$400 budget, build my htpc - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 42 Old 08-05-2012, 05:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Streaming and playing back mkv files is all I need. Want something including a remote that is easy for the family to use

No 3D
No dvd/BD player
No HD audio
Media on external drives

Build away. I'm ordering this week.

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post #2 of 42 Old 08-05-2012, 05:36 PM
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Either llano A6 3500 or sandy bridge Pentium with 4 gigs of ram should work great.
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post #3 of 42 Old 08-05-2012, 05:36 PM
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Asrock LGA1155 Motherboard (under $100)
Muskin or Gskil 8GB DDR3 ($40)
Intel i3 $99
Samsung 830 128GB SSD $99
Antec Neo 400watt PSU $29

Case of your choice.

Just about $400 total.

I build about the same thing for $300 in my budget HTPC thread and also my Desktop build.

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post #4 of 42 Old 08-05-2012, 05:39 PM
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http://www.avsforum.com/t/1404685/cheapest-ever-htpc-thats-decent-proud-of-myself

There is some info in there you might want to read.

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post #5 of 42 Old 08-05-2012, 05:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the crane View Post

Streaming and playing back mkv files is all I need. Want something including a remote that is easy for the family to use
No 3D
No dvd/BD player
No HD audio
Media on external drives
Build away. I'm ordering this week.


To be honest you pretty much spelled <$100 stand alone media player (Boxee, WDTV, etc) to a T right there. biggrin.gif
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post #6 of 42 Old 08-05-2012, 06:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C17chief View Post

To be honest you pretty much spelled <$100 stand alone media player (Boxee, WDTV, etc) to a T right there. biggrin.gif
+1
You don't need an HTPC for those tasks at all.
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post #7 of 42 Old 08-05-2012, 07:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C17chief View Post

To be honest you pretty much spelled <$100 stand alone media player (Boxee, WDTV, etc) to a T right there. biggrin.gif

I have a Boxee now but it's not very stable and can't do everything I want it to do. I like to be able to play my MKV files, but they have lost some good apps lately and can't get Hulu outside a repo. Just harder than I want for the kids.

I like the idea of XBMC as well, hence the reason I want to go HTPC.

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post #8 of 42 Old 08-05-2012, 07:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1404685/cheapest-ever-htpc-thats-decent-proud-of-myself
There is some info in there you might want to read.

Mfusick, thanks for the great info. I've never build a pc before, but I'm pretty computer savvy and looking forward to the challenge.

What Asrock LGA1155 do you think I should go with? I want the htpc to be expandable, but not overkill for no reason.

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post #9 of 42 Old 08-05-2012, 07:45 PM
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post #10 of 42 Old 08-06-2012, 10:57 AM
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This is my current favorite HTPC build when there's no need for an ODD and media is on a NAS/server:

E-i5 mini-itx desktop computer case with 84W AC adapter $114.98
Startech rubber feet (for E-i5 case) $1.95
Gigabyte GA-H61N-USB3 mini-itx motherboard $79.99
Intel G540 2.5Ghz dual-core Sandy Bridge processor with Intel HD graphics $44.99
Silverstone NT07-1156 37mm low-profile CPU cooler $24.50
Crucial m4 64GB SSD $69.99
Kingston 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1333 Model KVR1333D3S8N9K2/4G $23.99
Total: ~$360

Alternately:
Remove G540 and NT07-1156 cooler and replace with Intel® Pentium® Processor G630T (3M Cache, 2.30 GHz) $79.99
Total: ~$370

 

 

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post #11 of 42 Old 08-06-2012, 11:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StardogChampion View Post

This is my current favorite HTPC build when there's no need for an ODD and media is on a NAS/server:
E-i5 mini-itx desktop computer case with 84W AC adapter $114.98
Startech rubber feet (for E-i5 case) $1.95
Gigabyte GA-H61N-USB3 mini-itx motherboard $79.99
Intel G540 2.5Ghz dual-core Sandy Bridge processor with Intel HD graphics $44.99
Silverstone NT07-1156 37mm low-profile CPU cooler $24.50
Crucial m4 64GB SSD $69.99
Total: $336.40

You need to add some SDRAM onto that list.

Here would be mine:

Antec ISK 300-150 Mini-ITX Case w/150 Watt Power Supply - $84 (Amazon)
Intel DH67CF Mini-ITX Motherboard - $111 (Amazon)
Intel Core i3-2100 CPU - $90 (Micro Center)
Plextor PX-128M3S 128 GB M3S Solid State Drive - $95 (Amazon)
Kingston HyperX 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1600 -- $28 (Amazon)

$408
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post #12 of 42 Old 08-06-2012, 11:42 AM
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Does he need ITX ? The ITX motherboards are small but more expensive and not better.

