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Old 09-12-2011, 04:17 AM
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Default Having Questions on HTPC Build

Hey everyone, I need a bit of advice because I'm not too savvy when it comes to buying hardware for certain applications, I guess I'm more of a software kinda guy. Anyways I have decided to cut the cord from the cable company and build a HTPC solely for streaming our favorite tv shows once they go online, as well as using netflix for the rest.

The build I have right now is:

Case: XION HTPC Series XON-810PCB-BK Micro ATX / Mini ITX Slim Desktop HTPC Case W/ 450W Power Supply

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811208038

Graphics: XFX GT-240X-YAFA GeForce GT 240 512MB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814150553

Sound: DIAMOND XtremeSound XS71DDL 7.1 Channels 24-bit 96KHz PCI Interface Sound Card

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16829111002

OS: either Boxee or Windows 7 Ultimate

Remote: Rosewill WMC Remote control/Rcvr RRC-127 for Win 7

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16880101003

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819115037

Mobo: Micro ATX Asustek P5GC-MX 1333FSB

http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Int...75/P5GCMX1333/

RAM: 2GB DDR2 Kingston



Is there anything I should forgo and or replace something on here with something else? I don't need anything too fancy and I and going for cheap rather than performance here. Think this will work for my needs? Thanks for any responses!
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Old 09-12-2011, 03:40 PM
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Personally I would go with Win 7 Pro 64 and 4 GB of RAM, but 2 GB is fine.

I'm not sure what you are doing for hard drives, but from experience using my laptop as a DVR I would go with at least 1TB maybe more.

Not too sure about the PSU. I think I would go with a 5-600 watt just to be safe. I have used ABS and OCZ in the past with good results. Spend the extra for a modular PSU if you can.

I would go with an Amd (Ati) card, but that is a personal preference.

You can't go wrong with an Asus board and the Wolfdale is a beast.

The big thing is checking the reviews.
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Old 09-12-2011, 05:09 PM
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It all depends on your htpc needs (hdmi, blu-ray, tv tuners, using extenders?, etc).


Here are links to really good htpc resources:

http://www.missingremote.com/
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forumdisplay.php?f=26
http://experts.windows.com/frms/wind...home/f/87.aspx
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Old 09-12-2011, 07:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Rodgers View Post
Personally I would go with Win 7 Pro 64 and 4 GB of RAM, but 2 GB is fine.

I'm not sure what you are doing for hard drives, but from experience using my laptop as a DVR I would go with at least 1TB maybe more.

Not too sure about the PSU. I think I would go with a 5-600 watt just to be safe. I have used ABS and OCZ in the past with good results. Spend the extra for a modular PSU if you can.

I would go with an Amd (Ati) card, but that is a personal preference.

You can't go wrong with an Asus board and the Wolfdale is a beast.

The big thing is checking the reviews.
Well I don't have cable so I am not planning on recording anything, plus I am doing this on the cheap so I'm not too worried about perfect graphics or anything. I also don't really want to buy Win7 just for it because it adds another $100+ to it and keeping this sub $200 is what the wife would appreciate!

I did read that the GTS240 sips power and recommends a 450W for the card, I was just curious if anyone had any experience with it.

Also just to clarify I already own the CPU & mobo so those are not changing, but I just wanted to see if this thing will work.

Oh and I also have a wireless keyboard & mouse already so I might forgo the remote if it doesn't work out.
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Old 09-12-2011, 07:34 PM
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What TV do you have?

Edit: And do you have a blue-ray, speakers, etc.

Last edited by ATTech; 09-12-2011 at 07:39 PM.
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Old 09-12-2011, 08:00 PM
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I have a 37'' Vizio, I don't know the exact model off the top of my head but we bought it last year around this time. No on the blue-ray and yes on the speakers, we have a full surround sound system.
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Old 09-12-2011, 08:18 PM
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If cost is a major factor, I would look into some of the ITX ASUS boards. They're usually sub $200, and include NVIDIA GPUs, Atom CPUs. Very low profile (and low cost), but still with a decent amount of power, particularly with the dual core Atom's. I have the AT5IONT which has a dual core Atom, HDMI out, 8-Channel Audio and USB 3.0. The disadvantages is there isn't much room to expand. Memory is limited to 4GB, and it only has one PCI-X slot. They're pretty ideal for HTPCs and I even got a case that uses a power adapter (like a laptop), instead of a traditional PSU, to limit the noise and power consumption.
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Old 09-12-2011, 09:23 PM
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If you're REALLY trying to keep costs down, I'd be looking at something like this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811154062

