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My new HTPC configuration .. inputs please

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hello guys,

I am trying to build my first HTPC and my friend recommended this forum and Thanks to him this forum helped me a lot.

My requirements:
- Able to watch premium cable channels
- Record shows and burn them to DVD
- download and watch movies
- play DVD/BD for now not 3D but may be in near future
- Fast start-up so that my wife doesn't complain about missing cable set top box(basically good system performance)
- Good HD video output
- Not a gamer for now
- and also not break the bank smile.gif

Parts I picked:
CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K Quad-Core Processor 3.5 GHz 6 MB Cache LGA 1155 - BX80637I73770K(339.99)
Motherboard: ASUS Deluxe Intel Z77 ATX DDR3 2600 LGA 1155 Motherboard P8Z77-V DELUXE(274.99)
RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16 GB (2x8GB) DDR3 1600MHz PC3 240 Pin DIMM Memory CMZ16GX3M2A1600?C10(89.99)
PSU: Antec CP-1000 1000 Watt CPX SLI CrossFire 80 PLUS Modular Power Supply(127.49)
SSD: OCZ Technology 256GB Vertex 4 Series SATA 6.0 GB/s 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive (SSD) With Industry's Highest 120K IOPS-VTX4-25SAT3-256?G(199.99)
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black 2 TB SATA III 7200 RPM 64 MB Cache Bulk/OEM Internal Desktop Hard Drive - WD2002FAEX(168.54)
Optical Drive:Lite-On 12x Internal Optical Blu-Ray BD DVD CD-R Writer Burner & 3D Playback Drive with Cyberlink BD Solution Software & Lights?cribe(119.99)
TV Tuner Card:Ceton InfiniTV 4 PCIe - 4-channel Internal Cable TV Tuner Card for CableCARD(199.99)
VGA:EVGA GeForce GTX680 SuperClocked 2048MB GDDR5, DVI, DVI-D, HDMI, DisplayPort, 4-way SLI Ready Graphics Card Graphics Cards 02G-P4-2682-KR(499.99)
Case looking for a 7inch display like Luxa2 LM200

and the cost came upto 2020.96 eek.gifeek.gif

I think this might be an over kill for my requirments and need your input and guidance to pick up right parts which satisfies my requirements.

Only reason I picked up PSU of 1000W is if I start adding other components that are power hungry, I don't have to rewire the whole system. Rest all I picked as they had good ratings and not sure if they are required for my needs.

I don't have a fixed budget but I would like to keep it around 1000 bucks.

Thanks for all you inputs.
post #2 of 16
You have picked some good components, but pretty much every listed is way overkill for your needs.
You won't need anything near a GTX680 or an i7-3770K, also you won't need more than 8GB of RAM, 1000W PSU is way more than you will need, and you could easily go with a decent 128GB/64GB SSD too.
I suggest having a look through Assassins beginner buying guide thread, or even look into his guides, getting something for you needs and under $1000 should be fine.
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thank you very much for your time and suggestions.

I am reading Assassin's beginner's guide and yes I will drop VGA and cut back on i7 and may be go with either i3 or i5.
If I am don't need a VGA and I go up to 4 more 1TB HDD; I guess I will go with 600W PSU. Does that work?

Any suggestions/comments on the motherboard I picked? It is kind of steep too. smile.gif

Thank you !!
post #4 of 16
Way overbuilt. Beyond any possible advantage or performance gain.

The fact you say "not a gamer" screams that you have WAY WAY WAY too much processor. Indeed, even if you were a hardcore gamer you don't need an i7. Since you want 3D capability, an i3-2100, 2105 or 2125 would work really well. And again, since you're not a gamer, you don't need a separate video card. The integrated gpu in the processor is fine. If you wait 2 week, the new Ivy Bridge i3 models should be out.

4GB of SDRAM is plenty, 8 is cheap enough to use but unecessary.

No reason at all for a $270 motherboard. You can do everything you want with a rock solid $85 Intel DH67BL or any number of nice $100 H77 motherboards.

People often tell me I'm nuts for recommending 128GB SSDs (and many use 64gb SSDs in their htpcs), but even for me 256GB is unecessary. All of your data and videos will go on the hard disk. Plus, OCZ may claim the Vertex 4 is the "fastest" and it may actually be the fastest on a very carefully selected set of data, but in the real world you will notice exactly ZERO difference among decent SSDs, and you would do extrememly well with a really good 120/128GB Samsung 830 or Plextor M3 or Intel 330, or Crucial M4 for under $100. Buy whichever of those is on sale that day.

And a 350-400W power supply should be what you're looking for. Want a good one? Get a SeaSonic S12II 380B. The ONLY possible thing you could add that would require more power would be a really serious gaming video card. It's not just a matter of wasting money. Too big isn't an advantage in power supplies. It just means it will opperate really inefficiently.

Even with the Ceton and a nice case, you ought to be able to build a really top notch high-quality-component system for under $1000.

