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Help me built £250-£300 Home HTPC

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May 23, 2012 9:17:53 PM

Dear Friends,
Greetings.

I am in UK currently and i am looking to make a new PC for general home use (Movie playback in HD and/or CAD) nothing intense or hardcore. Can you give some suggestions or recommendation of what new system can be within the mentioned budget?

Is there some sites you can tell me which are best to buy parts in UK or is it better to buy from high street? Do people selling parts on the website also assemble the PC for you or do they just sell these parts. I have never bought or made PC in UK so i am a newcomer here.

I don't mind either Intel or AMD, but for the budget i have, I've heard that AMD is more powerful economically. I also need a screen which can be additional £40-50 on top of £250.


Here's the detailed things:

Approximate Purchase Date: this week

Budget Range: £250-£300

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Watching movies and/or general CAD work

Parts Not Required:keyboard, mouse, speakers, OS

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I have not got any but some but i Google'd and found these:
1. http://www.overclockers.co.uk/ " target="_blank">
2. http://www.aria.co.uk/" target="_blank">
3. http://www.microdirect.co.uk/Home/" target="_blank">

Please suggest if there's any better websites i can buy cheaper and good parts. Thanks!

Country of Origin: UK

Parts Preferences: by brand or type : Any Intel or AMD [no specific preference]

Overclocking: Never used in my life.

SLI or Crossfire: (have no idea about this) and never used.

Monitor Resolution: looking for a budget screen 19" or 20" something near £40 - £50 on top of the £250

Additional Comments: Should last for long.

Please guys, advice. Let me know what suggestions you have on this and what can be a good new compatible built.

Thanks for your time and effort, appreciate your replies.

UAR.
May 23, 2012 11:20:36 PM

Hey Gold! Glad to hear everything's going great with your computer :) 

For a build like this you have a couple options. I'm going to focus on the movie playback though, as I don't know how serious you will be with doing CAD projects on this machine.

These sites will sell you the parts. You'll need to assemble them yourself. Some sites often offer assembly for a small amount (~$75) but I would avoid going that route. It's easy enough to build a computer that with a little research you shouldn't have to pay someone to do it.

AMD APU HTPC
Mobo: MSI A75MA $35 (we'll say $=£ for simplicity's sake)
http://www.aria.co.uk/SuperSpecials/Other+products/MSI+...
CPU: AMD A6-3500 $55
http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Processors+-+...
RAM: Kingston 2x2GB DDR3 1600MHz
http://www.ebuyer.com/234975-kingston-4gb-2x2gb-ddr3-16...
HDD: Seagate 500GB Barracuda (hopefully 500GB is enough?) $50
http://www.ebuyer.com/272944-seagate-500gb-3-5-sata-iii...

SSD: Totally optional. I think it would be a great addition to an HTPC system though.
OCZ Vertex 3 60GB $57
http://www.aria.co.uk/SuperSpecials/Other+products/OCZ+...
OR
Mushkin Chronos 90GB $65 (lower quality, probably slower but much more capacity)
http://www.aria.co.uk/SuperSpecials/Other+products/Mush...
Case and PSU
This combo:
Corsair 430W V2 $36
http://www.ebuyer.com/271798-corsair-430w-v2-cx-series-...
Fracal Core 1000 $27
http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Cases/Micro+A...
OR
Antec NSK 2480 $73 with Antec 380w PSU
http://www.ebuyer.com/130945-antec-nsk-2480-matx-deskto...
Finally, Blu-Ray or DVD. Basically just find the cheapest you can.

Well, I think I managed to do it all under/at budget. How's it looking?

Cheers!
May 23, 2012 11:56:46 PM

@ goldberguar

In reply to your request, I honest only see one issue with striker410's build. The motherboard has a specification for 1.5V RAM and the RAM listed is 1.65V. Honestly, just select 1.5V RAM instead of 1.65V and this build is pretty good.

Just nit-picking here, but I like my HTPC to look like the rest of my AV components, so you might want to consider an HTPC case.
Cooler Master Elite 361

-Wolf sends
Related resources
May 24, 2012 12:30:39 AM

Good find Wolf! I was looking for a cheap horizontal case and musta missed that one. Awesome eyes.
May 24, 2012 12:49:46 PM

nice build. I like the Antec case the best. ditto on the ram. I think the 1.65v will work, but I always prefer the lower 1.5v.

