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Cheapest ever HTPC that's decent. Proud of myself. - Page 14

post #391 of 1016
Mushkin 60GB SSD
Corsair XMS 4GB RAM
COOLER MASTER Elite 460
Gigabyte GA-H61M-S2H
Silverstone ML03B
Intel G530
Zalman ZM-F1 80MM

Total cost : 299.50$CAD shipped

And a HDD I have lying around.
post #392 of 1016
Quote:
Originally Posted by KevBel View Post

Mushkin 60GB SSD
Corsair XMS 4GB RAM
COOLER MASTER Elite 460
Gigabyte GA-H61M-S2H
Silverstone ML03B
Intel G530
Zalman ZM-F1 80MM

Total cost : 299.50$CAD shipped

And a HDD I have lying around.

Small case with limited expansion, non-3D gpu. Otherwise should be fine.

Those cons may or may not be important. I like to build now and for a few years in the future as my needs change a few times a year it seems.
post #393 of 1016
Quote:
Originally Posted by Logic_BomB View Post

Out of curiosity - when it comes to an HTPC, what are you missing out on when it comes to the least expensive options?

I put together parts a few posts ago that seemed to get a lot of love for about $6-700. If I tried cutting every corner and dropped it down to some of the $300 systems I see here, what would I notice?

Laggy playback?
Slow GUI interface?
Part failure or reliability issues over time?
No support for something I can't even think of right now?
Something else I can't even think of right now?

Is it just that with a higher-end system programs will take half a second to load instead of 2 seconds or are there usability issues that I can't seem to wrap my head around?

Looking at your list, I thought it was pretty reasonable, but if you're looking for the cost difference, you're using an i3 at a pretty hefty price (I can buy it for $30 less) while those cheaper builds typically use G620s or G530s for $35-50 rather than your $120 cpu cost. Typically they use only an SSD and no hard drive and are instead intended to connect to a seperate media server. If you want internal storage, that's a $100 or more increase. You could use a motherboard at half the price of the one you listed, or you could even use something like an Intel DH67BL for $85 and give up basically nothing in performance or reliability. The only real performance issue is that dropping down from the i3 means giving up 3D and often they only include a $15 DVD drive (or no optical drive at all), not a Blu Ray. Again, folks often do their ripping on a different system. As to reliability, I'm not sure that I personally would use some of those $40 motherboards, but there are plenty I'd happily use for $80; you don't need that $110 H77 one.

Part of your problem is that you're in Canada, which dramatically boosts your costs and limits your parts choices.

BTW, KevBel's build seems fine, but he has no blue ray drive and no hard drive (that's $200 right there), and a Celeron which means no 3D. Quality of his parts seems fine. Personally I prefer his case to yours, although it's smaller.
post #394 of 1016
Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

non-3D gpu. Otherwise should be fine.

Which is why I went with the G620. It seems the i3 2100 and the G620 were pretty close other than 3D. I don't do 3D and unless I'm forced to go 3D by the manufacturers in the future I won't do it.
BTW: I got the ASRock h67M and the G620 in yesterday and so far it's great. Running the video directly off the CPU/MB is fantastic so far...
post #395 of 1016
Quote:
Originally Posted by BudgetHT View Post

Which is why I went with the G620. It seems the i3 2100 and the G620 were pretty close other than 3D. I don't do 3D and unless I'm forced to go 3D by the manufacturers in the future I won't do it.
BTW: I got the ASRock h67M and the G620 in yesterday and so far it's great. Running the video directly off the CPU/MB is fantastic so far...

I don't know if I'd say they're "pretty close". There's a pretty wide performance gap. But that's not the point. The point is that the G620 is more than adequate for what you want without 3D.

There's a big gap to a i7 too, but you don't need it either. What you need is something that will do the job you want it to do, and the G620 should do fine.
post #396 of 1016
Being in Canada is a huge ball-buster for sure. Starting from scratch also means I need storage & optical so there's $200 without breaking a sweat.

