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HTPC build: need advice

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Old 02-14-2012, 12:15 PM   #1  
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Question HTPC build: need advice

I'm trying to piece together a HTPC which will be used primarily for: DVR for recording OTA programs, playback of local and networked media files, Pandora, Netflix, Youtube, Hulu, possible emulator gaming.

Not a lot of current homebuilt HTPC build threads here, so I reached out to some other boards. Here is what I've come up with, and am looking for opinions.

Case: SILVERSTONE Black Aluminum skin reinforced plastic front panel, 0.8mm SECC body MILO Series ML03B Micro ATX Media Center $60

Fans: ENERMAX UC-8EB 80mm Case Fan Model #:UC-8EB $10

Board: ASRock H67M (B3) LGA 1155 Intel H67 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard $80

Tuner/Remote: Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 Media Center Kit Dual TV Tuner 1213 PCI-Express x1 Interface $128

Power Supply: SeaSonic SS-300ET Bronze 300W ATX12V V2.3 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply - OEM $40

CPU: Intel Core i3-2100 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 2000 BX80623I32100 $125

Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-4GBXL $26

HDD: Seagate Barracuda Green ST2000DL003 2TB 5900 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive $130

Keyboard/mouse: Logitech K400 (920-003070) Black USB RF Wireless Standard Keyboard $40

DVD: LITE-ON Internal 24x DVD-Writer Black SATA Model iHAS324-99 $22

Any feedback? Comes to around $661 if all parts are bought from newegg. If you built a HTPC recently, I'm interested in the parts list, or any lessons you learned. Thanks.
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Old 02-14-2012, 02:22 PM   #2  
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I would go higher on the power supply - that is probably at or below the bare minimum you want in a HTPC and for your components - I would look at 500-550w minimum shouldn't add very much to the price - maybe another $20-$25. The PSU is one of the most important and prone to failur - especially from overtaxing it component there is in your pc and if it blows no telling what else may go with it.
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Old 02-14-2012, 03:31 PM   #3  
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Originally Posted by teddymines View Post
Any feedback? Comes to around $661 if all parts are bought from newegg. If you built a HTPC recently, I'm interested in the parts list, or any lessons you learned. Thanks.
The main lesson I have learned is people mistake a HTPC for a gaming PC. There is a big difference in the requirements of the PC between the two. What you have outlined is really more of a gaming PC with a TV tuner added in as far as the capabilities go. Since you added at the end of your description possible emulator gaming, I suspect maybe you really want a gaming PC.

If you really want just a HTPC there are seriously way cheaper ways to go than building one from scratch. I just completed a Windows 7 Media Center HTPC for my wife using these components:

    You could use a Hauppauge 1192 WinTV HVR-1950 External USB HDTV Tuner/Video Recorder - $90 instead of the cable card unit.

    Also I used a wireless keyboard with trackball, but the one you picked out would work fine as well. I also added a 300 GB USB external hard drive for media storage.

    All that is necessary to do assembly wise is to add the video card into the PC. You also have yo switch the mounting bracket on the video card to a low profile version which is included with the card.

    Also I noticed you did not include an operating system in your list which is $99 at newegg, but is included in the PC I referenced making the PC only $30!!

    The tuners usually come with a MCE remote, but I find using the above referenced remote works out better and has more flexibility.

    Last edited by rbinck; 02-14-2012 at 03:35 PM..
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    Old 02-15-2012, 08:35 AM   #4  
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    I agree with the need for a little larger power supply, especially since you intend to do a little gaming. I've had good luck with Corsair 400w PSUs which you can generally find on sale for as low as $30 (with rebates)for as much as you are planning. If you're only going OTA, you might be able to find some older ATSC tuners at a good price if you check around (I have an ATI HDTV wonder and a couple Avermedia 180s that are 5 years old and still working fine - but they aren't the small form factor you would need for that case.) Your choice of case indicates you want something that would fit in with your other home entertainment devices, but make sure it's large enough to accomodate everything you need.

