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HTPC Suggested Build - Page 2

post #31 of 66
Thread Starter 
Sorry, I have been out of pocket for a while. Still trying to sort out a good build. I am also buying a TV for a room, so research time is swamped.

Anyway just a few questions:

1. Would a 7850 card work better than 650ti?
Like this: http://www.amazon.com/Gigabyte-mini-Displayport-PCI-Express-Graphic-GV-R785OC-2GD/dp/B007PJTNYS/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1354034009&sr=1-1&keywords=Radeon+HD+7850

2. Is the 550 W supply enought for my build or would 650 be better?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817151088

3. How about this cooler since I can't find big Shuriken?
COOLER MASTER GeminII M4 RR-GMM4-16PK-R2 120mm
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103177

Build So Far:

MotherBoard:ASROCK Z77 Extreme 4
CPU: i5 3570k
PSU:Seasonic G-Series Gold 550W
CASE:nMediaPC 6000B
Memory:G.Skill Sniper 1600 16GB F3-1600C9D-16GSR
OS Drive:Samsung 840 120GB
CPU Cooler:COOLER MASTER GeminII M4 RR-GMM4-16PK-R2 120mm
Optical Drive:LG Black Model UH12NS29 - OEM
Storage 1:WD 3TB WD30EZRX

I haven't ordered parts yet, so there is still time to make adjustments. The before video card price is around $850 shipped. If you see any savings, please let me know.

I am attempting a HTPC/Server all in one with some gaming in the future.

Thank you.
post #32 of 66
If your not overclocking and using a video card... why get aftermarket CPU cooler?

CPU should not get used that hard...
post #33 of 66
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

If your not overclocking and using a video card... why get aftermarket CPU cooler?
CPU should not get used that hard...

I was following Renethx's advice in post #2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

If you wan an all-in-one system, GD08, 3550K, a better cooler, Z77 mb with at least 8 SATA ports, DDR3-1866 4GB x 2, Vertex 4 128GB, a bunch of 3TB HDDs (e.g WD30EZRX), Seasonic G-Series Gold (550W is enough), with a gaming graphics card (depending on your requirements; GTX 650 Ti 2GB GDDR5 or higher, for example, if you are considering CUDA).


BTW, I read another of your posts about an i3 vs i5. Have you found much difference yet?
post #34 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by JustTryin View Post

I was following Renethx's advice in post #2.
BTW, I read another of your posts about an i3 vs i5. Have you found much difference yet?

If you were going to be doing "Some Gaming" it's typically the same price to just purchase a major console of your liking since you can typically find a PS3, Wii, or X360 for $200 or less and a high end graphics card will cost about the same. PC Gaming hasn't have a ton of revenue for a long while, so most dev houses just put high priority on the X360 games then do crap-ports over to PS3 and then PC. In the end you are only going to have access to a handful of games that really push high-end gaming hardware, and a whole bunch of games that don't really look any better than they do on your friends' xbox. It's also a lot of fun to play split screen multiplayers, and this is something I've only been able to replicate on the PC with emulator games. It's a sinch with consoles

If "some gaming" referred to retro emultors then no graphics card necessary. I run N64, PS1, SNES, and Genesis emulators just fine with Intel HD 3000 graphics

Without the gaming mention, I doubt Rene would've recommended the 1866 ram or the i5
post #35 of 66
Thread Starter 
I have a PS3. I had actually heard that PC games have better graphics, more add ons, and are less expensive than the console. That is the only reason I considered the GPU.

Edited:

I also was considering the i5 because of better quality in transcoding/encoding bluray rips, and serving other tvs.

I may be way off on alot of assumptions. Please correct me.
post #36 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by JustTryin View Post

I have a PS3. I had actually heard that PC games have better graphics, more add ons, and are less expensive than the console. That is the only reason I considered the GPU.
Edited:
I also was considering the i5 because of better quality in transcoding/encoding bluray rips, and serving other tvs.
I may be way off on alot of assumptions. Please correct me.

