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Super low budget htpc

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
my mom currently needs a htpc to watch cheap tv rips (rmvb)
budget is 150-300$
already got os, keyboard, mouse, speakers, hard drives, video card, psu (big?)

need case, cpu, motherboard, memory, remote control
itx, m-atx form factors preferred
current cpu in mind: e-350 and sempron

also help me find the cheapest, most user-friendly remote control if possible

thanks
post #2 of 12
Antec Basiq BP430 for $20 AR on newegg
Sempron 140 or Athlon II x2
Cheap AMD board with HD4200
2GB stick of generic DDR3
$40 9800GT
Antec 300 or something cheap.
post #3 of 12
  • Case: Cooler Master Elite 360, $40
  • MB: Biostar A880G+, $55
  • CPU: AMD Athlon II X2 255 3.1 GHz, $63
  • RAM: cheapest 1.5V 4GB DDR3 kit you can find, $40 (it's only like $10 diff going from 2GB to 4GB)
  • Remote: Logitech Harmony 300, $30 + MCE IR receiver, $5~10 (ebay)
  • TOTAL: $233~238
I don't recommend Zacate (E-350). I have one and the CPU is just too slow in cases where GPU hardware acceleration isn't supported. RMVB, in particular, is one of the problem formats. Hmm, is that for like Asian Drama or something? I can tell you from experience that Atom/Zacate + subs + non-DXVA compliant video = frustration.
Edited by rui-no-onna - 5/4/11 at 6:49am
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post #4 of 12
Sent you a PM that might help you out.
    
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post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rui-no-onna View Post
  • Case: Cooler Master Elite 360, $40
  • MB: Biostar A880G+, $55
  • CPU: AMD Athlon II X2 255 3.1 GHz, $63
  • RAM: cheapest 1.5V 4GB DDR3 kit you can find, $40 (it's only like $10 diff going from 2GB to 4GB)
  • Remote: Logitech Harmony 300, $30 + MCE IR receiver, $5~10 (ebay)
  • TOTAL: $233~238
I don't recommend Zacate (E-350). I have one and the CPU is just too slow in cases where GPU hardware acceleration isn't supported. RMVB, in particular, is one of the problem formats. Hmm, is that for like Asian Drama or something? I can tell you from experience that Atom/Zacate + subs + non-DXVA compliant video = frustration.
+rep to all
yeah rmvb is used to watch chinese drama from tvb
thanks for the heads up on the slow cpu
im also thinking about using it a download pc to download 24/7
and she only watches maybe 1-2 hours a day
maybe i'll go with the sempron for less power consumption

as for the logitech harmony, so it needs to buy another parts to use windows media center?
post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by tat098 View Post
as for the logitech harmony, so it needs to buy another parts to use windows media center?
Yes, you need the IR receiver from a MCE remote. You may be able to find one on ebay but you can usually find a MCE remote (with receiver) for under $20 on the egg. You dont need the Logitech as long as she doesn't mind turning the tv on/off with a seperate remote.
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post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by tat098 View Post
+rep to all
yeah rmvb is used to watch chinese drama from tvb
thanks for the heads up on the slow cpu
im also thinking about using it a download pc to download 24/7
and she only watches maybe 1-2 hours a day
maybe i'll go with the sempron for less power consumption

as for the logitech harmony, so it needs to buy another parts to use windows media center?
You can probably ignore the TDP difference between the Sempron and Athlon II X2. Actual power consumption shouldn't vary greatly. I don't recommend the Sempron (or any single core) as you might find yourself facing the same issues as with Atom/Zacate.
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post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rui-no-onna View Post
You can probably ignore the TDP difference between the Sempron and Athlon II X2. Actual power consumption shouldn't vary greatly. I don't recommend the Sempron (or any single core) as you might find yourself facing the same issues as with Atom/Zacate.
currently testing the speed of single core on my phenom be 555 (unlocked to tri-core before)
comparing my opinions of tricore and single core

so far it seems pretty good
cept lagging a little when windows first starts for the first few mins

multitasking is great on windows 7
watching 720p is super smooth
it feels nothing has changed
however when i looked at windows task manager it's running at 60%-100% most of the time

just waiting for the price drop or when the next bargain is available

another thing i seem to have trouble is what's the best hptc media center software??
im currently trying windows media center right now but im having trouble playing .rmvb and .mkv files on it
any helps appreciated
post #9 of 12
The fact that you're already seeing 100% CPU usage in some cases is not good. What if you encounter even more demanding video? Then you'd have to deal with stutters, etc.

Uninstall all codecs and splitters (aside from Microsoft defaults), and install Shark007. Also, for RMVB, best stick to 32-bit. I don't think there's a decent Cook Audio codec available for 64-bit. ffdshow has a decoder but it's buggy. If you're using 64-bit Windows, what you can do is install Media Browser and have it launch a 32-bit external player (I recommend MPC-HC) for RMVB files. You'd have to edit MPC-HC settings to make it more remote-friendly, though. If you don't want to use external players and just want to use WMC's native, internal player, you'd need to stick to a 32-bit OS. That's one of the reasons I'm still using Windows 7 32-bit on my HTPC's. I do have 7x64 installed on another partition and when all the codecs I need get working 64-bit versions, then I'll switch.
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G.SKILL Phoenix Pro 120GB Windows 7 Ultimate x64 Silverstone ST45SF 450W Silverstone Sugo SG05B 
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CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
Intel Core i5-3450S Intel DQ77KB Corsair 16GB DDR3 1600 SO-DIMM Samsung 830 256GB 
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G.SKILL Phoenix Pro 120GB Windows 7 Ultimate x64 Silverstone ST45SF 450W Silverstone Sugo SG05B 
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Core i7-860 Biostar TH55B HD MSI GT 240 1GB GDDR5 Kingston 2x2GB DDR3 1333 
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post #10 of 12
Would something like a Celeron E3300 work well? They are fairly inexpensive. That seemed to be the choice before the i3 came out.
    
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Hard Drive
2x Intel X25-V RAID-0 and 1 Seagate 750GB SATA 
  hide details  
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Q9550 stock Intel DP35DP 8600 GTS Extreme Overclock 8GB DDR2-800 
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