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First build home office/HTPC

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February 19, 2012 11:38:02 PM

Hi,
My hobby used to be shooting rifles, but as I now have way less time and no ranges nearby I have turned to thinking about improving my household technology for my fun. It actually turns out this could be cheaper per year than my old hobby. :D 

I am planning to build this around a Trinity APU(once released) and am several months from saving up enough for this. I thought I would post what I have on my wishlist to make sure I am on the right track and to get advice/suggestions for other things to consider. If my time table is too far out, just let me know. I would be happy to wait and re-post later on. I have been lurking for a few months now and read quite a few threads.

Approximate Purchase Date: Mid Summer to Fall 2012

Budget Range: $600-800 after rebates, if indicated I would consider delaying the purchase to save up more. However, I would definitely not go much over $1000 total system build before rebates.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Internet/email, word processing, powerpoint, simple spreadsheets, video streaming(Netflix,HULU, Boxee), multitasking all of that

Parts Not Required: I need everything.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg, Amazon

Country: United States

Parts Preferences: AMD Trinity APU, would go Llano but looking at my timetable might as well plan for Trinity. No preference on graphics card if I need one. Not totally against Intel, just like the idea of supporting the underdog if they have a good product.

Overclocking: Yes, nothing crazy. As I read in one of the guides: If I am building my own system, I should be considering overclocking.

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe. Why not have the capability if it doesn't cost a ton more?

Monitor Resolution: Not sure. I would like to run two 22-24" monitors for increased productivity +/- hook to my TV(see below).

Additional Comments: I'm going to try to provide a little context.

I would like to set up a home office PC initially for general use, research project data entry, research papers & presentation preparation.

The machine will reside in my office. When I am ready to take the plunge and cut the cable cord (probably in 6 mos to 1 yr) I would like to make this PC my HTPC and move it either right next to my TV(50" plasma 720p) or at least out of my office to the main floor of the house. I would then look at building another PC for office use.

I plan to have already set up or to purchase a large external HDD or NAS for digital media storage & data backup (for this desktop, my laptop, & my wife's laptop). I'm not quite sure how that will work. To keep things simple I will plan to post in the Storage forum when I am ready to discuss that.

One final thing, I would like to try to run Linux Mint (or I am open to another distro, Mint is what I have been playing with) as the OS for the office work then move to XBMC, Boxee, or MythTV for HTPC purposes. If I get way too frustrated or have a lot of trouble with the free options I have no moral dilemmas with purchasing Microsoft products.

Ok, now on to the parts listing:

Case: I am trying to decide between two different styles and am open to suggestions. The only requirement is USB 3.0 front panel. I am leaning more toward the slim PC form factor.

SILVERSTONE Black Aluminum skin reinforced plastic front panel, 0.8mm SECC body MILO Series ML03B Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or something like this (Does not have to be this case. In fact, if a sub-$100 case like this is out there I would prefer it)

Antec P280 Black ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: Not sure at all what I would need. I originally had this one:

CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 V2 (CMPSU-430CXV2) 430W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Then put this in the wishlist after some reading.

Rosewill HIVE Series HIVE-650 650W Continuous @40°C, 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified, Modular Design, Single +12V Rail, ATX12V v2.31/EPS12V v2.92, SLI Ready, CrossFire Ready, Active-PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mobo: Obviously, no FM2 mobos yet, but I had these two on the list when I first started thinking and was looking at FM1

GIGABYTE GA-A75M-D2H FM1 AMD A75 (Hudson D3) HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or

ASRock A75 PRO4-M FM1 AMD A75 (Hudson D3) HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU: Again, planning for Trinity APU once released. I would like 65W TDP, but I can't seem to find them anywhere. Here is what I would choose if going Llano route:

AMD A6-3670K Unlocked Llano 2.7GHz Socket FM1 100W Quad-Core Desktop APU with DirectX 11 Graphic AMD Radeon HD 6530D AD3670WNGXBOX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or

AMD A8-3870K Unlocked Llano 3.0GHz Socket FM1 100W Quad-Core Desktop APU with DirectX 11 Graphic AMD Radeon HD 6550D AD3870WNGXBOX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: No idea what I would need. I was thinking either 4 or 8 GB and of course it would depend on the mobo.

HDD: No idea how much storage to purchase, especially with the plan to set up NAS or similar. Also no preference on manufacturer. I was thinking either a hybrid drive or SSD/HDD set up with RAID1 (not sure on what # or if even needed, whichever one does the automatic backup/mirror)

Disk Drive: I would probably start with a recommended DVD burner and switch out to a Bluray combo when it becomes an HTPC. Not a huge concern, as I am satisfied with my current Bluray player.

