I'm brand new to building my own HTPC (PC for that matter), but I think I can do it. I've been reading a bunch online, but the only problem is that there are so many guides for so many different types of builds, that I can't find one guide suitable for what I need/want. Also, I want to have fun with this adventure too!
I am posting my thread here but also on another forum too so I can get diversity of thought. I will share recommendations back and forth if necessary. Any feedback is VERY MUCH appreciated!
I'm not concerned just yet about pricing, so I'll get to that later. Right now I'm looking for suggestions on what I have so far, and where I can change things up. I will modify my proposed set up and re-post as constructive feedback comes in. Again, I very much appreciate your feedback - Thanks!
CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($169.99 @ Microcenter) Upon researching around, I'm thinking of going the Intel vs. AMD route. With this in mind, I think this selection is a pretty go deal for what I can tell - since I have a Microcenter near me.
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master GeminII S524 77.7 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($38.49 @ Mwave) I really don't know much about coolers, but I read that those that are taller tend to be better for cooling and also quieter. My proposed boxed will allow up to 138mm fans, so I chose this one. It also got some nice reviews and is pretty cheap. Thoughts?
Motherboard: MSI Z77MA-G45 Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($107.28 @ CompUSA) Motherboards. This is where I really need help. I need it compatible with the cpu, and am looking to have USB 3.0 support.
Memory: Patriot Intel Extreme Master, Limited Ed 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($31.99 @ Amazon) I have seen DDR3 RAM up to 2133, but upon reading info on the cpu, it says it only supports up to 1600. Is this true? I also read that the difference between 2133 and 1600 isn't very noticeable, and I assume it may be overkill for an HTPC. Thoughts? Also, how does 8GB sound?
Storage: Crucial M4 64GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($66.48 @ Amazon) I have been reading more and more that SSD is the way to go with HTPCs. I also need to learn more about xbmc... but if the SSD will allow things to boot faster, metadata appear quicker, OS quicker, and the interface quicker, then great. However, most of my media will be fed from my NAS through my wired gigabit network.
Case: Silverstone SST-LC10B-E-USB3.0 (Black) HTPC Case ($115.99 @ Amazon) I have the room in my media cabinet, so I don't need to shove things into a small case. I saw this box and I think it looks great. It's pricier, but pretty cool.
Power Supply: Raidmax 530W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($38.81 @ Amazon) I have zero knowledge of power supplies. I don't know what voltage to get, but I assume at least 350W will suffice with my proposed set up... so 530W gives a little more room in case. However, I don't know about other things to look out for, such as current / ohm compatibilities, or other things to really consider. Help here is appreciated.
Optical Drive: Asus BC-12B1ST/BLK/B/AS Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer ($56.23 @ Amazon) I probably won't spend the money for this yet, but most likely will in the future. Most of my media is on my NAS.
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-11 00:10 EST-0500)
Now, a few other key requirements/information:
I have various media formats, most raw quality for video and audio (up to 30gb files) that I'd like to preserve. Therefore, I want an HTPC that can play anything I throw at it from that standpoint.
I want to passthrough ALL of my audio to my Denon 2112CI receiver. Does this mean I do not need a sound card in my HTPC?
I have read elsewhere that people who are audiophiles will get sound cards for their HTPCs. However, if I am passing through audio, does it even matter? Doesn't my receiver then handle all audio? Do you have other recommendations?
I have read that some people found a way to turn the HTPC into a DVR. I have DirecTV - how would this be done? Would it work similar to my DirecTV box DVR?
I really really like the concept of having the ability to play emulators on this. Mostly nes, snes, genesis, n64... maybe that's it. Any suggestions on controllers for this? Are there neat wireless usb controllers? Would the HTPC be able to handle 4 players if I have 4 controllers?
I would like a keyboard similar to the Logitech Revue, that has both a keyboard and trackpad. Backlit would be ideal. However, I tend to like the RF remotes better than IR, since you do not need a line of sight. How would one integrate an RF remote receiver into an HTPC - can it be done?
I'm also thinking about hooking a webcam to this HTPC for Google Hangouts. I assume I could then run a microphone (low profile) to my media cabinet shelf. Any suggestions on a decent/low priced mic for this?
Finally, I have a Google TV. The one thing I love about it that I will miss going to HTPC is the search integration it has with my DirecTV guide. Basically, I can search for something like "Seinfeld" and the results will include showings of Seinfeld cuarrently on DirecTV, or playing in the near future. Is there any feature like this in XBMC?
I agree with your choice to go intel.
As for the sound card, unless you are hooking it up to a monster sound system, the built in should be more that sufficient.
To aid in smooth video playback and some light gaming, I would suggest investing in some sort of low-midrange video card. Especially if you want to be using a 1080p monitor. Perhaps a radeon 7770 1gb card would suit your needs for about 150$
As for ram, I'd say 8gb of 1600 DDR3 is good. The difference between that and the 2133 is marginal and not worth it. 8 gigs should be more than adequate for a ht.
the small ssd is a good idea for the media players and the OS, since large storage isn't an issue for you.
Not much to be said about your choices. You clearly have done good research. I dont think a graphics card is required, since you only intend to emulate some console games. The integrated graphics should be good enough to handle those tasks.
If you feel you need slightly more graphics power, have a look at the amd trinity lineup.
--- Regarding the power supply, what do you suggest with this build? Is wattage the only concern, or do I need to look into other compatibility (such as amps and working with other components of the build)?
--- How about the DVR option, or integration with my DirecTV? Is it possible? I assume I would need some sort of TV Card - any suggestions? I would like to be able to record in full HD (1080p + any surround sound).