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Midrange HTPC Build

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March 31, 2012 6:52:45 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: 1-2 Months
Budget Range: $500-$700
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Streaming HD Video, Surfing the Web, Internet Applications, possibility for light/casual gaming.
Parts Not Required: Monitor (Using a 52" Sony HDTV)
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg.com
Country:U.S.A.
Parts Preferences: N/A
Overclocking: No
SLI or Crossfire: Maybe
Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080
Additional Comments: Needs to be quiet without sacrificing performance unnecessarily, Needs video streaming to be 100% smooth, Needs to output audio via S/PDIF to an audio receiver, need to keep micro ATX form factor so as to mesh into existing home theater setup.

Here's the build I have put together at Newegg.com. Yes, I know that most of my components are better than they need to be. That's just how I roll :-) (I like to build systems that last!). I'm mainly looking for any incompatibilities or any other options I have that will perform as well as or better than my current configuration in the same price range.

Case: SILVERSTONE Black Aluminum / 0.8mm SECC Grandia Series GD05B micro-ATX / Mini-DTX / Mini-ITX MB, 1x5.25", 2x3.5"+1x2.5"HDD ... $94.99
Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-A75M-D2H FM1 AMD A75 (Hudson D3) SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard $79.99
Video: MSI R6770 Twin Frozr II/OC Radeon HD 6770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card $139.99
PSU: SILVERSTONE ST45SF 450W SFX12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply $69.99
CPU: AMD A6-3500 Llano 2.1GHz (2.4GHz Max Turbo) Socket FM1 65W Triple-Core Desktop APU (CPU + GPU) with DirectX 11 Graphic $79.99
HDD:Crucial M4 CT064M4SSD2 2.5" 64GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) $94.99
RAM: G.SKILL Sniper Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) Desktop Memory Model F3-14900CL9D-8GBSR $59.99
Input: Logitech Wireless Combo MK260 920-002950 Black USB RF Wireless Standard Keyboard and Mouse $24.99

Thanks for any input!

More about : midrange htpc build

March 31, 2012 7:03:27 PM

mondegreen said:
Approximate Purchase Date: 1-2 Months
Budget Range: $500-$700
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Streaming HD Video, Surfing the Web, Internet Applications, possibility for light/casual gaming.
Parts Not Required: Monitor (Using a 52" Sony HDTV)
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg.com
Country:U.S.A.
Parts Preferences: N/A
Overclocking: No
SLI or Crossfire: Maybe
Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080
Additional Comments: Needs to be quiet without sacrificing performance unnecessarily, Needs video streaming to be 100% smooth, Needs to output audio via S/PDIF to an audio receiver, need to keep micro ATX form factor so as to mesh into existing home theater setup.

Here's the build I have put together at Newegg.com. Yes, I know that most of my components are better than they need to be. That's just how I roll :-) (I like to build systems that last!). I'm mainly looking for any incompatibilities or any other options I have that will perform as well as or better than my current configuration in the same price range.

Case: SILVERSTONE Black Aluminum / 0.8mm SECC Grandia Series GD05B micro-ATX / Mini-DTX / Mini-ITX MB, 1x5.25", 2x3.5"+1x2.5"HDD ... $94.99
Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-A75M-D2H FM1 AMD A75 (Hudson D3) SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard $79.99
Video: MSI R6770 Twin Frozr II/OC Radeon HD 6770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card $139.99
PSU: SILVERSTONE ST45SF 450W SFX12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply $69.99
CPU: AMD A6-3500 Llano 2.1GHz (2.4GHz Max Turbo) Socket FM1 65W Triple-Core Desktop APU (CPU + GPU) with DirectX 11 Graphic $79.99
HDD:Crucial M4 CT064M4SSD2 2.5" 64GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) $94.99
RAM: G.SKILL Sniper Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) Desktop Memory Model F3-14900CL9D-8GBSR $59.99
Input: Logitech Wireless Combo MK260 920-002950 Black USB RF Wireless Standard Keyboard and Mouse $24.99

Thanks for any input!


Couple of questions:
1) No intent to store content? (given only a 64gb SSD)
2) No TV card? No intent to connect to satellite or cable or antenna?
3) Is the A6 sufficient for encoding and processing? From what I've been reading many of the functions are cpu focused so an i3 or i5 is preferred
4) Does 8gb of ram add much on the way of performance and if so, for my education, what?
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March 31, 2012 7:44:54 PM

That's a decent build. I went the i3 route, but would be curious to see how well the Llano stacks up.

You definitely want some type of storage option other than the SSD. You'll outlive the SSD in no time at all. Use the SSD as your OS drive, and grab a green 1-2TB drive for storage. Make sure you get a green drive as they are quieter and use less power. For an HTPC, you don't really need a high performance drive which are often noisy and hot. I like the SAMSUNG EcoGreen F4 HD204UI.

If you are using this strictly as an HTPC and light gaming, there's not much need for the 6770 card IMO. The Llano's 6530 GPU should be sufficient, and will reduce noise and power. Use the savings for a TV card which would probably see more use.

8GB ram is a good choice for an HTPC. For the few extra bucks, it's worth it over the 4GB option. You'll notice the difference.

I think the Silverstone case is a bit pricey especially when you factor in the cost of a PSU. There are a lot of really good cases for half the amount. That said cases are a pretty personal decision, and you probably have good reasons for wanting to go with the Silverstone.


The only thing I would probably change is the Mobo, and upgrade to the Gigabyte GA-A75M-UD2H FM1 Micro ATX. You get 2 extra RAM slots and some more bells and whistles. But really either board is a good choice.

