I'm building a HTPC for my friend to record music with. Hes going to be using pro-tools and etc; He wants it to be a portable PC (which is why its going to be an HTPC). He wants to spend no more than 350$.
With all that said and done, does this look good?:
Well, a video card is really only necessary if he plans to game. Built in graphics are perfectly fine for other uses. I was thinking more on the lines of acoustics. Most music production builds are 100% passive to eliminate background noise, or with only 1 or 2 very quiet fans. Video card with fan = noise.
35W was only a suggestion for a case with a small picoPSU since they are low power setups. If you are not constrained to a low power envelope, then a low power chip isn't needed.
For the PSU, can you stretch to get either an Antec Earthwatts, SeaSonic, or Corsair PSU?
The Antec EA380 is an excellent PSU. Be sure to have a power cord for it though because for some reason they don't come with one. You can get one for cheap at Monoprice (link) if you don't have a spare to use. If you want a bundled power cord, a SeaSonic or Corsair PSU might be a better deal.
Switch back to a non-T version of the i3. No need for a low power 35W chip. They cost more and have a lower clock rate than the standard i3's. The extra CPU fan probably isn't necessary... you could just use the stock intel fan
Everything else looks good. I'd love to hear how that motherboard works for you. I've been eyeing that one for a while on an ITX build I'm planning.
- You are right about the cpu demands (especially when multiple real-time processing in going on e.g. track/bus plugins, high-end convolution reverb, etc) - his typical fully loaded pro-tools session will determine how the cpu is doing (there should be a 'cpu meter' somewhere within protools...sonar has one).
-What are you installing the OS on?
- I take it he has a second HDD for session data, plugins, sound libraries? (I use cakewalk sonar X1 with various plugins & sound libraries)
- What audio interface does he use (he is recording into pro-tools?...it's not a fully synthetic setup e.g. propellerhead reason?) --> is the htpc fully compatible with the interface? (e.g. many firewire interfaces work best using the texas instrument firewire chipset). A simple record check will confirm compatibility.