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Llano HTPC build

Last response: in Systems
April 13, 2012 6:48:07 AM

Hey guys.

We decided to set up a little home theatre in the basement so I'm going to build a HTPC.
As this is my first experience building a HTPC, any advice is appreciated.
I just bought a Denon DHT-1312BA HTIB (Denon AVR-1312 receiver with Boston Acoustics speakers) after getting advice on the home audio section of the forums :) 

Approximate Purchase Date: in two weeks

Budget Range: 500$

System Usage from Most to Least Important: 1080p video (I'm thinking of trying XBMC out), file sharing/media streaming over the network, light gaming (probably via XBMC's video game emulation) and surfing the web.

Parts Not Required: mouse, keyboard, monitor, OS: Windows 7 x64, speakers, SSD (I currently have an OCZ Vertex 3 120GB).

Preferred Website(s) for Parts:

Country: Canada

Parts Preferences: Mini-ITX motherboard (with onboard WiFi), AMD Llano processor, Mini-ITX case (preferably with normal sized optical drive), preferably ASUS motherboard but I'm open to suggestions.

Overclocking/underclocking: I will definitely be tinkering. I'm going to take it as far as it will go without it being too loud/hot. If I find it's too loud to start with, I'm going to underclock it.

SLI or Crossfire: N/A

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1200

Additional Comments: I want a quiet, good looking, small build that still packs a punch.

After doing my homework, I've come down to:

AMD Llano (open to all processors from E2 to A8)
OCZ Vertex 3 120GB (I already own this piece)
Seagate or WD storage drive (2.5" or 3.5" depending on the case)
Lite-On IHBS112-04 Blu Ray Drive

I need some input on the case and RAM.

This is what I've come up with for the case. Thoughts/preferences?
Antec ISK300-150 or ISK310-150,
Thermaltake ElementQ VL52021N2U,
Apex MI-008,
Rosewill RC-CIX-01 BK,
CoolerMaster Elite 361 RC-361-KKN1

For the RAM, the motherboard only supports 1866MHz if it's a single stick. While AMD prefers higher frequency memory, I'm not sure if I should go with two 1600MHz sticks (and use the dual channel capabilities) or just stick with a single 1866MHz stick.

Also, thoughts on the AMD branded memory? I was thinking of going with G.Skill RipJaws but I'm slightly worried about the fins obstructing anything in the small build. I might just go with Kingston or Mushkin Enhanced, maybe G.Skill Ares.

AMD doesn't care for 1.65v DDR3, correct?

Thanks a bunch, everyone.

More about : llano htpc build

April 13, 2012 8:03:49 AM

I'm currently looking into doing the same thing
using same mb too with a A8
1-Fractal Design Array R2
as a pure hd (6x 2~3tb drives) driven media center, i got few xhd's worth shows/movies ( possible use a external optical drive)
or maybe
2-Lian Li PC-Q11
3-Silverstone TJ08-E
with built in blueray drive support
April 13, 2012 2:10:33 PM

try to get a mobo that can support something like 2133 or something and get a fast ram, those at 2133 or higher that is at least can support your mobo, and a 6670 sapphire and your all set
Related resources
April 13, 2012 2:21:07 PM

Coinsider something like the build below. DDR3-1600 is fine for what you are doing, but I would recommend low latency modules. While 1.65v modules are fine, I would still recommend 1.5v. I added two 80mm fans to the build below and called it a day.

MB - ASRock A75M-ITX - $90
CPU - AMD A6-3500 w/ HD 6530D - $80
GPU - Integrated HD 6530D
MEM - GSkill 8GB DDR3-1600 CL7 1.5v - $80
HD - Samsung F3 500GB - $80 + $7 shipping
OPTICAL - LG 12x BD-RW - $65 after Promo Code EMCNFNE24
CASE & PSU - Thermaltake Element Q mITX w/ 200w - $65 + $10 shipping
CARD READER - Rosewill - $15

April 14, 2012 3:39:56 AM

Alright, so I think the general consensus on the RAM is:

1.65v doesn't really matter (but less voltage is always ideal)
dual channel 1600 low RAM latency/timings is preferable than a single 1866 (but 2133MHz would be nice)
~no input on AMD branded RAM.

So I think I'll be going with Mushkin Enhanced, Kingston HyperX or G.Skill. I'm going to do my research soon.

I've decided to go with the IN WIN BP655 case: lots of good reviews, good looks, acceptable quality (apparently) 200w PSU, space for 3.5" HDD and 2.5" SSD and full-sized optical drive support.

I'm dead set on that F1A75-I DELUXE. I'm going to be using a bluetooth mouse/keyboard (Logitech MX5500 Revolution) and Wireless N.

I'm still in a dilemma though.
Like I said, I was considering E2 to A8, but with 200w in a picoPSU the A8-3870k is pretty tight. Thoughts on the processor?

Thanks everyone.
April 14, 2012 3:41:17 AM

Get the best APU if it fits in your budget.
April 14, 2012 2:39:49 PM

how about an a6? it might fit in on your budget and loosen up a few bucks
April 15, 2012 4:05:04 AM

With a 200w PSU, stock CPU HSF and low case ventilation/space, should I be considering an A8-3870K or A6-3670K (regardless of the price difference between the two)?

Thoughts on RAM?

G.SKILL Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600, model: F3-1600C8D-8GAB

Mushkin Enhanced Radioactive 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600, model: 997006

Mushkin Enhanced Redline 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600, model 996999

I'm leaning more towards the Mushkins...

Thanks again guys! (haven't been too active this week, I'll be back in two weeks after finals :p  :lol: )
May 2, 2012 8:05:38 PM

Hey everyone, finals are over and the HTPC is built and running like a charm.

Final specs were:

AMD Llano A8-3870K ~130$ (with stock HSF & paste)
G.SKILL Ripjaws X 8GB F3-12800CL8D-8GBXM (2x4GB) 1600MHz 8-8-8-24 @1.5V ~65$
OCZ Vertex 3 120GB ~120$ (that I already had)
LG BH12LS38 (BD-RE) optical drive ~90$
IN WIN BP655 case ~45$ (includes pretty stable 200w picoPSU)
WD Elements Desktop 2TB external HDD

It's a nice little miniITX HTPC, and I'm very happy with it.

A couple little details:

1. I was worried that there might not be enough headroom for the tall memory. I was right. The G.SKILL Ripjaws X that I bought fits just right (it's touching the bottom of the optical drive, I should have taken a picture :lol: ). Any taller memory would be a no-go if there is a full-sized optical drive in the case.

2. I had read complaints about the included case fan being too loud. I agree, I unplugged it from the motherboard and the computer is still at very respectable temperatures, and I suggest anyone with this case do to the same or to replace it with a better quality one.

All in all, I'm very pleased. Paired up with a Samsung 59" D550 3D plasma and a Denon DHT-1312BA HTIB, I'm absolutely loving the experience. I'm still trying to wrap my head around all the possibilities with XBMC, but it's fun :) 

Thanks again for the advice, everyone.