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Looking to Build an Upgradable HTPC

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June 16, 2012 12:40:01 AM

First, I would like to make clear that my computer knowledge is fairly limited, especially when it comes to building one. Right now I am in the process of buying parts for a gaming machine, but I am already starting to plan my second build. I would like to build a home theater PC that I can, in the near future, easily upgrade to a low-end gaming machine. Here is some more info...

-Needs to easily handle 1080p content (blu-ray discs, .mkv, .mp4, etc.). I am looking for a little overkill here, as I don't want to have hiccups playing content.
-Size is not much of an issue. In fact, I will probably want a decently sized case to make upgrading easier.
-Sound from fans is not a huge issue, as this will likely be fairly far from anyone in my home theater.
-Money is fairly tight for this build. I would like to spend under $500 for the pieces I need.
-I already have a copy of Windows 7 and a 250GB 7200rpm harddrive. I will also be using a spare 1TB external drive with this to hold additional media.
-I would like a machine to be able to become a decent low-end gaming machine once I add a video card (I will have a spare Radeon 6850 for this machine in the near future). I would like to play games like Diablo 3/ Starcraft 2 once I get the video card (and likely a SSD for the OS).

Here is what I have in mind. It is based on a few builds I have seen suggested on Youtube as well as my gaming machine that is still in the works. Any suggestions/comments would be welcome, but please keep in mind that I would like to keep my budget under $500 for the needed pieces.

Cooler Master HAF 912 case ($60)
GIGABYTE GA-P67X-UD3-B3 motherboard ($120)
SeaSonic 620w PSU ($90)
Intel i3-2100 Processor ($120)
Blu-ray drive ($50)
2x4GB G.SKILL Ripjaw RAM ($47)

More about : build upgradable htpc

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a b B Homebuilt system
June 16, 2012 11:31:31 AM

Go with these to save some money; you don't need a high end board since your cpu won't overclock:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
With the $$ saved you can get the 6850 now; Here's a good brand:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I've been building for 20+ years and use biostar in both my systems. The B75 is a new low end ivy bridge chipset perfect for your htpc. If you want to upgrade, don't put too much into the motherboard or cpu; you'll probably want to change them in a couple of years anyway.
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June 16, 2012 12:48:23 PM

o1die said:
Go with these to save some money; you don't need a high end board since your cpu won't overclock:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
With the $$ saved you can get the 6850 now; Here's a good brand:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I've been building for 20+ years and use biostar in both my systems. The B75 is a new low end ivy bridge chipset perfect for your htpc. If you want to upgrade, don't put too much into the motherboard or cpu; you'll probably want to change them in a couple of years anyway.


Thank you for the suggestions. I must admit that I never would have thought of looking for a micro ATX motherboard to put in a mid tower, although I knew the case could hold one. I have so much to learn. Just to clarify, I do want to upgrade this system to a low-end gaming PC fairly soon (as well as still using it for a HTPC), but I would like to not to have to upgrade any components that are already in the system. I would like to have a decent enough machine as a HTPC so that I can just pop in a Radeon 6850 and play Diablo 3 on high/ultra, and the current setup with your two suggested changes looks like it should do the trick. I will be getting the 6850 for free from a friend as he upgrades his current system in the next month or two. Also, this will be my secondary computer, so once I do not plan on upgrading it for quite a few years (other than adding the 6850 and maybe a SSD for the OS). Once again, thank you for the great ideas, o1die.
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June 17, 2012 4:49:00 PM

Best answer selected by vegeta13613.
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