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post #151 of 15967 Old 01-09-2011, 03:02 PM
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I think i'm going to build an HTPC based on this guide, and was hoping to get some thoughts on the new Sandybridge processors.

Aside from performance improvements (which are likely overkill for an HTPC compared to the current i3 processors), it looks like there are 2 main features
1) the ability to stream via WIDI-2...up to 1080p and encrypted blu-ray files.
2) the ability to play 3D material (HDMI 1.4)

#1 doesn't seem particularly useful for an HTPC, which is presumably already hooked up to a TV.

#2 would be nice future-proofing (as much as is possible with computers). However, and here is my question, does this seem like a smart use of money for the price premium of these processors? I'm assuming that if I want 3D in 6-9 months, and I go with a cheaper current-gen i3 now, then i'll be able to pick up a cheap ATI video card that accomplishes this..correct? It has been a while since I researched video cards, so maybe 3D is still at the higher-end there, but I don't think so. I've seen reasonable ATI cards that bitstream HD audio for ~$60, so unless you are actually sure you want 3D right now, would you agree it is better to get a current-gen i3, and add a video card later if needed?

Thanks!
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post #152 of 15967 Old 01-09-2011, 03:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erighan View Post


Here are my most recent pics. I just finished building this system over the holidays based on recommendations from this community. Currently, I'm in the "tweaking" phase. Running into a few issues getting WMC, Media Browser, TMT5 and MPC integrated so that the wife can operate everything without issues. It's coming together, just a bit more time-consuming than expected.

CPU: AMD ATHLON II X3 440 3.0G AM3 - $84
MB: BIOSTAR A880G+ AM3 AMD 880G HDMI Micro ATX - $55
Ram: 2Gx2 (4GB) GSKILL F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL - $50
HDD (Storage): SAMSUNG Spinpoint F4 HD204UI 2TB 5400 RPM - $80
HDD (OS): WD Black 500GB 7200 RPM - $60
Video: SAPPHIRE 100287L Radeon HD 5670 (Redwood) 512MB - $80
Disk: LG Black 10X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM - $60
PS: Corsair CMPSU-450VX 450-Watt 80 Plus Certified - $55
Case: NMEDIAPC 5000B HTPC - $55
OS: Windows 7 Premium x64 OEM - $84
Remote: ROSWILL RCVR PRC-127 - $13
Keyboard: Adesso 2.4 RF

Hi,

Since I'm considering returning my netgear ntv550 day an starting the process of building an HTPC instead, would you mind (very briefly) describing the nature of the issues you are having? I'm curious if it is crashing software, hardware problems, or integrating all the software to work together?
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post #153 of 15967 Old 01-09-2011, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Good points. I think the take home message is just to avoid paying more than $10 or so for a HDMI cable. I have never bought cables from newegg but I am sure they have some great cheap options like the rosewill that you mentioned.

You'd be amazed at how many people I know that have bought a 5 foot monster cable for $100.

Ive bought two of the rosewill. Ive always bought 1 ~6ft hdmi, a 15" dvi-hdmi and a 25ft hdmi from monoprice. Honestly dont notice a difference between any of them. The biggest difference in them i sholy crap the 25ft is thick! Way stiffer and harder to bend.


As for the 100 dollar cable....sadly we were part of that. But it was back when lcd tvs had only been out for like a year. To be fair we got a "bluray package" that was the first sony bluray player (standalone not the ps3), an hdmi cable, and a monster power surge with line leveling or some crap. Wasnt a bad deal at all but once i saw how much the cable was outside of the package i was amazed.

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post #154 of 15967 Old 01-09-2011, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by skro View Post

#2 would be nice future-proofing (as much as is possible with computers). However, and here is my question, does this seem like a smart use of money for the price premium of these processors? I'm assuming that if I want 3D in 6-9 months, and I go with a cheaper current-gen i3 now, then i'll be able to pick up a cheap ATI video card that accomplishes this..correct? It has been a while since I researched video cards, so maybe 3D is still at the higher-end there, but I don't think so. I've seen reasonable ATI cards that bitstream HD audio for ~$60, so unless you are actually sure you want 3D right now, would you agree it is better to get a current-gen i3, and add a video card later if needed?

Thanks!

