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BestConfigs: Home Theater PC

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November 15, 2012 4:26:31 PM

It's that time again! Time to update the Tom's Hardware BestConfigs! Once again, we are opening the field to user recommendations to get the best consensus for the absolute best of the best in each category. Post the best configuration you can put together for the following build category and our editorial team will pick 5 of the best to be put up to a public vote right here in the Systems forum. The top-ranking build will go on to become one of Tom's Hardware BestConfigs and you'll get the credit for having put together a brilliant build with a special credit in the feature article.

Post your entries to this thread for the category of:
Home Theater PC

Stay within $700 (without shipping) and no need to include OS, monitor, mouse/keyboard. To keep things fair and level the playing field, we ask that you restrict your product links to Newegg or Amazon. Please be sure to format your list of components as follows:

Joe's Hulu/Netflixstravaganza Rig
Processor: Component Name and Component Price
Motherboard: Component Name and Component Price
RAM: Component Name and Component Price
Graphics Card: Component Name and Component Price
Hard Drive: Component Name and Component Price
Case: Component Name and Component Price
Power Supply: Component Name and Component Price
Cooling: Component Name and Component Price
DVD Burner: Component Name and Component Price

See below for quick-copy/paste text of the BBcode.

  1. [b]Joe's Hulu/Netflixstravaganza Rig[/b]
  2. Processor: [urlExt=http://Link to Component for Sale]Component Name and Component Price[/urlExt]
  3. Motherboard: [urlExt=http://Link to Component for Sale]Component Name and Component Price[/urlExt]
  4. RAM: [urlExt=http://Link to Component for Sale]Component Name and Component Price[/urlExt]
  5. Graphics Card: [urlExt=http://Link to Component for Sale]Component Name and Component Price[/urlExt]
  6. Hard Drive: [urlExt=http://Link to Component for Sale]Component Name and Component Price[/urlExt]
  7. Case: [urlExt=http://Link to Component for Sale]Component Name and Component Price[/urlExt]
  8. Power Supply: [urlExt=http://Link to Component for Sale]Component Name and Component Price[/urlExt]
  9. Cooling: [urlExt=http://Link to Component for Sale]Component Name and Component Price[/urlExt]
  10. DVD Burner: [urlExt=http://Link to Component for Sale]Component Name and Component Price[/urlExt]


You can also use the Tom's Hardware System Builder to build your recommendation and use the BBCode export option at the bottom of the build. If you do, be sure to include a link in your post to your build on the app for quick viewing.

Good luck, and may the best builds win!
November 15, 2012 6:22:34 PM

I call this one the "Trinity Killer" after John Lithgow's character on Dexter:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD A10-5800K 3.8GHz Quad-Core Processor ($129.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock FM2A75 Pro4-M Micro ATX FM2 Motherboard ($81.97 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($37.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Silverstone SST-GD05B-USB3.0 (Black) HTPC Case ($122.56 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic S12II 430W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($70.17 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHES212-08 Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer ($84.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $637.65
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-15 15:26 EST-0500)
November 16, 2012 5:02:48 AM
Related resources
November 16, 2012 12:54:12 PM

Brandon402's "Blue Raze" Home Theater PC

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($199.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($26.29 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition 1GB Video Card ($107.99 @ Microcenter)
Case: Rosewill CHALLENGER ATX Mid Tower Case ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Rosewill Capstone 550W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus BC-12B1ST/BLK/B/AS Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer ($54.73 @ NCIX US)
Total: $688.95
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-16 09:52 EST-0500)

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/nVWr
November 17, 2012 5:16:54 AM

