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Basic $500 HTPC? What would you recommend for hardware?

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 
I've been pondering a basic HTPC build for the living room. This would be my first PC build. This unit would be used for light movie watching, Media Browser, XBMC, etc. Since its only connected to a 55" plasma hard core up conversion like MadVR power is really not necessary but if possible thats great too.

Ive looked at the new haswell socket stuff and that looks to be the best bet. Assassin's guide doesn't have anything up for Haswell yet so I was hoping you guys might steer me towards the best values.

Here are some of the hardware features I want in this build:

  • SSHD for OS
  • BR Player and Burner
  • At least 2TB HD
  • Windows 7 OS
  • Server type horizontal case
  • Big enough case to hold 4 hard Drives(mother board should accomodate 4HDDs too)

The rest is wide open, I really intend to use this unit lightly and later build a heavier one for the theater that can do all the heavy lifting stuff like intense up conversion and processor intensive stuff.
post #2 of 50
Asrock H series motherboard + Haswell G3220 CPU (i3 if you want 3D) + Gskill 8GB Ram (1866mhz) + Samsung 128GB SSD + Seagate 4TB HDD + Silverstone Case (you pick form factor) + Quality PSU

For PSU I like Rosewill, Seasonic, or Seasonic/Superflower OEM's (MKIII, Antec Neo, Certain Corsair models, certain Rosewill models etc)

You want a 350 watt PSU, no more than 450/500 watts for sure.

Cost breakdown:

AsRock Socket 1150 Mobo with HDMI ($80)
Haswell G3220 ($65) [superbiz has sale for $59 with a code but shipping brings close to Newegg price]
Gskill Ram $60
Samsung SSD $89
Seagate 4TB $140
Silverstone Case $59-$139 [Milo3 is $59 but would lack enough HDD's for you, probably a Grandia series is what you want]
PSU $50
Any BR drive

You can get something like this for about $500 if you catch a couple good deals.

Really nice HTPC for $500 budget (IMO)
post #3 of 50
You might be closer to $600 mad.gif If you must buy windows
post #4 of 50


Sorry man, I busted your budget. Here's a decent Haswell build that will do everything you asked. You could always look to ebay or stretch your budget a bit. I'm not good at recommending cheap stuff, this will be a nice rig.



Case: Fractal Node 605 -- $165

CPU: Intel G3220 Dual Core -- $70

Mobo: Asrock H87m Pro4 -- $80

PSU: Silverstone SFX 300 W -- $50

RAM: 4gb Gskill eco series -- $40

SSD: Corsair Force 60GB -- $50

HDD: Seagate Barricuda 3 TB -- $120

BD-Rom: LG Slim BR Drive -- $70

GPU: Sapphire 6570 -- $40


Total: $685

*You could always go cheaper on your case, I'm not sure if you'll have it hidden away somewhere or not. This one is a looker though.
Edited by emcdade - 10/15/13 at 2:43pm
post #5 of 50
Why you add a 6570? No need also get cheaper case will get you closer to $600 at least
post #6 of 50
Thread Starter 
Its all good guys I figured we would break the budget....

Question: Is 60 Gb SSD enough? What would i want to put there besides the OS?
post #7 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by NicksHitachi View Post

Its all good guys I figured we would break the budget....

Question: Is 60 Gb SSD enough? What would i want to put there besides the OS?

60 should be ok. 80 would be a little more breathing room. You just want Windows and your apps loaded on there. I just checked my SSD and I'm using 28 GB with plenty of apps installed.
post #8 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdmag00 View Post

Why you add a 6570? No need also get cheaper case will get you closer to $600 at least

I think he'll get a better experience with an AMD gpu to be honest. He did say Madvr would be nice, and 6570 is a good budget card for that. 7750 would be better for an extra $50.

No surprise AVS member suggesting the integrated Intel gpu and cheap case, typical. I'd be much happier with a real gpu and nice case for a few extra bucks.
post #9 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by emcdade View Post

No surprise AVS member suggesting the integrated Intel gpu and cheap case, typical. I'd be much happier with a real gpu and nice case for a few extra bucks.
$165 is ridiculous for a case, but that's just my opinion. I wouldn't spend more than $50-70, but then again I'm cheap.
post #10 of 50
That Fractal is very sleek looking! I myself use a Silverstone Grandia GD08.........has plenty of room for expansion and looks like it belongs in an equipment stand (if you need to show it).

Toys
post #11 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by NicksHitachi View Post

Its all good guys I figured we would break the budget....

