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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking for a system that is pre-built, although building one myself is not out of the question if it's going to be significantly cheaper/better. I've built many a machine before. It will be used for streaming media. I have an hp mediasmart server that this will connect to for movies/music. I use mymovies from mymovies.dk. It needs to have hdmi and be able to bitstream audio (Dolby HD, DTS HD Master), it doesn't need a blu-ray player. I'd like it to have a dvd drive just for installation. Any suggestion, there are so many. I like the Dell Zino HD, but I don't think that will bitstream audio, correct?
 

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I say build one. this way you get the features you want and nothing you don't. I would compare the Zino HD to building a similar system. The major difference is picking out the case that works well for you.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xer0dIn /forum/post/18227518


building one myself is not out of the question if it's going to be significantly cheaper/better.

It is going to be significantly cheaper and better to build yourself.
 

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I personally dont know any situation where its better to buy instead of build as far as for a htpc.


Its nice to be able to pick every component you want to use and you also learn along the way things you might not have known.
 

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I maybe the minority but I ended up buying gateway sx2840-01 system. I managed to get 15% discount and saved $85. Before that I was looking forward to build HTPC myself but the more i was reading about it, the more choices started forming in my head and more i got confused
. after spending about 2 months of getting a list of components i wanted my price tag was about $575. My gateway ended up consting me $90 less. It doesn't look as nice as a custom htpc case, but it looks ok for me and it serves its purpose. there are few limitations but none of them affect me.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kalex /forum/post/18228435


I maybe the minority but I ended up buying gateway sx2840-01 system. I managed to get 15% discount and saved $85. Before that I was looking forward to build HTPC myself but the more i was reading about it, the more choices started forming in my head and more i got confused
. after spending about 2 months of getting a list of components i wanted my price tag was about $575. My gateway ended up consting me $90 less. It doesn't look as nice as a custom htpc case, but it looks ok for me and it serves its purpose. there are few limitations but none of them affect me.

+1


Its mainly the windows license driving up the cost.


i got my dell studio slim for $449, with a tuner card.


so the price is comparable between buying and and building if you have to buy a windows license.


i may be cheaper, but is not going to be significantly cheaper. To build a comparable system to my dell:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-355-_-Product


$104.99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819115056


$115.99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-395-_-Product


$54.99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-024-_-Product


$54.99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811204035


$54.99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-713-_-Product


$109 assuming you have an xp disk. if not $189.


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-144-_-Product


$49.99


Total $489.00 1 year later too...


to say its significantly cheaper is absurd.
 

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theres a chance you can buy a cheaper system but they always come with limitations. Theres a huge advantage being able to design and build your own system. It can get complicated with all the options and features available but building one will always ensure you get what you want and pay what you're willing to pay.
 

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I bought an Phenom X4 9150e HP desktop for $350 off craigslist and replaced the power supply, cpu cooling fan, graphics card, added a second dvd drive for multi-usage, and plan on putting in another 1TB drive and replacing the stock 5GB of ram with 8GB of faster name brand ram (the mobo only supports up to 8GB). The bios won't give me options to overclock but I really don't care to be honest. I've always bought laptops and since I plan on building my own pc this fall this was a way for me to get my feet wet without going hog wild. I've built PCs before but that was so long ago it's not even funny. This is all fairly new to me (custom builds) and I wanted to get away from console gaming and get into pc gaming so I figured why not. It's not really been that expensive to be honest although I know I can do better with custom builds.


I plan on going with a new Phenom II X4 mobo this fall that will allow as much expansion as I can handle. I want at least 2 PCI-e x16 slots for crossfire with whatever 6xxx series card AMD has out by then, ability to do triple channel ram, install multiple HDDs in a raid, house 2 Hauppauge 2250 tuners, and basically add what I want without compromising on space. A larget case is expected of course and frankly I could get away with buying another pc and tricking it out like I have mine so far but I don't care, the benefits of building your own pc are too obvious to ignore. I'm pretty pumped although I'm really impressed with my humble rig so far.
 

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The problem with prebuilts is lack of upgrade path. Power supplies are typically dinky and rarely 80+ models. Cases are similar to what you get for $40 on Newegg. "Slim" models can't accept full height cards.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike_311 /forum/post/18228799


+1to say its significantly cheaper is absurd.

No, it's accurate. Sure, you might be able to find a good deal on a pre-built system. Or you might not. Right now, a Dell studio slim with an E7500 and a tuner card is $530.


Once you replace the motherboard and RAM in your build with something reasonable (you think that Dell has a $100 Intel MB or Patriot Extreme RAM?), you're down around $400.


