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Budget HTPC

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi Folks,

I haven't posted for a while and the reason I am now is to seek your help in building a new HTPC - something I've not done before..

I've got a number of CPU/Mobo combo's currently available (nothing flash) and what I was hoping to do was use one of them for the foundation of a HTPC/Media PC.

This is what I currently have:

- AMD Athlon II X2 260 - 3.2Ghz & Asus M5A78L-M Motherboard (RAM NEEDED)
- AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200 - 2.2Ghz & Gigabyte GA-M61PME-S2P Motherboard
- Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 - 2.4Ghz & Gigabyte GA-945GM Motherboard

I'd like to use the lowest spec one possible and then use what I have left over to setup at least 1 dedicated folding rig. Which one do you think possesses the minimum specs to run a Media PC and play 1080P video? (taking into account I will buy a dedicated GPU)

Following on from this, I need to buy a case, RAM for the X2 260 setup (if chosen), a dedicated GPU, 3TB HDD and a worthy PSU. I want to hook this up permanently to my TV in the front room (HDMI Connection) and use it just to play movies/TV Series and be almost permanently on (downloading new content where applicable).

I'm building this for as little cost as possible but I want it to work so if it means paying an extra $20 on a GPU to ensure it does, that isn't a problem.

Could you please recommend the minimum requirements above based on the components available and components needed and if possible, suggest a good place for me to acquire these? I'm based in Western Australia.

If there are dedicated software options for Media PC's that could also be recommended, I'd welcome suggestions. Totally new to this game so any help is really appreciated in advance. :-)

EDIT - I have a surround sound system that I'd like to hook up to the system via an optical cable too - Suggestions on accomodating this also would be welcomed.
Edited by Galg - 11/19/13 at 7:00am
post #2 of 7
HI,

The Core2 will play 1080p nicely with a dedicated GPU. As for software, I use XBMC!
    
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post #3 of 7
Any of those should work fine if you throw in a GPU like a nvidia 610 and run linux, if it's only media you store look into openelec. I would use either the athlon 2 or core2. For the optical out i used this since it takes the audio from hdmi and outputs it through hdmi/toshlink/coaxil, i also had other devices that i wanted the sound from to. Also if you need ram 2gb should be fine if you run linux.
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post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Great, thanks for the replies.

Do you think the Athlon 64 X2 would handle it, perhaps if I overclock it somewhat prior to use? Glad to hear 2GB of Ram and a Geforce 610 will run the HD video. Would I be wise to get the 1gb or 2gb version?

Reference the audio solution you mentioned "cones", would it not just be easier/cheaper for me to get a sound card with an optical output?

Cheers
post #5 of 7
I use a 1gb card and have no issues, I was using an older single core athlon then that before with my GPU and my only issue was a lack of ram. Remember I was not using windows for this. If one of the CPU's doesnt work good for you you could also switch one. Yes a sound card would work to, I used that solution because I had other devices I wanted the sound from also.
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My System
(21 items)
 
Server/HTPC
(11 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD 8320 Asus m5a99fx pro EVGA 660ti  Gskill 8GB F3-1600C9-8GXM x2 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
4GB x2 OCZ Agility 3 Sasmsung 840 EVO Western Digital Caviar Blue 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOptical DriveCooling
Seagate 500gb Asus DRW-24B1ST Asus BC-12B1ST cool master hyper 212 evo 
OSOSMonitorMonitor
Windows 10 Pro x64 Arch  Asus 23" VH238 Asus 23" VH238H 
PowerCase
Corsair CX600M Fractal Design Define R5  
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
i3 6100 Asus Z170M-Plus something 16gb DDR4 Western Digital 200GB 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOS
Western Digital 1TB Samsung 2TB Western Digital Red 3TB Centos 7 
OSPowerCase
Ubuntu Server - VM Corsair CX430  Cooler Master HAF 912 
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post #6 of 7
I would recommend AMD Athlon II X2 260 - 3.2Ghz & Asus M5A78L-M Motherboard and that's because I have an Athlon II X2 255 & ASUS motherboard (I forgot model, but it's a bit better than yours). It works perfectly even though you could probably go with the other Athlon and still be able to handle what you need. However, you will probably upgrade that HTPC much sooner.

A 1GB video card shouldn't have any problems... I think I was even running a 512mb card and never had problems. However, if the price difference is minimal go with the 2GB.

This card might even do the job:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814131338
Edited by Sodalink - 11/23/13 at 2:02pm
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post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks Sodalink for the advice. I might have a play around with the processors and see which one I end up using.

I bought all of the other components as well. Ended up going with a Corsair VS 350 PSU, Gigabyte GT610 1GB card and an Asus Xonar 5.1 card. I'm going to build it this weekend so will let you know it goes :-)
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