Video Card: Is one needed for either application I am planning? Would it make sense to buy & install when building or just wait and add a card when moving to HTPC, if needed?

Monitors: Open to suggestions. I would like to plan $100-$150 per monitor within my above mentioned budget but in all honesty I would be fine with one monitor until I save up for the second. I currently only have a 14" laptop.


Thank you for bearing with me. I would be very appreciative of any advice, constructive criticism, recommendations, etc. This has been a very entertaining experience so far.







More about : build home office htpc

February 19, 2012 11:45:47 PM

Hi! Welcome to the forums.

Wow, long post. Thank you for including so many details, it will certainly help to narrow down the choices.

Here's the thing. You plan on buying in the summer. It's only February. Why is this an issue? In the world of technology, new devices and hardware release every week. Every 3 months something comes out that changes the landscape. Since you are buying so far out, it's impossible to say what the best deals are, or what gives the best performance for your needs.

I know you just typed that novel but I'd suggest you come back around 1-2 weeks before you intend to buy. I'm all for starting to figure out what you want/need, just keep in mind nothing should be nailed down until right before you buy.

Now that I've said that, I will say you have an excellent plan in place. If Trinity is all it's cracked up to be, you should have an awesome office PC.

If you would like to start getting a feel for things, maybe working out a pre-build, let me know. I will be more than happy to lend my limited knowledge and skills :) 

Sidenote. As a gun geek myself, what sort of weaponry are we talking about? ;) 
February 20, 2012 12:09:28 AM

Yeah, sorry for the long post. It frustrates me to read a post only to need the next three or four replies to actually figure out what the OP really wants.

I understand about the new stuff coming out all the time, but from what I have read my needs aren't really for bleeding edge new stuff. I figure once I select the APU/mobo the only thing is frequently game changing is graphic cards (& I probably don't need bleeding edge for that either).

I am sure we will know if Trinity is any good by summer. Also, I figure if I have parts selected, the prices may come down as new models are introduced. I would be happy to hear your thoughts, even if only generalities. Although, listing a specific case & PSU would be appreciated. I have read many online guides, but they don't really make choosing specifics any easier.

As to the guns....I love super accurate bolt actions and loading my own ammo. I am partial to .30-06 based cartridges and Remington model 700s although I have many makes, models, and calibers. I enjoy all guns in general and have several pistols & shotguns as well. Maybe I will upload a pic of my favorite rifle as my profile pic. Thanks.
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February 20, 2012 12:28:46 AM

Alright, fair enough! I'll lay out what I think.

For an office PC, I would prefer a few things.

-Quad core (or fast dual core, like Sandy Bridge) This is because a good office PC will be handling a large amount of data, often with tons of programs open at once. It should be able to keep up without faltering. The FM1 A8's are an excellent choice for this, although Intel's i5s take the cake when it comes to any video related work.

-8GB RAM to handle all said open processes. AMD's Fusion platform utilizes system RAM as Vram, meaning the faster the better. 1600MHz is cheap and fast.

-A good mobo, with TONS of USB ports. We've all been there, when you need to plug something in and you can't, resulting in the frustrating game of follow-the-cable.

-A decent SSD, has to be reliable. Crucial M4 or Samsung 830 gets the pick here.

-RAID 1 to protect data. When prices come back down, a pair of 1TB drives in RAID 1 will keep all data safe and sound. Any good office PC should be loaded down with lots of important files. Those files need to be kept safe!

-If lots of typing is being done, a decent mechanical keyboard is a MUST! They aren't cheap but are amazing to type on, really do prevent fatigue. I suggest you try one out (at a friends house, store, whatever) and see if you like them. One with Cherry MX or Leopold switches is preferable.

I'll do some research on ideal hardware specifics later tonight and get back to you.
February 21, 2012 12:34:38 AM

Thanks. That is some very useful advice I have not considered before.
February 21, 2012 4:53:38 PM

dlutter said:
Hi,
My hobby used to be shooting rifles, but as I now have way less time and no ranges nearby I have turned to thinking about improving my household technology for my fun. It actually turns out this could be cheaper per year than my old hobby. :D 

I am planning to build this around a Trinity APU(once released) and am several months from saving up enough for this. I thought I would post what I have on my wishlist to make sure I am on the right track and to get advice/suggestions for other things to consider. If my time table is too far out, just let me know. I would be happy to wait and re-post later on. I have been lurking for a few months now and read quite a few threads.