    I think an AMD FM1 board with a llano cpu with built in video might be a good bet. The video is capable of some light to midrange gaming (depending on the chip you choose) and the combination would actually be better than what you are looking at. I built one that's running Win7 and MCE, recording OTA and games for smaller kids and it works great - I was really impressed with the chip.

    One thing for sure. Check the size of any component to make sure they'll fit the case (including lengths needed for cables).
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    Old 02-16-2012, 01:51 PM   #5  
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    Thanks everyone for the input.

    Great tips on the power supply, and size will be a factor...the back to front depth is critical since the case I listed is not terribly deep; some people report their power supply cables pressing against the back of the optical drive. I've debated between Llano and i3, and while both would do the job, the i3 gets better CPU grades in case I ever want to add a discrete video card.

    The gaming usage will be little or none. I'm not after high frame rates or a lag-free experience, just a little something to occasionally pass the time with mame (which runs fine on my lame 1.4 Ghz athlon).

    I was originally considering a regular case, and was scouting craigslist for a cheap system that met my needs, or just needed a few things like a tuner card. But the truth is that I'd like it to blend in with my other components and consume less power while keeping noise very low. Also, the i3's on-chip graphics will consume less power and cut down on heat.
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    Old 02-16-2012, 02:19 PM   #6  
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    If you want a little larger case that blends in check out the Antec NSK series. I have a 2480 that I've had for over 5 years that came with an Antec 380 80+ PSU that's still going strong and visitors don't realize it's a computer.
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    Old 02-23-2012, 11:54 PM   #7  
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    You specs look very good. You don't need a large power supply unless you are going to add a graphics card in the future. If not 300W is plenty of power.

    I would suggest not getting RAM with the heatsink fins on it. You won't really need them for this build, and its not worth the risk of them not fitting in the case.

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    Old 02-24-2012, 11:33 AM   #8  
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    teddy, my system is starting to get a little long in the tooth (2 years old), but I've had good success with the Antec Fusion Remote Black case, which is designed for MicroATX boards like the one you're considering, and the model I have has a 430w power supply (don't get the older one with a 350). Also think about getting an LG BluRay drive; mine plays back BluRays beautifully and your motherboard should do equally well. The nicest thing about this case is the number of quiet fans in it. It looks like a home theater rack component, and works fine enclosed in a cabinet with adequate ventilation. Only thing wrong with it is the hokey LCD which doesn't work as easily as it should. Everything else has been perfect. And it accommodates RipJaws RAM with heatsinks, no problem.

    Last edited by MadDogJMJ; 02-24-2012 at 08:13 PM..
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    Old 03-02-2012, 07:42 PM   #9  
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    I just built a computer I am using for Streaming Internet Video. I did not use a tuner because I dropped my TV Programming. I used a normal Computer Tower. I just set in next to the TV.

    Case Antec 300 - Purchased with Antec 430 watt Basiq power supply
    MB Intel BOXDZ68DB
    CPU i-5 2500K (I like faster Processors for future proofing)
    RAM Crucial Basic 8 Gig Kit (2X4)
    HD 500 Gig Seagate Barracuda Sata 6.0
    DVD 24X Lite-On DVD (Yes get a blu ray if you want)
    Monitor Samsung LN40C500 (Was a XMASS Sale Only 1 HDMI?)

    I had my TV hooked up using a DVI to HDMI converter with 720p Integrated Video on my old computer. It looked kind of Washed out. However, when I hooked up the New computer with just HDMI and the picture was clear as can be watching dramafever and viewing Historical Korean Shows.

    If you are going to play games with a high-end Video card you might need about a 500-650 watt power supply. I prefer not to overclock. That is why I Purchased an Intel Motherboard. Other brands might work better for overclocking. If you plan on encoding video then on the processor faster is better. Just depends what you want to pay for.

    I like the Intel 3000HD video. You might consider a processor with the 3000HD video. They make some i-3 processors with that now. I think if you use a Z68 motherboard you can use both the integrated video and the PCI-E video card. I dont really know how well this works as I have not tried it.
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