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My First Budget HTPC Build <$400. Details Inside/Input Needed!

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October 11, 2011 12:50:43 AM

Hi everyone. So I have experience building computers as I've built desktops in the past, but never a HTPC - this will be my first attempt. I've done some research and selected most of the components I need to fulfill my goals, but I'm still open to your opinions. I especially need help with selecting affordable RAM for my needs (there are so many choices out there!!)

Here's what I need my budget HTPC to be capable of:

* Stream Netflix and other streaming devices at 1080p.
* Playback most video types (mkv, avi, etc.) at 1080p.
* Playback Blu-ray through an optical drive AND be capable of Blu-ray format files.
* Capable of VERY light gaming (old games) and occasional web-browsing/flash (if possible).
* Quiet, low power consumption
* Easy on the eyes (aesthetically pleasing), while still being a little easy on the wallet!

Here's what I've got so far:

Part list permalink / Part price breakdown by merchant

CPU: AMD A4 A4-3400 2.7GHz Dual-Core Processor ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock A75M Micro ATX FM1 Motherboard ($79.98 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Silverstone GD05B HTPC Case ($84.00 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Antec 380W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($44.99 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-B123L Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $378.94
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated 2011-10-10 20:47 EDT-0400)


RAM - I'm not sure about how much RAM I will be needing for my specified requirements. 2gb? 4gb? Please help me select an affordable choice for this ranging anywhere from $0-$30!!

HDD - I'm also considering grabbing a 1TB F3 instead of the WD Caviar, upping the price by around $15-20. Thoughts?

Note: I already own Windows 7 and Blu-ray software

How did I do? Thoughts? Opinions? Recommendations?

Looking to purchase sometime today as two of the coupons expire.

Best solution

October 11, 2011 1:52:01 AM

Unless you need USB 3 or an External SATA port consider using a motherboard with the a55 chipset
The Gigabyte GA A55m-S2H perhaps
EDIT: not available on newegg
So maybe
ASRock A55M-HVS FM1 $59
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Performance should be the same . You just lose the features I mentioned

A green hard drive from WD or Samsung is going to be quieter but they are noticeably slower too so if you plan to boot or load different software then I'd stick with your current choice as a good compromise .

2 x2 gig of RAM is all you will need . Llano performs better graphically with faster RAM , but even 1333 Mhz , 1.5 volt RAM will give you easily more than you need for media playback

Nice case . To completely silence the fans you can do the 7 volt mod
and you may want to use a modular power supply .
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October 11, 2011 2:20:08 AM

Outlander_04 said:
Unless you need USB 3 or an External SATA port consider using a motherboard with the a55 chipset
The Gigabyte GA A55m-S2H perhaps
EDIT: not available on newegg
So maybe
ASRock A55M-HVS FM1 $59
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Performance should be the same . You just lose the features I mentioned

A green hard drive from WD or Samsung is going to be quieter but they are noticeably slower too so if you plan to boot or load different software then I'd stick with your current choice as a good compromise .

2 x2 gig of RAM is all you will need . Llano performs better graphically with faster RAM , but even 1333 Mhz , 1.5 volt RAM will give you easily more than you need for media playback

Nice case . To completely silence the fans you can do the 7 volt mod
and you may want to use a modular power supply .



First of all, thanks for posting!

I checked out the Gigabyte you mentioned and wasn't able to find a seller in the US. (Doh, just saw your update!)

The ASRock A55 looks great, but with shipping it reaches $65.97 (About $14 less) - still a great compromise as I don't think I'd really need the features you mentioned, but I think I'm going to stick it out with the original (in the situation that I ever need the additional features).

Based off your RAM advice, how does this look? http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001IWOQB8/?tag=pcpapi-20. It's sold out on newegg, and shipping (+taxes, ca fee) would jack it up as well.

**Edit, also was considering this : http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168.... Only $1 more for 1600Mhz, would the difference be noticeable?**

HUGE props for the 7 volt mod recommendation - I didn't even think of that! I was considering a modular power supply (The Antec BP550 550W), because with a rebate it's just about $5 more... but I've also heard really good things about the EarthWatts Green.
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October 11, 2011 4:30:35 AM

CinnaBONNY said:
First of all, thanks for posting!

I checked out the Gigabyte you mentioned and wasn't able to find a seller in the US. (Doh, just saw your update!)

The ASRock A55 looks great, but with shipping it reaches $65.97 (About $14 less) - still a great compromise as I don't think I'd really need the features you mentioned, but I think I'm going to stick it out with the original (in the situation that I ever need the additional features).

Based off your RAM advice, how does this look? http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001IWOQB8/?tag=pcpapi-20. It's sold out on newegg, and shipping (+taxes, ca fee) would jack it up as well.

**Edit, also was considering this : http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168.... Only $1 more for 1600Mhz, would the difference be noticeable?**

HUGE props for the 7 volt mod recommendation - I didn't even think of that! I was considering a modular power supply (The Antec BP550 550W), because with a rebate it's just about $5 more... but I've also heard really good things about the EarthWatts Green.


Im going to build myself a similar Media pc/PVR using the same case. And Ive been trying to cut costs too . I decided I didnt want to use it as a pc so I could live without e-SATA and USB3 .
Im not in North America and I suggested that Gigabyte mb because its the one Im going to use . As soon as I tried to find a link on newegg I realized. Pity about the shipping because the Asrock is great value .

Your link for RAM didnt work but I think this is what you found and it should work well
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$28 , free shipping

We must think alike . The Antec BP 550 is a overkill but its a decent enough psu , and the price is right
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October 11, 2011 4:34:42 AM

Yeah 4gb is enough.

If you want to buy a 1tb then go for it bro :) . It's storage space. It's up to you what you want.
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October 11, 2011 5:52:50 AM

Best answer selected by CinnaBONNY.
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