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HTPC Build - Hardware

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March 7, 2013 2:15:03 PM

Hello,
I have an old Thermaltake Bach HTPC case which takes either ATX or microATX motherboards. Since the motherboard (MachSpeed MSNV-939) and psu have both died and the system was built back in 2004, I would like to rebuild it with new technology.

My desire is to have an HTPC which can play back HD quality video as smoothly as possible, record live TV, and play back my audio library.

I have been looking into MythTV and XBMC running on Linux as the software package. The old system has an nVidia Gforce 6600gt video card, M-Audio Revo 5.1, and ATI Theater 550 capture card.

My first question would be what motherboard is recommended? MachSpeed and ASUS seem to have very nice HTPC geared mobos with onboard video and audio, do these new mobos actually handle the video and audio tasks well or would it be better to use dedicated audio/video cards? Any other insights and suggestions would be very appreciated. 


More about : htpc build hardware

March 7, 2013 4:16:50 PM

Whats your budget, and will you be able to re use any of your old parts?
March 7, 2013 4:26:11 PM

My budget is fairly open. My main goal is to create a very efficient and reliable system which can take advantage of the latest technology. I read about other builds between $500-1000. I'd like to keep it in the $500 range. Yes, I can re-use any of the old parts I listed above. However, a friend of mine gave me this machine thinking it all worked. I took it to a local PC repair shop and they diagnosed it as having a bad motherboard and PSU. Therefore, I am only assuming the cards list still work. Unfortunately, my other PC also just died so I have no easy way of testing these.
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March 7, 2013 4:33:14 PM

if you can reuse the case
PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/I9Kp
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/I9Kp/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/I9Kp/benchmarks/

CPU: AMD A6-5400K 3.6GHz Dual-Core Processor ($73.24 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock FM2A75 Pro4-M Micro ATX FM2 Motherboard ($64.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($31.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($94.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: SeaSonic 300W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($43.98 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ Newegg)
Other: Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-1250 NSTC/ATSC/QAM Internal HDTV Card PCI-E x1 - OEM ($54.99)
Total: $380.17
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-03-07 13:29 EST-0500)

if you cant reuse the case. Silverstone has some of the best htpc cases. I use this one
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
March 7, 2013 4:47:43 PM

I would consider upgrading the video card as well, not necessary, but anything in or above the nvidia 8000 series should last for a few years.
a b V Motherboard
March 7, 2013 4:53:42 PM

Do you plan on watching/recording over the air signals, cable or digital cable? There are quite a few options for tuners out there, ranging greatly in price.

Also, do you need multiple tuners (recording/watching more than one program at once)?

Do you plan on using any extenders for remote viewing? (i.e. Xbox 360, PS3, etc).

Does your case support multiple hard drives? If so, using one drive for the operating system/programs and the second for recording TV would work a lot better - especially if you watch/record multiple HD stations at once.
March 7, 2013 5:01:39 PM

One of the main issues I'm trying to figure out is going with a motherboard which includes video processing capabilities vs using a dedicated video card. I have yet to find a definitive answer to how well these new motherboards actually perform HTPC functions. Can anyone please set me straight on the most efficient approach?
March 7, 2013 5:09:22 PM

Yes, recording over the air signals (digital cable) is one of my main priorities.

I do not need multiple tuners, one should be just fine.

Currently I don't really need extenders but I would like the option of adding another front-end box (from old pc) in other rooms.

Yes the case does support multiple hard drives. It currently contains 2 HDs and one CD drive. I would like to install a Blu-Ray drive since I just bought a new Samsung 60" Plasma TV and would like to be able to view HD video disks/copies on it.
March 7, 2013 5:49:17 PM

you do not need a dedicated video card . the amd apu has a integrated gpu . i use a a6 5400k in my build and have had no problems playing any video file type .

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a b V Motherboard
March 7, 2013 6:50:00 PM
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I would use the integrated GPU - it will work fine.

With one tuner and OTA signals, one hard drive should be fine. Digital cable/satellite with multiple tuners make for a complex setup.

XBMC will give you the most customization and options for your setup. It has the quickest and easiest way to enable playback for BluRay in my opinion.

Make sure to check out http://www.thegreenbutton.tv/forums/ - they have a ton of information, plugins, suggestions, etc....great website for HTPC. It helped quite a bit for me.

!