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My first forway into an HTPC

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Greetings everyone, been scouring the threads in the HTPC section and am in need of some specific advice concerning my first HTPC build.

Earlier today a few members of my family and I were watching a movie (True Grit). We were watching it by means of a Western Digital My Passport USB 3.0 drive connected via HDMI to a Samsung Plasma with its native USB 2.0 ports. Basically if you pause the movie (or any piece of video content for that matter) the audio becomes out of sync with the video. This happens with basically anything we watch. It dawned upon me that my family and I are consuming our media at a post modern rate, WE NEED AN HTPC and I am going to build us one.

Now, as far as my expertise goes I can recommend parts for a basic system all the way to the most uber elite gaming rig. But when it comes to HTPC's I'm not so confident. I understand the purpose of an HTPC, that is to essentially playback almost all media formats, stream content over the internet or ones own network, to "surf the web" from ones own couch, etc.

These are my needs:

*Playback of HD content 720p, 1080p
*Support for as many possible file formats as possible
*HTPC case with decent airflow
*Dedicated GPU of some kind (to run emulated console games)
*Windows OS (at least that's what I think I want)

But where to begin? Like a child who knows not the value of a dollar, I know not what is overkill and what is underkill concerning HTPC specs.

Case: Perhaps

will do?

MOBO: Concerning the MOBO I'm at a loss. I'd prefer to go with Intel. With that being said do I go H67, P67 or Z68?

Memory: I'm telling myself at least 4GB of anything right? I like Corsiar and Gskill memory when I make gaming rigs personally.

CPU: Again confused. Would something within Intel's second gen Core i series suffice? If so, then what? i3 (too wimpy?), i5 (just right?) or i7 (overkill?).

GPU: I seen this was recently released. Powerful enough to playback HD content and those emulators I enjoy?

PSU: Anything modular would make my life easier as I am a bit of a neat freak when it comes to cable management. As far as wattage, the EVGA card I suggested above recommends at least 300W. So I figure if I double that I may be in the clear @ around 600W+?

HDD: I just figured something like a Western Digital 2TB Cavier Black would do.

I won't be in need of any fancy home network streaming of any kind either. Just the box as it sits by the televisions side. Part of the reason I want a dedicated GPU is also because I plan on using the HTPC to run the Wii emulator known as "Dolphin". Wii games end up looking surprisingly good in 1080p.

Much obliged,
Jinto
post #2 of 5
That case looks sound, Looks like its got plenty of fans e.c.t so it should be good for airflow.

I3 second gen should be perfectly fine to run it but for safety sake and as they arnt much more would get a i5.

4gb of ram is plenty but you could allways add more on a later date if you feel like it requires more but would defo say 4gb is a good starting point get some corsair xms3 as it would do the job perfectly.

Silverstone Strider Modular 600W for the powersupply

And the westen digital hdd would be fine have a look at the samsung f4 2tb it might be slightly cheaper and it will be better too.
post #3 of 5
I believe even a Pentium G620 ($64 1Ku) is more than fast enough for HTPC use. The 2c/4t Core i3-21xx is just right while the 4c/4t Core i5-2xxx is already overkill. However, given the cheapest i5, the Core i5-2300 costs only around $50 more than the i3, I'd be inclined to go with the i5.

Go Z68 for the mobo. It's not that much more expensive than H67 and it's around the same price as P67 while you get support for both integrated graphics and overclocking.

