Reduce cost HTPC - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 11-28-2012, 01:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi,

I want to build a HTPC using linux as I am familiar with it. I think I will end up using XMBC. I want to play Blu-ray any region, i.e. A, B and C and stream avi from my server in a separate room.

Reading a little I believe an i3 or equivalent AMD would be the chip of choice if money is expensive.

So here is the initial list

Silverstone Grandia GD05
Intel Core i3 2120 3.3GHz Socket 1155 Box
Asus P8H77-M Pro
Scythe Big Shuriken
Seasonic S12-II 430W
Kingston HyperX Blu DDR3 PC12800/1600MHz CL9 XMP 2x4GB

My question is what can I ditch to save some money. Already have disk and Blu-ray.

Thanks,
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post #2 of 6 Old 11-28-2012, 04:19 AM
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My picks-

AMD FX-4100 BE with free Gigabyte GA-78LMT-S2P Socket AM3+ 760G mATX AMD Motherboard bundle

http://www.microcenter.com/site/products/amd_bundles.aspx

http://www.microcenter.com/product/366104/GA-78LMT-S2P_Socket_AM3_760G_mATX_AMD_Motherboard

http://www.microcenter.com/product/376784/FX_4100_Black_Edition_36GHz_Quad-Core_Socket_AM3_Boxed_Processor

You want a quad core for Linux HTPC, to cover Flash HD video decoding, which still may not have hardware accelerated video decode assist. A quad (Or more cores) certainly don't hurt for general HD video/audio playback/processing/editing/encoding/transcoding, either. wink.gif

For Linux HTPC, an Nvidia GPU is highly recommended, some say required. You want fanless only for HTPC. Tough to beat $29 after MIR for a fanless GT520

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814162081

I like Silverstone cases, but you asked to reduce cost, so here's some lower cost alternatives

Apevia X-master
http://www.amazon.com/Apevia-X-Master-Desktop-HTPC-Case/dp/B001CCT6R8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354104463&sr=8-1&keywords=apevia+xmaster

comes with 500W quiet/silent PSU that has woked well for me in the past, which is more than sufficient for the FX-4100 and Nvidia card.

or Coolermaster Elite 350, though you'll need your own PSU if you want more power-

http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Elite-RC-360-KKR1-Tower/dp/B001U3YJMQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1354105258&sr=1-1&keywords=coolermaster+elite+360

The cost savings on the CPU and motherboard more than make up for the addition of the GT520 with money left over, even more savings if you go with the Apevia case+PSU.

Other parts look good, though if you shop newegg, Amazon and MIcrocenter you might find better deals on other brands of RAM.

You don't need more than 4GB of RAM for the forseeable future, so there's more savings if you switch to 2x2GB modules.
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post #3 of 6 Old 11-28-2012, 04:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for this, exactly the sort of reply I wanted.

Two last questions, and they may seem stupid so apologies

1/ Any blu-ray will play all regions under linux and XMBC supports it?

2/ Why do I need a GPU (the more stupid of the two questions), as I thought you just ran it off the motherboard or am I missing something. Guessing it is because the MB does not come with NVIDIA and yoyu reckon NVidia is a must.
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post #4 of 6 Old 11-28-2012, 11:42 AM
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1/ I don't own a BluRay drive for my PC's (only a few refurb set top players), so I can't say for sure, but my understanding is that with the BD AACS keys installed, most non-BD+ discs will play the main movie, no working menus on Linux yet.

http://vlc-bluray.whoknowsmy.name/

I further assume that all Linux playback methods bypass/ignore region coding, as has always been the case for DVD's on Linux. See the BluRay linux sticky thread near the end for more info/links to current methods of BD playback on linux.

http://forum.videohelp.com/threads/343705-VLC-Blu-ray-plugin-Watch-encrypted-Blu-rays-directly-in-VLC-2-0

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1253725/bluray-on-linux-thread/60

2/ You want an Nvidia card because Nvidia GPU's and drivers currently work the best and give the best video playback on Linux, though Intel and AMD/ATi keep improving their drivers and GPU's. But today, and for the practical near term, Nvidia is still tops on Linux. I like the AMD A4/A6/A8 APU's (CPU+GPU's), too, based on brief experience on an A4 laptop with recent ATI driver. Philosophically, we want to support Nvidia to prevent an Intel+AMD duopoly on video chips.
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post #5 of 6 Old 11-29-2012, 07:43 AM
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Another cost saving suggestion- just use the stock CPU cooler that comes with the CPU vs the Scythe.

While I like heat pipes as much as the next guy, they aren't really needed vs recent vintage CPU's and their included stock coolers- just clean the surface of the CPU and heatsink well and use good thermal paste. A difference of a few degrees at idle and even 5-10F at load may be a big deal to a gamer obsessed with benchmarks, but will make little practical difference in a well built, ventilated HTPC.

Just my $0.02 to save a few $0.02, as that was your point wink.gif

But the Scythe looks like a nice low profile heat pipe solution if you *do* have heat problems or plan to encode/transcode 1080p video 24/7 on the HTPC biggrin.gif
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post #6 of 6 Old 12-04-2012, 04:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Regarding the chassis,

I have an oppotunity to buy a second hand one, an Antec NSK2480B. Is there any reason why I should not do this? It does not come with a powersupply and it is $25 USD. I really liked the look of the Silverstone Grandia GD05 but it is quite pricey and the one you have suggested is a little cheap in the US but not in NZ.

Thanks,
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