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HTPC for ~$400

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October 2, 2011 5:58:49 AM

Havent built a system in years. need some advice on a budget HTPC for around $400. just need it to run 1080 video smooth and be able to surf 10+ browser tabs. thanks a million!!!



Approximate Purchase Date: this month or next

Budget Range: 400 to 450 AR

System Usage from Most to Least Important: mainly for blueray, Netflix, Hulu, Youtube @ 1080, and also opening 10+ browser tabs. No gaming.

Parts Not Required: mouse, speakers, monitor

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: amazon/newegg

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: none

Overclocking: Maybe, haven’t done it in a while, but should be ok

SLI or Crossfire: Yes / No / Maybe

Monitor Resolution: not sure, dell ultrasharp 24”

Additional Comments: run win7, need wifi, and would like it to be quiet.

More about : htpc 400

October 2, 2011 6:57:10 AM

CPU: $100 AMD Athlon II X4 640

MOBO: $92 ASRock 870 Extreme3 Motherboard

RAM: $48 CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB

HDD: $40 HITACHI 500GB

DVD: $19 SAMSUNG 22X DVD Burner with LightScribe Support

GPU: $59 AR XFX Radeon HD 6670

Case+PSU: $50 AR COOLER MASTER ELITE 310 ATX Mid Tower Computer Case+420W Power Supply

Total- 408 + shipping. All you'll ever need.

If however you wanna spend some more -

GPU: $90 AR SAPPHIRE 100283-3L Radeon HD 5770 1GB

Case: $50 COOLER MASTER ELITE 335 ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

PSU: $25 CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 V2

EDIT: Didn't see the "no gaming" part. So you'll not be needing a discrete GPU. You can get an Intel system (2100+H67) for that. Will cost the same 200 bucks (CPU+Mobo) as the AMD system.
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October 2, 2011 7:33:36 AM

that was quick! thanks. whats the benefit of spending more on psu and gpu?
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October 2, 2011 7:39:03 AM

thx cal, can u give me a link for the intel?
so i dont need an extra GPU? the intel mobo will have dvi/hdmi?
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October 2, 2011 7:40:59 AM

AMD A6-3500 Llano $100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Asrock A75M-HVS $70
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Corsair Vengeance 8GB DDR3 1600 $48
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Seagate 500GB $45
http://www.amazon.com/Seagate-Barracuda-7200-12-Interna...
Antec 380w $30
http://www.amazon.com/Antec-Watts-Earth-Supplies-EA380/...
Total: $293

Cheap, low TDP, lots of ram great efficiency. Performs well. Plus you don't need a GPU since the APU on the A6 is solid. Just pick the case you want and you're good to go.
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October 2, 2011 7:55:45 AM

@ninja

Both AMD and Intel these days have Graphics processors embedded in some of their CPUs. You'll need certain NB chipsets to activate them though.

The Llano series from AMD (in AZN's build) is a good option if you're willing to sacrifice significantly on the CPU side.

AZN's build in general looks pretty solid for a $300 build but the CPU will be significantly slower than either the propus 640 (quad) or the i3-2100, but if you're willing to overlook that, you might save yourself some $$$.

But if you're looking at that, then the AMD A8-3850 Llano is really the one to get.

Else get a $125 Intel Core i3-2100 with a $80 ASRock H67M (B3) Motherboard. You'll miss out on the UEFI (cool, but not of paramount importance), but you'll get your HDMI :) 
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October 2, 2011 4:44:53 PM

kool beans!
i think ill go with intel, but since i dont need to GPU anymore, would a i5 2500k be better and work with the ASROCK H67M (83)?

Also, whats the difference between the more costly case+psu you recommended and the case that comes with the psu?
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October 2, 2011 4:52:32 PM

ninjabunny said:
kool beans!
i think ill go with intel, but since i dont need to GPU anymore, would a i5 2500k be better and work with the ASROCK H67M (83)?
If you can afford it, yes it's way better.

ninjabunny said:
Also, whats the difference between the more costly case+psu you recommended and the case that comes with the psu?
Mostly quality. But really depends on the brand. Reliability will not be an issue if you get it from a reputable company. TBH, it doesn't really matter for general purpose/HTPC builds.

