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My First HTPC (Build Log)

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Like most of us, I wanted to build something that was relatively inexpensive while at the same time putting together an HTPC that had a decent enough amount of power as well as storage. These are the components I went with:

SilverStone Grandia GD04B Case - $99.99

Rosewill Stallion RD400-2-SB PSU - $34.99

Gigabyte GA-880GM-UD2H Motherboard - $89.99

-With ATI Radeon HD 4250 GPU

AMD HDX545WFK2DGI Phenom II X2 545 Callisto 3.0GHz Dual Core CPU - $75.99

G.Skill F3-10666CL8D-4GBHK 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 PC3 10666 RAM - $46.99

Lite-On iHOS104-08 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Drive - $54.99

Samsung HD103SJ F3 Spinpoint 1TB - $64.99

Xigmatek Loki SD963 Heat Sink - $24.99

For a grand total of $492.92 before shipping.

As for the heat sink, I was a bit miffed after I saw that the processor didn’t come with its own heat sink/fan, so I reluctantly shelled out a little bit extra for the heat sink of the best value.


I will be running Windows 7 64 bit on this HTPC. I'm not counting the cost of the OS because it's something that I already have lying around the house. I haven't completely made up my mind about what software I will run, but I'm leaning toward XBMC; nothing is written in stone as I am still experimenting with other media center programs.

Future upgrades will be a TV tuner card for the PVR abilities; a second hard drive, preferably a 2TB; a media center remote/keyboard.

I'll be connecting the HTPC to a 63" Panasonic Viera Plasma TV via HDMI.

Any advice or suggestions are welcome! Thanks for taking the time to read my post!

PS - I just ordered the parts, so I have yet to receive them. Pictures are soon to come!
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post #2 of 17
Thread Starter 
THIS IS THE UPDATE! If anyone cares. The build is DONE!

It runs awesome! At idle, just sitting she runs at about 17-21 celcius. While simultaneously ripping DVD's, watching a movie and turning the ripped DVD's into an ISO format, the warmest she got was 31 celcius.

There were some doubts expressed by ericld that this set up wouldn't play 1080p videos as smoothly as I'd expect, but I have yet to have an issue. If I do, I'll report back with a discrete video card upgrade.

Enjoy the computer porn!

Packages!
DSC00379.jpg

I don't have a picture of the HDD or the CPU. I took this picture after I put the HTPC together, and they only came in OEM packaging. (OEM packaging = clear plastic clam shells)
DSC00389.jpg

A crappy picture of the CPU installed on the mobo.
DSC00382.jpg

I originally planned on using a Xigmatek Loki heatsink. Like a total n00b, I didn't compare the case specs with the dimensions of the heatsink. It was waaay too big.
DSC00383.jpg

Everything installed. Not the best wiring job. I'm a n00b.
DSC00390.jpg

Close up of the Big Shuriken fan. This is an excellent heatsink for this case.
DSC00391.jpg

About 15cm of clearance between the Blu-ray drive and the fan. I didn't take a picture of it, but there was plenty of clearance for the G.Skill memory I used. If you use something like the G.Skill ripsaw series or Corsair Dominator, you'll probably run into clearance issues unless you use the 3rd and 4th slots.
DSC00396.jpg

Everything installed from the back.
DSC00397.jpg

Everything installed from the front.
DSC00394.jpg

And here she is all buttoned up.
DSC00398.jpg
Edited by WolfmanJack - 2/13/11 at 10:04am
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Samsung Spinpoint F3 & F4 3TB total Lite-On iHOS104-08 Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 63" Panasonic Viera Plasma 
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Samsung Spinpoint F3 & F4 3TB total Lite-On iHOS104-08 Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 63" Panasonic Viera Plasma 
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post #3 of 17
No need for a Phenom II x3, an Athlon II x2 (or even a Sempron) is all you need.

I would still get an aftermarket cooler. the OEM coolers can be a touch loud sometimes (but you may get by with just the OEM).

Don't get that PSU. There are better ones out there for around the same price. The CX400 is $47 shipped and has a $20 MIR.

