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HTPC Budget to Midlevel PC New Build

I have been researching like mad and have come up with parts for an HTPC build but I am thinking I can still accomplish this for at least $100.00 - $200.00 less. My current parts list puts it at $800.00. I have chosen an Intel build because I know nothing of AMD processors these days but if someone out there does I know it will save me some cash. This is for use with a standard TV not a HD TV. The TV has Composite Video and is cable ready. I plan on using a Ceton InfiniTV tuner since it can take cablecards and also has the ability to watch and record multiple channels at the same time.


Approximate Purchase Date: within a week

Budget Range: If it can be built for under $500.00 I would be estatic!

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Recording and Watching Cable TV, Watching Netflix and other streaming content, surfing the web. Will not be used for games at all.

Parts Not Required: Hard Drive have a 640GB SATA unused. Blu Ray Player

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg

Country: USA

Parts Preferences:by brand or type : Would like to use Intel Processor but if their is a cheaper solution using AMD that is stable I'll be interested

Overclocking: NO

SLI or Crossfire: NO

Monitor Resolution: NO MONITOR

Additional Comments: I would like to build something reliable and quiet that can run Windows Media Center, Netflix, Hulu etc. has the ability to watch one cable channel and record another. Also would like to do away with the cable box, dvd player and VCR completely. Time Warner is the cable provider. Also needs to have a remote control with it. I have included my parts list below but would like to reduce the cost as $800.00 is a little steep for me. Here is what I came up with (all parts from Newegg):


Silverstone Short Cable Set For Silverstone Strider Series Modular PSU Model PP05
Item #: N82E16812162010

LITE-ON DVD Burner - Bulk Black SATA Model iHAS124-04 - OEM
Item #: N82E16827106289

SILVERSTONE Strider Plus ST50F-P 500W ATX 12V v2.3 & EPS 12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
Item #: N82E16817256065

BIOSTAR TH61ITX+RCH LGA 1155 Intel H61 HDMI USB 3.0 Mini ITX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
Item #: N82E16813138335

Intel Core i3-2120 Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 2000 BX80623I32120
Item #: N82E16819115077

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler Compatible Intel ...
Item #: N82E16835103065

SILVERSTONE Black Aluminum / 0.8mm SECC Grandia Series GD05B micro-ATX / Mini-DTX / Mini-ITX MB, 1x5.25", 2x3.5"+1x2.5"HDD ...
Item #: N82E16811163166

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL7D-8GBRH
Item #: N82E16820231402

Ceton InfiniTV 4 Quad-tuner Card for Watching Digital Cable TV on the PC, PCI-Express x1 Interface
Item #: N82E16815706001

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM
Item #: N82E16832116986
26 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about htpc budget midlevel build
  1. do yourself a favor and look into the new AMD APU.
  2. pretty sick link.
    In general if you are going onboard video do you go to 8gb ram too?
  3. No. If it is an HTPC, 4gb is more than enough. 2gb is still enough but since it is the same price with 4gb, everybody gets 4gb.
  4. cutebeans said:



    That is cheap :o but I don't like the case as it is going in an entertainment center. Will a micro ATX board fit in a mini ATX Case ?
  5. That case is pretty small. MicroATX. I don't think anybody would notice.
  6. cutebeans said:
    That case is pretty small. MicroATX. I don't think anybody would notice.



    looking at the case would it be possible to use the case Horizontally and mount the external DVD drive horizontally so it becomes a desktop unit ?
  7. Don't you have an internal HDD?

    Get this fast! $60 for a 500gb. It's a promo that will be gone in a while.
    http://www.amazon.com/Seagate-Barracuda-3-5-Inch-Internal-ST500DM002/dp/B005CT56R6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1322572457&sr=8-1

    Yeah, the case can be horizontal.
  8. I forgot to ask I will still need a heatsink/ fan for the CPU correct ?
  9. For the record, my HTPC is based on:

    AMD Athlon II X2-240 processor
    4GB (2x2GB) RAM
    AMD Radeon HD4670 graphics card
    Ceton InfiniTV4 card
    Windows 7 64-bit.

    Zero issues.

    @TheBouncer - My only comment is that heat sink will not fit within your case. The case has a height of 5.91". The Heat sink, by itself, is 6.24".

    -Wolf sends
  10. cutebeans said:
    Don't you have an internal HDD?

