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"Just enough" HTPC Build

Last response: in Systems
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July 16, 2012 6:45:27 AM

Hi all,

I am trying to put together an HTPC. Exact cost is less important than getting the job done, but I would like to do it for as little as possible.

Approximate Purchase Date: this week (the closer the better)

Budget Range: As cheap as possible, while getting the job done!

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Streaming HD video/Live TV/Blu-Ray DVD/Internet browsing/Media server

Are you buying a monitor: No

Do you need to buy OS: Yes

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg, open to others

Location: West Coast USA
Parts Preferences: None
Overclocking: No
SLI or Crossfire: No
Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080/HDTV

Additional Comments:

The last computer I built from scratch was about 10 years ago, so I am out of hardware touch to say the least. I have been browsing the forums here, and have "frankenstein-ed" the posts together to get this build. It seems a bit expensive for what I need to do, but not sure where I can improve on it. I am building this completely from scratch, so I need *everything.* I'm not including the TV, keyboard or mouse but I am including everything else.

CASE
Rosewill CHALLENGER Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower Computer Case, comes with Three Fans-1x Front Blue LED 120mm Fan, 1x Top 140mm Fan, 1x Rear 120mm Fan, option Fans-2x Side 120mm Fan
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$49.99

PSU:
Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W Continuous power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$42.99

MoBo:
ASRock A75M-ITX FM1 AMD A75 (Hudson D3) HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Mini ITX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$89.99

APU:
AMD A8-3870K Unlocked Llano 3.0GHz Socket FM1 100W Quad-Core Desktop APU (CPU GPU) with DirectX 11 Graphic AMD Radeon HD 6550D AD3870WNGXBOX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$119.99

RAM:
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1066 (PC3 8500) Desktop Memory Model F3-8500CL7D-8GBRL
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$41.99

HDD:
Seagate Barracuda Green ST2000DL003 2TB 5900 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$119.99

OPTICAL:
ASUS Black 12X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-ray Drive Model BC-12B1ST/BLK/B/AS - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$54.99

TUNER:
Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 Dual TV Tuner w/ MPEG-2 Encoder PCI-E x1 - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$94.99

OS:
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$179.99

Total:
$794.91

Thanks!

More about : htpc build

July 16, 2012 7:04:58 AM

I would change the CPU to an AMD Phenom II. Bit cheaper. $110
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

To go with the new CPU, you need an AM3 board (though get AM3+ so you can upgrade later). $100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM can actually be halved with no real cost to performance. A HTPC doesnt need much of it. This RAM is also a fair bit faster. $25
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Having a Green drive as your primary is not good. Its slow by design so booting up and general activity will be slower. This faster HDD is actually the same price.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Unless you plan to use the OS on multiple machines, you can get the OEM version for much less. $99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You will need a much bigger PSU, especially considering that this is an AMD build. The CPU alone draws a max of 125W. For a build with no GPU, I would normally say a 450W, but considering the Processors draw, I recommend a 500W.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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July 16, 2012 3:34:33 PM

@xxAstroGirlxx - Your build looks fairly good with a couple of exceptions:

1) You have a mini-ITX motherboard and a case that only accepts Micro-ATX and ATX motherboards. Either upgrade the motherboard to an A75 Micro-ATX (my recommendation) or get a case that specifically states it supports mini-ITX motherboards.

2) As Manofchalk points out, you do not need that much RAM. Look for a 2x2GB set of DDR3-1333 RAM

3) Also as Manofchalk points out, you do not need to retail version of Windows 7. The OEM version will suffice.

4) What is your live TV source? If it's Free Over-The-Air digital broadcasts or a basic cable subscription, then the TV Tuner you list is perfect. If it's a higher level cable subscription (one that requires the use of a set top box), then you should look at the various cablecard solutions.

@Manofchalk - Just one comment about your build. The motherboard does not have a video output and you don't list a graphics card.

@FinneousPJ - Decent system, but the OP would have to add RAM, a hard drive, an external Blu-Ray Drive and TV Tuner.