I will try to work up an intel solution in a minute to see how it compares.
May 24, 2012 2:32:09 PM

Thanks for the reply guys, it helped me alot. I am still confused on what case can i buy, i don't like the shape features (Visually) as striker has provided links for? Is there any other options i can look for? And what power will be needed for the components above?

Please can you provide me with some more case ideas? Does the case needs to be strong or something, or the power supply is more important?
May 24, 2012 3:00:10 PM

Here is an Intel build.

I like the InWin case a lot - very small. I have a InWin BK623 (similar) for my HTPC and really like it. The PSU is quite solid also.

MB: MSI H61MA-E35 Intel H61 (has HDMI port, I didn't see one on the above AMD build, not sure if you need one.)
https://www.aria.co.uk/SuperSpecials/MSI+H61MA-E35+Inte...
£37.49
CPU: Intel Pentium G840 2.80GHz
https://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Processors+-...
£ 44.83
RAM: 4GB Mushkin Enhanced Silverline #996768 (2x2GB) 1333
https://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Memory+-+RAM...
£ 19.16
Optical: Sony Optical 24x DVD Writer
https://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Storage/Optical+Drives/...
£ 13.21
HDD: 2TB Seagate Barracuda ST2000DM001
https://www.aria.co.uk/SuperSpecials/2TB+Seagate+Barrac...
£ 66.66
Case/PSU: IN WIN BL641 Slim HTPC SFF Black Desktop Micro-ATX Chassis w/300W 80+
https://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Cases/HTPC/I...
£ 45.79
----------
£ 281.18

I went with a bigger HDD instead of the Small SSD/HDD combo.
if you ever decide to game on this build just add a low profile HD 6670 and you have a nice lite gaming rig.
I didn't see any good monitors for ~£50, the ones I liked were around £100
May 24, 2012 3:15:46 PM

Now i am confused, either go with AMD A6-3500 or Intel Pentium G620T, as they are both nearly the same price.

And the case for for these two? Which one? And what PSU will be needed?
Striker, what do you suggest the differences in processing power of both? Much different? Any advantages or disadvantages for jeredd or your combination?

Thanks Dear Jeredd for your reply. :) 
May 24, 2012 5:46:10 PM

metal orient said:
The AMD build is stronger on a graphically but weaker computationally.

Toms did an article on a similar sort of situation:
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/pentium-g620-amd-a8-3870k...


that is a pretty good synopsis, though the A6 runs 3 cores and has hyper threading (HT), but doesn't have an L3 Cache. The G series are dual cores w/o HT but have a L3 cache. That article pits the top of the line A8 against a G620, the A6 has 1 less core and lesser IGP. note: Both will play HD video without issue, which is the primary purpose of the HTPC.

I like both the InWin case in my build and the Antec case in Striker's build. The InWin case is very small, so if space is a consideration it would be a good choice.

There is no wrong answer. it comes down to what you envision your HTPC as being.

Considerations:
Case wise - Size, looks, expand-ability (the InWin is a low profile case) the Antec and Fractal cases take full size cards
CPU - both are capable, choices 2 or 3 cores, HT or L3 Cache
GPU - both have IGP and play HD Vid. the AMD solution is definitely a little more powerful.
HDD - do you want fast boots and zippy app load time and less storage or Lots of storage and less than zippy app and boot times
PSU - for a HTPC 250W is plenty and all PSU's are 80+ so its what ever goes with the case you like.

you should be able to kinda mix and match :D 
May 24, 2012 10:21:19 PM

Thanks alot guys for the reply, i think i will go with an Intel.

So my final specs are these, i am not sure which will be better Intel processors amongst G840 or G620T (Any suggestions?)

https://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Processors+-...

http://www.ebuyer.com/264716-intel-pentium-g620t-2-2ghz...

Which Motherboard amongst these?
https://www.aria.co.uk/SuperSpecials/MSI+H61MA-E35+Inte...

Or
http://www.ebuyer.com/344018-gigabyte-lga1155-intel-h61...

Using memory 8gb:
http://www.ebuyer.com/172949-kingston-8gb-2x4gb-ddr3-13...

Hard Drive (500GB Seagate):
http://www.ebuyer.com/272944-seagate-500gb-3-5-sata-iii...

And Case :
http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Cases/Micro+A...

Do you guys have any suggestions which processor and motherboard will be the best choice? Which can support dual display and USB3.0?
And plus what power supply can i buy from these websites which will be sufficient to cover all requirements?

I really appreciate everyone's suggestions and advice. Thank you all.

