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HTPC Gaming Build - suggestions/feedback/help appreciated

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December 11, 2012 4:19:50 AM

Hello,
I would be extremely grateful for any hardware advice for the first build I'm looking to complete in the next week or so.
I purchased the SilverStone GD01B-MXR and now I'm looking to order all the components to complete the job.

Usage: Playing stored video HD files, Blu-Ray DVDs, playing video games, Streaming Netflix/etc, and surfing the net. Down the line, maybe a tuner/dvr card.

HTPC Gaming Build => PCPartPicker part list / PCPartPicker Benchmarks
CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core ($169.99)
CPU Cooler : Zalman CNPS9500 AT Ball Bearing ($36.99) - not sure here, read good reviews
Motherboard: Intel DZ77GA70K ATX LGA1155 ($220.99) - need optical audio out, this has it
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LP 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 ($72.99)
Storage: 2x Seagate Barracuda 3TB 3.5" 7200RPM ($140.41) - was going to go with WD Cavier Green 3TB, but they were 5400, so changed to Seagate for 7200
SSD Storage: Samsung 830 Series 128GB 2.5" SSD ($109.00)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 660 Ti 3GB ($319.99) - shorter card, should fit without issue
Case: Silverstone GD01B-MXR HTPC ($232.99) - already purchased
Power Supply: SeaSonic 650W ATX12V / EPS12V ($135.98) - modular, which will greatly help with installation/wiring
Optical Drive: Pioneer BDR-207MBK Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer ($79.99)
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98)
Custom: Xbox 360 Wireless Gaming Receiver for Windows ($18.99) - will game with controllers
Total Estimated Cost: $1768.70 - more than I planned, but knew it wouldn't be cheap

I am 100% all ears for suggestions of where the system lacks or where it is overkill.
Only thing not listed I know I'll get are the case fans - 2x92mm (front), 1x80mm side, 2x80mm (rear).
Connecting to Mits WD73727 via hdmi (1080i max) and Yamaha RX-V2400 via optical, don't believe I need a separate sound card for DD/DTS.
Motherboard and cooling are the biggest question marks.
I'm not (yet) a PC gamer, so this is the first gaming PC rig I've attempted - doing it for the kids and me....maybe more for me :D 
Want to do it right, and not be limited.

thank you for any advice
December 11, 2012 1:53:10 PM

Woa,you need another motherboard. Like Asus or Gigabyte have more feature rich boards for cheaper. Look at the z77 ud5h
Noctua fans run quiet. Pricey yes but a humming htpc is worse.
You can easily save by eliminating overclocking.
2x4 gb ram. Or 4x4gb .Home premium doesn't go higher than that.
A blu ray 'reader' instead, unless you intend to burn blu ray.
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December 11, 2012 2:05:04 PM

Looks like a solid build, but you're over-kill on the motherboard and RAM. Intel boards are quality boards, but overly expensive. In my system builds, I've used ASUS, ASRock, and Gigabyte boards and never had any problems. 16GB of RAM is excessive for your needs. 8GB is going to be more than sufficient (even for a DVR later on down the road). Finally, I'm not sure why you feel you need 6TB (or 3TB RAID) of hard drive space now. You can easily save money by dropping down to 1TB of storage space. I would note that your case has 6 HDD bays, so it wouldn't be an issue adding two 3TB drives later on down the road (perhaps when you add the TV Tuner Card).

Finally, I found this nice deal on Newegg:
Gigabyte GA-Z77-D3H LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI

Click the Windows 7 Home Premium 2 item combo check box and add it to your cart. The motherboard comes with a free set of 2x4GB G.Skill Sniper DDR3 1600 RAM.

The motherboard has the optical audio out that you require and natively supports your processor. Total cost for this package is $215 which is less that your selected motherboard by itself.

-Wolf sends
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December 11, 2012 2:37:03 PM

Hello,

looks nice. I recently build micro-ATX gaming HTPC with Silverstone GD04 case. Best case I've bought. I got the 3570K also. It runs about 26celsius (a bit over room temperature) when idle ( CPU FAN ~450RPM). For CPU fan I bought http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... I'm using it in extra-low profile mode since the case is lower than yours...
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December 11, 2012 2:46:29 PM

Nice build and nice case. That's a fairly large HTPC case but still on the smaller side for cases. Have you thought about going with one of the closed loop cooler options to free up some space? You'll have a much easier time adding drives or ram in the future, might very well improve overall airflow as well.
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December 12, 2012 3:52:02 AM

Thank you very much guys for your replies. That did help me

I'm looking at getting this board now -- Gigabyte Intel Z77 GA-Z77X-UD5H-WB WiFi
Your suggestion Wolf I liked very much, but looking at the specs, it did not have enough onboard 6.0 data connections. I'm going to get the 2x 3TB drives and 1 SSD for OS, all being 6.0. I'm of the mindset to have this thing set up and not have to open it up for a hopefully a long time. So might as well put the drives in there now.