I'm looking mostly at http://www.canadacomputers.com (local location nearby with prices so close to newegg.ca that shipping would negate the savings of going online vs local).

I see a $55 motherboard option with the ASRock H61M-VS - is this a decent option for the G620 or could I do better?
post #397 of 1016
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

There's a big gap to a i7 too, but you don't need it either. What you need is something that will do the job you want it to do, and the G620 should do fine.

So far it pairs really well with H67M (B3). I was "thumbing through" my ripped collection and didn't notice any hiccups.
I was a little concerned about the video performance when I first bought it, and didn't want to run my HD6450 if I didn't have to. So far so good.
Heck I think I may even buy a smaller PSU. I had a 650W laying around that I used for the build, but I think it may be a little overkill. I would like to get this thing as green as I can...
post #398 of 1016
Quote:
Originally Posted by BudgetHT View Post

.
Heck I think I may even buy a smaller PSU. I had a 650W laying around that I used for the build, but I think it may be a little overkill. I would like to get this thing as green as I can...

I little overkill? Try about double.

As I've said probably too many times here, the problem with too big a PSU isn't just the waste of money, it's that it's counterproductive. You're probably using less than 15% of capacity, and at that point, the efficiency has fallen off a cliff.

Reality is that with these new cpus and no graphics card, even a 400w PSU is too big for most systems, but the problem is there simply aren't many good, efficient PSUs much smaller than that, and the ones that exist are hard to find and never on sale. So we end up using 380 and 400w ones 'cause that's the best we can do.

I wish someone would come out with a nice 80+ Gold 300w PSU. But instead they keep making and promoting and selling 750-1200W power supplies.
post #399 of 1016
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

I little overkill? Try about double.

As I've said probably too many times here, the problem with too big a PSU isn't just the waste of money, it's that it's counterproductive. You're probably using less than 15% of capacity, and at that point, the efficiency has fallen off a cliff.

Reality is that with these new cpus and no graphics card, even a 400w PSU is too big for most systems, but the problem is there simply aren't many good, efficient PSUs much smaller than that, and the ones that exist are hard to find and never on sale. So we end up using 380 and 400w ones 'cause that's the best we can do.

I wish someone would come out with a nice 80+ Gold 300w PSU. But instead they keep making and promoting and selling 750-1200W power supplies.

Yep. It's the same one I run in my gaming rig so I know it's way overkill, but it's what I had on hand. Although the case I bought came with a 350w, but I don't trust it...
I would hate to spend $500-$600 on a HTPC just to have it wiped out by a $20-$30 PSU.
post #400 of 1016
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KevBel View Post


I'm curious about this as well...

What will I NOT be able to do with my 300$ HTPC once it's built?

I have a $2000+ pc and a $300 pc and both are pretty much the same for HTPC.

Only in gaming or encoding or some advanced HTPC activity is the difference even relevant.
post #401 of 1016
Thread Starter 
post #402 of 1016
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

http://promotions.newegg.com/NEemail...-_-E0-_-SeeAll


15$ ECS LGA motherboard AR!

That one is working for me.
HDMI & VGA outputs.
Two PCIex1 slots for a pair of tuner cards.
One PCIex16 slot for a graphic card, if ever needed for some reason.
SPDIF header for digital audio out.

Thanks again for previously mentioning this motherboard.
post #403 of 1016
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike99 View Post


That one is working for me.
HDMI & VGA outputs.
Two PCIex1 slots for a pair of tuner cards.
One PCIex16 slot for a graphic card, if ever needed for some reason.
SPDIF header for digital audio out.

Thanks again for previously mentioning this motherboard.

Yeah it's pretty solid feature set and best value I have seen. Solid choice for limited budget.

That price is just stupid!
post #404 of 1016
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

Yeah it's pretty solid feature set and best value I have seen. Solid choice for limited budget.

That price is just stupid!

Holy smokes!!! $15.00. That is crazy...
post #405 of 1016
Quote:
Originally Posted by BudgetHT View Post

Holy smokes!!! $15.00. That is crazy...

