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First off, a little background.


I am currently using Popcorn Hour boxes in several rooms to stream my media via ethernet on my home network from an always-on Windows 7 Pro PC. It is a 6 month old quad core AMD and I have been very happy with it.


I was next looking at the Boxee Box to replace my Popcorn Hour boxes. While I like the Popcorn Hour boxes (they play EVERYTHING I throw at them), the GUI, even with YAMJ and the Aeon skin is just not great. No animation whatsoever, so I was looking into the Boxee Box.


Now the Boxee Box appears to be a total failure. I have been running XBMC and Boxee on a MacBook Pro and the Windows 7 machine flawlessly. Absolutely love both, XBMC more though.


So I have been looking at Popcorn Hour box replacements/upgrades. My main use would be for streaming my own local media. Secondary use would be to play YouTube HD, and this would be very rarely, probably just for novelty.


The Zino 410 base model with the AMD P340 dual core w/ 4240 integrated graphics costs about $360 shipped. The other offerings, AsRock, Zotac, just seem too pricey for what I want.


But then I figured I could build one for cheaper, or at least i'm hoping to be able to. I just don't know where to begin.


I'd prefer a small form factor, or, if it's cheaper and it looks good, the same size case as a component like a DVR or my huge dinosaur HD-DVD player would be fine.


I don't need any HDD storage, since everything will be streamed to this new HTPC.


I'd like at a minimum, the AMD 5450 graphics card.


So I guess i'm not sure about the case, the mobo, the processor, or the power supply. I'm sure I could fill in the blanks for the memory and a cheap HDD for the OS.


Suggestions are welcomed.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by acribb /forum/post/19515601


So I guess i'm not sure about the case, the mobo, the processor, or the power supply. I'm sure I could fill in the blanks for the memory and a cheap HDD for the OS.


Suggestions are welcomed.

Here's what id set up.

ASUS M4A88T-I Deluxe AM3 AMD 880G USB 3.0 HDMI Mini ITX AMD Motherboard

SAPPHIRE 100292DDR3L Radeon HD 5450 1GB 64-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready Low Profile Ready Video Card

AMD Athlon II X2 240e Regor 2.8GHz Socket AM3 45W Dual-Core Desktop Processor AD240EHDGQBOX

Mushkin Enhanced Essentials 4GB (2 x 2GB) 204-Pin DDR3 SO-DIMM DDR3 1066 (PC3 8500) Dual Channel Kit Laptop Memory


Newegg Cost $316.96
 

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If you want cheap, it's best to go microATX as M-ITX motherboards carry a $50 price premium. Not really all that much if you're only building one PC but it adds up to quite a lot if building multiple rigs. It's a good thing you like XBMC because Windows 7 would eat up a third of your budget. You can just run XBMC Live and since you'll be using Linux, an NVIDIA card is preferred.


For a $350 all-inclusive XBMC HTPC, here's what I'd build:

Just add a $50 HDD of your choice. Hmm, not sure but I think XBMC can run from flash drive. Personally would have wanted ASUS or GIGABYTE for the mobo but the cheapest DDR3 ones I could find cost $80 for ASUS and $90 for GIGABYTE. Not really worth it trying to save money with a DDR2 mobo, since you'll be spending the savings on increased RAM cost.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovejedd /forum/post/19515884


If you want cheap, it's best to go microATX as M-ITX motherboards carry a $50 price premium. Not really all that much if you're only building one PC but it adds up to quite a lot if building multiple rigs. It's a good thing you like XBMC because Windows 7 would eat up a third of your budget. You can just run XBMC Live and since you'll be using Linux, an NVIDIA card is preferred.

I am a huge fan of XBMC live, but it should be noted it can't Bitstream HD audio (just 8 channel PCM). To get around this I rip my Blu Rays to mkv files with multichannel FLAC (which gives smaller sizes which is nice), but if you are used to a Popcorn Hour supporting that it might be an issue. XBMC only bitstreams HD Audio in Windows with the DS Player.


Also for XBMC Live an Nvidia card is pretty much needed (an AMD card is almost worthless) but maybe not a GT430. I have one and the current XBMC Live does not support it yet, so you have to do funky things like recompile alsa to get it to work. A GT220 card works out of the box and does everything a GT430 can do in Linux...
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by poofyhairguy /forum/post/19515910


Also for XBMC Live an Nvidia card is pretty much needed (an AMD card is almost worthless) but maybe not a GT430. I have one and the current XBMC Live does not support it yet, so you have to do funky things like recompile alsa to get it to work. A GT220 card works out of the box and does everything a GT430 can do in Linux...

Hmm, yeah, was wondering whether the GT 400 series was supported in Linux. Given the high prices for the GT 220, though, I figured might as well go with the newer card. It'll probably be supported sooner or later, anyway.
 

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Save $35 and go 2GB RAM. You won't be running photoshop on your HTPC, or watching movies on mute, listening to music, while browsing the internet, running dozens of torrents, with your DVD drive ripping and encoding movies, with skype up, and a dozen facebook apps and multiple chat windows.
 
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