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HTPC Build - Feedback Requested

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I have built PC's and a WHS, but this is my first pure HTPC.

This HTPC will be used for the following:
  • Play movies from MyMovies (from WHS)
  • Play movies from BD and SD DVD
  • Watch TV via Media Center
  • Play content from WHS (Movies, Music, Videos, Pictures)
  • Will be hard wired to home network. (gigabit)
  • Will play a few video games, but that is secondary to movies.
  • Will eventually be integrated to AV receiver via HDMI and/or Optical Audio
  • Will be initially attached to flat screen via HDMI and eventually a Digital projector for 2.35:1 projection.
  • Content will not live on this machine, it will be migrated to the WHS.

I am looking for feedback good or bad on the following list of hardware to serve my needs listed above:
  • SILVERSTONE GD05B
  • GIGABYTE GA-880GM-USB3 AM3 AMD 880G USB 3.0 HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
  • Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 Media Center Kit Dual TV Tuner 1213 PCI-Express x1
  • SeaSonic SS-350ET Bronze 350W PFC Power Supply
  • AMD Athlon II X2 250 Regor 3.0GHz Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core Processor
  • Intel 320 Series SSDSA2CT040G310 2.5" 40GB SATA II SSD (or similar of another brand)
  • G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM 1600 (PC3 12800)
  • Western Digital Caviar Green WD20EARS 2TB SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" HD
  • LITE-ON Black 4X Blu-ray Reader SATA Model iHOS104-06
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit
  • SilenX IXP-74-09 120mm Case Fan (3 to replace core fans)

Please let me know if you have anything good or bad to say about any of the above items. Also, if I missing anything.

Thanks,

Scott
post #2 of 14
Everything looks pretty good but a little overkill on the RAM. 4GB will suffice for HTPC purposes. And also the CPU, go with a Phenom processor instead of Athlon. Should be a little faster for a bit more money. Everything else looks solid.

EDIT: It's just a personal preference but I would go with a intel core i3 build instead of AMD. Much faster processor, much better built-in IGP too and much more power-efficient. It will bitstream HD audio + do 3D as well. Yes the price does go significantly higher but it's so much more worth it. Just my 2 cents.
post #3 of 14
Yup, definitely only need 4gigs of ram. You will have higher power consumption than with intel so if you plan on leaving it on all the time you wont be saving any money.
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the feedback so far. Please keep it coming!!
So on the Intel front, which I3 do you recommend? Would you go with something like the 2100 rated at 3.1GHz & 65w or the T variant rated at 2.5GHz & 35w? On another forum, someone else suggest the Pentium G620. It is sandy bridged based and half the price, but slower with the same power usage. I can not see me going down that route.
I will consider this route for four reasons, lower heat, better performance, lower power usage, & better graphics.

Thanks,
Scott
post #5 of 14
2100 unless you need the low profile cooler. Then use the 2100t.

Take a look at my sticky guide and renethx's excellent guide. Lots of useful information in there.
post #6 of 14
Actually, I just completed a build using a Phenom II X4 955 which was on sale for $99 from Tiger Direct and it's awesome! I combined it with the Gigabyte 880GM-UD2H mobo and, for now at least, the integrated 4250 video is fine for MCE. I'm probably going to add a discreet video card at some point due to some slight lag navigating menus while playing h.264 live TV (HD-PVR fed content) but as far as a price/performance comparison on the mobo/CPU front, I don't know if it's possible to beat that combination. And the performance is just great! I run DTb and ShowAnalyzer on the same box, with 2 HD-PVRs hanging off of it, and it never misses a beat, even when analyzing 2 shows, recording 2 shows, and watching a bluray .mkv rip all at the same time. And all of that is happening only using the integrated 4250 video, which is the weak point of the build. Not too shabby when you consider that the mobo/CPU only cost me $178, which does not include the $15 mail in rebate for the mobo.
This build replaced a Zacate build that I did about 3 months ago. What a nightmare that was. The Zacate is great for watching video only! MCE screens were sluggish at best, all other processes needed to be offloaded and it still choked regularly on me. I do not recommend the Zacate solution to anyone interested in any kind of performance.
The overall project replaced a 4 year old Athlon 64 4600 MCE build which has finally been retired to my office, and I'm actually typing this post on it.
post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostlobster View Post

Actually, I just completed a build using a Phenom II X4 955 which was on sale for $99 from Tiger Direct and it's awesome! I combined it with the Gigabyte 880GM-UD2H mobo and, for now at least, the integrated 4250 video is fine for MCE. I'm probably going to add a discreet video card at some point due to some slight lag navigating menus while playing h.264 live TV (HD-PVR fed content) but as far as a price/performance comparison on the mobo/CPU front, I don't know if it's possible to beat that combination. And the performance is just great! I run DTb and ShowAnalyzer on the same box, with 2 HD-PVRs hanging off of it, and it never misses a beat, even when analyzing 2 shows, recording 2 shows, and watching a bluray .mkv rip all at the same time. And all of that is happening only using the integrated 4250 video, which is the weak point of the build. Not too shabby when you consider that the mobo/CPU only cost me $178, which does not include the $15 mail in rebate for the mobo.
This build replaced a Zacate build that I did about 3 months ago. What a nightmare that was. The Zacate is great for watching video only! MCE screens were sluggish at best, all other processes needed to be offloaded and it still choked regularly on me. I do not recommend the Zacate solution to anyone interested in any kind of performance.
The overall project replaced a 4 year old Athlon 64 4600 MCE build which has finally been retired to my office, and I'm actually typing this post on it.

