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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Below is a link to a public newegg list of components. I left the OS off because I may wait for awindows 8 to release.


I want this HTPC to be capable of playing: Star Wars: The Old Republic, TERA, Diablo III, Guild Wars 2 and ArcheAge to name a few on Medium settings. Must be under 4" height form factor case to fit my entertainment center and not be excessively loud. I will be watching movies, streaming and playing games on this computer. I want to get the price under $1,000 by February 2012 not including software.


This would be my first HTPC and I am seeking advice, suggestions, opinions anything else more experience would think to add or change. Thanks for taking the time to read thia. List is below.

https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/M...px?ID=12712294
 

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We cannot see your wish list...


However, if you are going to wait for Win8 to arrive, you should also wait to buy the hardware. New hardware will come around by then, better, faster stronger...and it will make the current hardware cheaper.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Agravaine /forum/post/20848690


I'd like to get an idea of what I want now, as you pointed out these components on my list will go down in price. Here is the list manually posted, my wishlist will not go public until reviewed.

Re waiting for Win8, that's pretty open ended, and NO recent 1st release Windows OS has been worth the aggravation, with the possible exception of Win7.


IMO (and recent experience) go with Win7/64 Pro.


And AVS has an active PC gaming forum named "HTPC Gaming" found at: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forumdisplay.php?f=145

Quote:
Originally Posted by Agravaine /forum/post/20848690


Case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811112186

It's a far better choice to go with a mid-tower that can take a full ATX mobo. Of Lian Li cases I like and have 2 of this PC-7FN Black Aluminum mid tower: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811112249


Another plus is that it is 8" wide and can take vertical 120mm cpu cooling fans, the best of which is Noctua NH-U12P SE2: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835608014


Newegg's current price of $70 isn't bad, but amazon 3rd party vendors sometimes offer it at $65.


It includes 2 of their excellent fluid dynamic bearing 120mm fans and 4 voltage reducing zener diode connectors for lower noise from the fans.


The key is that your flat case has a 70mm fan. Not a good choice for a multi purpose gaming case as it is guaranteed to not offer great cooling with low noise. For that you need 120 and 140mm fans. The Lian Li PC-7FN has a front 140 and rear 120.


BTW, before buying anything be sure to check amazon; there's more price variation there due to their use of 3rd party vendors.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Agravaine /forum/post/20848690


Motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813131764

Processor: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819103942

I like and use AMD; but for a gaming machine forget Llano and go with black edition Phenom II 955 at roughly $110, or less as AMD's CPU prices continue to drop in anticipation of release of their new Bulldozer CPU. The fact that the number of AM3+ mobos (offered on newegg) continues to increase says to me that AMD is going to survive.


My mobo preference is Gigabyte (I hate ASUS due to their piss poor support) and my one AM3+ mobo is this GIGABYTE GA-990XA-UD3 AM3+ at: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813128510


For $10 more you get e-SATA: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813128514


Spending $300 on a SSD is questionable.


The best 1TB 7200 hard drive (quiet and fast) for your boot drive is Samsung: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822152185


For a 2nd HDD 5900 get a Seagate green 2TB: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822148681
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
What I meant by that is that I probably will not buy an OS for this computer until Windows 8 or a stable enough beta of it releases as I believe it will have a better interface for an HTPC. In the meantime I am considering using Ubuntu Linux. Granted I will not be buying the parts for this computer until February, so this will be a tentative build/plan, giving me plenty of time to get my duckks in a row.


I considered posting this in HTPC gaming but it seemed from the description to be more geared toward game related HTPC topics rather than HTPC builds.


In regards to your case/ATX suggestion: I have a space that is 4.25"(h) x 19.5"(w) x 17"(d) in my entertainment center to work with. Right now I am stubbornly fixated on using the space for the PC.


120mm would be nice but I have yet to find a case that meets my h x w x d requirements that utilizes them. Thanks for the Amazon suggestion, I'll compare prices.


