Budget htpc and home server build ($400-500)


This is my first build in a while so I thought I'd get some feedback and make sure these parts are going to work together. The point of this machine is to:

- play movies. currently 720p, but when i upgrade my display I will want 1080p.
- home server. i will be backing up data from two or three other machines onto this one. downloading and seeding torrents. ssh from school to access my documents. pretty light, as far as servers go.
- minimal gaming. mostly psx and n64 emulators. i'm running linux anyway so my gaming options are limited.
- be relatively quiet and low power.

Here are the parts I am considering:

- CPU: Intel Core i3-2105 with HD 3000 IGP ($135 @newegg)
- MB: Gigabyte GA-Z68M ($95 after rebate @newegg)
- RAM: Mushkin Enhanced Silverline 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) ($38 @newegg)
- HDD: 250gb seagate barracuda 16mb cache 7200rpm ($50 @amazon)
- Case: Silverstone Grandia GD04B ($74 @amazon)
- PSU: SeaSonic SS-300ET ($40- @newegg)

TOTAL: $432

I went for a 250gb drive for now because i won't exhaust that for probably six months and hopefully the prices come back down by then and i'll throw a terabyte or two in there. i'll probably get an optical drive later, as well.

so any advice? are all these parts going to work together?

should i go for a slower cpu and/or a discrete gpu? i would have to go geforce because i hate ATI's linux support. but from what i've read the hd3000 should be competent for my purposes, right?

actually the part i am least sure about is the psu.
- will it fit in that case?
- what is the difference between the ET, ES, TFX and SFD models?
- is 300w enough? i used newegg's calculator and my system should only need 208w but i will likely be adding another hdd, a dvd drive, and maybe a low power discrete graphics card farther down the line. even with all that the calculator said 285w, so 300 is good right. but 350 is only like 4 dollars more? help, please...

i'd appreciate any advice! thanks.
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More about budget htpc home server build
  1. You want a AMD Llano Build :)! It is currently king of HTPC.

    The HD3000 is no match for the Llano onboard GPU.

    A6-3850 + FM1 motherboard $181

    G.skill Value Series Ram 4gb $20

    Your 250gb seagate barracuda $50

    Case Silverstone Grandia $74

    Get this Antec Neo Eco 400w $35 $25 after rebate

    Power cord for the PSU since it doesnt come with one. if you don't have one $5


    4gb is more than enough for an HTPC. Gaming only uses 4gb right now. An HTPC would need even less. :)

    Good luck. :D

    No need to get a graphics card anymore :) You can put anything in there and you wont need to worry about the PSU.
  2. +1 for Llano
  3. Thanks for the replies.

    You know, I was initially considering Llano but jumped over to Intel because I didn't hear great things about the Linux binary drivers. But upon closer inspection the situation looks decent.

    I'm thinking about bumping up to the A8-3850 but it seems that the retail is no longer in stock. Can anyone recommend a cooler that will fit inside my case?

    Also if I don't get the combo, maybe I should consider a different motherboard. There are a couple of Gigabyte boards around the same price. Doesn't Gigabyte have a better reputation for quality? I tend to use computers for like 6 to 8 years so I'm willing to spend an extra 10 bucks for something that is less likely to fail. For example this one is the same chipset but has four slots for memory:


    But how can it be Tom's Hardware recommended buy and have such terrible reviews.... I'm confused. Are those people who are complaining just incompetent?

    Thanks again!
  4. mostly, you only hear about the complaints. People who got one that had problems of some kind are far more likely to speak up about it.
  5. No need for cooler. Stock will be fine as long as you don't overclock.
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