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Discussion Starter #1
Here is what I am planning on getting for an HTPC/NAS build. I have read the various threads on the matter including Malveaus info. I need some suggestions for the PSU since i have no experience with the lower wattage stuff - just the high wattage stuff for workstations and servers. Any comments welcome.

Edit - i think i found a good PSU choice. Again any comments welcome as to my choices.

CPU: AMD Callisto

Board: Gigabyte

RAM: KVR 1GB, get 2 gigs to start i figure.

PSU: How about this OCZ one?

HDs: Ordered 2x2TB hitachis from the egg since they were on sale for 140 each. I know they are likely going to be noisier than the Greens but hey they were on sale.

Case: Picked up a black brand new Minitower at a garage sale this am for 8 bucks. Could not find a brand name for it. I'll post some photos later on tonight.
 

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You could bump down to this if you wanted to. This would still let you add a decent video card at some point if you felt it necessary (not a ATI 5870 or GTX480 or anything like that though, more like a mid range card 5750-ish). Personally I'd hesitate to go "budget" on any of the cheaper offbrand 300-350W PSUs because I'd be nervous running them 24/7 for months. I'd make sure the minitower accepts full size ATX power supply as well.
 

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Yeah man. Sweet lookin build. Looks like a great Mobo and you can posibly unlock that proc. Unlock and overclock FTW
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the comments. I am wondering if i will need to go with a mATX board however since the case has room for only 4 pci expansion slots in the back - e.g. 4 blank spaces.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yep its a mATX case. I measured the tray and similiar cheap ones on the egg appear to go for around $20-30





 

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Heya,

The only thing that really matters for your HTPC/NAS is basically how much you can take care of with minimal hardware. A solid motherboard is the key. The one you selected is great, it has the HD4200, which is a wonderful HTPC GPU. It handles all media just fine. There's zero need for adding `video' anything to it short of a capture card (for TV/CABLE/SATELLITE/etc input). However, it is a large motherboard. You don't need the extra space unless you anticipate a lot of expansion for the NAS side of your project.

That said, here's some suggestions:

1. The Gigabyte GA-MA785GM-US2H has the HD 4200 GPU and everything you need for a good HTPC/NAS. It's also mATX, so it will fit in a smaller case.

2. The CPU you selected is fine, but it's nearly $90 for a dualcore that is just 3.1Ghz. This is overspending for your needs, and actually, not giving you anything more useful over a much cheaper dualcore. I'd suggest the Regor 240 2.8Ghz for $58. Zero difference in performance for what your machine will be doing, uses less power, and saves you about $30 to put towards something else more useful.

3. Your memory selection will cost you $50 basically for 2G. Well, with the savings above, you now can go to 4G: OCZ 4Gb DDR 800 for $80 (cheaper if you do the MIR, but I don't include MIR when I look at prices). It's not completely necessary, but the extra memory is nice depending on whether or not you'll be using a 64bit OS or not (Win7 x64?).

4. The 2TB hitachi is perfectly fine. It's going to be noisier than a green, but that's ok if you're not right next to it. For the price, that's a lot of storage. So it depends how you will use it. Will you be using both for storage, or is one going to be a redundant copy of your data? I suggest redundancy simply because high capacity is a lot to lose when you get a bunch. One of my HTPC's has 7TB of data, so naturally, I want redundancy so I don't lose all that data and have to spend weeks reloading it all. You may not need it, but I still suggest it simply because it's a pain to reload things. You can go with RAID1 for the drives (easy), or you can go with something like Fbackup (or simply manually copy the same data to both drives and have complete control over them). Whatever works for you. Or if this is not an issue or need, just toss them in and enjoy having 4 TB of storage for all your media and data. Lastly, I generally recommend you have an OS drive separate from your big storage drives. A small SSD would be ideal, but expensive (that way your thumbnails and seeks are super fast making it really smooth and nice feeling). Otherwise, any medium capacity 7200rpm drive will do the job. I suggest this because OS drives sometimes need to be wiped, formated, reinstalled, etc, and it's nice to have it separate from your data so you don't have to worry about losing things.

-- That minitower you picked up is actually a Rosewill. I have the exact case, and I even put the exact motherboard I just linked in it. It's a very good case for it's price, and in your situation, it was nearly free. Great catch. The PSU you selected is great too. You don't need a lot of power. A 400Watt PSU is more, and I mean MORE than enough for your needs. The machine will use about 115 watts at full load. Add a bit more (7 to 10 watts per HDD added beyond the two you currently have in it). This will never even use half the rated power of a 400+ watt PSU. Unfortunately there are no cheap low wattage PSU's. So getting something 400W to 600W is perfectly fine. I definitely suggest keeping a modular supply to minimize cables and keep things neat. Also, if you ever worry about noise, look into alternative PSU options, but for the cost, a nice OCZ modular one like you selected is fine.

Oh, and depending on what software you end up using, I really suggest Mediabrowser. It's the easiest and nicest I've found so far that integrates into Windows Media Center. It allows the mounting of .ISO image files (DVD, etc). The thumbnail capture and extra stuff it grabs from the IMDB is fantastic too. Also, it perfectly lets you have all your collection from several different HDD's show up in one place without having to change directories or sources, etc. It's fantastic. Just name the video files (folders or .ISO images) to be the same as the movie on the IMDB and it will automatically do the rest near flawlessly (out of like 700 movies, maybe two had to be renamed in my experience to match it with the correct version of the film I was trying to add).

