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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi folks,


I've built a few PCs, but this is my first HTPC project..


What I want is basically a DVD player on steriods. I want to be able to pop in a DVD and get as good or better playback as an upscaling DVD player. (on a Sony 52" KDL-52W3000)


I also want to be able rip and store movies on a harddrive and play any kind of divX, AVI, MKV files.


I want to be able to pull up news and weather...


I don't need to watch or record TV signal, I have a DVR from my cable provider that works fine for that.


AND.. I want to be able to upgrade it to a blueray player/burner in the future.


and.. drum roll.. I only want to spend $350.00 on it! When you are done laughing, please see what I have specked out and let me know what you think. I appreciate any feed back!


CASE: hec Black 0.7mm Thickness SECC 7K09 Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case

MOBO: GIGABYTE GA-MA78GM-S2H AM2+/AM2 AMD 780G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail


CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ Brisbane 2.3GHz Socket AM2 65W Dual-Core Processor Model ADO4400DOBOX - Retail


CPU Cooler: Rosewill RCX-Z1 Long life ball bearing for over 45,000/hrs CPU Cooler - Retail



RAM: Kingston 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory - Retail



HD: Western Digital Caviar SE WD1600AAJB 160GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache IDE Ultra ATA100 Hard Drive - OEM



DVD Player/Burner: Sony NEC Optiarc 20X DVD±R Burner Black IDE Model AD-7200A-0B - OEM


Remote: Microsoft A9O-00007 WinXP Media Center Infrared Remote Control



Price before tax and shipping: $343.92
 

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I'm not sure about pricing, but if I were you, and I was going to use a smaller case like that I would use SATA drives and I would use a 45w cpu instead just to try and produces less heat. Even those round ribbon cables take up room so using SATA drives will give you a cleaner build, better airflow and better performance. Just a thought.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by davdev /forum/post/14292947


Your not going to fit many movies on a 160GB drive.

Agreed....250GB should be your starting point but its wise to go with a bigger HDD the first time cos HT activities will fill your HDD up faster than a lion moving its tail!


Frag
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Great advice.. thank you!


With that info.. I could go with this HD: EXCELSTOR Jupiter Series ESJ9250S 250GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive


I'm not sure about that brand..


I think this is an interesting experiment and I really appreciate the feedback. Right or wrong, here is the way I am looking at this project:


Case: $50

Mobo: $90

CPU: $55

CPU Cooler: $20

HD: $50

RAM: $20

DVD: $25

Remote:$40


Total: $350.00
 

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Is there a reason why you're opting for a PATA drive instead of SATA? Also, will you be buying these from Newegg? For such a small case, SATA cables are much easier to work with than PATA (even those rounded ones). The hard drive you have listed is $54.54 ($45.99+$8.55 S&H), the 250GB SATA version is $54.99 w/free shipping, so I would highly suggest going for the bigger SATA.


I have the older Sony NEC Optiarc AD-7190A and it is loud. Not sure I'd want to use it for an HTPC - particularly one whose primary purpose is as a DVD player. Samsung drives have often been reviewed as being quiet so you might want to get that instead.

Western Digital Caviar SE WD2500AAJS 250GB - $54.99 w/free shipping
Samsung 20X DVD±R SH-S223F - $27.99 w/free shipping


Also, since you're already buying the box version of the CPU, I suggest you try the stock HSF first before you buy the Rosewill cooler. I'm using stock Intel HSF for a Celeron 430 inside an SFF case (3.9" width) and it's relatively quiet. At least, I couldn't hear it above the 80mm case fan.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jason32835 /forum/post/14293390


Great advice.. thank you!


With that info.. I could go with this HD: EXCELSTOR Jupiter Series ESJ9250S 250GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive


I'm not sure about that brand..


I think this is an interesting experiment and I really appreciate the feedback. Right or wrong, here is the way I am looking at this project:


Case: $50

Mobo: $90

CPU: $55

CPU Cooler: $20

HD: $50

RAM: $20

DVD: $25

Remote:$40


Total: $350.00

How many movies do you have, even a 250GB drive is incredibly small. I have 4 500GB drives and hold about 200 movies, though I still have a little room to grow.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by davdev /forum/post/14293611


How many movies do you have, even a 250GB drive is incredibly small. I have 4 500GB drives and hold about 200 movies, though I still have a little room to grow.

Agreed. I got a 320gb internal, and have about 100gb left after a week of building my HTPC. While I do plan to use external HD's, I wish I opted for the 1tb.
 

