My $500 HTPC Build - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 12-29-2009, 10:55 AM - Thread Starter
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So here's what I'm trying to do. I'm moving off-campus (college student) and I am looking to build an HTPC for about $500. After doing some research I have come up with a build that I am fairly happy with. I have some issues that I hope you guys will help me out with.

Here are my parts:

Case: Antec NSK1380 Black/ Silver Steel MicroATX Cube Computer Case 350W Power Supply $109

PSU: 350W Included in Case $0

CPU: Intel Pentium E5300 2.6GHz 2MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor $69.99

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-G31M-ES2L LGA 775 Intel G31 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard $49.99

Memory: A-DATA 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model ADQVE1A16K $49.99

Graphics Card: SAPPHIRE 100252HDMI Radeon HD 4550 512MB 64-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Low Profile Ready Video Card $44.99

Optical Drive: LITE-ON Black 4X BD-ROM 8X DVD-ROM 32X CD-ROM SATA Internal 4X Blu-ray Reader Model iHOS104-06 59.99

HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST31500341AS 1.5TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive $119.99

Grand Total= $503.94


What I want this build to do:
Be able to hold my growing library of HD movies with room to add additional HDD as it grows
Be able to playback full HD movies
Run Quiet
Be able to play Blu-Ray disks


My concerns:
Will all my stuff be able to fit in that case?
Will my equipment overheat?
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post #2 of 25 Old 12-29-2009, 10:59 AM
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I'd ditch the video card and change the motherboard to a Nvidia based 9300/9400.

It ranks higher in the HQV tests(if you care) and having an all in one solution should reduce heat and perhaps noise. Maybe even use less power.

There has been some issues with the ATI 4550 and I don't know if they've been resolved. You can search the forums here about that.

Aside from that the only discrete card i'd get at this point would be the ATI 5000 series so you can get HD bitstreaming.

I would switch the hard drive to a Western Digital Green Drive. Should be quieter and run cooler and use less power. I have a ton of these in my server.

HTPC: Intel e6300 2.8ghz, Intel DG45ID, 2gb DDR2, Radeon 5570, MCE IR receiver, Yamaha RX-V663 receiver via HDMI, panasonic ax100u, 145" S-I-L-V-E-R painted screen, 2x Roku 3's, chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Vizio M602i-B3
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post #3 of 25 Old 12-29-2009, 11:14 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm looking at what you suggested.

Perhaps going with ZOTAC GF9300-A-E LGA 775 NVIDIA GeForce 9300 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard?

I'd post a link but I'm not allowed to yet.
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post #4 of 25 Old 12-29-2009, 11:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sds554 View Post

I'm looking at what you suggested.

Perhaps going with ZOTAC GF9300-A-E LGA 775 NVIDIA GeForce 9300 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard?

I'd post a link but I'm not allowed to yet.

Yes, that is what i'd suggest.

HTPC: Intel e6300 2.8ghz, Intel DG45ID, 2gb DDR2, Radeon 5570, MCE IR receiver, Yamaha RX-V663 receiver via HDMI, panasonic ax100u, 145" S-I-L-V-E-R painted screen, 2x Roku 3's, chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Vizio M602i-B3
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post #5 of 25 Old 12-29-2009, 11:36 AM
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Also, if you want quiet I would be wary of the zero dollar power supply. A corsair will be much quieter...

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post #6 of 25 Old 12-29-2009, 12:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Updated Build

Case: Antec NSK1380 Black/ Silver Steel MicroATX Cube Computer Case 350W Power Supply $109.99

PSU: 350W Included in Case $0

CPU: Intel Pentium E5300 2.6GHz 2MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor $69.99

Motherboard: ZOTAC GF9300-A-E LGA 775 NVIDIA GeForce 9300 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard $99.99

Memory: A-DATA 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model ADQVE1A16K $49.99

Graphics Card: Onboard $0

Optical Drive: LITE-ON Black 4X BD-ROM 8X DVD-ROM 32X CD-ROM SATA Internal 4X Blu-ray Reader Model iHOS104-06 59.99

HDD: Western Digital Caviar Green WD15EADS 1.5TB 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive $109.99

Grand Total= $499.94

Will this fit in the case?

Also, I am happy with the onboard power supply but thank you for the idea.
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post #7 of 25 Old 12-29-2009, 12:09 PM
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I see no reason why it wouldn't fit in the case.

Have you looked at the nmediapc HTPC cases at all? Some look very nice and are cheaper.

HTPC: Intel e6300 2.8ghz, Intel DG45ID, 2gb DDR2, Radeon 5570, MCE IR receiver, Yamaha RX-V663 receiver via HDMI, panasonic ax100u, 145" S-I-L-V-E-R painted screen, 2x Roku 3's, chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Vizio M602i-B3
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post #8 of 25 Old 12-29-2009, 12:14 PM
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I would definitely look at another case. I own a Antec Fusion, and it's poor build quality caused grounding problems resulting in a new motherboard. I no longer use it. There customer service is atrocious as well. Just my 2 cents.
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post #9 of 25 Old 12-29-2009, 12:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phoen1c1an View Post

I would definitely look at another case. I own a Antec Fusion, and it's poor build quality caused grounding problems resulting in a new motherboard. I no longer use it. There customer service is atrocious as well. Just my 2 cents.

Yeah, that's the only thing I'm not sold on. I want a case that has room for more HDD as my collection is going to grow past 1.5 TB by next year.