    Get this fast! $60 for a 500gb. It's a promo that will be gone in a while.
    http://www.amazon.com/Seagate-Barracuda-3-5-Inch-Internal-ST500DM002/dp/B005CT56R6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1322572457&sr=8-1

    Yeah, the case can be horizontal.



    I already have a Seagate 640GB SATA drive I am going to use.
  11. No, you won't need it. You're not overclocking or anything strenuous.
  12. Wolfshadw said:
    For the record, my HTPC is based on:

    AMD Athlon II X2-240 processor
    4GB (2x2GB) RAM
    AMD Radeon HD4670 graphics card
    Ceton InfiniTV4 card
    Windows 7 64-bit.

    Zero issues.

    @TheBouncer - My only comment is that heat sink will not fit within your case. The case has a height of 5.91". The Heat sink, by itself, is 6.24".

    -Wolf sends



    What motherboard are you running ? and do I need the graphics card if this is going to be an HTPC ?
  13. Not really, the onboard HD2000 can easily play HD movies.
  14. Sorry. Had to find it. I'm using an ASRock 760GM-GS3 motherboard. Since I had the graphics card, I didn't need a board that included an HDMI port.

    As far as whether or not you need a graphics card, that's up to you. I understand that today's on-board solutions are supposed to be able to display HD content, but I've never been sold on the idea. It would seem, to me anyway, that if the processor is busy recording content, then it's probably too busy to display HD content at the same time.

    -Wolf sends
  15. OK I looked and I think I found some cases that might work instead of the one in the combo. Just wondering your opinions on these cases the apevia has many different colors and two different versions. I just want this build to go as smooth as possible. I need these cases to work with the combo deal listed above and be able to install a ceton InfiniTV card and a remote control (rosewill remote for 19.99 on newegg I think will work)

    I have decided I am going to go with the combo above that cutebeans suggested. But I want to switch out the case with one of the ones i've listed below

    IN WIN BL631.300TBL Black Steel MicroATX Slim Case Computer Case 300W Power Supply
    Item #: N82E16811108065
    $61.99

    APEVIA X-QPACK2-NW-BK/500 Black Aluminum Body/ Front Mask MicroATX Desktop Computer Case 500W Power Supply
    Item #: N82E16811144140
    $84.99

    Foxconn DH-045(H+A)+MT-300 Black / Light Silver 0.8T GI MicroATX Desktop Computer Case 300W Power Supply
    Item #: N82E16811153123
    $54.99

    Sentey Slim 2420 Slim Flex Case w/ Power Supply SECC .7mm 2x USB/1x Fan/Micro ATX-ITX
    Item #: N82E16811322013
    $44.99
  16. Personally, I don't like any of them, because they all come with power supplies I wouldn't trust to run an electric toothbrush. The Apevia X-QPack2 case has the highest power rated power supply, so you're low powered system shouldn't stress it at all. Additionally, I know from experience that the Ceton card is rather lengthy. It looks like the Apevia case has the most room for lengthy cards.

    If you could stretch the budget a bit, I'd probably recommend going with something like this NMediaPC 5000B HTPC Case and add a power supply from a well respected manufacturer like Antec, Corsair, PC Power and Cooling, or FSP. Perhaps this Antec Earthwatts Green 380 (Note: this power supply does not come with a power cable).

    -Wolf sends
  17. Wolfshadw said:
    Personally, I don't like any of them, because they all come with power supplies I wouldn't trust to run an electric toothbrush. The Apevia X-QPack2 case has the highest power rated power supply, so you're low powered system shouldn't stress it at all. Additionally, I know from experience that the Ceton card is rather lengthy. It looks like the Apevia case has the most room for lengthy cards.

    If you could stretch the budget a bit, I'd probably recommend going with something like this NMediaPC 5000B HTPC Case and add a power supply from a well respected manufacturer like Antec, Corsair, PC Power and Cooling, or FSP. Perhaps this Antec Earthwatts Green 380 (Note: this power supply does not come with a power cable).

    -Wolf sends



    I like the case and it has an optional LCD however I noticed two potential problems the motherboard needs to support AC97 audio and it needs to have 3 USB headers the board in the combo above only has two ... Any suggestions ?
  18. Ok. I'm not an audio guy, but why does the motherboard need to support AC97 audio and why does it need three USB headers? I'm assuming that the front USB ports are going to require one. I'm guessing the Front LCD will require one as well. Front audio has it's own port. Do you really need the 1394 port connected?

