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Also building first HTPC, need some recs on components

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I've built two PCs recently (like within the past 10 months), planning to build my first HTPC.

What I've bought/chosen so far:

- Case: Silverstone GD06 - Modelling my build after one I saw in MaximumPC
- OS : Windows 7 64-bit OEM Home Edition - Don't need Pro, don't think I need Ultimate either.
- PSU: Silverstone ST70F-ES 700 Watt - Again modelled after the HTPC I saw in Maximum PC
- Optical Drive - Blu Ray 3D Reader.
-Secondary HD - WD Green 3 TB drive. Seems just a nice amount of space/dollar for media, should be fast enough.

Needs/Usage of HTPC:
Anyway, what I plan to do with this HTPC: Hook up the audio/video to my Onkyo Receiver (605), use it to watch Blu Rays movies (and eventually 3D Blu rays, at which time I will have to replace my HDTV and possibly receiver as well), stream hulu, youtube, veetle, espn, etc. MAYBE some gaming if the mood hits me to use my HDTV as a monitor (I actually already have a pretty nice gaming rig). Watch digital movies on the big screen as well (WMAs, MKVs, MP4s, etc.). I'd also like to be able to control basic play/pause functions for most video programs with my Logitech Harmony One Remote.

Anyway so I need help with these:

IR Receiver - Do I need one? or is there one already built in? if so, any recommended ones that will work for my needs?

Mobo - The current build recommends a Asus Maximus IV Micro ATX mobo which is about $190. It looks sweet, but honestly I don't plan to OC this thing, ever. Any recommended mobo that can roughly do what I need without costing as much as this one? I think the only real extra is a possibly USB 3.0 header for the USB 3.0 ports on the case.

VGA - MSi 560 Ti - used in build, I read nothing but good things about this graphics card. So sounds like it's a good deal even for the price.

Ram - Corsair Vengeance (2x4) - The build recommended the dominator series, but again since I never plan to OC this thing, probably this will be better bang for my buck?

CPU - Not sure where to go here, the build uses a i5-2500k, but again I don't plan to OC. Given what I'm gonna do? should I go i5-2500? 2400? 2300?

Sound Card - Surprisingly the build did NOT use a sound card because the graphics card inputs Dolby True HD through the HDMI. However, what about streaming movies? and things on windows media player, mkv player, etc. is onboard good enough? or will that already go through the HDMI? should I buy a sound card to at least have optical/coax audio output? Recommendations?

Primary HD - SSD 120 GB, build recommends a Corsair version, but I can get the same size SSD from OCZ for much cheaper. May go that route.
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post #2 of 20
Since there is not much difference between the i5-2500, 2400 and 2300, I'd pick the cheapest one. Clock speed does matter, but I don't think it would affect your HTPC performance. As for the SSD, you might have a look at the Crucial M4 128GB, very good performance and with a lower price tag. OCZ ones are good too. For RAM, why not the 1.25v G.Skill Sniper?
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post #3 of 20
hmmm.. well by the sounds of it your mostly going to be streaming, watching blu-rays and video/ audio files, sounds like your not sure if your going to be gaming on it.

Cpu: Assuming that you dont game, you could go with a i3-2100 (or a similar i3 series) since most home theater things dont use much processing power. but even with games an i3 still a pretty powerful cpu for the price (around 0-5 fps difference over an i5 in games).

GPU: again assuming that games aren't being used, for a htpc an option you could look at is integrated graphics to cut down on heat and power usage. the integrated graphics (intel hd2000 or 3000) is more then enough to play full hd playback with no issue smile.gif If you must get a gpu typically (from last time i was building a htpc) ATI was a good choice for them as most their htpc HD playback didnt have any stuttering issue that can be found on some Nvidia gpus as well as ati uses less power.

mobo: since your not going to be overclocking look at H67 boards, personally ive used an asus P8H67-M EVO as a htpc and server and it has been really dependable. When paired with the EPU for power saving it clocked the 2500k i have on the board to 1.6ghz, was usually drawing less then 30 watts during playback and i believe less then 5-10 watts idle. If your on a real budget theres the h61, which lack RAID, and typicly have less ports but it still have usb function, and video out functions.