Any recommendations would be really helpful!
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post #10 of 25 Old 12-29-2009, 12:36 PM
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I love my SilverStone LC17. It's got 6 internal 3.5" bays, that should be plenty of room for you to grow... Amazon has it for $119 with free shipping.

So that plus $50 for the Corsair 450VX power supply will be a bit over your budget, but after all budgets were made to be broken.

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post #11 of 25 Old 12-29-2009, 12:44 PM
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It looks great.

I'd sort of go the other way with the video card and get an ATI 5750 for the HD-Audio bitstreaming.

But I'd agree that at that price point the 9300 will likely serve you just as well as the 4000 series ATI.

The caveat would be gaming, the 4550 will be much better at 3d than the 9300 (and the 5750 is nearly 5x the 4550).

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post #12 of 25 Old 12-29-2009, 01:13 PM
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You may need to allocate more money for your HTPC. When I started my build, I envisioned it to be around $500. It ended up like >$800 after software and hardware such as remote, wireless card, and extra hard drive. But I think it has paid itself since I am not paying for cable/dish anymore.
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post #13 of 25 Old 12-29-2009, 01:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pwang8 View Post

You may need to allocate more money for your HTPC. When I started my build, I envisioned it to be around $500. It ended up like >$800 after software and hardware such as remote, wireless card, and extra hard drive. But I think it has paid itself since I am not paying for cable/dish anymore.

Quite true.

A couple of things for the OPs consideration

1)BD playback software such as Arcsoft TMT3. The free stuff is not quite there yet especially on things like BD menus and navigation.
2)MCE remote http://www.amazon.com/Vista-Certifie.../dp/B000ST7QPA
This provides the option of watching it from beyond the desk.
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post #14 of 25 Old 12-29-2009, 01:38 PM
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The BD drive he choose will come with powerdvd. I have the same drive.

A remote is good. You will be watching this in a dorm? If you don't need a remote there are wireless keyboards that have built in trackballs. That may come in handy.

HTPC: Intel e6300 2.8ghz, Intel DG45ID, 2gb DDR2, Radeon 5570, MCE IR receiver, Yamaha RX-V663 receiver via HDMI, panasonic ax100u, 145" S-I-L-V-E-R painted screen, 2x Roku 3's, chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Vizio M602i-B3
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post #15 of 25 Old 12-29-2009, 02:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Stupid question coming: The motherboard doesn't have wireless already built in does it?

I dont think so, but someone mentioned it in a review.
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post #16 of 25 Old 12-29-2009, 03:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sds554 View Post

Stupid question coming: The motherboard doesn't have wireless already built in does it?

I dont think so, but someone mentioned it in a review.

someboards do some don't. I think it's an optional feature on those zotac boards, so if you want it, make sure you buy the right board.

This one has it:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-035-_-Product

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post #17 of 25 Old 12-29-2009, 06:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sotti View Post

someboards do some don't. I think it's an optional feature on those zotac boards, so if you want it, make sure you buy the right board.

This one has it:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-035-_-Product

Yeah but that's a mini-itx board.

I was just thinking of getting a tower. It seems to be considerably cheaper. Space isn't too much of an issue, and I'm a college kid so aesthetics aren't really too important.


Still any case recommendations would be great! That's what I'm struggling with.
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post #18 of 25 Old 12-29-2009, 08:22 PM
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For mATX boards this case might suit you if you're looking for an HTPC case

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811204035

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post #19 of 25 Old 12-29-2009, 08:47 PM
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Where is your tuner/capture card?
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post #20 of 25 Old 12-29-2009, 09:07 PM
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well if size isn't much of an issue then I wouldn't worry about integrated wireless, you can always add a card if you want to go wireless.

I personally really like antec.
nMedia is also good for more HTPC specific cases.

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post #21 of 25 Old 12-29-2009, 10:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Servicetech571 View Post

Where is your tuner/capture card?

That'll probably be something I'll add later. As of now, my apartment gives us a free DVR for recording tv. Granted, it's probably junk, but it'll make due until I save up some more cash.

For the case, I'm probably going to have to splurge a little and pay $140ish for that and the PSU.


Question... What's the lifespan of a HTPC? They seem relatively timeless compared to an everyday PC. Granted, HD is probably going to improve somehow and most likely it will be in the audio department. But it seems like, if the machine works now, it's going to work just as well 4 years down the road. Am I wrong in my assumption?
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post #22 of 25 Old 12-29-2009, 10:52 PM
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it should have a fairly long lifespan.... i however find myself rebuilding every year or so.... i guess it is a sickness
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post #23 of 25 Old 12-30-2009, 06:07 AM
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$140 is a bit excessive for a HTPC power supply. You only need a 300w or so, look for an 80+ supply.
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post #24 of 25 Old 12-30-2009, 06:16 AM
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I'd just grab a cheap $50 media pc case and be done with it.

You really won't be putting many hard drives in the thing before you start thinking server. It happens to all of us

HTPC: Intel e6300 2.8ghz, Intel DG45ID, 2gb DDR2, Radeon 5570, MCE IR receiver, Yamaha RX-V663 receiver via HDMI, panasonic ax100u, 145" S-I-L-V-E-R painted screen, 2x Roku 3's, chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Vizio M602i-B3
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post #25 of 25 Old 12-30-2009, 07:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Servicetech571 View Post

$140 is a bit excessive for a HTPC power supply. You only need a 300w or so, look for an 80+ supply.

140 is for the case and the power supply.
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