Hallam Super Home Theater PC Bull
Processor:[http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...]AMD A6-3650 Llano 2.6GHz Socket FM1 100W Quad-Core Desktop APU (CPU + GPU) with DirectX 11 Graphic AMD Radeon HD 6530D AD3650WNGXBOX$84.99
Motherboard:[http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0058HBNY2/?tag=pcpapi-20]ASRock MB-A75M Socket FM1/ AMD A75 FCH/ SATA3&USB3.0/ A&GbE/ Micro ATX Motherboard$74.99
RAM:[http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...]Kingston 8GB 204-Pin DDR3 SO-DIMM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) System Specific Memory Model KTL-TP3C/8G$52.49
Graphic card:[http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...]GIGABYTE GV-R677D5-1GD Radeon HD 6770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card$89.99
Hard drive:[http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...]Western Digital WD Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive$109.99
Case:[http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...]COOLER MASTER RC-692-KKN2 CM690 II Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case$74.99
Power Supply:[http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...]COOLER MASTER eXtreme Power Plus RS500-PCARD3-US 500W ATX12V v2.3 Power Supply$49.99
DVD Burner(Bluray):[http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...]HP Half-Height 16x DVD-RW Optical Drive 16X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD-R 16X DVD-ROM 40X CD-R 32X CD-RW 40X CD-ROM Black SATA Model 447328-B21$64.99
Sound Card:[http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...]Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio 7.1 Channels 24-bit 96KHz PCI Express x1 Interface Sound Card - OEM$44.99
Total:$644.99
November 19, 2012 5:52:15 PM

Zared619's "Fast and Loud"

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD A10-5800K 3.8GHz Quad-Core Processor ($119.99 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($34.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock FM2A75 Pro4-M Micro ATX FM2 Motherboard ($81.97 @ Newegg)
Memory: Patriot Viper 3 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Mushkin Callisto Deluxe 240GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($159.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Green 1TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($66.15 @ Amazon)
Video Card: HIS Radeon HD 6670 2GB Video Card ($66.97 @ Newegg)
Sound Card: Creative Labs SB X-Fi Xtreme Audio 24-bit 96 KHz Sound Card ($54.98 @ Newegg)
Case: Fractal Design Core 1000 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($39.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($34.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $685.01
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-19 14:52 EST-0500)
November 19, 2012 8:46:12 PM

Oddly, I am posting this build fromthe actual system I am proposing. :D 

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD Athlon II X3 455 3.3GHz Triple-Core Processor ($71.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: SilenX EFZ-100HA2 58.0 CFM Fluid Dynamic Bearing CPU Cooler ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus M5A88-M Micro ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Intel 330 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($103.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Asus Radeon HD 6670 1GB Video Card ($81.80 @ NCIX US)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 360 ATX Mini Tower Case ($38.86 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Antec 450W ATX12V Power Supply ($31.64 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Pioneer BDR-206DBKS Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer ($94.99 @ NCIX US)
Total: $638.23
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-19 17:42 EST-0500)
November 27, 2012 8:58:13 PM


Grey's Ultra "SHHH!!, I'm watching a movie!" HTPC
Processor: AMD A10-5700 $129.99
Motherboard: ASRock FM2A75M-DGS mATX $54.99
RAM: AMD Performance Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 1600 $21.99
Graphics Card: IGP 7660D
Hard Drive: Mushkin Enhanced Chronos 60GB SSD $64.99
Case: Silverstone ML03B Micro ATX HTPC $57.21
Power Supply: Seasonic SS-460FL 460W Fanless $129.99
Sound Card: HT Omega Claro-II Sound Card $184.99
DVD Burner: LITE-ON Black Blu-Ray 3D Playback Capable Burner IHBS112-04 $54.99


$699.14 and so quiet. I really wanted to keep the processor TDP to 65w. I wish I could have found the A8-5500 in stock. Obviously all media would be streamed to this machine from a NAS, the disc it came on or TEH INTERWEBZ.
November 30, 2012 1:46:16 AM

Blazor's ultra-quiet, high-storage capacity, very well-cooled Trinity of HTPCs
Processor: A6-5400K $69.98 (Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock FM2A75M-DGS $54.99+$5.99shipping=$60.98 (Newegg)
RAM: Crucial Ballistix 2x2GB DDR3-1600 8-8-8-24 1.5V BLE2KIT2G3D1608DE1TX0 (Newegg)
Graphics: integrated Radeon 7540D
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Red 2TB WD20EFRX $109.99 (Amazon)
Solid State Drive: Plextor M5S Series 64GB $49.99 (Newegg)
Case: Silverstone PS08B (Black) $34.90 (Amazon)
Power Supply: SeaSonic SS-460FL F3 fanless $129.99+$10.18 shipping=$140.17 (Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master GeminII S524 RR-G524-18PK-R1 $32.92 (Amazon)
Cooling: EVERCOOL HDAC Aluminum HDD Cooling $24.99+$2.99 shipping=$27.98 (Newegg)
Blu-Ray Reader/DVD/CD Burner: LG CH10LS28 Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer $64.99+$4.99 shipping=$69.98 (Newegg)

