Selling my Zino to build my first HTPC! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 31 Old 02-28-2012, 02:26 PM - Thread Starter
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I've always wanted to build my own computer and I've always wanted an HTPC. I've filled the HTPC void with one of the higher end Zinos for the past year. Someone's offered to buy it for $700 and I thought, hey, I could build a great updated intel based computer with that money.

My goal is to come in under $600. And to fit in with my equipment, I need a case similar in height to the Silverstone ML03B.

I originally posted this in the Assassin thread but figured instead of cluttering that up with tons of questions, it might be better alone.

Here's the build I'm thinking:
CASE: Silverstone ML03B $69.99
PSU: Silverstone Strider Plus ST50F-P 500W Modular $79.99
CPU: Intel i3-2105 $134.99
MB: ASRock Z68 Pro3-M $109.99
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaw Series 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1600 $46.99
BD: Lite-On Blu-Ray Burner iHBS112-04 $79.99

Stuff I already have:
OS: Windows 7 Pro 64-bit
HD: WD 1TB WD10EADS

Is there a better BD drive to consider? It has to be right around 170mm to fit with the 140mm PSU. From looking at the dimensions of the PSU and the drive, I believe these will fit in the case together.

If I'm interested in gaming, is there a good graphics card to add to the mix?

Recommendations of a good wireless keyboard/mouse combo?

And I have a URC MX-600 remote control. What's the best way to integrate a remote sensor into the system?

Okay and here's the last question, I promise. I'm new to SSDs, never used them before, and understand the speed increase is pretty great. What's the minimum size I need to get the OS up and running and for that size what's the best budget one out there?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 31 Old 02-28-2012, 02:28 PM
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Wait, this looks familiar?

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post #3 of 31 Old 02-28-2012, 02:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Wait, this looks familiar?

:-) I have a bunch of questions and was worried about cluttering up the other thread.

Per your previous recommendation I'm doing some research on the Rii.

One thing you didn't mention was the kind of SSD you use or might recommend. Thanks, by the way, for your help!
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post #4 of 31 Old 02-28-2012, 02:46 PM
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I think the PSU is overkill but I understand wanting modular to save depth in that case. Here's an alternative to consider:

http://www.amazon.com/FSP-Certified-.../dp/B004VF4R4U

It's an SFX PSU but it comes with an adapter plate to fit in the ATX space. It's 80+, from a reputable manufacturer and is much less deep that even the modular. It's also $38 cheaper and is still more than enough for a HTPC, even if you later decide to drop up to an HD 6670 in it.

64GB is good for an OS drive. Consensus is the Crucial M4 is the one to get.

 

 

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post #5 of 31 Old 02-28-2012, 03:02 PM - Thread Starter
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I just realized that the issue with modular is that the plugs stick out which would bump up against the BD drive. How far do modular plugs typically stick out?
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post #6 of 31 Old 02-28-2012, 03:04 PM
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A few comments.

- That PSU is bigger than you need, and it's made by Enhance, which isn't exactly a mfg I'd be choosing. I suggest a Seasonic S12II 380, or, if you're dead set on modular, a PC Power and Cooling Silencer Mk III 400w (made by Seasonic) as being both better units and more appropriately sized (and cheaper, by the way).

- If you happen to live near a Micro Center, you can get an i3-2100 for $99 or an i3-2125 for $119.

- You should be able to get 8gb of perfectly fine sdram for $35 or less.

- Nice case - it's cheaper at Amazon with free shipping.

- If you're looking at small Rii keyboards, I suggest the Rii N7. It's handier to use with the touchpad in the center, and it has a full compliment of F keys. I like mine. If you want something larger, I also like my Iogear GKM561R.

