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Good HTPC build?

Last response: in Systems
August 3, 2012 7:18:40 PM

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?:


Computer case:




Processor fan:

Power supply:

Tell me what I might want to change, make sure to keep it all under 350$!

More about : good htpc build

August 3, 2012 7:23:48 PM

I would go with AMD instead, because their higher-end processors are about half the price of Intel's. But, if you just like Intel, you have a pretty nice setup.
August 3, 2012 7:36:20 PM

Me and my friend are very big Intel fans, so no AMD for us yet. :p 
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August 3, 2012 7:40:51 PM

Why get a discreet video card? Just adds noise and heat...

Also, Diablotek PSUs aren't very good.

Since this will be used for music work, maybe consider a setup with a passive PSU, like a picoPSU. Something like the Habey 800B or Antec ISK, perhaps with a 35W CPU?
August 3, 2012 9:09:22 PM

He wants a good video card thats about 80$, so I thought gt 440, which is a 2 slot card, which is why I got the coolermaster.

Recording can be very cpu intensive, got a 3GHz cpu @ 35w?
August 3, 2012 9:25:26 PM

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?
August 3, 2012 9:42:59 PM

I edit'ed it, tell me what you think.
August 3, 2012 10:20:18 PM

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.

August 3, 2012 10:25:35 PM

The build's fine!

- 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?'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.
August 3, 2012 11:31:32 PM

He uses pro-tools, fruity loops, and the like.

He has a 1tb WD external for plug-ins.

His pro tools uses USB :D