If you're planning on PS2 emulation, then go Core i5-2500K. Even with one running at 5 GHz, you'll probably still find games/scenes that don't run fullspeed without speedhacks. A wimpy video card won't do you any good either. Something with oodles of memory bandwidth is preferred, particularly if you use high scaling.
Edited by rui-no-onna - 6/11/11 at 9:42am
Garnet
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Core i7-860 Gigabyte GA-H55N-USB3 EVGA GTX 460 1GB GDDR5 Kingston 2x4GB DDR3 1333 
Hard DriveOSPowerCase
G.SKILL Phoenix Pro 120GB Windows 7 Ultimate x64 Silverstone ST45SF 450W Silverstone Sugo SG05B 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i7-860 Biostar TH55B HD MSI GT 240 1GB GDDR5 Kingston 2x2GB DDR3 1333 
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Garnet
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Lucifiel
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Metatron
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CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
Intel Core i5-3450S Intel DQ77KB Corsair 16GB DDR3 1600 SO-DIMM Samsung 830 256GB 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Crucial m4 256 mSATA Samsung 840 500GB Intel BXHTS1155LP Windows 7 Ultimate x64 
KeyboardCaseMouse
Logitech K800 Lian Li PC-Q05B Logitech M570 
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Core i7-860 Gigabyte GA-H55N-USB3 EVGA GTX 460 1GB GDDR5 Kingston 2x4GB DDR3 1333 
Hard DriveOSPowerCase
G.SKILL Phoenix Pro 120GB Windows 7 Ultimate x64 Silverstone ST45SF 450W Silverstone Sugo SG05B 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i7-860 Biostar TH55B HD MSI GT 240 1GB GDDR5 Kingston 2x2GB DDR3 1333 
Hard DriveOSMonitorPower
Intel X25-M 120GB Windows 7 Ultimate x86 Samsung 22" Antec EA-380D 
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post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rui-no-onna View Post
Go Z68 for the mobo. It's not that much more expensive than H67 and it's around the same price as P67 while you get support for both integrated graphics and overclocking.
Looking at what Newegg has to offer in terms of Z68 mATX boards and the pickings are slim. mATX is what most people use for HTPC's right? I mean, is Mini ITX too wimpy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rui-no-onna View Post
If you're planning on PS2 emulation, then go Core i5-2500K. Even with one running at 5 GHz, you'll probably still find games/scenes that don't run fullspeed without speedhacks. A wimpy video card won't do you any good either. Something with oodles of memory bandwidth is preferred, particularly if you use high scaling.
What GPU would you recommend? Are you saying that EVGA GeForce GT 520 is too weak?
post #5 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinto View Post
Looking at what Newegg has to offer in terms of Z68 mATX boards and the pickings are slim. mATX is what most people use for HTPC's right? I mean, is Mini ITX too wimpy?
I don't think you'd see Z68 Mini-ITX at this time (although I believe at least Gigabyte and Zotac have plans to release one). As for Mini-ITX being wimpy, only if you plan to push high overclocks and require more than one expansion slot. As you can see from my sig rig, I'm running an i7-860 paired with a GTX 460 and that's probably faster than a lot of folks' gaming rigs. However, there's no rule saying you have to use Mini-ITX or microATX for HTPC's. The motherboard choice is usually dictated by the case you want to use and the peripherals you want to install (GPU, tuner cards, sound cards, etc). My recommendation, decide first what things you need to install on the HTPC - # of hard drives, expansion cards, etc and find a case that can accommodate your desired components. After that, find a motherboard that has the necessary number of SATA ports, PCI/PCIe slots, etc that will fit inside your case.

Here's an excellent guide featuring HTPC's of various performance, form factors and price points. Runs the whole gamut - Intel, AMD & Nvidia. It's a bit dated (you'd need to pay for the latest version), but basically you just replace the LGA-775, LGA-1156 and LGA-1366 options with LGA-1155 Sandy Bridge.
renethx's Buyer's Guide to Building a Home Theater PC - December 2010

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinto View Post
What GPU would you recommend? Are you saying that EVGA GeForce GT 520 is too weak?
For PCSX2? Definitely. There are games it wouldn't be able to handle even at native resolution. My GT 430, which is probably nearly twice as fast as the GT 520, already can't cope with more difficult areas in some games. If you're only planning on using it for ePSXe or the like, the GT 520 is plenty.
Garnet
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CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
Intel Core i5-3450S Intel DQ77KB Corsair 16GB DDR3 1600 SO-DIMM Samsung 830 256GB 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Crucial m4 256 mSATA Samsung 840 500GB Intel BXHTS1155LP Windows 7 Ultimate x64 
KeyboardCaseMouse
Logitech K800 Lian Li PC-Q05B Logitech M570 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i7-860 Gigabyte GA-H55N-USB3 EVGA GTX 460 1GB GDDR5 Kingston 2x4GB DDR3 1333 
Hard DriveOSPowerCase
G.SKILL Phoenix Pro 120GB Windows 7 Ultimate x64 Silverstone ST45SF 450W Silverstone Sugo SG05B 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i7-860 Biostar TH55B HD MSI GT 240 1GB GDDR5 Kingston 2x2GB DDR3 1333 
Hard DriveOSMonitorPower
Intel X25-M 120GB Windows 7 Ultimate x86 Samsung 22" Antec EA-380D 
Case
Rosewill R101-P-BK 
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Garnet
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Lucifiel
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Metatron
(13 items)
 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
Intel Core i5-3450S Intel DQ77KB Corsair 16GB DDR3 1600 SO-DIMM Samsung 830 256GB 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Crucial m4 256 mSATA Samsung 840 500GB Intel BXHTS1155LP Windows 7 Ultimate x64 
KeyboardCaseMouse
Logitech K800 Lian Li PC-Q05B Logitech M570 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i7-860 Gigabyte GA-H55N-USB3 EVGA GTX 460 1GB GDDR5 Kingston 2x4GB DDR3 1333 
Hard DriveOSPowerCase
G.SKILL Phoenix Pro 120GB Windows 7 Ultimate x64 Silverstone ST45SF 450W Silverstone Sugo SG05B 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i7-860 Biostar TH55B HD MSI GT 240 1GB GDDR5 Kingston 2x2GB DDR3 1333 
Hard DriveOSMonitorPower
Intel X25-M 120GB Windows 7 Ultimate x86 Samsung 22" Antec EA-380D 
Case
Rosewill R101-P-BK 
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