Total: $613.89

A triple-hit of low noise, high storage capacity, and good cooling makes this an excellent HTPC. The fairly small form factor and low power consumption help too, but they're to be expected. A decent Trinity A6-5400K has lower idle power consumption than even Intel's Ivy Bridge dual-core CPUs despite the full process node disadvantage, making them ideal for such use as an HTPC where they're unlikely to be taxed by much most of the time. A 2TB Caviar Red hard drive provides a lot of capacity for storing media such as music and TV series/movies to your heart's content with enterprise-class reliability and among the lowest power consumption of any modern 3.5" HDDs while the 64GB Plextor M5S gives you a good enough boot drive performance boost for the mere 5.4KRPM spindle speed of the Caviar Red to be forgiven.

The hard drive is even further reduced in noise and temperature by the Evercool HDAC HDD cooling bay that not only silences and cools the drive (not that it was a loud nor hot drive to begin with), but also various read out information and fan speed control on integrated LCD screens.The Blu-Ray player with software is also a nice touch for any HTPC that will be used with Blu-Ray and/or 3D Blu-Ray playback.
December 1, 2012 5:50:17 PM

I like this configuration which should be fairly quiet and because of the ASUS motherboard with Remote Go you could have your HTPC anywhere controlled by your tablet and/or smartphone. I chose windows 8 as my OS because I have not found any media center software that can handle everything that I need (HDHOMERUN, FUNSHION, HP Home server, Hulu, SONOS, PVR etc) so I have to go with something that can handle multiple solutions and it looks like Windows 8 will do the job I need it to do as far as HTPC. As you can see I didn't skimp on cost.

CPU: AMD A10-5800K 3.8GHz Quad-Core Processor ($129.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASUS F2A85-M/CSM FM2 AMID A85X ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ripsaw-X Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($94.99 @ Newegg)
SSD Storage: Crucial M4 CT256M4SSD1 2.5 ($209.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 3TB3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($159.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Fractal Design Node 605 Silent Home Theater Computer Case FD-CA-NODE-605-B ($159.40 @ Amazon.com)
Power Supply: SeaSonic SS-520FL 520W ATX12V / EPS12V 80 plus platinum Power Supply ($149.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: LG Super-Multi Slim Blu-ray Combo Drive CT21N ($109.95 @ Newegg)
December 2, 2012 1:05:44 AM

wantitbad's "DesiStyle" aka cheap HTPC build for under $500

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i3-2100 3.1GHz Dual-Core Processor ($99.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-B75M-D3H Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($74.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($36.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($106.98 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Asus Radeon HD 6450 2GB Video Card ($49.97 @ Newegg)
Case: Silverstone ML03B HTPC Case ($57.50 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Rosewill 350W ATX Power Supply ($29.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $456.41
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-01 22:04 EST-0500)
December 3, 2012 11:42:03 PM

Silence is a Virtue
Processor: Intel Pentium G630T 35w ($74.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Foxconn H67S mITX ($64.99 @ Newegg)
RAM: Pareema 4GB (2x2GB )DDR3-1333 ($18.99 @ Newegg)
Graphics Card: ASUS Fanless GT610 w/HDMI ($44.99 @ Newegg)
Solid State Drive: Crucial M4 64GB SATA III SSD ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 120 mITX Case ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Seasonic SS-460FL Fanless 80+ Platnium 460w Modular ($129.99 @ Newegg)
Cooling: Silverstone HE02 Fanless Heatsink ($68.99 @ Newegg)
DVD Burner: DVD Burner ($15.99 @ Newegg)
Total:$528.91
Take out all the fans in the case and run fanless. Choose the case because the sides are vented. PSU is way overkill but Newegg has a terrible selection of fanless PSU's.
December 4, 2012 10:42:40 PM

