DVR-PC 1st Time Build of small PC to be used as DVR

I want a PC to use mainly as a DVR and I've looked for pre-built models and can't find one. I've never built a PC before so it gives me a headache just thinking about it.

I want to use the PC in my entertainment center connected to my router with an Ethernet cord but with the option to switch to wireless. It would be connected via HDMI to the TV (1080p).

For now I just want to record 2 channels at a time from HD cable. I don't have a set-top box. I'd like the option to add an antennae down the road so I'm thinking of a 2 tuner TV card with a clearQAM coax input and an OTA HD antennae input too, but I want to be able to record from two clearQAM channels at the same time.

Obviously I'd need inputs for keyboard and mouse but I'd probably leave them disconnected most of the time.

Approximate Purchase Date: the sooner the better

Budget Range: $400-$600 - Not a big fan of rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: DVR

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Least expensive - Amazon, Newegg

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: low footprint: looks like set-top box, console, mini, etc.

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: ?

Monitor Resolution: 1080p

Additional Comments: I would like a quiet, energy efficient PC if possible -- I'd like it to sleep when not in use and wake when it's time to record.


I think the AMD build at the end of this thread seems like a good list for me.

teddymines said:
After further thought, I think I'll be switching gears and going with this AMD solution. Totals around $724 after rebates. I am considering dropping the SSD and just using the Seagate in order to save $93, may add one later, or buy a used small sata off craigslist in the meantime.

The only thing I'd need to add to that build is an OS. I was thinking Windows 7 / Windows Media Center so I could use my Xbox 360s as extenders. I was also thinking of dropping the SSD to keep the price down.

Would this build work for me? Is there a better build now?

Any advice from anyone would be appreciated. Thanks.
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  1. Best answer
    The AMD Build in the linked thread should work out for you with the exception of the motherboard. For $11 more, go with this ASRock A75M motherboard instead. This one support SATA 6Gb/s and USB 3.0

    -Wolf sends
  2. Thanks for the feedback, Wolfshadw. I took your advice and went with the A75M motherboard.

    I'll report back here on how my first build goes, how it ends up performing as a DVR, and if I have questions, so I hope they keep this thread open. Here's my final build:

    Harddrive: $119.99
    Seagate Barracuda Green ST2000DL003 2TB 5900 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

    Operating System: $99.99
    Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM

    TV Tuner: $99.99
    Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 Dual TV Tuner w/ MPEG-2 Encoder PCI-E x1 - OEM

    CPU/GPU: $74.99
    AMD A6-3500 Llano 2.1GHz (2.4GHz Max Turbo) Socket FM1 65W Triple-Core Desktop APU (CPU + GPU) with DirectX 11 Graphic AMD Radeon HD 6530D AD3500OJGXBOX

    Motherboard: $64.99
    ASRock A75M-HVS FM1 AMD A75 (Hudson D3) HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard with UEFI BIOS

    Case: $59.99
    SILVERSTONE Black Aluminum skin reinforced plastic front panel, 0.8mm SECC body MILO Series ML03B Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case

    Power Supply: $39.99
    SeaSonic SS-300ET Bronze 300W ATX12V V2.3 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply - OEM

    Memory: $23.99
    Crucial 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Desktop Memory Model CT2KIT25664BD1339

    CD/DVD Player/Burner: $21.99
    LITE-ON Internal 24x DVD-Writer 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM Black SATA Model iHAS324-99

    Two case fans: $7.99 x 2
    ********* I accidentally ordered just one at first. Case says it can take up to 4. *********
    ENERMAX UC-8EB 80mm Case Fan

    My Total Cost: $644.11 plus shipping

    I already have keyboards and a mice but I plan to use them infrequently after initial setup. For normal use, I plan to use a USB infrared receiver and remote control that I already have, similar to this one:

    USB Media Center Remote Control and Infrared Receiver: $24.99
    Rosewill RHRC-11001 Windows 7 Certified MCE Infrared Remote Control with Learning Function

    Total System Cost: $669.10 plus shipping
  3. I received the parts yesterday (minus 1 case fan) and put the computer together last night and finally got it working properly this morning. I need to go back in and see why the front USB ports aren't working, but other than that, everything I've tried so far seems to be working fine. 2 simultaneous scheduled HD series recordings from the free guide was the goal and it works great. This build is up to that task and then some.

    Some Notes for others who may try this build:
    One fan along with the CPU heat sink / fan seem to be sufficient in an air conditioned environment (but use your best judgement).
    As my first build, cable management was a challenge for this case. (I basically just crammed much of it under the DVD player.)
    I made the mistake of installing everything that was on the ASRock install disk. It installed a program called SmartView which put two Zynga links on my desktop which, if deleted, would get reinstalled after every reboot. Took me a while to figure out that uninstalling SmartView solves the problem.
    Getting Windows Media Player to find my tuner and channels took me a whille. It helps to plug the coax into the cable input instead of the FM antennae input. But even after that was fixed, Windows Media Player wouldn't find my channels or download the schedule until I asked it multiple times with multiple reboots. I don't know why.

    Thanks again for the help, Wolfshadw. Thanks also to teddymines and the others on the thread where I found the starting point for this build (down at the bottom of the thread).
  4. Best answer selected by edhere.
  5. Glad you have it up and running! Good work! Now kick back, relax, and enjoy!

    -Wolf sends
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