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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey I am looking at the best way to build my father-in-law a new computer and since he mainly uses it for surfing the internet and music/movies I thought it would be really good idea to set it up as a htpc server for him since he has two apple tvs in his house. Therefore I was hoping you guys could maybe give me a little advice on the build?


What I have so far:

NZXT H2 case

3-1TB HDD set up in RAID 5

1-60gb SSD for the OS

(so it runs fast and boots fast for surfing the internet)

500W PSU (too much?)

Intel i3 (dont know if it has integrated graphics or not)

nVidia GTS 450 (would love to remove this if not needed to reduce the cost)

4GB of RAM (two sticks of 2GB)

Blu-ray drive (anyone know who makes a really good one?)

ASUS ATX mobo(mainly looking for good cheap one that has RAID support already)


As I said he would be basically be using this for music, movies, and internet and I thought it would be really nice to setup something for him that he could store movies to so he can access them through his apple tv.


I would put a cable tuner card in it as well but he doesnt watch cable often and the cable company here also makes you install a special decoder box as well.....dont ask me why...but when my sister got her tivo box they also had to bring in their own box to decode the signal.....


Also He would like to keep it under 1k and I am at 950 right now and he would still need to get a monitor, mouse, and keyboard.....and knowing him he wants a 24" monitor


Any input would be appreciated. I have more experience with building gaming rigs than the HTPC.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
im guessing no one sees a problem with this build considering that no one has replied but 80 have viewed it?
 

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You system looks fine. I hope your father in-law is very computer savy or you will be spending a lot of time with him. I use the Gigabyte model GTS450 in my HTPC now. I klike it and its quite. The 500W is more than you need (but the GTS450 needs its own 6pin (or maybe it is 8pin) power connector so make sure the PWR supply has that extra connection.


Is he going to be ripping movies to store on the 3TB drive? If so he will need a copy of AnyDVD HD. The Intel i3 has built in graphics (actually you don't need a separate Video card unless, like me, you want to run a performance video renderer like MadVR.


You will want a motherbaord with the H67 or Z68 chipset.


Lite-On make a good BD player.

Check out the free trial version of J. River Media Center.
 

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If you want the integrated graphics, get a 2nd generation i3 - an i3-2XXX (i3-2100 is the best buy and most popular and works fine). With that, you could skip the separate GPU.


Why are you setting up a RAID? That seems like a lot of unnecessary complexity. Is he capable of restoring it? It would be a lot simpler to simply put in a 2TB hard disk. If you're worried about backups, put in a 2nd 2TB hard disk and set up Windows 7 or Acronis or whatever to do periodic backups to the second hard disk. Better data security with less hassle. With the OS and programs on an SSD, for what he's using it for, you certainly don't need a RAID for speed.


If you get an H67 or Z68 motherboard, I suggest getting a SATA 6gb/s (SATA III) SSD to take full advantage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes he is very computer savy....in fact he is the most computer savy of anyone over 50 that I have ever known.


I was going to set up raid to try and increase the access rate when he looks up a movie from one of his apple tvs. I also did the 3TB of storage because of the fact that RAID 5 automatically repairs itself unlike RAID 0.


is there no significance performance boost when doing this as I thought there still would be with media such as this?


Like I said before I am more used to building gaming rigs that are speed and OC oriented so I may be over complicating things just because of what I am used to building.


I could redo it though like you suggested with one 2TB HDD and he can just add to that over time as more space is needed.
 

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Most people use "green" 5400 drives for their video data because disk access speed for the video data just isn't speed intensive. Disk access really isn't a bottleneck for this application.


Now, using an SSD for the OS and programs does provide a huge performance boost. But the media can be stored on a slow "green" drive.
 

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My advice would be to buy the cheapest Dell desktop and then add storage to it. Since he'll be watching through the Apple TV, there's no need to go overboard on hardware. Web browsing will be plenty fast with the i3.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 /forum/post/20801997


If you want the integrated graphics, get a 2nd generation i3 - an i3-2XXX (i3-2100 is the best buy and most popular and works fine). With that, you could skip the separate GPU.

Not sure if the OP has already bought a CPU but even the earlier generation i3 (Clarkdale) already has integrated graphics. It works well enough as long as you don't plan on gaming. Does have the 24p bug, though. Now if he's buying new, no sense to get Clarkdale when you can get Sandy Bridge for the same price.

Quote:
Originally Posted by spivonious /forum/post/20808947


My advice would be to buy the cheapest Dell desktop and then add storage to it.

Wouldn't recommend it unless your idea of storage comes in the form of a bunch of external drives. Space for additional hard drives is one thing that I find lacking in most consumer-oriented pre-built desktops. You're better off buying a pre-built that's designed for the task. Something like the HP Proliant MicroServer. Alas, CPU is slow so it wouldn't really be particularly good at handling normal desktop duties.


@Kimeran

Don't bother with RAID-5 (or any striped RAID). Instead, consider a parity-based solution such as FlexRAID or SnapRAID. Heck, if you only have 1~3 drives, a 1:1 back-up to offline external drives is actually feasible. Striped RAID is a bit useless for media storage (albeit uncompressed video editing/capture is another matter). Assuming you're only looking at commercial sources, max bitrate you can possibly encounter is around 50Mbps (6.25MB/s) which is way below gigabit ethernet (1000Mbps; 125MB/s). Even 5400RPM 3.5" HDD's usually have a minimum of around 50MB/s sustained read/write.
 
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