- 60/64gb is the most common size SSD used for HTPCs. That's what I have in my HTPC, although I've started buying 120/128gb instead for other pcs. Prices have fallen enough to make it feasible. A SATA III will be nominally faster than a SATA II, and while I suggest getting one since your mobo supports it, I have to say I doubt if you'd notice the difference in the real world. The big jump is from hard disk to SSD; I've used both SATA II and SATA III and haven't noticed any real work difference, nor have I noticed a speed difference among different makes or controllers. You can find 60/64gb drives for $60-90 on sale. Will usually pay around $100 for a SATA III. Personally I avoid SATA III drives with SandForce SF-2281 controllers, and prefer Marvell controllers (Intel 520, Plextor M2S and M3S, Crucial M4) or Samsung 830 with Sata III drives, but SATA II Sandforce drives should be just fine. Watch the sales at Newegg. For example, they have the Patriot Pyro 60GB SATA III now for $65 after rebate, if you don't mind the SF-2281 controller. They always have something on sale.
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post #7 of 31 Old 02-28-2012, 03:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlwizard View Post

I just realized that the issue with modular is that the plugs stick out which would bump up against the BD drive. How far do modular plugs typically stick out?

It can be a problem.

What I would worry about is getting a shorter PSU. The SFX is a decent idea. But if you get a standard ATX PSU, get one that's only 5.5" deep. Some are 6" or more (height and width is always 5.9 x 3.4 for ATX PSUs). That half inch can make a big difference.

As one other possibility, I use an FSP Aurum Gold 400W (AU-400) in my HTPC and it's worked great, is high efficiency, and has been dead silent. I see Newegg has reduced the price by $20.
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post #8 of 31 Old 02-28-2012, 03:20 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm leaning towards modular simply because one things I've always hated in terms of working with computers is abundant and unnecessary cables getting in my way.

And thanks for the recs. I think that PC Cooling PSU is 20mm too long if I were to also try for the BD drive.

One review I read on Newegg had a guy with a drive and modular PSU with the same dimensions as the ones I posted above. He had to use a right angle SATA plug to get it to fit but said he was only able to use 1 of the 4 power cables. How many power cables would I typically be using?
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post #9 of 31 Old 02-28-2012, 03:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlwizard View Post

:-) I have a bunch of questions and was worried about cluttering up the other thread.

Per your previous recommendation I'm doing some research on the Rii.

One thing you didn't mention was the kind of SSD you use or might recommend. Thanks, by the way, for your help!

I've had this SSD for almost a year now and it is rock solid. Got it for $62 AR in May, 2011. It is an older model so what's available now is probably faster.

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post #10 of 31 Old 02-28-2012, 04:57 PM
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I just built one with the same case and this PSU fits beautifully (also $20 cheaper) http://www.performance-pcs.com/catal...ducts_id=28447

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post #11 of 31 Old 02-28-2012, 07:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

- You should be able to get 8gb of perfectly fine sdram for $35 or less.

- Nice case - it's cheaper at Amazon with free shipping.

How's Corsair 8GB (2x4) PC3-10666 240-pin Dual Channel DDR3 Memory Kit 8 Dual Channel Kit - CMV8GX3M2A1333C9? That's 37.99 at Amazon.

And thanks for mentioning Amazon for the case. Looks like they had it for $59.99 earlier today, but now it's up to $64 and change.
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post #12 of 31 Old 02-28-2012, 07:17 PM
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post #13 of 31 Old 02-28-2012, 09:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay. Think I'll switch to the Corsair RAM. Also think I might try the LG WH12LS39 BD drive, which is 172mm, with a right angle plug. I should theoretically have 27mm in between the PSU and the BD drive for the modular plugs to stick out.

I'm also considering switching to the ASUS P8Z68-M Pro board. The ASRock Pro3-M board is 110 at Newegg. but by the time I add shipping and tax it's more than the P8Z68-M Pro at Amazon.
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post #14 of 31 Old 02-28-2012, 10:57 PM
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I would skip the asrock mobo
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post #15 of 31 Old 02-28-2012, 10:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlwizard View Post

How's Corsair 8GB (2x4) PC3-10666 240-pin Dual Channel DDR3 Memory Kit 8 Dual Channel Kit - CMV8GX3M2A1333C9? That's 37.99 at Amazon.

And thanks for mentioning Amazon for the case. Looks like they had it for $59.99 earlier today, but now it's up to $64 and change.

