Cheapest ever HTPC that's decent. Proud of myself. - Page 13 - AVS Forum
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post #361 of 1023 Old 05-23-2012, 09:27 AM
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you could get the G530 for $41 at DirectCanada.com


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Originally Posted by KevBel View Post

Thanks for the heads up on the SSD size!

Here's my updated plan...

From NewEgg.ca :
  • (19$) Mushkin Enhanced Silverline 4GB RAM
  • (60$) Mushkin Enhanced Callisto Deluxe 60GB SATA II SSD
From BestDirect.ca :
  • (31$) COOLER MASTER Elite 460
  • (65$) Gigabyte GA-H61M-S2H
  • (56$) Silverstone ML03B
  • (49$) Intel G530

TOTAL COST : 295.59$



I'm a poor electrical engineering student :-P

And, I don't feel like I'm getting second grade components here...
The SSD uses a Sandforce controller and has excellent reviews. The Cooler Master PSU has very good reviews as well and is more than powerful enough. From what I've read Gigabyte makes very good motherboards. I actually feel like I'm splurging with the Silverstone case - if I had to upgrade it'd be for a 100$ case. Although, I'll admit I wouldn't mind getting the G630 but it's probably overkill for playing DVDs and DVDrips, streaming files over LAN/FTP, etc...

If you could upgrade one or two things about this build, what would it be?

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post #362 of 1023 Old 05-23-2012, 10:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rsoares28 View Post

you could get the G530 for $41 at DirectCanada.com

+10$ shipping

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Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

460w is actually a little too big and you'll be operating at pretty low efficiency given the minimal power demands of this system, and Coolermaster wouldn't be my personal choice in PSUs, but that's an FSP made one and should be fine. You could certainly do a lot worse, particularly for the $20 you're paying for it. The case is very nice, but realize that there is no room for installing any full height cards ever.

I have a 750gb 3.5" HDD I'll be adding in, and will eventually upgrade to 2 HDDs in a mirrored RAID setup. I also have a 5.25" DVD drive I'll be dropping in. So I don't think it should be too overkill...

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Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

But before anyone can answer if you should be using different components, you need to explain what it is you are trying to do with this box. You have no storage for rips, no tuner for OTA or cable, and no optical drive for disks. As a device for internet streaming, it should be fine, but what else did you have in mind?

Here's what it's for :
- Always on, plugged in to TV.
- Linux playbox : I want to run linux, possibly Arch Linux. Ubuntu Server if arch doesn't work out.
- Interface with a remote control and/or a Logitech K400 type RF keyboard+trackpad combo
- HTPC : Run XBMC (or other) and allow playback of movies, tv series, music and photos stored on local HDD.
- File / Media server : Share the HDD and stream movies, tv series, music and photos to other clients on the LAN or over the web.
- Web server : Host a simple Apache/PHP/MySQL web server for development purposes.
- Remotely accessible torrent client

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Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

Oh, by the way, you probably need a couple of 80mm fans; I don't believe that case comes with any. Looking at what Best Direct sells, I'd probably pick the Silenx Effizios. Newegg Canada may have more choices, but don't just buy the cheapest fans you can find or they'll be noisy and won't last.

How about Zalman ZM-F1 for 3.71$?
They have a 5 egg rating after 56 reviews on newegg!

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Originally Posted by BudgetHT View Post

Edit: This doesn't include the cost of software ie: TMT5 or PowerDVD12...

Linux and open source software
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post #363 of 1023 Old 05-23-2012, 11:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevBel View Post

I have a 750gb 3.5" HDD I'll be adding in, and will eventually upgrade to 2 HDDs in a mirrored RAID setup. I also have a 5.25" DVD drive I'll be dropping in. So I don't think it should be too overkill...

That doesn't change that's it's still too big. Not enormously so, and I'm not telling you it's so out of line you need to change it, but it is still too big. 90% of the time or more you'll be using less than 100w and the problem becomes that when you start using less than 25% or so of capacity, efficiency drops. Overkill with some components is just wasteful; with PSUs it's actually counterproductive. At least you haven't proposed a 750w PSU like we see some times. For the $20 deal you got, I'd probably go ahead and use it.

By the way, check the thread I just started about rebates on Intel 330 SSDs. You might check the prices for the 60GB model at the eligible Canadian dealers. You might find a better deal.

