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post #1 of 96 Old 12-24-2012, 08:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi everyone, I live in the Chicago area and am interested in building my first htpc. My budget is roughly around $1000.00, and wish to have a good strong easy to work and expand on case. Size of the case isn't an issue as long as it's not taller than around 8.5 inches total. Room around it is plenty where it'll be set. Of course I want to be able to throw any movie type at it and maybe occasionally games but not top priority if budget affects that. I'll most probably be hooking it directly to a router but again if budget allows fast wifi would be nice. I'll need at least a BR drive for physical media occasions. Would like to have a second drive incase the need would ever arise but not totally necessary because I could just connect an external drive. So that brings me to I'd like some variety of usb/firwire/, or whatever kind of needed connections in the front or easy access without having to move it. Low noise would be good but if to achieve sufficient power some noise compared to a PS3 or a little less than the original 360 could be tolerated. I would need it to have enough power for video editing or processing since my daily outdated computer is on it's way out. So is my budget enough for my demands for a complete build from start to finish or am I dreaming? Any comments and suggestions or questions to help someone help me are welcome. Oh and I'll probably be installing windows on it for sure but if another os is better for it I'll be ok with dual booting. Thanks

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post #2 of 96 Old 12-24-2012, 09:14 PM
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You can build a good HTPC for $1000. Your post is somewhat unfocused and you should spend some hours reading the sticky threads at the top of this forum. Assassins simple guide and Renethx's Guide to building a HD HTPC are good places to start and get an idea of what you can expect at a particular price point.
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post #3 of 96 Old 12-24-2012, 10:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info and yeah I'm sure my post is all over the place. I was at midway airport waiting for the mother in law to arrive and was typing in a hurry and whatever popped in my head at the moment. I'll check those posts out to get a better idea of what to expect.
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post #4 of 96 Old 12-24-2012, 10:58 PM
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Lots of things you can do with $1000. Hell, the Antec build I just completed cost me around $350 and it runs everything flawlessly. I'd spec an i5 if you find yourself transcoding all the time and either an ASRock, Intel, or Gigabyte board. I find for most people, Asus boards have too many features, and you end up paying extra for things you don't need. 8GB ram is plenty, and coupled with a large fast SSD (something like an Intel 320 series, 256GB ish?) should make it more than capable. This will leave you with quite a bit of cash for the case, which in the case (pun intended) of my Streacom build, ended up costing more than the actual components.

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post #5 of 96 Old 12-25-2012, 12:21 AM - Thread Starter
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$350 is a very good price especially if it does the job its intended for. And yeah I definitely want a case that's not going to be a pain to work in any time I decide to upgrade or need to replace something. And the main intention is to have it be a media device but want it to be capable to perform daily workhorse computer work as well like the video transcoding or other things that need some ponys under the hood.

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post #6 of 96 Old 12-25-2012, 05:40 AM
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Performing workhorse functions such as trans-coding is cumbersome in a HT environment such as sitting on a couch in the living room. This task and others like it are better suited for a desktop PC with the HTPC being the playback device controlled by a remote only with a mini wireless keyboard for occasional tasks requiring a keyboard. If you have a $1000 budget build a simple machine for the HT for $350 and a faster machine for doing the heavy lifting work for $650. Don't forget OS license fees. I think that $350 price is only for the hardware.

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post #7 of 96 Old 12-25-2012, 06:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Performing workhorse functions such as trans-coding is cumbersome in a HT environment such as sitting on a couch in the living room. This task and others like it are better suited for a desktop PC with the HTPC being the playback device controlled by a remote only with a mini wireless keyboard for occasional tasks requiring a keyboard. If you have a $1000 budget build a simple machine for the HT for $350 and a faster machine for doing the heavy lifting work for $650. Don't forget OS license fees. I think that $350 price is only for the hardware.

I agree with this 100%. The tendency is always to make one box that can do it all, but from my experience things are much more elegant and reliable if you spread the work across multiple machines. The HTPC should be for viewing content and nothing else. I die a little inside every time I have to get my keyboard out to do things on my HTPC. It's best avoided completely.
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post #8 of 96 Old 12-25-2012, 07:16 AM
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on the other side though, i went with one device.

its an older q6600 machine with 8gb ram. its my htpc, but i just moved it all to a bigger case to fit more drives. while sitting on the couch, yes i do nothing but watch movies on there.

i do use it for more than that, but for all those things, i remote into it with teamviewer using my laptop.
i may use it for encoding, but now that i am going to flexraid it, i am also going to start using it for daily backups for wife and my laptop, and also combine all our digital pictures to it and properly catalog them. yes, also backup to external every 2 or 3 months which stays in the bank safe deposit box (not the media, the other critical data).
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note: the post above is my opinion. as such, when reading any recommendations from me, please do you research and seek out other recommendations and make up your own mind on your next course of action. i mean, most reasonable adults should know that, but it seems this should be stated anyways.
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post #9 of 96 Old 12-25-2012, 08:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the input people. I guess depending on the cost of the os I'll just focus on building a solid box with just media usage purposes. And I'll either use any remaining funds to either repair my bluescreening 7 year old rig or build my own workhorse depending on which would be most cost effective. So as far as the os goes is there a specific one that best serves the htpc purpose? And I've upgraded and repaired several computers but never built one from the ground up. So I'd better get to reading and to get an idea of what parts I need to start hunting for.

