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Help - Low Budget HTPC Build Suggestions

post #1 of 47
Thread Starter 
I am slightly new to HTPC's and I wanted to build one for under $300. I'm not planning on doing any gaming on it, but I will be steaming video and downloading P2P. I also want something that can play blue-ray with no issues. I don't want anything too powerful, but I also don't want something that will slow down when I am running more then one program. Any suggestions?
post #2 of 47
You can start off with something like this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131697

It's AMD Fusion, it has the CPU and GPU within the same chip under the heatsink. It should be good enough for you to do what you need including HD video playback. It is a dual core processor.

As for PSU, you can go for a fairly low wattage one, something like this will do fine: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817171046

What type of case do you want (form factor)?
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post #3 of 47
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the response. The looks of the case doesn't matter so much since it will be hidden away, I just don't want something so cheap that it falls apart over time (I have had a case do this to me in the past, it was really cheap though). The smaller the better, but I don't really have any space constraints so price and functionality are more important.
post #4 of 47
I would suggest getting a X2 250 over a E350. X2 + a Biostar motherboard is only $80ish and the performance increase is phenomenon.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/121?vs=328
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post #5 of 47
This will get you going, and leave some room for expansion.

Barebone system http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16856119059
Ram http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820146746
BDD http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827135247
HDD http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148321
OS http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116997


About $450, but you might be able to find some used stuff here. Newegg also has a lot more barebone systems to choose from.
post #6 of 47
The major cost item in your parts list right now would be storage thanks to the flood in Thailand, HDD prices are skyrocketing and as per what I read it would go even higher - article link.

Now IMO you have 2 options: either use a HDD from an old machine (if that is a possibility) or else wait for a while before you complete the build (if you have the time) - these prices will come down once supply is back to normal! But right now they are almost untouchable especially with the $300 budget you have in mind!

You could replace the HDD with a small capacity SSD (60GB or so) for the boot drive and then wait on the HDD prices to drop before you finish the build - but the cheapest one is around $70, might be a tight squeeze to fit that and the HDD (later) within the range of $300!

Without storage here is a build that might work for you:

Case : Silverstone ML03 - $59.99
APU: A4-3300 2.5 Ghz - $59.99
MoBo: ECS A75F-M2 FMI Socket - $49.99
PSU: Cooler Master GX 450W - $25.99
RAM: Corsair 4GB (2x2GB) - $19.99 (check MoBo compatibility on ECS site)
ODD: LG CD/DVD Burner - $16.99
OS: Win 7 Home Premium - $99.99 (Now it is $79.99 on sale on Newegg)

Total Cost (all inclusive): $310

Add another $60 for a 1 TB HDD when the prices are what they should be, and you would have basic HTPC, you will have to stretch your budget by at least $100 to get a half way decent system. If you can afford it you can add get a better case and a blu ray drive for around $100 more (highly recommended)!

I recently bought parts for my build (specs in the signature) - and I over shot the budget by around $150, but fortunately I bought my HDD 2 months back and got the 3TB listed for $149.99 (with promo code, other wise $179.99) biggrin.gif - and boy am I thankful I did that! Today the same HDD is $400 (whew...!):bonjeursmiley.png
Edited by Dad2David - 11/28/11 at 12:08pm
 
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HTPC 2011
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Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
HITACHI Deskstar 3TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s x 1 Patriot Memory PYRO 60 GB Solid State Drive Samsung 12x BD-ROM/16x DVD Writer Drive APU Stock Cooler 
OSMonitorPowerCase
Windows 7 Home Premium - 64 Bit Samsung 67-Inch 1080p LED Powered DLP HDTV CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 V2 430W ATX12V v2.... Antec Fusion Remote Black Micro ATX Media Cente... 
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post #7 of 47
Thread Starter 
Great, thank you. I have an older HDD that I will probably use for the time being just to get my system going. I had seen someone recommend this build on another site:

Case: APEX DM-3-A HTPC Computer Case Details
Motherboard: ASRock H61M-GE LGA 1155 Intel H61 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard Details
CPU: Pentium G620 Details
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) Details
BR-ROM Drive: SAMSUNG Black 12X BD-ROM Details

What are your thoughts on this build? Do you think it will be able to handle what I will be using it for?
post #8 of 47
The built in GPU on the AMD is much better than the integrated graphics on the G620 from what I have heard.
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Red Anarchy
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Samsung 32GB SSD (ESXi + ISO Images) Western Digital 250GB 7200 Sata (VMs) 3 x 750GB Segate Con ES Raid 5 none 
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post #9 of 47
For an HTPC build now I would definitely recommend a AMD Llano based build than a Intel based one! The reason being the IGP performance!
Quote:
The built in GPU on the AMD is much better than the integrated graphics on the G620 from what I have heard.
- that is true!