Games
  • Sometimes cheaper (never at release day), but not as many used available so kind of a wash
  • Sometimes have better graphics than console counterparts (i.e. Assassin's Creed, Skyrim)
  • Sometimes claim to have better graphics but really aren't noticeably different (i.e. Mirror's Edge, Call of Duty)
  • Don't know about addons, but they definitely have more hacks if that annoys you in multiplayer

Serving other TVs
-serving is super light duty on modern processors
-the lowest end celeron can handle a house full of computers

Transcoding
-I've used a core2 e8400 to transcode full blu ray rips to a remote windows machine running Plex
-Assassin has posted some results of using a g630 for the same task
-An i3 would be fine
-An i5 would be fine, but unnecessary

Encoding
-Higher spec processor will speed up your time, but I don't have any good comparisons on it
post #37 of 66
Completely wrong. Consoles are rubbish:

- DVD res upscaled to 720 or 1080
- No DirectX 11, no tessellation, no SSAO or HBAO, no destructible environments, nothing modern, only pre-historic DirectX 9 (screwing up PC gaming in the process).
- No AA or AF
- No mods
- Laughable draw distance
- Overuse of bloom to smear the lack of AA
- Doesn't do 60FPS
- Cut down textures
- Cut down shadows
- Cut down every single thing

All of that is the result of a 7yr old GPU and not even 1GB of RAM. The difference is huge. Still want a console?

What about a NAS drive and then a HTPC? That would work out slightly cheaper, and be easy to use and maintain.
post #38 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiddles88 View Post

Completely wrong. Consoles are rubbish

Typical computer user
  • Can only understand specs
  • Hasn't really played different environments and compared for themselves
  • Reads this stuff from enthusiast computer gamer forums
post #39 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post

Typical computer user
  • Can only understand specs
  • Hasn't really played different environments and compared for themselves
  • Reads this stuff from enthusiast computer gamer forums

My speakers cost more than your rubbish console. I won't even get into my 680 and i7. You simply are stuck with poor quality console junk. As for enthusiast forums, I AM an enthusiast otherwise I wouldn't be listing specs you don't have a clue about.
post #40 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiddles88 View Post

My speakers cost more than your rubbish console. I won't even get into my 680 and i7. You simply are stuck with poor quality console junk. As for enthusiast forums, I AM an enthusiast otherwise I wouldn't be listing specs you don't have a clue about.

Right ? It seems that most people don't find it worthwhile to pay $1000+ so they can max out anti-aliasing and destroy the environment on the FEW non-port releases each year. Over 90% of the time you wind up with hardware in search of good software

Others like split screen multiplayer and the annoyingly popular kinect/wii games when entertaining guests and young kids
post #41 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post

Right ? It seems that most people don't find it worthwhile to pay $1000+ so they can max out anti-aliasing and destroy the environment on the FEW non-port releases each year. Over 90% of the time you wind up with hardware in search of good software
Others like split screen multiplayer and the annoyingly popular kinect/wii games when entertaining guests and young kids

You clearly don't understand. Its not just AA/AF. Its the textures, the shadows, PhysX, the mods and the overall better quality of every single game on PC. Even a cheap console port is better on PC than console.
post #42 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiddles88 View Post

My speakers cost more than your rubbish console. I won't even get into my 680 and i7. You simply are stuck with poor quality console junk. As for enthusiast forums, I AM an enthusiast otherwise I wouldn't be listing specs you don't have a clue about.

In a home theater-related forum, is it really supposed to be impressive that you have speakers that cost more than an XBox? I would wager that most of us do...

Is it just me, or are posts devolving into pissing matches a lot more lately?
post #43 of 66


I don't know anything about AA/AF, or "tessilation" (did you make that up?) but I play games on a console and I'm completely satisfied with the graphics.

P.S. My speakers cost more than an Xbox too.
post #44 of 66
Don't get me wrong I have an EVO cooler in my PC. It's great air cooling for the $$$

Just if your not overclocking or running it hard you can get away with stock cooler.

I never burnt out a CPU in 10 years of overclocking. Just my .02cents
post #45 of 66
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post

If you were going to be doing "Some Gaming" it's typically the same price to just purchase a major console of your liking since you can typically find a PS3, Wii, or X360 for $200 or less and a high end graphics card will cost about the same. PC Gaming hasn't have a ton of revenue for a long while, so most dev houses just put high priority on the X360 games then do crap-ports over to PS3 and then PC. In the end you are only going to have access to a handful of games that really push high-end gaming hardware, and a whole bunch of games that don't really look any better than they do on your friends' xbox. It's also a lot of fun to play split screen multiplayers, and this is something I've only been able to replicate on the PC with emulator games. It's a sinch with consoles
If "some gaming" referred to retro emultors then no graphics card necessary. I run N64, PS1, SNES, and Genesis emulators just fine with Intel HD 3000 graphics
Without the gaming mention, I doubt Rene would've recommended the 1866 ram or the i5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

Don't get me wrong I have an EVO cooler in my PC. It's great air cooling for the $$$
Just if your not overclocking or running it hard you can get away with stock cooler.
I never burnt out a CPU in 10 years of overclocking. Just my .02cents

So, let me restate what my goals are because it sounds like I may be going overboard.

