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Budget HTPC $300?

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Last response: in Systems
May 6, 2012 4:10:19 AM

Hi everyone I am looking into building the cheapest HTPC ever. Is this doable? I am unsure about where to start. I looked into the barebone foxconn systems that run the e350 cpu's but I found reviews stating that the CPUs could barely handle netflix+. Energy efficiency is important.

Thanks in advance!

Case (barebones? / HTPC case?). The smaller the better:
power supply:
Low profile graphics card if needed:

Approximate Purchase Date: 5/21/2012

Budget Range: 300

System Usage from Most to Least Important: HTPC for a 46 samsung LED.. It only has 2 HDMI connections!

Parts Not Required: already have a windows 7 license

Preferred Website(s) for Parts:

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: by brand or type: Small form factor case. possibly intelG530 w/ low profile card?

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: HTPC duty, hulu, netlix, web surfing, youtube flash video

Additional Comments: Quiet and small form factor

More about : budget htpc 300

May 6, 2012 10:22:52 AM

here is a quick mock up, i went with intel however it worth noting that AMD's intigrated GPU's are much better for 3d work than intels. neither of them will be running DX11 crysis, intel CPU does run faster than AMD's. A low pro video card is not required for basic HD work however if you do want to game then id look into them outside of your current budget.






If you want more storage space then id go with this:

however the speed of the SSD and the lack or requiring storage for what you are looking to do... the decision is up to you.

if you want a video card then here is an option:

this was the best video card i could find and you only need it if you want to game. it wont be maxing out crysis but it can play games like CS:S, eve online, mass effect 2; maxed out.

total with out video card after rebates is 298.17
if you want to spend a bit more i would upgrade the CPU to the lower end I3:
May 6, 2012 2:48:34 PM

Thank you very much for the reply. I am going to go with integrated graphics because gaming is not a requirement. Ive been reading up on the AMDs. Just for options sake, and if you would not mind. Could you please spec an AMD cpu + MOBO for me? From the looks of things, I might need to up the budget $50 for a quieter power supply and possibly another $50 for a cpu?
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May 6, 2012 4:22:23 PM

The issue with Netflix is the Silverlight player, where every arch has problems with hardware acceleration. My understanding is version 5 (?) made things better but DVXA is still not properly working.

I've got an AsRock ITX E350 (with a 60GB SSD) that works just dandy for everything I throw at it, but I don't do Netflix.

May 6, 2012 4:29:12 PM

he is correct that silverlight uses hardware acceleration. my house mates computer would not run the silverlight on his nvidia 650go, we put a 4500 in it and then it would run. i would expect the integrated intel GPU to be able to run such a program however AMD does have more hardware placed into there GPU's. i dont like building with amd but ill take a look at there platform and see what i can find on newegg
May 6, 2012 5:03:26 PM

It isn't an AMD/Intel/ATI/nVidia thing. DVXA just doesn't work right on Silverlight so the CPU has to process the load. There are E450 motherboards with higher clocks and slightly-boosted video popping up which may help with something like this. The second gen BrazosT (along with Trinity) should also be rolling out in the next few months.

ASRock E350M1 AMD E-350 APU: $94

Rosewill RS-MI-01 BK Mini ITX Tower/ Desktop Computer Case with 250W: $55

OCZ Agility 3 60GB SSD: $70 before $10 rebate

A single 4GB stick of 'qualified' DDR3 1333 is $25 or so.

June 13, 2012 6:12:00 AM

I dont understand some people here, isn`t a HTPC just for watching movies?
Why would you need to get a 3Ghz cpu with more than 2 cores or SSD ?
My 2.2Ghz laptop PLAYS blu-ray FINE.

If you want to encode/multitask or whatever other useless thing, upgrade your MAIN computer`s cpu or your defeating the purpose of a HTPC.

ASRock E350M1 AMD E-350 APU: $94 is a prefect choice imo...
Anandtech reviews E350
June 13, 2012 12:19:21 PM

@DoctorPink - While I tend to agree with you, some people want to play their games on their 42" - 65" 1080p HDTVs. While you and I seem to agree that the more important part of an HTPC is the Home Theater aspect, others seem to think its more the Personal Computer aspect.

-Wolf sends
June 14, 2012 2:48:53 PM

Well, the biggest you can get with the left over cash. Probably a 500 GB one.
June 14, 2012 7:17:43 PM

Put the OCZ Agility 3 60GB SSD from above in it -- it's like $55, now.

It's really cool it has a VESA mount but they should have gone with an eSATA port, somewhere . . .

With an SSD, you should boot in 15 seconds or so -- always handy with an HTPC. That AsRock E350 has a really great sleep -- wakes in a snap.

Not sure about that E450 box ... I'm tempted to buy one and find out :D