Everybody's sense of value is different, but I have no problem calling a $130 difference in price "significant".
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Looks like I may have stirred some things up by asking whether to build or buy pre-built…lol. We’ll I’ve been doing some digging (probably what I should have done first). I think I probably will build a machine. From reading the forums it look like you need an ATI 5xxx to do DTS-HD, Dolby HD streaming audio, but there seems to be quite a bit of issues/bugs still. How is everyone’s setup doing that has one of these cards? I’ll be using Windows Media Center inside of Windows 7 64-bit. Also, it says if you use one of the Intel Clarksdale i3/i5/i7 you can get bit stream DTS-HD/Dolby-HD. Do you need both the Intel processor and the ATI 5xxx card to accomplish this or just one or the other. I understand if you need just one and go the ATI card route that has HDMI on the back to get the audio to bit stream but if you use just a processor what card/motherboard would have HDMI to do bit stream? As you can tell I’m confused
 

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If you go with a Clarkdale chip, you don't need a video card at all. The video (including bitstreaming capability) is built into the CPU. Every Clarkdale-compatible motherboard I've seen has an HDMI port, so you don't need anything else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by candre23 /forum/post/18236641


If you go with a Clarkdale chip, you don't need a video card at all. The video (including bitstreaming capability) is built into the CPU. Every Clarkdale-compatible motherboard I've seen has an HDMI port, so you don't need anything else.

Thanks!


I think I'm going to go with a build that renethx recommended:


CPU: Core i3 530 2.93GHz LGA1156

Motherboard: ASRock H55M Pro LGA1156 Intel H55 chipset microATX

Memory: G.SKILL F3-12800CL9D-4GBNQ DDR3-1600 2 x 2GB Kit

Graphics Card (ATI): HIS H567Q512 Radeon HD 5670 GDDR5 512MB

HDD: Western Digital WD6400AAKS 640GB SATA 3.0Gbps

PSU: Corsair VX450W CMPSU-450VX 450W

Case: Antec Fusion Remote Black microATX

Blu-Ray Drive: LITE-ON iHOS104


I don't think it's necessary to go with the CPU Cooler: Cooler Master (Geminii S) RR-CCH-PBU1-GP with Cooler Master RR-ACC-1156-GP LGA1156 Retention Bracket Set, unless there is a reason that you shouldn't use the fan/heatsink that comes with the cpu?


Any other case recommendations beside the Antec Fusion Remote Black microATX? I like that case unless someone knows of something better.
 

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I absolutely love my Moneual 312B but it costs a lot and you get no where near the features of other enclosures and are severely limited to a low profile design. What you do get is high quality and a very very streamlined look that most would never think to be a computer (looks like a bluray player).


Keep in mind I switched from an Antec Fusion Black... the LCD etc. turned out to be more of an annoyance than anything.
 

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You don't need the aftermarket cooler but it likely be quieter, the stock cooler will do fine if you stick with it though.
 

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For what you want to do, you could do an Ion, i3, or Athlon II build real cheap. Since you are streaming movies and want HD Audio, I would at least include a 5570. You could even do a rack mount unit to keep with your server and blutooth your keyboard and mouse to use anywhere in the house.

Case
CPU
Mobo
Ram
PSU
GPU
HDD
Optional Case
DVD


About $600 with W7 and a cheap bluetooth dongle.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ericld /forum/post/18238773



About $600 with W7 and a cheap bluetooth dongle.

What I hate most about that GPU is that I can only buy 99 of them at a time.



You can actually go cheaper than $600, especially if you're running another GPU and won't be using the IGP.
 

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All of my PC projects are dictated my murphy's law. They looked good initially and were fun to do, but they tended to all end up over budget, past due, and generally more hassle than I anticipated. Oh and then theres Windows which always has a mind of its own. :)


If what you want is an easy way to do DVR that doesn't suck like the ones from comcast - just get a Tivo or Moxi. Their economies of scale allow them to get the price down and have a polished/supported product that "just works". Custom built HTPCs afford you a lot of flexibility and if you like to tinker with things they can be fun, but I don't think anyone would claim its the easiest/least expensive way from point A to B.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by arosenbl /forum/post/18239744


All of my PC projects are dictated my murphy's law. They looked good initially and were fun to do, but they tended to all end up over budget, past due, and generally more hassle than I anticipated. Oh and then theres Windows which always has a mind of its own. :)


If what you want is an easy way to do DVR that doesn't suck like the ones from comcast - just get a Tivo or Moxi. Their economies of scale allow them to get the price down and have a polished/supported product that "just works". Custom built HTPCs afford you a lot of flexibility and if you like to tinker with things they can be fun, but I don't think anyone would claim its the easiest/least expensive way from point A to B.

there subscription fees with tivo, does maxi have them too? htpcs dvr are monthly fee free.
 
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