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post #1 of 9 Old 03-02-2009, 08:33 AM - Thread Starter
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I want to build an HTPC. My goal is to build something quiet, cool running, and therefore energy efficient (since it will likely run 24/7). The main goal is to play Blu Ray discs and access media on a server on my network. It may occasionally play LOTRO, so DX10 would be nice. A video card upgrade down the road is also likely, so a PCIe x16 slot is a requirement for the future.

Here is what I have in mind:
SILVERSTONE Black Aluminum / Steel LC10B-E ATX Media Center / HTPC Case

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD3200AAKS 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

CORSAIR 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TWIN2X4096-8500C5

SeaSonic OB-S12 II SS-330GB 330W ATX12V 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Open Box

AMD Athlon 64 X2 5050e Brisbane 2.6GHz Socket AM2 45W Dual-Core Processor Model ADH5050DOBOX

GIGABYTE GA-MA78GM-US2H AM2+/AM2 AMD 780G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard

ASUS Black 6X Blu-Ray DVD Combo SATA Model BC-06B1ST

Grand Total: $531.92
Minus Rebates: -65.00
Final Total: $466.92

I'll be running Vista Ultimate x64. Will this play Blu Ray on my 1080p TV (Samsung LN52A750) as is? I'll be using the latest PowerDVD software. Gaming is very much optional right now, but I want flawless playback of movies. The connection to the network will be wired 100Mbs.

Thanks for any feedback on this. This is my first post, but I've been reading these forums for awhile. You guys are the experts on anything home theater IMHO
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post #2 of 9 Old 03-02-2009, 01:14 PM
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320 GB Drive is an absolute waste of money. Get 1TB min.

All else looks ok to me. PS choice may limit you down the road if you add many periphs... Good choice on the brand. 330W Seasonic at least = 500w cheapo brand.
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post #3 of 9 Old 03-02-2009, 02:38 PM - Thread Starter
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I don't need a lot of storage on this box though. I have a server in my office, so I was planning to just access that. I did originally spec a 1TB drive, but I changed it. I'll have to give that decision a little more thought perhaps. My concern with putting a 1TB in the living room is having my data spread out and the stuff on the HTPC wouldn't be as safe. I currently house my music and photos on multiple drives so I don't lose any data. The plan is to have 3TB @ raid 5 available in the office. I might put the 1TB back though as the HTPC may also serve as a DVR down the road. Which leads to the next part...

The only other components I would ever add are a discrete video card and a TV tuner card. You might be right that the 330W won't be big enough if I add a video card. Here are my wattage calcs:
CPU - 45W
Motherboard - 5W
Blu Ray Drive - 5W
Hard Drive - 10W
Memory - 2W
So right now I'm only at ~70W. A higher end video card will probably run 20-30W, right? So won't a 300W PSU be enough?

My main question is still, will the system as outline playback a blu ray flawlessly?

Also, can anyone give me an idea of how noisy this system will be? Since it will be in the living room, I don't want to hear it when I watch a movie.
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post #4 of 9 Old 03-02-2009, 03:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adminsitrator View Post

I don't need a lot of storage on this box though. I have a server in my office, so I was planning to just access that. I did originally spec a 1TB drive, but I changed it. I'll have to give that decision a little more thought perhaps. My concern with putting a 1TB in the living room is having my data spread out and the stuff on the HTPC wouldn't be as safe. I currently house my music and photos on multiple drives so I don't lose any data. The plan is to have 3TB @ raid 5 available in the office. I might put the 1TB back though as the HTPC may also serve as a DVR down the road. Which leads to the next part...

The only other components I would ever add are a discrete video card and a TV tuner card. You might be right that the 330W won't be big enough if I add a video card. Here are my wattage calcs:
CPU - 45W
Motherboard - 5W
Blu Ray Drive - 5W
Hard Drive - 10W
Memory - 2W
So right now I'm only at ~70W. A higher end video card will probably run 20-30W, right? So won't a 300W PSU be enough?

My main question is still, will the system as outline playback a blu ray flawlessly?

Also, can anyone give me an idea of how noisy this system will be? Since it will be in the living room, I don't want to hear it when I watch a movie.

depends on what kinda of videocard u are talking about ,a high end videocard can use more then 200w on load.You are fine unless u get a 4870x2 or a 295
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post #5 of 9 Old 03-02-2009, 05:22 PM - Thread Starter
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eek 200W!

Well I am not gonna do a dual card setup, that's for sure. The only PC game I play right now is Lord of the Rings Online. It is pretty graphics intensive, but I don't get the impression it's as bad as some of the more recent titles. It does use DX10 though, so I want to be able to turn that on.

I will admit though, if I build the system with the ability to play games well, I might play more of them. I remember thinking Far Cry looked pretty nice. I bet it would look even nicer on the 52" LCD

hmmm maybe I should go back to the drawing board on this one and aim for a gaming machine. Is it possible to make a quiet gaming machine?

I was really hoping to stay under $500. I think a nice wireless keyboard and mouse combo is gonna put me a little over though.
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post #6 of 9 Old 03-02-2009, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr007 View Post

depends on what kinda of videocard u are talking about ,a high end videocard can use more then 200w on load.You are fine unless u get a 4870x2 or a 295

I agree with your specs listed. Not sure if I would go with a 320. Probably best to go with 500-750 for future expandability. I have been using WDs as of late. The Green ones work pretty well.