Not much better than corsair 4 gig ram.
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post #16 of 31 Old 02-29-2012, 12:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jeffkro View Post

I would skip the asrock mobo

Thanks. Feature-wise, they look pretty much the same. I had heard of Asus before, but not ASRock.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkro View Post

Not much better than corsair 4 gig ram.

Cool. And I assume for HTPC purposes, the difference between getting 1333 mhz memory and 1600 mhz memory is negligible?
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post #17 of 31 Old 02-29-2012, 04:05 AM
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Quote:
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I would skip the asrock mobo

Asrock makes great boards. I have 3 personally. Don't know why yours is giving you problems.

Asrock and asus have the same parent company.
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post #18 of 31 Old 02-29-2012, 06:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Asrock and asus have the same parent company.

Asrock was originally spun off to compete with OEMs selling lower cost commodity boards. Any more though and I think they can compete head to head with the more "premium" brand names.

I've never had a problem with their board using them in several systems that I've built.
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post #19 of 31 Old 02-29-2012, 08:28 AM
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I also have 3 AsRock motherboards
2 AsRock P67 Extreme 4
1 AsRock Z68 Pro3-M which is in my Silverstone ML03B case.
They work great, no problems what so ever.
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post #20 of 31 Old 02-29-2012, 08:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlwizard View Post

And thanks for mentioning Amazon for the case. Looks like they had it for $59.99 earlier today, but now it's up to $64 and change.

That's still cheaper.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tlwizard View Post

Cool. And I assume for HTPC purposes, the difference between getting 1333 mhz memory and 1600 mhz memory is negligible?

That would be correct (putting aside madVR, which, if you're interested, look up Renethx's many postings about required GPU/memory requirements for different levels of madVR, such as here and here but then you'd probably need DDR3-2133).
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post #21 of 31 Old 02-29-2012, 10:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

That's still cheaper.



That would be correct (putting aside madVR, which, if you're interested, look up Renethx's many postings about required GPU/memory requirements for different levels of madVR, such as here and here but then you'd probably need DDR3-2133).

Oh that looks like it could be really cool. I might not worry about that now, but will work towards that in the future (but I'm still about to go research 2133 RAM).
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post #22 of 31 Old 02-29-2012, 10:41 AM
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I just realized you said someone was going to give you $700 for your Zino. Did you take the money and run yet?

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post #23 of 31 Old 02-29-2012, 11:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

I just realized you said someone was going to give you $700 for your Zino. Did you take the money and run yet?

:-) I actually got 720 for it. It was an AMD P960 Quad Core, 6GB RAM, 1TB HD, ATI 5450 GPU, Win 7 Pro, wireless KBM, but the nice thing was it still had 1.5 years left on it's full warranty. I originally bought it for 480 (Dell Outlet), loved the form factor, but didn't love the limitations (of the Zino, not SFF).

Looks like the 2133 RAM would double my RAM cost, so I'll leave that as a future upgrade. Although, since it relies on a GPU to do the accelaration, and something I am interested in is some PC Gaming (Civilization V, Diablo III) is there a good (half-height, I assume) Video Card that can accomplish all that while still maintaining everything the i3-2105 had going for it?
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post #24 of 31 Old 02-29-2012, 02:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Alright, looks like this is the new build I'm going to try for.

CASE: Silverstone ML03B $64.86
PSU: Silverstone Strider Plus ST50F-P 500W Modular $79.99
CPU: Intel i3-2105 $134.99
MB: ASUS P8Z68-M Pro $124.99
RAM: Corsair 8 GB (2x4) 1333mhz PC3-10666 240-pin DDR3 Memory Kit $37.99
BD: WH12LS39K M-Disc 12X Blu-Ray Disc Rewriter and DVD-ROM Drive $86.72
GPU: ASUS GeForce GT 430 Low Profile Video Card ENGT430/DI/1GD3(LP) $39.99 AR

Already have Win 7 Pro and WD 1TB Green Drive. I added the GT 430 to the mix to perhaps improve SD rendering (streaming DVD vob files from server).