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post #10 of 96 Old 12-25-2012, 08:55 PM
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I'm a big fan of OpenELEC because it's free and dead simple to set up. It's probably the least fussy HTPC OS imaginable because there basically is no underlying OS. It's just XBMC with the necessary drivers installed. Also has very light hardware requirements.

If you want to play games though you're better off using Windows. Also, Windows Media Center is still probably the best front end period if you want live TV and DVR, and it's more or less required if you want to use a Cable Card. Windows 7 is tried and true although you could try your luck with Windows 8. Even Windows HTPCs have relatively light hardware requirements assuming you don't want to play the latest and greatest pc games on max settings.
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post #11 of 96 Old 12-26-2012, 05:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Since after reading the recommendations I decided to make it mainly for movie watching 90% of the time and also wife/kid friendly. I've got plenty of gaming consoles so gaming isn't top priority. I'm thinking of going windows 7 since I already have many playback softwares for windows already. But if W7 media center does the job and keeps it simple that will be fine. But I know the curiosity in me will be tempted to try others that are recommended biggrin.gif. Plus on my old rig I've got pinnacle gaming software installed mainly for navigating windows with the xbox 360 controller. So I'll for sure use it on my htpc.

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post #12 of 96 Old 12-26-2012, 05:02 AM - Thread Starter
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As far as tv/dvr functions I've got a dish hd dvr right now but having the option to cut that monthly bill would be nice.

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post #13 of 96 Old 12-26-2012, 05:57 AM
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Unfortunately satellite TV providers don't have cable cards or anything similar. I think you're kind of stuck there.
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post #14 of 96 Old 12-26-2012, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post

Unfortunately satellite TV providers don't have cable cards or anything similar. I think you're kind of stuck there.
Not really. You can use a Hauppauge HDPVR or Colossus to capture in HD. You still need the STB, but not DVR functionatity from the sat provider. It's not a good option, if you need many tuners, but has benefits in that you don't have tp deal with DRM.
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post #15 of 96 Old 12-26-2012, 11:15 AM
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Not really. You can use a Hauppauge HDPVR or Colossus to capture in HD. You still need the STB, but not DVR functionatity from the sat provider. It's not a good option, if you need many tuners, but has benefits in that you don't have tp deal with DRM.

Yeah, but like you said, you still have to at least get an HD box (probably multiple HD boxes), so the cost savings aren't that great. It's not really worth it IMO unless you really hate your satellite provider's DVR.
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post #16 of 96 Old 12-26-2012, 09:48 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm pretty satisfied with my dishnetwork hddvr along with the sling adapter it's a decent setup. I also have an over the air hd antenna hooked up to it. I'm planning to add the tv tuner card to my htpc for future proofing/precaution incase I'm forced to cut my dish service or decide to drop it. So far OS will be Windows 7 with an ota tv tuner card. So now to decide on a processor, motherboard, ssd size and hdd size. And definitely want to have the recommended max of 8gb of ram. I'd like the MB to have the option to install a hefty video card incase I get the itch to play heavy games on it.

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post #17 of 96 Old 12-26-2012, 09:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Not sure why it double posted
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post #18 of 96 Old 12-26-2012, 09:53 PM - Thread Starter
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I've seen many say that an i3 processor is good enough but since I'm future proofing it for gaming should I just focus on a i5? Then to find a nice case for it all. Like I said space isn't a big issue for the case so I guess I'll have to check into what sizes they are available in.

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post #19 of 96 Old 12-26-2012, 10:43 PM
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I'll be getting a nmediapc 5000b tomorrow afternoon. I'll let you know how it looks and feels when I get it.
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post #20 of 96 Old 12-27-2012, 03:38 PM - Thread Starter
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I'll be getting a nmediapc 5000b tomorrow afternoon. I'll let you know how it looks and feels when I get it.
Cool, thanks.

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post #21 of 96 Old 12-27-2012, 08:52 PM
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Quote:
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I've seen many say that an i3 processor is good enough but since I'm future proofing it for gaming should I just focus on a i5? Then to find a nice case for it all. Like I said space isn't a big issue for the case so I guess I'll have to check into what sizes they are available in.

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Now that I see where you are headed let me share some findings from my recent HTPC rebuild after my 2009 motherboard broke. I had been depending on an ASUS GT 440, 1 GB GDDR5 graphics board for movie playback. It is a decent graphics card but not up to using the jinc scaler with MadVR. So, I based my rebuild generally on an October post by Renethx. I have been using the rebuild for about two weeks and tonight I played Lord of the Rings, Return of the King and I was very impressed with the audio and the video quality.

