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HTPC Advice

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

I've got some queries regarding building my own HTPC and was wondering if you could help me out. I've read through the 'buyers guide' on this site and I think the two that most match my needs are:

AMD (iGPU)
CPU: Athlon II X2 255 ADX255OCGQBOX/ADX255OCGMBOX 3.1GHz 65W AM3, $63.
CPU Cooler: Stock cooler, $0.
Motherboard: ASUS M4A88T-I Deluxe AM3 AMD 880G/SB710 chipsets Mini-ITX, $125.
Memory: G.SKILL F3-10666CL9D-4GBSQ DDR3-1333 CL9 SO-DIMM 2 x 2GB Kit, $44.
Graphics Card: Radeon HD 4250 (integrated in the chipset), $0.
HDD: Seagate Momentus 7200.4 ST9500420AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s mobile, $60.
PSU: Antec FP-150-8 FlexATX 150W PSU (included in the case), $0.
Case: Antec ISK 310-150 Mini-ITX, $68.

Intel
CPU: Core i3-2100 3.1GHz 65W LGA 1155, $125.
CPU Cooler: Stock cooler, $0.
Motherboard: ASRock H67M-ITX LGA 1155 Intel H67 chipset Mini-ITX, $90. An alternative is GIGABYTE
GA-H67N-USB3-B3 LGA 1155 Intel H67 chipset Mini-ITX, $110 (this motherboard comes with
3-year warranty, while the ASRock with 1-year).
Memory: G.SKILL F3-12800CL9D-4GBXL Ripjaws-X DDR3-1600 CL9 2 x 2GB Kit, $50.
Graphics Card: Intel HD Graphics (integrated in the chipset), $0.
HDD: Seagate Momentus 7200.4 ST9500420AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s mobile, $60.
PSU: Antec FP-150-8 FlexATX 150W PSU (included in the case), $0.
23
Case: Antec ISK 310-150 Mini-ITX, $68.

With regards to hardware how do you think these fare? AMD or intel? Recommendations for different parts? I was hoping to put a SSD in the HTPC so that it would boot quickly. All my media is stored on a 2TB hard drive which I'll hopefully connect up in a NAS. Is a SSD a good idea? Would it mean quicker booting and software loading? Any downsides to a SSD?

With regard to software I've been using XBMC for the past year installed on a windows 7 machine. I'd like to boot the machine into xbmc, I believe that would reduce background processes. Does this sound like a good plan? Easy to do?

Is there anything else I should be thinking about when I'm building my HTPC?

Thanks in advance!

Jamie
post #2 of 28
Intel all the way

Here you go :

No discrete vid card needed .

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131786

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115090 (Better built in graphics) Ie: Intel 3000 ILO 2000

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231314

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817703034

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148441 or this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148442 or a Samsung 830 in 64 or 128 gig models .

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152245 or this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136891 for data drives

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815706001 My favorite tuning card .

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811163205 . I like the Silverstone cases but you may pick from many varieties . This is just an example .

Get a copy of OEM Windows 7 64 bit either home premium or professional . I like prfessional cause you can rdp with out hacking the registry . Home premiun is fine though to and what most folks here use .

There , I just built you a kick ass htpc that will last you for many , many years . There are hundreds of build threads in this forum if you do a search and will give you many other ideas . Here is another idea and I am not even charging for it !! . Check this out .... the free version gives many solid build ideas that have been built , tested and work without flaw .

http://assassinhtpcblog.com/ Get the paid version for the wealth of "GOLD"..... Screw Visa !! THIS IS PRICELESS !!

You may or some may say this build is pricey . I just gave you good solid componants that plainly work . You need to shop these parts at various e -tailors to get the better prices . Deals are out there if you shop and can be paticient .

Good Luck and post back with pics of your " New ride " biggrin.gif
Edited by flocko - 8/3/12 at 5:41pm
post #3 of 28
Quote:
Intel all the way

Here you go :

No discrete vid card needed .
Did you read the OP?
Quote:
CPU: Athlon II X2 255 ADX255OCGQBOX/ADX255OCGMBOX 3.1GHz 65W AM3, $63.
CPU Cooler: Stock cooler, $0.
Motherboard: ASUS M4A88T-I Deluxe AM3 AMD 880G/SB710 chipsets Mini-ITX, $125.
Memory: G.SKILL F3-10666CL9D-4GBSQ DDR3-1333 CL9 SO-DIMM 2 x 2GB Kit, $44.
Graphics Card: Radeon HD 4250 (integrated in the chipset), $0.
post #4 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by chisypasta View Post

