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Making my HTPC serious

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February 20, 2012 7:53:20 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: Not sure - the next few weeks

Budget Range: $300-$400

System Usage from Most to Least Important: HTPC (watching live TV, recording TV (ClearQAM only), watch DVD from hard disk folder, blu-ray from optical drive, rip DVD to hard disk, etc.), web browsing (with keyboard from couch) mainly to watch videos. Possible light gaming, but most likely not.

Parts Not Required: Data drives, TV capture cards, optical drive, keyboard, monitor (TV), PSU

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I mainly use newegg, but I do go to Amazon on occasion when prices are the same (no tax for me at Amazon).

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: I've mainly done Intel builds, but the FM1 series APUs seem to be good, and I'd like to support AMD since they seem to have a better solution than Intel currently, support competition, etc.

Here are my ideas so far for purchasing (you can see this in Newegg public wishlist "Gabe's new HTPC" # 19504226) :

Silverstone MILO Series ML03B HTPC Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (shipping $14.99)
http://www.amazon.com/SilverStone-Aluminum-Steel-Center... (same price, free shipping)
Micro-atx, low profile, supports 2 3.5 in HDD's and 1 2.5 in HDD (or SSD, of course).

AMD A8-3850 Llano 2.9GHz Socket FM1 100W Quad-Core Desktop APU with DirectX 11 Graphic AMD Radeon HD 6550D AD3850WNGXBOX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS F1A75-M PRO/CSM 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...

Mushkin Enhanced Chronos MKNSSDCR60GB 2.5" 60GB SATA III Asynchronous MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Already purchased (Brand-new)
Antec EarthWatts Green EA-430D Green 430W Continuous power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS 12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It was $40 on sale, so I went ahead and got it. I will use it in my current HTPC if I abandon/postpone this project.

Plan to re-use:
QTY 2: SAMSUNG EcoGreen F4 HD204UI 2TB 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Luckily I bought these before the price hikes

QTY 2: Hauppauge WinTV HVR-1250 Hybrid TV Tuner /Video Recorder 1196 PCI-Express x1 Interface
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS My Cinema-PE9400 Combo TV Tuner Card w/Low Profile Brackets
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAMSUNG Black 12X BD-ROM 16X DVD-/+R 48X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-ray Combo Model SH-B123L/RSBP LightScribe Support
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-8GBRL
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Bought for $149.99 in October 2010...ouch. These are in my current gaming PC, and then I can upgrade my gaming PC to higher-clock memory if they work in the new PC. Not sure how much this lower-speed memory will affect the APU - from what I've read, it does have an effect.

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit

This will fill everything but a single PCI slot on the MB.

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe (asynchronous crossfire with APU, if I feel like I need it later)

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 (40" LCD HDTV)

Additional Comments: Want a quiet HTPC, but powerful enough to be very responsive and not get bogged down. Motherboard needs at least 3 PCI-express x1 (or greater) slots. I also want to have a blu ray protected-audio path compatible sound onboard, such as the Realtek ALC892. My current Onkyo receiver only does HDMI audio pass-through, so the DTS-HD audio is not possible through S/PDIF. However, it does have 7.1 analog inputs (RCA jacks).

I like ASUS for motherboards. I've tried ASRock once in the past, but I had a bad experience with their LGA775 P45 TS-R motherboard. I would consider other brands, but there seem to be little selection that feet my criteria

I've been messing around with HTPCs for a while now, and I've finally gotten all the kinks worked out. Of course, you know what that means - time to start over :) 

For each HTPC I've built, I've used a CPU & MB from an old computer. I'm also using an old ATX mid-tower case that's kind of a Frankenstein - it's missing the right case cover and the hard drive cage was missing when it was given to me second-hand. So, it's on its side in my electronics cabinet behind a glass door, and I've got a hard drive cage from a different case zip-tied in place, holding 4 hard disks. The current MB and CPU is from my old gaming rig, so it's not exactly "low power" or "cool."

Anyway, my point is, I want to build an HTPC for the sake of having an actual HTPC. After I'm done, maybe I could actually have something that I can bring out of hiding and be proud of and won't be crazy loud.


For reference, current HTPC Build (pretty much my old gaming rig):
Intel Q6600 2.4 GHz
EVGA 790i FTW (heat, heat, and more heat!)
EVGA 9800 GTX+ (great card, but it's a heat-generating double-slot gaming card)
ASUS PHC3-100 PCI (tv tuner card)
Frankenstein mid-tower ATX case
650 watt BFG Tech power supply (approximately 5-7 years old)
OCZ Gold 2x2GB DDR3 1600
200 GB Samsung (OS Drive)
640 GB WD Caviar Green
Assorted extra 120 mm fans
All previously mentioned items that I'm reusing.

Things holding me back from building this:
I lose a tuner (however, the PCI card has not been recording well lately), leaving me with 3
While loud and bulky, my current HTPC works quite well
I think that the AMD APU will be a big step backwards from my 9800 GTX+, but to be honest I have not done any gaming on my current setup - I just pull my gaming rig into the living room if I want to use the big screen and home theater.

More about : making htpc

February 22, 2012 8:07:51 PM

Sorry, I have a tendency to give too much information for internet forum posts.

In short, is the processor I have selected overkill for an HTPC? Mainly, I just want the best Llano on-die graphics available so I don't need to install a dedicated graphics card. Is there that much difference between 6530D and 6550D?

Also, is going to a low-profile case a good idea? Any HTPC builders out there who have regretted moving to a low-profile case?

Silverstone MILO Series ML03B HTPC Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6811163174 (shipping $14.99)
http://www.amazon.com/SilverStone- [...] 710&sr=8-1 (same price, free shipping)
Micro-atx, low profile, supports 2 3.5 in HDD's and 1 2.5 in HDD (or SSD, of course).

AMD A8-3850 Llano 2.9GHz Socket FM1 100W Quad-Core Desktop APU with DirectX 11 Graphic AMD Radeon HD 6550D AD3850WNGXBOX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6819103942

ASUS F1A75-M PRO/CSM FM1 AMD A75 (Hudson D3) HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813131782

Mushkin Enhanced Chronos MKNSSDCR60GB 2.5" 60GB SATA III Asynchronous MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820226247
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