Looking to build "budget" HTPC for another room in the house - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 38 Old 12-11-2012, 09:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey everyone, about a year ago, I built my first HTPC with lots of help from this forum.
Since then, it's been the envy of friends and family.

I've been thinking of building another extremely budget conscious HTPC to use basically as an extender in our bedroom.
I'd like to be able to use the same XBMC setup that I use in my living room so that my fiance will know how to use it.

However, I'm also not against buying an xbox if that's the least expensive option.

Does anyone have any inexpensive builds that they can recommend?
My original HTPC is intel based, if that matters.
It would have to flawlessly play 1080p videos through my network off of my main HTPC.

Any advice is welcomed.
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post #2 of 38 Old 12-11-2012, 09:50 AM
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Inexpensive Intel Atom with nVidia Ion board, or similar CPU/Mobo from AMD. There was one on newegg recently for $65 shipped for mobo, CPU, RAM.

6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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post #3 of 38 Old 12-11-2012, 11:22 AM
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Thanks for posting this pman555....I will be watching this thread as I am in a very similar situation.
I was looking at the new Ceton Echo extender, but it looks like it is having a bit of a rough start plus it is pricey. I was also considering using an XBOX but that is an investment as well.
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post #4 of 38 Old 12-11-2012, 11:49 AM
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Atom does not play well with HBR mkv's.

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post #5 of 38 Old 12-11-2012, 12:22 PM
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XBMC Windows or Linux/OpenELEC?

 

 

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post #6 of 38 Old 12-11-2012, 12:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StardogChampion View Post

XBMC Windows or Linux/OpenELEC?

I'm running XBMC on Win7 on my main HTPC, so I'd prefer the same.
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post #7 of 38 Old 12-11-2012, 12:52 PM
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Intel G540 + 4GB DDR3 1333MHz kit + any mATX B75 with HDMI output + Silverstone GD04/06 (USB3 editions) + Corsair CX 430 v3 will do nicely.
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post #8 of 38 Old 12-11-2012, 12:56 PM
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I know this is not what you are looking for but If money is the primary issue about something like this.

http://www.in4dealz.com/deals/MK808-Dual-Core-Android-4-1--TV-BOX-Mini-PC--Rockchip-RK3066-Cortex-A9-1GB-DDR3-RAM-8GB-ROM-w-Dual-Antenna-Double-Radiator-USB-Host-600268/

It's not a HTPC but for $50, it runs android 4.1 Jelly Bean and you can install XBMC for android on it. Pair it with with an air mouse ($20) you got yourself a pretty sweet, wireless player that can access all your media plus all the adroid apps.
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post #9 of 38 Old 12-11-2012, 02:18 PM
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Those android boxes are interesting. I wonder how they would function as a WMC extender.

My need for the bedroom TV is to access the main HTPC and watch OTA, recorded TV, MKV's etc.
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post #10 of 38 Old 12-11-2012, 02:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pman555 View Post

I'm running XBMC on Win7 on my main HTPC, so I'd prefer the same.

Beyond the difference in setup, the only difference you would ever notice is add on availability

It would just appear to be XBMC to the significant other
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post #11 of 38 Old 12-11-2012, 07:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the link Zagor.

Price is a concern, but I also don't want a piece of junk. (not saying what you linked is, just saying in general)

I'd also prefer to be able to watch live TV through the new computer, if I ever decide to buy a TV tuner for my main HTPC.
Not sure I could do that with an android device like that.
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post #12 of 38 Old 12-12-2012, 12:24 AM
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The fatal flaw of those android boxes and sticks is lack of Ethernet port.
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post #13 of 38 Old 12-12-2012, 09:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pman555 View Post

...Does anyone have any inexpensive builds that they can recommend?...

I suggest shopping around for some DIY or bare bones specials. For example Newegg currently has this Pentium / Shuttle combo for $317.

