Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Need Help. First HTPC Build Don't know where to begin

Last response: in Systems
Share
February 6, 2013 12:29:46 PM

I am going to try and build my first computer. I am looking at building a HTPC. I just want to record OTA broadcast and then have the box convert them using probably Handbrake to a iTunes Format to view on my AppleTV.

I am looking at using an HD Homerun Dual as my tuner or if anybody has any other suggestions that is great. Other than that I have no idea where to begin. I am willing to run MythTV or WMC it doesn't matter as this will actually be sitting in a closet someplace just recording stuff. My assumption is MythTV is cheaper since I won't have to pay for Windows.

I would like to keep it around $500 if possible.

Again this is my first time doing anything like this so please bare with me if I have some dumb questions! :) 

Thanks!

More about : htpc build begin

February 6, 2013 1:34:51 PM

After looking around the forums this is what I came up with. I would have to add the HD Homerun to it but does the build look ok?

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/BOjB


CPU: AMD A6-3670K 2.7GHz Quad-Core Processor ($83.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: ASRock A75M-HVS Micro ATX FM1 Motherboard ($64.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Kingston HyperX 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($44.99 @ Microcenter)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($99.98 @ Outlet PC)
Case: NZXT Source 210 Elite (White) ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($19.99 @ Microcenter)
Total: $388.91
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-06 10:34 EST-0500)
m
0
l
February 6, 2013 2:04:46 PM

So you are using this for recording/converting but no playback? The received wisdom is that Intel CPUs are more efficient, AMD have better graphics. If playback is not an issue, that would argue for Intel.

You could do a TV tuner card instead of a separate box, something like this (Newegg users say that it works with Linux):

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=15-116-...

Here is an Intel build for you, $250 (plus TV tuner device).

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/BOB7
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/BOB7/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/BOB7/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Celeron G540 2.5GHz Dual-Core Processor ($44.99 @ Mac Mall)
Motherboard: Biostar H61MGC Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1066 Memory ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.98 @ Outlet PC)
Case: Rosewill FBM-01 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($29.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($16.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $256.91
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-06 11:07 EST-0500)

I picked a cheap case for you. Since it is going in the closet, looks don't matter. Also gave you a DVD drive in case you want to rip your movies.

Great deal on tsheley's PSU. Only $24.99 with $20.00 rebate!
m
0
l
Related resources
February 6, 2013 2:05:54 PM

A couple of questions:
1) Will you be running any extenders (i.e. XBox 360/Ceton echo)
2) What is the maximum amount of concurrent "live/recorded" TV sessions?

In my experience, I find you need one processing core and 2GB RAM (2GB RAM for OS) per concurrent "live/recorded" TV sessions.

If you are going to only have 2 tuners, and sharing the files in a "file server" fashion as mentioned above, a dual core processor and 6GB RAM would be plenty.

Another thing - the HDHomerun products (I love them) are rather finicky about network topology - you might want to budget an unmanaged 1GB Switch for your build to optimize the network connectivity. When the devices are connected directly to a cable modem (with built in router) and/or router, there tend to be issues with network connectivity.

My experience also shows that WMC works best (simplicity of the build) for HTPCs, but if you are willing to put in the time, there are several other options available.

Check out the silicon dust forums at:
http://www.silicondust.com/forum2/

Also, check out the GreenButton at:
http://www.thegreenbutton.tv/forums/index.php

Both have quite a bit of information regarding HTPC builds, configurations, and available software to run your rig.
m
0
l
February 6, 2013 2:12:36 PM

Thanks for the info. It doesn't have to be a HD Homerun. I am just looking for 2 tuners. So would I go with this one..

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Also I am not against a WMC PC. Would these specs run WMC, I assume Windows 7, well enough to record Dual Tuners...

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/BOB7
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/BOB7/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/BOB7/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Celeron G540 2.5GHz Dual-Core Processor ($44.99 @ Mac Mall)
Motherboard: Biostar H61MGC Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1066 Memory ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.98 @ Outlet PC)
Case: Rosewill FBM-01 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($29.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($16.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $256.91

Thanks everybody for your help!
m
0
l
February 6, 2013 2:22:35 PM

I don't see why it wouldn't run WMC, but why not try MythTV or XBMC first? You can always add Windows later, but if you start with Windows you can never get your money back from Bill Gates.
m
0
l
February 6, 2013 2:47:22 PM

MythTV and XBMC work good, the configuration effort/time is a bit more than WMC/Windows 7. If you are familiar with Linux in any flavor, you can use MythTV/XMBC with great results.

The only drawback to MythTV/XBMC or other media center builds is support for cable card tuners...they are starting to support it, but the ease of configuration with Windows/WMC makes it a first choice.

I run Windows 7, WMC on a dual core processor, 4GB RAM, 1TB HDD (recording) 320GB HDD (operating system/programs), DVD with the HDHomerun Prime (3 tuners - digital cable from Time Warner) and an XBox360 as an extender.

It has been a 7 year process, trying different OS and media center programs, and the real choice comes down to this: Windows 7/WMC build, installation, configuration to ready to record/watch TV is about a day. All of the builds with Linux and MythTV/XMBC took quite a bit longer, with issues that had to be fixed.