Hi all,

Intel
CPU: Core i3-2100 3.1GHz 65W LGA 1155, $125.
CPU Cooler: Stock cooler, $0.
Motherboard: ASRock H67M-ITX LGA 1155 Intel H67 chipset Mini-ITX, $90. An alternative is GIGABYTE
GA-H67N-USB3-B3 LGA 1155 Intel H67 chipset Mini-ITX, $110 (this motherboard comes with
3-year warranty, while the ASRock with 1-year).
Memory: G.SKILL F3-12800CL9D-4GBXL Ripjaws-X DDR3-1600 CL9 2 x 2GB Kit, $50.
Graphics Card: Intel HD Graphics (integrated in the chipset), $0.
HDD: Seagate Momentus 7200.4 ST9500420AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s mobile, $60.
PSU: Antec FP-150-8 FlexATX 150W PSU (included in the case), $0.
23
Case: Antec ISK 310-150 Mini-ITX, $68.

If you wish to run XBMC under Linux, (no need to pay for windows) then I'd make the following changes. Use the AsRock H67 Mobo. Change the chip to I3-2120T (uses less power) . Go with a 2.5" SSD for OS.. Add a PNY 1/2 height GT 430 graphics card. The Nvidia card will be much easier to use under linux and it will fit into this case. I'd also consider adding a 2nd 80mm fan to the case and then set them both to the lowest speed possible. It will be very quiet. Using the SSD & linux, it will probably boot from the power button to desktop in less than 10 seconds.
post #5 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by olyteddy View Post

Did you read the OP?

Yes, I read the op !

That is a "stock" copy / paste that I use to cover the same questions over and over and over again

What is need or not needed can be chosen as seen fit from the list . Sorry , but the build works every time with out issue .
post #6 of 28
Thread Starter 
Flocko, thanks for the links, given me a lot of ideas.
Blackcat 6 that sounds like a good setup, I've researched the i3-2120T and it says it uses 65W, the same as the 2100 and the 2105. Was it the idle wattage that is lower or am I not looking at the right thing!?
If I decide to use xbmc/linux would that have much impact on which bluray drive I picked?
Is a dedicated graphics card neccesary? Will it make a huge amount of difference if the main use is watching TV/movies?

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CA-530-LL&campaign=pcm/googleshopping
This case looks really good but it doesn't have an optical drive bay.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Compucase-Mini-Front-Panel-Audio/dp/B001UHO7DS/ref=pd_sim_sbs_computers_4
This one is a bit bigger but has the optical bay. Does anyone know of a compromise between the two? I'd really like a thin case, one that looks similar to a dvd player.

Thanks for the advice guys.
post #7 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by chisypasta View Post

Blackcat 6 that sounds like a good setup, I've researched the i3-2120T and it says it uses 65W, the same as the 2100 and the 2105. Was it the idle wattage that is lower or am I not looking at the right thing!?
If I decide to use xbmc/linux would that have much impact on which bluray drive I picked?
Is a dedicated graphics card neccesary? .
The 2120T idles at 35W. It uses even less if you use an external card. If you plan to go with linux, Nvidia vdpau really has no equal for video hardware acceleration. It can do advanced 2x deinterlacing with no problem. ATI has always been bad to non-existent, and intel drivers are immature. This processor has enough power to do video in software, but I'd recommend the external card.

I missed the BlueRay drive. I think that is going to be a very tight fit with the antec 150 case.
post #8 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by flocko View Post

Intel all the way

Does Intel provide 2x the performance as indicated by it's 2x price tag $63 vs. $125. If not, then you are overpaying.
post #9 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post

Does Intel provide 2x the performance as indicated by it's 2x price tag $63 vs. $125. If not, then you are overpaying.

Actually yes it does. More than 2x:

Passmark score - i3-2100 - 3863
Passmark score - Athlon II X2 255 - 1820.

And speaking of overpaying, even if you want the lower power, the Athlon is way overpriced. A lowly Celeron G540 costs only $35 and still has a passmark score of 2355, much higher than the Athlon. And with the Intels you also get a GPU built in.

The Athlon is truly an obsolete chip.

By the way, if you hurry you might still find an i3-2100 at Micro Center for $89.99 which is what they've been selling them for for several months.
post #10 of 28
To the OP, where are you finding the Antec ISK 310-150 for $68?

That's a really good price. I might get one of those myself.
post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

To the OP, where are you finding the Antec ISK 310-150 for $68?
That's a really good price. I might get one of those myself.

That's the price quoted in the HTPC guide found on this site. I'm from the UK so not searching any $$$ sites!

