First HTPC build help (~$1500 budget)

Approximate purchase date: Within 1 to 2 months

Intended use of this system from most to least important:

1) Watching/recording live TV (planning on using either cablecard or homerun box for HD)
2) Streaming Netflix, Hulu, etc
3) Playing/ripping my bluray/movie collection
4) Play my old SNES games (still own the physical cartridges) and some Steam games using gamepad.
5) Surfing internet (check mail, read certain sites, etc)

Preferred website for parts: Newegg or Amazon, but not limited to those two.

Country of Origin: USA preferred, but not limited to.

Overclocking: No

SLI/Crossfire: No

Television: 52" 1080i RCA

Additional Information: I've built a couple of gaming PCs, so I know the parts I will need for this will not need to be best of the best. The HTPC will not need to be rack-mountable; system will be housed on one of the TV stand shelves with 7.5" max height.

1) Case should be well ventilated
2) Relatively quiet
3) Have built-in IR sensor/card reader
4) If neither of the above, an extra 3.5"/5.25" external bay for card reader/IR sensor.


Case: Leaning towards Lian Li or Silverstone brand. Case must be able to fit standard-ATX mobo.
Lian Li: I've been keeping my eye on the PC-C34F and the PC-C60
Silverstone Interested in the LC-16B-MR, GD01B-MXR, and the LC20B-M

The case is where most of my hang-ups occur. It needs to have enough airflow to support a passively cooled video card, down below.

Processor: Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz

I'm not very familiar with Sandy Bridge processors, but I hear they're beasts, even with the i3. I have an i7-930 Bloomfield from about a year ago and I love it, but I'm not going to buy another i7. I hear i3's are more than proficient for HTPC use, but since I will be using the system to play games on low settings (Like TF2, Hitman series, tomb raider games, etc) I would like to go with the i5 and be better safe than sorry. If I'm wrong here, please let me know.

Motherboard: Biostar Intel Z68.
The board has all the latest features that any PC enthusiast considers "standard" (usb3, sata III, Uefi, etc). It has enough PCI slots to be able to house the video card, TV tuner, and has the room for a soundcard if need be, but that most likely won't be necessary.

1) Crucial M4 128gb SATA III SSD This will be used solely as a boot drive for the OS. I know it's far more space than Windows 7 needs, but it's a good buffer in case another user accidentally places a large file on the desktop without thinking. It's happened to me before whenever someone attempted to "help" by installing an SP without adequate space for the install. That was a fun time
2) 2 x Seagate Baracuda Green 2TB. Used for movies, music, games, etc

RAM: 4GB G-Skill Ripjaw Series DDR3 1600
I might bump this up to 6 or 8gb due to gaming. Not sure if this is necessary though

Video Card: HIS 2GB Passively Cooled AMD 6570
After reading multiple reviews and comparative tests, I've decided to opt for the 6570 over the GT 430.

TV Tuner: Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 Dual TV Tuner / Encoder
This is my first time dealing with TV Tuners, so if anyone knows of a better one, let me know :)

Optical Drive: LITE-ON 3D Bluray drive/burner
I do not own a 3d TV, but this will help make it future-proof

Has perfect reviews on newegg, so I'm going with it

Gamepad: 2 x Logitech F710
2 so a friend and I can play simple multiplayer games

Keyboard/Mouse: Logitech diNovo Mini
I'm aware of the short battery life, but this will most likely be plugged in almost all of the time anyway. I'm open to other suggestions though.

Remote:Considering a Harmony, but not sure which model. Not restricting my choices solely to that brand if there is a better one out there. Any suggestions?

-I'm not planning on OCing, so I'm using the stock CPU cooler. I hear the Sandy Bridge processors give off very little heat.
-If I don't choose a case with an IR sensor, does anyone know of an aftermarket 3.5/5.25" card reader with an IR sensor? If the case includes a card reader, then just an aftermarket internal IR sensor will work.

Thanks for any help provided and if additional info is needed, let me know and I can edit this post accordingly.
5 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about first htpc build 1500 budget
  1. an alternative:

    an AMD Llano-based build has a weaker CPU, but much, much better GPU built in compared to the Sandy Bridge systems.

    its gpu is good enough for playable low-medium settings at 1920x1080 in a number of games.
  2. If I chose that route, what would be the difference between the Hudson D2 and the D3? One article said the only difference seemed to be that the D3 had 4 SuperSpeed ports while the D2 didn't offer any. I'll assume those are related to the SATAII and USB3, but I could be wrong. Are there any other differences between the two?

    Also, if I chose this route I could completely do away with the graphics card and still yield near the same performance?
  3. Best answer
    It sounds to me like a sandy bridge dual core would do the job for you.
    The integrated graphics is plenty strong enough for HD playback.
    The i3-2105 @3.1 has the stronger Hd3000 graphics

    The integrated graphics is about the power of a $50 discrete graphics card.

    No need for a "K" cpu if you will not do overclocking.
    I would use a P67 or Z68 motherboard to preserve your option to upgrade to ivy bridge some time in the future.

    How many expansion slots do you really need?
    A ATX motherboard has 7, a Micro-ATX has 4.
    If 4 would do you, there are more options for small cases in the m-atx size.

    Withought a discrete grapnics card, a 200w psu is fine. But they are hard to fine and a 400w psu would preserve your option to add a gaming card later.

    With a sandy cpu and integrated graphics, there is little need for much case cooling.

    Ram is cheap, Get a 8gb(2 x 4gb) kit up front. It will let windows keep more in ram available for instant reuse.
  4. here is a thermaltake case that may interest you
    since it has:

    High efficiency ventilation:12cm silent fan in front & dual 6cm fan in rear
    Built-in 23 in 1 card reader
    Built-in Media LAB LCD with hot keys module: LCD capable of display multi-language, 10 buttons hot keys function, Volume
    Control Knob and remote controller

    good luck with your build
  5. Best answer selected by larselduderino.
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