions and thus where you guys come in. As you can see, I'm trying to complete this on a budget. My main need right away is motherboard. I need a mobo that will fit in my case (I think micro ATX) and it needs to work with my CPU. I would also like one that has HDMI out to eliminate the need for buying a video card. I also need 5.1 surround, whether via the HDMI out or optical, etc. Optionally, I would like to have the ability to use my Harmony One remote to navigate the HTPC / WMC (this is just a wish, not a necessity). I really no nothing about TV tuners, but the idea of ditching cable one day sounds tempting, so I'm open for suggestions there too. I hope I have provided enough details to get started. I appreciate all of your help.

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  1. Thanks buzznut,

    I too saw those on newegg. I don't really know anything about Zotac or MSI and neither one of them have an optical audio out. Are they decent brands? The ASUS requires DDR3 RAM and I'd rather use the DDR2 that I have on hand to save money. That leaves the Intel board, which looked like a good option, but as of this morning seems to be out of stock. I may end up just having to get some new RAM so I can open up my options.

    How about the rest of the build, does everything else seem to be in order? Any suggestions?

    Thanks again
  2. Now the Zotac has my attention.
    I read a little on the GeForce 9300 chipset and seems to be better than the Intel X4500's. Do either of these video chipsets play audio over HDMI?
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