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First time HTPC Build - Looking to Cut Cable

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone,

Long time reader (years) first to writer from Ontario, Canada. I've decided to cut cable and I've come to the conclusion that an HTPC is the way to go (Roku/Boxee Box don't seem to cut it anymore). I was hoping I could get some ideas and opinions from the more learned contributors.

Cost:

Approximately $500 - $600 CAD.

Purpose:

The purpose of this HTPC is so I can cut cable TV entirely.
It will be used for viewing Netflix, Youtube, and channel sites such as Global TV, Nick.com, Family.ca, etc.
It will store and view hundreds of high dev movies and more will be recorded at a regular clip.
It will not be used for hardcore gaming. Gaming will be limited to what the wife finds on Facebook or similar games the kids find on their channel sites.

Requirements:

The HTPC will be wired to a high def TV via HDMI cable (currently 720p, but will be upgraded in the future)
It should be wired to the internet router, however Wifi capabilities are needed as well (see below).
It will be controled using a wireless keyboard/track ball.
Must be able to play Bluray/DVD.
Should have a number of media readers.
Needs to be relatively small.

What I've got:

I found a very useful build from StayFrosty on an earlier thread here: http://www.overclock.net/t/1326215/planning-an-htpc-build. I've used this build as a basis for my current build ideas.

My current build idea is here: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/nJSk

I would greatly appreciate if I could get some suggestions on this build. Would this work, at this price point, for what I'm looking for? Is this perhaps too much for our needs although we're trying to future proof? Does anyone have any better ideas?

Thanks very much, everyone.

Groove
post #2 of 23
Get an A4 or A6 cpu at the most.
Windows 7
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Got Cheap?
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Antec EA500-d Norco 470 Flexraid 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Athlon II x4 620 ASUS M3A78-EM 5450 G.Skil 2x2gb DDR3 1600 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Western Digital Blue 500gb none Windows 7 x64 46" lcd 
KeyboardPowerCaseAudio
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post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 
Hi Hick,

Thanks for the suggestions on the CPU. I picked windows 8 because it costs just as much as windows 7. Does it make a difference?

Updated with your suggestion:

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/nLlg

Anyone else have any thoughts?

Thanks,

Groove
Edited by Groovicles - 11/14/12 at 5:53pm
post #4 of 23

For me the case is fairly important to look good and an htpc is nice if the case comes with a remote for windows media center.. Can usually be programed for other apps as well. Silverstone has some very nice htpc cases with remotes, but hey are $500 alone.

 

How were you planning to plug this into your tv?  A DVI cable? or just ethernet. Personally I would get a board that would allow you to use an HDMI out to your TV from your PC. Usually that will carry both an audio signal and a video signal to your TV and Home Theater system at the same time.If you use DVI you will need to run a seperate set of audio cables or a digital audio cable to an amp.

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post #5 of 23
I would avoid cases that include power supplies as they are usually of a very low quality. As for Windows 8 no, it'll actually be a tad faster than Windows 7, you can get Windows 8 for $40 from Microsoft directly and put the saving towards better parts.

Good luck! thumb.gif
post #6 of 23
The most important part of this build, believe it or not, will be the case and cooling. Assuming of course that you want something classy, small, low maintenance, and silent. This is all very subjective so I'll let you figure this part out on your own or you can give us some of your preferences so we can make useful suggestions.

Just about any modern processor with on-board graphics will do everything you desire.

As for memory, there is really only one smart option here - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820147094 (pick up a second stick if you intend to double this HTPC as a server of some sort. Personally my HTPC doubles as a minecraft and terreria server).

A high quality passive PSU, or PSU with the ability to run with the fan off until it reaches a certain load level, would also be a nice touch. Remember, quality is important here, not wattage, this rig won't be pulling more than 200 watts, pretty much ever.

A SSD for the boot drive is a great way to cut out the bulk of hard-drive clicking, and make everything feel real snappy.