Thanks for all the advice guys. I think I'm pretty settled on the following set up:
CPU: Intel i3-2120T 2.60 GHz http://www.waeplus.co.uk/product/173445/Intel-Core-i3-i3-2120T-2.60-GHz-Processo
Motherboard: Asrock H67M-ITX http://www.ilgs.co.uk/products.asp?partno=H67M-ITX
Memory: G-Skill DDR3 PC12800 1600MHz 4GB http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B004HZE7H6/ref=asc_df_B004HZE7H69064979?smid=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&tag=googlecouk06-21&linkCode=asn&creative=22206&creativeASIN=B004HZE7H6
Graphics Card: PNY GeForce 430 Graphic Card - 1GB http://www.overstock.com/Electronics/PNY-VCGGT4301XPB-GeForce-430-Graphic-Card-1400-MHz-Core-1-GB-DDR3/5328616/product.html?cid=133635
Solid State Drive: Crucial 64GB M4 SSD http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B004W2JKWG/ref=noref?ie=UTF8&psc=1&s=computers

The only thing I'm still stuck on is the case, I'm leaning towards the Lian Li - http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CA-530-LL&campaign=pcm/googleshopping however this will mean changing motherboards to Intel DH61AG http://www.waeplus.co.uk/product/76825/Intel-DH61AG-Desktop-Motherboard---Intel
What do people know about the Intel DH61AG motherboard?

Hopefully that will make a good quick setup. Anybody got any last recommendations?
Edited by chisypasta - 8/7/12 at 2:34pm
post #12 of 28
Have you thought about how you're going to put a grahics card in that case?

I think there are zero expansion slots. That case assumes you are using the integrated graphics of whatever CPU you choose. I haven't used that case personally, but I don't think you're going to fit a GT 430 into it. (I don't understand why you're using a separate graphics card anyhow, but apparently you've decided you want to.)

And really, it is not a good choice to get a 64GB M4 for £55 when you can get the 128GB version of that same drive from the same place for £81 or can get the better Samsung 830 128GB drive for £77.98 also from the same place. It's not just a matter of having larger capacity available, it's also a matter of improved performance and improved longevity that results from having the larger drive. The 128 is a better choice and a much better value.
post #13 of 28
Thread Starter 
You make a good point with the graphics card... completely missed that! Might have to go for a case like this then http://www.amazon.co.uk/Compucase-Mini-Front-Panel-Audio/dp/B001UHO7DS/ref=pd_sim_sbs_computers_4.

To be honest the solid state drive is barely going to have anything on, just linux and xbmc. All of my data is stored on a NAS drive so spending a little more to get a bigger drive doesn't really appeal to me. How much improved performance would I see going from a 64gb to a 128gb?
post #14 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by chisypasta View Post

You make a good point with the graphics card... completely missed that! Might have to go for a case like this then http://www.amazon.co.uk/Compucase-Mini-Front-Panel-Audio/dp/B001UHO7DS/ref=pd_sim_sbs_computers_4.
To be honest the solid state drive is barely going to have anything on, just linux and xbmc. All of my data is stored on a NAS drive so spending a little more to get a bigger drive doesn't really appeal to me. How much improved performance would I see going from a 64gb to a 128gb?

64GB is absolutely fine for you. You don't need to spend the extra money.
post #15 of 28
My 64GB SATA II Kingston burns rubber all around the 2.5" HDD it replaced a year ago and is still going strong.
post #16 of 28
If you want to put a graphics card in an ITX, then a SIlverstone Sugo SG05 is the way to go. Great case and you can put almost any graphics card you want in it without issue.

BTW, before you buy that AsRock mobo, you should read THIS THREAD. People have had a lot of problems with that board. I think there are a couple more threads about it here as well. (unless Assassin says all those problems have been cleared up; he was in communication with AsRock over it)

Also, if you're taking recommendations from Assassin's guide thread on this site, you should know he no longer updates that here and it's out of date; the current iteration is available (for free) on his website.
post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

64GB is absolutely fine for you. You don't need to spend the extra money.

Got to say, to me that's like a year ago when you could buy a 500GB hard disk for $45 or a 2TB hard drive for $59. Don't know about you, but I bought the 2TB every time. even if I was only going to be using 100GB at the outset.

When the difference between a good 64 and a good 128 is $25-30 or less, it seems like a no brainer to me to get the bigger one.

The $/GB are certainly less with the 128.

And with SSDs there's even more reason to buy the larger one than there is with hard disks because with SSDs having extra unused capacity will increase the longevity and performance.
post #18 of 28
True. Mine was $100 last year. Now $50ish. But it only has about 24 Gigs or so on it so it performs pretty well. Not the fastest around but certainly fast enough.
post #19 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

Got to say, to me that's like a year ago when you could buy a 500GB hard disk for $45 or a 2TB hard drive for $59. Don't know about you, but I bought the 2TB every time. even if I was only going to be using 100GB at the outset.
When the difference between a good 64 and a good 128 is $25-30 or less, it seems like a no brainer to me to get the bigger one.
The $/GB are certainly less with the 128.
And with SSDs there's even more reason to buy the larger one than there is with hard disks because with SSDs having extra unused capacity will increase the longevity and performance.