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If you have a Frys nearby, check that out.....I built my HTPC just last week and I ended up buying a PSU, HDD, RAM from Frys as it was cheaper and I didn't have to pay shipping plus Frys has in-store specials on components so its worth checking them out. On the RAM, I also got a $20 MIR from Frys so its definitely pays off.


Frag
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
No Frys near me (Orlando, FL). I think Compusa is the closest thing.


Great advice on the HD and dvd, I've already updated my wishlist. I didn't think the cpu came with a HSF for some reason. I'll take your advice and try that first, I can always add it later.


So that would give me an extra $20.00 for the HD..


Here is my updated system:

CASE: hec Black 0.7mm Thickness SECC 7K09 Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case
MOBO: GIGABYTE GA-MA78GM-S2H AM2+/AM2 AMD 780G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
CPU:AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ Brisbane 2.3GHz Socket AM2 65W Dual-Core Processor Model ADO4400DOBOX (Can't find a 45W in my budget)
HD:Western Digital Caviar SE WD5000AAJS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive
RAM:Kingston 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory Model KVR800D2N6/1G
DVD: SAMSUNG 22X DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S223F
Remote:Microsoft A9O-00007 WinXP Media Center Infrared Remote Control

Total cost: 356.93 before shipping..


Thank you for the feed back, I think I'm on to something here...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I was thinking about Linux, but I could use some advice there also. I really want it to be a very simple interface. (so my wife might even use it).


What I imagined was something that would boot very quickly into a simple menu screen. Options would include "play DVD", "Play movies on HD", "Surf the Web", "play Music"


I don't want to boot to an OS and then have to "run" the media front end..


I'm a total beginner with this part....
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jason32835 /forum/post/14293390


With that info.. I could go with this HD: EXCELSTOR Jupiter Series ESJ9250S 250GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

250gb is still small. You can catch 750gb drives for $99 on sale now, 500gb for around $80. Anything less isn't worth wasting case space on unless it's crazy-cheap. In all likelihood, within six months from now you'll say, "Darn, I wish I had at least gotten the 500gb."


edit: I see you did upgrade to 500gb in the last post. Alrighty then.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jason32835 /forum/post/14294386


I was thinking about Linux, but I could use some advice there also. I really want it to be a very simple interface. (so my wife might even use it).


What I imagined was something that would boot very quickly into a simple menu screen. Options would include "play DVD", "Play movies on HD", "Surf the Web", "play Music"


I don't want to boot to an OS and then have to "run" the media front end..


I'm a total beginner with this part....

Look into Myth. Better yet, check out the distributions like Mythdora and Mythbuntu, which are both Live CDs. You don't install anything. Just pop the CD in during bootup (making sure you tell your BIOS that you're booting from CD), and you got a fully functional front end. Play around with it, see if you like it. If you do, then install from the LiveCD. If you don't, toss it!


***Correction. Mythdora isn't a Live CD. KnoppMyth is though and is supposed to be pretty good as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Myth TV looks very interesting. It seems that a lot it's function is for TV playback and recording.. which I wont be doing. But I'll still play around with it to see if will do everything I want.. Play DVD, HD Files, Ect.


Thanks!
 

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Just in case you might have an extra $15 to work with, the Samsung F1 750GB is currently $99.99 (w/free shipping) after $20 off coupon (EMCAHBFCA) from Newegg. Just subscribe to the newsletter. That's the best price/GB ($0.13/GB) I've seen for hard drives.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by davdev /forum/post/14293611


How many movies do you have, even a 250GB drive is incredibly small. I have 4 500GB drives and hold about 200 movies, though I still have a little room to grow.

Of course, you could hanbrake everything to mp4 so a movie is 1.5-2gb.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Metric /forum/post/14297443


Of course, you could hanbrake everything to mp4 so a movie is 1.5-2gb.


That is of course if you want to wait three years for it to compress. At the price of storage, I'd rather keep everything in it's native format.


These days you can find 750GB HDDS for about $100.
 

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45W processors:

AMD Athlon X2 BE-2300 1.9GHz - $48.99

AMD Athlon X2 4050e 2.1GHz - $59.99

AMD Athlon X2 4450e 2.3GHz - $67.99


Those are all box/retail versions so they should come with HSF. The BE-2300 is certainly within your budget as it's even cheaper than the processor you listed. I just don't know if you'd want to sacrifice performance. The BE-2300 should be enough for decoding most 720p h.264 with just the CPU (CoreAVC). For Blu-ray/HD-DVD, the decoding would be done through hardware, anyway.
 
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