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All,


Having finally reached the end of my rope with my useless WDTV Live...I am now seriously considering going down the HTPC route and using J. River Media Center on the front end. I am looking for recommendations on parts from a "today" perspective.


Couple of key requirements include:


1. Small form factor - probably a miniATX so I can really stash this thing out of the way.

2. Quietest case I can possibly get. Goes without saying for a theater setting.

3. No optical drive...this will be streaming everything from the network.

4. Must be capable of full HD resolution with HDMI 1.3+ compatibility (to be connected to a 2010 Pioneer VSX-23THX HT receiver)


I look forward to any recommendations.



Cheers!


VP
 

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I'd build the following:
  • Case: Silverstone Sugo SG05-B, $100
  • PSU: stock 300W, $0
  • MB: Intel DH67CF, $120
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-2300, $180
  • GPU: integrated HD 2000, $0
  • RAM: 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3, $50
  • HSF: stock HSF, $0
  • HDD: 2nd gen or newer 60~120GB SSD, $100~180
  • OS: Windows 7 Home Premium, $100
  • TOTAL: $650~730

I'm sure a lot of people would view the above (particularly CPU and large SSD) as complete overkill for a simple HTPC but that's what I would build for myself. Most would probably opt for less expensive processors and a lower capacity SSD or a mechanical HDD. However, given my base parts are relatively expensive already and I'm not willing to compromise on those, I figure what's another $50 for the CPU? A lot of applications can already take advantage of quad-cores anyway. The faster CPU will likely delay the need for upgrades by a year or two when new software, formats or codecs are released that require faster computers.


Of course, recommendations for other people would depend on that person's budget and personal requirements and preferences.


1. How small do you want it? Any preferred form factor (e.g. shoe-box, slim/low-profile, etc)?

2. Depends on #1.

3. Even if the case has an external 5.25" drive bay, you could always opt not to install one.

4. Is 3D part of the requirements?

5. Budget?
 

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This question is way too vague.


My experience in building custom HTPCs for lots of various customers tells me that there is almost certainly no one size fits all HTPC.
 

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I just built mine about 2 weeks ago. There are some pictures and descriptions here .


These are the parts:

Sandy Bridge i3 2100T cpu

Intel DH67CFB3 board

Mushkin 2x2gb ram

WD 2TB HHD

Apex MI-008 w/250W psu

ASUS dvd player

Crucial M4 CT064M4SSD2 2.5" 64GB SATA III MLC SSD

Scythe 120mm 800rpm fan

Nexus 80mm fan

HP IR usb receiver

Mini wireless keyboard


Total cost with all the accessories was 600, not including the Windows 7.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vocalpoint /forum/post/20797932


Having finally reached the end of my rope with my useless WDTV Live...I am now seriously considering going down the HTPC route and using J. River Media Center on the front end. I am looking for recommendations on parts from a "today" perspective.

Comments here (AVS) on JRMC have impressed me (but haven't used it myself), but from what I've seen I'd not have a qualm with *me* paying money for it for myself. Only adding that I'm unlikely to do that anytime soon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vocalpoint /forum/post/20797932


Couple of key requirements include:


1. Small form factor - probably a miniATX so I can really stash this thing out of the way.

The whole trade-off(s) of mini-ATX case vs mid-tower ATX case is hugely misunderstood. More below.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vocalpoint /forum/post/20797932


2. Quietest case I can possibly get. Goes without saying for a theater setting.

Quietest case is an 8" wide mid-tower case because you can use mainly (only?) 120/140mm fans which are MUCH quieter than 80/92mm fans .


An 8" wide case also allows you to use either of the two best value and quiet cpu heatsinks: Cooler Master Hyper 212+ (approx $30 amazon) or Noctua NH-U12P (approx $65 amazon when their 3rd party dealers offer it; includes extras of 2 outstanding 120mm fluid dynamic bearing fans, 4 zener diodes for reduced voltage from normal 12V fan voltage to reduce fan noise).


