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[New Build] HTPC Recommendations?

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October 2, 2011 2:01:59 AM

Disclaimer: Just so you know that I'm not just out to waste everyone's time, I have spent about 20 hours over the past few days doing research, catching myself up on the technology (AMD APUs, Intel Sandy Bridge, etc), and of course browsing the forums here. I was able to put together what I thought would be a decent system, but it seems inordinately pricey (about $850 all together), and I'm not 100% sure it'll work as intended.

What I'm looking for: Some advice on if this is even close to being an optimal set up for what I have in mind.

Approximate Purchase Date: Within the next week or two, unless there's a compelling reason to wait longer

Budget Range: $500-600 before rebates

System Usage: This will be a HTPC.

Parts Not Required: I don't need a tuner card, I don't use cable/satellite TV. If there's another reason to get one, let me know

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I generally use Newegg, Tiger Direct (haven't used in a while), or Amazon for parts

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: I've generally stuck with Intel CPUs, nVidia GPUs, and Western Digital HDDs, but have absolutely no aversion to quality parts from any manufacturer

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 on a 42" LCD TV

Additional Comments: My requirements are pretty basic:
1) Enough HDD space to rip my existing DVD (and a few Blu-Ray) collection, I'd like to box up the physical copies and get them out of the way.
2) Blu-Ray drive (which I have already) for future purchases.
3) Obviously internet for Netflix, etc.
4) Quiet, cool, low power, no (or few) flashy lights

_____________________________________________
This was what I came up with:

Case: SilverStone Aluminum/Steel Micro ATX HTPC Computer Case GD05B (Black)
The idea was to get a case that has some room in it, and this one seemed to best reviewed. It's got the perfect number of slots (2- 3.5" bays for my HDDs, a 2.5" bay for the SSD, and a 5.25" external bay for the Blu-Ray drive)

Power Supply: SeaSonic S12II 380B 380W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply

Motherboard: ASUS P8H61-M (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel H61 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

CPU: Intel Core i3-2100 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz
I'm open to switching components around and going with AMD

CPU Cooler: Scythe SCSK-1100 100mm Shuriken

RAM: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333

Video Card: SAPPHIRE 100322L Radeon HD 6450 1GB DDR3 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card
Do I really need this with the Sandy Bridge processor or is it overkill?

System Hard Drive (SSD): Crucial M4 CT064M4SSD2 2.5" 64GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive

Data Drives: SAMSUNG EcoGreen F4 HD204UI 2TB 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s

Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit

Remote: Rosewill WMC Remote control/Reciever RRC-127
October 2, 2011 7:14:14 AM

i would rather get an apu for a htpc.
reasons:
Its cheaper
you probably wont be playing high detailed games
you wont need another gpu
you wont need a cooler because they are already quiet
here is a good apu set up :

cpu
AMD A6-3650 Llano 2.6GHz
motherboard
GIGABYTE GA-A75M-S2V

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October 2, 2011 11:21:38 AM

+1 on 9_beaker's
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October 2, 2011 2:34:47 PM

9_breaker said:
i would rather get an apu for a htpc.
reasons:
Its cheaper
you probably wont be playing high detailed games
you wont need another gpu
you wont need a cooler because they are already quiet
here is a good apu set up :

cpu
AMD A6-3650 Llano 2.6GHz
motherboard
GIGABYTE GA-A75M-S2V


Without a separate GPU, and the motherboard you listed, I would end up without HDMI. With that in mind, would it make more sense to spend the few extra dollars for GIGABYTE GA-A75M-D2H FM1, since it has the built in HDMI port? I have a DVI to HDMI cable already, but that obviously doesn't transfer sound at all (and at this point I don't have a receiver setup) so I'd need to get sound from the HTPC to the TV.

The only other question I had was will the onboard graphics on the APU handle media streaming fine? From the little I had read, I know the Sandy Bridge has stutter issues and I wasn't sure if AMD was plagued with similar problems.

Thanks for the replies!

PS. You're correct, I don't plan on any gaming whatsoever for this new build, I have a build for that already, and PC gaming from the couch is uncomfortable for me (I found that out when I got my DVI to HDMI cable =P)
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October 2, 2011 5:27:28 PM

i have built two htpcs over the last year......both based on asus boards.......one amd one intel/atom based.....as the atom is due for a refresh and is getting a lil long in the tooth....id recomend an amd apu atm........
mobo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
mem
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
hdd (id get 2. and raid1 them)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
psu
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
blue-ray
http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_p...
case
http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_p... (i really like this case....and it leaves room to upgrade if you ever decide to get a more powerful mini-itx+video card)
or if a more standard one is your style---
http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_p...
orhttp://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_p...
os
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
media software
http://www.cyberlink.com/products/powerdvd/overview_en_...

thats under 650 before the case....so you can splurge and get a nice one!!!

good luck
bTx
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October 3, 2011 2:08:03 AM

badtaylorx said:
i have built two htpcs over the last year......both based on asus boards.......one amd one intel/atom based.....as the atom is due for a refresh and is getting a lil long in the tooth....id recomend an amd apu atm........
mobo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


I've read that the E-350 (which only seems to be available as part of one of these combo motherboards) has some issues with 1080 playback. Does anyone own a board that uses this (without a separate discreet graphics card) that can verify? It seems like it would be a great option, as it would get rid of a few fans
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October 4, 2011 4:42:15 PM

I've got an E-350 HTPC with about 6 months of use. It handles 1080 content perfectly with two exceptions:

#1 1080p60 content- This is a very rare format. Some camcorders record content at this rez and refresh rate. The E-350 is a bit too slow to handle it. Note- this does not mean you will have problems playing other 1080p content at 60Hz (for example, playing 1080p24 blu-ray movie at 60Hz refresh rate will be fine).

#2 Netlix HD content- MS Silverlight used by Netflix does not support hardware acceleration so the E-350 must do all of the decoding. The E-350 can't do it. You'll have to stick to SD streams unless you want a slideshow.

That said, it works great for 1080 blu-ray, mkv's, HD television, HD YouTube, Hulu, etc and does it all with very low power usage. I highly recommend going with an SSD OS drive though. The combination of slow CPU and slow HDD is not fun.

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October 4, 2011 6:44:47 PM

I wouldnt use a e series processor if there is a possibility you may install a tv card at some later stage .
Where I live I get a 1080p digital tv broadcast . Older processors just dont cope that well and they have similar power to an E-350 .

I like the idea of the APU though . An A6 3650 is ideal .


The GD05 is a great case , and the idea of mixing a boot SSD and a green hdd makes perfect sense . Its a little noisy with the fans on high though .
Just do the 7 volt mod
http://www.techpowerup.com/articles/other/137
and you will still have plenty of cooling . The fans only need to be at full speed if you have a big graphics card in the case
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October 5, 2011 6:28:09 PM

I agree with outlander and 9_breaker.
If you can get a AMD Apu get it. You are not going to play games.
The amd A 3400 series are cheaper and you get 4 cores as well.
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October 13, 2011 3:59:35 PM

I like your advice on the APU however what if i want a micro atx form factor,any APU for that?Oh and liek the OP said I need HDMI.
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