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Request for opinions: Gaming/HTPC for living room

Last response: in Systems
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January 25, 2012 4:10:03 PM

Hi All,
I've finally decided to build a PC to hook up to my new TV. I've been thinking about it for a long time. I will be using this to play media as well as play current games - (mostly my son will be using it for games). So, comments and opinions are welcome.

Approximate Purchase Date: This week
Budget Range: ~$1000.00 - $1300.00
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Watching local media (NAS attached movies (blu-ray rips included), music, recorded TV, etc), watching and recording live tv. Playing FPS and RPG games.
Parts Not Required: Need everything
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I Use newegg and amazon, but willing to use any site with good prices.
Country: US
Parts Preferences: Intel and Nvidia
Overclocking: No
SLI or Crossfire: No
Monitor Resolution: 1080p LED TV (LG 55LW6500)

Additional Comments:
Very interested in a Quiet PC. Willing to sacrifice some game grahpics quality for low noise, but would like as high quality as possible. I will be trying out 3D games. I may have gone a little overboard on the chosen parts, but if something costs $10.00 - $20.00 more, and it is a jump up in quality or features, I usually pick the upgrade. If you see things that are obviously overpowered, that would be helpful. I had a hard time with the graphics card - I would like something very quiet, but don't know about the quality tradeoff for that, and I don't know about the noise characteristics of the card I chose.
I will not be upgrading this PC, if I need something better in 3 or 4 years, I'll just start from scratch again.

Parts I've kind of selected so far:

Case: http://www.amazon.com/Antec-FUSION-REMOTE-MAX-Fusion/dp... - Antec Fusion Remote Max
Motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z/GEN3
CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - Intel Core i3-2120
Memory http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) (total 8 GB)
PSU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - SeaSonic X Series X650 Gold
Graphics Card: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - GIGABYTE GV-N560UD-1G GeForce GTX 560 Ti
Boot Drive: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - Crucial M4 CT064M4SSD2 64GB (SSD)
Data Drive: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - Western Digital Caviar Green WD10EARS 1TB 5400 RPM
Optical Drive: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ]SAMSUNG Black 12X BD-ROM
TV Tuner: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... -Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 Dual TV Tuner
Keyboard/ Mouse: - No good idea yet.
January 25, 2012 4:56:10 PM

Posting links that way is time consuming as we have to copy and paste each one.

http://www.amazon.com/Asus-Media-Player-Catalog-Categor...

For less than $100 you can get this device which will play any type of media and streaming media , then you can have the Pc seperate and just for surfing and gaming.
January 25, 2012 5:15:25 PM

Quote:

PSU:KINGWIN STR-500 500W ATX 12V v2.2, EPS 12V v2.91 and SSI EPS 12V v2.92 SLI Ready 80 PLUS PLATINUM Certified Modular Active PFC Stryker Fanless Power Supply


Not a good choice for PSU - this is the one I'd recommend: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

A lot of people have complaints about the CX but I use the 430W version and it's been great so far, and was a steal at the price I paid for it.

If gaming is not your biggest priority the GENE-Z would be pretty pointless to have, you could go with an H61/H67 and shave about $100 off the cost of your system.

Alternately you could save even more money by going with an AMD Llano - it's tailor-made for HTPCs and runs a Radeon HD 6670 off the chip and eliminates the need for a central graphics card. Maybe try something like this:

CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Related resources
January 25, 2012 7:14:34 PM

inzone said:
Posting links that way is time consuming as we have to copy and paste each one.

http://www.amazon.com/Asus-Media-Player-Catalog-Categor...

For less than $100 you can get this device which will play any type of media and streaming media , then you can have the Pc seperate and just for surfing and gaming.


Sorry about the links, I was trying to use the method suggested in the "How to ask for new build advice" sticky. I must hve got it wrong somehow.

I currently have a WDTV Live, so a media streamer is what I'm trying to replace. I want one interface for everything. Local (file and disc) , live, and internet content. Planning on using XBMC.
January 25, 2012 7:39:01 PM

Thanks for the feedback

g-unit1111 said:

Not a good choice for PSU -


Any reason why this is not a good choice? It got very good reviews at a lot of review sites.

g-unit1111 said:

If gaming is not your biggest priority the GENE-Z would be pretty pointless to have, you could go with an H61/H67 and shave about $100 off the cost of your system.