I suggest reading Assassin's free hardware guide, and consider subscribing to his paid guides.
post #5 of 16
Holy sh!t. You How could you ever possibly use 1000W in an HTPC? Mine runs at about 60W full bore, simultaneously recording 2 programs while streaming 2 others to extenders. Aside from everything being about 3X more than you'll ever need, you can save $500 right of the bat by leaving out the video card and using the onboard video which is more than adequate for an HTPC. That Luxa case looks amazing, but why bother when it can be completely hidden and managed via remote desktop?

Here's my build, which works perfectly fine:

- Old PC sitting in a friend's closet for 4 years which he was going to throw away: free
- 128GB SSD for OS: $70
- 1TB HDD for recordings: $80
- Mini tower case: $25
- 2 channel Cable card Tuner: $80
- MCE remote dongle: $10
- ATI HD 6450 video card: $15

Total: $280

My goal was to be able to recoup most of my equipment costs in the first year (versus $20/month in cable DVR fees), which I met. The only reason I have an HTPC at all is to avoid cable/sat fees. Spending 2 grand on that endeavor totally defeats the purpose. Otherwise I may as well go back to satellite and have a much better DVR experience.

Also, disc playback and file streaming is a heck of a lot easier and better on a $100 blu-ray player since my PC is nowhere near my home theater.

Of course my build is pretty ghetto compared to yours, but it illustrates that you don't need much for HTPC purposes. You'll definitely have a killer system as you've spec'd it, but the end result won't be much different than a build at a fraction of that cost.

My 2 cents, literally.
Edited by mdavej - 8/29/12 at 3:21pm
post #6 of 16
As others have mentioned, you could EASILY build a system for less than $1K, and your suggested componnets are over kill.

For your spinner hard drives, prices are dropping, and it looks like some of the 1 TB drives are down to "pre flood" level
IE the Newegg special for $70. You probably don't need the Black WD. In my HTPC I don't see a difference between
WD Blue and Black.

I'll paraphrase something from Assassin's guide "Add drives as needed"
post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomandbeth View Post

For your spinner hard drives, prices are dropping, and it looks like some of the 1 TB drives are down to "pre flood" level
IE the Newegg special for $70. You probably don't need the Black WD. In my HTPC I don't see a difference between
WD Blue and Black.

Indeed, I think most people here use green drives for their video storage drives You don't need high speed hard disks to stream or record video.
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys .. after reading Assassin's guide I see how ridiculous my HTPC config is. I am in the process of rethinking and picking up my parts, this time I will be more realistic. I still might go with some 7" screen for the case because that will be my "sales pitch" for my wife to get a go ahead on working on this project. wink.gif
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
I am getting closer. Per Zon2020 's suggestion I will be waiting for i3 Ivybridge models but so far I picked these components.

CPU : Intel Core i5-3570K Quad-Core Processor 3.4 GHz 4 Core LGA 1155 - BX80637I53570K(229.99)
Motherboard : Gigabyte LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6 Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard GA-Z77M-D3H-MVP(114.99)
RAM : Corsair Vengeance 8 GB ( 2 x 4 GB ) DDR3 1600 MHz (PC3 12800) 240-Pin DDR3 Memory Kit(47.99)
PSU : Antec BP550 Plus 550W ATX12V V2.3 Modular Power Supply(55.24)
SSD : OCZ Technology 128GB Vertex 4 Series SATA 6.0 GB/s 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive (SSD) With Industry's Highest 120K IOPS And 5-Year Warranty - VTX4-25SAT3-128G(99.99)
HDD : Western Digital 2 TB WD Green SATA III Intellipower 64 MB Cache Bulk/OEM Desktop Hard Drive(114.99)
Optical Drive : LITE-ON 4x Blu-ray Disc SATA Internal Optical Drive iHOS104(69.99)
TV Tuner Card : Ceton InfiniTV 4 PCIe - 4-channel Internal Cable TV Tuner Card for CableCARD(199.99)

It is ~930 now smile.gif

Anymore suggestions to improve my configuration?

Thanks guys !!
post #10 of 16
Your post made me LOL. You stated pretty standard requirments and mentioned how you didnt want to break the bank, but then proceeded to list out top model components. biggrin.gif


All you really need is a G530-G620 ish cpu, 8gb ram for good measure since it's cheap (you can get by on 4), any ole motherboard with the ports you want (you dont need all the fancy overclocking or gimmicky stuff, a basic cheap board is fine), the integrated vid would be fine, and no need for a huge power supply either...then add to that a ceton infinitv4, drives (which a 60gb SSD for OS + standard HDD for DVR/Storage would be a good setup) ...something along those lines is all you need.
post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by windchase View Post

