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First Build, HTPC/Light Gaming

Last response: in Systems
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January 18, 2013 3:50:29 PM

Hi everyone. I'm really new here so try not to be too hard on a noob like me. This will be my first build. I currently have a very out of date PC that I use for basic things like streaming netflix, playing audio and watching movies/anime in all kinds of formats (vlc player used). I'm planning on building something that i can watch higer res video on because my PC has issues playing 720p on up without stuttering. I would like to be able to play some games like Guild Wars 2 and some RTS games. My budget is around $500 or less. I'd also like to be able to use a remote/IR sensor to control the playback. I'm trying to keep a horizontal build to fit in my media center.

Approximate Purchase Date: next 2 months

Budget Range: $500 or less

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Watching video @ 1080p, Netflix HD, playing some games (RTS games/Guild Wars II), and basic computer usage (internet, downloading, & nexflix)

Parts Not Required: monitor, speakers

Country: USA

*I have no parts preference. I'm open to all suggestions since this is my first build.
January 18, 2013 4:03:10 PM

Please provide us with the full specs of your current system (including power supply manufacturer and wattage). If this is a PC that you purchased off the shelf, please provide us with the system manufacturer and model number of the PC. 1080p playback doesn't require a lot of CPU or GPU power. It may be that a simple graphics card/power supply upgrade ($120-$150) will give you want you need.

-Wolf sends
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January 18, 2013 4:12:21 PM

Wolfshadw said:
Please provide us with the full specs of your current system (including power supply manufacturer and wattage). If this is a PC that you purchased off the shelf, please provide us with the system manufacturer and model number of the PC. 1080p playback doesn't require a lot of CPU or GPU power. It may be that a simple graphics card/power supply upgrade ($120-$150) will give you want you need.

-Wolf sends


I doubt I could do much with the one i have. It's an old dell that a friend sold me years ago for like $50. There's very little i can mod on it. I'm okay with building a new one.
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January 18, 2013 4:42:51 PM

I'd still like to see your old specs because for $500, you're not going to get a great system and if there's anything we could salvage, it'd be worth it.

Regardless, here is a build I put together:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD A4-5300 3.4GHz Dual-Core Processor ($54.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock FM2A75 Pro4-M Micro ATX FM2 Motherboard ($64.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($24.98 @ Outlet PC)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.98 @ Outlet PC)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 6570 1GB Video Card ($44.04 @ Compuvest)
Case: Silverstone ML03B HTPC Case ($57.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Other: Hauppauge Media Center Remote Control Kit w/ USB 2.0 Receiver ($31.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $479.92
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-18 13:36 EST-0500)

You may want to consider dropping the discrete graphics card for a better processor:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD A8-5600K 3.6GHz Quad-Core Processor ($98.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock FM2A75 Pro4-M Micro ATX FM2 Motherboard ($64.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($24.98 @ Outlet PC)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.98 @ Outlet PC)
Case: Silverstone ML03B HTPC Case ($57.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Other: Hauppauge Media Center Remote Control Kit w/ USB 2.0 Receiver ($31.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $489.88
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-18 13:40 EST-0500)

-Wolf sends
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February 15, 2013 10:04:16 PM

Wolfshadw said:
I'd still like to see your old specs because for $500, you're not going to get a great system and if there's anything we could salvage, it'd be worth it.

Regardless, here is a build I put together:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD A4-5300 3.4GHz Dual-Core Processor ($54.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock FM2A75 Pro4-M Micro ATX FM2 Motherboard ($64.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($24.98 @ Outlet PC)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.98 @ Outlet PC)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 6570 1GB Video Card ($44.04 @ Compuvest)
Case: Silverstone ML03B HTPC Case ($57.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Other: Hauppauge Media Center Remote Control Kit w/ USB 2.0 Receiver ($31.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $479.92
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-18 13:36 EST-0500)

You may want to consider dropping the discrete graphics card for a better processor:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD A8-5600K 3.6GHz Quad-Core Processor ($98.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock FM2A75 Pro4-M Micro ATX FM2 Motherboard ($64.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($24.98 @ Outlet PC)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.98 @ Outlet PC)
Case: Silverstone ML03B HTPC Case ($57.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Other: Hauppauge Media Center Remote Control Kit w/ USB 2.0 Receiver ($31.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $489.88
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-18 13:40 EST-0500)

-Wolf sends



I just realized my fiance has her computer which is in decent shape and she doesnt use. Its an HP Pavilion Desktop. I'll post the specs. Is there a way to upgrade it to be able to do the things i wanted?