I don't know how they do it. I bet it would cost me $15 to send the empty mobo box back to the manufacturer half way around the world.
post #406 of 1016
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike99 View Post


I don't know how they do it. I bet it would cost me $15 to send the empty mobo box back to the manufacturer half way around the world.

That's probably accurate. But many don't mail in the rebates also.
post #407 of 1016
So perhaps not the cheapest PC in the world (I need everything, no spare parts lying around...) but what does this look like to you guys:

- CPU : Intel Sandy Bridge G620 $69.99
- Mobo: Gigabyte GA-H77M-D3H $94.99
- RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series DDR3 1600MHz $25.99
- HDD: Seagate Barracuda Green*ST2000DL003* $109.88
- SSD: Crucial (CT064M4SSD2) 64GB SSD m4 2.5" SATA 3 $89.99
- PSU: Antec EA-380D Green EarthWatts 380W Continuous Power Supply $42.88
- Case: Silverstone Grandia GD05 Black HTPC mATX Case $105.99
- Optical: Asus BC-12B1ST - shoprbc $64.99

I'd get a cheaper motherboard but I know next to nothing about them, what I'm looking for, etc... so I just picked up an H77 that my cheap/local place (here) has in stock.

Any incompatibilities or issues that I'm not seeing? Is this seriously over-built for a simple "rip and play everything I want" machine?
post #408 of 1016
Quote:
Originally Posted by Logic_BomB View Post

So perhaps not the cheapest PC in the world (I need everything, no spare parts lying around...) but what does this look like to you guys:

- CPU : Intel Sandy Bridge G620 $69.99
- Mobo: Gigabyte GA-H77M-D3H $94.99
- RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series DDR3 1600MHz $25.99
- HDD: Seagate Barracuda Green*ST2000DL003* $109.88
- SSD: Crucial (CT064M4SSD2) 64GB SSD m4 2.5" SATA 3 $89.99
- PSU: Antec EA-380D Green EarthWatts 380W Continuous Power Supply $42.88
- Case: Silverstone Grandia GD05 Black HTPC mATX Case $105.99
- Optical: Asus BC-12B1ST - shoprbc $64.99

I'd get a cheaper motherboard but I know next to nothing about them, what I'm looking for, etc... so I just picked up an H77 that my cheap/local place (here) has in stock.

Any incompatibilities or issues that I'm not seeing? Is this seriously over-built for a simple "rip and play everything I want" machine?

You can save a chunk on the motherboard.
Here's basically what you want :
- LGA1155 socket (so it's compatible with your CPU)
- Slots and support for enough RAM (really shouldn't be a problem)
- HDMI output (I'm guessing you want to show HD content on a TV/projector)
- Enough SATA ports to support all your drives. So, maybe 4? ODD, HDD, SSD + 1 spare

That's a nice case, I opted for the less expensive Silverstone ML03b! Can't wait to get it!

I'm guessing that's 4GB of RAM?

You could possible save a few bucks on the processor and get a G530. Someone else should confirm this, I'm not sure how well the G530 handles BR playback.

And from what I've understood, if you want to playback 3D, you'll need to get an i3 processor. Depends what you mean by "play everything I want"
post #409 of 1016
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

I have a $2000+ pc and a $300 pc and both are pretty much the same for HTPC.

Only in gaming or encoding or some advanced HTPC activity is the difference even relevant.

I ordered the previously mentioned budget ECS board for $15 (after rebate). Based on the discussion, seems like matched with a G530 CPU, the combo should be able to handle all typical HTPC duties - aside from play 3D movies?

But I am wondering if the G530 can handle some games such as Minecraft, as well as other types of online flash/java based games with the onboard GPU - any opinions? My i3-2100 seems to have no problem when my son plays those games, but not sure if the G530 lower quality graphics can handle those?

