Ok.....let me just start by saying my first and only build was in the nineties and it was a Pentium 3 1.33 GHZ intel. It had a 64 MB Radeon and 256mb of ram and it was a killer machine. However it would probably have a hard time running today's version of Microsoft word.
Anyway....i have to say im am a little overwhelmed trying to pick out components when there are so many options...especially for motherboards and GPUs.
So here goes.....
Looking to build an HTPC/gaming machine for my living room...dont play games currently but id like to start. Im not looking for insane benchmarks..i just want to be able to play some popular 3d games smoothly. Prefer a smaller quiet machine so im thinking micro ATX and using a HTPC media type case. I'll be using it quite often to play blue rays and dolby digital movies in the living room also but I'll just assume any decent modern day build will handle that with ease regardless
Budget Range: For CPU, MB, RAM, And GPU id like to keep it at or under 500...but im flexible
System Usage from Most to Least Important: HTPC, gaming, home media photos and videos, web surfing
Are you buying a monitor: This PC will be in my living room connected to a 1080p HDTV
Do you need to buy OS: Already have WIN 7 Ultimate
This is what im thinking so far
Maybe slightly more than i need but Id rather be prepared for any future upgrades i may want
GIGABYTE GA-H77M-D3H or ASUS P8H77-M/CSM
The Asus got some questionable reviews on newegg but it has an optical out which is nice and it seems you can overclock the DDR3 ram to 2200??? These are both H77 chipset. Dont plan on overclocking, cossfireing, etc.....
Not too concerned about ram but im figuring 8GB
GPU...i can honestly say im lost in this department. I dont know what im looking at because there are so many different chips and choices. I know the CPU i picked comes with integrated HD graphics 2500. If i go with a discrete GPU it would have to be substantially better than that if im gonna spend the money. Would a 75-100 GPU be enough of an upgrade to warrant the purchase? Im sure Intels HD graphics would suffice for a while but if i start to get addicted to gaming i can see outgrowing it a bit
as far as power supply im thinking 400w should be ok.
Id prefer to stick with the i3 3220 but thanks for the suggestions. I like to keep CPU power usage to a minimum and the intel chips are less power hunger......however..... Ive never used and AMD.....im sure there capable processors.
One other question......
As this will be an HTPC.....how do PCs work with Digital audio.....eg....dolby digital 5.1...7.1....and DTS??
Ill be hooking up a sony AV reciever to my PC via HDMI. The Sony reciever decodes all dobly digital and DTS signals. Will dobly digital/dts tracks from movies, bluerays,games etc.....be outputted through the HDMI on H77/Z77 motherboards standard? or is it a feature i should look for in a MB? I know some MBs have an optical Spdif out.....will that carry dolby digital/dts to my reciever?
What if i go the route of of a discrete GPU (which i will most likely do eventually...if not immediatly). Do HDMI outs on your typical GPU card carry the digital audio track or just video?
AGain....i have a sony reciver that is connected to my surround system and the reciever itself does all the decoding.
The reason i ask is i have a dell xps laptop with an hdmi out. it outputs video but doesnt seem to carry any audio signal. i have to use the line out headphone jack to connect to my reciever.....and that obviously doesnt carry dolby digital content