Is it really true that 16GB won't get me any benefit over 8GB for the RAM? I would have assumed it would help with the modern games that we could potentially play. Memory is so cheap figured it would be worth it for the minimal $$ increase.

I swapped out the BR burner for a BR reader, have no intention of burning BR (can do that on my desktop PC if neeed be), only about $25 off, but thats OK.

Allanitomwesh, I think I'm going to get some Noctua fans for the case, thank you for the suggestion. and also directing me towards the gigabyte board.

Naama, I swapped my fan out for the same one you listed. bjaminnyc, I do not know much about water cooling/closed loop/ or what goes into that. I did start reading up on Tom's guide page and it does look interesting, going to see how it goes first with just air cooling.

This is the latest version of the build in case anyone is interested. Going to start ordering the parts I'm sure of (cpu, gpu, hdd, etc), while still looking over motherboards and cpu coolers.
PCPartsPicker Part List

I'll look to write back more as questions arise, bound to happen, and share how it turns out....

thanks again!
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December 12, 2012 1:35:40 PM

2x8 gb ram leaves empty slots you can't utilize without windows 7 professional. Gskill/Crucial price ram better,for similar performance. Also,no game needs 16gb ram, the most demanding ones barely use 5gb. So,4x4gb ram,or 2x4gb.
If your sticking with nvidia go up to the gtx 670. Otherwise, check out the HD 7950.MSI/Asus especially.
Otherwise your good,get XBMC once your up,and maybe a remote.
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December 13, 2012 4:21:57 AM

Thanks again! that is good to know about ram and win7. I may go just 2x4gb to start and add 8 more later if i think I need it. I was going with just 2 slots as I'm concerned about space (the 5.25 bay may cover up on an atx board), but I'm glad you clued me in on that win7 fact.

Speaking of space, I originally was going to go with 650 ti because it was shorter card, I was/am worried about space. I then assumed the 660 ti was short also, that is why I was going with that one. Originally I was planning on the 680 until I learned of the shorter card. Looking at the spec compares on new new egg - the 660ti is also 9.5", damn.
new egg compare of 650ti/660ti/670

I'm tempted to go back to the 650ti because of space.
Do you think I will be hindering myself that much if I go with the 650ti? I'd like to not have to worry about what game I'd like to try (I have none in particular planned).
I do plan on sticking with nvidia by the way.

definitely will be putting XBMC on there (the main reason i'm building this is my old modded xbox is being retired, and xbmc has kept that thing running years past its prime). a remote came with the case and i'm going to try that first, maybe getting a harmony down the line.

thank you again for your help!
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December 13, 2012 8:00:41 AM

Don't get the 650ti,it's heavily underpowered.
You'd get more flexibility from AMD but since you want Nvidia, Zotac GTX 670 TwinCooler if you can find it.
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December 14, 2012 1:16:38 AM

That card would be perfect, but doesn't seem to be sold anywhere but china. Damn.
I'm going to do some size tests with the case and see what I can fit. I plan to use 3 of the 6 hdd slots so I may be able to go normal size. Thanks again.
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Best solution

December 14, 2012 2:33:51 AM

No problem. I'm not sure exactly how tight space is in your case,seems roomier than most, so check out the Zotac AMP! edition 660ti. it's under 8". That's pretty much it on the Nvidia side.
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December 18, 2012 2:13:59 PM

hi allan,
I posted a new thread in the graphics card forum here

basically asking if there is much of a difference between the 660ti Amp and "regular" 660ti. I see the specs are a bit better on the Amp and would get that if both immediately available, but I can get the regular one right down the road today -- and very much tempted to do so as all parts are here now and want to start putting this thing together. Need to shop for the kids Christmas presents at some point :) 

What do you think?
thanks as always, you have been a great help. As well as others on this thread. Would not have been as confident about this build without you all!
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December 18, 2012 3:46:32 PM

Best answer selected by msimon7.
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December 18, 2012 4:33:55 PM

Looks like you we're sorted. Enjoy.
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