HTPC build - opinions on what i've got so far? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 08-24-2013, 09:53 PM - Thread Starter
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I am considering building an HTPC. This will be my first build. I have had a Popcorn Hour C300 for less than a year and it has been very buggy for me.

What I want to use it for.

Playing high definition video files (1080p).
High quality audio output as well (7.1+ channel)
Streaming HD video from the web.
Downloading files.
Small amount of gaming. Likely just emulators of legacy consoles.
Web browsing.
Video files stored locally.
XBMC
Operating System Windows 7

This is a list of parts I am considering buying. My concern is that some of these parts are huge overkill. And therefore, too expensive or not compatible. I really don’t want to see any lag or jittery video playback.

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($89.99 @ Newegg Canada)

Motherboard: Asus M5A97 R2.0 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($98.75 @ Vuugo)

Memory: Patriot Viper 3 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($100.47 @ Amazon Canada)

Storage: Kingston SSDNow V300 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($89.99 @ Memory Express) Operating System

Video Card: Asus Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition 1GB Video Card ($101.50 @ Vuugo)

Case: Fractal Design Node 605 HTPC Case ($139.99 @ NCIX)

Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($24.99 @ Memory Express)

Total: $645.68
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-08-24 23:11 EDT-0400)

Your opinions, suggestions, help would be greatly appreciated!!
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post #2 of 13 Old 08-25-2013, 04:19 AM
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16gb ram for a htpc is massive overkill. You can easily get away with only 4 or maybe 8 if you absolutely need to have 100+ browser tabs running.
While the 965 was a decent chip 4 years ago I certainly wouldn't recommend it today. The stock fan that comes with a 965 is rather noisy and in my opinion not suitable for htpc use.

Best bet would be to go with a dual core Ivy-bridge celeron or pentium and a B75 or H75 chipset motherboard. I personally use this board in most of my customers itx builds. Yes that particular board works out of box with ivy-bridge.

The ivy celerons and pentiums will do 1080p video just fine without the help of the igpu or the 7770. In my personal experience the igpu handles n64emu just fine but it becomes a bottleneck if trying to play wii games. Obviously that wont be a problem if you keep the 7770.

The last Option would be to wait for the lower end haswell chips to be released. Personally I would go with the low end ivy chips that I mentioned above as they are more then enough use very little power and the stock heatsink isn't completely terrible.

edit....

didn't notice you were actually looking at an atx htpc

I highly recommend going itx with the node 304 instead of 605.
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post #3 of 13 Old 08-25-2013, 02:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for your reply! This is just the kind of help that I need!

Is there a reason to go with the ITX over ATX? I'm not really a fan of the shape of the 304 case. I read a bit about ATX vs Mini ATX or MIcro ATX and the reason I stuck with the ATX was because I don't mind the large case and apparently the heat from the more condensed ones can be a problem.

I'd rather have a tiny bit of overkill than to not have the seamless performance i want.

Thanks again!
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post #4 of 13 Old 08-25-2013, 05:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjccox View Post

Thank you for your reply! This is just the kind of help that I need!

Is there a reason to go with the ITX over ATX? I'm not really a fan of the shape of the 304 case. I read a bit about ATX vs Mini ATX or MIcro ATX and the reason I stuck with the ATX was because I don't mind the large case and apparently the heat from the more condensed ones can be a problem.

I'd rather have a tiny bit of overkill than to not have the seamless performance i want.

Thanks again!

Itx just means smaller form factor and thus a smaller overall htpc. If you are ok with having another av receiver sized machine in your living room or server rack don't let me stop you.

My recommendation on the Ivy-bridge celeron or pentium stills stands though as it uses less power and the 2 cores it has are still considerably faster in applications and games that only use 2 cores.
The only way I would actually recommend a quadcore is if you were planning on doing heavy amounts of video encoding and even then I Would still recommend something newer such as an a 3rd or 4th gen i5/i7.

With the help of the 7770 you can expect cpu usage to be 20% or less while playing back full hd content or without that card about 60% at peak.
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post #5 of 13 Old 08-25-2013, 05:54 PM - Thread Starter
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So for what I'm doing I likely don't need a Video Card?... And I can always add the 7770 back in if I find the video a bit jumpy eh? Going from your helpful comments I have edited my list and ended up here:

CPU: Intel Core i3-3225 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor ($132.98 @ Outlet PC)

Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-V LK ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($123.97 @ Outlet PC)

Memory: Corsair Vengeance LP 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($49.99 @ Newegg)

Storage: Kingston SSDNow V300 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($89.99 @ Newegg)

Case: Fractal Design Node 605 HTPC Case ($139.99 @ Microcenter)

Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($24.99 @ Newegg)

Total: $561.91
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-08-25 20:45 EDT-0400)
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post #6 of 13 Old 08-25-2013, 06:49 PM
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Correct the gpu will not be needed unless you plan on doing games outside the scope of legacy consoles.
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post #7 of 13 Old 08-26-2013, 01:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjccox View Post

So for what I'm doing I likely don't need a Video Card?... And I can always add the 7770 back in if I find the video a bit jumpy eh? Going from your helpful comments I have edited my list and ended up here:

CPU: Intel Core i3-3225 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor ($132.98 @ Outlet PC)

Wait for Core i3-4xxx, to be released on September 1st. smile.gif

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post #8 of 13 Old 08-26-2013, 04:23 AM
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You can can even buy this slimline Dell $349.00 ready made with a dual core Pentium G2020 your choice of win 7 HP x64 or win 8 . Win 7 HP comes with windows media player no charge it cost extra in win 8 . WMC works very well once you get past the learning curve even has a built in Netflix app . Although you can netflix with any browser also its just real smooth in WMC The Dell has HDMI video port as well as VGA and has built in Wi Fi .

