FIRST HTPC BUILD!!! :) Any advice or suggestions... - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 33 Old 12-23-2012, 09:08 PM - Thread Starter
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This is my first HTPC build. I made my own computer 5 years ago and thought it was time to store all my media elsewhere. If you guys have any suggestions or advice on my build, that would be great. I purchased a lot of these items with $25 coupons at Microcenter. Don't know how my friend got them, but it has been working out pretty good.

The only problem is they have a small supply of goods. they don't have G. Skill memory so I wasn't so sure about my choice. Same with the PSU. I wanted to get something better, but they don't carry much there. PLEASE let me know if there is something wrong with this build. Thanks guys.

case: SILVERSTONE Grandia Series GD05B
cost $105

cpu: Core i3 3220 3.30GHz
cost $75

Memory: Ballistix Sport 4GB DDR3-1600
cost: free

Power Supply: Diablotek PHD Series 380 Watt Micro ATX power supply
cost: $5

Hard Drive: Western Digital WD Green WD30EZRX 3TB
cost: $130

Harmony remote I have had for years

Is it worth it to get an SSD? And planning on running this through windows 7.

total so far: $315
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post #2 of 33 Old 12-23-2012, 09:40 PM
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Definitely worth getting a SSD. Have a look on the deals section or on Slickdeals.net for pricing. You should be able to get a quality 128GB for under $80. Also, what are you doing for mobo and TV tuner?
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post #3 of 33 Old 12-23-2012, 10:46 PM
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Uh, $5 power supply? I don't know anything about the one you listed maybe its ok but seems unlikely for $5. Make double sure its ok, I personally like the antec earthwatts 380.
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post #4 of 33 Old 12-24-2012, 01:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljo000 View Post

Definitely worth getting a SSD. Have a look on the deals section or on Slickdeals.net for pricing. You should be able to get a quality 128GB for under $80. Also, what are you doing for mobo and TV tuner?

The motherboard is H77M-ITX LGA1155 H77 mini ITX Intel Motherboard. Let me know what you think about that board. I also saw some SSD's that were 60gb for running the OS. they were OCZ brand and looked pretty good off Tigerdirect.com. They were only around 50 to 60 bucks. trying to be a little budget friendly.
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Uh, $5 power supply? I don't know anything about the one you listed maybe its ok but seems unlikely for $5. Make double sure its ok, I personally like the antec earthwatts 380.

I have $25 coupons that my friend gave me. I looked up that PSU after I posted this and I'm taking it back to either get what you suggested or the PC power and cooling silencer. not sure what to go with at this point.

Is there anything Im missing in order to play back 3D and 1080p mkv files? Thanks for the help guys. This site rocks!
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post #5 of 33 Old 12-24-2012, 09:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ljo000 View Post

Also, what are you doing for mobo and TV tuner?

I never thought about getting a tv tuner as we have time warner DVR. Would it be a better way to record tv than my cable box already does? Wouldn't mind getting rid of another part of my cable bill
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post #6 of 33 Old 12-24-2012, 11:08 AM
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If you get an HDHomeRun Prime, you can swap the cable box rental for a CableCARD rental (much cheaper). This means you can use the HTPC for all your DVR needs and distribute media throughout the house. The best part is that the tuner pays for itself in less than 1 year, you keep the recordings if you change provider and you can upgrade the storage etc in the future if you want to. The only downside is that you give up on-demand content but an HTPC pretty much makes on-demand useless anyway.

For PSU, the PC Power one is great and is modular which is an added bonus. I also like the Antec Earthwatts 380.
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post #7 of 33 Old 12-25-2012, 03:02 AM
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HD HomeRun Prime and Ceton InfiniTV4 are great choices. TWC DVR's aren't cheap and a CableCARD costs around 2.49/month and you get a free Tuning Adapter. The tuning adapter is used for Switched Digital Video channels, which TWC uses on a lot of channels. You do not get On Demand, but it is not really needed. 

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post #8 of 33 Old 12-25-2012, 11:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ljo000 View Post

If you get an HDHomeRun Prime, you can swap the cable box rental for a CableCARD rental (much cheaper). This means you can use the HTPC for all your DVR needs and distribute media throughout the house. The best part is that the tuner pays for itself in less than 1 year, you keep the recordings if you change provider and you can upgrade the storage etc in the future if you want to. The only downside is that you give up on-demand content but an HTPC pretty much makes on-demand useless anyway.
For PSU, the PC Power one is great and is modular which is an added bonus. I also like the Antec Earthwatts 380.

Do you think it would be easy for someone who is electronically dis-inclined to record shows and turn this on like my wife? I need something that would be easy for her to maneuver and pa-rouse around.
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post #9 of 33 Old 12-25-2012, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rocksnboarder View Post

Do you think it would be easy for someone who is electronically inclined to record shows and turn this on like my wife? I need something that would be easy for her to maneuver and pa-rouse around.
Mine uses a mouse and the QuickTV program that came with my HDHR. I get her to use WMC on occasion and she doesn't mind it, she's just used to QuickTV. A standard WMC remote will make the UI basically the same as the Cable Co's DVR, so yes.


