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HTPC MAX 500$

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December 23, 2011 12:18:43 AM

Hi,

I am totally new to the media centers world, I read a lot on the net during the last weeks and I have now a general idea of the main specs and best brands around.

However, I came to the conclusion that in this moment there is nothing on the market that gives me the freedom of a PC, like choosing which channel you want to see outside the pre-packed ones or simply browse the Internet.

For this reason, I want to investigate the idea of a homebuilt HTPC.

I own a WD 'My Book' USB 3.0 HDD 2T that I'd like to include it this package.

I intend to start this project in January.


Background
I have a HD TV in my basement, I cancelled my cable TV subscription a few days ago and got rid of my setbox
I am on fiber for the Internet, 15/15 Mbps
I reside in Canada and I will use VPN to access US streaming.

Here is what I want to achieve
I prefer to use open and free software like Linux with XBMC and avoid spending for the MS licenses
I want to be able to access Netflix/Hulu but also view movies via Megavideo links.
Torrent download
I want to be able to watch soccer live, therefore access to live sports events is important to me.
I want to browse the Internet on my TV
Occasionally, I want to view content from my home network.
Probably an internal HDD is needed.


What I do not need
I do not want a BD Reader/writer

Can you help me to choose the right components to assemble?

I forgot.... I tend to like more Intel based systems rather than AMD.

Thanks guys

Cheers
Alex

More about : htpc max 500

December 23, 2011 4:18:16 PM

Hi,

I am aware there are already a number of configurations suggested on different threads, but since I prefer to not have a BD and Windows OS, I can probably invest more in a better MB or other stuff.

Also, not many people use Linux in combination with HTPC and I am wondering why, anything I am missing?

Thanks
Alex

Best solution

a b B Homebuilt system
December 23, 2011 4:36:21 PM
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For true HTPC purposes, the AMD Llano setup is a great option. Plenty of power all around and the graphics will be better than a similarly priced Intel build with integrated graphics. Something to consider...


MB - ASRock A75M-HVS FM1 A75 - $70
CPU - AMD A6-3500 FM1 with HD 6530D - $90
MEM - G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB DDR3-1600 CL9 - $23
HD - Hitachi 500GB - $80
OPTICAL - ASUS Black 24X DVD-RW - $19
PSU - CORSAIR CX430 - $25 after $20 MIR
CASE - Silverstone HTPC - $60

$362


Linux because it is free...
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December 24, 2011 2:10:46 PM

Hi Sadams04,

thank you for your reply.

I have some additional questions:

  • Linux: is free and then? I think it works great as an OS, do you see any issue to use it in combination with HTPC?
  • What would be the time it takes to this system to be up and running from the moment you switch it on? I do not intend to put it on stand-by, it should be off during the night and when I say off I really mean off, zero consumption.
  • Noise: the case will stay together with my hi-fi gear in a piece of furniture http://www.mediafire.com/i/?6zswoflazcr8rac , I can choose to close/open the glass doors though, therefore I am more concerned about the heat rather than the noise.
  • Will I be able to link the HTPC to my Sony 5+1 HT system?
  • Remote control: I am very sensitive to this, do you have any suggestion regarding something that will enable me to command TV and HTPC at that includes a mini keyboard to browse the Internet in one single remote?

    All suggestions are very welcomed.

    Cheers
    Alex

    a b B Homebuilt system
    December 24, 2011 3:04:06 PM

    I can't really speak for the Linux side other than to say I browsed a few forums. Search around and you will find some guides and forum help. I am just not that guy...

    Noise: The only thing that might be noisy would be the stock CPU fan. Easily replaced with a $35 low profile aftermarket cooler.

    Sony 5+1 HT: If it accepts HDMI then you are good-to-go. The HDMI output on the computer will give you audio and video.

    Remote Control: No.. I don't have a recommendation there. I use a typical bluetooth mouse and keyboard with media controls.
    December 24, 2011 3:11:45 PM

    OK I see.

    Well thanks very much for your help, you gave me a starting point.

    Hopefully somebody else will join this thread to provide some extra info over the remote control.

    Cheers
    Alex
    a b B Homebuilt system
    December 26, 2011 11:41:01 AM

    I use the Dinovo Mini in my setup. It's ok if you don't plan to use it for a lot of typing... just the occasional input for a guide search or whatever. The size does make it nice for sitting out on the coffee table and the backlit keys are an option that's hard to find. On the downside, it's easy to scratch the cover and the keys that have alternate functions (press Fn to activate) do not light up the marking for that alternate function... which can really suck in a dark room.