I have no idea about the Zahlman fans, and personally I don't put all that much stock in Newegg ratings. Want to know about fans? Go read silentpcreview.com or get recommendations here. The Zahlmans might be fine; I just don't know.
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post #364 of 1023 Old 05-23-2012, 11:31 AM
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(First time HTPC attempt)

So I just priced out a system based on Assassin's guide and I'm looking to save money without seriously losing performance:

- Mobo: Asrock H77 Pro4-m: $110
- Ram: G.Skill 4GB (2x2GB): $30
- CPU: i3-2100: $120
- HDD: Samsung F4 2TB HDD & Crucial M4 SSD: $130/$85
- PSU: Antec Green Watts 380: $55
- Case: nmedia 5000b - $80
- Optical: Lite-on BD somethingorother: $60

Total: $670

I'm in Canada which is why some prices are higher than you might expect. I CAN do USA shipping to a friend though if it will save me a hefty chunk of change.

This will be used most importantly for:

- Ripping DVDs/BD's and playing them as near to perfect quality as possible
- Playing back music
- Probably streaming something like netflix/hulu et al
- Possibly being used as a PVR for OTA transmissions in the future
- No 3d, ever, at all, hate it.

I haven't had an up to date PC of any kind in over 10+ years and I'm not interested in choppy/laggy/frustrating anything.

Where are the biggest bangs for the buck that I can save money on here without wishing I spent the extra cash?

(As a side point, I am NOT budget restricted but I am budget conscious - I want to spend only as much as needed to get the job done perfectly)
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post #365 of 1023 Old 05-23-2012, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Logic_BomB View Post

(First time HTPC attempt)

So I just priced out a system based on Assassin's guide and I'm looking to save money without seriously losing performance:

- Mobo: Asrock H77 Pro4-m: $110
- Ram: G.Skill 4GB (2x2GB): $30
- CPU: i3-2100: $120
- HDD: Samsung F4 2TB HDD & Crucial M4 SSD: $130/$85
- PSU: Antec Green Watts 380: $55
- Case: nmedia 5000b - $80
- Optical: Lite-on BD somethingorother: $60

Total: $670

I'm in Canada which is why some prices are higher than you might expect. I CAN do USA shipping to a friend though if it will save me a hefty chunk of change.

This will be used most importantly for:

- Ripping DVDs/BD's and playing them as near to perfect quality as possible
- Playing back music
- Probably streaming something like netflix/hulu et al
- Possibly being used as a PVR for OTA transmissions in the future
- No 3d, ever, at all, hate it.

I haven't had an up to date PC of any kind in over 10+ years and I'm not interested in choppy/laggy/frustrating anything.

Where are the biggest bangs for the buck that I can save money on here without wishing I spent the extra cash?

(As a side point, I am NOT budget restricted but I am budget conscious - I want to spend only as much as needed to get the job done perfectly)

You can probably drop down to an H61 motherboard (~$40 less) and a SB Pentium G620 CPU (another $50 less) and not lose any serious functionality.
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post #366 of 1023 Old 05-23-2012, 12:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Logic_BomB View Post

(- HDD: Samsung F4 2TB HDD & Crucial M4 SSD: $130/$85

Where are the biggest bangs for the buck that I can save money on here without wishing I spent the extra cash?

(As a side point, I am NOT budget restricted but I am budget conscious - I want to spend only as much as needed to get the job done perfectly)

You can save a few bucks here:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1411917

Is there something specific about that motherboard that interests you? You can certainly get cheaper ones. Both Amazon and Newegg are selling the Intel DH67BL for $85, and it makes a really solid HTPC motherboard. Or, if you want one of the new chipsets, Micro Center has some Z77 motherboards for $109 that CAN be mail ordered and Newegg has quite a few H77 motherboards for under $100.

If your US friend happens to be near a Micro Center you could save $40-50 on a cpu, but their CPU prices are in-store only.
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post #367 of 1023 Old 05-23-2012, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a5ehren View Post

You can probably drop down to an H61 motherboard (~$40 less) and a SB Pentium G620 CPU (another $50 less) and not lose any serious functionality.

Unless he needs 3D support.
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post #368 of 1023 Old 05-23-2012, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

Is there something specific about that motherboard that interests you?


