New Build, First Build, HTPC / Gaming Hybrid

Hello Everyone,

I am new to the PC building world. 5 years ago or so I was really into computer gaming and sort of knew my way around the PC mainly because my father was big into building PCs and I would always get his hand me down parts. However, since technology always changes and I was never an expert I have no problem calling myself a newbie. For some time now I have had an itch to build an HTPC, nothing hardcore just something I can surf the web, youtubz, watch blu rays in 1080p and some storage. However, with Diablo 3 coming out soon I could see myself getting back into computer gaming...mainly Diablo but don't want to restrict myself too much. For this reason I am looking to build a hybrid of the two while staying on a budget ($600-$700 for an entire rig). My scenerio is unique though. Two years ago my father's custom built PC crashed on him. He did some diagnostics and believes it to be a shot motherboard. Between this issue and moving to a house without a dedicated computer room, my father lost his PC bug and his rig hasn't been touched in almost two years. I've been talking to him about my desire to build my own PC and he told me he will try firing his up again...if the problems continue then I am welcome to salvage whatever parts I want for my build. If this ends up being the case I will probably take his 2 Geforce 8800 GTs, the HDD, and the memory (Will these cards be enough to support my blu ray / gaming needs?). I would like to leave him the case / PSU and would feel more satisfied researching and deciding my own combination. Sorry for this long story but that brings me to where we are now. Currently I am working to try and decide what CPU / Mobo combo I want to go with. I am pretty set on Intel but thats about the only thing I am certain with right now which is why I have come here hoping for advice on whats best for my needs. Right now its between the i3 2100, i5 2400, and i5 2500k. I don't plan to overclock, unless necessary, mainly due to my inexperience; however I would be lying if I said I wasn't interested in learning one day. Would the $50/$80 difference in the i3 2100 and i5 2400 / i5 2500k be worth it for my situation? Sure bigger is always better but I do want to avoid overkill. For the motherboard I believe I need either a P67 or Z68 since I will be running sli with the two Geforce 8800 GTs. Other than that the only requirement I have is it must have a S/PDIF out to connect to my 5.1 surround sound and be reasonably priced for my needs (I would still like to stay in the budget mindset even if I get the freebies from my father). Once again I am sorry for this long story. I have included the standard new build template below and will gladly except full build ideas in case the freebies don't work out. Thanks in advance for the patience and help!

Approximate Purchase Date: (e.g.: this week (the closer the better)): CPU / Mobo next week I will be at my parents for the holidays and they live by a Micro Center

Budget Range: (e.g.: 600-800) Before / After Rebates: Full Build $600-700$, Build with freebies $300-$400

System Usage from Most to Least Important: (e.g.: Folding@Home, gaming, surfing the internet, watching movies): Watching Movies / Gaming, Youtubing, Surfing, Music

Parts Not Required: (e.g.: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS) **Include Power Supply Make & Model If Re-using**: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: (e.g.:, -- to show us selection & pricing): Newegg, Amazon, Micro Center (will only be able to visit Thurs / Fri next week)

Country: (e.g.: India) we need to know where these parts are being assembled: USA

Parts Preferences: by brand or type (e.g.: I would like to use an AMD CPU & Biostar mobo with a 24" LCD and full tower case): Intel CPU & Quality Mobo mid tower case

Overclocking: Yes / No / Maybe: Maybe in the future but focused on stability now
SLI or Crossfire: Yes / No / Maybe: SLI

Monitor Resolution: (e.g.: 1024x768, 1280x1024, 1440x900, 1600x1200, 1680x1050, 1920x1080, 1920x1200): Primary: 720p 26" Vizio LED-LCD (1366x768 maybe?) and will also hook it up to my 1080p 55" LG LED-LCD (1980x1080) for movies and even gaming periodically

Additional Comments: (e.g.: Need to have a window and lots of bling, I would like a quiet PC): I am not expecting typical HTPC quietness but would like to find a solid in between in terms of HTPC and appropriate cooling for gaming.
6 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. For quiet in gaming, you'll have to get a decent heatsink to go with your low-end CPU :D
    Actually a 2100's not that low-end, and that's probably where you should go. If you think you're going to use this for heavy gaming someday, go 2500K and you'll be set for years. What are the specs of the old build, though? If the RAM's DDR2 you'll be getting a new set.
  2. Well I don't expect much quiet during gaming. I am more interesting in quiet while watching blu rays. Unfortunately I don't know much about my fathers current build other than the graphics. From what I have seen though it appears memory is rather inexpensive. I do keep learning towards the 2100 if I have to do a full build however if the Geforce 8800 GTs are enough and I can salvage the parts from my fathers build I might be more inclined the put out the extra money for the better processor. Does anyone have some suggestions about a good mobo for either scenario (i3 2100 or i5 2400 / i5 2500k)
  3. Well, 8800 SLI just won't get you that far, not beyond the reach of a 2100. You'll quickly be GPU-bottlenecked. I'll just reiterate my last post: the 2100 will be fine for your current setup as one option, and the 2500K, while obviously significantly more expensive, would have you set for a few years.
  4. Great, thanks for your advice. I will lean towards the 2100 then. I have put together a budget build through Newegg and would like any advice or suggestions. This is assuming I can't get any spare parts but a HD from my father.

    Intel Core i3-2100 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 2000 BX80623I32100
    Item #: N82E16819115078
    Return Policy: Iron Egg Replacement-Only Return Policy

    ASUS P8H67-V (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel H67 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
    Item #: N82E16813131783
    Return Policy: Standard Return Policy

    EVGA 01G-P3-1556-KR GeForce GTX 550 Ti (Fermi) FPB 1GB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
    Item #: N82E16814130625
    Return Policy: Iron Egg Standard Return Policy

    COOLER MASTER Elite 430 RC-430-KWN1 Black Steel / Plastic Computer Case
    Item #: N82E16811119227
    Return Policy: Standard Return Policy -$5.00 Instant

    CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX650 V2 650W ATX12V v2.31/ EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC High Performance Power ...
    Item #: N82E16817139020
    Return Policy: Standard Return Policy -$25.00 Instant

    G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-4GBXL
    Item #: N82E16820231425
    Return Policy: Memory Standard Return Policy

    SAMSUNG Black Blu-ray Combo SATA Model SH-B123L LightScribe Support - OEM
    Item #: N82E16827151222
    Return Policy: Standard Return Policy

    Subtotal: $594.93

    After shipping and rebates: $557.26

    My main interests are watching blu rays, surfing, and moderate gaming. Any and all suggestions are welcomed. Thanks for the help!
  5. Best answer
    Add a system fan, I think. That case only comes with one, and it's a good idea to have an exhaust fan.
    You'd be fine on an Antec 430W PSU. This one's very high quality:
  6. Best answer selected by drhughes5.
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