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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone, my friend Chris would like to build an HTPC in which he will be connecting to his new 42" LCD HDTV, and has asked me to help him pick out parts. He's very computer savvy, but less so on the hardware end of things.

His budget is pretty adamant at $300, which I realize is a very, very tight budget, but I know it's workable.

I would like your suggestions on a few options for a build. If you would like, spec out a computer with and without a hard drive so we can see what we can get with the extra money from not getting one.

All components will be needed, and obviously, a motherboard with HDMI and onboard video is a must. I have no Intel/AMD preference, as this isn't really an enthusiast build.

Thank you for the help OCN!

I'm having trouble deciding if it's even possible to go the DDR3 route or not, seeing as it's just as expensive as DDR2. I'll definitely share my input, but I need a good starting point please. Also, please use newegg as much as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
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Originally Posted by TheJack View Post
Here's one that is 306...doesn't include case or power supply, but the main components are there. I'll look to see if there can be a decent build with those two in there. 300 is VERY LOW
Take out the video card and get a motherboard with hdmi via integrated graphics and go from there.
 

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Would a case matter? I don't know about you, but when I get around to making my own HTPC, I want a case that lets it fit in with DVD players and other video stuff found in an entertainment center.
 

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$300 would seem near impossible to do without buying used parts (with OS).
 

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What capabilities does your friend expect to get for $300? Is he more interested in playing streaming media, like Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, etc. or "archived" media like .avi & .mkv files?

If they wish to play archived files, I would consider purchasing a stand-alone media player, like the Patriot Box Office. For streaming media... even a very barebones configuration would definitely strain the budget, and would probably force you to choose components that would severly limit expandability of the system.

If your friend is interested in a "full fledged" HTPC down the road, they would do well to invest a bit more at the start so that you can purchase a larger hard drive for just a few extra $$, higher quality components that will improve reliability & ease of use, and maybe even start with a Blu-Ray capable optical drive rather than dropping ~$30 for a DVD±RW drive that will later be replaced.
 

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Athenatech A3603BB.400 Black Steel MicroATX Mini Tower Computer Case 400W Power Supply - 41.99 - solid case with a 400watt power supply

AMD Athlon II X2 240 Regor 2.8GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache AM3 65W Dual-Core Processor - 58.99 - decent low-power dual core

MSI 785GTM-E45 AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - 69.99 integrated HD4200 graphics that can play HD video like blu-ray and 1080p. also has an expansion for pci-e x16 2.0

G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 800Mhz ram - 49.99 - 2gb of ram from a reputable and reliable ram company

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" har drive - 54.99 - 500Gb of storage for movies, music, games, tv series and w/e else you wanna store

LG Black multi purpose DVd burner - 25.99 - typical DVd burner

TOTAL - $301.94

IF he wants to spend a little more he could get a blu-ray burner for about$100 more(subtract $26 for the dvd burner and add 129 for the blu-ray burner)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
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Originally Posted by the_milk_man
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Athenatech A3603BB.400 Black Steel MicroATX Mini Tower Computer Case 400W Power Supply - 41.99 - solid case with a 400watt power supply

AMD Athlon II X2 240 Regor 2.8GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache AM3 65W Dual-Core Processor - 58.99 - decent low-power dual core

MSI 785GTM-E45 AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - 69.99 integrated HD4200 graphics that can play HD video like blu-ray and 1080p. also has an expansion for pci-e x16 2.0

G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 800Mhz ram - 49.99 - 2gb of ram from a reputable and reliable ram company

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" har drive - 54.99 - 500Gb of storage for movies, music, games, tv series and w/e else you wanna store

LG Black multi purpose DVd burner - 25.99 - typical DVd burner

TOTAL - $301.94

IF he wants to spend a little more he could get a blu-ray burner for about$100 more(subtract $26 for the dvd burner and add 129 for the blu-ray burner)

Killer man, exactly what we were looking for!

