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Building a New HTPC (Feedback Please)

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I am building my first HTPC. I want to store and play dvd and blu ray movies. I also want to keep this build under $500. Any and all comments are welcome.

Current Total: $481.93

1 GIGABYTE GA-MA785GPMT-UD2H AM3 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
$94.99

1 PC Power and Cooling Silencer PPCS370X 370W ATX12V 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply
$39.99

1 Western Digital Caviar Green WD15EADS 1.5TB SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" $109.99

1 LITE-ON Black 4X Blu-ray Reader SATA Model iHOS104-06
$59.99

1 APEX TX-381-C Black Steel Micro ATX Tower Computer Case
$24.99

1 OCZ Obsidian 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model OCZ3OB1600LV4GK
$78.99

1 AMD Athlon II X2 245 Regor 2.9GHz Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core $66.00

or maybe this processor

AMD Athlon II X3 425 2.7GHz Socket AM3 95W
post #2 of 10
Case may not be important to you; however, it is typically important for HTPC. If you think you will want a good case that will look at home in a stereo setup, consider getting such a case with your initial build.

Also, you did not mention television recording (DVR) as a function you seek in your HTPC. It is a very useful feature of HTPC for many...something you may also consider.

Your costs may increase a bit, as you have identified no input device nor operating system.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
The case I want cost too much so I am going with the cheapest case I can find for now and upgrade later.

I would like to get television recording at some point but my budget does not allow it at this point. I will hold off on this for a future upgrade.

I will be using windows 7 as my OS. I already have it. I have not decided on whether to use the 32 or 64 bit OS though.

I already have wireless keyboard and mouse. I will get by with this for now.
post #4 of 10
Tuner cards don't have to be expensive. I'd drop the memory to 2GB and use the difference to buy a tuner card. The DVR is our most used function of the HTPC.

Also, keep in mind a 32bit OS can't see all of the 4GB memory.
post #5 of 10
To add to the reply above, 2GB of RAM is plenty for an HTPC. I'd also not waste money on a faster processor unless you plan to do lots of transcoding (such as ripping DVDs).
post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by roadrunner75 View Post

I am building my first HTPC. I want to store and play dvd and blu ray movies. I also want to keep this build under $500. Any and all comments are welcome.

Current Total: $481.93

1 GIGABYTE GA-MA785GPMT-UD2H AM3 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
$94.99

1 PC Power and Cooling Silencer PPCS370X 370W ATX12V 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply
$39.99

1 Western Digital Caviar Green WD15EADS 1.5TB SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" $109.99

1 LITE-ON Black 4X Blu-ray Reader SATA Model iHOS104-06
$59.99

1 APEX TX-381-C Black Steel Micro ATX Tower Computer Case
$24.99

1 OCZ Obsidian 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model OCZ3OB1600LV4GK
$78.99

1 AMD Athlon II X2 245 Regor 2.9GHz Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core $66.00

or maybe this processor

AMD Athlon II X3 425 2.7GHz Socket AM3 95W


Here are a couple of blogs I put together on HTPC builds.

http://links.amd.com/Build1

http://links.amd.com/Build2

They might help.
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
I have read that playing blu ray movies takes a lot out of your processor. They recommended at least a dual core.
post #8 of 10
you may want to lok at a another smaller HDD for the operating system. the WD green is only 5400 rpm and while great for media storage (i have one), you may take a performance hit with the slower drive.
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by roadrunner75 View Post

I have read that playing blu ray movies takes a lot out of your processor. They recommended at least a dual core.

While it can hit a CPU hard, if you have a graphics chip/chipset that supports hardware acceleration, it does not hit it hard at all.

However, I still recommend dual core or higher for HTPC stuff.
post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by mike_311 View Post

you may want to lok at a another smaller HDD for the operating system. the WD green is only 5400 rpm and while great for media storage (i have one), you may take a performance hit with the slower drive.


Actually, in my discussions with Seagate and WD, they have both optimized their drives for streaming content. They have tweaked the f/w on their drives so that it improves content recording and playback. They modify how it groups data blocks for storage and retrieval. You should not see too big a hit in performance. While I don't have any benchmarks, I have not observed any issues when using these type drives in an HTPC. However, that is all anecdotal and I don't have any hard benchmarks to back that up (at least none that I can share without violating NDAs)

Now, for gaming, etc. faster drives will perform better but I think it may be less important for an HTPC box.
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