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Building an HTPC that moonlights as a gamer!

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May 16, 2012 3:46:58 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: Soon as possible really
Budget Range: 800 before rebates - no issues purchasing with rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Media Center - XBMC will be installed - want it to be quiet during video time - but also play games. Arkham City/Diablo 3/Emulators (up to PS2)/Indies! On a 42 in 1080p monitor

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: amazon.com - because I have Prime and their credit card, giving me a 3% kickback on amazon purchases - newegg.com because I have shoprunner and just have always liked Newegg

Country: USA - Virginia

Parts Preferences: by brand or type Intel/Nvidia - Not a fan of AMD

Overclocking: Most likely not

SLI or Crossfire: Not smart enough

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080, 1920x1200 - I think

Additional Comments: from my slickdeals post - case/power supply already purchased - see below

1. Purpose of computer: HTPC & Gaming - mostly HTPC - so quiet is preferred. I've bought a few of the pieces so far (mentioned on a per item basis). Here are my concerns with the list below -
is the PSU strong enough?
Will it be quiet?
Am I missing anything important? Like fans?
Will it handle Diablo 3 (for the GF, I mostly rock cheap indie games!)/
Anyway to could get the price down?

2. Budget: Want to stay under $700 if at all possible

3. List which parts you have:
a. CPU: Intel Core i5-3550 Ivy Bridge 3.3GHz - Not yet Purchased $209.99
b. Mobo: ASRock H77 Pro4-M LGA 1155 Intel H77 - Not yet Purchased $89.99
c. Video Card: Undecided - leaning towards - ZOTAC GeForce GTX550 Ti AMP! 1GB GDDR5 - 139.99 - refuse to have AMD anything, which sucks because it appears their video cards are better right now.
d. HDD: Waiting for a good priced SSD - have 4TB N2A2 NAS for holding all videos. SSD will hold OS/games (will spend around $100)
e. RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 - Not yet purchased - $46.99
f. PSU: CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 V2 Already purchased $44.99
g. Case: Silverstone GD05: - Already purchased - $88
h: Optical Drive: Still debating blu-ray/basic DVD - not a priority
i: Monitor: 42in 1080p TV with HDMI
j: OS: Win 7 (hoping to transfer it from current PC)

Total of parts listed above $720

4. Will you be overclocking? - doubtful

note - if i posted this wrong, please don't light my house on fire. i'm typically good with forums - but couldn't find a "create post' button.
May 16, 2012 5:44:17 PM

Well you definitely wont be overclocking with those components .

And you definitely dont need 8 gig of RAM . Game performance wont increase with more than 4 gig and nothing else you do requires any where near 4 gig .

A 550 ti wont game that well at 1080p . Maybe at low detail settings you will get playable frame rates .
You could use the onboard video now and add a graphics card later . That way you can have a better 500 watt psu and the blu ray drive
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May 16, 2012 6:13:57 PM

Actually 8GB will be good to have... Say if you have alot of programs running... It uses up vram... 8Gb makes it more "Future proof"
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May 16, 2012 6:20:37 PM

From the looks of it though, to get started (sans the video card) will these parts run?
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May 16, 2012 6:21:29 PM

Looks reasonable to me.
Your links are not working for me.

The GTX550ti meets the recomended requirements for diablo 3:
http://us.battle.net/support/en/article/diablo-iii-syst...

I might suggest this EVGA unit instead. It has a superior dual slot direct exhaust cooler which will get the hot air directly out of the case.
EVGA also has a 90 day step up program if you should find that you want a stronger card:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I think for your use, a dual core i3 2120 would do the job, but I can never argue about going to the newest technology.
You could save a bit there.

You might want to look for a low profile aftermarket cpu cooler with a large, slow turning fan. The stock Intel cooler does OK, but under load, it can spin up and be noisy. But, try the stock cooler first and see how you do.

Since you have already bought the psu, it is somewhat of a moot point. But, it should be quiet, and should make a bit of noise when under load, and that means gaming. I would keep it.

I like the 8gb ram kit. The extra ram will keep more code in ram, available for instant reuse. It need not be fast or fancy ram. This kit would do as well:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I love the SSD for the os, particularly since you have plenty of hard drive space for overflow.
I like the Intel 330 series. The 60gb unit is only $65 after rebate. It should hold the OS and a few games:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
The 120gb unit would be even better.

If your old copy of windows 7 is retail, or upgrade, it is considered as retail and can be transferred to a new motherboard. If it is oem, then legally, not.
MS does not seem to be particularly picky about moving an oem or any license, as long as you can reassure them that it is being used on only one PC
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May 16, 2012 6:43:49 PM

I will disagree with Outlander_04 as there aer games which require more then just 4GB to play smoothly on windows 7 even at 1040*980
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May 16, 2012 7:11:48 PM

Rockdpm said:
Actually 8GB will be good to have... Say if you have alot of programs running... It uses up vram... 8Gb makes it more "Future proof"


playing videos will use a few hundred megabytes , and no game can use even 4 gig of RAM .

adding more is pointless for this build
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May 16, 2012 7:12:51 PM

I agree with him. D3 won't use close to even 2GB of RAM.
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May 16, 2012 7:20:06 PM

So if I get that EVGA card which has a mini-hdmi output, would using the HDMI out on the motherboard render the card obsolete? Or do I just have to suck it up and buy a new cable?
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May 16, 2012 7:24:20 PM

Yes, it would, cuz you cannot use both onboard and a GPU at the same time.
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May 23, 2012 1:45:44 PM

Okay, was able to delete my extra posts now that I have okay internet.
Most of my parts came in on Monday, I was able to put it all together and get it up and running surprisingly well after a few unusual issues that I've since worked out. Here's the final list of parts

Intel Core i5 3550 http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007SZ0EJW/ref=oh_deta... $209.99
EVGA GeForce GTX 550 Ti http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004S5CCP4/ref=oh_deta... $134.80
AmazonBasics High-Speed A to C Type, HDMI to Mini-HDMI Cable http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003ES5ZR8/ref=oh_deta... $7.99
SilverStone Case GD05B (Black) http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0036WTDGQ/ref=oh_deta... $88.00
ASRock H77 Pro4-M http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $89.99
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $46.99
Kingston HyperX 3K 120GB SATA III http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $139.99
CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 V2 (CMPSU-430CXV2) 430W http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $44.99

Total Cost - $762.74
(this is before the $50 of rebates coming my way - and *after* a few coupon codes - so my actual out of pocket costs will come down to $684.82!)

Just bought the SSD today! Comes in friday. I currently have an old laptop hard drive running this thing, but when the SSD comes in, I will swap it out.

Here is my question, the OS and PC will only have that ONE SSD, so which of my like 8 SATA ports do I plug it into for the best performance? Here is the layout of my mobo - https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/0KdA8SBnBfDtLCJct...

I *THINK* I should put it in the one labeled 12 (SATA3 Connectors (SATA3_A0_A1, Gray)) In the top plug, but I wanted an expert opinion. Thanks!
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May 23, 2012 1:57:23 PM

The sata 3 ports have higher transfer rates which can only really be pushed by the SSD. You can pick any of them.
In the bios, select sata mode as AHCI(not ide or raid). That will give you trim support.

When you install windows on the SSD, disconnect any other drives, otherwise, windows will attempt to put a small recovery file on them.
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