Question: Is 60 Gb SSD enough? What would i want to put there besides the OS?

I prefer 128 GB as often 60gb is not enough ( it can be enough but it never seems to work out that way for me in the long run)

The cost difference today in price difference is now smaller so twice the capacity does not cost twice the price making the 128 GB the better value.

You can get under $100 SSD that are 120 or 128gb. That's my suggestion. Samsung and OCZ routinely pop up on sale.
post #12 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by emcdade View Post

60 should be ok. 80 would be a little more breathing room. You just want Windows and your apps loaded on there. I just checked my SSD and I'm using 28 GB with plenty of apps installed.

I have 24gb free (of 128)

Keep in mind bigger SSD is both faster and more reliable too biggrin.gif
post #13 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by StinDaWg View Post

$165 is ridiculous for a case, but that's just my opinion. I wouldn't spend more than $50-70, but then again I'm cheap.

Cases are a very subjective thing that's mostly looks and personal opinion so I rarely push a certain case.

I agree its pricey , which is why I thought Silverstone (I've always had good luck with these)
post #14 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by emcdade View Post

I think he'll get a better experience with an AMD gpu to be honest. He did say Madvr would be nice, and 6570 is a good budget card for that. 7750 would be better for an extra $50.

No surprise AVS member suggesting the integrated Intel gpu and cheap case, typical. I'd be much happier with a real gpu and nice case for a few extra bucks.

I use a Radeon myself so no hate from me . I just think Nick is better off going all out in areas up front like ram, CPU, SSD. He can come in near budget and adding a card in future is easy (if that's something he wants to do)

Saving the GPU purchase for future is a solid strategy and he was not 100% in MADVR so I'm not sure he even needs it.

If I was going to get a GPU I would step up to a $99 7790 card. biggrin.gif

That's a nice future upgrade IMO.
post #15 of 50
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=20-227-966&nm_mc=EMC-GD101613&cm_mmc=EMC-GD101613-_-index-_-Item-_-20-227-966&

$78 SSD biggrin.gif

Digital rebate too. You can fill it out online and they just mail you a ATM card.
post #16 of 50
Thread Starter 
Awesome information guys.

I'm learning a lot here.... I had anticipated on cutting the cord eventually and using this machine to help with that. In looking at the hardware choices its very easy to get caught up in the "just a few more dollars" and pretty soon the budget is just a memory. eek.gif

I think the machine that would serve me best is outlined below. Unfortunately this is waaay above budget so I'll prob have to save some more before pulling the trigger. Please look over the parts list and see if anything stands out as a incompatible or just bad choices......

Now I just gotta find another 5bills to rub with the initial 5.... tongue.gif




post #17 of 50
My only concern is that you chose a RAM kit that is unsupported (1866). If you are going with a "H" series motherboard, you can't overclock the RAM.
You can get a 1600 kit usually for less money.

Either go with a "Z" series Mobo if you intend to Overclock, or go with the correct RAM.
post #18 of 50
Thread Starter 
I wasn't even aware of the difference...

So would I want to overclock this type machine? I'm not gaming on it. Would normal HTPC stuff require overclocking?

Also, Is there any advantage to two sticks of 4GB ram over a single stick of 8GB? The single stick seems like a better option since it takes up fewer slots and they can be later filled......

Assuming im not overclocking, how about these memory choices:

G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL


AMD Radeon 8GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model AE38G1609U2
post #19 of 50
Quote:
So would I want to overclock this type machine? I'm not gaming on it. Would normal HTPC stuff require overclocking?

Based on what you have stated so far as the intended purpose of the HTPC, No.

I tend to lean toward a dual channel kit rather than a single stick of RAM. so, +1 for the GSkill kit.

You might be able to get by with a 4GB kit (2x2GB) as opposed to 8GB (2x4GB).

Look for kits with lower latency (CAS). On 1600, look for 9 and less. Generally, the lower the better.
Edited by wiley165 - 10/16/13 at 8:40am
post #20 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by wiley165 View Post

My only concern is that you chose a RAM kit that is unsupported (1866). If you are going with a "H" series motherboard, you can't overclock the RAM.
You can get a 1600 kit usually for less money.

Either go with a "Z" series Mobo if you intend to Overclock, or go with the correct RAM.

True that Z series mobo is better for high memory clock speed or overclocking. +1 there.