-Wolf sends

Best solution

July 16, 2012 3:56:48 PM
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AMD A4-3400
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 Dual TV Tuner w/ MPEG-2 Encoder
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS Black 12X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-ray Drive Model BC-12B1ST/BLK/B/AS - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Seagate Barracuda Green ST2000DL003 2TB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Rosewill CHALLENGER
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASRock A75M FM1 AMD A75
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total: $630
July 16, 2012 4:48:00 PM

^+1

That fits the bill, assuming the OP's TV signal being pulled is OTA or clear-QAM. Don't forget some blu-ray playback software.

BTW, ITX motherboards will fit fine using the standard hole patterns in mATX/ATX cases. I've done it myself. Though I must wonder why one would put a tiny motherboard in a cavernous case.
July 16, 2012 4:55:12 PM

Wolfshadw said:


@FinneousPJ - Decent system, but the OP would have to add RAM, a hard drive, an external Blu-Ray Drive and TV Tuner.

-Wolf sends

Yes, I know. Well, I admit I missed the blu-ray. It'll still be enough and cost less than $400 I think. His original $800 build is far, far too expensive for a "just enough" HTPC.
July 16, 2012 6:40:32 PM

gamerkila57 said:

Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


This PS will work fine with the processor you listed? Manofchalk suggested it was on the low powered side.

Also, how about this board instead:

ASRock A75M FM1 AMD A75 (Hudson D3) HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It looks basically the same but with ATX form and a bit cheaper ($74 instead of $89).
July 16, 2012 6:43:50 PM

Wolfshadw said:
@xxAstroGirlxx - Your build looks fairly good with a couple of exceptions:

4) What is your live TV source? If it's Free Over-The-Air digital broadcasts or a basic cable subscription, then the TV Tuner you list is perfect. If it's a higher level cable subscription (one that requires the use of a set top box), then you should look at the various cablecard solutions.



Thanks for the reply. It is the free over air digital broadcasts, so I'm happy the tuner will be good for this. I don't have any experience with this sort of hardware. What are your thoughts about the remote control version? Are there any benefits to it over using just a wireless mouse, or does it just make it feel more "TV-like"?
July 16, 2012 7:58:55 PM

xxAstroGirlxx said:
Thanks for the reply. It is the free over air digital broadcasts, so I'm happy the tuner will be good for this. I don't have any experience with this sort of hardware. What are your thoughts about the remote control version? Are there any benefits to it over using just a wireless mouse, or does it just make it feel more "TV-like"?


I'd recommend going with the remote control version if you're going to spend the majority of your time in Windows Media Center. The remote control by itself costs $30, whereas the remote control included version of the Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 is only $15 more than the version you listed.

Yeah, it's definitely more "TV-like".

-Wolf sends

P.S. I like the new motherboard selection. With this board, you have a native slot for the TV Tuner card (PCI-Ex1) and still have an available PCI-Ex16 slot should you ever decide the on-board graphics just are not cutting it.

July 16, 2012 8:34:20 PM

xxAstroGirlxx said:
This PS will work fine with the processor you listed? Manofchalk suggested it was on the low powered side.

Also, how about this board instead:

ASRock A75M FM1 AMD A75 (Hudson D3) HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It looks basically the same but with ATX form and a bit cheaper ($74 instead of $89).

that board will be fine to so choose that and save :D  and the PS is fine because your not running a video card ?
July 16, 2012 9:17:46 PM

Wolfshadw said:
I'd recommend going with the remote control version if you're going to spend the majority of your time in Windows Media Center.

...

P.S. I like the new motherboard selection. With this board, you have a native slot for the TV Tuner card (PCI-Ex1) and still have an available PCI-Ex16 slot should you ever decide the on-board graphics just are not cutting it.


Great, thanks on both counts! Just what I wanted to hear :) 

gamerkila57 said:
that board will be fine to so choose that and save :D  and the PS is fine because your not running a video card ?


Perfect, looks like I'm pretty much set as far as hardware goes. Thanks so much!
July 17, 2012 5:56:23 AM

Wolfshadw said:

@Manofchalk - Just one comment about your build. The motherboard does not have a video output and you don't list a graphics card.


Completely missed that. Thanks for pointing it out.
July 21, 2012 1:53:49 AM

Best answer selected by xxAstroGirlxx.
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