The biggest thing i sjust lack of refined motherboards for me. Give it 6 months and for round two of the motherboards to come out and SB will be the only way to go IMO. For me i dont have 3d receiver or tv so dont care about that. Biggest thing is you can always add a video card (less than 150) in a year or so if you want to add 3d support. What we have no is stable and reliable components, SB is new and so are the mobo's

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post #155 of 15967 Old 01-09-2011, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by velillen View Post

The biggest thing i sjust lack of refined motherboards for me. Give it 6 months and for round two of the motherboards to come out and SB will be the only way to go IMO. For me i dont have 3d receiver or tv so dont care about that. Biggest thing is you can always add a video card (less than 150) in a year or so if you want to add 3d support. What we have no is stable and reliable components, SB is new and so are the mobo's

Hi,

Thanks for the input. Why would you choose SB in ~6 months, rather than a (I assume) much cheaper current-generation Core i3 w/ motherboard? What aspects of Sandy Bridge would make it "the only way to go" in your opinion, given a presumed price premium over current generation chips?

Thanks!
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post #156 of 15967 Old 01-09-2011, 03:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skro View Post

Hi,

Since I'm considering returning my netgear ntv550 day an starting the process of building an HTPC instead, would you mind (very briefly) describing the nature of the issues you are having? I'm curious if it is crashing software, hardware problems, or integrating all the software to work together?

Before I answer some of your questions, I was going to reply to your other post regarding the new Sandybridge cpus. I was going to wait for Sandybridge as well, but when I saw the i3s weren't being released until late Feb, I decided to build something now.

I would just go with the current i3 which has excellent video playback and has HD audio built in. If you decide to go the 3D route at some point in the future, you can always buy a 3D capable GPU. They are pretty inexpensive ($100-150) and will only get cheaper with time.

Now, regarding my issues. It's mostly on the software side. I'm trying to test different software versions and making sure all the settings are correct. For instance, the current 10.12 ATI driver has known audio issues, so most people are using older driver releases. There were also some bugs with TotalMedia Theater 5, but it seems some of the bugs have been fixed with the latest patch.

Hardware wise, my system is running like a champ. No crashes, no blue screens, etc., and it's running cool and quiet. I can bitstream HD audio and playback Blu-Ray with no issues.

Basically, the hardware is the easy part. It's configuring all the software settings based on your A/V equipment that's the challenging and time-consuming part of building an HTPC. At least this is/was my personal observation.

Here's a list of software that I'm using:

Frontend: WMC 7 x64
Blu-Ray Playback: Total Media Theater 5
Movie Library: Media Browser (may uninstall as I'm having too many playback problems)
DVD Playback: Media Player Classic - HD (may uninstall as I'm having too many playback problems)
Codec: None atm, but will install Shark pack shortly

Sorry for the long post )
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post #157 of 15967 Old 01-09-2011, 05:02 PM
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I too am wondering about the software piece. First pc build. Parts should arrive tomorrow. I am looking for the most user friendly to make appealing to my wife.

What about xbmc as opposed to media browser? Like I said, Im new to the htpc world. I played with xbmc years ago when we used it on the original modded xbox. For it's day it was great. How does it compare now?

Hope I didn't take the thread off too far. This thread was exactly what I was looking for to make the jump.
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post #158 of 15967 Old 01-09-2011, 05:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skro View Post

Hi,

Thanks for the input. Why would you choose SB in ~6 months, rather than a (I assume) much cheaper current-generation Core i3 w/ motherboard? What aspects of Sandy Bridge would make it "the only way to go" in your opinion, given a presumed price premium over current generation chips?

Thanks!

Its hard to know how much our current i3's and their motherboards will drop in price. If you only will save, say 25 bucks, id rather just invest in the SB for the "futue proofing" aspect of built in 1.4 hdmi and 3d. Now if it bumps up to 50-75 savings id consider our current suggestions.

If you look right now the new SB i5's and i7's are pretty much the same prices as the old models. Not much to be saved there if the prices are the same....and also not much point to go the old models other than the stable and cornfirms motherboards and components. Once i3 SB comes out and the second round of motherboards come out supporting it, if the prices stay the same it just makes sense to go with SB IMO.

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post #159 of 15967 Old 01-09-2011, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by jtrage View Post

I too am wondering about the software piece. First pc build. Parts should arrive tomorrow. I am looking for the most user friendly to make appealing to my wife.

What about xbmc as opposed to media browser? Like I said, Im new to the htpc world. I played with xbmc years ago when we used it on the original modded xbox. For it's day it was great. How does it compare now?