Disclaimer!!! I have not used these specific components so I can not certify they will work for your needs.
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post #14 of 38 Old 12-12-2012, 10:58 AM
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Check the build I posted on assassin thread

Complete HTPC $120

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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 #15 of 38 Old 12-12-2012, 10:58 AM
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Check the build I posted on assassin thread

Complete HTPC $120

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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 #16 of 38 Old 12-12-2012, 12:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Mfusick, nice to see you again.
I'll definitely check this out.

Any tips on cheap SSDs out there?

Also, do you think that processor will be able to handle live TV if I ever go that route?

Another question: How does one install Windows without a CD drive?
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post #17 of 38 Old 12-12-2012, 08:28 PM
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My bedroom HTPC is a G620 much like this barebones. It runs LiveTV, Netflix/Amazon, etc., etc. with no issue.

Slickdeals.net is a great way to find cheap SSDs. Just search for SSD.

Installing Windows w/o a optical drive requires the ISO, a tool to make a bootable USB stick with an ISO image and a 4GB (or larger) USB stick. It's a great way to go.

 

 

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post #18 of 38 Old 12-13-2012, 06:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pman555 View Post

Thanks Mfusick, nice to see you again.
I'll definitely check this out.
Any tips on cheap SSDs out there?
Also, do you think that processor will be able to handle live TV if I ever go that route?
Another question: How does one install Windows without a CD drive?

Samsung for 69$ on the 128GB is the best I've seen this week.

Here's the post from other thread:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

Get a barebones Foxconn H61 set up for $60 and drop a G530 or G540 CPU in it.
The barebones comes with PSU/CASE and MOBO. All you need is 4GB Ram kit for $20
CPU=$40
Barebones= $60 (when on sale)
DDR 4GB $20
Your looking at $120.
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1442007/foxconn-itx-bare-bones-60/0_40
Here you go:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16856119065&nm_mc=EMC-GD112812&cm_mmc=EMC-GD112812-_-EMC-112812-Index-_-mb-_-56119065-E2B
+
http://www.superbiiz.com/detail.php?name=G540BOX
+
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148488
I edited the post above to provide a link.
I would just drop in a cheap SSD. I have an extra Vertex3 120GB I'd sell ya cheap. It's new.

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post #19 of 38 Old 12-13-2012, 06:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StardogChampion View Post

Installing Windows w/o a optical drive requires the ISO, a tool to make a bootable USB stick with an ISO image and a 4GB (or larger) USB stick. It's a great way to go.

Thanks Stardog, nice to see you again.
I'll have to research that method of installing Windows. Hopefully its fairly simple.
I'm trying to keep this build under $200.
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post #20 of 38 Old 12-13-2012, 11:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pman555 View Post

Thanks Stardog, nice to see you again.
I'll have to research that method of installing Windows. Hopefully its fairly simple.
I'm trying to keep this build under $200.

I had a thread that StarDog contributed to about this... even with links to the ISO downloads.

Let me know if you need help.

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post #21 of 38 Old 12-13-2012, 03:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the help Mfusick in PM and here.
I ordered the barebones kit and the RAM. The RAM actually went down to $17, which is nice.

I'm going to keep an eye out for processor and SSD deals.
Is there a certain characteristic that I should look out for in a processor? Integrated graphics are a must, i assume?
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post #22 of 38 Old 12-13-2012, 03:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pman555 View Post

Thanks for the help Mfusick in PM and here.
I ordered the barebones kit and the RAM. The RAM actually went down to $17, which is nice.
I'm going to keep an eye out for processor and SSD deals.
Is there a certain characteristic that I should look out for in a processor? Integrated graphics are a must, i assume?

Depends what you are doing.

For simple playback of 1080p videos, and running XBMC or Mediabrowser... you don't need anything special.

Any intel Celeron or pentium will do.

Obviously higher clock speeds are faster CPU performance.

G860 is $58 and 3.0ghz making it run with i3's in CPU power for half the cost. A good choice. Only HD graphics but the PQ of a 1080p video is identical to a HD3000 i3 so that does not matter.

If your playing video games the superior GPU matters. If your not playing video games then you can get by with any 1155 socket CPU IMO.