But you do need sturdier, more efficient power supplies for much more demanding gaming builds. That's where most packaged psu's just don't cut it.
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October 2, 2011 5:53:15 PM

calguyhunk, I realized that it was the A6 and even then it performs at the level of a Rana which isn't terrible. The A8 is good and better but the reason I didn't recommend it was because it is out of stock on newegg but you can always check it out on Amazon.
http://www.amazon.com/AMD-A8-3850-Graphics-Quad-Core-Pr...

Ninja, you honestly don't need anything more than the A8-3850. 1080P Youtube would be easy for the 6550D in the A8-3850 to handle, and just all the tasks you require going the Llano route is cheaper. Just my 2 cents though.
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October 2, 2011 6:22:47 PM

so i think these are my options right now. just need to choose the CPU. upon further research, it is a CPU vs. GFX situation. it seems that AMD's gfx is way better, but the question is whether i3's gfx is good enough for my needs.

which one guys?! haha

AMD A8-3850 Llano $135
Asrock A75M-HVS $70
or
i3 $125
mobo: ASRock $80

i3/A8 total = $205

COMPONENTS THAT ARE THE SAMEish
RAM: Corsair $48
HDD $40
Case+PSU: AR COOLER MASTER ELITE 310 ATX Mid Tower Computer Case+420W Power Supply $50
basic stuff total = $138

total =~$343
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October 2, 2011 6:26:34 PM

Is it worth buying 8GB RAM for a HTPC? Surely 4GB is enough?
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October 2, 2011 6:38:32 PM

^ Yeah but his build is more like a PC rather than a HTPC (Home Theatre PC), 8GB is good 4GB is enough though, might as well get 8 though since it's so cheap.

As for OP Go with the Llano, you wouldn't notice the difference between performance. I would suggest you drop the that case power supply combo. Case PSU's are usually garbage.

AMD A8-3850 Llano $135
http://www.amazon.com/AMD-A8-3850-Graphics-Quad-Core-Pr...
Asrock A75M-HVS $70
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Corsair Vengeance 8GB DDR3 1600 $48
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Seagate 500GB $45
http://www.amazon.com/Seagate-Barracuda-7200-12-Interna...
Antec 380w $30
http://www.amazon.com/Antec-Watts-Earth-Supplies-EA380/...
Rosewill Challenger $50
http://www.amazon.com/Rosewill-CHALLENGER-Computer-Fans...
Total: $378
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Best solution

October 2, 2011 8:38:27 PM

With the A8, the build will be pretty respectable.

But do check out these benchmarks though for whatever they're worth - anandtech.com.

What it shows, is that "if you're running lightly threaded apps, the Core i3 just has much better performance."- Anandtech.

Multi-threaded applications will perform better on the A8-3850 than on the Core i3-2100, which has only two real cores and two simulated ones, using Hyper-Threading technology.

Aside from gaming and 3D rendering, the Core i3-2100 is faster and, depending on the application, by a large margin.

"Basically, if you are a gamer on a really tight budget, the A8-3850 is a really nice option. But if you are an average user who won’t play games, the Core i3-2100 is a better option."
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October 2, 2011 9:07:14 PM

im sold. please do a last check on the specs and ill put in the order. im not sure if the mobo is correct one from amazon.

CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 V2 430W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply

CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9R

HITACHI HDS721050CLA362 (0F10381) 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

Cooler Master Elite 335 ATX Mid Tower Case Black - (RC-335-KKN1-GP)

ASRock H67M-GE B3 Intel H67 Micro ATX DDR3 1333 Motherboard

Intel Core i3-2100 Processor 3.1GHz 3 MB Cache Socket LGA1155

~$400 after tax
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October 2, 2011 9:07:57 PM

Best answer selected by ninjabunny.
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October 2, 2011 9:30:54 PM

Looks pretty good. Good board at nice price. Cheers :) 
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