Hope I didn't take the thread off too far. This thread was exactly what I was looking for to make the jump.

I have always beena big fan of try the simpliest first before jumping to other programs. WMC7 comes built in so i would give it a go first. If you like it then great, if not i would try something like mediabrowser. Programs like xbmc, npvr, sagetv, are total different options. Everything will work and function slightly different. XBMC works justf ine and tons of people use it....but WMC7 works for lots of people as well so i would give it a shot first

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post #160 of 15967 Old 01-09-2011, 07:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtrage View Post

I too am wondering about the software piece. First pc build. Parts should arrive tomorrow. I am looking for the most user friendly to make appealing to my wife.

What about xbmc as opposed to media browser? Like I said, Im new to the htpc world. I played with xbmc years ago when we used it on the original modded xbox. For it's day it was great. How does it compare now?

Hope I didn't take the thread off too far. This thread was exactly what I was looking for to make the jump.

Having tried both xbmc and mediabrowser I can say that mediabrowser is much more straight forward and easy.

I use mediabrowser with the Shark007 codec pack and it looks great and plays everything I throw at it.
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post #161 of 15967 Old 01-09-2011, 07:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by velillen View Post

Its hard to know how much our current i3's and their motherboards will drop in price. If you only will save, say 25 bucks, id rather just invest in the SB for the "futue proofing" aspect of built in 1.4 hdmi and 3d. Now if it bumps up to 50-75 savings id consider our current suggestions.

If you look right now the new SB i5's and i7's are pretty much the same prices as the old models. Not much to be saved there if the prices are the same....and also not much point to go the old models other than the stable and cornfirms motherboards and components. Once i3 SB comes out and the second round of motherboards come out supporting it, if the prices stay the same it just makes sense to go with SB IMO.

My take on the SB vs current i3 debate.

If this were July 2011 I would say to go with the SB (assuming the price was less than $75 or so difference). By then we will know which motherboards are the best. For the added $75 or so difference the ability to have 3D video and slight performance boost would probably be worth it. But as of now capable motherboards are months away.

With that said you have to ask yourself a few questions...

1. Do I want to wait that long? The thing about electronics is there is always something new and improved 3-6 months away. I am sure in July 2011 there will be many people on here who shun the SB because something else new is coming out that is perceived to be better.

So if you want to wait then you should.

However, the next question you have to ask yourself is....

2. Do I really want or need 3D video? For me the answer is no. For one I am not a 3D fan and secondly even if I were I do not have a 3D capable TV, AV receiver and blu-ray drive. So for me the SB is a moot point for now.

So to sum if up if I were building and wanted a HTPC right now I would go with the current i3 system. No need for me to wait.
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post #162 of 15967 Old 01-10-2011, 06:14 AM
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I'd agree. If you want/need to build a system today I would go with the Clarkdale "classic" i3 system. If you can wait 6 months then I would do a SB build mainly because the cost will be about the same (I mean at most you may build a Clarkdale system for just a few bucks less, not enough to worry about when parts are this cheap as it is) and it gets me on the latest generation. Also it has a bit more "ummmph" which may help in some areas like DXVA where the current i3 can struggle with.

Scott
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post #163 of 15967 Old 01-10-2011, 07:19 AM
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Newegg is out of the recommended memory. Do people recommend waiting, order an alternative, or going elsewhere to buy the recommended memory? Thanks.
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post #164 of 15967 Old 01-10-2011, 08:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Newegg is out of the recommended memory. Do people recommend waiting, order an alternative, or going elsewhere to buy the recommended memory? Thanks.
Here are a few G.Skill that I would recommend (all 1.5 volts).

DDR3 1600 2x2GB (4GB) - $48
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820231193


DDR3 1333 2x2GB (4GB) - $44
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820231179


DDR3 Ripjaw Series 4GB - $45
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820231310
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post #165 of 15967 Old 01-10-2011, 08:18 AM
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I'm glad there is a guide out there that doesn't require me to pay to read it. Thank you!

+10 Internets to you.
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post #166 of 15967 Old 01-10-2011, 08:19 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm glad there is a guide out there that doesn't require me to pay to read it. Thank you!

+10 Internets to you.
Never have, never will.

