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First Time HTPC Build - DIY or Barebones

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I have been out of the pc building for a while.
Last one I built was my old gaming machine back in 07.
Great machine, but to much and to loud smile.gif
I have been doing some research all morning, but there is so much tech out there, I am not sure what might be overkill, what might not be enough, etc.

I now have a dedicated media room. Basically, here is what I am wanting to.

Straight Media, no gaming.
Ability to use a remote, and wireless keyboard.
No need for blueray, but I do want to make sure I pumping out HD
strictly watching movies from my collection, netflix, youtube.
I will have a receiver that is 7.2 surround sound. This will feed into that.

Now, I was looking at the Asrock mini/barebone pc line (Visionx, HT, etc). I was thinking of going that route to save me the trouble, but looks like I will pay more going that route. Plus some of the reviews on newegg are not that great.

Can I build something with solid processor (i3, i5, i7) and enough ram so that the machine is snappy, no lag, playback HD content, use a remote, etc.....for cheaper than a prebuilt Asrock unit?

I would like for this thing to be quiet. My gaming pc has a monster of a CPU cooler (forget which one been to long) which makes the thing so dang loud.
5150
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i7 920 Asus P6T Deluxe V2 EVGA GTX 260 Core 216 SC 3x2 Cosair 
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5150
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post #2 of 10
You'll have to decide on a budget and form factor before anyone can help you, there are too many choices. Based on the description of your needs a Pentium G3220 would be great and an i3 4130 would be awesome. If you got a case that was roomy and ventilated enough, and used an SSD for the OS storage you could easily get away with the stock Intel cooler for CPU and no other fans which would keep it quiet.
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Core i3-3225 Ivy Bridge ASUS P8H61-I R2.0 On Board HD Graphics 4000 G. Skill Ripjaws X-Series 
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Silverstone MILO ML05B 
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RONIN
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Aquastein
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Crucial M4 128GB SATA III Win 7 Pro 64 bit 60" Samsung Plasma HD Plex 250 watt 
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Silverstone MILO ML05B 
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Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Samsung: 840 Pro 128GB SSD WD: Black 500GB 2.5" Hitachi: Slim Optical Blu-ray drive XSPC: 120mm Radiator 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
XSPC: Raystorm series CPU & GPU waterblocks Laing: DDC-1T pump Bitspower: 150mm Reservoir (Ice Blue) EK, Bitspower, & Monsoon fittings 
CoolingCoolingOSPower
XSPC: 3/8" ID X 5/8" OD flexible tubing Monsoon: 3/8" X 1/2" Acrylic hardline tubing Win 7 Pro OEM 64-bit Seasonic: SS-460FL Fanless / Modular PSU 
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Fractal: Node 605 
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post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Ya, for whatever reason, I did no think of just using my gaming PC.
I dont use it for anything anymore.

I just need to find a nice quiet CPU cooler for that i7 I have smile.gif
5150
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5150
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post #4 of 10
An APU would work fine, same as the i7 but it's overkill.
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My System
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4GB x2 OCZ Agility 3 Sasmsung 840 EVO Western Digital Caviar Blue 
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Seagate 500gb Asus DRW-24B1ST Asus BC-12B1ST cool master hyper 212 evo 
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Windows 10 Pro x64 Arch  Asus 23" VH238 Asus 23" VH238H 
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Corsair CX600M Fractal Design Define R5  
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i3 6100 Asus Z170M-Plus something 16gb DDR4 Western Digital 500GB 
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post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by lardo5150 View Post

Straight Media, no gaming.
Ability to use a remote, and wireless keyboard.
No need for blueray, but I do want to make sure I pumping out HD
strictly watching movies from my collection, netflix, youtube.
I will have a receiver that is 7.2 surround sound. This will feed into that.

Can I build something with solid processor (i3, i5, i7) and enough ram so that the machine is snappy, no lag, playback HD content, use a remote, etc.....for cheaper than a prebuilt Asrock unit?

Sure you can. Assuming 3D Blu-ray is not part of the requirements, even a lowly $50 Celeron G1820 (comparable to Core 2 Duo E8600) will do the job. Heck, desktop Haswell Core i3's are at least on the level of a Core 2 Quad Q6600 in multi-threaded operations and siginificantly faster in single-threaded ones. For simple 1080p media playback, we've had an excess of CPU power for years (not considering ARM, Atom or Brazos/Zacate). For snappy and lag-free operation, I find an SSD helps more compared to bumping up CPU/GPU/RAM. You're gonna need a Core i3 or discrete GPU for 3D Blu-ray, though.

Not really all that familiar with AMD APU offerings since Intel's lower max power consumption works better for my Mini-ITX builds.
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post #6 of 10
I have an AMD APU A8-5500. It's got 4 "cores" and is way overkill for just media. I was playing tf2 all high at 1920x1080 on my tv for testing purposes and it stayed a constant 60 FPS. A low grade APU (which are about $50) would be more than enough for your purposes. I'm going to assume an i3 would do it as well. Netflix, hulu, youtube use mostly cpu to play, so I had trouble on my previous board/cpu/gpu combo. It was a 1.6 ghz dual core and i could play videos fine when they used the GPU, but flash uses cpu. hulu recommends at minimum 2 ghz dual core for example.
post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by herkalurk View Post

I have an AMD APU A8-5500. It's got 4 "cores" and is way overkill for just media. I was playing tf2 all high at 1920x1080 on my tv for testing purposes and it stayed a constant 60 FPS. A low grade APU (which are about $50) would be more than enough for your purposes. I'm going to assume an i3 would do it as well. Netflix, hulu, youtube use mostly cpu to play, so I had trouble on my previous board/cpu/gpu combo. It was a 1.6 ghz dual core and i could play videos fine when they used the GPU, but flash uses cpu. hulu recommends at minimum 2 ghz dual core for example.

Flash and Silverlight (Netflix) can be hardware accelerated now. That said, dual-core 1.6 GHz but what architecture? Because that matters a lot. Even the Athlon 64 X2 Brisbane is better clock for clock compared to earlier Atoms and Brazos/Zacate. Iirc, CPU utilization on my Celeron E3300 2.5 GHz Wolfdale prior to hardware acceleration of Silverlight was just around 20% playing back Netflix and Hulu HD. A $50 Celeron G1820 2.7 GHz Dual-Core Haswell will make child's play of Flash and Silverlight video playback.
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post #8 of 10
It was on win 7, but yeah, it's a dual core atom. Wasn't great, but played all things via xbmc with gpu hardware acceleration.
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by herkalurk View Post

It was on win 7, but yeah, it's a dual core atom. Wasn't great, but played all things via xbmc with gpu hardware acceleration.

I've got a bunch of dual-core Atom and ION builds (primarily because it was better than VIA and those were pretty much the only options for M-ITX a few years back). Gotta say, it's a pretty poor performer even with an SSD. Clock for clock, core for core, a Celeron Conroe with just 1MB L2 cache is around 1.5-2.5x as fast as Atom (Diamondville). I reckon Intel's lowest Haswell desktop CPU and AMD's lowest Richland desktop APU will run circles around your old Atom and should have absolutely no problem with Hulu, Netflix and YouTube. Heck, if an iPad can handle the video, so will any new modern CPU.
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G.SKILL Phoenix Pro 120GB Windows 7 Ultimate x64 Silverstone ST45SF 450W Silverstone Sugo SG05B 
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Core i7-860 Biostar TH55B HD MSI GT 240 1GB GDDR5 Kingston 2x2GB DDR3 1333 
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post #10 of 10
Its why i got an apu for my htpc upgrade.
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