OTOH, if you stash the PC in a remote place, then a quiet case is less (or even not) an issue. But you have to keep in mind that things change and equipment locations also change, so to my mind the safer long term bet is a mid-tower case with 120/140mm fans.


But if you do stash the PC in a remote place, I'd think that perhaps case size is a non issue?


Not to mention that a full ATX mobo gives you more options with add on adapters like ATSC tuner for capturing OTA digital TV shows, and others like soundboards (although some current mobo's have really good on board sound included that IMO rivals even the best soundboards).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vocalpoint /forum/post/20797932


3. No optical drive...this will be streaming everything from the network.

That's likely a mistake. I can see ditching 3.5" floppy drive, but not an optical drive, at least not just yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vocalpoint /forum/post/20797932


4. Must be capable of full HD resolution with HDMI 1.3+ compatibility (to be connected to a 2010 Pioneer VSX-23THX HT receiver)

Can't help you with HD video, if that's what you mean above.


There's two other things worth considering: cpu choice and what to do for video, and the two are closely intertwined for HTPC use.


For cpu I personally think that AMD continues to be the better value now and in the next year, but odds are that the large majority here will shout that down in favor of Intel.


For video the question is whether or not to either 1) buy a mobo that has on-board graphics or 2) to buy a cpu that has integrated graphics (such as the new AMD Llano integrated chips). For this I can't help you as I continue to prefer having a separate video board.
 

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  • Case - no clue, maybe a fancy small case, maybe no case, (ie parts just bolted to a bit of plywood/something and tossed out of sight)
  • Heat Sink/etc - try to go passive if at all possible... if not, use the biggest slowest fans possible... maybe get a custom heat sink from someone like cooljag or something... big slab of copper/fins that all the bits bolt too... that could be the 'case' also... kill 2 birds with one big heavy stone...
  • CPU - i3 at the high end, but try and get an ATOM...
  • Mem - 2 GB is fine for a steamer... 1GB is fine... 4GB if cheap is fine...
  • HDD - go SSD... more room = more room to play... but plan on keeping 50% free/empty for longest life...
  • OS - I think currently Win7 is probably the best OS for this... but something like ubuntu could be fun... maybe scrap the HDD/SSD and run XBMC 'live' from a flash drive?
 

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Whats the budget?


No holds bard system right now would be.


amd a3850 - CPU

MSI A75MA-G55 FM1 AMD A75 - MOBO MSI for efficiency

G.SKILL ECO Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBECO - RAM

SILVERSTONE GD04B - Case

SeaSonic X series SS-400FL Active PFC F3 400W ATX12V Fanless 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supplymm PSU

Crucial M4 CT064M4SSD2 2.5" 64GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) - boot drive

HITACHI Deskstar 0S03230 3TB 5400 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive - media drive

SiliconDust HDHomeRun PRIME - Three Digital Tuners, Anywhere on Your Network HDHR3-CC Ethernet Interface - Icing on the cake
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dankev
I just built mine about 2 weeks ago. There are some pictures and descriptions here .


These are the parts:

Sandy Bridge i3 2100T cpu

Intel DH67CFB3 board

Mushkin 2x2gb ram

WD 2TB HHD

Apex MI-008 w/250W psu

ASUS dvd player

Crucial M4 CT064M4SSD2 2.5" 64GB SATA III MLC SSD

Scythe 120mm 800rpm fan

Nexus 80mm fan

HP IR usb receiver

Mini wireless keyboard


Total cost with all the accessories was 600, not including the Windows 7.
I built this I still need to get the last data drive.