I plan on using the Llano APU in asymmetrical CrossFire and I have considered using a better processor instead, but I decided to do more research and get opinions before I make up my mind.


As for the SSD I will not be spending $300 on it, I assume in the next six months that SATA 6G/b SSD will go down in price, in fact I am counting on it, I'm aiming for $200 on the SSD. It is to my understanding one of the biggest bottlenecks in gaming and OS performance is the HDD, i plan on loading OS, applications and games on this drive and putting everything else on thr HDD. Thanks for the HDD suggesyion, I think I might use that one.
 

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It depends on what gaming you mean but if you mean modern ultra heavy graphics gaming then basically the difference between a normal htpc and a "gaming" one is a huge ass graphics card. You can beef up the processor a tad and the memory a bit but thats probably not much more you need to do in those areas.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Agravaine /forum/post/20849152


What I meant by that is that I probably will not buy an OS for this computer until Windows 8 or a stable enough beta of it releases as I believe it will have a better interface for an HTPC. In the meantime I am considering using Ubuntu Linux. Granted I will not be buying the parts for this computer until February, so this will be a tentative build/plan, giving me plenty of time to get my duckks in a row.

FWIW, I've vowed to never buy another Windows OS. I've 2 copies of Win7/64 and after this I'm done with M$. And waiting for Win8 to show up is way too open ended, and odds are large that the 1st release of it will be more problematic than Win7 which many consider to be an improved Vista follow-on.


And since you have interest in running Linux, you should focus on an Nvidia graphics card, as Radeon is not as well supported by Linux. Since you want a combo gaming/HTPC machine, go with an EVGA/Nvidia 560Ti as that has enough graphics power for most games and permits running at higher than bare minimum game graphic settings.


It's also very good that you're doing a long investigation of what to do for this HTPC/gaming PC. IMO too many show up on the AVS forums with "quick info needed so I can buy tonight" and off to the cleaners they go.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Agravaine /forum/post/20849152


I considered posting this in HTPC gaming but it seemed from the description to be more geared toward game related HTPC topics rather than HTPC builds.

Good ideas are where you find them. A thoughtful post there will get you a different perspective, and possibly some useful ideas for your new PC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Agravaine /forum/post/20849152


In regards to your case/ATX suggestion: I have a space that is 4.25"(h) x 19.5"(w) x 17"(d) in my entertainment center to work with. Right now I am stubbornly fixated on using the space for the PC.

This is likely your one biggest mistake, and you need to rethink it. If others agree with me (yet to be seen) then that should add some emphasis to rethinking.


IMO if you persist/buy this case you will quickly come to regret it as it will have limited slots for expansion cards and it will run very noisy given only having a 70mm exhaust fan. And whatever cpu fan comes with whatever cpu you get will need an aftermarket cpu cooler with a bigger fan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Agravaine /forum/post/20849152


120mm would be nice but I have yet to find a case that meets my h x w x d requirements that utilizes them. Thanks for the Amazon suggestion, I'll compare prices.


I plan on using the Llano APU in asymmetrical CrossFire and I have considered using a better processor instead, but I decided to do more research and get opinions before I make up my mind.

If you really plan to do Linux with this PC, forget Radeon and get an Nvidia card.


And doing CrossFire or SLI means more heat, which is a very bad idea for the small case you are considering. Buy a single Nvidia card for gaming, like an EVGA/Nvidia 560Ti, and a mid-tower case with 120/140mm fans.


Also, it constantly amazes me what can be found with different cases from both the same and different manufacturers. But I think that your small available space rules out a decent gaming PC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Agravaine /forum/post/20849152


As for the SSD I will not be spending $300 on it, I assume in the next six months that SATA 6G/b SSD will go down in price, in fact I am counting on it, I'm aiming for $200 on the SSD. It is to my understanding one of the biggest bottlenecks in gaming and OS performance is the HDD, i plan on loading OS, applications and games on this drive and putting everything else on thr HDD. Thanks for the HDD suggesyion, I think I might use that one.

