Need Advice on HTPC and NAS Build

I want to build both an HTPC and a NAS box. I've worked with PC components before, but never built anything myself -- this has turned into a daunting task! I had no idea how many choices there were. I've been pondering over this for too long now, so here goes:

HTPC:

Approximate Purchase Date: ASAP
Budget Range: Looking to stay around $600
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Plan to run XBMC, play Blu-ray Discs and DVDs, stream ripped Blu-rays and DVDs from NAS, stream home videos, somewhat future-proof w/ability to play 3D movies, stream from Netflix, nice to be quiet
Parts Not Required: Need everything
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I'll look at several, but prefer newegg.com and amazon.com (for fuel perks by buying gift cards from the grocery store)
Country: US
Parts Preferences: I always lean towards Intel
Overclocking: Maybe
SLI or Crossfire: Maybe?
Monitor Resolution: 720p TV via HDMI; maybe 1080p in the future
Additional Comments: I've built out the following list from what I've read over the past few weeks; I plan to wire this to a gigabit switch with the NAS that's then uplinked to my router.

SilverStone Aluminum/Steel Micro ATX HTPC Computer Case GD05B (Black) - NewEgg
Thermaltake W0070RUC TR2 Series 430W Power Supply with 2 Fans - Amazon
Intel Core i3-2120 Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 2000 BX80623I32120 - Amazon
GIGABYTE GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - NewEgg
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL7D-4GBXH - NewEgg
MSI N210-MD1G/D3 GeForce 210 1GB 64-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Low Profile Ready Video Card - NewEgg
Crucial 64 GB m4 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive SATA 6Gb/s CT064M4SSD2 - NewEgg
LG Black Blu-ray Drive SATA Model UH12LS28 OEM LightScribe Support - OEM - NewEgg
Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit (Full) System Builder DVD 1 Pack - Amazon

NAS:

Approximate Purchase Date: ASAP - same time as HTPC
Budget Range: Looking to stay around $400, but hard drive prices are nuts still
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Just home media storage and streaming; holds ISOs and ripped Blu-rays; want to run something that will stream music to iPod and iPad as well (subsonic or iTunes); don't plan on this being the ultimate back-up device for anything
Parts Not Required: Plan to salvage a hard drive for the OS, but need everything else
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I'll look at several, but prefer newegg.com and amazon.com (for fuel perks by buying gift cards from the grocery store)
Additional Comments: I've built out the following list. I planned to start with 2 - 2TB drives, could start with 1 and wait for prices to go down, but may want up to 4 at some point? Planned either WHS or FreeNAS, but unRAID sounds interesting, too.

(x2) G.SKILL Value 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9S-4GBNT - NewEgg
Intel Pentium G620 Sandy Bridge 2.6GHz LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics BX80623G620 - NewEgg
(x2) Western Digital Caviar Green 2 TB Desktop Hard Drive WD20EARX - Amazon
15" LCD Monitor (USED) - Amazon
Windows Home Server 2011 64-bit English 1pk DSP OEM System Builder DVD 10 Client - Amazon

Either -

ASUS USB 3.0 SATA 3Gb/s Intel H61 Mini ITX DDR3 1333 Intel - LGA 1155 Motherboard - P8H61-I <REV 3.0> - Amazon
Fractal Design Array R2 Black Aluminum Mini-ITX Desktop Computer Case 300W SFX PSU Power Supply - NewEgg

Or -

Intel BOXDH67BLB3 LGA 1155 Intel H67 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - Amazon
Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - NewEgg
Thermaltake W0070RUC TR2 Series 430W Power Supply with 2 Fans - Amazon


Any advice on these would be great! Also, do you need to buy cables or do most parts come with cables - it's hard to tell for sure...

Thanks in advance,
Krister
10 answers Last reply
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  1. Sorry, forgot something... if I want to get a fancy remote for the HTPC, do I need to get a different case?

    Thanks again!
  2. KristerS said:
    Sorry, forgot something... if I want to get a fancy remote for the HTPC, do I need to get a different case?
    No need for a different case. Just get a USB IR receiver and place it somewhere unobtrusive. Most remotes will come with a USB IR receiver. If your "fancy remote" is a Harmony, it can use the IR receiver that comes with the other cheaper remotes.
  3. sadams04 said:


    Wow! How did you come up with that so fast. Thanks for the feedback.

    I got the feeling from some of the many posts I found that the Intel i3 21xx had better native support for 3D TV. Is AMD also able to handle 3D?
  4. rwpritchett said:
    No need for a different case. Just get a USB IR receiver and place it somewhere unobtrusive. Most remotes will come with a USB IR receiver. If your "fancy remote" is a Harmony, it can use the IR receiver that comes with the other cheaper remotes.


    Thanks, I didn't realize that. Sorry for the "fancy remote" comment... I did have my eye on a Harmony for sure.
  5. KristerS said:
    I got the feeling from some of the many posts I found that the Intel i3 21xx had better native support for 3D TV. Is AMD also able to handle 3D?


    AMD Llano is ideal for HD / 3D playback. It has better integrated video compared to the Intel 2000 / 3000. With your budgets I don't think you will be able to swing Intel builds. Close, but you are going to get more bang-for-your-buck with an AMD solution (video being the big one).
  6. The fanciest remote of all is an Android/iOS phone or tablet running an app that can control your media center software over the network.
    You can also stream content from your HTPC to your Android/iOS device that way.

    As for the NAS: Why not buy a NAS instead of making one yourself? You can buy a decent 4-bay NAS for less than $400 bucks.

    Another alternative: Run the media server on your self-built NAS (some purpose made NAS servers can also be used to run XBMC or PLEX servers) and instead of a HTPC just have a cheap set-top-box under your TV.
    You can buy an AppleTV box for 100bucks, jailbreak it and run a XBMC or PLEX client on it. I bet there are plenty of other alternatives, too.
  7. molo9000 said:
    The fanciest remote of all is an Android/iOS phone or tablet running an app that can control your media center software over the network.
    You can also stream content from your HTPC to your Android/iOS device that way.

    As for the NAS: Why not buy a NAS instead of making one yourself? You can buy a decent 4-bay NAS for less than $400 bucks.

    Another alternative: Run the media server on your self-built NAS (some purpose made NAS servers can also be used to run XBMC or PLEX servers) and instead of a HTPC just have a cheap set-top-box under your TV.
    You can buy an AppleTV box for 100bucks, jailbreak it and run a XBMC or PLEX client on it. I bet there are plenty of other alternatives, too.


    Oh, that's a good point about the remote, thanks.

    As for the off the shelf NAS, I want to run other stuff on it to allow it to stream iTunes songs. I have a DLink DNS 323 with an iTunes server and my iPod/iPad don't see the songs unless I have a computer accessing the NAS and set up to share. Maybe I'm doing something wrong with that, but I assumed I should just go with something I build and run extra software on it - like unRAID with Subsonic or something like that.

    I do want to play Blu-ray discs on the HTPC, so that's why I wanted to build out something there.
  8. sadams04 said:
    AMD Llano is ideal for HD / 3D playback. It has better integrated video compared to the Intel 2000 / 3000. With your budgets I don't think you will be able to swing Intel builds. Close, but you are going to get more bang-for-your-buck with an AMD solution (video being the big one).


    Thanks, you've opened my eyes to AMD, then!
  9. When I was doing my research I discovered these guys that do both HTPC's and NAS units.

    Even if you don't use them they might give you some ideas for what you could do.

    www.assassinhtpc.com
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