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Help Required on First HTPC (~$1,300)

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January 2, 2012 3:07:02 PM

Hey everyone. This will be my first attempt at building my own HTPC and although I believe I'll have no problem with assembly, I'm finding the task of choosing the right bits and pieces rather daunting as I have very little experience in this area.

Approximate Purchase Date: Anytime between now and February 2012

Budget Range: Around $1,300 AUD. Lower obviously preferred, but I want something that will perform well without overdoing it for my needs.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Watching 1080p movies from harddrive, Blu-ray/DVD playing/burning/ripping, gaming (capable of handling NES/SNES level emulation. N64 great if possible), watching/recording HD TV

Parts Not Required: No parts yet acquired other than keyboard, mouse, monitor and Windows 7.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Any

Country: Australia

Parts Preferences: Would preferably like to build around the Antec Fusion Remote case.

Overclocking: No.

SLI or Crossfire: Probably not - Maybe?

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: Should be reasonably quiet. Intel based. HDMI ready and 7.1 audio is a must as is ability to play and rip blu-rays/handle play of 1080p files. Must be capable of gaming emulation of the NES/SNES era with N64 optional. Would like a reasonable amount of harddrive space, however I am planning to eventually hook this up to a 10TB+ external storage which will contain all media files. Should be capable of recording HD TV. Region free playback of BD/DVD would be nice if that is possible (?).

Thanks in advance for your help.

More about : required htpc 300

January 2, 2012 3:39:57 PM

Are you planning on editing and encoding. Also would you be interested in playing 2011/2012 games i.e. Battlefield 3?
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January 2, 2012 11:54:32 PM

shattered space said:
Are you planning on editing and encoding. Also would you be interested in playing 2011/2012 games i.e. Battlefield 3?


Editing and encoding would be nice.
Playing 2011/2012 games isn't necessary at all. Again, if it were capable of running those games then that's great, but 2011/2012 games is quite literally one of the last things I care about this machine doing.
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January 3, 2012 12:02:11 AM

1300 is very high for an htpc.
unless i'm mistaken, you can get away a i5-2500 and no gpu. The onboard "intel hd 3000" graphics might suck for games but they work perfect for hd playback and basic video encoding.

Now if you're editing 1080p films professionally, you'll need something better. The onboard graphics should be fine for small, just-for-fun editing tasks, though.

And if it happens you need more power, a $60 video card would be perfect.

edit:
If you want your computer to be extra snappy. invest in a large SSD.

no idea what web site is best for Australia purchases....
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January 3, 2012 5:01:14 AM

I found the following 2 builds for the Antec Fusion Remote case that I believe would be capable of performing my base requirements. It is, however, a few months old. Would anybody be able to confirm this for me or point me in the direction of more recent upgrades to particular units? I feel as though I am leaning toward the front end variant as I will eventually have all media on an external setup... however, how quiet would the performance build be? What difference could I expect to see between the two builds as far as gaming is concerned?

As you can probably tell I am quite useless at all this.

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SILENT FRONT END HTPC
Case: Antec Fusion Remote Black – $198.00 445 x 140 x 414mm (W,H,D)

CPU/Motherboard: ASUS E35M1-M PRO Motherboard – $199.00
~40W system idle power consumption, 55W load. Can bitstream HD audio from onbaord HDMI

RAM: Corsair CMV4GX3M2A1333C9 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 – $55.00

SSD: Corsair Force Series 60GB SSD – $149.00 Any SSD ~40GB should suffice

GPU: On-board ATI HD6310

Optical Drive: LG CH12LS28 12X BD-R Blu-ray DVD Combo Drive – $75.00

PSU: Seasonic X-400 Fanless Gold 400W – $175.00
Taking advantage of the benefits derived from the 80PLUS GOLD level of efficiency and the use of high-grade components, the Seasonic X-400 power supply runs cool and silent, perfect for your Home Theater PC (HTPC) and other applications where “silence is golden”.

Fans: Scythe 120mm S-FLEX 800rpm Fan – $25.00
Tricools on low are quiet, but not silent. Use them in your gaming rig. Connect the fan to the CPU fan header; Block the second fan grill with the plastic cover supplied with the case.

Total: $880

Upgrades or Add-ons for Watching/Recording Television
TV Tuner: Leadtek WinFast DTV2000DS Dual HD Tuner – $59.00 PCI Dual tuner, remote control

HDD: Western Digital Green 2TB WD20EARS – $99.00

-----
PERFORMANCE HTPC

Case: Antec Fusion Remote Black – $194.00 445 x 140 x 414mm (W,H,D)
This case features a stylish aluminum front bezel with an LCD, a built-in IR receiver and a remote control to work the included iMEDIAN HD software. 120mm Tricool fans supplied.

CPU: Intel Core i3 2100 – $129.00

CPU Cooler: Scythe Shuriken Low Profile Cooler Rev B – $45.00

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 Motherboard – $139.00

RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL – $37.00

HDD: Samsung SpinPoint F3 1TB HD103SJ – $75.00

GPU: ASUS GeForce GT430 1GB Low Profile – $69.00

Optical Drive: LG CH12LS28 12X BD-R Blu-ray DVD Combo Drive – $75.00

TV Tuner: Hauppauge HVR2200 MCE PCIe Dual Hybrid – $139.00
Arguably the best tuner on the market. Great performing and very reliable, with no-fuss drivers for all flavours of Windows.

PSU: Seasonic S12II 430W Power Supply – $79.00

Total: $981
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January 4, 2012 8:23:52 AM

I prefer intel over amd, but I have no experience with fusion and reviews seem to say it's perfect for hd video and low end games (emulation should fit into low end, I'd imagine).

And damn, are prices ever expensive in Australia! though they have gone down from what you posted (except for hdds).

1st build:
-needs a bigger ssd agility 3 should work.
-that psu is overkill, unless you're insanely sensitive about noise. Should be replaced with the one in the second build.
-upgrade to 8gb of ram cause it's cheap. and get corsair vengence instead.
-that hdd is no longer sold at pccasegear. Equivalents are now twice as expensive due to Thailand flooding.
-mobo no longer exists on that site. The E35M1-I Deluxe should be equivalent.

2nd build
-same ram reccomendation
-needs an ssd

The second will far exceed the first in gaming, but is also more expensive and both will work as HTPC's perfectly. It will also be louder but not by a lot. The first one (using the expensive psu) will be silent. The second will make a quiet air flow noise (likely inaudible at ~5 feet with regular ambient noise levels). What noise level are you looking for?
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January 4, 2012 9:29:08 AM

OK so, I've got to go to school soon so I can't do anything right now but later on today, I'll post a nice long reply and I'll set up a nice "virtual" system (I'll recommend you a whole bunch of different parts) later on today. Wish I saw this post earlier. Anyways, you can expect my reply soon.
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!