G630 I used personally and it did really well in my HTPC. I replaced with i5 3570k and can't say I noticed much difference at all.

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post #23 of 38 Old 12-13-2012, 04:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brywisco View Post

Those android boxes are interesting. I wonder how they would function as a WMC extender.
My need for the bedroom TV is to access the main HTPC and watch OTA, recorded TV, MKV's etc.

Sooner than later the ceton echo will be an extender that functions as an android box.

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post #24 of 38 Old 12-14-2012, 09:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Is this a good deal on a SSD? 120GB Verbatim SSD for $70, free shipping.

http://www.buy.com/prod/verbatim-120gb-2-5-sata-iii-solid-state-drive-ssd/227360950.html?ss?adid=18094&
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post #25 of 38 Old 12-14-2012, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

G860 is $58 and 3.0ghz making it run with i3's in CPU power for half the cost. A good choice. Only HD graphics but the PQ of a 1080p video is identical to a HD3000 i3 so that does not matter.

If you dig into what Intel HD graphics is on this CPU, it's the same architecture, EUs and speed as Intel 2000 HD graphics but with QuickSync and 3D turned off. The G860 is basically an i3 with some features turned off and a little less cache. Marketing... for a 2D HTPC the perceived performance should be identical between the G860 and i3-2100.

 

 

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post #26 of 38 Old 12-14-2012, 10:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StardogChampion View Post

If you dig into what Intel HD graphics is on this CPU, it's the same architecture, EUs and speed as Intel 2000 HD graphics but with QuickSync and 3D turned off. The G860 is basically an i3 with some features turned off and a little less cache. Marketing... for a 2D HTPC the perceived performance should be identical between the G860 and i3-2100.

Thanks Stardog, good to know. How would you compare the G860 and the G630? Which would you prefer in your HTPC?
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post #27 of 38 Old 12-14-2012, 10:07 AM
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I have a G620 in my bedroom HTPC and it's rock solid. I say get the one you can find the best deal on. Performance isn't an issue on these CPUs. It's about finding the one with the features you want and then finding the one that's the sweet-spot pricewise. IMHO.

 

 

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post #28 of 38 Old 12-14-2012, 10:12 AM
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I 2nd the comments on the G6xx line. I have a 630 for my main HTPC, running WMC and XBMC and have had 0 issues playing HBR rips or anything else. I got mine from microcenter for $50 and at that price its the best HTPC chip for the money.

Edit: The current microcenter deal is the G645 for $50 or you could save a few bucks and get the G550 for $35
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post #29 of 38 Old 12-14-2012, 10:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StardogChampion View Post

I have a G620 in my bedroom HTPC and it's rock solid. I say get the one you can find the best deal on. Performance isn't an issue on these CPUs. It's about finding the one with the features you want and then finding the one that's the sweet-spot pricewise. IMHO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ljo000 View Post

I 2nd the comments on the G6xx line. I have a 630 for my main HTPC, running WMC and XBMC and have had 0 issues playing HBR rips or anything else. I got mine from microcenter for $50 and at that price its the best HTPC chip for the money.
Edit: The current microcenter deal is the G645 for $50 or you could save a few bucks and get the G550 for $35

Thanks guys, the G645 isnt in stock at my local Microcenter. The best deal I'm finding on the G630 is $64 from Amazon or a few dollars less at Superbiiz, but I've got Prime so I'd probably go with Amazon. It's not that much difference from $50, should I just get it?

Also, what do you guys think of this deal for an SSD? http://www.buy.com/prod/verbatim-120gb-2-5-sata-iii-solid-state-drive-ssd/227360950.html?ss?adid=18094&
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post #30 of 38 Old 12-14-2012, 10:30 AM
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The G860 is $67 + free shipping here: http://www.directron.com/bx80623g860.html (I order from these guys all the time).

The G645 is $62.99 on Amazon, $2 cheaper than the $64.99 G630. I'd get the $2 cheaper G645 if going Amazon.

The SSD looks like a good deal to me. Reviews are few and far between but they're good ones.

 

 

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