I need an HTPC build

Approximate Purchase Date: soon, probably this week or next

Budget Range: $400 ish; the lower the better but I don't have a concrete cap.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: HTPC. i'm going to be playing movies on this and also recording 1080p content from time to time using Hauppage HD PVR (uses graphics hardware to encode)

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, ram, case (though i understand most low end cases with power supplies are almost the same cost as most low end power supplies so a case can also be on the list, especially those that have power supplies included)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: amazon.com (I have Prime), newegg.com is ok too

Country of Origin: US

Parts Preferences: none, would like a small form factor for a case though if buying new one.

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe. (with A8 suggestions)

Monitor Resolution: 1920X1080 1080p

Additional Comments: I'd like this to be fairly quiet. so a fanless graphics card probably is needed
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  1. Well to start, since you didn't mention gaming just forget about a graphics card. Both Intel and AMD processors have built in graphics that is more than enough for HTPC use.

    That said, here's a list to give you some ideas:

    Case: SilverStone Aluminum/Steel Micro ATX Media Center/HTPC Case ML03B (Black) $59.99 + Free S&H
    PSU: Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W Continuous power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply $39.99 + Free S&H
    RAM: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10600CL9D-4GBNT $24.99 + Free S&H
    HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F4EG HD155UI 1.5TB 5400 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive $59.99 + Free S&H
    BD-ROM: SAMSUNG Black 12X BD-ROM 16X DVD-/+R 48X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-ray Combo Model SH-B123L/RSBP LightScribe Support $64.99 + 99¢ S&H (includes the necessary playback software for blu-rays)
    AMD Option: GIGABYTE GA-A75M-D2H and AMD A4-3400 Llano 2.7GHz $169.98 + Free S&H
    Intel Option: ASRock H67M-GE/HT and Intel Celeron G530 Sandy Bridge 2.4Ghz $161.98 + Free S&H

    The AMD setup will run you $421, the Intel setup will run you $413. Both AMD and Intel motherboards have the new USB 3.0 header needed for the case's front USB 3.0 cable.

    I highly recommend you find it in your budget to get a second, smaller hard drive to hold OS + apps and use the large green HDD for media only. You'll have to expand your budget if you truly want an A8.
  2. rwpritchett's advice is good. If you can't afford a boot drive maybe get the Samsung Spinpoint F3 for the same price. It's only 1TB but 7200RPM. Booting from the 5400RPM drives isn't ideal.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152185

    Also if you can afford to expand your budget to incorporate an A8 I think you'd see a noticeable difference.
  3. Thanks for the replies. yeah I can definitely pitch a bit more for an A8. I'm just weighing my options.


    now if only Micro Center has a deal on APUs as well and not just CPU+mobos building this thing will be a lot easier.


    to be frank i don't care about boot up speed. As long as the movies will play and I can encode 1080p movies and tv shows, i'll be happy. The way I see it the 5400 rpm drives will be quiter by a bit.

    I can also shave off 25 to that by transferring 4 gb of ram from my other build. Then again it isn't much

    Also USB 3.0 headers aren't really a necessity for me by any stretch. Maybe in the future when it is as widely used I'll just make another one.
  4. I'm not in the US so I won't reccommend specific parts, but if you want to go ITX there are some very nice boards available now. I built my Home theatre PC from a H57 based ASUS ITX board and an i5 (overkill perhaps but I do play games on it) in a silverstone Sugo SG06.

    It's tiny cube style case that won't suit everyone but I can confirm that sandybridge HD2000 graphics handle 1080P playback with hardly any CPU load.

    You can also get ITX boards with embedded AMD fusion CPU/GPU's that should make a good basis for a really efficient HTPC.

    Just an option if you wannt to go really small.
  5. I figure that I can reach a $400 figure with my HTPC with A8 specs


    A8 $135
    A75 Mobo $75
    2TB HDD from NCIX today $60
    BluRay $65
    ======
    that puts me $335, and have room for about $75-$90 power supply and case combo
  6. Excellent.

    Case selection is a subjective matter. I'm of the opinion that an HTPC should look like A/V equipment.

    For a PSU, unless it's an Antec bundled with an Antec case, I suggest you look for one that doesn't come with a case. You want efficient and silent with a PSU. Look at Antec, Seasonic, Corsair, Enermax, PC Power & Cooling for good quality and acoustics.

    Also, don't forget to pick up a remote.
  7. rwpritchett said:
    Excellent.

    Case selection is a subjective matter. I'm of the opinion that an HTPC should look like A/V equipment.

    For a PSU, unless it's an Antec bundled with an Antec case, I suggest you look for one that doesn't come with a case. You want efficient and silent with a PSU. Look at Antec, Seasonic, Corsair, Enermax, PC Power & Cooling for good quality and acoustics.

    Also, don't forget to pick up a remote.


    I just think that efficiency in this case is lost since these htpcs usually draw around 200w or less. So i'm willing to gamble on cases with included power supplies

    I have a Harmony One. Do you have any IR receiver suggestions?
  8. I would be more concerned about PSU fan noise. But, you may find a rough gem in a bundled PSU.

    For the IR receiver, you'll probably have to get a remote/receiver bundle just to get the receiver. One like this or like this. That first one has the receiver I use, which I can verify works with Harmony remotes. You can find receivers by themselves on eBay too. A very popular one for Harmony remotes is the HP USB receiver.
  9. Thanks for the advise. I have a backup plan in case the bundled PSU turns out to be noisy. ;)

    so far:

    Motherboard: A75 Mobo $75
    CPU: AMD A8 APU $135
    BluRay: Samsung BluRay $55
    Case/PSU: Compucase MATX $50 AR

    bought:
    HDD: 2TB 5900 RPM HDD $60
    MCE controller: HP MCE USB IR receiver $14

    $389
  10. You'd be surprised that even in the sub-200W usage, the PSU efficiency still makes a big difference. I hooked a Kill-A-Watt up to the 250W PSU that comes with the Apex MI-008 and then swapped the Apex PSU out for a Seasonic 250W PSU. I saw a 10W difference at idle and 20W difference at full load in favor of the Seasonic. The Seasonic is 80+, the Apex isn't 80+ rated.
  11. aga the hunter dude said:
    BluRay: Samsung BluRay $55
    That OEM drive won't come with blu-ray software. You can use free software like MPC-HC or XMBC, but you'll only be able to watch the movie with no menu's or special features and sometimes the audio/subtitle tracks are difficult to change. The retail drive costs $10 more, but comes with PowerDVD. Unless you already have software to use?
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