Comment on my HTPC build plans - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 04-12-2012, 03:51 PM - Thread Starter
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I am wanting to build an HTPC for use in my home theatre. After some research I have decided on some parts, and since I am a very unexperienced PC craftsman I am hoping for some suggestions for this build. These are my requirements:

-Running uTorrent or similar and XBMC simultaneously
-Stream 5.1 HD audio and 1080p via HDMI to my receiver
-Preferably do some light (read: very light) gaming
-Playback (and rip) Blu-Ray movies
-Cheap

These are the components I've found:

Motherboard: ASRock A75M-HVS (Integrated audio, video, network), Newegg
ASRock

CPU: One of these three:
AMD A4-3400 (Dual Core, Integrated graphics), Newegg
AMD A6-3500 (Triple Core, Integrated Graphics), Newegg
AMD A8-3870K (Quad Core, Integrated Graphics), Newegg

HDD: Samsung SpinPoint F4EG 2 TB, same (or similar) to this (Newegg)

BD Drive: LiteOn iHOS104-06, Newegg

RAM: I found this, but i guess any DDR3 1600MHz ram will do

PSU: Antec EarthWatts 380D Green, Newegg

Case: Silverstone SST-GD05B, Newegg

I have a few questions about the components:

1) The Motherboard: Is the audio card sufficient?

2) Processors: The Quad and Triple has better graphics. Are they worth the extra cost? What about gaming (again, very light). What will the increased power do in regards to heat and fan noise? (I read the included fans make some noise.) Should I look into any heatsinks?

3) PSU: Reviews say it's silent and not very warm, is it fitting for my build?

Thanks for any help and advice, I appreciate it.
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post #2 of 12 Old 04-12-2012, 04:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edvahass View Post

I am wanting to build an HTPC for use in my home theatre. After some research I have decided on some parts, and since I am a very unexperienced PC craftsman I am hoping for some suggestions for this build. These are my requirements:

-Running uTorrent or similar and XBMC simultaneously
-Stream 5.1 HD audio and 1080p via HDMI to my receiver
-Preferably do some light (read: very light) gaming
-Playback (and rip) Blu-Ray movies
-Cheap

These are the components I've found:

Motherboard: ASRock A75M-HVS (Integrated audio, video, network),

CPU: One of these three:
AMD A4-3400 (Dual Core, Integrated graphics),
AMD A6-3500 (Triple Core, Integrated Graphics),
AMD A8-3870K (Quad Core, Integrated Graphics),

HDD: Samsung SpinPoint F4EG 2 TB,

BD Drive: LiteOn iHOS104-06,

RAM: I i guess any old DDR3 1600MHz ram will do

PSU: Antec EarthWatts 380D Green,

Case: Silverstone SST-GD05B,

I have a few questions about the components:

1) The Motherboard: Is the audio card sufficient?

2) Processors: The Quad and Triple has better graphics. Are they worth the extra cost? What about gaming (again, very light). What will the increased power do in regards to heat and fan noise? (I read the included fans make some noise.) Should I look into any heatsinks?

3) PSU: Reviews say it's silent and not very warm, is it fitting for my build?

I'd post links but I am not allowed to by the forum yet. Thanks for any help and advice, I appreciate it.

I would go with the triple core A6 and that PSU is great. I bought the quad core A6 which has a significantly higher watt rating and so has a noisier fan. If your mobo controls fan rpm better than mine it might still be ok. For gaming you might want to wait for trinity, its suppose to be up to 50% faster for games which might put it in the performance range of $70-$100 graphics cards. By the way if you use an HDMI cable for audio you pretty much bypass the motherboard's built in sound.
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post #3 of 12 Old 04-12-2012, 04:20 PM
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post #4 of 12 Old 04-12-2012, 04:22 PM - Thread Starter
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I was thinking that the A6 might be the better option. I'll probably wait for trinity though, I think there might be some time before I actually buy the rigs, and trinity doesn't seem too far ahead.

EDIT: Actually it seems it might take some months before trinity. I'll probably go with the A6 then.
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post #5 of 12 Old 04-14-2012, 10:24 PM
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Looks like the BD drive is out of stock and deactivated... might have to go with this one...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16827106374

The mobo is fine but for a couple bucks more this has 8 channel audio vs 6 plus it can support more memory.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813186222

2 things I wanted to point out, both mobo's support sata 6gb sec drives so you can go with those if you want, prices shouldn't be that much different, and speed is better.

The other is the ram you picked will work, but your not going to get that speed unless you overclock the ram, so no need with a htpc/light gaming application.
Get these instead: they are same amount of ram 4gb but you will be able to run in dual channel which can be helpful... same price.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820220555


Oh and I know your on a tight budget but don't skimp on the power supply. Myself, i'd go with this one.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817151099

Why? #1 Fanless = No sound at all + less dust inside your case
#2 Gold certified means more energy efficient
#3 Fully modular = only using the cords you need, makes the case neater inside and keeps the case cooler
#4 Japanese Caps
this power supply will last you longer and also has more possible power output so it's more future proof for you.

