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HTPC build advice

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March 8, 2012 7:32:31 PM


I am currently putting together an HTPC. Fairly inexperienced at building PCs. It will primarilly be used for watching local content, but may also stream web content from time to time. Any comments / suggestions on my proposed build would be greatly appreciated:

- Chassis Antec ISK 300-150
- Mother board Zotac Z68 ITX-A-E
- Processor Intel Core i3 2100 3.1GHz, 3MB Cache
- Memory Kingston 4GB 1333M Hz DDR3 CL9 (2 x 2GB)
- Hard Drive OCZ Agility 3 60GB SATA 6Gbls2.5inch SSD

I plan to install Linux and either XMBC or Boxee.
I intend to use an iPad / iPhone remote.

Cheers!

More about : htpc build advice

March 8, 2012 8:01:26 PM

GEt an H67 board instead of Z68, Z68 is for overclocking. Also, go for 2x4GB of memory. It's not a big deal for an HTPC right now, but memory is so cheap it'd be pointless to not spend another $10-20 to get double the memory. Could also help with future proofing anyway.

SSD seems unecessary for an HTPC, I would just stick with a hard drive. Also, I recommend the i3-2105 because it has HD 3000 instead of the i3-2100's HD 2000 graphics. It might make a difference for you.
March 9, 2012 9:00:28 PM

alphaalphaalpha said:
GEt an H67 board instead of Z68, Z68 is for overclocking. Also, go for 2x4GB of memory. It's not a big deal for an HTPC right now, but memory is so cheap it'd be pointless to not spend another $10-20 to get double the memory. Could also help with future proofing anyway.

SSD seems unecessary for an HTPC, I would just stick with a hard drive. Also, I recommend the i3-2105 because it has HD 3000 instead of the i3-2100's HD 2000 graphics. It might make a difference for you.


I agree, and the OCZ Agility is especially not a good choice.

Doubling the RAM is fine, but maxing out the RAM is pointless in and of itself - on an HTPC build you will *NEVER* use all of it, the only way you would need that much RAM is if you're working with huge files and that's never the case on an HTPC build.

Try this build:

Case: nMEDIA PC Black Aluminum 500B - $69.99
PSU: Seasonic SS-FXT300 - $59.99
Motherboard: Asrock A75 Pro FM1 - $79.99
CPU: AMD A6-3670K - $109.99
RAM: PNY Optima 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1333MHz -
HD: Seagate Barracuda ST 1.5TB - $99.99
Optical: Lite On BD-R Burner - $79.99

Total: $507.93
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March 10, 2012 2:31:33 AM

Everyone has their own opinions and all are valid. But I, for one, see nothing wrong with your build for an HTPC. I build one awhile back with a lowly Athlon II 240 and integrated graphics. You don't need much processor for an HTPC. I presume you will be adding Win7 x 64. So 8GB is a good. The built-in 150W PSU is tiny, but adequate for the components you list. Btw, Newegg has the slightly faster i3-2120 cheaper than the i3-2100 right now with promo code. However, they are both more than you need for the HTPC.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
March 10, 2012 3:34:21 AM

Don't use a 150w PSU, especially one that isn't a Cosair, Seasonic, or Antec branded PSU. Those are the best brands and are the most unlikely to fail. If they do fail they are also the most unlikely to not take other components with them.

Integrated graphics slower than the HD 2000/3000 can have trouble with 1080p playback. You could bring down your CPU to a Celeron G530 if you want to (dual core 2.4GHz Sandy Bridge CPU). For an HTPC, wou probably won't notice a difference, but the i3 is more future proofed. Your choice, but I suggest against getting an AMD CPU right now. The Itel CPUs use far less power and if this is a computer that will be used often, that matters for you. They also are faster and have faster graphics than anything AMD has except for Llano, which brings us back to the power consumption argument anyway.

Despite clutchc saying that alll opinions are valid, they are not. Trust me when I say I've seen some very stupid people trying to make very bad recommendations. Also, if you want to play content off of your computer's internal storage, you will need a large hard drive because NO SSD cheaper than hundreds, even thousands of dollars (USD) has enough capacity for many movies, especially HD movies.

If by local content you meant optical disks then it won't be such a problem, but you still need a hard drive if you want to put much of anything on this machine. BEsides, there is no good reason for an SSD in a low end HTPC because the only thing it will do for you is speed up boot time and such, nothing that matters for such a machine.

If you did anything even remotely random data intensive then I would recommend an SSD, but HTPC workloads aren't too random and a hard drive doesn't provide a bottleneck at all. Besides, if you do a lot of copying movies to and from the SSd it may wear out too quickly, especially with such a low capacity drive. Too quickly being less than two or three years, depending on the model, maybe it won't be a big deal.
March 10, 2012 1:09:51 PM

jam0 said:
- Chassis Antec ISK 300-150
:sarcastic: 
alphaalphaalpha said:
Don't use a 150w PSU, especially one that isn't a Cosair, Seasonic, or Antec branded PSU.
:sarcastic: 

But seriously, your original build will work just fine. My only comment is that Zotac is not well regarded as a brand, though I don't have first hand experience with them. If you are interested in seeing my own Antec ISK build, here is a photo diary of it.

For the SSD debate, that's asking for an argument. I use SSD's in all of my HTPC's. Here are my 6 reasons why based on my own experiences. To each his own though.

Since you are new to PC building, especially HTPC building, I highly recommend you check out my buddy Assassin's Simple/Beginner HTPC Buying Guide over at AVSForum. It has quickly become the go-to HTPC Bible for the hobby.
March 10, 2012 1:31:14 PM

Correction to my previous post...
I went back and re-read that you were not planning on using Win7x64. I have no hands-on experience with the O/Ss you plan on using. So my opinion is only for Win7. Sorry for being so dense.
!