May 24, 2012 10:28:21 PM

Not a bad build. I personally prefer the A6 setup because you get native USB 3.0 and Sata 6, as well as dual monitor support on a very low cost board. Excellent featureset for the price. Not to mention the A6 will have a bit better price as compared to an Intel solution with the same features.

PSU wise, even a lowly 200-250w would do it without an issue. Hell I'd run it off a 125w! Just keep in mind you want a quality PSU.

Case wise, find one you like.
May 25, 2012 2:47:17 AM

I'd go with the A6 build. AMD tends to be a bit more reliable on video playback than NVidia or Intel. But either will work. However, the AMD lacks HDMI, which is ESSENTIAL for an HTPC. Unfortunately, the cheapest I found w/ HDMI, USB 3.0, & SATA III was a £60 FM1 mobo: http://www.aria.co.uk/SuperSpecials/Other+products/ASUS...

8GB of RAM is useless for an HTPC, but helpful for CAD. What kind of CAD, AutoCAD?

Gold--DO NOT forget about a good power supply. Stick to Antec, Corsair, Seasonic, or XFX. If that's not available, look for Silverstone or maybe FSP Aurum series.

Personally, I'd just go with an A6-3400M laptop though. It's the same price and function, while using less power and working as a standalone computer and it comes with a Windows license. I didn't find the perfect AMD machine, but here's an i3-2330M laptop for £329: http://www.aria.co.uk/SuperSpecials/Other+products/Tosh...

Anyhow, laptops are a viable alternative.
Anonymous
May 25, 2012 3:23:49 AM

at this price point the AMD would be better even though it lacks an HDMI. the saving grace is OP is still looking for a screen with the build that could utilize the DVI-D out on the MB.
May 25, 2012 7:39:21 AM

The MSI E35 has both USB 3.0 and SATA 6G. it supports dual monitors.

I have this MB in my HTPC setup I have had no issues with it.

the link to the other MB didn't work for me :( 

PSU: a 350-450W Seasonic, Antec or Corsair would be my suggestions.

I found this on Aria, its the next step up in the Corsair line
http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Power+Supplie...
May 25, 2012 1:07:02 PM

Finally i have decided my build. I will go with AMD A6-3500,

CPU - AMD FM1 Llano A6 3500 2.1GHz 3 cores with AMD HD 6530D graphics - £56.44
RAM - Corsair 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1333MHz Memory Kit CL9 1.5V - £32.88
Motherboard - ASUS F1A75-M AMD Hudson D3 (Socket FM1) DDR3 PCI-Express Micro-ATX Motherboard £59.99
Case - http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Cases/Micro+A... £26.39
Power Supply - AAntec 450W PSU - 120mm Fan VP450 4x SATA 1x PCI-E £37.68
Screen: Philips 196V3LSB LED LCD 18.5" DVI Monitor - http://www.ebuyer.com/363971-196v3lsb-18-5-led-vga-dvi-...
Hard Drive - Seagate 500GB http://www.ebuyer.com/272944-seagate-500gb-3-5-sata-iii... - £52.98
DVD Drive - Sony DVD RW - £12.75
I am also buying a card reader: http://www.ebuyer.com/108453-all-in-1-internal-card-rea...


1. Is that a good build? Is it all going to be compatible?
2. Can there be a bit cheaper motherboard? which is good ASUS/Asrock or MSI?
3. How can i connect card reader on the mother board? will there be a place or slot and will PSU provide cables for it?

Guys please answer these questions, i am really done with the build. If you can reply about this, it will be superb! Thanks alot!
Special greets to jerredd, looniam, striker, dalauder, metal orient!
May 25, 2012 2:38:40 PM

goldberguar said:
Finally i have decided my build. I will go with AMD A6-3500,

1. Is that a good build? Is it all going to be compatible?
2. Can there be a bit cheaper motherboard? which is good ASUS/Asrock or MSI?
3. How can i connect card reader on the mother board? will there be a place or slot and will PSU provide cables for it?


1. looks ok to me.

2. MSI makes solid MB this one is much less than the ASUS and seems to have all the necessary bells and whistles:
https://www.aria.co.uk/SuperSpecials/Other+products/MSI...

3. it will connect to a USB 2.0 header on the motherboard.
May 25, 2012 5:12:05 PM

^The MSI doesn't have HDMI.

The build looks good to me. 8GB can be dropped probably, you won't ever need it most likely. All else looks good.