CheesyHotDogPuff's "Back To The Phenom"
PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/ca/p/qGQ1
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/ca/p/qGQ1/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/ca/p/qGQ1/benchmarks/

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($89.79 @ DirectCanada)
Motherboard: ASRock 960GM/U3S3 FX Micro ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($65.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($23.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Green 1TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($76.99 @ Computer Valley)
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7770 1GB Video Card ($129.99 @ NCIX)
Case: Silverstone GD04B HTPC Case ($99.99 @ NCIX)
Power Supply: SeaSonic S12II 430W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($74.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Optical Drive: LG BH14NS40 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer ($99.98 @ NCIX)
Total: $661.71
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-04 19:41 EST-0500)
And Blazorthon, keep in mind this is a contest not a discussion. this was the htpc I built for a friend and it works great.
It may not be the best, but I love these contests. :) 
December 4, 2012 11:32:08 PM

CheesyHotDogPuff said:
CheesyHotDogPuff's "Back To The Phenom"
PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/ca/p/qGQ1
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/ca/p/qGQ1/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/ca/p/qGQ1/benchmarks/

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($89.79 @ DirectCanada)
Motherboard: ASRock 960GM/U3S3 FX Micro ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($65.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($23.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Green 1TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($76.99 @ Computer Valley)
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7770 1GB Video Card ($129.99 @ NCIX)
Case: Silverstone GD04B HTPC Case ($99.99 @ NCIX)
Power Supply: SeaSonic S12II 430W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($74.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Optical Drive: LG BH14NS40 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer ($99.98 @ NCIX)
Total: $661.71
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-04 19:41 EST-0500)


Nitpicking, but it's Phenom II, not Phenom.

Also, why a Radeon 7770 in an HTPC? It's incredibly overpowered for an HTPC.
December 7, 2012 7:04:29 PM

Shadowbox

Processor: AMD A10-5700 + $10 Gift Card + Free Copy of Dirt SHOWDOWN $124.99
Motherboard: MSI FM2 Mini-ITX FM2-A75IA-E53 $89.99
RAM: G.SKILL Ares 2x4GB DDR3 1866 $34.99
Graphics Card: IGP 7660D
Solid State Drive: Crucial M4 128GB $78.74
Hard Drive: Western Digital Green 2TB 2.5" WD20NPVT $195.99
Case: Antec ISK 300-150 Mini-ITX $79.22
Power Supply: 150W included in case
Cooling: Noctua NF-R8 80mm Case Fan x2 $28.30
Cooling: Noctua NH-L9a CPU Cooler $42.49

Total price: $664.71 (from Amazon and Newegg)
I actually ordered the case and HDD from Superbiiz both shipped for $256.19 as opposed to $275.21 from Amazon. Price I paid: $645.69

Options for reducing cost:
If you're not concerned about the noise, you can nix the Noctua coolers and save yourself $70. You can also save another $150 by consolidating and shrinking the HDD/SDD with a Seagate Momentus XT 750GB $129.99

I painstakingly waited for sales and coupons from Newegg to get all the components over the last couple of weeks at a discount and re-used my Newegg Gift Card. I'm planning to install Win7 Home Premium 64bit for Windows Media Center. Should be a pretty silent HTPC / light gaming machine. There's space for a slim 5.25 ODD which I chose to leave out. I wish they made card readers for slim 5.25 ODD slots! I'll also be re-using an original pre-ordered Ceton InfiniTV 4 PCIe card to fill the half-height expansion slot.
December 7, 2012 11:12:24 PM

^ I would not run that system on a 150w power supply. Especially not since it's one provided w/ the case
December 8, 2012 12:01:42 AM

BreadWhistle said:
^ I would not run that system on a 150w power supply. Especially not since it's one provided w/ the case

Just curious... why not? Antec is known for their quality PSUs and I haven't seen any negative reviews on the PSU in this case when it hasn't been overloaded. With the 65W TDP CPU and low-power HDD, I don't think it will be a problem. I'll find out in a few days!
December 8, 2012 12:47:59 AM

