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Help on my first HTPC build - $600 HTPC

Last response: in Systems
February 12, 2013 1:52:34 PM

I am looking to build a HTPC as part of my plan to cut the cable cord and use OTA with an HTPC for use as a DVR with at least one extender.

I'm looking to do it for at or less than I could buy a TiVo Premiere with a lifetime subscription which I have seen run for about $600 - $650 (not counting the cost of a Linksys media center extender and a third tuner.)

While I have decades of experience building and repairing PCs I have never tried to custom build a HTPC.

Having looked at some of the suggestions in here and on Youtube as well as the designs of dedicated boxes like TiVo, and cable company DVR's, it looks to me that important aspects of a good DVR include the ability to process large amounts of data quickly with a large hard drive(s) outputting to an HD Screen. Since I will primarily be using a Silicondust dual video tuner (HDHomeRun HDHR3-US) that does its own processing of the OTA signal on the network, am I right in assuming that processor power as well as RAM memory are not as important as having SATA iii with a big, fast hard drive as well as adequate graphics processing? I will have a third tuner, a Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-950 USB TV Tuner attached to the box as occasionally there may be two people watching TV while a third is recorded. (Will this third tuner place a bigger processing burden on the CPU?)

I already have a Dell XPS 8300 that works great as a DVR using Windows 7 Media Center with the SiliconDust device except that it is my video editing box. So I want to build another box using a HTPC case for use as a DVR for my main TV. It has to be powerful enough for that task as well as to supply the Linksys DMA2100 Digital HD Media Streamer extender for an upstairs TV. The Media Center DVR has generally has more lag time than the FIOS multi-room DVR I have now but that is not a problem to me.

So I already have the tuners, the Linksys extender mentioned above as well as a Seagate 2 TB drive (Seagate Barracuda ST2000DM001 2TB Serial ATA Hard Drive - 7200RPM, 64MB, SATA 6Gb/s) for storage. I am only a little concerned about noise from this HDD at this time because the FIOS DVR is noticeably loud - both fan noise and clicking – when it comes on and I have gotten used to it.

Also I need to have an S/PDIF out on the MB as I must use my VGA out for video as my Vizio m470vt HDTV has no 1:1 pixel mapping on any input other than PC (which is the VGAport). (I can’t use HDMI out to the TV and use the S/PDIF from the TV to the A/V receiver.)

All suggestions are welcome.

The system I am looking at is:
PCPartPicker part list:
CPU: AMD A6-3500 2.1GHz Triple-Core Processor ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock A75M Micro ATX FM1 Motherboard ($79.98 @ Newegg)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($26.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($89.98 @ Tigerdirect – already have)
Case: Silverstone ML03B HTPC Case ($59.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Logisys 350W Micro ATX Power Supply ($19.98 @ Outlet PC)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Other: HDHomeRun DUAL - High Definition Digital TV Tuner - already have - ($89.99)
Other: Microsoft Remote Control and Receiver for Media Center PC with Windows (A9O-00007) ($16.63 - Amazon)
Total: $533.51
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-12 09:45 EST-0500)

and upstairs there will be:

Linksys DMA2100 Digital HD Media Streamer extender

I'm not buying a monitor, keyboard or mouse. I can use ones at the house here to set it up and then the unit will be attached to the TV and processed with the remote. I live near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
I'm not adamant about brands. I’ve had good experience with corsair memory. I picked the AMD Llano processor because of its reputation for being inexpensive and good at graphics at the same time. For that same reason I don’t think I’m interested in LSI or Crossfire. I don't want to overclock. I'm trying to keep noise and heat low. I have never worked with this MB manufacturer (ASRock) but they averaged 4 stars out of 5 in 70 reviews at Newegg – there is a theme about getting the right drivers installed for it to work right and that was a problem for some. I usually can handle that - just knowing that is the case sometimes prevents having a big install problem.

More about : htpc build 600 htpc

February 12, 2013 1:55:11 PM

nice htpc build

but afaik AMD fm1 is the first generation and it actually sucks :( 

why not FM2?
February 12, 2013 3:08:52 PM

AMD Radeon said:
nice htpc build

but afaik AMD fm1 is the first generation and it actually sucks :( 

why not FM2?

You're right, fm2 is better. I thought I would save a little going Llano, but it looks like trinity with a little better cpubenchmark is a couple dollars cheaper!
I'm looking at revising to :
CPU: AMD A6-5400K 3.6GHz Dual-Core Processor ($74.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock FM2A75 Pro4-M Micro ATX FM2 Motherboard ($71.97 @ Newegg)
Memory: Corsair XMS3 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($27.98 @ Outlet PC)