A sub $80 mini atx might make more sense.

And not to start a fight but I would look at a different SSD than crucial. ( I have one of those and it sucks)

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post #13 of 42 Old 08-06-2012, 11:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

Does he need ITX ? The ITX motherboards are small but more expensive and not better.
A sub $80 mini atx might make more sense.
And not to start a fight but I would look at a different SSD than crucial. ( I have one of those and it sucks)

The motherboard I suggested is under $80.

Feel free to suggest a full build -- it might be more useful and less confusing that trying to shoot holes.

And for your one bad Crucial m4 I've got eight now that aren't bad.

 

 

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post #14 of 42 Old 08-06-2012, 11:54 AM
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Any sandy or ivy bridge CPU would make sense and $90 for i3 is solid but a g620 would be just as good real world if you needed save a few more bucks.

Just FYI. Both options good. I think CPU is most flexible.

I tend to spend up on a larger SSD or more ram than a more expensive ITX board but only because space is not an issue for me.

My case is in an AV closet. Plenty of room for anything.

So my board is an AsRock z68 with G630 ($60) and I spent up a little for 8gb ddr3 and a 120gb SSD (79$)

It made sense to me for same cost. Motherboard choice in many ways is effected by your case choice or preference.

Looks are often subjective so if OP decides on case style or model it makes it easier to figure out rest of hardware.

I would not start reccomending ITX boards and low profile coolers unless OP confirms he was an ultra small build.

For less money you get more in standard sized products.

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post #15 of 42 Old 08-06-2012, 11:56 AM
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If you're building a system that requires no optical drive and no in-unit storage other than an SSD, I think mini-itx is definitely the way to go.

But, as you say, it's a personal choice, and it depends on your setup as to where you intend to put the thing.

I agree on getting a 120/128GB SSD, and that a few bucks can be saved with a cheaper processor.

What I listed above is just what I would personally do.
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post #16 of 42 Old 08-06-2012, 12:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StardogChampion View Post

The motherboard I suggested is under $80.
Feel free to suggest a full build -- it might be more useful and less confusing that trying to shoot holes.
And for your one bad Crucial m4 I've got eight now that aren't bad.

Fair enough on motherboard. My comments were actually aimed at the $111 board suggested. Intel is great but that's more than you need to spend IMO.


On SSD ... If I said I owned more than 8 OCZ's and they all worked great too... Would that change your opinion on them ? If not I guess my opinion on CRucial won't change.

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post #17 of 42 Old 08-06-2012, 12:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the great feedback here and from Mfusick via PM's.

Right now I'm leaning towards the following

ASRock H77
i3 2100
G Skill 2x4gb
Crucial 64gb ssd
Silverstone Micro ATX Case
Antec Earthwatts 380 PSU
2 Cooler master 80mm fans

I have a couple external 500gb HD's I will be using to store media.

Gets me in around $335 plus shipping and tax. Now, I just have to pull the trigger.....

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post #18 of 42 Old 08-06-2012, 12:08 PM
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I would usually choose the 128GB SSD too. I wonder if it's just streaming MKVs if a larger SSD will be necessary. And, if running XBMC, say OpenELEC, it might not be needed at all -- just an 8GB USB stick card would do then.

I like the Kingston HyperX 1600 for a few bucks more -- good choice for using the iGPU.

 

 

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post #19 of 42 Old 08-06-2012, 12:16 PM - Thread Starter
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I will be running XBMC, forgot about that when selecting the drive. What is that going to do to my SSD?

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post #20 of 42 Old 08-06-2012, 12:20 PM
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Are you going to run XBMC + Windows? There are other flavors of XBMC, like OpenELEC you might want to take a look at if you don't need to run Windows. That would reduce your hardware requirements, though something with a Intel G540 would still be very capable of running Windows later if you did add an SSD + Windows.

8GB, i3-2100, large case, 380W PSU -- all overkill for running XBMC to view MKVs unless there's more to this than you say.

 

 

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post #21 of 42 Old 08-06-2012, 12:24 PM
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How important is form factor?

You can get a Gateway refurb Intel i3-2120 4gb, 1TB, HDMI, N(wifi), windows 7 for about $300 delivered.
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post #22 of 42 Old 08-06-2012, 12:34 PM
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I don't really see the point in paying $70 for a 64GB Crucial when for $23 more I can get a faster (and in my view better) Plextor of double that size. The bigger size has additional advantages in terms of both speed and longevity even if you don't fill it up, and especially when there is no other storage in the unit and thus no option to offload things to the hard disk, I'd want the flexibility of the larger SSD as well just in case it turns out there are things I want to store locally.