I guess I liked the ability to go Ivy Bridge at a later date should I need to but I'm now questioning if that is all that important. It looks like the G620 would do everything without a large noticeable difference, correct?
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post #369 of 1023 Old 05-23-2012, 12:27 PM
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Quote:
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I guess I liked the ability to go Ivy Bridge at a later date should I need to but I'm now questioning if that is all that important.

That's understandable, but most current H61/H67/Z68 motherboards should accept a current Ivy Bridge CPU with a bios update. For their motherboards, Intel lists the version numbers that will accept Ivy Bridge, but even my year-old DH67BL is recent enough to use an IB cpu with just a bios update. How well other mfgs handle this, I don't know.

But this is the reason I said that if you wanted an H77/Z77, you can still get one for less than the one you listed. But if you're going to use a SB cpu, what's the actual likelihood that you're ever going to install an IB. You can save a lot with an H67 or H61 and it is still supposed to be able to take the upgrade if you ever decide to do so.
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post #370 of 1023 Old 05-23-2012, 12:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

That's understandable, but most current H61/H67/Z68 motherboards should accept a current Ivy Bridge CPU with a bios update. For their motherboards, Intel lists the version numbers that will accept Ivy Bridge, but even my year-old DH67BL is recent enough to use an IB cpu with just a bios update. How well other mfgs handle this, I don't know.

But this is the reason I said that if you wanted an H77/Z77, you can still get one for less than the one you listed. But if you're going to use a SB cpu, what's the actual likelihood that you're ever going to install an IB. You can save a lot with an H67 or H61 and it is still supposed to be able to take the upgrade if you ever decide to do so.

I don't think an IVB CPU in a SNB board can take full advantage of the new chipset though.
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post #371 of 1023 Old 05-23-2012, 12:34 PM
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I don't think an IVB CPU in a SNB board can take full advantage of the new chipset though.

Such as?

What other than DDR3 1600 in the native memory controller you lose?

Frankly, I'd probably buy a 7 series for any build today, but that's just me and I don't know of any reason why you would really need to, especially if the liklihood of ever swapping processors is low.
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post #372 of 1023 Old 05-23-2012, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

Such as?

What other than DDR3 1600 in the native memory controller you lose?

Frankly, I'd probably buy a 7 series for any build today, but that's just me and I don't know of any reason why you would really need to, especially if the liklihood of ever swapping processors is low.

Supposedly better 23.976 for those who obsess over it.
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post #373 of 1023 Old 05-23-2012, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Supposedly better 23.976 for those who obsess over it.

Would you also get that same advantage using a SB in a 7 series motherboard? I was under the impression that that is a chipset rather than CPU issue, but I have no idea if you can get the better timing putting a SB in a 7 series motherboard.
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post #374 of 1023 Old 05-23-2012, 12:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

Would you also get that same advantage using a SB in a 7 series motherboard? I was under the impression that that is a chipset rather than CPU issue, but I have no idea if you can get the better timing putting a SB in a 7 series motherboard.

My understanding is you need a IVB cpu and motherboard.
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post #375 of 1023 Old 05-23-2012, 12:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post


Sure, if you want one that someone else returned. No thanks.

Because the price for a new one is $80.

I have bought multiple open box from new egg without issues.

My main HTPC and also my server are both open box motherboards.

I have h61 for server I linked at start of this thread. I later got a z68 extreme for my HTPC.

I have no problems with open box.

Most times it's user error that forces a return. Not defects. Plus the return policy or refund and exchange is generous. They even pay return shipping. Shipping is often free to get it as well.


For the budget crowd it's the way to go. You get decent stuff for under $50 or $60.

I would take a z68 extreme AsRock for $74 over anything new near $99.

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"Too much is almost enough. Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."
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post #376 of 1023 Old 05-23-2012, 01:02 PM
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Hello Folks,

Saying that I am a newbie to this topic is a serious understatement. I know absolutely nothing about HTPC's, building one, and even less about how to integrate it into my system. I was just about to pull the trigger on an Oppo 93 but it seems like the capabilities of an HTPC are far more vast (stating the obvious I know). I have tons of bluray's and consolidating them into one system sounds amazing (WAF too!). Would there be any need for a conventional bluray player if I went with a HTPC? My primary purpose for having an HTPC would be for bluray playback. Also, is there any loss in quality (audio/visual) between a hard copy bluray disc and a HTPC?

