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$300 max HTPC build

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March 25, 2012 10:21:03 PM

Well, I'm currently using an incredibly old dell optiplex gx620 that was donated to me from work with a 1TB HDD I slapped in there, as a home media server, which I then stream through various other devices(xbox, laptops) to my Tvs. I'm looking to replace it with an HTPC that I can hook up to my main TV, and simply access the files through my laptop for my other televisions.

I can reuse the HDD, and I've got a copy of windows I can use, but I doubt much else from the system will be of much use.

Is it going to be possible to build what I want for $300 or less?

More about : 300 max htpc build

March 25, 2012 10:36:42 PM

Just to be clear, the only use for this PC is as a HTPC?

I'll suggest a MicroATX, H61 Intel i3 build.
I'll have to warn you though, this motherboard leaves for very, very limited upgradeability (no USB3, SATA III, 2 RAM slots, among others)

CPU: Intel i3-2120 (with stock HSF) (~127$ with DVD drive)
Motherboard: ASRock H61M-GS (~55$)
RAM: Kingston 4GB Value KVR1333D3N9/4G (~22$)

Case + 500w (overkill) PSU: (~75$) I don't usually suggest cases, but consider this one http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

---Not included---
OS
HDD
Monitor

Total: 279$ (+tax/shipping) :D 
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March 25, 2012 11:52:18 PM

quicksand10 said:
CPU: Intel i3-2120 (with stock HSF) (~127$ with DVD drive)
Motherboard: ASRock H61M-GS (~55$)
RAM: Kingston 4GB Value KVR1333D3N9/4G (~22$)

Case + 500w (overkill) PSU: (~75$) I don't usually suggest cases, but consider this one http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


You could even consider the Pentium G 1155 chips. Personally I wouldn't go lower than i3, but if money's tight it's an option. They're still decent performers (they game remarkably well for ~$70 CPUs).

Skip the Kingston RAM. Kingston is still making 1.65V kits when 1.5V is what you need, and this causes issues depending on the board, etc. Get a 1.5V kit and save yourself the trouble.
You can get a good G.Skill set for the same price: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I would get a case with a lower power PSU. Since your computer won't be drawing a ton of power, you'll see better PSU efficiency with a lower wattage PSU. It's also a bonus if you can get one with an 80+ certified PSU included.
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Anonymous
March 26, 2012 1:02:14 AM

You also may want to consider the new AMD APU chips. That way you will have a decent processor for not so much and you save yourself the hassle of having to buy a graphics card while still leaving you the option of getting one.

http://www.amazon.com/AMD-A6-3500-Graphics-Triple-Core-...

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0057TG6AC/ref=ox_sc_a...

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002G1YPHK/ref=ox_sc_a...

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004DDI0IE/ref=ox_sc_a...

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004GGUAUE/ref=ox_sc_a...

Includes: CPU,Motherboard, 8gb ram, case, power supply

does not include: OS, HD, Monitor

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March 26, 2012 5:50:39 PM

boiler1990 said:
You could even consider the Pentium G 1155 chips. Personally I wouldn't go lower than i3, but if money's tight it's an option. They're still decent performers (they game remarkably well for ~$70 CPUs).

Skip the Kingston RAM. Kingston is still making 1.65V kits when 1.5V is what you need, and this causes issues depending on the board, etc. Get a 1.5V kit and save yourself the trouble.
You can get a good G.Skill set for the same price: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I would get a case with a lower power PSU. Since your computer won't be drawing a ton of power, you'll see better PSU efficiency with a lower wattage PSU. It's also a bonus if you can get one with an 80+ certified PSU included.


Same here, I wouldn't get the Pentium G 1155 CPUs, but I agree they would do well for you, hsilman. However, 2nd gen i3 chips fit in your budget, so I would go with that. They also have an Intel 2000 IGP, which is more than enough for HD streaming.

Also, 1.65v is not too much for a memory module. Kingston memory modules have are one of (if not THE) most reliable RAM on the market. You can choose to have some RAM modules (such as some Kingston HyperX Blu) run at 1.65V if you set them that way (and if I recall correctly, motherboards usually can support up to ~1.8v?), they also run fine at 1.5v on default motherboard timings and latency.

The value Kingston memory is excellent budget memory (and it runs at 1.5v, not that it makes a difference).
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March 26, 2012 8:46:43 PM

quicksand10 said:

Also, 1.65v is not too much for a memory module. Kingston memory modules have are one of (if not THE) most reliable RAM on the market. You can choose to have some RAM modules (such as some Kingston HyperX Blu) run at 1.65V if you set them that way (and if I recall correctly, motherboards usually can support up to ~1.8v?), they also run fine at 1.5v on default motherboard timings and latency.

The value Kingston memory is excellent budget memory (and it runs at 1.5v, not that it makes a difference).


I don't disagree that Kingston makes great RAM (owned Kingston RAM in more than one device in the last 3 years) but the 1.65V is technically a factory overclock since the DDR3 supply voltage is 1.5V, and it's the limit beyond which the CPU can actually be fried. Really, 1600 MHz 1.65V kits are ~1333 MHz 1.5V kits.

CLARIFICATION: 1.65V is within specifications, but anything more than that without appropriate voltage adjustments as mentioned in the link I specify below is damaging to the CPU/Mobo.

Technically, the modules on the 1.5V kits are better than those in the 1.65V kits since they can operate at higher frequencies with less voltage.

In short - I wouldn't pay more money for any 1.65V 1600MHz kit when I can find 1.5V 1600MHz kits for less.

Quote:
(and if I recall correctly, motherboards usually can support up to ~1.8v?)

I believe so. There's a good explanation of how these voltage limits work here: http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=2142510


As far as a build goes, I'd personally buy:

Case: Silverstone SUGO SG05 + 300W 80+ Certified PSU ($105) http://www.amazon.com/SilverStone-SG05B-Mini-ITX-Mother...

RAM: 2x2GB DDR3-1600 G.Skill kit ($23) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU: i3-2100 ($125) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard: Intel BOXDH61DLB3 ($72.50 after promo code) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total: $325.50 ---> This is overbudget, obviously. You could take a risk and substitute in the lower priced Foxconn board (only $50 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...) or switch to the AMD APU.

The reason I pick such an expensive case/PSU combo is because it's Silverstone and an 80+ certified PSU will be much better for your computer in regards to efficiency/power draw, but also in the idea that since they bothered to get it 80+ certified they have confidence in the PSU. Not sure who OEMs it, but I'm guessing Silverstone has a better-than-average OEM since their other PSUs are well rated.
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March 28, 2012 1:46:19 AM

seriously guys, an i3. Defiantly go with an fm1 chip. it is a htpc right? and i must say for the budget,truegenius has a decent setup, the only thing i wouldn't recoomend is the psu that comes with the case. just get a good namebrand 250w psu
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March 29, 2012 11:19:25 AM

for 270 Dollar you can have a full blown htpc that will be able to play 1080p content. check my <a href="http://www.besthtpc.net">best htpc</a> site
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