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[Help] MITX mostly HTPC build ($500) opinions.

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January 11, 2013 2:29:38 AM

So my current system is in desperate need of replacing as it's over 5 years old and as it took me almost 10 minutes of Chrome loading my confirmation page of registering my account it escaped being thrown out the window just barely.

My uses will be mixed use HTPC/web browsing/processing. Mostly HTPC.
I went with a mITX build because it will be beside the TV but often it will be used for both HD out to our TV for movies and web browsing at the same time (wife likes period films, I hate them).

So I don't need a monitor or keyboard or mouse or speakers or DVD writer, those stay.

Here's what I had .. (probably purchasing bit by bit over the next 2-3 weeks from NCIX or wherever else in the lower mainland Vancouver I can find sales for).
:EDIT: Almost forgot would like to stay under $500 and the lower the better.

Case : Cooler Master Elite 120 Advanced mITX Compact Aluminum Case $60.60
PSU: Antec Neo Eco 450C Power Supply ATX 12V $44.99 ($15 off atm)
MOBO: ASUS P8H77-I mITX LGA1155 H77 Motherboard $99.99 ($5 off atm)
CPU: Intel Core i3 3225 Dual Core Hyperthreading Processor LGA1155 $129.99 ($20 off atm)
RAM: G.SKILL F3-12800CL9D-8GBSR2 Sniper SE 8GB 2X4GB DDR3-1600 CL9-9-9-24 1.25V $48.67
SSD : Samsung 840 Series 120GB Solid State Disk Flash Drive $99.99 ($20 off atm)

SSD is solely for OS and main programs, have a couple HDs for storage and will upgrade those later ..

I chose the case so I can fit a few standard HD's as things like the Apex MI-008 only fit 2 and that's with no fan.
I'm pretty sure the PSU will be fine for the build? Using onboard graphics dual LCD/HDTV setup for now.
The RAM is really ugly but it's low voltage and I'd like the parts to last a while. I plan on getting some nice fans with filters as we have 2 cats, pet hair has been an issue.

Not sure if I'm overkilling it on some parts but I absolutely hate waiting for Windows to load and want some damn fine multitasking as I can get heavy on the browser windows and applications sometimes :) 

I also figure if I want to I can replace the CPU, PSU, double the ram and add a good video card if I really want to do some gaming but the heaviest gaming I do is 2d MMORPGs :) 

Looking for some reassurance my PSU will be fine for one, and any opinions on maybe some cheaper alternatives that won't reduce performance much. Maybe I don't need low voltage ram .. but it sounded nice :) 

Thanks!
January 12, 2013 2:15:56 AM

Bump for some help? Or is my build just that perfect :) 
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January 12, 2013 2:20:04 AM

Yea, the build is pretty good for what your after. Though what do you mean by "processing"?
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January 12, 2013 2:48:24 AM

Looks good to me.

My only thought is if budget is a concern you could get a cheaper MB. This Biostar H61 has HDMI. it's 20 bucks cheaper plus it comes with a remote:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


If you are mainly HTPC and browsing, I suggest that you try out some combination of Ubuntu and/or XBMC. I have a Celeron-based HTPC with Ubuntu on SSD and it takes about 10 seconds to load and about 3 seconds to shut down. You can always add Windows later if you decide you don't like it.
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January 12, 2013 5:48:21 AM

I think I meant word processing.

The board seems like a decent option though I would like to have options for 16g or more ram in the future, would have to go down to 1333 ram ...

Now I'm speculating on an AMD combo as it seems comparables to the i3 are cheaper, though I liked some of the Ivy bridge features, will check tomorrow morning.
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January 12, 2013 5:56:14 AM

Because by processing you could mean super intensive stuff like Folding@Home, rendering or just outright number crunching.
Could also mean Word Processing, which is little more than Office applications.

The equivalent to the Core i3-3225 from AMD is the FX-6300 and actually is a bit better. Though if you go this way you will have to get a dedicated GPU and will have a higher power consumption.
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January 12, 2013 1:14:33 PM

I'd go for the A10-5700 over the i3-3225. Much better integrated graphics and it's a quad core so should be just as good if not better for anything that takes advantage of 4 cores. It's around the same price as well.

EDIT: The PSU is fine, without the HDD's you would be fine on a 90-100W PicoPSU or something. Even with them you only need like 150-200W+ or something.
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January 12, 2013 4:21:04 PM

Looks like AMD had some decent APU options until I found out NCIX has only a few AMD mITX mobo's and for a decent price the ASRock FM2A75M-ITX was the only contender except it doesn't have DVI and HDMI output which is essential. Drat.

Looks like I'll settle with either the i3-3220 or 3225 depending on sales and bundles at the time, they're $10 difference but I don't really need the upgraded GPU I suppose.

As for power I figured the load would be fine without a graphics card, though I currently have an old 500GB and 250GB HDDs i'll be using until I upgrade to something like this ..

Western Digital Red 2TB SATA3 64MB Cache

450W should be more than plenty even with the old drives I think.

I'll probably jump on the Ubuntu bandwagon when I switch PCs, back when I was in college for computer programming the support for Linux was a lot less, seems a little easier nowadays.

Thanks for all the input.

:EDIT: Just had a thought, does anyone know of any new CPUs, chipsets, mobos etc that might be coming out in the near month or two that might cause the i3 prices to drop or the H77 mobo? the i3 Ivy Bridge is fairly new I think so I doubt it but you never know :) 
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January 12, 2013 11:55:03 PM

There's nothing coming out really soon. Haswell won't be too long but not such a short time that it would be worth waiting for.
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January 13, 2013 1:38:00 AM

Sweet thanks. Might post some build pics in a couple weeks, see how tidy I can get the inside of the case as I'm an electrician and do a fair bit of work with controls and the like installing equipment in cases and panels and making them look nice.
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January 14, 2013 2:00:54 AM

Looks like the P8H61 board has all I need but $15 cheaper, anyone know if it supports the i3 3220/5 chips? Can't really confirm elsewhere..
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January 14, 2013 2:16:18 AM

H61 is natively not compatible with Ivy Bridge chips, but the Revision 2 boards are. So make sure it is before you buy.
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January 15, 2013 11:21:26 PM

Well that's good to know. Picked up the SSD today and a different set of ram yesterday as they were out of stock of the Sniper but grabbed the G.SKILL Ripjaws X F3 which is just not low voltage but with a decent heat sink.

I did notice however that there's a Qualified Vendor List for the mobo and while there's lots of GSkill ram on there for both the H77 and the H61 boards the 1600Mhz ram isn't on either.

The H61 supports 1333 ram overclocked to 1600 while the H77 supports native 1600 ram, I'm sure it's fine for either? ... I hope :) 
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January 15, 2013 11:52:07 PM

At worst if my understanding of these things is correct the 1600 memory will just run at 1333 if it is not supported.
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January 16, 2013 6:19:45 AM

That list is just RAM they have tested and know to work. Something with the same specs will usually work too and yes, if it works it will run at 1333mhz.
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