I assume you're going to run something like XMBC or WMC, in which case you'll need to consider a remote. You'll need to decide if you want to go IR or RF. I grabbed a cheap Adesso ARC-1100 MCE Infrared Remote Control ($18) just for the IR receiver. I use my Logitech Harmony One to control everything. The Adesso is actually a pretty competent MCE controller though.
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March 31, 2012 7:53:10 PM

QuietPC said:
Couple of questions:
1) No intent to store content? (given only a 64gb SSD)
2) No TV card? No intent to connect to satellite or cable or antenna?
3) Is the A6 sufficient for encoding and processing? From what I've been reading many of the functions are cpu focused so an i3 or i5 is preferred
4) Does 8gb of ram add much on the way of performance and if so, for my education, what?


1. I should have mentioned I have a higher end rig in my office that I intend on using for content hosting. I also have many external HDDs that I could use for the task.

2. Not at this time. Streaming only. I might add a TV card later for OTA reception.

3. No idea. I've read good things, but don't know first hand.

4. Again, might be overkill. Could maybe get by with 4GB.
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March 31, 2012 7:56:23 PM

mfarlow said:
That's a decent build. I went the i3 route, but would be curious to see how well the Llano stacks up.

You definitely want some type of storage option other than the SSD. You'll outlive the SSD in no time at all. Use the SSD as your OS drive, and grab a green 1-2TB drive for storage. Make sure you get a green drive as they are quieter and use less power. For an HTPC, you don't really need a high performance drive which are often noisy and hot. I like the SAMSUNG EcoGreen F4 HD204UI.

If you are using this strictly as an HTPC and light gaming, there's not much need for the 6770 card IMO. The Llano's 6530 GPU should be sufficient, and will reduce noise and power. Use the savings for a TV card which would probably see more use.

8GB ram is a good choice for an HTPC. For the few extra bucks, it's worth it over the 4GB option. You'll notice the difference.

I think the Silverstone case is a bit pricey especially when you factor in the cost of a PSU. There are a lot of really good cases for half the amount. That said cases are a pretty personal decision, and you probably have good reasons for wanting to go with the Silverstone.


The only thing I would probably change is the Mobo, and upgrade to the Gigabyte GA-A75M-UD2H FM1 Micro ATX. You get 2 extra RAM slots and some more bells and whistles. But really either board is a good choice.

I assume you're going to run something like XMBC or WMC, in which case you'll need to consider a remote. You'll need to decide if you want to go IR or RF. I grabbed a cheap Adesso ARC-1100 MCE Infrared Remote Control ($18) just for the IR receiver. I use my Logitech Harmony One to control everything. The Adesso is actually a pretty competent MCE controller though.


See above about content storage. Will I be better off hosting locally on an internal HDD?

Yeah, I like Silverstone. My wife MUST be happy with the look of this thing, too. The case is the most "political" component of the purchase.

That Gigabyte board was my 1st choice originally, but it's currently out of stock at Newegg. If I can find it at purchase time it'll likely be my first choice again.

Thankd for the heads up on the remote. My wife really wants one, but I'm set on a keyboard/mouse. No reason we can't do both?

EDIT: Yes, I'm leaning towards Linux/XBMC . And I'm right there with you on the RAM. I remember when 512MB cost $600. Nowadays an extra 4GB for such a marginal cost? Yes, please.
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March 31, 2012 9:07:06 PM

Connecting with an ethernet cable? I didn't see a wireless card or dongle there.
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March 31, 2012 9:20:59 PM

scannall said:
Connecting with an ethernet cable? I didn't see a wireless card or dongle there.


That's the plan.
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April 8, 2012 2:24:38 PM

After considering everyone's feedback, I've revamped my build. I also added an Intel build as an option. I've been researching OTA TV, but my area has reports of poor reception:

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=i...

So what do ya'll think of these two builds? Any pros/cons of one over the other?


AMD
CPU: AMD A8-3850 Llano 2.9GHz Socket FM1 100W Quad-Core Desktop APU (CPU + GPU) with DirectX 11 Graphic AMD Radeon HD 6550D AD3850WNGXBOX $119.99
MoBo: GIGABYTE GA-A75-UD4H FM1 AMD A75 (Hudson D3) SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard $114.99
Case: SILVERSTONE Black Aluminum / 0.8mm SECC Grandia Series GD05B micro-ATX / Mini-DTX / Mini-ITX MB, 1x5.25", 2x3.5"+1x2.5"HDD $94.99
PSU: SILVERSTONE ST45SF 450W SFX12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply $69.99
SSD: Crucial M4 CT064M4SSD2 2.5" 64GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) $83.99
RAM: G.SKILL Sniper Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) Desktop Memory Model F3-14900CL9D-8GBSR $59.99
HDD: SAMSUNG EcoGreen F4 HD204UI 2TB SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive $129.99
Input: Logitech Wireless Combo MK260 920-002950 Black USB RF Wireless Standard Keyboard and Mouse $24.99


Intel
Case: SILVERSTONE Black Aluminum / 0.8mm SECC Grandia Series GD05B micro-ATX / Mini-DTX / Mini-ITX MB, 1x5.25", 2x3.5"+1x2.5"HDD ...$94.99
PSU: SILVERSTONE ST45SF 450W SFX12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply $69.99
RAM: Crucial M4 CT064M4SSD2 2.5" 64GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) $83.99
HDD: SAMSUNG EcoGreen F4 HD204UI 2TB SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive $129.99
Input: Logitech Wireless Combo MK260 920-002950 Black USB RF Wireless Standard Keyboard and Mouse $24.99
MoBo: GIGABYTE GA-Z68A-D3H-B3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard $129.99
CPU: Intel Core i3-2100 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 2000 BX80623I32100 $124.99
RAM: G.SKILL Sniper Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2133 (PC3 17000) Desktop Memory Model F3-17000CL11D-8GBSR $59.99
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