And if down the road I wish to play some more intensive games, will adding a decent graphics card in combo with the G530 allow playing the games? My understanding is that a graphics card is often the key to playing games, rather than the CPU. So maybe with a G530 and decent graphics card, a game such as Skyrim could be played without a problem?
post #410 of 1016
Thread Starter 
The g530 is a good CPU for a tight budget. It's not a good choice for a power build but works amazingly well for its price in a budget build.

You should b fine.
post #411 of 1016
I would like to upgrade my HTPC and thinking of getting the new Gigabyte GA-B75M-D3H motherboard at $75.

Here is what Gigabyte says "The Intel® B75 Express Chipset supports Intel 2nd and 3rd generation processors and is positioned between Intel® Q77 and Intel® H61 Express Chipsets, offering a sweet spot in terms of value and features."

This is what I will re-use from my current HTPC:

Case - HFX Classic

Power Supply - Seasonic 380 watt

Hard Drive - Western Digital 2TB (will not be ripping movies, TV shows or Blu-Rays only for science/nature, concert DVDs and FLAC music)

OS - Windows 7 32 (Will remove Windows 7 from current HTPC and play around with XBMC for Ubuntu)

I live in Canada this is what I was able to piece together from directcanada.com

Motherboard - Gigabyte GA-B75M-D3H - $75.71

Processor - G620 LGA1155 2.6GHZ 3MB Retail Box - $61.67

Memory - Corsair CMV4GX3M1A1333C9 4GB 1X4GB DDR3-1333 - $20.27

Blu-Ray Drive - LG CH12LS28 12X Blu-Ray Reader - $59.19

Free Shipping

Total: $216.84 CAD + tax

Appreciate any opinions on this build.

Thanks
post #412 of 1016
Okay so the drive I picked out is no longer available - if I can't get a Samsung F4 or a WD green what are some other great options? Are most HDD's about the same or are there some obviously better choices for HTPC's?
post #413 of 1016
Quote:
Originally Posted by Logic_BomB View Post

So perhaps not the cheapest PC in the world (I need everything, no spare parts lying around...) but what does this look like to you guys:

- CPU : Intel Sandy Bridge G620 $69.99
- Mobo: Gigabyte GA-H77M-D3H $94.99
- RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series DDR3 1600MHz $25.99
- HDD: Seagate Barracuda Green*ST2000DL003* $109.88
- SSD: Crucial (CT064M4SSD2) 64GB SSD m4 2.5" SATA 3 $89.99
- PSU: Antec EA-380D Green EarthWatts 380W Continuous Power Supply $42.88
- Case: Silverstone Grandia GD05 Black HTPC mATX Case $105.99
- Optical: Asus BC-12B1ST - shoprbc $64.99

I'd get a cheaper motherboard but I know next to nothing about them, what I'm looking for, etc... so I just picked up an H77 that my cheap/local place (here) has in stock.

Any incompatibilities or issues that I'm not seeing? Is this seriously over-built for a simple "rip and play everything I want" machine?

It looks like it's going to make a very nice HTPC. Good job.
post #414 of 1016
I'm looking to replace my power supply with a very quiet one.

I have an off the shelf ZT systems win 7 64 bit PC I bought a couple of years ago. I use it as my every day PC for email, surfing, blah, blah, plus some business work, inc. light video editing. I also use it as my HTPC.

I had built a HTPC from the ground up years ago, but it's old and this off the shelf machine is much more powerful. I use it with an HDHR Prime and WMC7 as my DVR, and it's been fine.

I had replaced the original PS with an old MGE 500 w PS because the MGE was pretty quiet and has an adjustable fan. However, the MGE gave me problems with putting the machine to sleep. Upon waking, the machine would always freeze. So I had to put the original PS back in.

But that original PS is VERY noisy. Jet engine noisy. So I want to get a new quiet PS.

Mfusick mentions an Antec NEO ECO 400C 400W Continuous Power ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply on page 6 of this thread.

I am wondering what people think of that PS.