Processor / Chipset
Type AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ / 3.0 GHz
Number of Cores Dual-Core
64-bit Computing Yes
CPU Qty 1.0
Max CPU Qty 1.0
Chipset Type NVIDIA GeForce 6150 / nForce 430
Front Side Bus 1000.0 MHz
Cache Memory
Installed Size L2 cache - 1.0 MB
Cache Per Processor 1 MB ( 2 x 512 KB )
RAM
Installed Size 3.0 GB
Technology DDR2 SDRAM
Memory Specification Compliance PC2-5300
Form Factor DIMM 240-pin
Hard Drive
Type HDD
Capacity 1.0 x 500.0 GB
Interface Type Serial ATA-150 Serial ATA
Spindle Speed 7200.0 rpm
Storage Controller
Type 1.0 x Serial ATA - Integrated
Storage Controller (2nd)
Type 1 x IDE - Integrated
Optical Storage
Type DVD±RW (±R DL) / DVD-RAM - Serial ATA
Read Speed 40x (CD) / 16x (DVD)
Write Speed 40x (CD) / 16x (DVD±R) / 8x (DVD±R DL)
Rewrite Speed 32x (CD) / 6x (DVD-RW) / 8x (DVD+RW) / 12x (DVD-RAM)
Disc Labeling Technology LightScribe Technology
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February 15, 2013 10:54:13 PM

Still need the model number of the HP Pavilion system. Need to verify it has a PCI-E graphics card slot, whether it accepts standard or low-profile expansion cards, what power supply is installed, and what other upgrades (if any) can be made.

Regardless of what upgrades are made to the fiance's computer, while it may be cheaper than building from scratch, it won't match the performance of either of the systems I listed previously, but *should* still be sufficient for your uses.

We need the system model number!

-Wolf sends
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February 16, 2013 12:21:20 AM

Model number is m8200n
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Best solution

February 16, 2013 11:16:38 AM

Ok. Based on the specifications of the HP Pavilion M8200n, yes, you can upgrade this system to do what you want.

Depending on how much you want to spend, you could just add a modest graphics card to that system and call it a day.

HIS Radeon HD6570 - $54.99

Or you can go all out and get new memory, a quality power supply, a good graphics card and a new operating system. Of course, if you did all that, you'd have spent close to $400. If you're going to spend that much, you might as well go with the first build I linked.

-Wolf sends

P.S. I would note that your fiance's computer also has a TV Tuner card installed and would still function for OTA broadcasts or basic cable
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February 18, 2013 12:35:38 PM

Any suggestions in regards to the upgrade as far as type and ammount of ram, brand/wattage of PSU, and graphics cards? Sorry for all the questions, still totally new to building and I'm just trying to make sure I get the right stuff. thanks.
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February 18, 2013 12:36:38 PM

Best answer selected by folgore910.
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February 18, 2013 1:40:33 PM

I probably wouldn't bother with upgrading the RAM unless you're also upgrading the operating system. 64-bit Windows 7 or 8 would allow you to max out the system's memory at 8GB (4x2GB) of DDR2-800 RAM. Unfortunately, DDR2 memory is more than twice the cost of newer DDR3 memory. ($190)

For a power supply, any unit from Corsair, Antec, PC Power and Cooling or FSP (Fortran Source), would be on my list. I'd probably be looking at something in the 550 watt range. ($50)

The system is pretty old and the top tier graphic cards would be wasted money. I think the highest you should go would be the GTX660 Ti or HD7770. ($120)

But as I said, if you're going to spend this much money, you should probably go with an entirely new build.

-Wolf sends
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!