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Energy Efficient HTPC, Budget $300

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November 25, 2012 11:32:02 PM

Looking to build a HTPC to run Ubuntu/XMBC on my old non-HD TV and analog stereo (but with option to upgrade to HDTV in the future). Top priorities are smooth performance for media playback and streaming (including Flash formats such as Hulu and Youtube, but not necessarily Netflix/Silverlight), energy efficiency, and budget. I will not do any gaming, so any additional performance is secondary. Leaning toward a Celeron build but also considering E350. I am planning to keep most content on external HDD so leaning toward SSD for speed. I have a gift certificate from Newegg so prefer to get items there unless I am missing a major discount. Total budget around $300, looking to purchase within the week.

This is my first build so I would appreciate help with checking parts compatibility and anticipating any rookie mistakes.

Option 1:
CPU Celergon G540 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
MB AsRock H77M http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Option 2:
CPU/MB AMD E350/ASRock E350M1 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Both:
Case/PSU: Apex DM-13 w/275W PSU http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
SSD: 60GB OCZ Vertex http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Memory: Crucial Ballistic 2X2GB DDR3 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
DVD Burner: Samsung http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
3.5mm Audio to Stereo cable: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
PC to RCA converter: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA0U0...
Rosewill Remote: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
PCI Wifi Card Encore ENEWI-1XN45 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Questions:
Will this work with my TV/stereo? Do I have all the necessary connections, or is there a more efficient way? With my regular-def TV, would there be any advantage of doing HDMI-to-TV?
Do I need any extra fans for cooling?
Do folks with experience with XMBC recommend keyboard, mouse, media remote, or all three?
What would be the likely disadvantage of a cheaper MB, such as ECS or MSI?

Thanks!
a b B Homebuilt system
November 26, 2012 8:18:47 AM

Option one for the board/cpu. The asrock is a great budget choice.

Some of your picks have already sold out or the price has gone back up. I'll assume you can order today:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B001H0BA24/ref=d... (out of stock, but will honor the price today and give you free shipping with later delivery date) $36 shipped
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (I use ripjawsX)

Newegg had a foxconn mini itx case with h61 board for $60 two days ago, but sold out again. Too bad you didn't order sooner.



November 26, 2012 1:32:13 PM

Thanks for the vote of confidence! Apologies for posting an outdated case. I swear it was in stock when I posted it. Only problem with the MI-008 in your link is that it is Mini-ITX but I believe the Asrock MB is Micro-ATX, but I should be able to find a comparable case in a similar price range. Or is there a Mini-Itx MB that you would recommend as comparable to the AsRock? That would give me more case options.

Related resources
November 26, 2012 2:50:56 PM

Just noticed the SSD is out of stock now, so switched to 32GB. Replaced case. Also changed memory (checked specs for Celeron G40 and recommendation is for 1066).

Here is the revised list. Any issues?

Mushkin Enhanced 2GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1066 (PC3 8500) Desktop Memory Model 991573

Mushkin Enhanced 2GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1066 (PC3 8500) Desktop Memory Model 991573
Model #:991573
Item #:N82E16820146742
Return Policy:Memory Standard Return Policy
In Stock

$9.99 $19.98
1 OCZ Onyx Series OCZSSD2-1ONX32G 2.5" 32GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

OCZ Onyx Series OCZSSD2-1ONX32G 2.5" 32GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
Model #:o CZSSD2-1ONX32G
Item #:N82E16820227510
Return Policy:Limited Replacement Only Return Policy
In Stock

$64.99 -$15.00 Instant $49.99
1 APEX DM-387 Black Steel Micro ATX Media Center / Slim HTPC Computer Case w/ ATX12V Flex 275W Power Supply

APEX DM-387 Black Steel Micro ATX Media Center / Slim HTPC Computer Case w/ ATX12V Flex 275W Power Supply
Model #:D M-387
Item #:N82E16811154087
Return Policy:Standard Return Policy
In Stock

$49.99 $49.99
1 ASRock H77M LGA 1155 Intel H77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

ASRock H77M LGA 1155 Intel H77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
Model #:H77M
Item #:N82E16813157303
Return Policy:Standard Return Policy
In Stock

$74.99 -$15.00 Instant $59.99
1 Intel Celeron G540 Sandy Bridge 2.5GHz LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics BX80623G540

Intel Celeron G540 Sandy Bridge 2.5GHz LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics BX80623G540
Model #:BX80623G540
Item #:N82E16819116408
Return Policy:CPU Replacement Only Return Policy
In Stock

$49.99 $49.99
1 SAMSUNG DVD Burner SATA Model SH-224BB

SAMSUNG DVD Burner SATA Model SH-224BB - OEM
Model #:SH-224BB
Item #:N82E16827151256
Return Policy:Iron Egg Guarantee Return Policy
In Stock

$15.99 $15.99
1 ENCORE ENEWI-1XN45 Wireless N150 Adapter with 5 dBi antenna, IEEE 802.11b/g/ n 2.0 PCI Express Up to 150Mbps

ENCORE ENEWI-1XN45 Wireless N150 Adapter with 5 dBi antenna, IEEE 802.11b/g/ n 2.0 PCI Express Up to 150Mbps
Model #:ENEWI-1XN45
Item #:N82E16833180080
Return Policy:Networking Extended Return Policy
In Stock

$39.99 -$26.00 Instant $13.99
1 Rosewill RHRC-11002 Windows 7 Certified MCE IR Remote Controller/Windows 8 MCE + Small USB Dongle Type, with Netflix CD

Rosewill RHRC-11002 Windows 7 Certified MCE IR Remote Controller/Windows 8 MCE + Small USB Dongle Type, with Netflix CD
Model #:RHRC-11002
Item #:N82E16880101008
Return Policy:Standard Return Policy
In Stock

$34.99 -$15.00 Instant $19.99
1 Coboc 6 ft. 3.5mm Stereo Male to 2 RCA Male Cable (Black)

Coboc 6 ft. 3.5mm Stereo Male to 2 RCA Male Cable (Black)
Model #:STEREO-RCA-MM-6-BK
Item #:N82E16882678022
Return Policy:Computer Cables and Accessories Extended Return Policy
In Stock

$0.76 $0.76
1 PC MAC VGA to TV AV Composite RCA S-Video Converter Box

PC MAC VGA to TV AV Composite RCA S-Video Converter Box
Model #:T15-2
Item #:9SIA0U008A9665
Sold by Imagestore What's this?
In Stock

$34.99 -$15.00 Instant $19.99
a b B Homebuilt system
November 26, 2012 3:02:38 PM

The price on the amazon case deal went back up, so you can go with your original case or a similar color.

Best solution

a b B Homebuilt system
November 26, 2012 7:43:16 PM
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Yes, but biostar is bad for rebates. You have to make copies of everything and remind them after 12 weeks to mail it to you. But they will send it if you follow directions exactly. Hardest part is peeling off the id label on the motherboard box. You'll need a copy of the rebate form for warranty since the label with the serial number will be taken off the box for the rebate. I sent in a biostar board and they got me a replacement in only nine days.
December 2, 2012 3:50:21 PM

Got this up and running. Only problem is I have not been able to get the remote to work, but I will keep trying. Everything else works great!
December 2, 2012 3:50:55 PM

Best answer selected by Aristotelian.
!