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I need an HTPC build

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  • New Build
  • Power Supplies
  • Cases
  • Systems
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September 22, 2011 6:36:32 PM

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

More about : htpc build

a b ) Power supply
September 22, 2011 10:36:25 PM

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 + 99ยข 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.
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    September 22, 2011 10:58:30 PM

    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=N82E168...

    Also if you can afford to expand your budget to incorporate an A8 I think you'd see a noticeable difference.
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    September 23, 2011 2:10:20 AM

    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.
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    September 23, 2011 2:54:01 AM

    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.
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    September 23, 2011 4:38:19 PM

    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
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    a b ) Power supply
    September 23, 2011 4:59:31 PM

    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.
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    September 23, 2011 5:50:19 PM

    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?
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    a b ) Power supply
    September 23, 2011 6:25:24 PM

    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.
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    September 23, 2011 7:48:02 PM

    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.
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    a b ) Power supply
    September 23, 2011 9:33:55 PM

    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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