Doesn't matter. Every PSU calculator I've used says you need a MINIMUM of about 250w PSU. And since it seems you will be doing some overclocking with that CPU fan, you will need even more. I'd say get a CX430 just to even run your build at all.
December 8, 2012 8:14:57 AM

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/rsoz
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/rsoz/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/rsoz/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Pentium G645 2.9GHz Dual-Core Processor ($62.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix sport 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($108.99 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 6670 1GB Video Card ($74.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Inwin Dragon Slayer MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($90.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus BW-12B1ST/BLK/G/AS Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $507.91
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-08 05:08 EST-0500)
December 13, 2012 1:50:46 PM

BreadWhistle said:
Doesn't matter. Every PSU calculator I've used says you need a MINIMUM of about 250w PSU. And since it seems you will be doing some overclocking with that CPU fan, you will need even more. I'd say get a CX430 just to even run your build at all.

This maybe isn't the appropriate place to discuss the build, but this is the only place I've posted it.
Thanks for the heads up with the power supply. If I have any future issues, I know what to look for. I haven't invested in a kill-a-watt meter to check, but the build is constructed and working well so far. I'm using the Low Noise Adapter for the 2 Noctua case fans, and running the CPU cooler with the smart fan option targeted at 45C. It's very quiet and barely audible from the couch at 6 ft away. The clock on the wall 20ft away was ticking louder than the computer. The WD 2TB notebook drive just barely fits. Idle temps are 37-40C. Haven't tested it under load, but that Dirt SHOWDOWN game that came with the CPU looks awesome. Highest temps I got playing that for 30 mins were ~55C. The only slight problem was that the Cable-Card M-card wouldn't fit in the Ceton Tuner slot in the Antec case. I had to remove the PCIe slot lock in the corner of the case and bend the metal upwards so the M-card would slide in. It seems to cool best when placed vertically with the exhaust fans on top. Also, the Antec case has USB 3.0 on the front, not USB 2.0 like many websites indicate.
December 18, 2012 4:03:58 AM

Processor: AMD A10 5800K @3.8GHz ($119.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: MSI FM2-A75MA ($59.99 @ Newegg)
RAM: Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1600 ($42.99 @ Newegg)
Graphics Card: integrated
Hard Drive: Western Digital Green 2TB ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Case: SilverStone Grandia ($105.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair CX430 ($45.99 @ Newegg)
Cooling: included with processor
Blu Ray: LG Blu-Ray writer $54.99 @ Newegg)
Sound Card: Asus Xonar ($39.99 @ Newegg)
TV tuner: Happage TV tuner ($67.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $647.91
December 18, 2012 2:59:39 PM

The Old Timey NES HTPC

I thought I'd add my actual Home Theater PC to the list. It's certainly far from the most powerful machine here, but for my media streaming needs it is perfect and the look can't be beat.

Processor: ASRock E350M1/USB3 AMD E-350 APU Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU Combo $100
Motherboard: See above
RAM: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 1333 $20
Graphics Card: Included in APU
Hard Drive: Kingston SSDNow V+200 2.5" 120GB $90
Case: Broken NES Console, about $15
Power Supply: nMEDIAPC HTPC Typical 60W, Maxiaum 85W Mini ITX DC to ATX Integrated Power Module with DC Adaptor $35
Cooling: Scythe 40mm Chipset Fan $5
DVD Burner: None

Total: Around $265












December 18, 2012 5:00:31 PM

I just ordered my rig yesterday. I didn't see this topic until today, I thought that I could just as well show it. Here goes:

My low voltage HTPC

Processor: Intel Core i3 3225 (55W) - Price: $136.65
Motherboard: Asrock Z77 Pro4-M - Price: $109.99
Memory: Kingston Hyper X PC12800 8 GB (2 x 4GB) - Price: $29.99
Graphics Card: Integrated graphics (Intel HD Graphics 4000)
SSD: Plextor M5 Pro (128GB) - Price: $129.99
Case: Lian Li PC-37B - Price: $139.99
Power Supply: Seasonic G-360 (80 plus gold) - Price: 59.99
Cooling: Scythe Big Shuriken 2 Rev. B - Price: $29.94
DVD Burner: Asus BC-12B1ST - Price: $56.23

Total price: $692,77

Note: Since I allready own the Blu Ray writer (bought it earlier this year for my main pc) the drive above is not the drive I ordered now (I actually ordered a DVD-RW). My real drive is a Sony Optiarc BD 5300S. Furthermore I bought a different brand memory (same specs/I live in the Netherlands).