Thanks for the thanks.



I own quite a few 1TB 7200 HDD (all brands) and that Samsung is my favorite boot drive. I only own 3 2TB green drives (1 Samsung 5400 and 2 Seagate 5900), of which the Seagate I ref'ed is my favorite.
 

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i had this same debate with myself when i was building my current htpc earlier this year.


ultimately, i decided to keep the HTPC an HTPC, and i'm working on building a separate moderate gaming/office desktop PC later this year.


yah, it's more expensive. luckily i actually DO do work on the computer, and will use the new pc for work as well.


but i realized that it was not convenient to play computer games on the couch without some sort of desk. i've messed around with various laptop boards...maybe you can put your keyboard and mouse on the coffee table if you have one, but i personally find the uncomfortable layout a real deterrent. i've had the htpc for months now, and further believe that it would have been pretty uncomfortable.


i've come to realize that there's a reason why video game consoles use controllers instead of a full keyboard/mouse...it's really cumbersome, and hard to get precision movements that are necessary in fps games.


my two cents
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I guess my conundrum is that I want to bring my PC gaming into my living room without having a huge rig (my current case is a full tower - which I regret now) sitting next to my entertainment center.


Some changes I have made since first posting this yesterday: I have decided to upgrade my computer upstairs and figure out a way to connect that computer downstairs so that it can a) still function as a workstation for art/productivity and b) bring my PC gaming to the living room. Because of this change in philosophy I have decided to get an Intel i5-2500k as it has far better performance benchmarks than even the Phenom x6 and is only roughly $60 than the Llano right now. I kept the ASUS motherboard, but in socket 1155 instead. The RAM I had was optimized for the Z68 chipset anyways and it will probably get better performance in this architecture. I will wait until closer to February to decide on a GPU as it degrades in price the fastest and I will need to have some ideas what the games I plan on playing with recommend.


Thanks for the advice in regards to selecting either a Radeon/nVidia card, I was unaware and it will hold some weight when I do my research/make a selection in the future.


As for the space and the Lian Li case, the case is actually well reviewed for being quiet. I know that 70mm fans are hard to come by and do not offer great air flow to noise ratio the case itself and the components I had planned to put in it would have ran quiet and cool on their own.


As for the heat issue for Crossfire, the plan was to use asymmetrical CrossFire, a technology offered using their APU's. You can CrossFire the APU's built in GPU with a dedicated GPU allowing a 5-20% performance gain over the GPU alone. In addition the GPU that I had selected had low wattage requirements and rand stable and cool. My plan for being forced to use a low profile video card was to use this CrossFire technology to boost the GPU performance, so I sacrificed processing power for video performance knowing the GPU would be the bottleneck.


After reading reviews and articles on low profile cards, I am afraid you may be right. The space is just too small and I would be forced to sacrifice too much performance to squeeze this case in that tiny space.


I do not believe it is in my best interest to virtually build two computers. I have done a moderate amount of research and found out that I can get the bulk of the functionality of an HTPC through my PS3 which I already use for home entertainment (BluRay/DVD/Streaming). So I guess I will use my upgraded computer as a server for that functionality and try to get a connection to my TV. I have done a small amount of research on connecting HDTV's to computers wirelessly, and unfortunately I cannot run 40' of HDMI cable through my house. I'm up for any ideas, and I am curious if the wireless solution would be viable for gaming?
 