Windows 7 OEM is less than $100....
m
0
l
February 6, 2013 2:49:59 PM

Would it be better to go with a Core 2 Duo or something instead of a Celeron or is the Celeron good to go? Thanks again for your help.

If so what Motherboard would I need?
m
0
l
February 6, 2013 2:57:44 PM

I am running on a Core 2 Duo. Rarely does CPU hit above 75%, even when viewing/recording 3 programs at once. The bottleneck for me is hard drive related...I am using SATA I drives on this older machine, and occasionally I get pixelation on the screen (rare).

Make sure if you use Windows 7/WMC that you don't install 3rd party anti-virus/malware - stick with Microsoft Security Essentials/Windows firewall...and make sure that updates/system scans are done when you aren't recording/watching TV.
m
0
l
February 6, 2013 3:02:05 PM

I think you are fine with the hardware listed. The only thing you might want to consider is either changing mobo for one that has HDMI output for TV (so audio goes to the TV). If you are using your computer speakers for audio - then you don't have to worry....
m
0
l
February 6, 2013 3:15:09 PM

I meant to address that...I put the cheapie motherboard because poster specified that this will live in the closet for recording only. If playback is an issue, or you may wish to repurpose in the future, then HDMI would be a good option to have.
m
0
l
February 6, 2013 3:16:26 PM

Any suggestions? What mother board should I go with if I wanted a Core 2 Duo and HDMI?

I already have a copy of Windows 7 Ultimate so the OS isn't an issue.
Thanks!
m
0
l
February 6, 2013 3:28:04 PM

tsheley said:
I am going to try and build my first computer. I am looking at building a HTPC. I just want to record OTA broadcast and then have the box convert them using probably Handbrake to a iTunes Format to view on my AppleTV.

I am looking at using an HD Homerun Dual as my tuner or if anybody has any other suggestions that is great. Other than that I have no idea where to begin. I am willing to run MythTV or WMC it doesn't matter as this will actually be sitting in a closet someplace just recording stuff. My assumption is MythTV is cheaper since I won't have to pay for Windows.

I would like to keep it around $500 if possible.

Again this is my first time doing anything like this so please bare with me if I have some dumb questions! :) 

Thanks!


If you do end up going with a Windows enviroment & WMC, then you won't need to manually convert. MCE buddy will run in the background and automatically convert your recordings to numerous formats and remove the commercials. As far as the processor goes, you'd be surprised what you can get away with. I, like you, recently decided to take the plunge into a real HTPC setup. Before I went overboard, I built a box with a $35 Sempron 145, a $10 mother board, & a <$50 6450. Even with that cheepo setup I was able to record 2 HD programs and watch recorded TV or a movie. I've since upped the main HTPC to an x6 and a couple more tuners to supports a few extenders.

For the cost of the tuner you listed ($90), you may want to consider the WinTV-2650. It's 10$ more but you'll have access to digital cable. That obviously means you'll have a cable bill though.

Good luck

Windows isn't cheep and nobody likes paying for it, but a way to have slightly less buyers remorse is to just get a Technet Subscription. You get 10 licenses for virtually every MS product. I think I paid $140.
m
0
l
February 6, 2013 3:33:32 PM

Thanks for the reply. I only have OTA and no cable.
m
0
l
February 6, 2013 3:39:54 PM

tsheley said:
Thanks for the reply. I only have OTA and no cable.


Gotcha.

The celeron build you listed is more than enough for what you're trying to accomplish. Any kind of conversion is going to take awhile, but that build is more than sufficient.
m
0
l
February 6, 2013 3:41:37 PM

Don't get a Core2Duo, those are outdated by a couple of generations. I think RoninT was just illustrating it as an example of working build with minimum specs. Celeron G530 is only $45 and has integrated HD graphics.

Here are a couple of LGA1155 motherboards with HDMI:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MSI is a bit cheaper, AsRock has a bit better reputation as a brand.
m
0
l
February 6, 2013 4:18:27 PM

This is what I ended up with....

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/BPBm
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/BPBm/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/BPBm/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Celeron G540 2.5GHz Dual-Core Processor ($44.99 @ Mac Mall)
Motherboard: ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1066 Memory ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($76.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Case: Rosewill FBM-01 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($29.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($16.98 @ Outlet PC)
Other: HD Homerun Dual ($89.99)
Total: $383.90
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-06 13:17 EST-0500)
m
0
l
February 6, 2013 4:26:32 PM

Looks like you have a winner!

The mobo will be good for your build - has SATA III ports (2), as well as multiple video options (DVI, VGA and/or HDMI - you can use 2 of the 3 at once time). ASRock makes nice motherboards for budget/moderate builds - I have a similar one in my main rig (Extreme 3 version).

Your case also has a few extra bays for additional HDD if you choose, and the power supply will be more than enough to handle everything.

Enjoy the new build!
m
0
l
February 6, 2013 4:29:18 PM

Thanks everybody for your help. I will let you all know how it goes.
m
0
l
February 6, 2013 8:53:53 PM


The AMD Trinity APU (and likely Llano, too) slobber-knocks the Celeron G540 in Handbrake.



m
0
l
!