You're welcome!
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post #167 of 15967 Old 01-10-2011, 08:45 AM
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Just a word of caution on memory heat sinks. I posted my build about a month ago on the "show your htpc" thread. I built a mini itx HTPC. The space was very limited for an aftermarket heat sink. I managed to fit a big shuriken in the case. The limiting factor was the G Skill Ripjaws heat sinks. These grotesque sinks add nearly 50% in height to the memory itself. I used advanced tools(screwdriver and pliers) to bend the sinks out of the way. Especially in a HTPC environment, memory heat is usually not killer and adequate airflow(IMO) is more important than giant heatsinks.
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post #168 of 15967 Old 01-10-2011, 08:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Newegg is out of the recommended memory. Do people recommend waiting, order an alternative, or going elsewhere to buy the recommended memory? Thanks.
I have added a backup RAM choice to the first post. I have used both and like both equally.
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post #169 of 15967 Old 01-10-2011, 08:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Just a word of caution on memory heat sinks. I posted my build about a month ago on the "show your htpc" thread. I built a mini itx HTPC. The space was very limited for an aftermarket heat sink. I managed to fit a big shuriken in the case. The limiting factor was the G Skill Ripjaws heat sinks. These grotesque sinks add nearly 50% in height to the memory itself. I used advanced tools(screwdriver and pliers) to bend the sinks out of the way. Especially in a HTPC environment, memory heat is usually not killer and adequate airflow(IMO) is more important than giant heatsinks.
Good point. I have never used ripjaws but a lot of people have. If you have the space they are a good choice --- otherwise just stick to the "regular" RAM options.
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post #170 of 15967 Old 01-10-2011, 10:18 AM
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Good point. I have never used ripjaws but a lot of people have. If you have the space they are a good choice --- otherwise just stick to the "regular" RAM options.

I *love* the ripjaws, especially since they aren't much more. I had no problem with my mATX build using the Silverstone GB04 case. Plenty of room. But if you've got a really cramped case or a smaller form factor then certainly keep height in mind.

By the way, I paid *double* that price a year ago. Amazing how prices always go down.

And one last thought, I would most definitely go 4 GB even if you plan to use 32 bit Win 7. The cost just isn't that much more and Win 7 32 bit will use nearly 3.5 of that 4 GB so the extra headroom is just a nice thing to have. Plus you can go 64 bit in the future with no worries.

Scott
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post #171 of 15967 Old 01-10-2011, 02:44 PM - Thread Starter
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And one last thought, I would most definitely go 4 GB even if you plan to use 32 bit Win 7. The cost just isn't that much more and Win 7 32 bit will use nearly 3.5 of that 4 GB so the extra headroom is just a nice thing to have. Plus you can go 64 bit in the future with no worries.

Definitely agree with this.

One further thought..... If for some reason you are on a super tight budget and can only afford 2GB get one 2GB stick (instead of two 1GB sticks) with the intention of adding a second 2GB stick later. Some boards only have 2 RAM slots and you won't be shooting yourself in the foot later when you want to upgrade to 4GB.
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post #172 of 15967 Old 01-10-2011, 03:35 PM
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Super thread, Assassin. I wish I was ready to build this now, but funds cannot be allocated until prior demand of holiday streams are satisfied...

For those on the fence, check out the Newegg Shell Shocker for today. I can't post the URL because of forum rules. I am sure that any who are interested can navigate on their own too...

John
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post #173 of 15967 Old 01-10-2011, 03:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Super thread, Assassin. I wish I was ready to build this now, but funds cannot be allocated until prior demand of holiday streams are satisfied...

For those on the fence, check out the Newegg Shell Shocker for today. I can't post the URL because of forum rules. I am sure that any who are interested can navigate on their own too...

John

Great sale. Thanks for the heads up.

Quote:


1. ASUS P7H55-M PRO LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

2. Intel Core i3-540 Clarkdale 3.06GHz LGA 1156 73W Dual-Core Desktop Processor BX80616I3540

Combo Discount:$40.00
Today:$184.98

http://www.newegg.com/Special/ShellS...990-_-01102011
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post #174 of 15967 Old 01-10-2011, 05:32 PM
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I had been on the fence with the whole build vs buy for an htpc, but after finding this thread I decided to go for the build.

I have bought my first components tonight with the newegg shell shocker combo for the I3 and mobo, as well as the Corsair ps since it had a rebate. I'll keep my eye on deals for the other items, particularly when the Samsung HDD comes back down to $79. Probably should have picked it up this weekend. I'm also debating going with an SSD. I'm excited about the build, but I'm also a little afraid for the learning experience as a noob.

