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Seeking Expert Advice For HTPC Build

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  • Systems
Last response: in Systems
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February 19, 2012 10:12:01 PM

Hi all, I've been following threads in several forums, but I'm not completely certain that the builds discussed are designed around my interests and current constraints. For example, I don't want to game on this pc at all, suggestions for these components or features serving that purpose are pointless to me i have a gameing pc for this purpose. Also alot of the posts i keep finding is outdated and all the parts i look at are discontinued. I've followed the request etiquette, so I hope this helps. This HTPC is primarily for watching movies (e.g., blu-ray disc, downloaded HD movies, netflix streams). I apologize in advance for the length, but figured many of you would prefer this to asking additional questions. I look forward to your advice and suggestions. Thank you all for your thoughts and your time.

BUDGET RANGE: Would like to keep the cost down as low as possable but still be good quality

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT:
1. watching Blu-ray discs
2. watching downloaded HD (say purchased from itunes) and traditional movies.
3. Netflix stream/hulu
4. user friendly (a nice interface with remote for accessing physical media, downloaded movies, netfilx, etc. is fine, lcd or touch screen on the HTPC box is not needed)
5. sufficient space for hard-drive storage (I would probably start with 1 Tb and upgrade as needed)
6. wifi capable for laptop connection

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: (keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: (newegg.com, but I'm open to others if better options/better prices are available)

PARTS PREFERENCES: I have no branding preferences for a cpu and mobo, but would prefer components be good quality that won't require replacing anytime soon unless to upgrade to something that replaces blu-ray or changing GFX requirements. Nothing too flimsy.
Caveats:
1. HDMI needed for TV connection

OVERCLOCKING: no

MONITOR RESOLUTION: (720p 32in Samsung)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS and QUESTIONS:
1. I would prefer this run quietly and relatively green
2. Is Windows 7 going to be the best OS for playing blu-ray discs and streaming media?
3. Is My Movies preferred to other media-center software?
4. Will I need Slysoft Any DVD for backing up purchased media. What alternative do you suggest?
5. Software suggestions welcome?
6. Any other suggestions are also welcome.

More about : seeking expert advice htpc build

February 19, 2012 11:03:45 PM

Alright! Thank you for the detail, it helps alot.

Here's my tentative build. It's pretty damned good for an HTPC build if I do say so myself.
CPU: Intel Pentium Dual-Core G630T 35w $85
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Motherboard: ASRock H67 USB3 Sata3 Mini ITX $120 (built in wifi, 7.1 Audio)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
RAM: Mushkin 2x2GB DDR3 1333MHz $21
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Blu-Ray Drive: Sony Optiarc Blu-Ray Burner $140
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
HDD: 1.5TB 5900RPM Seagate $99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
SSD: Crucial M4 (for OS and other essential apps) $80
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Well, that's it! It's a SUPER compact Mini ITX build, you can save a fair bit if you're okay with stepping up to the larger MicroATX.
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February 19, 2012 11:08:26 PM

An AMD E-350 would be pretty good for a pure HTPC. The integrated graphics are great for HD video (better than Intel HD) and it has a TDP of only 18W. It's power consumption under light use is actually pretty comparable to an Intel Atom. Best of all, they are also a lot cheaper than other CPU's.

MSI E350IS-E45 AMD E-350 APU - $79.99
Kingston Value 4GB (2 x 2GB) 1066Mhz - $24.99
SAMSUNG Spinpoint M8 1TB 5400 RPM 2.5" - $109.99
Sony Optiarc Black 6X Slim Internal Blu-ray Burner - $139.99
Antec ISK 300-65 with 65W PSU - $74.99

Total - $429.95

That would be great for the system itself, if you can afford a ~40GB SSD that would speed things along too.

Another note, I would probably get a USB wireless adapter instead of a PCI one so you have space for a TV card but obviously that's up to you.

I hope this helps

EDIT: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This is another great idea for a HTPC
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February 19, 2012 11:14:34 PM

^ AMD E-350 is excellent. A spectacular value. It significantly undercuts my Intel build in price, while giving comparable HD performance. Good job JM! Awesome build. I'd be a little worried about how it handles HD Blu-Ray encoding, however.

I'd suggest reading this here: http://www.anandtech.com/show/4134/the-brazos-review-am...
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February 19, 2012 11:28:19 PM

Yeah encoding is going to be rather slow, if that's important maybe try and i3-2105 or something.
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