I also agree that there are cheaper motherboards than the Intel ITX I listed, but for someone who has never built a pc before, I think the Intels are easy to build with and rock solid, and if the OP is really going with the Micro-ATX rather than Mini-ITX, then he could get a DH67BL (which is a great board) for only $86.98. And I don't see an advantage in getting an AsRock for about the same price.

The G.Skll Ripjaws is good memory if he's using an ATX, but the heat sinks can be a problem in an ITX which is why I suggested Kingston (or Mushkin SIlverline would be great too) in my proposed mini-ITX build.

Although, personally, if I was buidling this and was currently just using external USB drives (rather than NAS or server) I'd go ahead and plan it with internal hard disk storage and get rid of the add ons. So I'd go with a Silverstone GD04 or GD05 and either now or in the near future replace those 500gb usb drives with an internal 2 or 3TB drive. Much cleaner approach.
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post #23 of 42 Old 08-06-2012, 12:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Form factor is important, it's going in my living room.

I mean, not much more. Might want to add a TV Tuner and DVR at some point. Stream some hulu, netflix and hbogo. Watch some MKV files from my external HD's.

That's really about it. If this isn't the right setup, what is?

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post #24 of 42 Old 08-06-2012, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

Plextor PX-128M3S 128 GB M3S Solid State Drive - $95 (Amazon)

Just a note, was all set to buy one when I noticed it wasn't Amazon that carried this for $95. Price is from Amazon marketplace from either TigerDirect or Circuit City and you still need to add shipping which gave me pause. Hmm, who owns Circuit City nowadays?
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post #25 of 42 Old 08-06-2012, 12:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Manobeer View Post

How important is form factor?
You can get a Gateway refurb Intel i3-2120 4gb, 1TB, HDMI, N(wifi), windows 7 for about $300 delivered.

Where at?

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post #26 of 42 Old 08-06-2012, 01:00 PM
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post #27 of 42 Old 08-06-2012, 01:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

On SSD ... If I said I owned more than 8 OCZ's and they all worked great too... Would that change your opinion on them ? If not I guess my opinion on CRucial won't change.

It's not your opinion I am trying to affect. I can state I have 8 Crucials that work and you can state you had one that didn't and then the OP can decide how/if that affects their decision. I know how you feel and I really don't care to change your opinion. Everytime I recommend Crucial, it's not about you.

 

 

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post #28 of 42 Old 08-06-2012, 01:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the crane View Post

Form factor is important, it's going in my living room.
I mean, not much more. Might want to add a TV Tuner and DVR at some point. Stream some hulu, netflix and hbogo. Watch some MKV files from my external HD's.
That's really about it. If this isn't the right setup, what is?

You didn't say which Silverstone case you planned. Since you mentioned adding 80mm fans, I assume you were planning the ML03 which is a very small case and won't handle full height cards. Depends what kind of tuner you plan to add, but you'd better get something that will handle a full height card. The Silverstone GD05 is a very popular HTPC cases here and will handle full height cards.

And that would also give you room to get rid of those USB drives and put the hard disk inside the case, which if it's going in your living room I would think you would want to do instead of having a bunch of USB drives hanging off your htpc.

So then I'd probably go with:

Silverstone GD05 - $90 (Amazon)
Intel DH67BL - $87 (Amazon)
Intel Core i3-2100 CPU - $90 (Micro Center)
Plextor PX-128M3S 128 GB M3S Solid State Drive - $95 (Amazon)
G .SKILL Ripjaws X Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1600 -- $28 (Newegg)
CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 V2 430W PSU - $25 (after rebate, Newegg)

$415

That would make a very nice HTPC with both the room and power to grow in the future.
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post #29 of 42 Old 08-06-2012, 01:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovejedd View Post

Just a note, was all set to buy one when I noticed it wasn't Amazon that carried this for $95. Price is from Amazon marketplace from either TigerDirect or Circuit City and you still need to add shipping which gave me pause. Hmm, who owns Circuit City nowadays?

Tiger Direct and Circuit City (as well as CompUSA) are now one and the same and all subsidiaries of Systemax. It's only $2.83 shipping.

BTW, an hour or two ago, it was $93 from Amazon itself, but now Amazon says out of stock and lists $129 for its price.

By the way, if you don't like buying from Tiger Direct, Amazon also has the Samsung 830 128GB for $100 from 17th St Photo, or $102 from Amazon itself or Beach Photo, all with free shipping.

Edit, Newegg also has the Samsung for $100 with free shipping.
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post #30 of 42 Old 08-06-2012, 01:26 PM
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I haven't tried this 120GB SSD but it gets good ratings. It's $89 today only.

http://www.buy.com/prod/sandisk-extreme-120gb-2-5-sata-iii-solid-state-drive-ssd/227072806.html
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820171567 ($25 off with promo code EMCYTZT2011)

Again though, if you're runnng XBMC without Windows, you might not need an SSD at all.

 

 

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