Pentium G2020 has plenty for what you want to do it will even run DVD shrink that will allow you to back up your DVD to HDD or burn backup disk copies just fine .
DVD shrink strips the latest HDCP copy protect and encodes to DVD5 or DVD9 your choice at the same time lots better than using DVD Decrypter (which does not work on newer HDCP) anyway and then Handbrake to render to Hdd or Disk burner . DVD shrink will do it all way faster . The Dell here will do it all at once just fine and playback your HD media also

With the money you save score some extra HDD or better yet a PS3 or steaming wifi Blu Ray player and have a swinging home theater Me I would get PS3 but I already have one.
whatever you are thinking about building with a haswell or other pentium costs more money than you need to spend . i3 is good but you can buy a decent reay made i3 box for ~$ 400.00 .you probably wouldn't notice any difference in i3 or g2020 for most things. I built my own boxes for over 20 yrs unless you are making a custom gaming rig or have specific needs for specific form factors/upgrades a ready made is cheaper .
I have a 2010 4 core Phenom II x 4 HP ready made and inexpensive HD6450 in my daily driver/HTPC it 's overkill for that but I can run the HTPC and stream to the rest of the house and have 20 browser pages open at the same time,strip and burn or archive a DVD all at once so that's all right .
lots of folks tend to overestimate HTPC builds Even Smartphones and tablets can stream and play 1080p its not a big deal .
ofc you need a PC to back up or archive DVDs but the Dell here will be just fine

Hires Music formats ..............."Why does it sound like a CD ?" ............. can we make it louder "?
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post #9 of 13 Old 08-26-2013, 07:46 PM
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4th Gen Intel NUC, if truly avail 9/1, seems like a better bang for the buck. ..and a smaller footprint?
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post #10 of 13 Old 08-26-2013, 11:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwf2tao View Post

4th Gen Intel NUC, if truly avail 9/1, seems like a better bang for the buck. ..and a smaller footprint?

Not so sure celeron 847 nuc box + Ram + HDD + win 7 or 8 HP = $578.00 at Newegg for a PC that only scores about 899 on passmark AND does not include ODD Or wifi either.
Oh almost forgot $5.00 for cloverleaf power cord so now it's $583.00


OTOH The Dell slim box above with everything included already put together with a warranty is $345.00 and should score 2833 on passmark.
I only see bang for buck with the Dell. how does 229.00 more cost for NUC box = more bang for the buck what am I missing here?
only advantage to NUC is small size but not near as capable as the Dell and costs a lot more . OP never indicated interest in NUC

NUC Celeron 847 build at Newegg = $583.00 = 899 on Passmark Smaller

Dell ready made slim tower at $349.00 = 2833 on passmark score
Bigger but not real large way more capable
already put together with warranty

$234.00 savings there are a number of things you can buy
maybe some extra HDD or maybe sound bar or maybe a 32" HDTV
to watch it on or for the bedroom
Or lots of popcorn and Coke and some DVD's

Also the desktop ivy bridge Celerons and Pentium G 3XXXX
Builds mentioned above by Ikkuranus would work very well and OP can customise it
also provides upgrade path



OP , NUC is basically overpriced laptop kit in a cigar box with embedded CPU
not as much power as a conventional desktop socketed CPU maybe 1/2
no future upgrade path either and they run hot . No ODD
No HDD , No Ram No Wifi you have add all that you have to keep
mind a mobile CPU like NUC uses is much less powerful than a
same name desktop CPU see pros and cons above.
for my money either a Celeron ,Pentium G2XXX.G3XXX or i3 desktop
either a ready made or build if just HTPC Pentium or Celeron is plenty





In all fairness the Celeron 847 NUC will play HD content
so will a Roku or BD player or PS3
Or an i3 NUC much better for not much more
with enough CPU to maybe encode/archive DVD media
and multi task might be some combo deals on NUC parts at the egg also
boils down to size,price,performance ,preference .

Hires Music formats ..............."Why does it sound like a CD ?" ............. can we make it louder "?
"The wireless music box has no commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?"
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post #11 of 13 Old 08-27-2013, 04:05 AM
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not sure if you are interested. i was just in the same boat you were, looking for HTPC parts. However, I went on geeks.com and found a HP core duo refurb for less than $150. I bought a cheap PCIx video card for the hardware decoding. You also would have to add a bigger hdd. I had an external 1TB drive that I use for media storage.

I was a little cautious about making the purchase, but the computer is SO quiet. I don't do any gaming on it, but it could easily handle emulators. I use it for MCE.

well nevermind, as i posted this the site was apparently shut down. but i think you could still find the same deal on tigerdirect or other similar sites...
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post #12 of 13 Old 08-27-2013, 02:44 PM - Thread Starter
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The Intel Core i3 4330 sounds pretty decent to me. I'm thinking if I go that way, then I decide that I want to use the PC for more in the future. I can install a video card and play and do more.

Will it need an LGA 1150 socket motherboard? Are there any suggestions for a motherboard that fits the i3 4330 CPU that's comparable to the Asus P8Z77-V LK ATX LGA1155 Motherboard?
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post #13 of 13 Old 08-28-2013, 02:10 AM
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Desktop Haswell works only with LGA 1150 mb. The successor to P8Z77-V LK is Z87-A. But unless you are interested in memory overclocking or dual PCI Express 3.0 x8, H87-PRO is enough.

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