HTPC for 400-500£ Build

Hi guys and girls,

I've been toying with the idea of building an HTPC. I've got a huge DVD collection since I've been living in Vietnam for 7 years (hint hint). I want to get rid of all those DVDs and put them on a big HDD (it's going to take ages, I know). But I'm on a budget, I've got 400£ up to 500£ if I really have to. Since I'm going to view things in 1080p and maybe Ultra-HD in the future this rig has to last ( don't want to upgrade before 5 years).

With all that said and the 400-500 budget set, can someone give me an idea of what parts I should get?

Thx, Mojito
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  1. I'm not great on non-US prices, but I'll outline a build for you.

    CPU: AM3 quad core. Go with the most expensive one you can fit in the budget.

    Mobo: ASUS M4A77TD.

    RAM: Any cheap 1333 mhz CAS Latency 7 sticks. If you're close to being able to get a better CPU, you can save a little by getting 1066 mhz ones.

    Case: Antec 300 or 300 Illusion.

    PSU: 450W Corsair or Antec Earthwatts or OCZ. You want to stay with the major brands.

    Optical: Any SATA DVD burner. Get the cheapest one.

    GPU: HD 4850 or above. Go by the numbers there. The 4850 will give you good 1080p playback, as will any card above that. Pick whichever one fits your budget.
  2. That build looks interesting, but I have a few questions concerning your choices. Would a X3 not do or will X4 really bump things up, secondly isn't a 4850 a bit overkill, wouldn't a simple 4670 1Go suffice? Thanks.
  3. If you're trying to keep it for 5 years, you really need a X4 now. Triple cores are really only a budget choice for gaming builds, as you don't need something that's as CPU intense. You are doing some CPU intense tasks, so I would stick with an X4. There are still several good ones that are fairly lower priced.

    For the GPU choice, I refered to this article. I went with one of the cheapest ones that offered "exceptional" performance on 1680x1050 instead of just good. It may be a bit overkill, but it's meant to last.
  4. If you will not be doing any gaming, then onboard 785G graphics will be plenty. If gaming, then a high end card as the admiral suggested is needed.

    How do you plan to store your DVD's? If you are just ripping to iso or folder structure then very little CPU horsepower is needed. However, if you plan to encode to, say for example, h264 to reduce file size, then definitely get a quad over a tri-core.

    A little off-topic, but I'll throw in a recommendation for media browser or MyMovies3 to organize/launch your DVD's. Check out AVSforum for details on these media library front ends.
  5. Thanks for all the info, really useful stuff, I'm not going to be gaming. But I'm still a bit worried about onboard graphics, just because in the years to come it just won't have enough horsepower to keep up with the movies and TV screens are increasing.
  6. AMD/ATI is expected to be releasing their low-end HD5xxx cards really soon. Jump on one of those when they come out. The HD5xxx series cards support HD audio bitstreaming BTW in case you are interested in going blu-ray.
  7. That sounds interesting, but I'm not sure i need all that audio bling thing as I already have a good Denon amp or are those two things completely different :)
  8. The two things are different. The HD5xxx card sends uncompressed HD audio over HDMI to your amp. If your Denon amp supports DTS-HD MA and Dolby TrueHD then you can use this feature.
  9. Well, my amp have these decoders : DTS Neo:6 , Dolby Digital Surround EX , Dolby Pro Logic II , Dolby Digital , DTS decoder , DTS-ES Matrix 6.1 , DTS-ES Discrete 6.1
    All this is gobuldeegook to me.
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