Case Antec NSK-2480 1

Case Fan Noiseblocker M12-P 3

Power Supply Seasonic X-660 1

System Board Intel DH67GD 1

CPU Intel i7-2600K 1

CPU Cooler Thermalright AXP-140 RT 1

Ram Samsung MV-3V4G4 4

System Drive WDC WD5000BEVT-OEM 1

Data Drive WDC WD20EURS-OEM 3

3.5 inch drive adapter Noiseblocker X-Swing 1

2.5 inch drive adapter OCZ Technology Solid State Drive Adaptor Bracket 1

HDMI Cable HDAV HDMIG-2MC 1

Network Adapter D-Link DWA-131 1

Keyboard and Mouse Hewlett Packard Wireless Mini Entertainment Keyboard 1

Card Reader Sandisk SDDR-189-A20 1

Floppy Drive Bytecc BT-144 1

TV Tuner and Remote Hauppage Win TV-HVR-2250 1

Blu-ray Burner Liteon iHBS212 1

Operating System Microsoft Windows7 Pro OEM 1

Anti Virus Symantic Norton Anti Virus 1

Media Player Cyberlink PowerDVD 10 ultra 1

Backup Software Slysoft AnyDVDHD 1


I may replace the system drive with an SSD

I woulld also like to add a 4 port sata card that supports port multipliers so that I can add another box with up to 20 more data drives.
 

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Can't resist....


1. A case and psu

2. A CPU

3. A hard drive or ssd

4. RAM

5. +/- an optical drive

6. A motherboard


I think those are the standards. Everything else is a completely personal choice.
 

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I just built the following desktop (not a pure HTPC) to replace an Intel Atom/Ion with very low end Pioneer HTIB.


DHT Denon-591BA

AVR-591 bundle with Boston Acoustics 5.1


Win 32 Home Premium

JRiver MC 16

HP Media Center Remote and USB IR Receiver


Supermcro Minitower Case with 300 watt 80 Plus PSU

SUPERMICRO CSE-731i-300B Black


LG HD DVD Blu-Ray Combo Drive

GGC-H20L


Seagate

2 TB 5900 RPM Green Drive


Intel Mainboard

DH67BL3


Intel Sandy Bridge CPU

i3-2100


2x 2GB Kingston DDR 3 1330


EVGA Nvidia GPU

GT 545 1.5 GB DDR3



If I was building an ulitmate HTPC I would vary from the above by the using the same or similar PSU but a different case, an i-5 2500T, and at an Intel SSD of at least 120 GB.


I have a Ceton installed in another dedicatetd HTPC box, and two dual tuner HD Homeruns.


I intend to move the Ceton to a dedicated Ceton host box. Considering a WHS for backup and possible media storage.. that is subject that I will definitely need to think about.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin
Can't resist....


1. A case and psu

2. A CPU

3. A hard drive or ssd

4. RAM

5. +/- an optical drive


I think those are the standards. Everything else is a completely personal choice.
Don't forget a motherboard...


Vocalpoint - I'd recommend looking at Assassin's links in the footer of his post.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimbo75
Don't forget a motherboard...


Vocalpoint - I'd recommend looking at Assassin's links in the footer of his post.
Thanks for that! I fixed it!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimbo75 /forum/post/20800739


Don't forget a motherboard....

motherboards are overrated...


hardcore DiY types don't use no store bought MB's...
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Somewhatlost /forum/post/20802308


motherboards are overrated...


hardcore DiY types don't use no store bought MB's...

And what's with those wimpy store bought cases. Build your own...




 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 /forum/post/20802338


And what's with those wimpy store bought cases. Build your own...





exactly....
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vocalpoint /forum/post/20797932


1. Small form factor - probably a miniATX so I can really stash this thing out of the way.

2. Quietest case I can possibly get. Goes without saying for a theater setting.

3. No optical drive...this will be streaming everything from the network.

4. Must be capable of full HD resolution with HDMI 1.3+ compatibility (to be connected to a 2010 Pioneer VSX-23THX HT receiver)

Apex DM317 case w/ power supply - $40

Intel Pentium G620 - $70

ASRock H67M motherboard - $70

2x2GB DDR3-1333 - $25

as much storage as you need (about $50/TB)

Windows 7 Home Premium - $100


Total: $355 w/ 1TB drive.


It won't be silent, but it will be quiet enough, especially if you're stashing it somewhere out of sight. Plenty of power for streaming 1080p.
 
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