I want to be able to
1. Storage – stream blu-ray quality rips
2. Encode – I could continue this from my laptop (i7-2620M, Radeon 6450), but is there any way to offload this somewhere else without breaking the bank? (Hopefully to this machine.)
3. HTPC – running Media Browser, XBMC, or I am researching JRiver.
4. Some light gaming.

So main questions are:

1. i3 3220 ($110) or i3 3225 ($120) or i5 3570k ($170).
2. 550W or 650W PSU.
3. 16GB Ram or 8GB.
4. Stock cooler or after market.
5. Video Card or integrated graphics.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiddles88 View Post

Completely wrong. Consoles are rubbish:
- DVD res upscaled to 720 or 1080
- No DirectX 11, no tessellation, no SSAO or HBAO, no destructible environments, nothing modern, only pre-historic DirectX 9 (screwing up PC gaming in the process).
- No AA or AF
- No mods
- Laughable draw distance
- Overuse of bloom to smear the lack of AA
- Doesn't do 60FPS
- Cut down textures
- Cut down shadows
- Cut down every single thing
All of that is the result of a 7yr old GPU and not even 1GB of RAM. The difference is huge. Still want a console?
What about a NAS drive and then a HTPC? That would work out slightly cheaper, and be easy to use and maintain.

I would only purchase a game if it was on sale. I sometimes see PC games for much cheaper than even used consoles. PS3 is fine if I can find it too. Easier for my kids to use.
The reason I do not like a NAS is that I have one now, and it is maxed out. Granted, it is small, but a NAS that could hold 4 drives would be more expensive than a server, and I wouldn't have much control over it. It is a good option, but NAS devices seem a little more expensive than their worth.
post #46 of 66
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by halfordb View Post

In a home theater-related forum, is it really supposed to be impressive that you have speakers that cost more than an XBox? I would wager that most of us do...
Is it just me, or are posts devolving into pissing matches a lot more lately?

Sorry, I may have asked for this.

I am more of a typical user. I love looking through these forums and getting expert and enthusiast opinions. However, I do not think I would spend a fortune on things like speakers when low level speakers like Polk Monitors satisfy myself and my guests. And that is why I am trying to save money on this build. Everyone's opinion is very much appreciated, and I thank you for the help.
post #47 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dropkick Murphy View Post


I don't know anything about AA/AF, or "tessilation" (did you make that up?) but I play games on a console and I'm completely satisfied with the graphics.
P.S. My speakers cost more than an Xbox too.

Average speaker set on AVS user is probably 5 times more than a trashy console.

I own Xbox360 and never use it. That costs me $299. I am sure it like $99 now.

My PC is probably near $5000.

My speaker system too.

A few hundred bucks on speakers is crappy speakers. A good sub alone is more than a console cost.

Consoles are cheaper than AVR, HTPC's and most other units too.
post #48 of 66
So, let me restate what my goals are because it sounds like I may be going overboard.
I want to be able to
1. Storage – stream blu-ray quality rips All you need is cheap big HDD's
2. Encode – I could continue this from my laptop (i7-2620M, Radeon 6450), but is there any way to offload this somewhere else without breaking the bank? (Hopefully to this machine.) i5 better for encoding
3. HTPC – running Media Browser, XBMC, or I am researching JRiver. Any can do that no problems
4. Some light gaming. Then you don't need a video card yet
So main questions are:
1. i3 3220 ($110) or i3 3225 ($120) or i5 3570k ($170). i5 because it's worth $40 more
2. 550W or 650W PSU. 550 watt is enough
3. 16GB Ram or 8GB. 8GB is fine
4. Stock cooler or after market. Stock cooler is fine on a budget with no overclocking
5. Video Card or integrated graphics. Integrated graphics. You can add a card if you buy or play a game that doesnt work well. I would wait till you need it before you buy it,


i5 $169
Z77 Mobo $99
500+ PSU $40-60
8GB DDR3 $35
Stock cooler
Stock intergrated CPU.


I just saved you hundreds. It will work fine.

I have a Z77 Asrock0+ 3570 and 8GB DDR3.

I also own a i7 + Dual 6870 X2 XFX cards with 16GB DDR and overclocked with EVO CPU COOLER. Unless your doing heavy gaming or encoding there is not much difference otherwise. It's only on a heavy game or encoding that there is a difference.

