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post #1 of 13 Old 07-11-2010, 10:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey everyone I'm a new to the htpc world. I've put together a list of components that I'm looking at for my build. Right now I don't have the money for a media server, so I want to be able to have room to put few harddrives in one case until I have the money for a server. I will be using this to listen to my music collection (about 60 gigs), rip all of my movies to it (about 50 - 75 dvds off the top of my head), be able to watch online tv, and also watch netflix online. I'm looking to get your opinion on whether or not the build will be powerful enough to do all of this. I'm also wanting to add a blu-ray drive in a couple of years when I have the money, so I would like this to also be powerful enough to handle that when the time comes.

Mobo/CPU combo:
Intel Core i3-530 with either ASUS P7H55-M PRO or BIOSTAR TH55B HD - $180 - 185

Ram: 2 gigs DDR3
2 x Crucial Ballistix 1 Gig DDR3 1600
2 x Kingston HyperX 1 Gig DDR3 1333
Each will be about $60

Harddrive will be 1 to 1.5 TB to start with either seagate or western digital

Case:
Rosewill R101-P-BK 120mm MicroATX Mid Tower - $30

Powersupply:
Corsair CMPSU-400CX 400W 80 PLUS Certified - $50

I'm still looking for a video card. I'm assuming that I need something that is 1 GB because I will be using a 36" LCD as a display. I've glanced at NVIDIA GeForce 9500GT, NVIDIA GeForce GT 220, ATI Radeon HD 5570, and ATI Radeon HD 5670, but I'm not really sure what would be best for what I'm looking for. Would love to keep the graphics card under $100 if that's possible though.

Thanks in advance, and I apologize for the ridiculously long post.
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post #2 of 13 Old 07-11-2010, 10:17 AM
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Hi, I have an I5 setup with the Asus P7H55 board and have not had any problems at all. I use the built in graphics on the CPU and also have not had any problem. I don't know why you want a separate video card when the I3 graphics are excellent. I'm using 4 gigs of ocz ram and an ocz modular power supply. I also have a 1.5 TB WD green hard drive. I partitioned the drive for W7 operating system at 200 GB. The rest is for storing my rips and music.

If you intend to do any ripping of cds or dvds I suggest you install 4 gigs of ram and also suggest you use the builtin I3 graphics and save yourself some money versus buying a video card.
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post #3 of 13 Old 07-11-2010, 10:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by runner1715 View Post

Mobo/CPU combo:
Intel Core i3-530 with either ASUS P7H55-M PRO or BIOSTAR TH55B HD - $180 - 185

Ram: 2 gigs DDR3
2 x Crucial Ballistix 1 Gig DDR3 1600
2 x Kingston HyperX 1 Gig DDR3 1333
Each will be about $60

Harddrive will be 1 to 1.5 TB to start with either seagate or western digital

Case:
Rosewill R101-P-BK 120mm MicroATX Mid Tower - $30

Powersupply:
Corsair CMPSU-400CX 400W 80 PLUS Certified - $50

A few thoughts...

I agree - a discrete video card is not needed if you aren't going to game on this HTPC. Use the extra money and buy a larger 2 TB drive.

Speaking of the drive I highly recommend a WD Green or Samsung Green HD as your OS and storage drive. I would partition about 50 GB or so for the OS and use the rest for storage. Stay away from Seagate, imo.

You can get away with 2GB of ram if you want. DVD rips might take a bit longer but 2GB is definitely enough. Win7 runs at about 800MB of RAM on my system when idle. I rarely go above 1GB even when watching movies.

As for the MB in general I am a big Gigabyte fan overall. Asus is very good as well.


