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post #1 of 10 Old 03-03-2011, 03:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey guys,

Want to say thanks for all info here and for Assassin's starter build thread, which helped get me going.

My HTPC will be used for 3D content from PC and Blu-rays + some games and the usual other stuff like Netflix/Hulu/etc.

Trying to watch my budget. Here's the build thus far (minus Win7 64-bit, Sammy blu-drive that I now own and the Nvidia 3d pack I have to buy):
  • AMD Athlon II X4 645 Propus 3.1GHz AM3 Quad-Core
  • Samsung F4 2TB Drive for content
  • Samsung F3 500gb 7200rpm drive for OS/main programs
  • Evga GeForce GT 430 1 GB DDR3 PCI-Express 2.0 Graphics Card
  • GIGABYTE GA-880GMA-UD2H AM3 AMD Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
  • 4 GB GSkill Ram
  • Antec EarthWatts Green EA-430D 430W PSU
  • Rosewill WiFi N card
  • Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Pricing (Amazon+NewEgg) is around $574 as of today for these items. I was shooting for an initial price of $500 as I can add more later, but I don't really see how I can trim this down anymore and still have a capable system.
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post #2 of 10 Old 03-03-2011, 04:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RebelCapitalist View Post

Hey guys,

Want to say thanks for all info here and for Assassin's starter build thread, which helped get me going.

My HTPC will be used for 3D content from PC and Blu-rays + some games and the usual other stuff like Netflix/Hulu/etc.

Trying to watch my budget. Here's the build thus far (minus Win7 64-bit, Sammy blu-drive that I now own and the Nvidia 3d pack I have to buy):
  • AMD Athlon II X4 645 Propus 3.1GHz AM3 Quad-Core
  • Samsung F4 2TB Drive for content
  • Samsung F3 500gb 7200rpm drive for OS/main programs
  • Evga GeForce GT 430 1 GB DDR3 PCI-Express 2.0 Graphics Card
  • GIGABYTE GA-880GMA-UD2H AM3 AMD Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
  • 4 GB GSkill Ram
  • Antec EarthWatts Green EA-430D 430W PSU
  • Rosewill WiFi N card
  • Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Pricing (Amazon+NewEgg) is around $574 as of today for these items. I was shooting for an initial price of $500 as I can add more later, but I don't really see how I can trim this down anymore and still have a capable system.

Glad you enjoy my thread.

A few thoughts...

Since you want 3D you could wait a few more weeks until the Sandy Bridge motherboards and CPUs are back out. They will have onboard 3D built in.

If you are on a really tight budget you can either go with a 160GB WD blue drive for the OS or for even less you can get rid of that second OS drive altogether and partition about 50GB or more on your Green drive for the OS. You can always add a SSD or second hard drive later and move a cloned copy of your OS partition over to that drive.

Edit: Just saw the "some games" part. In that case you might want to go with a discrete GPU that has enough power to play whatever games you are into.
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post #3 of 10 Old 03-03-2011, 04:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Glad you enjoy my thread.

A few thoughts...

Since you want 3D you could wait a few more weeks until the Sandy Bridge motherboards and CPUs are back out. They will have onboard 3D built in.

If you are on a really tight budget you can either go with a 160GB WD blue drive for the OS or for even less you can get rid of that second OS drive altogether and partition about 50GB or more on your Green drive for the OS. You can always add a SSD or second hard drive later and move a cloned copy of your OS partition over to that drive.

Edit: Just saw the "some games" part. In that case you might want to go with a discrete GPU that has enough power to play whatever games you are into.

Yeah, I'm going with discrete card, so I'm ready to go now.

I might go with the 2TB drive and partition it like you said. This isn't for Photoshop and stuff so if there's a problem it's not critical. And since I really want to upgrade to a 60gb+ SSD soon that might be the way to go.

I'll partition 60gb since that will probably be the SSD size when that time comes.

So -$50 now.
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post #4 of 10 Old 03-03-2011, 04:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RebelCapitalist View Post

Yeah, I'm going with discrete card, so I'm ready to go now.

I might go with the 2TB drive and partition it like you said. This isn't for Photoshop and stuff so if there's a problem it's not critical. And since I really want to upgrade to a 60gb+ SSD soon that might be the way to go.

I'll partition 60gb since that will probably be the SSD size when that time comes.

So -$50 now.