Thats what you and I would do. But that's not the right choice for everyone. That's what I was saying when I said there is nothing wrong with the 64GB version.

$30 means different things to different people.

Kinda like when my wife says she "saved us money" by buying things on sale that we really didn't need.
post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post


Kinda like when my wife says she "saved us money" by buying things on sale that we really didn't need.

I certainly understand that. Especially when it's "they were on sale so I bought two" and I'm thinking, "oh great, we didn't need one." tongue.gif

I can understand someone deciding to save the money on the smaller SSD, but the 120/128 are definitely the best value at the moment (in 6 months it will probably be the 256s)
post #21 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

I certainly understand that. Especially when it's "they were on sale so I bought two" and I'm thinking, "oh great, we didn't need one." tongue.gif
I can understand someone deciding to save the money on the smaller SSD, but the 120/128 are definitely the best value at the moment (in 6 months it will probably be the 256s)

Sure. But that "value" is still more money. That's what I am saying.

I see both sides.
post #22 of 28
Agreed.
post #23 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

Actually yes it does. More than 2x:
Passmark score - i3-2100 - 3863
Passmark score - Athlon II X2 255 - 1820.
And speaking of overpaying, even if you want the lower power, the Athlon is way overpriced. A lowly Celeron G540 costs only $35 and still has a passmark score of 2355, much higher than the Athlon. And with the Intels you also get a GPU built in.
The Athlon is truly an obsolete chip.
By the way, if you hurry you might still find an i3-2100 at Micro Center for $89.99 which is what they've been selling them for for several months.

I guess I should have been clearer, will the HTPC use the resources available from a chip that is 2x the price and perhaps offers 2x the performance?

From what OP presented so far, a dual core Atom will do just fine.

As to GPU integrated onto CPU, it is pretty much moot point, since there are a ton of motherboards with intgerated video cards available for CPUs that don't have one integrated onto the CPU.

If one were to look for deals at MicroCenter, Phenom X4 for $50 is a real deal. But, only if one were planning on using the available resources offered by the quad core CPU.

I can tell you from personal experience, $50 Phenom X4 handles 5 TV's just fine, even though Microsoft suggests allocating 1 CPU core per TV connected to the system. It rarely goes over 75% utilization having all 5 TV's running different things.
post #24 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post

I guess I should have been clearer, will the HTPC use the resources available from a chip that is 2x the price and perhaps offers 2x the performance?
From what OP presented so far, a dual core Atom will do just fine.
As to GPU integrated onto CPU, it is pretty much moot point, since there are a ton of motherboards with intgerated video cards available for CPUs that don't have one integrated onto the CPU.
If one were to look for deals at MicroCenter, Phenom X4 for $50 is a real deal. But, only if one were planning on using the available resources offered by the quad core CPU.
I can tell you from personal experience, $50 Phenom X4 handles 5 TV's just fine, even though Microsoft suggests allocating 1 CPU core per TV connected to the system. It rarely goes over 75% utilization having all 5 TV's running different things.

Why on earth would anyone get (or recommend) an atom especially if you are building your own?
post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Why on earth would anyone get (or recommend) an atom especially if you are building your own?

Not only that, but an Atom, an Athlon, and a Phenom X4, when there are Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge, and Llano's available?

Why on earth indeed.
post #26 of 28
Thread Starter 
Hey guys,

thanks to all your advice and a bit of internet scouting the build is coming on nicely, taking my time with things to get good prices and waiting for my birthday for some of the parts! One last thing that has occured to me is overall power consumption of the pc.

The build I've got in mind is as follows:
CPU: Intel i3-2120T 2.60 GHz
Motherboard: Asrock H67M-ITX
Memory: G-Skill DDR3 PC12800 1600MHz 4GB
Graphics Card: PNY GeForce 430 Graphic Card - 1GB
SSD: Samsung 830 128GB
Bluray Drive: Sony BC-5640H-03 Slim BD Combo Slot Loading

I still haven't decided on a case yet but I really need to know what PSU I would need, I'm really trying to keep the wattage down as I expect the PC will be on for large periods of the day, if not all the time.

All advice welcome!
post #27 of 28
Thread Starter 
Also something not directly related to the build but still vital. I currently have a 2TB HDD with all of my media on it; films, tv, music etc. The drive itself was ripped out of a bricked NAS I had and reformatted and has been fine inside my current PC. I would like to get myself a new NAS, something I can run in RAID to back up the hard drive and data. What would you guys suggest as a reliable NAS drive, in both 2 bay and 4 bay format? Or would you suggest another route other than a NAS?

Thanks again.
post #28 of 28
Thread Starter 
bump!
if anyone could help me.with regards to the previous two comments that would be great.
thanks
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