On the matter of RAM it is not so simple. There is many factors to consider. First is price, then capacity, also CAS LATENCY, and speed all make differences. Often you can get 1866mhz for basically the same price as 1333mhz- the difference being you can run 1866mhz with CL8 or lower and it's actually better/faster. 8GB you want for sure if you are going with iGPU as your GPU will compete for RAM. Second you want two sticks (DUAL CHANNEL) Third and 4th would be CAS L and speed.

HERE IS THE ORDER OF IMPORTANCE:

1. Amount of memory

2. Number of sticks of memory

3. Placement of those sticks in the motherboard

4. The MHz of the memory

5. If XMP/AMP is enabled

6. The subtimings of the memory

http://www.anandtech.com/show/7364/memory-scaling-on-haswell
post #21 of 50
If you are cutting the cord why spend $115 on a tuner card ?
post #22 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

If you are cutting the cord why spend $115 on a tuner card ?

I was going to use it to DVR OTA digital broadcasting.....

It can do that right?
post #23 of 50
Yup you could do that. I bought a $10 card on ebay that does that though ( no cable card and OTA only )
post #24 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toys7505 View Post

That Fractal is very sleek looking! I myself use a Silverstone Grandia GD08.........has plenty of room for expansion and looks like it belongs in an equipment stand (if you need to show it).

Toys

I really like the looks of the Fractal, and looked at it - it has limited drive configuration options. If the case works for the setup that you want, it is pretty neat. I remember it is quite shallow - which was a requirement for me. I would say the Silverstone's are the default case that I would suggest for HTPC builds. Solid design and reasonable prices.
post #25 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by wiley165 View Post

My only concern is that you chose a RAM kit that is unsupported (1866). If you are going with a "H" series motherboard, you can't overclock the RAM.
You can get a 1600 kit usually for less money.

Either go with a "Z" series Mobo if you intend to Overclock, or go with the correct RAM.

90+% chance the ram will still work, just at lower timings. Funny, I haven't checked in this specific case, but faster memory is sometimes cheaper these days.
post #26 of 50
Yup. Depending on the sales you can get 1866 (sweet spot in value and performance) cheaper than 1600 or 1333 in many cases
post #27 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by emcdade View Post


60 should be ok. 80 would be a little more breathing room. You just want Windows and your apps loaded on there. I just checked my SSD and I'm using 28 GB with plenty of apps installed.

Its probably big enough but the sweet spot price to gig right now is 128Gig

 

I have good luck with 4gigs of ram.

post #28 of 50
If you're trying to stick close(ish) to you budget I ran up something pretty similar to what I have for you.

$625 including the OS (and before any kind of bundle pricing... double check Micro Center for some of this stuff if you have one nearby)

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/1QLGl

CPU: AMD A10-5800K 3.8GHz Quad-Core Processor$109.99
Motherboard: MSI FM2-A75MA-P33 Micro ATX FM2 Motherboard$54.98
Memory: G.Skill Sniper Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory$73.98
Storage: Sandisk Ultra Plus 64GB 2.5" Solid State Disk$64.99&Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive$89.98
Case: Silverstone ML03B HTPC Case$59.99
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply$49.99
Optical Drive: Asus BW-12B1ST/BLK/G/AS Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer$78.99

Just a few notes/opinions... The AMD APU's are a pretty fantastic bang for your buck these days. I've done two very similar builds using an A10 and an A6 and both performed without a hitch with uncompressed MKV rips using XBMC. (And certainly no need to overclock.)

I picked a case that is reasonably easy to work in and has a great 'component style' form factor but will not allow the quantity of drives you're talking about. My suggestion would be to separate those into an independent NAS down the road

60GB for a boot drive is plenty! I'm only about half full with my Win8 install and a handfull of applications. My games and whatnot go on the secondary HDD.

For reference I've got almost the exact build listed here and it works really well for the kinds of things you're asking for. I've even used mine for some light gaming and it's handled things better than I'd expect (like playing Arkham City at 40+ fps on medium settings). That being said if I'm looking to play the latest games at 60+ fps on ultra settings I go into my office and use my desktop outfitted withan OCed i7 3770k coupled with 16GB or RAM and a GTX770.
post #29 of 50
Yes,
Disable hibernation with an SSD. They boot so quickly - and it saves space.
post #30 of 50
Thread Starter 
OK, finally ready to put this together. Some minor changes due to price changes at Newegg. Somebody please go over the hardware and make sure I'm not missing anything and that all this will work well together.

Also, what about cables? Will I need to order any? I hope they come with the hardware but IDK this really is my first go at building a PC. I have installed RAM and replaced hard drives before but thats about it!!!biggrin.gif






The cart is loaded I just need a final OK before I click the checkout button......
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