The idea behind this rig is that I wanted a rig with much space in the inside with a minimum height. Lian Li offers this case with USB3.0 and a depth of 400mm. This makes it possible to place a normal power supply (altough I choose a 140mm just to be sure).

The second thing for me was that it has to be a low power (and silent) pc. I bought the Core i3 3225 because I wanted the best cpu and HD4000 gfx with the support of 4K resolution (futureproof/power usage against actual speed). I don't care about gaming for this rig (I have a game pc as well). The idea is to clock down the cpu to 1.5-2GHz making it a 15-25W cpu/gpu (my Athlon XP booted 3GHz as well, I like the challenge. Setting goals is nice). The psu fits in because it is a 80 plus gold version, it's cheap and I do not need more then 360W anyway.

The third thing is that I wanted some ventilation. That is why I bought a case with 1 fan (possibility for more), decent/silent cpu cooling and a psu with a fan (yet silent at that wattage).

What was important for me as well was the fact that I can place a pci express card (half height) and that I have a fast cpu if I want it.
Last thing. I chose the SSD because I didn't need HDD space in this pc, I own a Synology DS412+ NAS with 4x Western Digital Red (3TB) in Raid.

Ps. There is newcommer/Youngster on the left but I actually come here since the start of this site.
December 18, 2012 7:35:19 PM

I decided to build a HTPC, took a quick look, I wanted to keep tha price down, keep it as small as possible, but be able to use full height cards if i wanted to add a old card i had laying around, as well as have more performace then I needed for just XBMC persay..

$119.99 AMD A10-5800K APU Quad Core Processor Socket FM2 3.8GHZ 4MB 100W Retail Box

$55.12 Inwin BK623 mATX Tiny Tower Case Black 1X5.25 1X3.5 1X3.5INT Front USB Audio w/ 300W PSU

$101.10 ASUS F2A85-M/CSM mATX FM2 85X FCH DDR3 2PCI-E16 1PCI-E1 1PCI SATA3 DVI HDMI USB3.0 Motherboard

$34.99 G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) Desktop Memory Model F3-14900CL9D-4GBXM

---------
$311.20 Total

I will use other parts I have around for tha rest, there were some cheaper motherboards, but im not sure they are worth it, want reliability (hence inwin power and asus board should do) and HDMI, 6G sata, USB 3.0.. Im in canada, so my prices are from ncix.com and newegg.ca.. However if I didnt have tha rest of my choices would be..

SSD: Plextor M5 Pro (128GB) - Price: $129.99
Blu Ray: LG Blu-Ray writer $54.99 @ Newegg

Still well under $700, if noise or heat are of problem, I will doctor tha ps or cpu fan with Noctua later..
December 20, 2012 9:47:02 AM

ajaxhax said:
This maybe isn't the appropriate place to discuss the build, but this is the only place I've posted it.
Thanks for the heads up with the power supply. If I have any future issues, I know what to look for. I haven't invested in a kill-a-watt meter to check, but the build is constructed and working well so far


I generally don't deal in absolutes when it comes to builds, since everyone tends to have their own perspective and experiences to draw on, but..... you NEED to get a real power supply before you turn that system on again. Right now you're risking what is a perfectly good build you put together, with nothing to rationalize why it isn't certain to fail except the fact that it didn't immediately do so. PSU failures can be catastrophic across the entire system- meaning you stand a good chance of damaging anything with voltage going to it. Trying to pull more from a supply than it is capable is a good way to cause such a failure, and the cheap units that tend to come packaged with HTPC cases are unreliable under even ideal conditions.

