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HTPC Build Advice

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December 23, 2011 12:11:03 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: This week
Budget Range: around $350 after rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Watching and recording TV at the same time as well as be able to video playback
Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS (planning on running Mythbuntu), Monitor

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: no preference

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: I would like it to run 1080p videos without shutter and I would like it to run quiet and cool. I am also considering cannibalizing an 80 GB HDD I have laying around until prices go down. Below is a set up I believe would work (excluding a TV tuner) but I am unsure about a couple of parts, but I am open to any suggestions.

Processor:

AMD A4-3400 Llano 2.7GHz Socket FM1 65W Dual-Core Desktop APU with DirectX 11 Graphic AMD Radeon HD 6410D AD3400OJGXBOX

Or


AMD A6-3500 Llano 2.1GHz (2.4GHz Max Turbo) Socket FM1 65W Triple-Core Desktop APU with DirectX 11 Graphic AMD Radeon HD 6530D AD3500OJGXBOX

Motherboard:


ASRock A75M-HVS FM1 AMD A75 (Hudson D3) HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard with UEFI BIOS

Memory:

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9S-4GBRL

Case:


hec Black 0.7mm Thickness SECC Steel 7K09BBA30FNRX Micro ATX Media Center 300W Power Supply / HTPC Case

or


Sentey Slim 2422 Slim Flex Case w/Power Supply LCD DISPLAY SECC 0.7mm 2x USB/1x Fan/Micro ATX-ITX

More about : htpc build advice

December 23, 2011 3:35:35 PM

Does anyone have any advice they can give me on which parts would be best, special for a TV tuner I do not have much knowledge about them. Also, I am looking at ordering this very soon.
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December 23, 2011 3:48:01 PM

I currently have a HTPC setup running an E-350 platform. It's mostly pretty good, but struggles with 1080p playback. Not strong enough for 3D, though. My guess is that either of those CPUs will do just fine.

As far as a tuner, I'm using a USB one, and it does have some sort of stuttering effect on my plasma. I'm guessing that if I put in a PCI-E tuner, that would eliminate the issue. So I recommend a PCI-E tuner.

As for getting things that will work for sure with Linux, I'm no help there, as I just run Win7 on mine. I'm sure someone will chime in for that. :) 
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December 23, 2011 5:09:10 PM

I'm going to give you some options here since you didn't list a budget or what you'll specifically be doing.

Case: Rosewill R379-M $49.99
TV Tuner: Hauppauge WinTV HVR-1250 $59.99
RAM: Mushkin Enhanced Essentials 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1333 $19.99

Subtotal: $129.97
You will need these parts.

HDD: Seagate Barracuda Green 2TB 5900 RPM $134.99
Blu-ray: SAMSUNG Blu-ray Combo Drive $53.99

Subtotal: $188.98
You may not need these parts. If you don't want to watch Blu-rays, but need an optical drive, you can buy a DVD burner for ~$18.

CPU Option 1: AMD A4-3400 $69.99
Mobo Option 1: BIOSTAR A55MH $64.99

Subtotal: $134.98

CPU Option 2: Intel Pentium G620 $69.99
Mobo Option 2: BIOSTAR H61MGC $49.99
Optional GPU Option 2: GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6450 $ 39.99

Subtotal: $119.98 / $159.97 with GPU
You don't need a discrete GPU, but some people say Sandy Bridge onboard video causes skipped frames during playback. The Intel CPU is going to be significantly better, so I suggest going this route and picking up a discrete GPU if you notice problems.

Optional -
PSU: SeaSonic SS-300TFX 300W 80+ Bronze $42.99
Cooler: LOGISYS Gamma Blade $14.99
Fan: SilenX 80mm Case Fan $6.99

Subtotal: $64.97
You don't need these parts, but I do suggest them, if you can afford them, to have a quieter and more efficient system.

Total: $249.95 (base parts only with Intel platform and no GPU) to $543.89 (complete system using Option 2 with GPU). Prices are before shipping and mail-in-rebates.