Yeah, I kind of reached the same conclusion on zacate. It plays blue ray and recorded OTA TV well, but its just a little lacking. Mine is now a media extender, DVR, Nas, where it's cpu limitations aren't really noticeable. I really can't tell anybody zacate can't do HTPC, but I also probably wouldn't recommend it at this point. Zacate being my 24/7 computer did allow me to go back to a power hungry athlon II plus discrete discrete graphics(eventually). So my zacate is far from being a waist, I only have $200 dollars in it anyways and $75 of that was for windows.

Keep in mind athlon II plus gt430 or HD6570 can handle anything HTPC. My athlon II will be getting my gts450 card once I upgrade my gaming system, waiting for 28nm graphics cards.
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

2100 unless you need the low profile cooler. Then use the 2100t.

Take a look at my sticky guide and renethx's excellent guide. Lots of useful information in there.

So I am now leading toward the I3-2100, but before I finalize... Does the 2100T run cooler than the 2100? Or does it just come with a lower profile fan/heatsink? I was thinking of replacing the provided unit with heatsink only unit since the case provided has only a case fan right next to the CPU, which will draw air over the CPU. Also once the optical drive is installed, I will have limited headroom over the CPU. I have been looking at at heatsink that has vertical that are offset to the side of the CPU. (i.e. getting out out from under the optical drive, and allowing the side case fan to cool it)
post #9 of 14
Hi mate I was in the same boat as u just this very week, should I buy a u2 2120 or 2100t.

That's untill i read that I could under clock any i3 to the same speed as the 2100t version and it runs at the same watts

So as the heatsink is bigger on normal i3s and u can use the same watts if u under clock the chip to the same speed as a 2100t it should runn cooler and if u need more speed u can up the clock speed so u win both ways

There's info on here that a person tested both chips and where the same watts at the same clcoo speed apart from when running prime95 it was 7 watts higher I will try and find the link unless someone beats me to it

Hope this helps oh I bought the 2120 3.3 version and going to underclock it as it was on offer and was the cheapest i3 I could find
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by scarpenter002 View Post

Also once the optical drive is installed, I will have limited headroom over the CPU. I have been looking at at heatsink that has vertical that are offset to the side of the CPU. (i.e. getting out out from under the optical drive, and allowing the side case fan to cool it)

I have a GD04 which is internally identical to the GD05 and the stock 2100 heatsink/fan fits fine with an optical drive installed. It's very quiet and it's very effective.
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

I have a GD04 which is internally identical to the GD05 and the stock 2100 heatsink/fan fits fine with an optical drive installed. It's very quiet and it's very effective.

+1

I have the GD04 and love the case. Actually have the 2100t but plenty of room. Would easily fit the normal 2100 as he noted.
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post
I have a GD04 which is internally identical to the GD05 and the stock 2100 heatsink/fan fits fine with an optical drive installed. It's very quiet and it's very effective.
Quote:
Originally Posted by drittiner View Post
+1

I have the GD04 and love the case. Actually have the 2100t but plenty of room. Would easily fit the normal 2100 as he noted.
Thanks drittiner & Zon2020. I will plan on using the stock cooler initially. I would much rather change out if it becomes a problem rather than spend money not needed.
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Well, finally got back to the US and I pulled the trigger yesterday on the majority of the parts for my HTPC. Many of the same as indicated above, with a few changes based on what was on sale currently:
  • SilverStone GD05B Computer Case
  • Intel Core i3-2100T CPU
  • Intel Micro-ATX BOXDH67GDB3
  • Corsair Vengeance 8 GB ( 2 x 4 GB ) DDR3 1600 MHz (PC3 12800) Memory
  • OCZ ModXStream Pro 500W Modular Power Supply
  • OCZ Technology 60 GB Agility 3 SATA III SSD
  • WD Caviar Blue 320 GB Harddrive
  • Lite-On 4X SATA Blu-ray ROM Drive
  • Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit

Additionally I have ordered a Harmony 1100 remote and RF wireless extender. I will be ordering the internal IR receiver soon. I now have DirecTV, so will not be adding a tuner initially. Also have decided to try it with the existing case fans. If they are too loud, I will trade them out for better models.

Thanks,
Scott
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