Welcome to HTPC life!

Very best,
 
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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the detailed info. Your posts have all been very informative. With regards to the Hitachis, one of them is going to backup my photos, videos and other important files and then go into storage. I'll manually backup to this drive periodically. The other will reside in the case. The NAS portion is really going to be an archival device for nightly or weekly backups of my photos (the most important function) so i dont lose any photos ever again and movies, tv shows etc. This way i will have multiple copies - one on the sig rig workstation, 2 HDs in tucked away, and the NAS/HTPC to which i can add additional drives as needed and as they go on sale/capacity increases. I have added a WD 640 Blue to my wishlist at the egg - this will be the OS drive and even a DVR drive down the road if i desire. My DVD rips are stored as ISO which i mount with daemon tools lite on the workstation. Most likely do the same with the HTPC.

Question on the RAM - quantity is more important than speed/type e.g 4 gigs of DDR2-800 betteran than 2 gis of ddr3 1333???

Also since you have this case - will the OCZ PSU fit in the case?

As the Build list stands now (changing the cpu to your suggestion and i changed the board to an Asus mATX):
Regor
Asus Board
OCZ PSU
WD Caviar Blue
Hitachi 2TB
RAM

I may go with a wireless N connection for the box. I have a DLink Wireless N PCI card sitting around.

Now the only hitch that i can see is the TV which is not a new one. Its an old 35 in Tube so no HDMI/DVI connections.
 

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Quote:


Originally Posted by lsudvm
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Question on the RAM - quantity is more important than speed/type e.g 4 gigs of DDR2-800 betteran than 2 gis of ddr3 1333???

Also since you have this case - will the OCZ PSU fit in the case?

As the Build list stands now (changing the cpu to your suggestion and i changed the board to an Asus mATX):
Regor
Asus Board
OCZ PSU
WD Caviar Blue
Hitachi 2TB
RAM

Now the only hitch that i can see is the TV which is not a new one. Its an old 35 in Tube so no HDMI/DVI connections.

Heya,

Note, the motherboard you selected is perfectly fine. The only thing I'll point out is the audio chipset being VIA instead of Realtek. This may not matter to you, but to some it may matter. Personally I would still recommend the Gigabyte over the Asus.

As for your RAM question: it doesn't matter if you're using DDR2 or DDR3. You will not see any difference what so ever. There's no difference in productivity work, games, etc. If you google/bing some `ddr2 vs ddr3' comparison reviews, you'll see that there's just no reason to use DDR3 other than it's finally the same cost as DDR2 and a lot of new motherboards use it. So in terms of what to get, get what's cheapest and what works with your build plan. In some cases, DDR2 is actually more expensive than DDR3. Quality matters of course, but really not nearly as much as you may think for this type of computer. You just need something that works for a HTPC/NAS. High quality RAM is more important in builds where overclocking is going to be the goal. That's not your goal, so again, go cheap and get something decent (DDR2 or DDR3, truly doesn't matter).

The case will fit any normal sized ATX class PSU. It'll work fine.

Issue:

Having an old TV with no DVI/HDMI can prove to be a problem. That means you cannot do audio over HDMI which means you now need an audio receiver that takes optical/coaxial if you want to benefit the 5.1 audio of DVD/Bluray (or DTS). Or, you'll just need to hook up the speakers to your computer (perfectly fine to do that). In other words, clearly cannot pass audio to the TV. This also means your TV has low resolution. Lower than will be functional for OS use. The resolution will likely be something like 800x600 at best. This will have next to no impact on DVD playback. It'll look fine. The only place it will really impact is on Bluray (if you dabble in that) and HD content that is high resolution (like downloaded material, streaming material, etc). This TV resolution will hinder a lot of what a HTPC can do, which is be a functional computer using a TV as a screen that you function with. As it is, what kind of connection does this TV even have for input? If it takes coaxial/s-video, which I expect it does, then most of what you're doing here is pretty much not going to be worth while. This means you'll need an additional videocard that has s-video output or AV(coaxial) output. That just takes away from the point of getting a motherboard with the HD4200 GPU for example.

If none of that deters you and you still want to attempt this, the easiest way to deal with the low res of the TV while using it as a monitor will be to have a LCD screen as the primary display on the HTPC, with the TV connected as the second display with the desktop extended. You can mix resolutions in Windows just fine. Control the HTPC via the LCD, but put your media player software to be full screen on the TV's display portion.

Overall, I really would suggest a much better TV (something with good resolution, 720p or 1080p and of course, HDMI capability) if you're to really get into HTPC. It's going to be more expensive and less comfortable to use if you're fiddling with extra addons just to get old enough output tech to use a really old TV. You'd probably be even better off getting a similar sized LCD instead of using that TV for example. Lots to consider here.

Very best,
 
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Discussion Starter #10
I should have mentioned that i will be getting a new TV when i move (which in turn depends on getting a residency). But in the meantime, i will go ahead with build for the network storage use and in anticipation of the new tv.
 
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