Future improvements: SSD and TV card.

Have a right angle SATA cable to hopefully make the BD drive and PSU work together. We'll see if that happens!

Also need to add wireless KBM and a remote sensor to make my URC MX-600 remote able to control the HTPC. Any recommendations on remote sensors or how best to implement that?
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post #25 of 31 Old 02-29-2012, 02:59 PM
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Looks like you slid in well under $600!

I think the MCE remote from amazon or the HP MCE remote has the IR dongle you need.. The one that came with my Hauppauge TV tuner does the trick for me with my H900 using IR.

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post #26 of 31 Old 02-29-2012, 03:22 PM
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It's a pain to add the SSD later. I really recommend doing that up front. On the other hand, adding a video card later is a 10 minute job if you ever decide you need it, and if you're not gaming, I doubt if you will. So I would urge swapping the video card for an SSD (and still staying under $600).

Also still not a fan of that PSU. A 300-400w model from a better mfg would be my suggestion. Stardog's suggestion was a good one.
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post #27 of 31 Old 02-29-2012, 03:31 PM
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I've used that PSU. Its fine for HTPC. A bit overpriced now that there is a re-badged Seasonic for the same or less price though.
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post #28 of 31 Old 02-29-2012, 04:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Looks like you slid in well under $600!

I think the MCE remote from amazon or the HP MCE remote has the IR dongle you need.. The one that came with my Hauppauge TV tuner does the trick for me with my H900 using IR.

This one? http://www.amazon.com/Windows-Contro...0559732&sr=8-1

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It's a pain to add the SSD later. I really recommend doing that up front. On the other hand, adding a video card later is a 10 minute job if you ever decide you need it, and if you're not gaming, I doubt if you will. So I would urge swapping the video card for an SSD (and still staying under $600).

Also still not a fan of that PSU. A 300-400w model from a better mfg would be my suggestion. Stardog's suggestion was a good one.

My preference is modular, but if things don't fit then I'll opt for the one he suggested.

As for adding the SSD later, is it a pain in the sense of having to add a new hard drive or is there something more to it that I'm not aware of? If I could have gotten on that Crucial M4 64GB for $65 yesterday I definitely would have done it, but the cheapest I can find right now is $100 and that just feels like a tad too much for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

I've used that PSU. Its fine for HTPC. A bit overpriced now that there is a re-badged Seasonic for the same or less price though.

Unfortunately the rebadged Seasonic won't fit in this particular case if I want any kind of optical drive.
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post #29 of 31 Old 02-29-2012, 05:05 PM
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That's the one. I haven't used it but have seen it discussed on here often. It seems the HP one gets more favorable mentions though.

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post #30 of 31 Old 03-01-2012, 07:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlwizard View Post

As for adding the SSD later, is it a pain in the sense of having to add a new hard drive or is there something more to it that I'm not aware of? If I could have gotten on that Crucial M4 64GB for $65 yesterday I definitely would have done it, but the cheapest I can find right now is $100 and that just feels like a tad too much for me.

I count SEVENTEEN 60-64gb SSDs on Newegg for less than $100, some as low as $75 (OCZ Agility 3 or Patriot Pyro, after rebate, with free shipping). There are plenty of choices. And Newegg usually has something on deep sale every day or two. Amazon similarly has the M4 for $96, the OCZ Petrol for $91, and the Patriot Torqx 2 for $84, and quite a few others for under $100. If you watch the prices, Amazon often has deals on SSDs as well.

Quite a few settings need to be different in Windows for an SSD and it really should be done as a clean Windows install so that Windows 7 will configure itself properly. That's why it's a PITA.

On the other hand, I suspect if you try the integrated GPU first, you'll conclude you don't need a discrete card (which will simply generate extra heat which needs to be cooled which generates noise). Unless they plan heavy duty gaming, I think anyone getting a Sandy Bridge processor ought to at least try the on chip graphics before adding a seperate graphics card, which, if they decide later to do it, is an easy 10 minute job.
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