I know this is probably a little confusing. I'm happy to clarify if you have questions.
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December 23, 2011 5:14:49 PM

Quote:
As for getting things that will work for sure with Linux, I'm no help there, as I just run Win7 on mine. I'm sure someone will chime in for that. :) 


I personally wouldn't recommend Linux for HTPCs as your playback options will be severely limited (no BD-R for instance) and you won't get the full use of your HTPC's DVR functions.

Quote:
You don't need a discrete GPU, but some people say Sandy Bridge onboard video causes skipped frames during playback. The Intel CPU is going to be significantly better, so I suggest going this route and picking up a discrete GPU if you notice problems.


You could go with a low cost, low profile Radeon 5450 just to be on the safe side.

Quote:

Processor:

AMD A4-3400 Llano 2.7GHz Socket FM1 65W Dual-Core Desktop APU with DirectX 11 Graphic AMD Radeon HD 6410D AD3400OJGXBOX


the Llano is a good choice if you don't need a dedicated GPU - it has a built in equivalent of a Radeon 6670. And then you can always add another one for Crossfire if you feel that's inadequate.

Quote:
CPU Option 1: AMD A4-3400 $69.99
Mobo Option 1: BIOSTAR A55MH $64.99


I personally wouldn't recommend Biostar - Gigabyte and Asus make far better FM1 boards for the money.
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December 23, 2011 6:56:16 PM

Since people do not think the llano A4 or A6 will fit my needs (I like to thank everyone for their input) what if I go the route where with a separate CPU and GPU. Also I am still looking for a TV tuner, I believe I need a dual TV tuner so I can record and watch TV at the same time. Before I go any farther what does everyone feel about this combination?

CPU:

AMD Athlon II X3 450 Rana 3.2GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Desktop Processor ADX450WFGMBOX

Price: $80

MOBO:

ASUS M4A88T-M AM3 AMD 880G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard

Price: $80

Memory:

Patriot Signature 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory with heatshield Model PSD38G1600KH

Price: $19.99 (after rebate)

GPU:

GIGABYTE GV-R645D3-512I Radeon HD 6450 512MB 64-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready Low Profile Ready Video Card

Price: $20 (after rebate)


Case:

hec Black 0.7mm Thickness SECC Steel 7K09BBA30FNRX Micro ATX Media Center 300W Power Supply / HTPC Case

Price: ~$62

or


Sentey Slim 2422 Slim Flex Case w/Power Supply LCD DISPLAY SECC 0.7mm 2x USB/1x Fan/Micro ATX-ITX

Price: $35

^^ I am leaning towards this because of the price. It would allow me to switch out the fan and PSU if need be.

Total Price: $235-262 (My budge is around $350, you can see this on my first post).
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December 23, 2011 7:34:21 PM

I don't know why you wouldn't get the Pentium I listed. I can see you're an AMD guy, which is fine, but they are really not a good buy right now. I listed a TV tuner as well.
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December 23, 2011 8:17:51 PM

hapkido said:
I don't know why you wouldn't get the Pentium I listed. I can see you're an AMD guy, which is fine, but they are really not a good buy right now. I listed a TV tuner as well.


I am a little bias towards AMD just because I have had some normal PC's with AMD processors, and I have had no trouble with them. If I can see a major performance difference with an Intel I would be willing to switch.

From how I understand it (I could be wrong) a hybrid tv tuner can only watch digital tv and record analog TV or vise verse . I am looking for one that can record and watch digital at the same time. I believe I am looking for dual TV tuner, but I am unsure if that will solve my problem or do I need two TV tuners?
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December 23, 2011 8:36:19 PM

The tuner you need will depend on your source. If you plan to pull in over-the-air HDTV, then the Hauppauge HVR-2250 or AverMedia Duet A188 are good dual tuners that can watch/record multiple channels at once.

If you are pulling in digital cable, you could try your luck with clear-QAM, or you can get a CableCard tuner such as the Ceton InfiniTV, Hauppauge WinTV-DCR-2650, or SiliconDust HDHomerun Prime.
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December 29, 2011 11:03:21 PM

Best answer selected by cptmuffin.
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