I'm looking to build an HTPC.
I currently have a custom built tower that I use as a HTPC but it's too big, loud and outdated. Phenom II X4 940 3.0 Ghz, 4 Gb RAM, Blu Ray burner. I'm looking to update to something smaller, quieter and with more modern specs so I can move my current system over to my office.
I won't be doing any gaming with this HTPC. Just viewing/recording TV(via HDHomeRun Prime), watching/ripping Blu Rays, listening to music, general web browsing, etc.
I have a QNAP TS-210 NAS(2 TB) that i use to hold my media so a large HDD on the HTPC isn't really a need. I'm thinking a 128 GB SSD will be sufficient. I have a 1TB drive that I can pull out of my old machine as well. Wouldn't mind putting that and the SSD in the HTPC if I can find a case that is still small and quiet.
My TV is a Panasonic 50" plasma(model tc-p50s30). Receiver is a Yamaha RX-A710 with 5.1 Polk system. The HTPC would be connected to my receiver. I would like something that is capable of passing 7.1 sound to the receiver.
Space is also a concern. I would like a case no larger than an XBox 360. They're roughly 12"x10"x4", just measured mine.
Here's the rough specs I am thinking about right now.
CPU: Intel Core i3 3.2 Ghz(or so)
Memory: DDR3 8 GB(4GB x 2).....seems like it's probably worth the extra ~$20 to get 8 GB(4 GB x 2) instead of 4 GB(2 GB x 2). Is it worth getting 1866 over 1600????
HDD: 128 GB SSD.
Blu Ray burner: I'll reuse my old one, don't need it on the other machine.
Haven't really thought much about the Mobo, case and PSU as that's all dictated on what form factor I go with and whether the case includes a PSU or not.
I guess I really need to decide on a case and go from there. What do you guys suggest?
I'm liking this Cooler Master case.
I wouldn't be opposed to getting a case that doesn't have a 5.25" bay either. I can connect my Blu ray drive as needed(via USB). I typically play Blu Rays on my standalone player anyways.
These Silverstone cases look nice and no lights on the front would be nice.
I'm looking to keep this build under $500.
If you are going the mini-ITX route, start with the case. Many of these small cases may have limits on sizes on components that you can use within these small cases.
You state the case size to be no bigger than a XBox, yet the cases you've linked to are either taller/deeper, or wider/deeper. Keep in mind you will need airflow in the case, so pay attention to the space you have available, the dimensions of the case, and a couple inches for Airflow (unless it will be out in the open).
I have the Silverstone ML03B, for example, and even though that is a microATX case, there were limitations on the ODD (BluRay), PSU, and CPU Fan height. Even meeting the criteria, space is limited.
(If you check my profile there are some early pics there)
Once you select a case, download the manual from the mfg's website to get specs.
i3 is fine, you might even be able to get away with a Celeron or Pentium if you need to shave some cost somewhere. Don't rule out AMD FM2 chips either.
You'll only need about 4GB 1600 RAM, If you find RAM at a higher speed that is on sale, by all means go for it.
Mobo makers to look for are AsRock, Gigabyte, ASUS, and MSI. Make sure it has the features that you need ("Z" vs "H" vs "B" vs AM2)
Look for a Corsair CX430 PSU, they frequently go on sale at NewEgg for $20 A/R, and are perfect for a HTPC (so long as it will fit in your case).
It's possible you would have to go smaller in a Mini-ITX. Possible even a Pico PSU.
Don't forget to budget for windows. You can occasionally still find Win7 Home for $80 on sale, and that includes WMC. To get WMC in Win8 you have to buy Pro, and pay an extra $10. (IMO, not worth it)
Most of the i3's are similar in (base) price. I suppose you should try to target one with HD4000 graphics and above.
Ivy Bridge has the HD4000 (some not all)
Haswell has HD4400 and HD4600
Really, just get the best one you can afford in your budget.
NewEgg has the Haswell Core i3-4130 for $119 with promo code 1015HALLOWEEN17 ($129 - $10)
That make it the cheapest i3 at NewEgg
If you have a MicroCenter near you, they have some good bundles as well: http://www.microcenter.com/site/brands/intel-processor-bundles.aspx
I ordered that processor.
Also ordered this case, SSD and PSU.
Need to decide on RAM and a Mobo. :)