My system has a AMD Phenom II X4 945 quad core, an Nvidia GT 430 (because of no onboard HDMI), a 1 TB system drive, a second 2 TB drive, a SATA DVD burner, and a Blue-ray burner. I may get an SSD drive in the future, but I would keep both of my standard drives.

There are lots of people complaining about the PS on Newegg, but also lots who love it. Obviously, it's no longer available for the $29 price since page 6. It is currently $50.

Thanks.
post #415 of 1016
I got the SPDIF header-to-RCA jack cable made & connected to the A/V receiver and now get digital audio from this cheap little ECS board.

When watching a DVD the Task Manager shows CPU usage between 0% and 1%. According to HWMonitor the Core & Package temperatures are between 32 & 34 degrees.

When watching Hulu the CPU usage is between 20% and 25% with Core & Pkg temps between 32 & 36 degrees.

HWMonitor does not give me a CPU & Mainboard temp like it does on my AMD desktop.

With the Kill A Watt meter connected, HTPC Off uses 1 W, Idle uses 31 W and playing a DVD uses 37 W. I did notice during boot up that the power usage peaked to 70 W.
post #416 of 1016
Quote:
Originally Posted by leebo View Post

Mfusick mentions an Antec NEO ECO 400C 400W Continuous Power ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply on page 6 of this thread.

I am wondering what people think of that PS.

I have the Antec NEO ECO 400C in my HTPC. Been running for two months with no problems, and at least to my ear it is quiet. (The loudest thing in my HTPC is actually the stock cooler fan on my i3-2100, need to do something about that.) I also have the same PSU running in an HTPC that I built for my parents this past Christmas, and it is still working fine for them. So I would go with the Antec NEO again. If you have time to wait, it does go on sale every so often. One thing I recall, it did not come with a power cord. That might not be an issue for you, but I had to scrounge around in the garage for an old cord.

In terms of the reviews, I take them with a grain of salt. If someone has a problem, that person might tend to complain, compared to all the other persons who are happy with a product. Also the reason I have the Antec NEO in my HTPC, is because the Corsair HX-650 that had been in it failed. That Corsair is generally a highly regarded PSU, so really you can end up sometimes just having bad luck with a component.
post #417 of 1016
Quote:
Originally Posted by leebo View Post

Mfusick mentions an Antec NEO ECO 400C 400W Continuous Power ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply on page 6 of this thread.

I am wondering what people think of that PS.

Have never used one, but I'll just say that while Antec doesn't make any power supplies, most of the ones they rebadge or have made for them tend to be decent, and this particular one is made by Seasonic, which is one of the very best PSU manufacturers. Others here have used them and given good reports as I recall.

Personally, I wouldn't hesitate to buy one if you are getting a good deal on it. And I woudn't lose any sleep over Newegg reviews.
post #418 of 1016
See my psu recommendations. I have already done all the research and testing for you.
post #419 of 1016
Assassin - Your guide is a little sparse on HDD selection (I don't have access to either drives you suggest).

Are hard drives mostly the same or are there some definite reasons to choose one over another?
post #420 of 1016
Since everyone is bragging about hardware in here, I figure I'd chime in and look for a little advice.

I have the opportunity to get a i5-3570k for about $150 after taxes/shipping 2 ways (relative works for Intel). I have a hard time passing it up because it is such a great deal, but wonder if it is overkill for a HTPC. I currently have a core2duo e8400 with an ATI 5670 discreet video. The prob is the board is full ATX. I want to get to a small form factor purpose built case (yet to be determined) and possibly get by with integrated video. I need to bitstream HD audio through TMT5/MPC-HC, do bluray, DVD, MKV, etc, all of which I can do now.

Should I just go with a cheaper pentium or i3 sandy bridge chip, even though they are not much cheaper? Or just go for the big "discount" even though I might end up spending a bit more money? I'm also a bit concerned about heat as the i5 is 77w. I'm also interested in cpu fan recommendations since I hear the stock fan/thermal paste is pretty poor on the boxed processors.
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