As a HTPC with light gaming there is basically no difference at all.
post #49 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by JustTryin View Post

Sorry, I have been out of pocket for a while. Still trying to sort out a good build. I am also buying a TV for a room, so research time is swamped.
Anyway just a few questions:
1. Would a 7850 card work better than 650ti?
Like this: http://www.amazon.com/Gigabyte-mini-Displayport-PCI-Express-Graphic-GV-R785OC-2GD/dp/B007PJTNYS/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1354034009&sr=1-1&keywords=Radeon+HD+7850
2. Is the 550 W supply enought for my build or would 650 be better?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817151088
3. How about this cooler since I can't find big Shuriken?
COOLER MASTER GeminII M4 RR-GMM4-16PK-R2 120mm
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103177
Build So Far:
MotherBoard:ASROCK Z77 Extreme 4
CPU: i5 3570k
PSU:Seasonic G-Series Gold 550W
CASE:nMediaPC 6000B
Memory:G.Skill Sniper 1600 16GB F3-1600C9D-16GSR
OS Drive:Samsung 840 120GB
CPU Cooler:COOLER MASTER GeminII M4 RR-GMM4-16PK-R2 120mm
Optical Drive:LG Black Model UH12NS29 - OEM
Storage 1:WD 3TB WD30EZRX
I haven't ordered parts yet, so there is still time to make adjustments. The before video card price is around $850 shipped. If you see any savings, please let me know.
I am attempting a HTPC/Server all in one with some gaming in the future.
Thank you.

HD 7850 is more powerful than GTX 650 Ti (by ~20%). Make sure to choose a dual fan cooler. A single fan can't handle HD 7850 without loud noise.

550W is enough . Your system will never consume more than 250W. G-Series Gold is the best budget choice.

GeminII M4 is OK, but I recommend Geminii S instead, that is much better in performance / noise.
post #50 of 66
Thread Starter 
So based on recommendation:

MotherBoard:ASROCK Z77 Extreme 4 $105
CPU: i5 3570k $170
PSU:Seasonic G-Series Gold 550W $75
CASE:nMediaPC 6000B $72
Memory:G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1600 $25
OS Drive:Samsung 840 120GB $100
Optical Drive:LG Black Model UH12NS29 - OEM $35
Storage 1:WD 3TB WD30EZRX $150

Total : ~$750

Does that sound about right?
post #51 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

550 watt is enough
8GB is fine
Stock cooler is fine on a budget with no overclocking
Integrated graphics. You can add a card if you buy or play a game that doesnt work well. I would wait till you need it before you buy it

I'd echo these recommendations, but note a 550W PSU is a little too high. 400W would be plenty, and if you add several HDDs you may hit the magic 20% number of 80W for better efficiency. Your not going to get that system to 110W without a graphics card, so you'd always be losing some efficiency there

You can add a graphics card later, and you can try out a lot of the games on the HD4000 if you go with the 3570k. The cards get cheaper the longer you wait smile.gif
post #52 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by JustTryin View Post

So based on recommendation:
MotherBoard:ASROCK Z77 Extreme 4 $105
CPU: i5 3570k $170
PSU:Seasonic G-Series Gold 550W $75
CASE:nMediaPC 6000B $72
Memory:G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1600 $25
OS Drive:Samsung 840 120GB $100
Optical Drive:LG Black Model UH12NS29 - OEM $35
Storage 1:WD 3TB WD30EZRX $150
Total : ~$750
Does that sound about right?

If you have a nearby Microcenter or a competitor who will pricematch their ad (like Fry's) you can get the z77/i5 for about $50 less

ReneTHX, what's the reasoning behind the WD30EZRX? A Seagate 3TB ST3000DM001 has been found for less than $100 (Actually $90 a week ago). I'm sure you have a reason for recommending the WD, but is it just the longer warranty?
post #53 of 66
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post

If you have a nearby Microcenter or a competitor who will pricematch their ad (like Fry's) you can get the z77/i5 for about $50 less
ReneTHX, what's the reasoning behind the WD30EZRX? A Seagate 3TB ST3000DM001 has been found for less than $100 (Actually $90 a week ago). I'm sure you have a reason for recommending the WD, but is it just the longer warranty?

