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Old 11-12-2012, 01:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi everybody,

I am planning to make a HTPC / gaming build which should fulfill following criteria:
- watching HD movies via XBMC
- playing latest games
- audio output to A/V receiver via digital optical cable and then to 5+1 speaker setup
- video output to A/V receiver via HDMI and then via HDMI to TV
- being able to control it by IR remote including shutdown and startup

I am thinking in 2 versions, hi-end and mid-range. These are the shortlisted components so far:

Hi-end:
Case Luxa² LM300 Touch Pro
MB ASUS SABERTOOTH Z77
CPU Intel I7 3770K
GPU Nvidia GTX 680
SSD Intel 520 180GB
HDD WD EZRX 3TB
Fan Corsair Cooling Hydro Series H80i
PSU be quiet! Dark Power Pro 10 750W
RAM 16GB Kingston 1600mhz
Tuner Haupauge 5500 HD
System Windows 7 Home Premium
Bluray Bluray combo LG

Mid-range:
Case SILVERSTONE SST-GD01B-MXR
MB ASRock Z77 Extreme6
CPU Intel i5-3470
GPU Nvidia GTX 660 Ti
SSD intel 520 120GB
HDD WD green 1TB
Fan Noctua NH-L12
PSU be quiet! Straight Power E9 CM 580W
RAM 8GB Kingston 1600mhz
Tuner Haupauge 5500 HD
System Windows 7 Home Premium
Bluray Bluray combo LG

Overclocking / SLI / Crossfire most probably not.

Any suggestions as to what you would change to make the build better? Is any of the components an overkill?

Thank you in advance for any suggestion.
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Old 11-12-2012, 01:47 PM
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Even your midrange is high end by this forum standards.

What's your ideal budget ?

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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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Old 11-12-2012, 01:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi Mfusick,
yeah, sorry. About 1500 EUR = 2000 USD, but could be less :-)))
Thanks.
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Old 11-12-2012, 02:12 PM
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Well my first thought is you list an 3470 and a 3770k CPU. Why not go in the middle with 3570k?

It's cheaper than 3770k and faster than 3470. At least for me in the US it's usually a better value too but if your ability to find a value is different where you are I'd just get whatever makes sense.

Any i5 or higher is going to be appropriate to game with a video card.

You list nvidia over AMD. Is that because nvidia performs better on games you expect to play ?

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Old 11-12-2012, 02:16 PM
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Another question... You list some high end motherboards but your not planning to use dual video cards or some of the features they have.

You might want to check out an AsRock z77 like the 3/4 pro or extreme which is only about $100 US.

Unless you need the PCI lanes for SLI or Crossfire video cards, or need 10 SATA ports I think they would be a better fit for you and save some cash.

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Old 11-12-2012, 02:30 PM
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I don't think you need a core i7 for gaming, every system I have seen is graphics card limited and you definitely don't need a core i7 for HTPC. I would consider the core i5 with the GTX680 a high end gaming machine, not sure you will see any speed bump in gaming by going with 16gigs of ram over 8gigs.
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Old 11-12-2012, 04:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkro View Post

I don't think you need a core i7 for gaming, every system I have seen is graphics card limited and you definitely don't need a core i7 for HTPC. I would consider the core i5 with the GTX680 a high end gaming machine, not sure you will see any speed bump in gaming by going with 16gigs of ram over 8gigs.

Pretty good advice.

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Old 11-13-2012, 05:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

You list nvidia over AMD. Is that because nvidia performs better on games you expect to play ?

I have no special preference for nvidia, I had one previously, now I have Radeon so might just well continue with it. The only reason I listed it was that many benchmarks suggest GTX 680 as the best GPU out there. On the other hand, Radeon 7970 is just as good. Games I will play will be different every now and then, some of them optimized for one chipset, others for the other...

Thanks to all of you guys for your advice. I will update my build based on that and post it here once again for final remarks if anyone has any further. I really appreciate your feedback.

Lama
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Old 11-13-2012, 06:28 PM
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For your higher end model you could drop the PSU down to at least 650W (or possibly 560W) even with the GXT680. NVidia's 600 series cards have significantly reduced power consumption.

i5-3570K is adequate for gaming. An i7 only gives 2-3fps more on most games. Even though you're not intending to overclock, I suggest you still go for the K-series to give you that option later for minimal extra cost.

Coarsair H80 can be a little noisy and most people generally swap the fans for Scythe Gental Typhoons or Noctua NF-F12-PWM fans to get the noise down. Even then I've seen a lot of posts about the pump being noisy. Depends on the luck of the draw. Have a look at the Noctua NH-C12P SE14 instead. It's doesn't look as nice inside the case as a H80 but then you don't have a window on the case anyway, it about half the price, performs within 1-2 degrees and is quieter.

For the high-end case, do you really need a touch screen? Some people swear by them while others find them a hassle or distraction.

I don't know which Kingston RAM you're looking at but choose low profile RAM instead of RAM with big heat spreaders on it. The heat spreaders are only for show and limit your options if you want to but an CPU cooler on later.

If you do go for a GTX680 look at the Asus Direct CU II, Gigabyte OC or MSI Twin Frozr OC. Their coolers have better acoustic and thermal performance than most other reference cards. The GTX660Ti is still a very good card for 1080p gaming. GTX670 if you want to sit in the middle. All these cards can be easily overclocked for minimal extra noise if you need to get a bit more grunt later. I'm more familiar with Nvidia than ATI so will leave for others to discuss their cards.

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Old 11-14-2012, 01:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi guys,

thanks for a lot of great and welcome advice. Based on your tips (and some additional ones), I settled for this build for the time being.

Case Silverstone GD07
MB AsRock Z77 Pro4-M
CPU Intel i5 3570k
GPU SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 7970 3GB
RAM Corsair 8GB DDR3 1600Mhz
CPU cooler Arctic Freezer Xtreme Rev. 2
PSU CORSAIR TXV2EU 650W
SSD Crucial SSD M4 128GB SATA3 2,5"
HDD HDD CAVIAR 2TB SATA 6 Gbs

GPU might be exchanged for GTX670, depending on actual price, which I can get. Aiming for branded ones though. Components were chosen based on local availability, but will consider buying abroad.

Any final thoughts? Also, I want to control the rig with an IR remote (Logitech Harmony 1100). XBMC should be no problem, but I also want to shut down / power up the PC or at least sleep / wake it. I read somewhere that it is fairly simple story, I just need to get a simple IR receiver with remote, program Harmony 1100 and am good to go. I suspect there's more to it than just that, e.g. motherboard has to be fit for that. Do you have any experience which you could share? This is an area I have no info about.

Thanks.
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Old 11-14-2012, 05:12 AM
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To power on/off from S4 or S5 state you need a motherboard with a CIR connector for the IR receiver. A USB IR receiver will standby to and resume from S3. The advantage of going to S3 is that the PC will automatically resume and sleep for scheduled tasks and recordings.

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Old 11-14-2012, 06:35 AM
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It's easier to sleep/wake the HTPC than to completely turn it off and on. If really want to though, there are some options. I've personally tried #2 and #4, and they work perfectly fine.
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