Hope this helps, these are mostly suggestions and not saying you must thumb.gif


Posting this mostly as food for thought, biggrin.gif For my HTPC i went with a Asus P8H67-M EVO, 2500k (using integrated), the main poupose of my build was a low power server that was energy efficient and also could be use on my TV. Overall it performs very well and actually for a cooling i run the whole system passively with out any fans running. Eventually i did "upgrade" to a z68 ( gigabyte Z68XP-UD3-iSSD) since i wanted to try out SSD cacheing.
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post #4 of 20
As for the sound. All of your sound will pass through the HDMI to your receiver. There is no need for a sound card.

I think you will find that you will game on it quite a bit. There are certain games that I prefer to play on my HTPC (batman, alice, etc). It looks like an expensive build for a HTPC but it should be an awesome rig. The 2400 should be fine, I've actually considered upgrading mine to the 2400 as well.

As for the jerky playback I have not experienced that except for 24fps movies. You need to create a custom resolution that uses 23.976 I think it was.
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post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
-So it seems like if i pick up the 560 Ti VGA (which has HDMI video/audio out), assuming it's going to a receiver, I don't need the sound card. That's good.

-Going with that, I think I'm gonna use the i5-2400 or even 2300 CPU, stock cooler, and that ASUS P8H67-M EVO mobo. Seems like a pretty good way to save some money and still get good specs for what I plan to use this machine for.

- I was also looking at that HP IR Receiver (That cheap $30 one), seems recommended for Logitech Harmony One users...anyone here have good experience with it...I want to just be able to use my remote to play/pause video on the machine for XBMC, Youtube, Hulu, WIndows Media Player, etc. Being able to turn on/off the machine would be nice too, but if not, no worries.

- Ram - So just go with cheap, cheap ram since I'm not gonna OC at all?

- my only worry about this current set up is if playing Blu Ray movies...will the thing get super loud?
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post #6 of 20
It should not get loud playing blu-rays, on a system like that it's not very taxing. Get cheap RAM, 4GB is plenty but 8GB will work as well.

Did you decide on a blu-ray drive? Mine bit the dust last night so I need to order a new one.
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post #7 of 20
I've been pondering a HTPC build myself. I found this board in a combo on newegg, and it does what a HTPC needs. I never considered a graphics card, but I don't plan on gaming on it at all. Maybe web browsing from the couch. As for the Harmony remote, yes you will need some sort of IR receiver. You can find a cheap USB one on amazon. Win 7 should pick up the device and then you can configure with whatever program you're using. I was looking at a sandy bridge celeron CPU for mine, but again, I'm never gaming, so a quad i5 isn't horrible either. 8GB ram is cheap, I was planning on it cause it was only $5 more for the cheapo gskill ram between 4 and 8 GB. If you're planning on using a high quality receiver, then you may want to get a sound card. I was also looking at that case, looks nice, little pricey though for my taste...
post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
Just curious for HTPCs do you guys just use your remote control with an IR receiver? or do you actually get a wireless keypad/keyboard/mouse?
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Tron
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post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by gspin2k1 View Post

Just curious for HTPCs do you guys just use your remote control with an IR receiver? or do you actually get a wireless keypad/keyboard/mouse?

Having tinkered and build for others casually (HTPCs) there are several options

1. Use the IR Remote that came with your TV card
With some editing in the irremote.ini file you can let that remote control other apps

2. BT/RF wireless kb/mouse combos - more ideal for heavier typing, USB interface also means u can set HTPC to S3 sleep mode and wake up via USB. Granted some fail in this area so research ones that are good to go if this matters to ya biggrin.gif The iPazzport in my sig is good to go with windoze and linux S3 sleep wake up. From my experience go with RF as the range is better and one need not be within line of sight to operate HTPC

3. IMON remote : allows to actually power up your HTPC (in shutdown mode) by the remote. Comes in a bay/remote package though some higher end HTPC casings integrate this as a solution tongue.gif

Lastly the guys have a great point:

4. If u merely want to stream digital files, 3D Blu ray eventually and act as media server to clients at home : Tricore Llano/A55 mobo/2-4GB RAM

5. Heavier encoding functions : i5 2300 and Z68 (if using dedicated GPU to enable Quick Sync) and 4-8GB RAM
Edited by trog - 3/1/12 at 7:57pm
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post #10 of 20
I built two of my HTPC's with gaming in mind just in case so i use a keyboard/mouse combination myself.
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