No OS needed I believe, but yeah, that's perfect.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by the_milk_man View Post
IF he wants to spend a little more he could get a blu-ray burner for about$100 more(subtract $26 for the dvd burner and add 129 for the blu-ray burner)
Newegg has a Bluray reader for $60. I don't know what drive he'd prefer at the end of the day, but IMO a bluray reader is WAY more beneficial than a DVD burner. And since he's going to have an HTPC anyway, it's cheaper to pay $60 for a BD drive than it is to pay $300 for a decent standalone player.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by the_milk_man View Post
Athenatech A3603BB.400 Black Steel MicroATX Mini Tower Computer Case 400W Power Supply - 41.99 - solid case with a 400watt power supply

AMD Athlon II X2 240 Regor 2.8GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache AM3 65W Dual-Core Processor - 58.99 - decent low-power dual core

MSI 785GTM-E45 AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - 69.99 integrated HD4200 graphics that can play HD video like blu-ray and 1080p. also has an expansion for pci-e x16 2.0

G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 800Mhz ram - 49.99 - 2gb of ram from a reputable and reliable ram company

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" har drive - 54.99 - 500Gb of storage for movies, music, games, tv series and w/e else you wanna store

LG Black multi purpose DVd burner - 25.99 - typical DVd burner

TOTAL - $301.94

IF he wants to spend a little more he could get a blu-ray burner for about$100 more(subtract $26 for the dvd burner and add 129 for the blu-ray burner)

This is perfect for a decent HTPC. The 240 Regor is a nice compromise between power and power use, and the 4200 graphics on the 785 chipset is more than enough for HTPC duty. Build off milkman's ideas and you're all set.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
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Originally Posted by Manyak View Post
Newegg has a Bluray reader for $60. I don't know what drive he'd prefer at the end of the day, but IMO a bluray reader is WAY more beneficial than a DVD burner. And since he's going to have an HTPC anyway, it's cheaper to pay $60 for a BD drive than it is to pay $300 for a decent standalone player.
Oh yes, I completely agree. Due to budget constraints, he cannot get one now, but may in the future. He already has a DVD burner to use to install the OS.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by jouno53 View Post
Oh yes, I completely agree. Due to budget constraints, he cannot get one now, but may in the future. He already has a DVD burner to use to install the OS.
Well there you go then, he can put aside the $30 for the disc drive he doesn't have to buy, and then whenever he gets another $30 to spend get a bluray drive instead.
 

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I'm so glad that you are considering using my build!


I was at work and I felt like I wanted to help someone(since my tech support line hadn't gotten a call all day....) and I saw your thread and I decided to go to work! I love putting together computer builds for fellow OCN'ers.
 

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Quote:


Originally Posted by identitycrisis
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What about this Supercombo? was just poking around newegg and noticed it...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboB...t=Combo.304695

Cant get much closer than that. LOL

Would be great if you can trade the HD 4670 for a case. It's on the edge of overkill for HTPC, unless gaming is a primary interest--then it's underpowered for most modern games if the goal is to run them with playable framerates at 1920x1080.
 

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Not much help, I know, but I always thought about buying a used laptop for a mini HTPC that won't be doing HD playback, but will be perfect for streaming Hulu, ABC.com, netflix, etc. Most laptops have some sort of video out and you would just need a USB IR receiver to control it with a Harmony. Hmmmm.........
 

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Quote:


Originally Posted by EvilGenius007
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Would be great if you can trade the HD 4670 for a case. It's on the edge of overkill for HTPC, unless gaming is a primary interest--then it's underpowered for most modern games if the goal is to run them with playable framerates at 1920x1080.

Good, point, I figured having that extra horsepower for the 1080p content couldn't hurt.

I myself and going through the "want to build/have an HTPC" again and notice it. Unfortunately i'm not very in tune with ATI graphics cards, so i wasn't too sure on the performance, thanks for the insight, even if this isnt my thread. LOL
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks guys. As for that super combo, yes, I would definitely trade the 4670 for a case, which would essentially make the build much like the one the_milk_man suggested earlier, but no worries, you helped!

He does currently have an HP laptop, that has a 2.0ghz Turion CPU and integrated nvidia 8200graphics with HDMI, but for some reason it jumps on HD video, not sure why. He'd rather conserve its life, however, and get an HTPC since he's on the go a lot.
 
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