As far as a video card, I would suggest an ATI HD4670 or HD4650. They run with no additional power cable like many of the nvidias and they also decode HD very well and pass HD audio via HDMI. They aren't that much and do quite well.

I have always found Tom's Hardware a good resource on video cards. They have a best video card for your budget article.

Here is a link:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/...card,2118.html

The 4650s will run you less than $100.... some close to $50.

Depending on what you are needing, this may offset what you are spending on the mobo. I have been using MSI and ECS boards over the last 2 years with great success. Latest install was an ECS 7050M board. It is W7 compatible, can hold up to 8GB of ram, and has 4 SATAs and 1 (2) IDEs. I was able to pick up that open box for $30 and it tested fine (I am always test these first with stress tests... open box items). I believe the new retail one is around $50. There are similar ones with Gigabyte too. I used them in the past and they are made well too. I have learned to stary away from Foxconn and PC Chips. If you spend only $50 on the mobo and another $50-60 on the vid card, you will have a much better system. Anytime you really on on-board graphics it is going tie up more resources and CPU cycles. And the memory sharing doesn't help either.

Just some thoughts.

Also, are you sure you need 4GBs. I only have 2GBs on my client and it runs just fine. Remember that a 2GB system with a 512MB vid card is actually equivalent to about a 2.5GB or more system. Memory is cheap though so it may be worth just getting the 4GBs now especially if you are going 64bit.

Some will tell you cheap mobos break down, but it is important to remember than many of those "cheaper" motherboards were state of the art $100+ boards 12-18 months ago. Other than onboard video, there haven't been as many advances. You just need to know what you are looking for. But to each his own.

HD DVD: 45 SD DVD: 350 BR: 120
PCs: 12, Mame Arcade:1, HD HTPC: 1, WHS Server: 1, HD A3: 2, HD-A30: 1

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post #7 of 9 Old 03-02-2009, 06:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adminsitrator View Post

I don't need a lot of storage on this box though. I have a server in my office, so I was planning to just access that. I did originally spec a 1TB drive, but I changed it. I'll have to give that decision a little more thought perhaps. My concern with putting a 1TB in the living room is having my data spread out and the stuff on the HTPC wouldn't be as safe. I currently house my music and photos on multiple drives so I don't lose any data. The plan is to have 3TB @ raid 5 available in the office. I might put the 1TB back though as the HTPC may also serve as a DVR down the road. Which leads to the next part...

The only other components I would ever add are a discrete video card and a TV tuner card. You might be right that the 330W won't be big enough if I add a video card. Here are my wattage calcs:
CPU - 45W
Motherboard - 5W
Blu Ray Drive - 5W
Hard Drive - 10W
Memory - 2W
So right now I'm only at ~70W. A higher end video card will probably run 20-30W, right? So won't a 300W PSU be enough?

My main question is still, will the system as outline playback a blu ray flawlessly?

Also, can anyone give me an idea of how noisy this system will be? Since it will be in the living room, I don't want to hear it when I watch a movie.


If this HTPC isn't storing media, then scrap the 320GB altogether and get a 2.5" laptop HD. Or even a SSD drive. That's what I'd do.

In terms of LFE, size does matter!
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post #8 of 9 Old 03-02-2009, 06:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the feedback

Quote:
Originally Posted by bjmarchini View Post

Also, are you sure you need 4GBs. I only have 2GBs on my client and it runs just fine. Remember that a 2GB system with a 512MB vid card is actually equivalent to about a 2.5GB or more system. Memory is cheap though so it may be worth just getting the 4GBs now especially if you are going 64bit.

Thanks for the mobo/vid card thoughts. I'm gonna spec out a system w/o onboard video and a 4650.

In regards to the memory. I realize I might not NEED 4GB, but I think 2GB is kind of the low end these days and the 2x2GB pack is a killer deal after rebate only about $40!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Favelle View Post

If this HTPC isn't storing media, then scrap the 320GB altogether and get a 2.5" laptop HD. Or even a SSD drive. That's what I'd do.

Wouldn't both of those be more expensive? I see the durability advantage of a SSD, but I still think of 3.5" drives being more durable then 2.5" drives. Although that impression could be far from accurate
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post #9 of 9 Old 03-02-2009, 09:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adminsitrator View Post

Thanks for all the feedback

Thanks for the mobo/vid card thoughts. I'm gonna spec out a system w/o onboard video and a 4650.

In regards to the memory. I realize I might not NEED 4GB, but I think 2GB is kind of the low end these days and the 2x2GB pack is a killer deal after rebate only about $40!

Wouldn't both of those be more expensive? I see the durability advantage of a SSD, but I still think of 3.5" drives being more durable then 2.5" drives. Although that impression could be far from accurate

I think what he means on the 2.5" is that they make a lot less noise. A SSD will be silent (and fast) If you already have the media server, then a small drive is fine I guess. Also, in the interest of quiet, adding a fan controller can really help the noise situation. I just did one in my htpc that handles 5 fans, and it made a world of diff. I recently put mine in a new case that had more drive bays and added considerable noise. Adding the fan controller brought everything back to earth (noise wise).

I use a single HD4870 vid card and it calls for minimum spec 550W ps, recommended 600+. Spec'ing a PS to full capicity is not a great idea. Consider though that gaming is probably one of the only things you will do that will run all these components to rated power consumption. Typical htpc duties won't raise temps much. (which is where PS usage comes in)
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