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New HTPC Build Advice

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  • New Build
  • Systems
  • Product
Last response: in Systems
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May 18, 2012 5:23:39 AM

Hi peeps,
I'm HelperMonkey and I have an addiction to computer power. Long time lurker, though my days as an active reader have pretty much gone to heck due to my schedule. I'm in the process of acquiring new parts for an HTPC as I am ditching cable (have an account for online access through family). I've asked on a few other sites and am getting some great advice, but I want to open it up to y'all just to see what else I can learn. I'm happy to read articles, so if you are aware of something that answers these questions in a concise manner, please let me know. I just don't have the time to read tons of stuff indiscriminately.

Here goes:

Approximate Purchase Date: ASAP, would be great to get everything ordered in the next 48hrs - though if some new technology is getting released in the next 30 days that I need to wait for ... I will.

Budget Range: $700-800 (with a tipping a point at 1k) not including cables or incidental purchases

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Watching streamed content that's stored on a NAS, watching streamed content over the net, watching OTA programing with ClearQAM, watching videos in a browser, watching ripped content, watching blue ray, gaming [super super light gaming - mostly old school NES roms and stuff like that, perhaps running civ5 but I don't need top notch (aka discrete) gaming graphics.] 720p/1080p will be most of the watching, some 1080i.

Equipment I own:
- TV: Panasonic TC-P58S2
- Receiver: Onkyo TX-SR608 (5.1 audio setup currently)
- Speakers: Atlantic Technology 4400
- Router: Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH running DD-WRT build 18024 (i'm going to get rid of it - it sucks)
- NAS: 2x2TB Netgear Ultra2
- Gaming Machines: Xbox360 / NES / Sega Genesis
- Remote: Logitech Harmony One
- Keyboard & Mouse

Software:
XBMC on top of Windows (either 7, 8, or HS ... I have yet to decide which version of windows).

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Any, though I have gift cards at NewEgg and Amazon.

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: Ivy Bridge processor, no preference elsewhere. In addition to case, fan, cpu, mobo, ram, SSD, & psu, I will also be purchasing a small gigabit switch ... probably the 5 port newegg model unless i hear otherwise.

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No, unless I'm missing something

Additional Comments:

1) Silence is paramount!!!!!! Above anything else that's what I want.
2) Size of the case is a concern but I'm flexible. In an ideal world - I like small so i'd Mini-ITX, but I could microATX if convinced. Don't care about depth, height isn't a huge concern, but width can't be more than 17.
3) I want to be able to use my remote, would also like to be able to use it on movies playing through a browser.
4) I will put the OS on a 64+gb drive. Perhaps Crucial 64gb M4)
5) I'm happy to remount and move things around and screw stuff in - but i'd rather not drill holes or shave down brackets if possible.
6) B/c I would like to plug most of the things in (tuner card, blue ray drive, etc...) I would like a lot of flexibility with ports.
7) USB 3.0 is a must
8) I would like to be able to record OTA programs and watch something else OTA while that's going on. Again, probably going to use an external box unless someone can show me a financial advantage to getting internal.
9) People have mentioned bi-streaming audio and stuff like that - don't know anything about it right now - but that sounds cool! ;-)

Parts Recommended that I'm keen on (but haven't purchased yet):
* Mohu MHANT 1000 Antennae
* Big Shuriken fan
* picoPSU - though I have no idea which one to buy and I'm sure what i put in the box will affect this.

More about : htpc build advice

May 18, 2012 10:22:08 AM

Why not save some money and go the AMD APU route? Even their 60 dollar entry level models will stream 1080p without a sweat. Your needs said very very light gaming, this would do the trick nicely.

My mother owns a 300 dollar entry level laptop with a 3300-m CPU with onboard 6480g graphics, and hooked to her HDTV via hdmi cable 1080p video looks gorgeous.
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May 18, 2012 10:43:10 AM

lifehacker.com/5908682/how-to-make-xbmc-easier-to-use-especially-for-non+geeks?popular=true
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May 18, 2012 8:35:11 PM

Thanks for the reply guys - as for why I am interested in Ivy Bridge - i plan on having this machine for years to come, so I want to go as powerful as possible with the processor - hence the enlarged budget. As for the remote suggestion, I know it will work with XBMC, but I was interested in finding out how to make it work with my browser (if possible).

Keep em coming!!! :-)
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