Unfortunately, the closest Fry's or MicroCenters are 4 hours away. mad.gif
post #54 of 66
Thread Starter 
Hate to open back up an old thread, but I wanted to let people (who may be searching) know what I did:

I decided to go with a mid tower case, the HAF 912. The case fans included are plenty to cool and they are pretty quiet. Also, I thought it was important to not have LED fans, because they may be distracting or a pain in a dark room.

I went with the ASrock Z77 Extreme4 and an I5 3570k. At Microcenter, on sale and a discount for buying both. Saved over $200 on this portion. (I know, it was 4 hours away, but the wife wanted to go on a shopping trip, and work paid for half, so I was happy.) This is overkill, but when I encode a blu-ray with Handbrake, well the speed helps, also the processor helps with the other functions as well. If this was a standalone HTPC (not acting as a server and encoding machine) I think an I3 would be fine.

I got a deal on a Rosewill Capstone 650W, so I went with that. A lot of overhead, but if I want to add a GPU and several HDD, the headroom will be there.

For an OS drive, I went with Samsung 128GB 840 series Got it for 79.99 on sale. Even with very few programs on it, I wish I had gone 256GB.

I bought 3TB WD retail version. OEM version is fine, but the retail version has extra warranty and was the same price at Microcenter.


I went with an ASUS Black Blu-ray Burner SATA BW-12B1ST/BLK/G/AS, when I bought it at Newegg, it was cheaper ($35) than standard readers, and it was not the OEM version. The only problem I have had has been a little noise from this drive when the disc spins up.

I went with the stock cooler and ram I listed earlier in the thread. I may add a fan controller to slow the fans since the machine is always on.

Ok, so why the mid tower. I am not hanging the connected TV on the wall. The TV sits on a piece of furniture, so it was easy enough to set the HTPC behind the TV and no one even knows it is there.

I installed Windows 7 Ultimate, and began moving movies and ripping them to the hard drive. The HTPC front end started out as MediaBrowser, but after no success with subtitles, I gave XBMC a try. That did the trick. I feel like the MediaBrowser setup is a little easier, but tweeking it becomes a pain. XBMC has better options in my opinion, but navigating to find every setting seems difficult, but it is a nice UI. My wife even wants me to start replacing the WDTV Live Pluses so she can use the interface in other rooms.

Other notes. I replaced my old Direct tv equipment (standard and HD) for a genie and a client. I kept the old HD DVR. They all see each other and it becomes one large list of programs. Pretty neat piece of equipment. The upgrade only requires one COAX run per box and only one box needs to be connected to the network. Interestingly enough, the speed at which the network communicates is much better now.

I also had an issue of network wiring. My electrician daisy chained the cat5e cable through the house. And of course, this won’t work for a network. So, I debated on how to accomplish a home network. If snaking wires trough 2 stories were easy, I would want one home run, one router and one switch for everything. But I ended up trying a switch at each video location. So my router feeds 3 switches, and this is fine. I haven’t had a network problem yet.

I am working on adding emulators and launchers to XBMC for my children so they can play games like Mario without digging out the old consoles.

I am also adding a launcher for Winamp so I can pipe music to the whole house audio, and movies to the TV at one time.

So that is my experience. Thanks to all who helped me out. Hopefully, this helps someone else out who is stumbling into the HTPC world.
post #55 of 66
Congrats! If you get a few minutes, show us what your front end looks like (XBMC)

Toys
post #56 of 66
Thread Starter 
I also wanted to add that I put all of my other components in side the furniture, and needed an IR Repeater system to get signal to them. The dual band Monoprice version $20, works like a charm and is easy to setup.

I also use a cheap mouse+keyboard from Logitech K400 $30 to control the HTPC. It is small enough not to be a problem and big enough for easy typing.
post #57 of 66
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toys7505 View Post

Congrats! If you get a few minutes, show us what your front end looks like (XBMC)

Toys

I will try to get some tonight if I get home in time. Thank you.
post #58 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by JustTryin View Post

My electrician daisy chained the cat5e cable through the house
double facepalm


Otherwise, looks like a nice setup. I also have an i5, but it's ridiculously under utilized. I like having one available. The other large screen is running openelec on an i3 (also ridiculously under utilized). Future screen additions might run on ARM boxes like the Pivos XIOS DS
post #59 of 66
I also have i5 3570k way under utilized in my HTPC ....
post #60 of 66
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toys7505 View Post

Congrats! If you get a few minutes, show us what your front end looks like (XBMC)

Toys

Sorry for the delays. I have been out of town. Still haven't added the emulation yet, but here are some screenshots. I am using Aeon Mq3.







What do you think?
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