The only other thing that matters is your hard drives for media storage. Get the cheapest, biggest things you can find. Preferably a "green" or "eco" series. You don't need speed here.

As for OS? I'd suggest windows 7 simply because you know everything will work. Windows 8 is bound to have growing pains for at least a few months. Other than that, 8 would be fine. Even your linux distro of choice would work assuming flash and silverlight support (for streaming)
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Arcane
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Kingston HyperX T1 Intel X25-M WD Caviar Black FASS Plextor M5S 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveOptical Drive
WD Velociraptor WD Caviar Black FALS Sony DVD Burner w/ Lightscribe LG Bluray + HDDVD 
CoolingCoolingCoolingOS
Black Ice GTX 360 Black Ice GTX 240 Panaflo High Speed - Push-Pull w/ shrouds Windows 7 Pro (64) 
OSMonitorMonitorKeyboard
Ubuntu (64) X-Star DP2710 ASUS VK266H Black 25.5" 2ms LCD X-Armor U9BL (Mech) 
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Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
WD Caviar Green EARS 2TB Vertex Turbo 60GB (SSD) Samsung Blu-ray, Samsung DVD Burner H50 (With push/pull nocturas) 
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post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your reply's, everyone.

Hi Hooded,

I wanted to use HDMI to connect the HTPC to my TV. I was actually under the impression the motherboard had HDMI output, but now that I'm looking at it again I don't believe it does. Do you have any suggestions?

Hi StayFrosty:

Thanks for the Win 8 suggestions, I didn't even consider getting it from MS directly. Do you have any suggestions on a case and power supply? For the case, I'm hoping for a discret look. Nothing with flashing strobe lights, but easy enough for me to put everything in (considering this is actually the first build I'm doing myself in years)

Hi Zero4549,

Thanks. I am definately looking for something a small, low cost and silent case. I'm not picky on how classy the case looks, but I'd like it to be relatively discret. Do you have any suggestions on a PSU and case combination? Any suggestions for the SSD? I was looking at a large HDD (currently looking at 2TB). I didn't consider it didn't need to be fast if I'm pairing it with an SSD. I've never actually had a computer with a separate SSD. How would I set up the HTPC to boot? SSD first? Would Win 8 be on the SSD then? Any suggestions on a good SSD?

Thanks very much for your input everyone, it is really appreciated.

Groove
post #8 of 23
@OP check out the silverstone Sugo Sg05, it comes with a 300w psu
post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 
Hi NomNomNom,

Thanks for the suggestion, but it seems like that particular case is discontinued. Can't find it for sale anywhere.
post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone,

Based on everyone's suggestions, this is what I have so far: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/nOyD

Component Selection Base Price Promo Shipping Tax Price Where
CPU AMD A6-5400K 3.6GHz Dual-Core Processor $69.98 FREE $69.98 NCIX US Buy
Motherboard MSI FM2-A55M-E33 Micro ATX FM2 Motherboard $49.99 FREE $49.99 Amazon Buy
Memory Samsung 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory $35.99 FREE $35.99 Amazon Buy
Storage Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive $89.99 FREE $89.99 Amazon Buy
Plextor M5S Series 64GB 2.5" Solid State Disk $49.99 FREE $49.99 Newegg Buy
Case Apevia X-Master Black/Silver HTPC Case w/500W Power Supply $69.99 -$20.00 $9.99 $59.98 Newegg Buy
$20.00 mail-in rebate
Optical Drive Lite-On ihes112-04 Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer $54.99 FREE $54.99 Newegg Buy
Keyboard IOGEAR GKM581R Wireless Standard Keyboard w/Trackball $29.95 $6.95 $36.90 Adorama Buy
Base Total: $450.87
Mail-in Rebates: -$20.00
Shipping: $16.94
Total: $447.81

I'm not entirely sure on the case and power supply, though. Anyone have any other suggestions for changes/additionals/removals?

Thanks very much everyone, we really appreciate your input.

Groove
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