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NOOB seeking Sub $500 quiet HTPC build need expert advice

Last response: in Systems
April 26, 2012 7:27:09 PM

Approximate Purchase Date:1-2 weeks

Budget Range: < $500

System Usage from Most to Least Important: watching movies via blu ray disc, stored media and streaming in full 1080P, streaming Hulu/netflix, web surfing

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS-have windows 7 key lying around)

Preferred Website: no preference

Country: United States

Parts Preferences: no preference

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: Sony 46 inch HDTV supporting 1080P

Additional Comments: quiet, would love to remote login/wake on LAN, moderately fast, case with slim form factor

Parts already in consideration:


Intel Core I3-2105 Processor

Hard drive:

Crucial 64 GB m4 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive SATA 6Gb/s CT064M4SSD2

Mobo: (know the least about this area and could use some help, looking for USB 3.0, HDMI and remote login preferably Wake on LAN support)

Gigabyte GA-H61N-USB3 Intel H61 Express Chipset Mini ITX DDR3 800 Intel - LGA 1155 Motherboard


ASUS P8H61-M REV 3.0 - New H61 B3 Revision with iGPU graphics boost


ADATA XPG Gaming Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model AX3U1600GB2G9-2G

Case: (Hard time narrowing this down as well, quiet and cheap is goal also like having a slim form factor that looks like any other media console device)

SilverStone Aluminum/Steel Micro ATX Media Center/HTPC Case ML03B (Black)

Blu ray drive:

Samsung SH-B123L/RSBP Internal DVD-Writer

Power supply:

Definitely need some help here. As quiet and cheap as possible.

Current cost of all

$455 without power supply
April 27, 2012 5:55:30 PM

Just a couple quick comments-

The motherboards you've listed don't have SATA III ports. Your SATA III SSD will run at the slower SATA II link speed. If you can, try to stretch the budget to get a board with SATA III to get the most out of the SSD.

For the power supply, the Antec Earthwatts 380W works well with your proposed case. It doesn't come with the wall plug though, so you'd need to pick one up. Another good option is the Corsair CX430.

Everything else is pretty good.

Edit- Oh, and if you do settle on a motherboard, Gigabyte is a good choice for cases that use the standard 2-pin front panel power LED wire. Gigabytes do not blink the power LED when in S3 standby, while Asus does. This bugs me personally when there's a blue blinking LED. If the case uses a 4-pin molex for LED power, then this is not an issue... the LED will not be lit if any brand of motherboard is in standby.
April 27, 2012 6:12:05 PM

I agree that the Antec Earthwatts 380W is the way to go with the power supply. I have used the both the 380W and the 430W models and they are both silent and reliable.

Regarding the rest of the build, you may want to consider going with an AMD system instead of the Intel one. Here are the reasons why:

1) Llano APUs are about to drop in price with the release of the new Trinity APUs.
2) FM1 motherboards with the A75 (Hudson D3) northbridge provide native USB 3.0 (which the ML03B Silverstone Case has a front port for) and native SATA III support.
3) You are not going to be using the system for any heavy CPU-related tasks, so the superiority of the Sandy Bridge CPU will go unused.
4) The integrated GPU on the APU is much, much better than that on the i3-2105. This will benefit your HD playback.
5) Should the mood ever strike you, you will have the ability to play recent games at low settings.

Unfortunately, going with the FM1 socket doesn't provide any future upgrade path. However, if you don't plan on upgrading at any time in the near future it is a moot point.

That said, if you were to add a discrete graphics card to the current system you have outlined, it would outperform the AMD system in every way, albeit for a greater cost. However, then you have to consider whether you would ever need it to. Just something to think about.
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April 28, 2012 12:15:06 AM

Thanks for the heads up, was completely unaware of the SATA III issue and a blinking light whil ewatching a movie in the dark sound sobnoxious. I agree that that is worth investing in. I also had/have a hard time distinguishing between the Llano and HD3000 graphics. Quality HD playback is very important. Ive seen multiple post going back and forth on which is better at HD playback and many people getting in heated discussions over such issues :non: 

In further research Ive changed a few things and still open and even a little undecided in the back of my mind on the llano issue:

i3 2105

GIGABYTE GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 (open box can be had for $83)

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Dual Channel Kit

Samsung SH-B123L/RSBP

Crucial 64 GB m4 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive SATA 6Gb

IN WIN BP655.200BL (changed the case, attracted to form factor and comes with power supply that I could upgrade later)

So I changed the case because I like the looks and cheaper with power supply, changed memory and motherboard based on suggestions.

I can change power supply to more silent upgrade and cpu fan at a later date and come out pretty cheap on this setup, $415.

I think Im set on this setup. Only thing I would change is possibly getting Llano and different motherboard if GPU is truly better. Dont see upgrading any time soon with the exclusion of fans/power supply.