I'm Looking for some ideas on a HTPC build, actually a few examples of them. I'm aiming to build a multiple tuner, Cable and Satalite ready HTPC. This Pc must have DVR capabilities, Upper to High end HD Audio, and will also incorporate The CPU and GPU processing power for above average PC Gaming. I expect to spend in the range of 2000 - 3500$. Ive built several desktops recently geared towards gaming, Now I want to build the All in one Entertainment System solution for the Family Room.
I expect a full size HTPC Case, Amd Phenom II x4965BE, Intel I5, or better, on either a Asus or Gigabyte ATX MOBO, with at least 4 Memory slots, 3.0 USB. At least 1 PCI XPRESS x16 slot for High end Video Card and three more Xpress slots available preffably for Network , Sound And Cable Tuner Card. Standard Pci Slot should work for Satallite. Will have at least two Hard disks for starters, one for Backup and one for OS & DVR's and/or, if money allows a SSD for the OS. Plenty of Audio and HDMI Outputs in the back for future Amp and HDTV etc.,. A Reliable PSU and Memory to round basic hardware off. Win 7 64 bit OS.
What will the actual parts list look like? Have any of you built a Higher End HTPC like this one. If so, what problems should I intially look to avoid when ordering the parts? Any other issues? All replies to this are appreciated.
IMO, the only difference between a gaming system and a gaming/htpc system is the gaming/htpc system has a TV Tuner card and more storage space. You already know how to build a gaming system, so just add the tuner card (I'd recommend going with the Ceton Corp InfiniTV4 card) and more/larger hard drives.
A couple other recommendations:
I'd probably go with an HTPC case that has at least four internal 3.5" drive bays. Look to Silverstone or NMediaPC.
I'd also look at some sort of external backup storage; either a separate NAS/File Server or even another computer.
As Wolfshadw mentioned, creating a gaming PC and a HTPC are very similar. The only extra necessary part is the video tuner card.
Some things to consider are....
1. Do you want this HTPC to look like a typical PC or more like an A/V component?
2. How important is noise level to you? Are you bothered by the sound of fans while watching a video?
3. Are you concerned about storage capacity?
4. How about a backup plan? Ever considered RAID 1?
My HTPC (no DVR capabilities) is built around the SilverStone Crown CW02 case (approx. $360):
1. Accepts a full size ATX mobo (not extended size mobo)
2. 120mm exhaust fan because larger fan are generally quieter than smaller fans since they spin slow to move the same amount of air.
3. It has 6 internal 3.5" bays for hard drives; one 5.25" bay for optical drive.
4. Optional 92mm fans to cool each drive cage (holds 3 HDDs)
5. Too many other reasons...
Since I prefer a quiet system, I simply installed a passively cooled 9600GT when I built my current HTPC back in 2008. I think the case can accept up to a 10.5" long video card. For me, if I was interested in "above average gaming", then I would install a Sapphire Vapor-X HD 5770 since it is pretty quiet even though it has a fan. A HD 5850 might be too long to fit in the SilverStone case, but I never bother to check the length of a reference HD 5850.