    That said, if you go for the Dinovo try to get one for around $85. I don't think it's worth the full retail price of ~$125.
    December 26, 2011 9:01:06 PM

    rwpritchett said:
    I use the Dinovo Mini in my setup. It's ok if you don't plan to use it for a lot of typing... just the occasional input for a guide search or whatever. The size does make it nice for sitting out on the coffee table and the backlit keys are an option that's hard to find. On the downside, it's easy to scratch the cover and the keys that have alternate functions (press Fn to activate) do not light up the marking for that alternate function... which can really suck in a dark room.

    That said, if you go for the Dinovo try to get one for around $85. I don't think it's worth the full retail price of ~$125.



    Thanks for your feedback.
    I think that the diNovo is a good option, just wondering how it is possible that no alternatives came out since 2008, but apparently there is nothing else at that level.

    Cheers
    Alex
    December 27, 2011 12:31:02 AM

    Hi Sadams04,

    I have been thinking to the configuration you proposed and I believe it is pretty much what I need.

    I do not need the cd/dvd burner, should I decide to go for an optical device then I would go for a BD burner.
    In case, do you have any suggestion?

    Regarding the noise level, I have some difficulty in finding CPU fans for socket FM1, any advice?

    Which HDD should I go for in case I want to increase the capacity to 1T?

    I noticed that many people add a TV tuner like Hauppauge but since I want to go 100% streaming I wouldn't know what to do with it.
    However, sometimes I might need to record the streamed programs, would VLC be an option?


    Last question, does anybody know the booting time I may expect from the configuration below with Ubuntu being the OS?

    MB - ASRock A75M-HVS FM1 A75 - $70
    CPU - AMD A6-3500 FM1 with HD 6530D - $90
    MEM - G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB DDR3-1600 CL9 - $23
    HD - Hitachi 500GB - $80
    OPTICAL - ASUS Black 24X DVD-RW - $19
    PSU - CORSAIR CX430 - $25 after $20 MIR
    CASE - Silverstone HTPC - $60

    Thanks
    Alex


    December 27, 2011 7:28:23 PM

    Anybody?

    Thanks
    Alex
    a b B Homebuilt system
    December 28, 2011 11:52:45 AM

    CPU Cooler - The stock one might not be that bad, but look for a low profile aftermarket cooler like the ones below. Any AM3 / AM3+ CPU cooler will fit FM1...
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    ASUS BD-RW ($50 after MIR) => http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    1TB HD
    Samsung F3 => http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    Seagate => http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    VLC - Not sure, but I don't see why it wouldn't work.

    Ubuntu - Can't help you there either, but I would suspect boot times would be fairly low...
    December 29, 2011 1:01:59 AM

    Sadams4,

    thanks very much for you valuable support, I really appreciate your help.

    I just need to order the stuff and begin to assemble, I will come back with some feedback.

    Cheers
    Alex
    December 30, 2011 11:37:46 PM

    Best answer selected by Metallo.
    January 6, 2012 3:23:38 AM

    Hey....

    An answer re linux HTPC stuff... I used Myth for a while, and have tried Media Portal and WMC7 on Windows 7. For me, I use the OTA feature, and WMC7 just worked. It worked with my remote, it worked with my tuner, AND it allowed me to use Netflix as well. Netflix + linux = sorry. Not Linux's fault (it's actually the studio's fault for not letting Netflix release the unlocked Silverlight/Moonbeam), but yeah, that's a deal-breaker for many. Plus the remote support was critical for a solid WAF. I was getting somewhere with my $15 Amazon remote on Myth, but after about two full evenings trying to get it to work, I decided to put a price on my time, and paid $100 for Win7. Everything works, and is PURE eye candy. I'm about to build a new machine since running it off my laptop is getting annoying...

    Good luck(if you're still active on this thread!)

    Andrew
    January 8, 2012 7:10:03 PM

    gil99 said:
    Hey....

    An answer re linux HTPC stuff... I used Myth for a while, and have tried Media Portal and WMC7 on Windows 7. For me, I use the OTA feature, and WMC7 just worked. It worked with my remote, it worked with my tuner, AND it allowed me to use Netflix as well. Netflix + linux = sorry. Not Linux's fault (it's actually the studio's fault for not letting Netflix release the unlocked Silverlight/Moonbeam), but yeah, that's a deal-breaker for many. Plus the remote support was critical for a solid WAF. I was getting somewhere with my $15 Amazon remote on Myth, but after about two full evenings trying to get it to work, I decided to put a price on my time, and paid $100 for Win7. Everything works, and is PURE eye candy. I'm about to build a new machine since running it off my laptop is getting annoying...

    Good luck(if you're still active on this thread!)

    Andrew


    Thanks for sharing your experience.

    Well, I will try Ubuntu and post the results on this forum, if not working I will switch to W7, no doubt.

    Cheers
    Alex
    !