Approximate Purchase Date: Mid Summer to Fall 2012

Budget Range: $600-800 after rebates, if indicated I would consider delaying the purchase to save up more. However, I would definitely not go much over $1000 total system build before rebates.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Internet/email, word processing, powerpoint, simple spreadsheets, video streaming(Netflix,HULU, Boxee), multitasking all of that

Parts Not Required: I need everything.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg, Amazon





Country: United States

Parts Preferences: AMD Trinity APU, would go Llano but looking at my timetable might as well plan for Trinity. No preference on graphics card if I need one. Not totally against Intel, just like the idea of supporting the underdog if they have a good product.

Overclocking: Yes, nothing crazy. As I read in one of the guides: If I am building my own system, I should be considering overclocking.

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe. Why not have the capability if it doesn't cost a ton more?

Monitor Resolution: Not sure. I would like to run two 22-24" monitors for increased productivity +/- hook to my TV(see below).

Additional Comments: I'm going to try to provide a little context.

I would like to set up a home office PC initially for general use, research project data entry, research papers & presentation preparation.

The machine will reside in my office. When I am ready to take the plunge and cut the cable cord (probably in 6 mos to 1 yr) I would like to make this PC my HTPC and move it either right next to my TV(50" plasma 720p) or at least out of my office to the main floor of the house. I would then look at building another PC for office use.

I plan to have already set up or to purchase a large external HDD or NAS for digital media storage & data backup (for this desktop, my laptop, & my wife's laptop). I'm not quite sure how that will work. To keep things simple I will plan to post in the Storage forum when I am ready to discuss that.

One final thing, I would like to try to run Linux Mint (or I am open to another distro, Mint is what I have been playing with) as the OS for the office work then move to XBMC, Boxee, or MythTV for HTPC purposes. If I get way too frustrated or have a lot of trouble with the free options I have no moral dilemmas with purchasing Microsoft products.

Ok, now on to the parts listing:

Case: I am trying to decide between two different styles and am open to suggestions. The only requirement is USB 3.0 front panel. I am leaning more toward the slim PC form factor.

SILVERSTONE Black Aluminum skin reinforced plastic front panel, 0.8mm SECC body MILO Series ML03B Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or something like this (Does not have to be this case. In fact, if a sub-$100 case like this is out there I would prefer it)

Antec P280 Black ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: Not sure at all what I would need. I originally had this one:

CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 V2 (CMPSU-430CXV2) 430W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Then put this in the wishlist after some reading.

Rosewill HIVE Series HIVE-650 650W Continuous @40°C, 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified, Modular Design, Single +12V Rail, ATX12V v2.31/EPS12V v2.92, SLI Ready, CrossFire Ready, Active-PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mobo: Obviously, no FM2 mobos yet, but I had these two on the list when I first started thinking and was looking at FM1

GIGABYTE GA-A75M-D2H FM1 AMD A75 (Hudson D3) HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or

ASRock A75 PRO4-M FM1 AMD A75 (Hudson D3) HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU: Again, planning for Trinity APU once released. I would like 65W TDP, but I can't seem to find them anywhere. Here is what I would choose if going Llano route:

AMD A6-3670K Unlocked Llano 2.7GHz Socket FM1 100W Quad-Core Desktop APU with DirectX 11 Graphic AMD Radeon HD 6530D AD3670WNGXBOX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or

AMD A8-3870K Unlocked Llano 3.0GHz Socket FM1 100W Quad-Core Desktop APU with DirectX 11 Graphic AMD Radeon HD 6550D AD3870WNGXBOX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: No idea what I would need. I was thinking either 4 or 8 GB and of course it would depend on the mobo.

HDD: No idea how much storage to purchase, especially with the plan to set up NAS or similar. Also no preference on manufacturer. I was thinking either a hybrid drive or SSD/HDD set up with RAID1 (not sure on what # or if even needed, whichever one does the automatic backup/mirror)

Disk Drive: I would probably start with a recommended DVD burner and switch out to a Bluray combo when it becomes an HTPC. Not a huge concern, as I am satisfied with my current Bluray player.

Video Card: Is one needed for either application I am planning? Would it make sense to buy & install when building or just wait and add a card when moving to HTPC, if needed?

Monitors: Open to suggestions. I would like to plan $100-$150 per monitor within my above mentioned budget but in all honesty I would be fine with one monitor until I save up for the second. I currently only have a 14" laptop.


Thank you for bearing with me. I would be very appreciative of any advice, constructive criticism, recommendations, etc. This has been a very entertaining experience so far.


great htpc
if you have not seen the mc101 from arctic here: http://xtremetechjunkies.com/2012/02/arctic-announces-m...

might give you ideas

Trinity should deliver with low power req. and very high video capability the perfect htpc solution
I'd add a Vcard only if you intend to play intensive games .
February 22, 2012 12:56:33 AM

Thanks. I haven't seen those. Very close to what I was thinking. Will be interesting to see what they cost.
!