Would something like this make a good cheapo HTPC?

I'm looking for something to compliment my regular build - not replace it - and use it primarily for DVR and music player (iTunes) functions and to watch internet videos, that kind of stuff on a big screen. No games will be played on it, and I've been looking for something that is low profile, low power and more importantly inexpensive. I'll also be looking to hook up a 2 - 3 TB hard drive for the DVR functionality in the near future. I'm kind of iffy on Micro Center but this PC looks like it'd be a good alternative to some of the more expensive ones I've been looking at like the AsRock bare-bones one. I'm also open to suggestions if you guys have one.

http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0373676
21 answers Last reply
More about would make good cheapo htpc
  1. That Microcenter prebuilt doesn't have HDMI. It has DVI, but no S/PDIF port... so no DTS/DD passthrough.

    The build nagol linked isn't very good either I'm afraid. The 6150 chipset doesn't support HDCP, and it doesn't support hardware acceleration of h.264 or VC-1 content.

    What is your absolute budget for this project?
  2. rwpritchett said:
    That Microcenter prebuilt doesn't have HDMI. It has DVI, but no S/PDIF port... so no DTS/DD passthrough.

    The build nagol linked isn't very good either I'm afraid. The 6150 chipset doesn't support HDCP, and it doesn't support hardware acceleration of h.264 or VC-1 content.

    What is your absolute budget for this project?


    Don't really have one - I'd like to keep it under $450 w/Blu Ray possible, I've been looking at ITX and mATX configurations as well.
  3. this would work, though the case isn't an HTPC case:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.752623

    this combo is $542, and has the blu-ray, TV card, the works:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.721385
  4. I've been looking at doing a cheap build based on the Llano, I think that would do the trick. I've been looking at that second option a lot - it has everything I want but it's way out of my budget. Plus I'd also have to get another Windows license for it.
  5. whats your total budget?
  6. I was going to try to keep my total budget under $500. This PC isn't going to be used for any games - it's mainly going to be used for watching internet video, playing iTunes media, and act as a music server (the sound system is connected to outdoor speaker equipment). I've also thought about using a low-budget SB chip like the G620 - would that be a good option?
  7. I like those choices of components but that tower definitely isn't gonna fit in the shelf space I have designated for it.
  8. I kind of tweaked Newegg's build a little bit (unsure if the PSU will fit in the case or not) -

    Case: Silverstone SUGO - $79.99
    PSU: Corsair Builder Series CX430 - $44.99
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-A75M-UD2H - $89.99
    CPU: Dual Core AMD Llano A4-3400 - $79.99
    RAM: 2 x 4GB G.Skill ECO PC 1333MHz timing 9-9-9-24 (leftover from previous build)
    HD: Seagate Barracuda XT 500GB $44.99
    Optical: LG Super Multi BD-R Combo - $69.99
    OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit - $99.99

    Total: $529.99

    I'm not sure if the PSU would fit in the case or not for one thing, but as far as storage goes I only plan to run a 500GB initially and then add a networked 2 or 3TB external hard drive for the DVR purposes. The idea is to share this computer on my network (3 laptops, 2 desktops, and the HTPC) and use the HTPC as a centralized DVR server that any of the computers on my network can access - with the BD-R burner acting as a backup / play back device.
  9. should work for that...and the 430W is overkill for it, believe it or not.


    consider this case, $59.99:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811204040

    and this PSU for $29.99:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371003

    this trims $45 off your price.

    You could jump up to the A6-3500 triple core for $20 of that that (which has a stronger video card)
  10. How about a couple of other options:

    Option 1:

    I upgrade my SB build from the i3-2120 to the i5-2500K. Reuse the i3-2120 and the 4GB of G.Skill RAM I have in this configuration (only thing is I'm unsure the voltage would work).

    And the system would look like this:

    Case: nMedia PC Black Aluminum - $59.99
    PSU: PC Power & Cooling Silencer MKII - $79.99
    Motherboard: Intel BOXDH67GDB3 - $109.99
    CPU: Intel Core i3-2120 - already have
    RAM: G.Skill ECO 4GB PC10666 1333MHz 1.35V - already have
    HD: Samsung EcoGreen F4 2TB - $79.99
    Optical: LG Black Super Multi - $69.99
    OS: Windows 7 Home Premium - $99.99

    Total: $464

    Option 2:

    I use the AMD Phenom II x6 and same RAM that I have leftover from a failed build (unsure if the CPU still works or not though) and the configuration would look exactly like above but with this motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128458

    Same total.
  11. Think I've got it:

    Case: NMedia PC Black Aluminum - $59.99
    PSU: Corsair Builder Series CX430 - $44.99
    Motherboard: ASRock H61V-S - $59.99
    CPU: 2.4GHz Intel Celeron G650 - $59.99
    RAM: 2 x 4GB G.Skill ECO PC 1600MHz RAM - already have from previous build
    HD: Samsung Eco Green F4 2TB - $79.99
    Optical: Pioneer BDR-203 - already have from previous build
    OS: Windows 7 Home Premium - $99.99
    Keyboard / Mouse: Logitech MK260 - $29.99

    Total: $424
  12. that should work just fine.
  13. Actually now I found a better solution - I have some old hardware (Core 2 Duo, Intel motherboard, 8GB RAM 800MHz) that works just fine and I'm gonna use that in a new HTPC build - all I have to buy is the case and PSU for the time being, I will add a keyboard, mouse, etc later on. Since I wont be playing games on it, it'll handle just about anything I can throw at it just fine.
  14. the core 2duo will handle it, but you might want to pick up a cheap video card, as intel 945 graphics won't do 1080p, and might struggle at 720p
  15. ScrewySqrl said:
    the core 2duo will handle it, but you might want to pick up a cheap video card, as intel 945 graphics won't do 1080p, and might struggle at 720p


    I have a Radeon 4670 but it doesn't have a native built-in HDMI output, and that might present a conflict when trying to watch BD movies. I have a GTX 470 that I could try to use but it hasn't been the most reliable card I've ever owned, I might wind up getting a cheapo EVGA card like the Geforce 520 so I get native HDMI output.
  16. 5450 is all you'd need
  17. ScrewySqrl said:
    5450 is all you'd need


    Something like this?

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102922
  18. Yep!
  19. Awesome, I think I'm gonna order the stuff this weekend and get the whole thing setup next week. I'll post a thread or two about how it goes.

    So these are the specs already on the PC:

    - Intel Core 2 Duo T6600
    - Intel D975XBX2 Motherboard
    - 8GB G.Skill PC 800MHz RAM
    - 500 GB Western Digital Caviar Black Hard Drive (will be adding internal Samsung 2TB hard drive later on once I get system up and running, also planning to add networked 3TB external for DVR functionality)
    - Pioneer BD-R 203 Blu-Ray Burner
    - OS: Windows Vista 64-bit with upgrade to Windows 7 Professional
    - Rosewill Flash Card Reader

    This is what's on my shopping list:

    - Sapphire Radeon HD 5450 - $35.99
    - Corsair Builder Series CX430 - $43.99
    - HEC 7106BB Case - $39.99
    - Logitech MK260 - $28.99
    - USB Network Adapter - $11.99

    The idea behind using the 3TB external is that I have a Dish Network DVR that is capable of being hooked up to an external hard drive for backup purposes and additional storage. Then I will route the DVR through a USB cable to the hard drive, buy an eSATA PCI adapter for the motherboard, and using the eSATA hard drive I will route that to the HTPC, I think that's doable, right? Do I need to add a TV tuner later on when I switch providers to DirecTV or is that not necessary?
Ask a new question

Read More

Homebuilt Systems Product