I am getting closer. Per Zon2020 's suggestion I will be waiting for i3 Ivybridge models but so far I picked these components.
CPU : Intel Core i5-3570K Quad-Core Processor 3.4 GHz 4 Core LGA 1155 - BX80637I53570K(229.99)
Motherboard : Gigabyte LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6 Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard GA-Z77M-D3H-MVP(114.99)
RAM : Corsair Vengeance 8 GB ( 2 x 4 GB ) DDR3 1600 MHz (PC3 12800) 240-Pin DDR3 Memory Kit(47.99)
PSU : Antec BP550 Plus 550W ATX12V V2.3 Modular Power Supply(55.24)
SSD : OCZ Technology 128GB Vertex 4 Series SATA 6.0 GB/s 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive (SSD) With Industry's Highest 120K IOPS And 5-Year Warranty - VTX4-25SAT3-128G(99.99)
HDD : Western Digital 2 TB WD Green SATA III Intellipower 64 MB Cache Bulk/OEM Desktop Hard Drive(114.99)
Optical Drive : LITE-ON 4x Blu-ray Disc SATA Internal Optical Drive iHOS104(69.99)
TV Tuner Card : Ceton InfiniTV 4 PCIe - 4-channel Internal Cable TV Tuner Card for CableCARD(199.99)
It is ~930 now smile.gif
Anymore suggestions to improve my configuration?
Thanks guys !!

As someone who for 25 years has always bought more pc than he actually needs, I understand the difficulty in scaling this back to where you really should be, but this is still too much. It's not just cost; if you overbuild you still have to cool it quietly, because unlike most other pcs you may have built or bought over the years, noise matters in an HTPC. So that becomes another major element to factor into your tradeoffs.

Really, if you think you need the HD4000 graphics, then wait two weeks and buy an i3-3225. That i5 is a fine processor (I have one in a desktop machine), but you really don't need it for your htpc. Three months ago when there was no other way to get HD4000, I would have said go for it, but not now when the 3225 is almost here.

The PSU is still too big.plus that Antec is made by Delta; not something I would choose. If you really think you need modular, get a PC Power and Cooling Silencer MK III 400W. It's made by Seasonic and is a very good power supply. This whole setup of yours could get by with about 200w. You really don't need anything close to 550w.
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by C17chief View Post

All you really need is a G530-G620 ish cpu,

He wants 3D; he needs at least an i3.
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

As someone who for 25 years has always bought more pc than he actually needs, I understand the difficulty in scaling this back to where you really should be, but this is still too much. It's not just cost; if you overbuild you still have to cool it quietly, because unlike most other pcs you may have built or bought over the years, noise matters in an HTPC. So that becomes another major element to factor into your tradeoffs.
Really, if you think you need the HD4000 graphics, then wait two weeks and buy an i3-3225. That i5 is a fine processor (I have one in a desktop machine), but you really don't need it for your htpc. Three months ago when there was no other way to get HD4000, I would have said go for it, but not now when the 3225 is almost here.
The PSU is still too big.plus that Antec is made by Delta; not something I would choose. If you really think you need modular, get a PC Power and Cooling Silencer MK III 400W. It's made by Seasonic and is a very good power supply. This whole setup of yours could get by with about 200w. You really don't need anything close to 550w.

Thanks for all your help Zon2020.. as I said in earlier post, based on your suggestion I will be waiting for the i3 ivy bridge model for HD4000; i5 was just a place holder for now in my xls.
Also from your earlier post I was in a dilemma to pick between 400W - 400+W PSU, but I thought if in future for better video rendering I had to put in a vga and/or an array of HDD and also if I am going with a 7" display HTPC case it should not kill the PSU and thought to give some wiggle room with 550W as the price is not a big difference. Is that going to add noise? if so I will rethink on cutting back on my PSU wattage or pick a quieter one.

Thank you!!
post #14 of 16
It's not the cost and it's not noise.

It's the efficiency curve of the PSU. These things work efficiently roughly from 25-75% of capacity. The reality is that power demands of cpus, motherboards, hard disks, and virtually everything else have dropped dramatically, while psu sizes have not. What we really need is some high quality 300w psus, while mfgs keep cranking out 750, 1000 and 1200w models. So if your system is only using 100w most of the time, a 550w psu won't be operating very efficiently most of the time. Even 400w ones are actually too big for most htpcs these days, but there just aren't many good choices below that so that's what most people use.

Other than high end gaming cards, single slot cards don't require more than 75w (just ignore what the graphics card makers say about it) and you'd have more than that excess. Hard disks are like 15-20w at spinup, which is their peak. The one thing I don't know about is video display.

I find it hard to believe that a 400w psu wouldn't be enough, but getting a 500 certainly isn't a disaster if you're more comfortable with it (although I'd still get a PC Power and Cooling Silencer MK III 500W if you want modular, or a SeaSonic S12II 520 if you don't.)
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks Zon2020 for time for explaining this in detail. I will go with your suggestion with PC Power and Cooling Silencer MK III 500W if I go with 7" LCD or else look at some modular 400W.

I was thinking of getting Moneual Lab MonCaso 972; but soundgraph.com fingervu looked interesting. Will be looking for the cases while I wait for the i3 ivy bridge processors.

Thanks again for all you inputs!!
post #16 of 16
A normal brightness 7in LCD should be no more than 5W. A high brightness LCD should be no more than 10W. Majority of the power is used in the backlight.
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