Card reader wise, you can get ones where it connects to the PCI slot, Sata slot, USB 2.0 Header or a variety of other options. Find one that fits your needs.
May 25, 2012 5:44:00 PM

striker410 said:
^The MSI doesn't have HDMI.


he was hooking it to a monitor, no HDMI on it... Screen: Philips 196V3LSB LED LCD 18.5" DVI Monitor
May 25, 2012 5:56:16 PM

*Facepalm* I spose you are correct. I was just latching on to Dalauder's thought. Good point. MSI it is!
May 27, 2012 9:27:23 AM

Thanks for the reply guys, I have got 2 more questions some sort of related.

1. I want to have an extra rear fan. Which can you suggest will be appropriate size and budget wise?

2. I have buying Philips LED screen as mentioned earlier in the post, which DVI to DVI cable will i need to connect to get highest resolution crispness? (I know VGA will suffice) but can you put link for right DVI cable that i can buy?

Thanks for your support and help :) 
May 27, 2012 12:27:24 PM

Thank you and thanks in advance to everyone who helped me, i have sorted out most of the stuff, just need to buy it tomorrow. General question: how can i assume that i can assemble it perfectly right? Is there any tutorial. I have never done assembling myself and will greatly appreciate that if there's any tutorial. I hope it goes smooth and i don't mess up anything. :( 
Anonymous
May 27, 2012 12:34:24 PM

utube has a buttload of videos to help.
May 27, 2012 12:45:37 PM

Thanks looniam, appreciate your reply!
May 28, 2012 10:50:39 PM

If you haven't made purchases yet, I'd aim for a bigger screen such as this one: http://www.ebuyer.com/280625-lg-e2211s-bn-lcd-led-21-5-...
It's well worth the 20 pounds.

I only insisted on HDMI because the title says HTPC. For me, that means my desktop is hooked up to a monitor AND a TV. That requires HDMI out for easy TV usage.

I'm not sure what an extra fan is for. This thing shouldn't run hot unless you stuff it in a back corner somewhere. If that's what you do, then you'll need to spend a bit of time thinking about your cooling.

Anyhow, it looks like a solid build. Enjoy. :) 
May 30, 2012 3:49:00 AM

OP, I'm closing this tab in my browser since nobody's posted in a while. PM me if you come back.
May 31, 2012 7:46:15 PM

Thanks bro, Really appreciate it. However it will be really hard to do still.
Anyways i have a friend who helped me assemble (Though he does assemble intel all the time, it was his first AMD).
We did finish assembling, however when i started my computer, i dont have any display. What could be the problem? Wrong connections made or somethings not working.
I have attached the snapshot down, now i have given the PC to the computer shop to have a look :( 

http://i50.tinypic.com/208xi01.jpg
Let me know if you have any idea of what can be wrong. Thanks alot for all ur time and effort :) 
May 31, 2012 8:53:17 PM

Simples (i think) the blue 4 pin plug (nearest to the PSU) powers your CPU so you need to plug the cable in.
June 1, 2012 12:15:34 AM

Yup. You're missing the CPU power :)  Plug it in and you'll be good to go!
June 16, 2012 12:42:10 PM

http://www.aria.co.uk/SuperSpecials/Other+products/Glad...

Gladiator Intel G530 Sandy Bridge Dual-Core Next Day Desktop PC £209.99 inc. VAT

http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Graphics+Card...

MSI Radeon HD 6770 1024MB GDDR5 PCI-Express Graphics Card £69.90 inc. VAT

You might need this if the power supply lacks a 6 pin pcie power plug..
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CB...

Akasa PCI Express 6-Pin to 4-Pin Power Adaptor for PCI-E Graphics Cards (AK-CB4-6) [AK-CB4-6] £3.59 inc VAT

This card is a uses a bit less power than the hd-6770, but is also a bit slower.
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=GX...
Sapphire HD 7750 1024MB GDDR5 PCI-Express Graphics Card [11202-00-20G]
£79.99 inc VAT


It's good to add some cheap case fans.

http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Coolers+-+Air...

June 16, 2012 12:53:37 PM

If you are never going to play games, this card gives you the hd-6xxx video engine, hdmi support and is fine for video, general computing and doesn't need a pcie power plug or extra case fans.

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=GX...

Sapphire HD 6450 HM 512MB GDDR3 PCI-Express Graphics Card (11190-04-20G) [11190-04-20G] £26.99 inc VAT
!