PS: don't you mean 'electronically challenged' or 'electronically dis-inclined'????rolleyes.gif
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post #10 of 33 Old 12-25-2012, 12:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by olyteddy View Post

Mine uses a mouse and the QuickTV program that came with my HDHR. I get her to use WMC on occasion and she doesn't mind it, she's just used to QuickTV. A standard WMC remote will make the UI basically the same as the Cable Co's DVR, so yes.
PS: don't you mean 'electronically challenged' or 'electronically dis-inclined'????rolleyes.gif

HAHAHA! That's what I meant. Just edited it.
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post #11 of 33 Old 12-25-2012, 02:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rocksnboarder View Post

Do you think it would be easy for someone who is electronically dis-inclined to record shows and turn this on like my wife? I need something that would be easy for her to maneuver and pa-rouse around.

Windows media center and a harmony remote makes it very easy. My wife uses our HTPC as our only DVR device. You'll also need an IR reciever. I recommend the HP one you can get on ebay: http://www.ebay.com/itm/HP-MCE-USB-IR-Receiver-Windows-7-Vista-OVU400102-71-Kit-/320739353505

This supports both windows media center remote commands and the MCE keyboard commands which gives you a lot more control options. Assassin's guide can help you set it all up.
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post #12 of 33 Old 12-25-2012, 04:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ljo000 View Post

Windows media center and a harmony remote makes it very easy. My wife uses our HTPC as our only DVR device. You'll also need an IR reciever. I recommend the HP one you can get on ebay: http://www.ebay.com/itm/HP-MCE-USB-IR-Receiver-Windows-7-Vista-OVU400102-71-Kit-/320739353505
This supports both windows media center remote commands and the MCE keyboard commands which gives you a lot more control options. Assassin's guide can help you set it all up.

Awesome! I'll have to look that up. I was using his guide for the hardware choices, but I guess I'll spend the $20 and buy the full one.

These are the cases I'm trying to work in with my build:

1.

2.

3.

If anyone knows why these wouldn't work, let me know, otherwise those are my choices.

my SSD:
I may be able to get this for $42. If not any other options you guys could recommend for Win7 64bit would be great!
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post #13 of 33 Old 12-26-2012, 11:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Thinking about getting the GD06 case now and it got me wondering if my motherboard was a good choice. I bough the ASRock H77 itx mini.

Should I take that back and get a different board because the case Im getting supports Micro ATX? The board seems more expensive than other boards that are in Micro form factor.
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post #14 of 33 Old 12-27-2012, 12:05 AM
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Mini-ITX mb inside a microATX case is no problem, but somewhat pointless. ASRock H77 Pro4-M is a good choice.
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post #15 of 33 Old 12-27-2012, 08:05 AM
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For SSD the Agility 3 should be fine. I've got one in my office PC and have had 0 issues. My HTPC has a Vertex 4 though and its noticeably faster + has better reliability according to reviews.
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post #16 of 33 Old 12-27-2012, 08:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Mini-ITX mb inside a microATX case is no problem, but somewhat pointless. ASRock H77 Pro4-M is a good choice.

I'm going to sell my mini board and get the one you suggested.
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For SSD the Agility 3 should be fine. I've got one in my office PC and have had 0 issues. My HTPC has a Vertex 4 though and its noticeably faster + has better reliability according to reviews.

I already bought the Agility unfortunately, but I got it for $54 so I wont complain. Is there a guide to setting up the SSD as only the OS and the TB hard drive for whatever else I do on the computer?
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post #17 of 33 Old 12-27-2012, 10:10 AM
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When you install windows, have the HDDs unplugged so the SSD is definitely the OS drive. Then add the others from in windows, map them etc. Lastly, you can change the location of windows default folders like My Docs etc to folders in your HDD or add the folders to the libraries in windows 7. Its all pretty easy to do.
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post #18 of 33 Old 12-27-2012, 11:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rocksnboarder View Post

I'm going to sell my mini board and get the one you suggested.
I already bought the Agility unfortunately, but I got it for $54 so I wont complain. Is there a guide to setting up the SSD as only the OS and the TB hard drive for whatever else I do on the computer?

Right. The Agility is not going to win any speed races but it will work perfectly for you.

Assassin has good software set up guides.

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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 #19 of 33 Old 12-27-2012, 11:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljo000 View Post

When you install windows, have the HDDs unplugged so the SSD is definitely the OS drive. Then add the others from in windows, map them etc. Lastly, you can change the location of windows default folders like My Docs etc to folders in your HDD or add the folders to the libraries in windows 7. Its all pretty easy to do.

What size SSD did he get?

I don't bother doing any of that. I just keep it all on the SSD. That is the point. Only if your size limited should you bother remapping stuff to HDD.

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post #20 of 33 Old 12-27-2012, 11:17 AM - Thread Starter
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What size SSD did he get?
I don't bother doing any of that. I just keep it all on the SSD. That is the point. Only if your size limited should you bother remapping stuff to HDD.