What he is saying is explained more in detail in this Tom's Hardware article, if you are so inclined please read it, you would see why a Llano based build is much more justified than an Intel based build especially when you are on a budget! This is the crux of that article -
Quote:
So, what’s the final verdict? Llano has the potential to introduce impressive graphics-oriented value to the low/mid-range market; this APU easily outclasses Intel HD Graphics 3000. - says the author

Reasons for the Llano suggestion:

1) Price: Both those CPU's cost pretty much the same the A4 is slightly lesser, but for that you are getting much better bang for your buck, in an HTPC, as you are mainly looking for a glorified media player! If the G620 was at least $20 cheaper then yeah! But if you are spending the same or more amount of money then why not a better APU??

2) IGP Performance: The integrated Radeon HD 6XXX series GPU fares much better than the HD 2000 or 3000 graphics, I'm and Intel fan when in comes to CPU power and an AMD fan when it comes to anything graphics, because its just common sense, an APU build with a single purpose of having better IGP (50% of Llano transistors are allocated to the GPU) would indeed have a BETTER IGP; than a CPU which is built to be powerful in other areas and vice-versa.

That IGP performance is what you want in an HTPC, unless you are planning one some serious gaming with this system! I just build mine with the A6, now that is a 100W processor, you don't need that the 65W A4 linked above is more than enough and less power hungry, the graphics on these machines are awesome, it is by no means a powerful system, like a Core-i7 , i5 or even an i3, but that is all you need for an HTPC, unless this is going to be an all purpose computer which doubles up as an HTPC!

But to answer your question:
Quote:
What are your thoughts on this build?
- I think the Llano platform is a better choice!
Quote:
Do you think it will be able to handle what I will be using it for?
- Absolutely, an Intel Atom based system would also be able to handle most of it, and would be cheaper too. The point is if you plan to spend close to $70 on a CPU alone, then I would spend that on the Llano for the better graphics it provides!
Edited by Dad2David - 11/29/11 at 1:43pm
 
HTPC 2011
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD A6 - 3650 APU ECS A75F-A FM1 AMD A75 AMD Radeon 6530 HD Graphics - Integrated with t... Kingston HyperX 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRA... 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
HITACHI Deskstar 3TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s x 1 Patriot Memory PYRO 60 GB Solid State Drive Samsung 12x BD-ROM/16x DVD Writer Drive APU Stock Cooler 
OSMonitorPowerCase
Windows 7 Home Premium - 64 Bit Samsung 67-Inch 1080p LED Powered DLP HDTV CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 V2 430W ATX12V v2.... Antec Fusion Remote Black Micro ATX Media Cente... 
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YAMAHA RX-V671 7.1-Channel Network AV Receiver Logitech Harmony One Remote 
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HTPC 2011
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD A6 - 3650 APU ECS A75F-A FM1 AMD A75 AMD Radeon 6530 HD Graphics - Integrated with t... Kingston HyperX 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRA... 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
HITACHI Deskstar 3TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s x 1 Patriot Memory PYRO 60 GB Solid State Drive Samsung 12x BD-ROM/16x DVD Writer Drive APU Stock Cooler 
OSMonitorPowerCase
Windows 7 Home Premium - 64 Bit Samsung 67-Inch 1080p LED Powered DLP HDTV CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 V2 430W ATX12V v2.... Antec Fusion Remote Black Micro ATX Media Cente... 
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YAMAHA RX-V671 7.1-Channel Network AV Receiver Logitech Harmony One Remote 
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post #10 of 47
If you don't mind buying used parts, then I suggest this below for total < $300 shipping especially hard drive price is very expensive right now.

http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=M57P-SFF-C2D233-MAR-2R&cat=SYS

http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?InvtId=LNPAP100T-FB&cpc=RESX

http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=HD4650-PCIE-1024-3-PB&cat=VCD
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