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First Time Builder Seeking Advice on An HTPC System

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June 15, 2012 3:42:56 AM

Hi Folks!

I am going to be building a Home Theater PC to perform the basic media functions in my home. I have been doing a fair amount of research on this but I am still a bit fuzzy on some aspects. Let me start off with some broad brush strokes.

1. Replace my dedicated Blu-Ray Player
2. DVR capabilities (dual tuner at minimum).
3. Form factor not a huge issue.
4. Budget around $500
5. IR controller capability

I am not beholden to Intel or AMD. I want as quiet a box as possible while staying as close to the budget figure as possible. I will be running Windows 7 on it. I need the IR controller capability because I want to use my Slingbox in conjunction with the HTPC.

We have most of our movies on DVD and Blu Ray. My biggest worry is smooth playback of both. We will have a large portion of our collected music on here so I am thinking at least a 750GB if not 1TB. I was looking at a Hybrid Drive from Seagate (Seagate Momentus XT 750 GB 7200RPM SATA 6Gb/s 32 MB Cache 2.5 Inch Solid State Hybrid Drive ST750LX003)

I would love some direction and advice. Issues like having a separate Graphics Card or just going with an Intel Sandybridge or likewise from AMD still need to be worked out, things like the actual Blu-Ray hardware and what is good, better, best etc.

Thanks for the input and I look forward to hearing from y'all!

a c 136 B Homebuilt system
June 15, 2012 4:12:06 AM

The AMD Llano A6 3500 triple core with its inbuilt graphics may be the best choice .
Motherboards are socket FM1 , and have an A55 or A75 chipset . A75 has USB 3.
The triple core should mean one a dedicated core to each channel you are recording , and another for basic computer functions . Less chance of slow downs than a dual core , less power consumption than a quad

Hauppage make the best digital tuners . Many models include a remote

The silverstone GD 05 [ or GD04 ] htpc case are quiet enough and very good value . They take any m_ATX motherboard , and ant ATX power supply , except high wattage models that are longer . You need a 400 watt unit . Modular may help but isnt essential .
A 9 volt mod on the fans will make them silent instead of just very quiet .
http://www.silentpcreview.com/silverstone-gd05

To save $100 on the operating system consider using Mythbuntu , and/or XMBC . Google will help you research these .
a b B Homebuilt system
June 15, 2012 12:08:38 PM

What's the television source, Cable, Satellite, or OTA broadcasts?

If cable, do you require the use of a set top box?

-Wolf sends
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June 15, 2012 8:13:05 PM

Wolf, I am using OTA broadcasts. We get very good digital reception here in Suburban Atlanta.
June 15, 2012 8:18:22 PM

Outlander_04 said:
The AMD Llano A6 3500 triple core with its inbuilt graphics may be the best choice .
Motherboards are socket FM1 , and have an A55 or A75 chipset . A75 has USB 3.
The triple core should mean one a dedicated core to each channel you are recording , and another for basic computer functions . Less chance of slow downs than a dual core , less power consumption than a quad

Hauppage make the best digital tuners . Many models include a remote

The silverstone GD 05 [ or GD04 ] htpc case are quiet enough and very good value . They take any m_ATX motherboard , and ant ATX power supply , except high wattage models that are longer . You need a 400 watt unit . Modular may help but isnt essential .
A 9 volt mod on the fans will make them silent instead of just very quiet .
http://www.silentpcreview.com/silverstone-gd05

To save $100 on the operating system consider using Mythbuntu , and/or XMBC . Google will help you research these .


Outlander, thanks for the response mate.

The AMD Llano sounds like a contender. As for the Mobo being an A55 or A75 Chioset it sounds like the A55 will do fine for my needs.

The Windows 7 is already an expense that was eaten on another project. I bought 3 licenses and only used 2. However, I am not opposed to Mythbuntu, and/or XMBC. Is there a better user experience with them as opposed to Windows 7?

Thanks for the input!
a b B Homebuilt system
June 15, 2012 8:19:18 PM

In that case, I agree with Outlander_04's recommendations. An HTPC doesn't need to be much is the way of power. Mine (see my signature) does all you would want yours to do and then some. The Llano APUs should be more than sufficient for your needs.

-Wolf sends
June 17, 2012 12:06:30 AM

OK folks. It looks Like I have everything queued up. Anyone see any problems with this set up?

- Case, Silverstone GD05B
- Mobo, ASRock MB-A75MHVS
- CPU, AMD Llano A6-3500 APU
- HDD, Seagate Momentus XT 750GB 2.5” Hybrid SSD/HDD (ST750LX003)
- RAM, Kingston HyoerX 8GB kit (2x4GB)
- TV Tuner, Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-1850 Dual Tuner
- Blu-Ray Drive, LG Electronics UH12LS29 Internal
- Remote, Lenovo N5902 Multimedia Remote (Backlit)
- OS, Windows 7 Home Premium (64 Bit)

Thanks for the input!
a b B Homebuilt system
June 17, 2012 4:15:32 PM

All looks good to me. If there's budget for it, I might consider going with a separate OS and storage drives. If you already have a copy of Windows 7 Home Premium, then I'd stick with that (unless you just want to try out a linux solution). I'm running 7 on my system and have been very happy with it.

-Wolf sends
June 17, 2012 8:13:13 PM

Wolfshadw said:
All looks good to me. If there's budget for it, I might consider going with a separate OS and storage drives. If you already have a copy of Windows 7 Home Premium, then I'd stick with that (unless you just want to try out a linux solution). I'm running 7 on my system and have been very happy with it.

-Wolf sends


Wolf- The shooting match comes it at about $580. I had a contingency planned in case it went over $500 so the separate drives won't be in this build. Of course the Hybrid Seagate fulfills both jobs as it has the SSD and the Platters. That was $149.99. And yes, I do already have a copy of the Win 7 (extra license and everything).

July 21, 2012 9:13:53 PM

PROBLEM!!!

Ok after building this system and trouble shooting (apparently I need to be a little bit better at that) I finally get the system to boot.

The problem is that for about 2 weeks I was trying every conceivable combination of components to get it to boot. NOTHING would happen. No fans would power up, nothing. I was going through it with a friend and he asked "Have you tried without the TV Tuner Card?" Well don't you know it, it started up. No problems.

So I load everything to the system, Windows 7, all the updates, all the device drivers (except for the TV tuner card), etc. I go back and put the card in (PCI Express) and hit the power switch and NOTHING. It is as if putting the tuner card in place prevents power from getting to the board at all.

This is a Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-1850.

The rest of the components are as follows:


- Case, Silverstone GD05B
- Mobo, ASRock MB-A75MHVS
- CPU, AMD Llano A6-3500 APU
- HDD, Seagate Momentus XT 750GB 2.5” Hybrid SSD/HDD (ST750LX003)
- RAM, Kingston HyoerX 8GB kit (2x4GB)
- TV Tuner, Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-1850 Dual Tuner
- Blu-Ray Drive, LG Electronics UH12LS29 Internal
- Remote, Lenovo N5902 Multimedia Remote (Backlit)
- OS, Windows 7 Home Premium (64 Bit)

Anyone have any idea?
a b B Homebuilt system
July 22, 2012 12:31:50 AM

Sounds like a faulty motherboard. I'd suggest installing the TV Tuner card into your friend's system just to make sure it works. If it does, contact your supplier about motherboard RMA procedures.

-Wolf sends
!