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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been lurking here for a bit but finally signed up. The crowd here seems a lot more knowledgeable than thegreenbutton.com.


I've been toying with the idea of building an HTPC for the past couple of months and would like some advice on hardware selection. I'd like to be able to watch/record HDTV (Clear QAM), watch DVDs and Blu-Rays, and access my music/photos (stored on another machine).


I've built lots of systems for myself and family/friends over the years, but don't know much when it comes to HTPCs. I do know that hardware MPEG2, VC-1, and h.264 decoding is a must, but everything else is up in the air.


Here's what I've speced out so far. The key idea is saving money. Ideally, I'd like to keep it under $400 before shipping.


Case: InWin IW-BT553T.300L with included 300W power supply

Mobo: Intel BOXDG45ID, uATX, has HDMI and optical audio out

CPU: Intel E5200

RAM: 2x1GB DDR2 800

TV: Hauppauge HVR-1250

Optical: Lite-On BD-ROM w/ included PowerDVD

OS: Windows 7 Home Premium (will be RC until at least October)

Storage: 1 or 2 500GB SATA2 drives, which I already own

Input: Logitech RF wireless keyboard/mouse


Right now this prices out to around $375 on Newegg.


My main questions are

1. Will the remote included with the Hauppauge tuner work with media center?

2. Do I really need the E5200, or could I drop down to the Celeron E1500?

3. Do I need a keyboard/mouse after the initial setup?
 

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Yeah, stick with the E5200.


1. Can't answer

2. Do you have a microcenter near you? for the past 2 weeks, they will have 1 or 2 e5200's available here and there for $49.

3. Wireless mouse is a must imo to navigate and rip movies, etc..Keyboard here and there for internet browsing or for organizing my movie collection. It never hurts to have both at your disposal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomdahlberg /forum/post/17032836


A) invest the extra $20 and get a GeForce 9300 based board, superior to the X4500HD if you ask me


To answer your questions:


1) Yes

2) Stick with E5200

3) Probably

Thanks for the reply. What makes you say the 9300 is the better choice? This machine will be strictly for HTPC duties. I took a quick search around the web and the 9300 ran much hotter than the G45, which wouldn't be good for trying to build a quiet HTPC.


And, no Micro Centers close by. The closest one is outside of Philly, about 90 minutes with traffic.
 

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+1 on first reply. The X4500 won't get you as flawless a playback experience as you'll want. In terms of heat, it's hot but if you have a case with good airflow it's not a problem, at all. The E5200 is perfect for this sort of stuff and I would hesitate going lower than that. I'd worry about a PSU that comes with a case, they aren't high quality units, but as a stop gap it's certainly fine. That's a great build you have there, what ever mobo you choose you'll get plenty of support in their respective threads here. Good luck.


jason
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Any comments on the case choice? I've had good experiences with Inwin in the past, but there aren't any reviews on Newegg yet and the included power supply does not look like a standard ATX size.
 

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The PSU is not ATX, it's TFX-micro. Inwin sells the PSU by itself , and it has several reviews. It's not a common size, but it's not proprietary either. You should have no problem getting a replacement from Inwin or another manufacturer if it goes bad.


+2 for going with a 9300 board instead of the intel IGP. Intel's hardware decoding is shoddy at best. You should never buy an intel GPU unless video quality isn't even a consideration.
 

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To answer #3, you may want to get a nice wireless (bluetooth or 2.4ghz) mouse/keyboard. It may cost a bit extra, but it would really be worth it if you plan on using Internet or will be doing a lot of back-end setup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by candre23 /forum/post/17035154


The PSU is not ATX, it's TFX-micro. Inwin sells the PSU by itself , and it has several reviews. It's not a common size, but it's not proprietary either. You should have no problem getting a replacement from Inwin or another manufacturer if it goes bad.


+2 for going with a 9300 board instead of the intel IGP. Intel's hardware decoding is shoddy at best. You should never buy an intel GPU unless video quality isn't even a consideration.

Ah, good catch. I never thought of searching for just the power supply. It gets mainly good reviews so I think I'll stick with that case for now.


So all the people saying to spend the extra $20 for the 9300, is it an image quality difference, or simply a lower CPU usage difference? The heat really worries me, being in such a cramped case. I don't want my HTPC crashing.
 
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