    -Wolf sends
  19. Wolfshadw said:
    Ok. I'm not an audio guy, but why does the motherboard need to support AC97 audio and why does it need three USB headers? I'm assuming that the front USB ports are going to require one. I'm guessing the Front LCD will require one as well. Front audio has it's own port. Do you really need the 1394 port connected?

    -Wolf sends



    the specs to the case say it supports ac 97 for the front audio ports.

    on the 3 usb headers that is what others are saying in the comments to this case is that it needs the 3 usb headers to make the card reader work, the front usb ports and then the LCD
  20. If you think the LCD, Case and the MOBO listed above will all work together along with the PS you suggested then I will go ahead and order it all the only thing that may change is the TV Tuner card as this is a gift for my parents for Christmas and it looks as if my dad is dumping HBO and possibly even the cable box alltogether.

    The cable company does offer a cable card but if he goes to basic cable no cable card is needed as they broadcast in QAM, at least this is my understanding.
  21. 1) Maybe I'm blind, but I'm not seeing a card reader anywhere on that case. If you're going to add one to one of the external 5.25" drive bays, then yeah. You should rethink your motherboard.

    2) Just connect the front audio port cable to the F_Audio connection on the motherboard.

    3) If Dad is dumping all but Basic Cable, then you certainly do not need a Ceton Card (though I understand it does work without the cablecard). A TV Tuner Card, like the Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-1850 would suit his needs if he does dump the set top box (and all the channels it decrypts).

    4) Rebuild your new list of components in a new thread and get some fresh eyes on it. That way everyone knows exactly what components you're looking at.

    -Wolf sends
  22. Wolfshadw said:
    1) Maybe I'm blind, but I'm not seeing a card reader anywhere on that case. If you're going to add one to one of the external 5.25" drive bays, then yeah. You should rethink your motherboard.

    2) Just connect the front audio port cable to the F_Audio connection on the motherboard.

    3) If Dad is dumping all but Basic Cable, then you certainly do not need a Ceton Card (though I understand it does work without the cablecard). A TV Tuner Card, like the Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-1850 would suit his needs if he does dump the set top box (and all the channels it decrypts).

    4) Rebuild your new list of components in a new thread and get some fresh eyes on it. That way everyone knows exactly what components you're looking at.

    -Wolf sends



    Wolf this project may be ded in the water now... I am not sure so I will ask you and see.

    The cable company pulled a cute number on my dad. If he dumps the box and gets the cablecard he will no longer have the cable package that he has they will actually charge him more. He doesnt want the bill to go up so he is keeping the cablebox.

    My question is could I still do these two things

    1. Have the Cablebox feed into the DVR for recording shows and then feed to the TV
    2. Have a seperate cable connection before the cablebox go into the HTPC on a TV Tuner Card so that one channel could be watched while another one recorded.

    Would I need two TV tuner cards ? and how would I connect to the TV which has one cable connection and two sets of rca type plugs in the back ?
  23. Best answer
    Quote:
    If he dumps the box and gets the cablecard he will no longer have the cable package that he has they will actually charge him more.


    That's the part I don't understand. When I upgraded to the Ceton card, Comcast didn't say anything about needing to change my cable package. I still have the same "Digital Preferred" cable package as I did when I used their set top box.

    Anyway, I must have missed the part about this connecting to a standard television (non-HD). This really kind of kills the deal. There are adapters/converters that will take a VGA/DVI/HDMI input and convert it to composite, but that just adds to the cost.

    As to your questions, yes, you could do both of those things. Back in the days before cable companies started encrypting everything, I could run a simple coax splitter between the wall and the set top box. One line from the splitter went to the set top box.

    The other line went to my computer which, at the time, had an ATI All-In-Wonder (AIW) TV Tuner card. The set top box was connected to just a regular TV (like yours). The AIW had multiple outputs (including composite) and that could have connected to another input on the TV (but I just used it for my monitor).

    *IF* you had an adapter that would convert the VGA/DVI/HDMI output of the graphics card to composite, this should work, but again, the HTPC would not be able to decrypt any channels Time Warner is sending your way.

    -Wolf sends
  24. you both have been really helpful but I can only select one answer unfortunately.

    Wolf you have posted the most in depth info to me so I will go with your last post as the answer.

    cutebeans thank you for the links and your help as well

    It sucks that this got killed between the TV and the cable company but such is life. Have a good holiday and thanks again for your help
  25. Best answer selected by thebouncer2004.
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