That was one of my major problems deciding on a MB - h67 vs z68. But I figured for an HTPC, the quick sync capability of the z68 might be useful.

g-unit1111 said:

Alternately you could save even more money by going with an AMD Llano - it's tailor-made for HTPCs and runs a Radeon HD 6670 off the chip and eliminates the need for a central graphics card. Maybe try something like this:


I'm pretty sure I want to go for discrete graphics, I want this to last a few years, and I think the llano won't be able to keep up with game advances.

January 25, 2012 7:47:09 PM

If you want to do any gaming then the intergrated graphics is not the way to go , it really struggles with games.
January 25, 2012 7:48:24 PM

Kingwin used to produce crap PSUs, and they are still in many people's minds. I have also seen that the 80+ platinum model you selected has reviewed very well, as you pointed out, so it would be an excellent choice for quality. I'm not sure you'll want to power a GTX560Ti with it though; oh it will work just fine, but you WILL need fans running in your case to move some air through the PSU to cool it. Take a look at the Seasonic X-560. It is fully modular, 80+ gold, and only runs its fan when needed.
January 25, 2012 7:51:46 PM

^+1 on the Seasonic.
January 25, 2012 10:52:52 PM

I would suggest a pioneer BD drive, they are the most quiet- I had to replace my samsung because I didn't like the disk noise during the quiet part of films.

That Seasonic x-560 looks nice.. might be my next upgrade in my HTPC

Also, I like my DeNovo Mini Keyboard pricey but totally cool at the same time. It works in a mouse-keyboard mode (orange backlighting) or flip the switch and it's a Media Center remote (green backlight)- works great with XBMC
January 25, 2012 11:29:53 PM

The psu is platinum rated, which is good for a constricted case like the Antec. But, it will depend on good case cooling because it is fanless.

Instead, I would suggest a Seasonic 650w gold rated modular psu
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I use the 750w version, and the fan, if it ever runs, is inaudible.

I might consider a EVGA GTX570 for the gpu. It has a direct exhaust type cooler which tends to direct heat out of the case directly.
EVGA can reduce the minimum fan profile to 30% which is very quiet. Under load, such a card might not have to work as hard, remaining quieter.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

While the stock Intel cooler will do the cooling job, and the 2120 is not a hot cpu, the cooler will spin up noisily under load. I might consider using an aftermarket cooler with a slower turning 120-140 mm fan.
Noctua makes some of the best, but there are other good low profile units out there.
Here is the Noctua NH-C12P SE14
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

In other respects, it looks good.

January 26, 2012 3:23:41 AM

photokev1 said:
I would suggest a pioneer BD drive, they are the most quiet- I had to replace my samsung because I didn't like the disk noise during the quiet part of films.

I hadn't really thought about the noise of the BD drive. Thanks. Pioneer drives seem to be hard to find though.

photokev1 said:
Also, I like my DeNovo Mini Keyboard pricey but totally cool at the same time. It works in a mouse-keyboard mode (orange backlighting) or flip the switch and it's a Media Center remote (green backlight)- works great with XBMC

Definitely pricey - anyone have any experience with the Lenovo mini keyboard?
January 26, 2012 3:35:49 AM

geofelt said:

Instead, I would suggest a Seasonic 650w gold rated modular psu
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Good suggestions - the 650 is only $5.00 more than the 560, and it looks like it comes with a better fan. I think I'll go with the 650.
geofelt said:

I might consider a EVGA GTX570 for the gpu. It has a direct exhaust type cooler which tends to direct heat out of the case directly.
EVGA can reduce the minimum fan profile to 30% which is very quiet. Under load, such a card might not have to work as hard, remaining quieter.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Good suggestion, but that's about $120.00 more. Don't think I can justify it. It looks like the 560 Ti I selected also exhausts out the back, so I'll stick with that for now.

geofelt said:

While the stock Intel cooler will do the cooling job, and the 2120 is not a hot cpu, the cooler will spin up noisily under load. I might consider using an aftermarket cooler with a slower turning 120-140 mm fan.
Noctua makes some of the best, but there are other good low profile units out there.
Here is the Noctua NH-C12P SE14
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Yep, I was thinking about whether I would need a quieter cooler. I will probably use the stock for now, and change later if needed.

geofelt said:

In other respects, it looks good.


Thanks
!