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Sub $1000 Gaming and HTPC build(s)

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Last response: in Systems
November 15, 2011 11:27:54 PM

Hi everyone.

I'm currently running a HTPC for music and movies in my lounge room with the following HW

Intel Core i3-2100 with stock cooler

BIOSTAR TH67+ LGA 1155 Intel H67 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

nMEDIAPC Black Aluminum / Acrylic / Steel HTPC 1080P Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBNQ

Thermaltake TR2 W0379RU 500W ATX 12V v2.2 Power Supply

HIS Silence H557HR1G Radeon HD 5570 1GB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready Low Profile Ready Video Card

OCZ Agility 2 OCZSSD2-2AGTE60G 2.5" 60GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

Western Digital Caviar Green WD10EARS 1TB 5400 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

LG WH10LS30 10X Blu-ray Burner - LightScribe Support - Bulk - OEM

Zonet ZEW1642D PCI Wireless adapter
Hauppauge 2200 Dual TV Tuner (installed but not in use as we are on cable at the moment)
Win7 Home Premium 64 bit OEM
+ Wireless keyboard/trackball and WMC remote

It took me a long time to be the system running well which is one of the reasons I added the 5570 - 1080p playback just worked properly out of the box while the Intel HD graphics did not.

Now that its working though I want to tinker. I currently play games on a Acer 4820TG laptop with a Radeon 5650M - it works okay for Company of Heroes and EU3 but the 14" 1366x768 real estate is a bit limiting.

I want to add a standalone gaming machine with a decent size monitor and enough performance to smoothly handle Skyrim, Starcraft and maybe some casual FPS. I'm also looking at centralising all my media storage in a Raid 1 NAS - mainly because I'm sick of syncing it across the laptop and HTPC all the time.

Should I buy something even more thrifty as my HTPC (maybe a AMD Fusion powered mini-PC) and then upgrade my HTPC hardware for gaming or would I get better value just building a new stand-alone gaming PC? Does anyone have hardware recommendations?

I'm generally interested in smaller cases although I do have a have a Silverstone GD05 case, a super-multi DVD drive spare along with an old 500MB HDD which I could use in the short term. My budget is less than $1000 with monitor and OS.

From the template:
Approximate Purchase Date: could be next week or might wait until after Christmas

Budget Range: no more than $1000

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming / HTPC

Parts Not Required: See above

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I generally shop on newegg and Amazon but happy anywhere

Country: US

Parts Preferences: I am more familiar with Radeon GPUs (and Catalyst) but not a strong preference.

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1440x900 minimum more would be better

Additional Comments: I like small, compact systems. I have built 2 or 3 systems but never with complete success.

Cheers (and sorry for War and Peace)


More about : 1000 gaming htpc build

Best solution

November 16, 2011 12:48:53 AM

I think the H67 is well suited for the HTPC duty. So lets just leave the HTPC alone for now.
Get a Z68, corei5 combo. For a monitor resolution, 1080p is pretty standard these days and you'll find the best value monitors in this range. I've seen 23inchers going for as low as $120, but I would spend a bit more to get a decent one.

So in the midrange graphics you could go with the HD 6850/70 or GTX 460 although I guess those are hard to come by now. What I recommend however is either the HD 6950 or the GTX 560ti for some of the newer titles coming out.
November 16, 2011 5:57:46 PM

Thanks buzz,

So you think that a new gaming build is a better option than a cheapo HTPC replacement and then upgrade the current HW.

What I was thinking was something like this:

AX1930-UR30P Desktop Computer

Which for $299 with an OS seems really cheap. If I pull the inards out of a cheapie Acer like this for a new HTPC in the nMedia case and then I could add a good monitor and a 6950/560Ti to my current HW and have some change left over.

What do you think?
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November 20, 2011 4:50:50 PM

No one has any opinion on this option?
November 24, 2011 1:22:51 AM

Best answer selected by JoshWilkinson.