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HTPC Build-a-rama

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September 22, 2011 2:58:15 AM

Hey guys, I'm just getting into the whole "HTPC" world, so bear with me. Not new to anyone, COMCAST has pissed me off one too many times. No more cable dudes and overpriced service. So, with that being said, I'm going to be building an HTPC for the first time....and a computer for that matter. The main use will be for streaming online content, music, NETFLIX, HULU, watching HDTV, and DVDs. I'll probably go with W7 OS, and Windows Media Center as my platform. I've been doing a lot of reading these past few days, but I'm not sure if I have a compatable setup. If you can check my homework and offer any suggestions I would appreciate it.

Where I'm at for now:

CPU: i3-2120
Mobo: Intel BOXDH67GDB3
RAM: Crucial Ballistix Sport 4GB/DDR3/1333
Case: Silverstone GD04B
PSU: OCZ ModXStream 500W
Tuner: Hauppauge 1229 WInTV-HVR2250
SSD: Crucial 64GB SSD
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 2TB
DVD: Blue Ray really isn't a necessity, but I do need a good DVD player

First off, I was torn between what CPU to pick (don't want to limit myself, and be outdated too soon) and the MOBO setup. Is 2-cores enough with the i3-2120? And for the MOBO, is the Intel board a good choice, or is Asrock, or Gigabyte a better (or easier interface) to work with? I was really looking at the ASROCK Z68 Extreme3 Gen3, but it adds another $20, and is a full ATX board...which brings me to my next issue-- I was torn between the case I chose above and the Silverstone LC13B, and going with a full ATX and leaving myself some room to grow. Is microATX enough? I know these are probably "it depends" type questions I'm asking, but if you have a suggestion, please let me know--At least to let me know I'm not going to blow something up when I hit the power button. Thanks again. ~Darks

More about : htpc build rama

September 22, 2011 3:33:05 AM

The i3 is a fine choice. I would not go with an ATX for any HTPC, there is no need. Main thing to worry about is if you want a dedicated graphics card for a little gaming. If not, don't sweat it. Go with mini itx or micro atx either way.
Your major concern should be connectivity, audio and video streaming needs a ton of bandwidth. If you want your media streamed over a network and wirelessly you need both a good wireless n router and a good n adapter. 300Mbps or better. Dual band is good. This way you can have one band dedicated to media streaming and one for everything else.

I would skip the SSD and put your money toward network upgrades and/or blu ray. If you have a big screen LCD you'll want bluray.

If interested in gaming, there are great low profile HTPC options in graphics cards.
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September 22, 2011 3:39:20 AM

BTW, one caveat; if you choose a bluray drive, be very careful. The software for playing blurays is very expensive and most OEM drives do not include any software. This is the one case I can think of where buying the OEM version of the drive is a bad idea. pay the extra $10 or whatever it is for the full capable version of BD software. You will save yourself a ton of headaches in the long run.
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September 22, 2011 3:49:52 AM

Remote control FTW!

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $104.99 FREE SHIPPING
ASRock H67M-GE/HT (B3) LGA 1155 Intel H67 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.asp?Model=H67M-GE/HT

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $124.99
H67M-ITX/HT LGA 1155 Intel H67 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Mini ITX Intel Motherboard

http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.asp?Model=H67M-ITX/HT

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $119.99
ASRock Z68M-ITX/HT LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Mini ITX Intel Motherboard

http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.asp?Model=Z68M-ITX/HT
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September 22, 2011 10:11:12 AM

well, if you are using it as a media center could i suggest you the New Amd Llano Cpu? They are perfect for Htpc builds, They have the better inbuild Grapichs in the market right now, also changing to Amd Instead of Intel always Save you Money, the SSD is okey! but not really needed Right now you can upgrade that later. I will Post you What i think It would be the Best Bang for your Money.

CPU+Motherboard With Remote control
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Power Suply(this green thing is a beast, enough for your build)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memory, good Kingstong Friend, cheap and Good Performance.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD- Samsumg Spinpoint, beast, have to many good reviews.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DVD PLAYER - Samsumg
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

434 dlls.

This will get you a Good Performance, maybe even better than that i3 you choosed, you will be able to get Another Gpu later if you feel like you want to upgrade your graphics, that psu can handle this system and a medium non profile gpu so you are good to go, you have 2 pci e x16 so you can get a good Sound Card and Upgrade your Home theather.
The case you choosed is an optimal choicee, just be warned, the fans are really noisy!!, i have that case and i had to change them. Good Luck, and I Leave you a video of the AMD LLANO GPU GAMPEPLAY.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zb5Yn6HKILU

good Luck.
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September 22, 2011 10:12:28 AM

well, if you are using it as a media center could i suggest you the New Amd Llano Cpu? They are perfect for Htpc builds, They have the better inbuild Grapichs in the market right now, also changing to Amd Instead of Intel always Save you Money, the SSD is okey! but not really needed Right now you can upgrade that later. I will Post you What i think It would be the Best Bang for your Money.

CPU+Motherboard With Remote control
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Power Suply(this green thing is a beast, enough for your build)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memory, good Kingstong Friend, cheap and Good Performance.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD- Samsumg Spinpoint, beast, have to many good reviews.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DVD PLAYER - Samsumg
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

434 dlls.

This will get you a Good Performance, maybe even better than that i3 you choosed, you will be able to get Another Gpu later if you feel like you want to upgrade your graphics, that psu can handle this system and a medium non profile gpu so you are good to go, you have 2 pci e x16 so you can get a good Sound Card and Upgrade your Home theather.
The case you choosed is an optimal choicee, just be warned, the fans are really noisy!!, i have that case and i had to change them. Good Luck, and I Leave you a video of the AMD LLANO GPU GAMPEPLAY.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zb5Yn6HKILU

good Luck.
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September 22, 2011 9:17:54 PM

buzznut said:
BTW, one caveat; if you choose a bluray drive, be very careful. The software for playing blurays is very expensive and most OEM drives do not include any software. This is the one case I can think of where buying the OEM version of the drive is a bad idea. pay the extra $10 or whatever it is for the full capable version of BD software. You will save yourself a ton of headaches in the long run.



Thanks for the advice. That helps, especially the blueray software--I didn't know that. What would you say about the motherboard brands? Do you like the Intel boards, or do you feel the BIOS / options with the other brands is better?

Thanks again.
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September 22, 2011 9:21:32 PM

Thanks Chulex -- I appreciate the advice. I went back in forth on the AMD and Intel processors. The Llano chips did look like they got good reviews, but I'm more familiar with the Intel chips. I'll have to do some more research. Don't you think the SSD is a good thing to have? I've heard that the SSD is great for a HTPC, especially for the quick startup and operation.
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