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Intel Z68 chipset mb + 60GB SSD + 2TB HDD (e.g. Seagate Barracuda Green, the fastest Green drive) in Intel Smart Response Technology (no worry about the shortage of disk space
; a summary ). If you choose a Z68 mb carefully, you can even go with CrossFire/SLI (GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 [dual PCIe 2.0 x 8] + 2 x Sapphire HD 6570, for example). APU in CrossFire looks nice at first, but in many games a single discrete GPU is better than discrete GPU + integrated GPU.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Interesting article about Inte's Smart Response Technology. However, that article just further convinces me to hold out and wait for SATA 6G/bs 124G SSD to drop in price. The one I have chosen has outstanding performance which is one reason it it is priced so high. Since I play a lot of MMORPGs there is a lot of loading going on. I understand that some assets are resused and the cache/RAM will make the loading time shorter and smoother once I have loaded commonly used assets, I still want the snappy loading times offered by an SSD.


I personally do not believe in the price
erformance ratio of CrossFire/SLI. A single well-performing card will always perform better across the board for the same cost as two cards in SLI/Crossfire. For instance if I decide to spend $250 on say a 560 Ti, it will outperform two $125 cards in SLI. Until they change the price points or until I come upon a price
erformance ratio that is under $300 and worth the expense I will stay with solo cards.


I also believe with an SLI/CrossFire setup you end up spending more on cooling which is unnecessary with a solo card. (If you decide not to spend extra on cooling you end up losing lifespan on components because of consistently higher heat in your case. Either way its a lose/lose in my book).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Agravaine /forum/post/20852085


I guess my conundrum is that I want to bring my PC gaming into my living room without having a huge rig (my current case is a full tower - which I regret now) sitting next to my entertainment center.

Can you put the PC behind the center?


Quote:
I have done a small amount of research on connecting HDTV's to computers wirelessly, and unfortunately I cannot run 40' of HDMI cable through my house. I'm up for any ideas, and I am curious if the wireless solution would be viable for gaming?

A better idea would be to grab a HDMI extender. They pass HDMI signals over CAT 5 - you get hundreds of feet out of them without an issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you for taking the time to read this and give me advice, it seems in the last few days I have gone full circle back to ground zero in this project. My wife and I decided financially that the best decision is simply to move my PC from upstairs to downstairs and use her laptop for productivity/applications upstairs. My case will be in the corner behind a couch so it will be somewhat hidden. She said I could upgrade the PC slowly since most of the components were from 2007/2008.


Ultimately this is the cheapest plan and it still works for what my main goal: moving my gaming into the living room instead of my man cave.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Agravaine /forum/post/20848666


Below is a link to a public newegg list of components. I left the OS off because I may wait for awindows 8 to release.


I want this HTPC to be capable of playing: Star Wars: The Old Republic, TERA, Diablo III, Guild Wars 2 and ArcheAge to name a few on Medium settings. Must be under 4" height form factor case to fit my entertainment center and not be excessively loud. I will be watching movies, streaming and playing games on this computer. I want to get the price under $1,000 by February 2012 not including software.


This would be my first HTPC and I am seeking advice, suggestions, opinions anything else more experience would think to add or change. Thanks for taking the time to read thia. List is below.

https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/M...px?ID=12712294

A few thoughts from someone who has done exactly what you are trying to do on two PCs now.


First, you don't need a mid-tower case by any means, a normal HTPC case will work, either half height or full. However a full height will be better as you can use a more powerful graphics card.


Second, i'd go SandyBridge and an i5 2500 cpu. Better overclocking and overall performance.


Third if you want you can go half height and use two 6570's but expect to have some fan noise.


Go with the OCZ Vertex 3 120gb imo.


If you are adventurous and don't mind spending a bit more... consider water cooling. You'll be able to have high performance without the noise. A truely gaming capable HTPC without watercooling will NOT be silent. You can come close but you'll have to sacrifice performance.


Here's a link to my two HTPC projects.
HTPC 1: Living room HTPC in a Lian Li case with wc for two Radeon 5870s and one i7 930.
HTPC 2: Master beedroom HTPC in a MonCaso 312 case with wc for one i7 2600 and 2 HIS Radeon 6570 half height boards.:


Not everything I did here you need to do but it's just to illustrate that you can build a silent super high performance HTPC/gaming rig if you are willing to invest in the proper parts and approach.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by cybrsage /forum/post/20858252


I dont know if watercooling is actually quieter. All the water cooling radiator pumps I have heard are pretty loud.