4 gigs of RAM is overkill, but since it is cheap, not a huge deal. If your really looking to save, just get this 2 gig stick for $20

For the Mobo, You could get this Gigabyte 880g board for $73 and it has a $10 MIR, and it also has a combo deal with 4 gigs of A-Data RAM for $97 ($87 after rebate).
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post #4 of 17
OEM cpu's come without HSF's........
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post #5 of 17
IMO, if you are not going to use a discrete GPU, I would go with an i3/i5 and a MB with an Intel HD Chipset. At least until AMD comes out with their Fusion processors (Llano). I would use this combo, or something similar.
post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by ericld;12270215 
IMO, if you are not going to use a discrete GPU, I would go with an i3/i5 and a MB with an Intel HD Chipset. At least until AMD comes out with their Fusion processors (Llano). I would use this combo, or something similar.

But why spend $50-100 more for the same thing (yea, not the same thing, but you know what I mean)?

Cheapest i3 is $130. Your combo witht he board is $219, + $20 for 2 gigs of RAM = $240

Or do this combo (board and 4 gigs RAM) for $109 + the i3 for $130 is $239 (- $20 MIR)

a X2 250 is $61, $97 for the combo board and 4 gigs of RAM = $158 (- $10 MIR)

Yes, the i3 is a better CPU, but for a HTPC, AMD performs just as well and costs less. Both can play HD video with onboard video without problems.

Now if the OP has a Micro Center nearby, they have some good combos on BOTH AMD and Intel (but AMD is still cheaper).
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post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by blupupher;12270413 
But why spend $50-100 more for the same thing (yea, not the same thing, but you know what I mean)?


Yes, the i3 is a better CPU, but for a HTPC, AMD performs just as well and costs less. Both can play HD video with onboard video without problems.
The i3 can do dtshd and dolbyHD. That is the only reason to go that way.
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post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by hick;12270452 
The i3 can do dtshd and dolbyHD. That is the only reason to go that way.

Did not know that. My 785g board is hooked directly to a basic LCD TV, so no "fancy" audio needed for me.

Can the ATI 5xxx series or Nvidia 4xx series cards do that, or is that the 6xxx and 5xx cards?
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post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by blupupher;12270623 
Did not know that. My 785g board is hooked directly to a basic LCD TV, so no "fancy" audio needed for me.

Can the ATI 5xxx series or Nvidia 4xx series cards do that, or is that the 6xxx and 5xx cards?

Ati 5xxx, Nvidia 4xx and above. The corei3 has (or maybe fixed) an issue with playing back 24p (blu-ray) @ 24p.
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WD blue 500gb cheap dvd-rw 7 x64 21" LG 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
KA-558 Antec TP-750 NZXT Gamma MX518 
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Xtrac Ripper 
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Athlon II x2 240 Biostar A870u3 2x2gb gb ddr1066 Samsung h154ui 
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Western Digital Blue 500gb dvd burner Windows 7 x64 Remote Desktop 
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Antec EA500-d Norco 470 Flexraid 
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Athlon II x4 620 ASUS M3A78-EM 5450 G.Skil 2x2gb DDR3 1600 
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Western Digital Blue 500gb none Windows 7 x64 46" lcd 
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post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
All parts were actually ordered before I posted. I picked the motherboard because it has an integrated ATI Radeon 4250 GPU which is capable of playing blu-ray. The memory choice was based on motherboard/memory comparability list on the Gigabyte website. I know the processor is overkill, but I may do some other things with the rig in the future that may require the power.

As for the OEM processor with no heatsink issue, I had no idea because this is the first computer I've ever built, so there ate still a few things I'm learning about ordering computer parts; mainly that you should read the entre description before you order it. From the reviews I've read on new egg about the heat sink I've chosen, I'm fairly positive it will adequately cool the processor during it's intended use.
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Samsung Spinpoint F3 & F4 3TB total Lite-On iHOS104-08 Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 63" Panasonic Viera Plasma 
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Rosewill Stallion 400W RD400-2-SB Fractal Design Fractal R3 
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Car Ramrod
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Samsung Spinpoint F3 & F4 3TB total Lite-On iHOS104-08 Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 63" Panasonic Viera Plasma 
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