You don't need to spend a ton of money- Fry's has Antec Earthwatts 430w units for $35 right now. Just for your own sake, please don't put it off!
December 20, 2012 9:56:52 PM

hapkido's "I should upgrade my media PC" build
Processor: Intel Pentium G860 $74.99
Motherboard: ASRock B75 PRO3-M $69.99
RAM: Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 1600 $39.99
Graphics Card: SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 7750 $104.99
TV Tuner Card: Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 $109.99
Hard Drive 1: Mushkin Enhanced Chronos Deluxe 60GB SATA III SSD $64.99
Hard Drive 2: Western Digital Caviar Green 1.50 TB $74.99
Case: SILVERSTONE Black MILO Series HTPC Case $59.99
Power Supply: SeaSonic 300W 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified $39.99
Blu-ray Burner: LG Blu-ray Burner $54.99

Total: $694.90 (before shipping and mail-in-rebates)
January 9, 2013 5:42:04 PM

All components are from Newegg.com. I will avoid the sale price, so final unit may be cheaper. (i'm currently tweaking it, different drives in five minutes)

Graham's Little Dude
Processor: Intel Core i3-3225 with HD 4000 - $144.99
Motherboard: Foxconn H67S Mini ITX - $74.99
RAM: SAMSUNG (2 x 4GB) low-profile ddr3 - $39.99
Graphics Card: Intel HD 4000 - included with CPU
Hard Drive: WD 2TB 3.5" drive - $119.99
Case: APEX MI-100BK - $54.99
Power Supply: 250W - included with case
DVD Burner: LITE-ON Internal BD Writer - $89.89

Total price: $524.84
January 11, 2013 2:32:04 AM

Graham's Minimeister
Processor: Intel i3-3225 ($145 @ newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock B75 Mini-ITX ($90 @ newegg)
RAM: Samsung low profile 8 (2x4GB) 1600 ($40 @ Newegg)
Graphics Card: Intel HD 4000
Hard Drive: WD Scorpio Blue 1TB 2.5" drive ($100 @ Newegg)
System Drive: OCZ Agility 3 128GB SSD (105 @ Newegg)
Drive Caddy: Dual 2.5" SSD/HDD Mounting Kit ($18 @ newegg)
Case: Athenatech Mini ITX case ($60 @ amazon)
Power Supply: 150W, Built into case
Cooling: Phanteks PH-TC90LS CPU Cooler ($37 @ Newegg)
DVD Burner: Samsung slim Blu-ray ROM/ DVD Burner ($55 @ amazon)

Total cost: $650

price can be about $120 lower if you don't want a SSD

I think the case is awesome, but eXtreme PSU calculator says I need minimum of 130W psu/ 180 W recommended, and the PSU is right in the middle.
January 11, 2013 3:03:43 AM

Graham's Starter kit
Processor: Intel Core i3-3225 ($145 @ newegg)
Motherboard: MSI B75MA-E33 MicroATX ($60 @ newegg)
RAM: Kingston HyperX 4GB ($25 @ newegg)
Graphics Card: Intel HD 4000, intergrated into CPU
Hard Drive: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F4 320GB HDD ($60 @newegg)
Case: Hec 7K09 MicroATX $75 @ newegg)
Power Supply: 350W, included with case
Cooling: default cooling
DVD Burner: ASUS 24X DVD Burner ($20 @ newegg)

Total price: $385 before discounts, $370 as of January 15

This is designed to be a nice cheap compact system, where parts can be added or upgraded as time goes on. You can add more ram, a SSD and another HDD (the ssd tucks below the two drives, but there's no mounting points), and discrete graphics (up to a 7750, sorry. it's still better than HD 4000 for gaming) The PSU is a TFX standard so it can also be upgraded. the case is generally the dimensions of an oversized DVD player and can generally disappear into an av unit.
January 15, 2013 5:15:35 PM

This topic has been desticky in top of the forum by Jpishgar
January 15, 2013 5:35:54 PM

When are we going to do these contests?
January 15, 2013 6:19:57 PM

grahamf said:
When are we going to do these contests?

A better question in, when will we know who won in each category?
January 15, 2013 6:23:04 PM

BreadWhistle said:
A better question in, when will we know who won in each category?

I suppose it depends on if they reveal the results during the poll or after.
January 15, 2013 7:00:05 PM

Polls are up!
!