Good plan. The new Green drives are very capable of running on OS for a HTPC. Good idea to save the $50 --- put it towards your SSD later.
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post #5 of 10 Old 03-03-2011, 04:53 PM
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You can get back ~$50 by going X2 instead of X4. Say a 250 (or even a 245e, but that would only save you around $35, but would have the benefit of the cooler, more efficent 45w core). Save another $20 by going to 2GB instead of 4GBs on RAM, and bam, you are back down to $500. 2 of my HTPCs are running only 2GBs RAM running Win7 64bit, with no issues. There is a thread somewhere around here about that topic. Another place to cut corners is your motherboard. Do you need USB 3.0 on a HTPC? That said, I think the motherboard is fine and you may need the newer features in the future, and the 4GB is fine because memory is so cheap nowadays and it doesn't hurt. I personally don't see a need for a X4 95W in a HTPC, but I guess it depends on how much you game and what other non-HTPC tasks you are doing. So your build as is looks pretty good, but my suggestions are sacrifices you could make in order to meet your budget. Hope this helps. (oh, and do you really need wireless? Pulling cable isn't that difficult, or even running it along the baseboard if you rent or don't want to cut holes in walls)
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post #6 of 10 Old 03-03-2011, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by andrew c View Post

Save another $20 by going to 2GB instead of 4GBs on RAM, and bam, you are back down to $500. 2 of my HTPCs are running only 2GBs RAM running Win7 64bit, with no issues.

I have run both 2GB and 4GB on my home rig.

Both can work but 4GB is a little more snappy, especially when loading hundreds of movie poster icons.

If you are patient you can easily find 4GB RAM on sale for the price of 2GB RAM. For instance right now you can get Corsair 4GB XMS3 for $35. There also was a recent deal for Kingston 4GB HyperX for $20. Even if you have to pay an extra $10-$15 to upgrade to 4GB RAM to me its worth it.

I think to me the 2 biggest upgrades you can make for the HTPC are an SSD followed (not closely) by more RAM.
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post #7 of 10 Old 03-03-2011, 05:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RebelCapitalist View Post

Yeah, I'm going with discrete card, so I'm ready to go now.

I might go with the 2TB drive and partition it like you said. This isn't for Photoshop and stuff so if there's a problem it's not critical. And since I really want to upgrade to a 60gb+ SSD soon that might be the way to go.

I'll partition 60gb since that will probably be the SSD size when that time comes.

So -$50 now.

Not sure what games you want to play but that 430 isn't going to do much at all for you in that department.

I don't think you are going to get even playable frame rates on most modern games.

Heres a good review
http://www.guru3d.com/article/geforce-gt-430-review/1

You would probably want to get at least a 450 if you want to do some gaming.
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post #8 of 10 Old 03-03-2011, 05:45 PM - Thread Starter
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@Assassin I agree on ram. It's simply too cheap right now. 4GB all the way.

@whiteboy714 -- I've thought about it and on this machine I'm most likely to play simpler games. The big game I'm playing right now is DC Universe Online and I think this machine can handle that just fine. I've read good things about the 430. As with anything, I'll have to get my hands dirty to see what works for me.

I have a main gaming rig already that I can use if needed.

EDIT: I see NewEgg has this card for $159 w/$20 rebate right now: EVGA GeForce GTX 460 SE (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5. After I get the rebate cash back, it's about $70ish to upgrade here. hmm

@Andrew C -- I looked at Dual Core until I read the 3d sticky that said when playing 3D Blu-rays a tri-core was "taxed". Got me concerned. Was that incorrect? I really want smooth playback. And yes, I want the WiFi option (only $20 of budget). But if I were out of cash, this would be first thing to go.

In fact, here's what the sticky says:

"As you can see, the triple-core Athlon II X3 440 at 3 GHz is highly stressed during Blu-ray 3D playback."

I'm open to a cheaper, but good MoBo by GB or Asus. That was just what I found. I'll go back and see if I can find one that's at least a $30 difference (the min amount I need to see to feel good about switching down).
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post #9 of 10 Old 03-03-2011, 06:01 PM - Thread Starter
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MoBo switch. After doing some searching I found this board for $70 (so $20 less):

ASUS M4A78LT-M AM3 AMD 760G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
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post #10 of 10 Old 03-03-2011, 06:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RebelCapitalist View Post

@Assassin I agree on ram. It's simply too cheap right now. 4GB all the way.

@whiteboy714 -- I've thought about it and on this machine I'm most likely to play simpler games. The big game I'm playing right now is DC Universe Online and I think this machine can handle that just fine. I've read good things about the 430. As with anything, I'll have to get my hands dirty to see what works for me.

I have a main gaming rig already that I can use if needed.

EDIT: I see NewEgg has this card for $159 w/$20 rebate right now: EVGA GeForce GTX 460 SE (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5. After I get the rebate cash back, it's about $70ish to upgrade here. hmm

@Andrew C -- I looked at Dual Core until I read the 3d sticky that said when playing 3D Blu-rays a tri-core was "taxed". Got me concerned. Was that incorrect? I really want smooth playback. And yes, I want the WiFi option (only $20 of budget). But if I were out of cash, this would be first thing to go.

In fact, here's what the sticky says:

"As you can see, the triple-core Athlon II X3 440 at 3 GHz is highly stressed during Blu-ray 3D playback."

I'm open to a cheaper, but good MoBo by GB or Asus. That was just what I found. I'll go back and see if I can find one that's at least a $30 difference (the min amount I need to see to feel good about switching down).

EVGA also has some nice prices on their b stock stuff. Only 90 day warranty though.

http://www.evga.com/products/prodlist.asp?switch=20
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