So, I would suggest to you if you are thinking of spending more and going to a better than good build with and I5 get the I5-3570K with HD4000 Intel graphics. Then you should get fast Ram. I got 8GB of DDR3 2400. Finally, I am very happy with my Asus P8 Z77-V Pro motherboard and I would recommend a Z77. The motherboard will allow you to use Virtu MVP which allows me to use my Nvidia 440 graphics card with the Intel 4000 graphics and figures out how to use the strengths of each for better results. I can handle jinc with no problem and better than the HD4000 alone.

There are people who post on this forum who know much more than I know. I would encourage you to read the opinion of others and use your own judgement.
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post #22 of 96 Old 12-28-2012, 04:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks postmoderndesign. Your suggestions help me allot in deciding exactly what parts I need to achieve the results I'm after. Many guides I've read here or elsewhere suggest using i3 but I figure to reduce load on the processor and to avoid needing an upgraded one later incase a sudden itch for pc gaming hits I'd just go with the i5. I've read many that suggest the exact parts you've suggested and say they are very happy with the performance. At least now I have a much better idea of what type of case, motherboard, processor combo I need to shop around for.

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post #23 of 96 Old 12-28-2012, 06:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post

I'm a big fan of OpenELEC because it's free and dead simple to set up. It's probably the least fussy HTPC OS imaginable because there basically is no underlying OS. It's just XBMC with the necessary drivers installed. Also has very light hardware requirements.
If you want to play games though you're better off using Windows. Also, Windows Media Center is still probably the best front end period if you want live TV and DVR, and it's more or less required if you want to use a Cable Card. Windows 7 is tried and true although you could try your luck with Windows 8. Even Windows HTPCs have relatively light hardware requirements assuming you don't want to play the latest and greatest pc games on max settings.

Is there a guide or a good link to learn more about this?

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post #24 of 96 Old 12-28-2012, 07:43 AM
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Renethx prefers the A10 5800K to the I5. He is more knowledgeable than I am and you should consider his recommendations. He actually tests the equipment and keeps up with the technology. I had a couple bad experiences with AMD over many years and I tend to go with Intel. However, AMD may now be making better products.

One more thing on my motherboard choice. I prefer the full ATX case. This is not to disparage those who like a small computer and hard drives and other stuff elsewhere. I tell you this because I have four hard drives, an optical drive, a solid state drive and front panel connections. Therefore I needed a motherboard that could accommodate seven internal sata connections. Also, the 7 TB of space I currently have is almost full and I will soon begin replacing my smaller drives with 3 or when cheaper 4 TB drives; so you should consider how much media you may want to store.
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post #25 of 96 Old 12-28-2012, 08:13 AM
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Is there a guide or a good link to learn more about this?

Why don't you try their website? :-P

They have a wiki. If you already know how to use xbmc then the whole process is pretty simple.
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post #26 of 96 Old 12-28-2012, 12:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Yeah I would like a full atx board as well since space isn't in issue. I've never been a fan of amd myself. Not from personal experience just for some reason not a fan.

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post #27 of 96 Old 12-31-2012, 12:22 PM - Thread Starter
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I've been looking mostly on Amazon for all the parts and it's going to be right around my budget. Depending on the case I choose it may even go over. But if the case makes it worth the price I'll be going over.
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post #28 of 96 Old 01-03-2013, 08:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok so far here is my list,

SilverStone Grandia Series GD01B-MXR-USB3.0

MSI Computer Corp. Motherboard DDR3 2600 Intel - LGA 1155 Motherboards Z77 MPOWER

Intel Core i5-3570K Quad-Core Processor 3.4 GHz 4 Core LGA 1155 - BX80637I53570K

Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO - CPU Cooler with 120mm PWM Fan (RR-212E-20PK-R2)

Arctic Silver 5 Polysynthetic Silver Thermal Compound Paste 3.5g

8GB G.Skill DDR3 PC3-19200 2400MHz Trident X Series CL10 (10-12-12-31) Dual Channel kit

WD Green 2 TB Desktop Hard Drive: 3.5 Inch, SATA III, 64 MB Cache - WD20EZRX

I haven't decided for sure on an SSD yet but probably going for a 120gb one.
So I still need to decide on a power supply once All voltages are taken in cosideration. Not 100% sure on the ram as far if I need it or if it's the correct kind?
Will everything I've chosen fit in that case and eventually a beefy video card if I decide to get one?
Any suggestions or comments are welcome especially if there is a better item choice.
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post #29 of 96 Old 01-03-2013, 08:54 PM
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+1 for the Samsung 840 120GB
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TV: Panasonic 50" ST50 1080p Plasma
Audio: Yamaha Aventage A710 / Polk Audio RM510 5.1
Remote: Logitech Harmony 510 / Logitech MX Air mouse / Lenovo N5902
HTPC: Silverstone SG06 / Intel i7-3770S / XFX 7870 DD / 840 Pro 256GB / Windows 8 Pro / Synology DS413 + 4x3TB WD Red RAID5
Build:
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post #30 of 96 Old 01-03-2013, 09:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Yeah I had the 250 gb version of the 840 picked out but figured I didn't really need that big of an ssd. I'm still in the hunt for a good reliable and compact preferably blue ray writer but I'll settle for just a reader if need be.
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