Could still shave a bit off the cost if you're willing to go with a standard tower case, but not much. And while 275W may not sound like much, it should be plenty for a true HTPC system.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813130556

Basic MSI micro ATX MB

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819116348

I know a dual-core Celeron sounds like it's pretty chincey, but this is an HTPC we're talking about. They require VERY little processor power. I've been running mine (plus actually recording TV with a dual tuner card) with an even less powerful CPU and it's worked great for 3-4 years now.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820134790

Basic 2GB Kingston DDR3, they're cheap enough, it won't make much difference if you choose to get 2 of them.

Win7 Ultimate would be a major waste on an HTPC, Home Premium would be perfectly fine.

The onboard sound on the MB would be plenty unless you're a serious audiophile, or if you need specific connectors for your speaker system which aren't available on it.

For video, that's a big question. It will depend mainly on 2 things. 1) What connection options are available on your TV? And 2) What kind of resolution are your video files in. For me, I encode/download everything at 640x480 (640x360 for widescreen) or less to save space on the HDD. If you do the same, then the onboard video will be fine as long as you bump the system RAM up to 4GB. If you like your video at higher resolutions, then you'll want a discreet card similar to the one you've already chosen. Personally, I'd go with just the onboard for the initial build (assuming your TV will accept a DSub connection), then you can always add a discreet card later if it's not to your liking.

The components I've listed come to a combined total about $30 less than the CPU alone in your list, so you can guess why I'd go this route.

Add a HDD appropriate for your storage needs and the remote you've picked, and you're ready to go.

Last edited by norm1320; 09-12-2011 at 09:28 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old 09-12-2011, 10:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ender07 View Post
Case: XION HTPC Series XON-810PCB-BK Micro ATX / Mini ITX Slim Desktop HTPC Case W/ 450W Power Supply

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811208038

Graphics: XFX GT-240X-YAFA GeForce GT 240 512MB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814150553

Sound: DIAMOND XtremeSound XS71DDL 7.1 Channels 24-bit 96KHz PCI Interface Sound Card

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16829111002

OS: either Boxee or Windows 7 Ultimate

Remote: Rosewill WMC Remote control/Rcvr RRC-127 for Win 7

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16880101003

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819115037
Mobo: Micro ATX Asustek P5GC-MX 1333FSB
http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Int...75/P5GCMX1333/
RAM: 2GB DDR2 Kingston
1. u dont need 7 ultimate for an htpc. home premium is fine.

2. Theres absolutely nothing wrong with the cpu and motherboard combo you're using

3. GPU - try to find a passive card. This will make the machine run quieter.

4. I think the major flaw in your design is the budget case and psu. The PSU is probably the noisiest component in an htpc build and worth trying to locate something that has very little fan noise. Low end Corsairs are very good in this regard. www.silentpcreview.com is a great resource for info on quiet power and other HTPC components.

5. I would undervolt the E8400 and consider an after market hsf - this will also make for more quiet.

The trick with any HTPC build is low power consumption, low heat and low noise. I have owned a number of these over the years and there's nothing more annoying that listening to fans whirr during the quiet bits of your favourite movie.

Your build can definitely be done on budget as you already have the guts of it, but I would encourage you to consider this aspect as it could be an annoyance with some components in the current build proposal.
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Old 09-12-2011, 11:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 16k_zx81 View Post
The trick with any HTPC build is low power consumption, low heat and low noise. I have owned a number of these over the years and there's nothing more annoying that listening to fans whirr during the quiet bits of your favourite movie.
This is certainly something that many people don't take into consideration. When I built mine, I made sure it was quiet and low profile. It was always going to be on, so I didn't want anything powerful, especially for just playing video. A co-worker didn't consider this when he built his around the same time and spent nearly twice as much for a much louder, more demanding system. He always complains to me about the noise too.
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