It's definitely quieter, assuming you are comparing a high performance system. If you have a low performance system that can run virtually fanless, then it would be very close.


In any case choosing the right components is important as well. My 2 water cooled PCs are pretty much inaudible and both are high performance rigs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by santiagodraco /forum/post/20857880


A few thoughts from someone who has done exactly what you are trying to do on two PCs now.


First, you don't need a mid-tower case by any means, a normal HTPC case will work, either half height or full. However a full height will be better as you can use a more powerful graphics card.


Second, i'd go SandyBridge and an i5 2500 cpu. Better overclocking and overall performance.


Third if you want you can go half height and use two 6570's but expect to have some fan noise.


Go with the OCZ Vertex 3 120gb imo.


If you are adventurous and don't mind spending a bit more... consider water cooling. You'll be able to have high performance without the noise. A truely gaming capable HTPC without watercooling will NOT be silent. You can come close but you'll have to sacrifice performance.


Here's a link to my two HTPC projects.
HTPC 1: Living room HTPC in a Lian Li case with wc for two Radeon 5870s and one i7 930.
HTPC 2: Master beedroom HTPC in a MonCaso 312 case with wc for one i7 2600 and 2 HIS Radeon 6570 half height boards.:


Not everything I did here you need to do but it's just to illustrate that you can build a silent super high performance HTPC/gaming rig if you are willing to invest in the proper parts and approach.


I'm not trying to be a rude, but it doesn't seem as if you read any of this thread but the first post, which kind of defeats the purpose of posting a response at this point.


My first question to you, is: you mean you have built HTPCs for gaming and with a half height case? I couldn't find significant evidence of a low profile card being good enough for my expectations/wants.


I have already decided to go with an i5-2500K, you'll see that comment above.


6570's do not have CrossFire capability, but they do have asymmetric CrossFire when paired with an AMD APU. In fact none of the Radeon HD 6000 series low-profile cards are CrossFire capable with two dedicated cards.


I guess my hesitation to get a 6570 (I have read that they perform well in some Source Engine games - which is common for ATI cards) is that I'm not sure how well they will perform in upcoming games released in 2012, I may wait to see before I do anything.


The Patriot Wildfire beats the OCZ 120G the majority of benchmarks, in fact from all of the research I have done the Patriot is the best in its class. That does not mean I'm going to spend $285-300 on one, I'll wait for it to go down in price, because I will not be building this until February.


Interesting suggestion with water cooling, I have never really considered it. How much would you assume it would cost to watercool a case? My current full tower case and has an entry point at the back of the case for pipes. Honestly though, I do not overclock and probably never will, I'm more concerned for the lifespan of my hardware than the maximum performance. However, if watercooling improves that lifespan and it is affordable I would be down for it.
 

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Agravine, i just built a similar HTPC that you originally planned to build but i built it for under $600. it helped that i already a Hauppage HVR-1800 TV tuner card, WD Caviar Black 1TB, and a 430 W Corsair PSU laying around. i found a nice Silverstone HTPC case for $70 on amazon 2 months before i bought the rest of the parts. since you plan to build this system in february of next year, you should be able to save some money because some of the parts are going to get cheaper. start doing your research about a month before you plan on buying your parts. thats what i did.


i3-2100 65W

ASRock Z68 mATX

OCZ Solid Sata III 60 gb SSD

8 Gb Gskill DDR3-1600

Sapphire Radeon 6570 1 gb

LG Bluray writer

Iogear HTPC 2.4 Ghz Wireless Keyboard

and some cheap remote with USB IR sensor for $7 from Amazon (hey, it works)


running Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
 
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