Thanks for this great thread Assassin.
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post #175 of 15967 Old 01-10-2011, 05:59 PM - Thread Starter
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I had been on the fence with the whole build vs buy for an htpc, but after finding this thread I decided to go for the build.

I have bought my first components tonight with the newegg shell shocker combo for the I3 and mobo, as well as the Corsair ps since it had a rebate. I'll keep my eye on deals for the other items, particularly when the Samsung HDD comes back down to $79. Probably should have picked it up this weekend. I'm also debating going with an SSD. I'm excited about the build, but I'm also a little afraid for the learning experience as a noob.

Thanks for this great thread Assassin.

Great! Glad you took the plunge!

I hope to get the building guide at least started in the next few days. Until then there are some decent youtube videos to get an idea of what to expect. Its pretty straight forward --- just take your time.

SSDs are awesome if your budget can include them but as I stated in the first post they are by no means necessary.
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post #176 of 15967 Old 01-10-2011, 06:20 PM
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Great! Glad you took the plunge!

I hope to get the building guide at least started in the next few days. Until then there are some decent youtube videos to get an idea of what to expect. Its pretty straight forward --- just take your time.

SSDs are awesome if your budget can include them but as I stated in the first post they are by no means necessary.


Thanks assassin. I watched the two videos you posted earlier in the thread, and it doesn't look too bad, so I think I can get through it. Definitely more rewarding than buying pre-built.

Do you have any SSD recommendations? Do you think it is worth it if your budget allows? I was leaning towards the following - Corsair Nova Series CSSD-V64GB2-BRKT 2.5" 64GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) (Can't post a link yet, sorry). Any concerns with this one fitting in with your other recommendations? Or got a better recommendation at a reasonable price?
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post #177 of 15967 Old 01-10-2011, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by cwill2480 View Post

I had been on the fence with the whole build vs buy for an htpc, but after finding this thread I decided to go for the build.

I have bought my first components tonight with the newegg shell shocker combo for the I3 and mobo, as well as the Corsair ps since it had a rebate. I'll keep my eye on deals for the other items, particularly when the Samsung HDD comes back down to $79. Probably should have picked it up this weekend. I'm also debating going with an SSD. I'm excited about the build, but I'm also a little afraid for the learning experience as a noob.

Thanks for this great thread Assassin.

Put a price alert in for the Samsung HDD at newegg. I was going back and forth for the past week and a half. 3 times in that time period that HDD went back and forth on the price.

Got all in tonight except the HDDs, waited for the price. I have the processor, motherboard, memory installed in the case. Need to spend some time with cables and wiring. This is my first build but I think it will go easily.
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post #178 of 15967 Old 01-10-2011, 06:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtrage View Post

Put a price alert in for the Samsung HDD at newegg. I was going back and forth for the past week and a half. 3 times in that time period that HDD went back and forth on the price.

Got all in tonight except the HDDs, waited for the price. I have the processor, motherboard, memory installed in the case. Need to spend some time with cables and wiring. This is my first build but I think it will go easily.

Good stuff jtrage. Sounds like you are in a similar situation to me. I'll have to add the price watch on my remaining components. Thanks for the tip.
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post #179 of 15967 Old 01-10-2011, 06:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwill2480 View Post

Thanks assassin. I watched the two videos you posted earlier in the thread, and it doesn't look too bad, so I think I can get through it. Definitely more rewarding than buying pre-built.

Do you have any SSD recommendations? Do you think it is worth it if your budget allows? I was leaning towards the following - Corsair Nova Series CSSD-V64GB2-BRKT 2.5" 64GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) (Can't post a link yet, sorry). Any concerns with this one fitting in with your other recommendations? Or got a better recommendation at a reasonable price?

If I was buying a SSD tonight it would be hard to pass this one up at $99 after rebate....

OCZ Agility 2, 60 GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820227542

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post #180 of 15967 Old 01-10-2011, 06:55 PM
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Thanks for the feedback assassin. That is a good deal based on current prices.

I'm still having a hard time wrangling the cost of an SSD versus partitioning the Samsung 2TB HDD for Windows. Is the primary difference simply the speed in starting/sleeping/etc? I'm beginning to think an SSD is just not worth the cost. I've never partitioned a drive before, but looking at a couple videos, it seems like it is a simple step during install of Windows 7. Is that correct? Probably a total noob question, but thanks for any advice.
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