I have already started reading Assassin's build thread for beginners and my head is about to explode! Just need a quick synopsis of what this potential treasure is all about! Thanks in advance.
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post #377 of 1023 Old 05-23-2012, 01:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azula View Post

Hello Folks,

Saying that I am a newbie to this topic is a serious understatement. I know absolutely nothing about HTPC's, building one, and even less about how to integrate it into my system. I was just about to pull the trigger on an Oppo 93 but it seems like the capabilities of an HTPC are far more vast (stating the obvious I know). I have tons of bluray's and consolidating them into one system sounds amazing (WAF too!). Would there be any need for a conventional bluray player if I went with a HTPC? My primary purpose for having an HTPC would be for bluray playback. Also, is there any loss in quality (audio/visual) between a hard copy bluray disc and a HTPC?

I have already started reading Assassin's build thread for beginners and my head is about to explode! Just need a quick synopsis of what this potential treasure is all about! Thanks in advance.

No difference in picture quality with an uncompressed MKV or ISO file.

Do know that a bluray movie is about 20-35GB alone. And if you want the menus, extras, etc (I don't want any of these things personally) then that is even more data.

So plan accordingly on your storage.
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post #378 of 1023 Old 05-23-2012, 01:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azula View Post

Hello Folks,

Saying that I am a newbie to this topic is a serious understatement. I know absolutely nothing about HTPC's, building one, and even less about how to integrate it into my system. I was just about to pull the trigger on an Oppo 93 but it seems like the capabilities of an HTPC are far more vast (stating the obvious I know). I have tons of bluray's and consolidating them into one system sounds amazing (WAF too!). Would there be any need for a conventional bluray player if I went with a HTPC? My primary purpose for having an HTPC would be for bluray playback. Also, is there any loss in quality (audio/visual) between a hard copy bluray disc and a HTPC?

I have already started reading Assassin's build thread for beginners and my head is about to explode! Just need a quick synopsis of what this potential treasure is all about! Thanks in advance.

If your head feels like it's about to explode after reading the build log just wait until you get into setting up WMC, XBMC, or Media Portal and all that goes with it... It's a labor of love...
Since setting up my HTPC I don't even use my BD player anymore.
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post #379 of 1023 Old 05-23-2012, 01:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azula View Post

Hello Folks,

Saying that I am a newbie to this topic is a serious understatement. I know absolutely nothing about HTPC's, building one, and even less about how to integrate it into my system. I was just about to pull the trigger on an Oppo 93 but it seems like the capabilities of an HTPC are far more vast (stating the obvious I know). I have tons of bluray's and consolidating them into one system sounds amazing (WAF too!). Would there be any need for a conventional bluray player if I went with a HTPC? My primary purpose for having an HTPC would be for bluray playback. Also, is there any loss in quality (audio/visual) between a hard copy bluray disc and a HTPC?

I have already started reading Assassin's build thread for beginners and my head is about to explode! Just need a quick synopsis of what this potential treasure is all about! Thanks in advance.

If you're new to this, you definitely should go to Assassin's Blog and pay the $25 for full access to all of his guides. You'll be glad you did.

Assassin HTPC Guides and Tutorials

And once you decide on a case and a motherboard, go search for those terms on Youtube and you'll almost certainly find a number of videos of people assembling pcs using those components. You'll see how easy it is, and it will give you some advance understanding of things to do and to look out for.

But the complicated part is the software integration, and that's when you'll be really glad you have Assassin's guides handy.
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post #380 of 1023 Old 05-23-2012, 03:18 PM
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Thanks guys, I found a "how to" video uploaded by newegg on youtube. I haven't priced out the parts that he is using in the video but does this seem like a build to suit my needs? (90% bluray, 10% music) here's the link:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnkrD_UJCko
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post #381 of 1023 Old 05-23-2012, 03:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azula View Post

Thanks guys, I found a "how to" video uploaded by newegg on youtube. I haven't priced out the parts that he is using in the video but does this seem like a build to suit my needs? (90% bluray, 10% music) here's the link:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnkrD_UJCko

It's worth watching those Youtubes for pointers on assembly; for components I'd rely on Assassin's guides and ask questions on this forum.
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post #382 of 1023 Old 05-24-2012, 12:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Assembly is easy part imo

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"Too much is almost enough. Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."
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post #383 of 1023 Old 05-24-2012, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azula View Post

Thanks guys, I found a "how to" video uploaded by newegg on youtube. I haven't priced out the parts that he is using in the video but does this seem like a build to suit my needs? (90% bluray, 10% music) here's the link:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnkrD_UJCko

Wow. Where to start.
You don't want a Zotac motherboard, you don't need an i5 cpu. I stopped watching about then.