That case is nice, just curious if you looked at any of these, they are all cheaper and the case you picked out only holds 2 hard drives, while the others hold anywhere from 4 to 7. Might be something to consider for future expansion...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100008308&IsNodeId=1&page=1&bop=And&ActiveSearchResult=True&CompareItemList=690|11-163-166^11-163-166-TS%2C11-204-032^11-204-032-TS%2C11-204-035^11-204-035-TS%2C11-204-030^11-204-030-03%23%2C11-204-037^11-204-037-TS

And remember dust is your arch enemy, monthly you should remove the cover and blow out any dust and wipe down any fan blades you have. I would say that with all the computer repairs I have done for people about 1/2 or more of them were caused by or contributed to dust buildup. Good luck, have fun building.
I have been building & repairing computers for 29+ years if you have any questions please feel free to PM me.
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post #6 of 12 Old 04-15-2012, 01:16 AM - Thread Starter
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I live in Norway and the BD drive is in stock here, I linked to Newegg for reference, though.

The mobo you're suggesting is a reverse problem, unfortunately not available here. I might have chosen that one if it was available. Still I don't think I'll need the extra channels or ram though, 16 GB will more than fill my needs.

HDD - 6 Gb/s would probably be nice, yeah. I'm probably going to use this as a boot drive, so that extra speed might come in handy. (Should I maybe invest in an SSD for a start up drive? Is it worth it?)

RAM - I really don't have any idea of how that works, but I've been told that 1600 MHz ram is best for this motherboard. Interested in the lack of performance, how does that work?

As for PSU, fanless looks great. According to the reviews the Antec is also whisper silent, however modular would be fantastic, also the extra watts would probably be good. It would probably be a better PSU than the Antec but as you said, it's really expensive.

Those cases look really nice (and they're cheap!). nMediapc is not available in Norway at all, but these might be cheap enough to avoid import tax. I'll def look into it.

EDIT: How much difference does the fan sizes on the cases make?
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post #7 of 12 Old 04-15-2012, 01:29 AM - Thread Starter
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How's this case? Silverstone MILO ML03B
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post #8 of 12 Old 04-15-2012, 06:36 AM
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That's a nice case, but it's really tight inside. You'll have to go to Silverstone's website to look at the spec sheets to make sure your PSU and your optical drive will all fit. They have very close tolerances and if one of these items is 1/8" too large, then something or other won't fit. IOW, there's just about no wiggle room for what those spec sheets tell you are maximum sizes. You also have to be sure to add in space for cable connections to these devices.

As for your question on a SSD, the answer is yes, it really is worth it. If you can get a good deal on a 60 gig SSD, go for it. That is all you need for your OS and a few other programs and your data will go on your normal HD. You'll be surprised at the difference an SSD can make.
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post #9 of 12 Old 04-16-2012, 11:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mccordm View Post

That's a nice case, but it's really tight inside. You'll have to go to Silverstone's website to look at the spec sheets to make sure your PSU and your optical drive will all fit. They have very close tolerances and if one of these items is 1/8" too large, then something or other won't fit. IOW, there's just about no wiggle room for what those spec sheets tell you are maximum sizes. You also have to be sure to add in space for cable connections to these devices.

As for your question on a SSD, the answer is yes, it really is worth it. If you can get a good deal on a 60 gig SSD, go for it. That is all you need for your OS and a few other programs and your data will go on your normal HD. You'll be surprised at the difference an SSD can make.

I agree with the SSD, your only going to have the OS like you said, a couple programs for file viewing etc and maybe some light gaming. Perfect for SSD, Then use the SATA drives for storage.
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post #10 of 12 Old 04-16-2012, 11:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edvahass View Post

How's this case? Silverstone MILO ML03B

Looks cool, but definitely (as Mccordm said) check your other components size, for sure that will be a tight fit.

Well that ram will work just fine as is, but the mobo will not get 1600 speed out of it unless you tell it to overclock. Which for a HTPC is not needed. That's why I was pointing you towards the 1333.

Fan sizes, some difference but not a huge one, if everything else is set up neat in the case.
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post #11 of 12 Old 04-17-2012, 06:18 AM
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Your build looks excellent. The A6 is definitely worth the extra $10, but the A8 is not worth the extra $60 over that for your purposes.

Everything else is A+++

A 64gb SSD as others mentioned would be a nice addition. But if you need to have a regular HDD in there anyway, it might not be worth the money to you unless you really need a fast boot time or something. Now when you take the next step and outsource storage to another machine and stream your media, then you'll need a drive for OS and programs and might look at an SSD.
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post #12 of 12 Old 04-21-2012, 01:49 AM
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I'm not sure exactly what you're suggesting when you say you'll be running uTorrent, but I'll make a silent assumption and advise you to check out paying $10 a month for a newsgroup provider instead (Astraweb seems to be leading the pack right now, I'm about to switch to it). It's not based on peer distribution of files, so you're guaranteed to download as fast as your net connection is capable of rather than having to worry about finding seeders. And you don't have to use any upload bandwidth contributing/hosting files back into the seed pool along with exposing yourself to the world (a truly anonymous, well encrypted VPN based on OpenVPN technology is the only safe way I'm aware of to even make me go near a torrent - and those are going to cost around $7 + a month). Also look into SABnzbd in conjunction with Sickbeard and you'll never miss your cable tv, DVR, nor the $80 or so in bills each month. Just don't anything illegal. Seriously.
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