I went with one of the smaller size SDD's, The 60gb. I have installed windows multiple times, maybe over a hundred, but from what people have said, it seemed like there was a few new steps with SSD. Guess I'm over-thinking all of this.


on a side note, what do you guys think about the GD06 case? Anyone have any other ideas? I am trying to find a case that doesn't show the drive for around $100-140.
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post #21 of 33 Old 12-27-2012, 12:41 PM
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There is really no extra steps other than make sure your BIOS is set to ACHI mode for SATA before you install windows.

The rest of those "tweaks" you see is rubbish. Ignore all that.

You can move your documents and pictures libraries to HDD if you want the extra room. Personally I just edit the library to include a location on both drives. So I can move from SSD to HDD to free up space easily off one screen with drag and drop.

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post #22 of 33 Old 12-27-2012, 01:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the help guys, Can't wait to get all my parts and throw up some pics of this bad boy.
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post #23 of 33 Old 12-27-2012, 08:35 PM
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What size SSD did he get?
I don't bother doing any of that. I just keep it all on the SSD. That is the point. Only if your size limited should you bother remapping stuff to HDD.
At the very least you'll want to move 'Recorded TV' and any other big folder to the HD. I move most of the 'My' folders to the HD to make back up and restore quicker and easier.
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post #24 of 33 Old 01-29-2013, 08:26 PM - Thread Starter
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I FINISHED MY SETUP!

ended up buy the PRO 4m motherboard and the P AND C cooling 400 watt modular power supply., gd06 case, hp ir reciever, my 880 harmony remote and everything else listed above. went with 8gb of ram and have XBMC set up, but in the beginning stages of that.

I also went weith some upgraded case fans. the noctua and the Nexus 120mm. The Nexus is going back because its not quiet and getting another noctua with more power. Ill post pics tomm.

QUESTION:

1. Is there a way to disable the harmony remote from turning on the xbox when it turns on the htpc? It always does that.

2. Do you gus always have to pull out the wireless keyboard in order to get xbmc up and running or do you leave xbmc on all the time? I got a K400 wireless keyboard, but dont weant to pull it out every time. It is wonderful though. Thanks for all the help and hoping to get some more soon here.
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post #25 of 33 Old 01-29-2013, 08:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rocksnboarder View Post

I FINISHED MY SETUP!

ended up buy the PRO 4m motherboard and the P AND C cooling 400 watt modular power supply., gd06 case, hp ir reciever, my 880 harmony remote and everything else listed above. went with 8gb of ram and have XBMC set up, but in the beginning stages of that.

I also went weith some upgraded case fans. the noctua and the Nexus 120mm. The Nexus is going back because its not quiet and getting another noctua with more power. Ill post pics tomm.

QUESTION:

1. Is there a way to disable the harmony remote from turning on the xbox when it turns on the htpc? It always does that.

2. Do you gus always have to pull out the wireless keyboard in order to get xbmc up and running or do you leave xbmc on all the time? I got a K400 wireless keyboard, but dont weant to pull it out every time. It is wonderful though. Thanks for all the help and hoping to get some more soon here.

If you go into settings on the Xbox 360 there's an option to have the Xbox only respond to Xbox and not WMC commands.

Why not leave XBMC open all the time? Are you using the HTPC for other purposes? If so there are various ways to launch programs using a remote control.
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post #26 of 33 Old 01-30-2013, 08:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Ill leave it open all the time. Thanks for the xbox information!
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post #27 of 33 Old 01-30-2013, 10:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Ill leave it on all the time. Thanks for the xbox information!
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post #28 of 33 Old 01-30-2013, 10:24 AM
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Dude go Quiet.. i build my first one.. and i had to dissasemble my psuu and put a line quiet resistor between the fan it was too LOUD maybe because it was a 20 dollar PSU lols but it works.. fine..

also if your using an hdtv try to avoid AMD their drivers are crap.. i took me like a week to figure out the refresh rate thing and overscan issue..

tips



go for:

Quiet

Cool

graphics card: gt 430

go to microcenter and buy a bundle... they have a motherboard plus cpu for 120.. get a 4 gigabyte kit and your set..
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post #29 of 33 Old 01-30-2013, 10:50 AM
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Quote:
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2. Do you gus always have to pull out the wireless keyboard in order to get xbmc up and running or do you leave xbmc on all the time? I got a K400 wireless keyboard, but dont weant to pull it out every time. It is wonderful though. Thanks for all the help and hoping to get some more soon here.

Lots of folks have XBMC set to start automatically after booting, and leave it running. Be sure to choose the "always on" option in the device menu on the Harmony, or have your PC configured to sleep when it receives an on/off command.
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post #30 of 33 Old 02-15-2013, 04:25 PM - Thread Starter
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My system is all set up and I have one pic. The machine is very quiet as I bought the PC Power and Cooling Silencer Mk III Series 400W Modular Power Supply and Noctua 120mm fans for the case to replace the stock fans. I cant hear the system at all when it is on. Everything works great!!! The only problem I had a week ago was when my kid opened the front cover and used it as a step to turn on the tv. He's in his terrible 2's. Got a replacement and heres my first pic. I will bring more when I open up the system again and a video. Thanks for all the help guys!





sorry for the toys. last minute pic
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