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post #4 of 13 Old 07-11-2010, 11:15 AM - Thread Starter
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I didn't know that the discrete graphics card would be able to handle HD content on a 36" tv. I heard that I would need a graphics card in order to handle blurays and high def. Since I guess I don't need the graphics card I would use the extra money to upgrade the ram to 4 gigs. Do the rest of the components look good for what I want to do? Are they all compatible with each other?
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post #5 of 13 Old 07-11-2010, 11:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by runner1715 View Post

I didn't know that the discrete graphics card would be able to handle HD content on a 36" tv. I heard that I would need a graphics card in order to handle blurays and high def. Since I guess I don't need the graphics card I would use the extra money to upgrade the ram to 4 gigs. Do the rest of the components look good for what I want to do? Are they all compatible with each other?

The build looks solid. Only one way to know if they are compatible (build it) but I don't see why they aren't.

I partial to G.Skill RAM as I have never had a bad stick.

I would upgrade the HD before the RAM personally.

The new i3/i5/i7 onboard GPU can handle HD video just fine - even on a 70" HDTV.

You are using Win7 as a OS I presume?


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post #6 of 13 Old 07-11-2010, 11:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Yeah, I can get W7 through my school for about $15. I'll use windows media center, but I haven't looked into other media players. I'm not looking to spend money on the media player if possible. Being that I'm still in college, I'm trying to keep this build cheap but still be decent.
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post #7 of 13 Old 07-11-2010, 12:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by runner1715 View Post

Yeah, I can get W7 through my school for about $15. I'll use windows media center, but I haven't looked into other media players. I'm not looking to spend money on the media player if possible. Being that I'm still in college, I'm trying to keep this build cheap but still be decent.

I use mediabrowser inside of mediacenter.

Mediabrowser is free.

Are you going to use 32 bit or 64bit Win7? If you are going to use 4GB ram then you should use 64bit.


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post #8 of 13 Old 07-11-2010, 12:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Yeah, I would definitely end up getting the 64 bit version. Thanks for the suggestion, I'll take a look at mediabrowser.
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post #9 of 13 Old 07-11-2010, 12:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by runner1715 View Post

Yeah, I can get W7 through my school for about $15. I'll use windows media center, but I haven't looked into other media players. I'm not looking to spend money on the media player if possible. Being that I'm still in college, I'm trying to keep this build cheap but still be decent.

If you're going to play dvds or blue rays do not forget the optical drive. Get Win 7 home premium and it comes with WMC. I use mediabrowser within WMC and like it very much. If you intend to record off the air tv you'll also need tv tuner cards. I use HDHomeRun. I bought Power DVD but do not use it as I rip my blue rays to an mkv file and watch through media brouser. I just installed Sharks 007 and used the default settings and have had no problems playing anything.
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post #10 of 13 Old 07-11-2010, 12:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Haha, thanks for the reminder of getting an optical drive. That could have been a big problem. I don't have a need to record tv shows right now. If I miss an episode, I'll just find it online either through hulu, the networks website, etc. I'll be ripping just normal dvds, but is it possible to keep the main title menu so I could use the scene selector and other features like that?
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post #11 of 13 Old 07-11-2010, 12:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by runner1715 View Post

Haha, thanks for the reminder of getting an optical drive. That could have been a big problem. I don't have a need to record tv shows right now. If I miss an episode, I'll just find it online either through hulu, the networks website, etc. I'll be ripping just normal dvds, but is it possible to keep the main title menu so I could use the scene selector and other features like that?

I don't but you can rip everything including previews of other movies. I use Make MKV (free for now) and it defaults to rip everything on the disk. If you don't want something just deselect it. Just remember that all that other stuff takes up alot of space on that hard drive!
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post #12 of 13 Old 07-11-2010, 01:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by runner1715 View Post

I'll be ripping just normal dvds, but is it possible to keep the main title menu so I could use the scene selector and other features like that?

Many programs exist that can do this. I use CloneDVD with AnyDVD to decrypt the disc. CloneDVD will allow you to keep the menu but also remove anything you don't care for (extra languages, previews, unwanted specials). It can be stored in an ISO or DVD folder structure.

MakeMKV, mentioned above, will not keep the menu.
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post #13 of 13 Old 07-11-2010, 02:21 PM - Thread Starter
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I've heard that Anydvd is awesome software, but is there anything free that works really well too?
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