Originally Posted by Tapiozona
Sorry in advance if my questions sound dumb. I've been using a Seagate Freeagent Theater+ to stream/play my media files to my theater and after reading more on HTPC's feel that the Freeagent is a bit of a cheap waste of money. I'd like to build a budget HTPC and this guide is great, but I was wondering if I could cut corners here and there.
Does the motherboard have to be Asus or Gigabyte? Are there other brands or previous generations with HDMI out's that are still very capable of playing 1080p content? I know its only 59.99 for the cheapest one on your list, but 20-30 here and there adds up quick. Also, can the chipset be non-dual core? This would never be doing anything other than movie playback..no gaming, nothing.
I have a bunch of harddrives already around the house and work. They're probably generic, off brand ones, maybe a WD or two but would any one work?
My biggest concern regarding a HTPC is noise. This will be going into a dedicated home theater, onto a rack, exposed to the room on the side wall. Will I be able to hear the PC going? I know my PC right now is quite loud with the fans spinning and what not. It would drive me nuts to hear anything even half as loud constantly humming in the background. Would the noise be comparable to a laptop? ps3?...or just silent?
Finally, this may sound dumb, but I can plug this directly into the back of my AVR and it should work like a charm without any special setup or hacks, right?
Thanks a lot and sorry for all the questions.
Here is a sample budget build for ~300 not including OS and controllers:
Dynapower ATX Mini Tower with 430W PSU 22.99
Hitachi Deskstar 1TB 3.5" 54.99
Sony DVD-ROM 16.99
G SKill 2 x 1 GB DDR3 27.99
Foxconn H55MX 74.99
Intel i3-540 114.99
Its really difficult to go much lower on a new 1156 CPU. You could go for that Pentium dual core 1156 chip for 15 dollars less, but I really don't recommend it.
2GB may not be future proof but it will get you by right now.
Forget the blu ray if you are looking to save money.
I do have a caveat about the above build. Skimping on the PSU can ultimately lead to problems. Experienced builders should have less problems with the case and MB selection. However if this is your first build, a nicer MB and a well thought out case will make your life much easier. It would be quite a shame to save $100 up front and end up frustrated with a non functional computer.
Any of your hard drives will probably perform adequately. However capacity will become an issue at some point.
With regards to noise, there are many factors that go into this equation. By going with a cheaper case and PSU, you may end up with a louder system. Nicer PSUs have quieter fans or no fans. If loudness and budget are a big concern, I would go with a large cheap case which will make ventilation and component heat less of an issue. With decent ventilation and space the stock cpu fan should not be very loud. Unfortunately, you generally can't get a whisper quiet system and spend an absolute minimum.