Assassin has built a bunch of systems using that Apex-style boxy ITX case (same basic case is sold under several brands). Read his hardware recommendations.

Whether you are going to store your video on a hard disk in your HTPC or outside as in a server or on another pc, will dictate how small you can go. If you don't need a local hard disk and will just have an SSD, the Antec ISK-300-150 is a nice ITX case. If you want local storage, Assassin has a thread here about cramming three 5 1/4 inch hard drives and an SSD into one of those Apex cases (although I wouldn't recommend a first timer try it). Depending on whether you want 3D, you might want an i3 or if not you might be able to use a Pentium. Post your proposed build list and you'll get plenty of comments.
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post #384 of 1023 Old 05-24-2012, 12:51 PM
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Assembly is easy part imo

+1.
If you're having a hard time with the hardware than the software is going to be a mother.

I finally got around to dinking with Media Browser last night and wow!!! What a difference from the standard WMC running YAMMM(don't kill me. I'm still learning). I've been ripping my DVD collection to MKV. I installed MB last night and the Harmony skin. Loaded a few plugins for weather, metadata scraping, etc. It's cool just flipping through the library and checking out the bios and the vibrant still shots are amazing...
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post #385 of 1023 Old 05-24-2012, 06:54 PM
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Wow. Where to start.
You don't want a Zotac motherboard, you don't need an i5 cpu. I stopped watching about then.

Assassin has built a bunch of systems using that Apex-style boxy ITX case (same basic case is sold under several brands). Read his hardware recommendations.

Whether you are going to store your video on a hard disk in your HTPC or outside as in a server or on another pc, will dictate how small you can go. If you don't need a local hard disk and will just have an SSD, the Antec ISK-300-150 is a nice ITX case. If you want local storage, Assassin has a thread here about cramming three 5 1/4 inch hard drives and an SSD into one of those Apex cases (although I wouldn't recommend a first timer try it). Depending on whether you want 3D, you might want an i3 or if not you might be able to use a Pentium. Post your proposed build list and you'll get plenty of comments.

What thread is that? Would love to read how he put that many drives into one of those mini cases!
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post #386 of 1023 Old 05-24-2012, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by robseyes View Post

What thread is that? Would love to read how he put that many drives into one of those mini cases!

Here you go.

I used this build for almost a year before I changed to a Silverstone GD05 for more testing.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1346162
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post #387 of 1023 Old 05-24-2012, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by assassin View Post


Here you go.

I used this build for almost a year before I changed to a Silverstone GD05 for more testing.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1346162

Thanks a bunch!
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post #388 of 1023 Old 05-25-2012, 07:10 AM
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Out of curiosity - when it comes to an HTPC, what are you missing out on when it comes to the least expensive options?

I put together parts a few posts ago that seemed to get a lot of love for about $6-700. If I tried cutting every corner and dropped it down to some of the $300 systems I see here, what would I notice?

Laggy playback?
Slow GUI interface?
Part failure or reliability issues over time?
No support for something I can't even think of right now?
Something else I can't even think of right now?

Is it just that with a higher-end system programs will take half a second to load instead of 2 seconds or are there usability issues that I can't seem to wrap my head around?
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post #389 of 1023 Old 05-25-2012, 08:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Logic_BomB View Post

Out of curiosity - when it comes to an HTPC, what are you missing out on when it comes to the least expensive options?

I put together parts a few posts ago that seemed to get a lot of love for about $6-700. If I tried cutting every corner and dropped it down to some of the $300 systems I see here, what would I notice?

Laggy playback?
Slow GUI interface?
Part failure or reliability issues over time?
No support for something I can't even think of right now?
Something else I can't even think of right now?

Is it just that with a higher-end system programs will take half a second to load instead of 2 seconds or are there usability issues that I can't seem to wrap my head around?

I'm curious about this as well...

What will I NOT be able to do with my 300$ HTPC once it's built?
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post #390 of 1023 Old 05-25-2012, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by KevBel View Post

I'm curious about this as well...

What will I NOT be able to do with my 300$ HTPC once it's built?

Completely depends on the parts that are in it.

Post the 2 build specs.
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