AVS Forum banner
1 - 20 of 30 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am hoping to build an HTPC within the next month or so. This will be my first PC build (of any kind), discounting upgrades/repairs I've done to my past systems. I've been reading a lot of the threads around here over the last couple weeks, and have come up with what I hope to be a decent build. I would really appreciate any advice you guys might have, whether it is in response to the specific questions below, in reference to experiences you may have had with these components, or general comments on my build as a whole. Thanks in advance!


Case/PSU - Antek ISK 300-150 - link - $80

I chose this case mainly because I am looking for a very compact, neat solution (a la the Zino). It appears to accommodate two 2.5" hard drives, a slim ODD, and a half-height expansion card. Will the included 150W PSU be enough to power this build?

Processor - Intel Core i3-540 3.06GHz Dual-Core - link - $105

This looks like the cheapest i3 processor right now. Will this allow smooth playback of blu-rays, HDTV in WMC, HD Flash content, etc? And am I correct in understanding I won't need a separate graphics card?

Motherboard - Gigabyte GA-H55N-USB3 - link - $105

Most people seem to recommend Gigabyte motherboards, and this looks like the only mini ITX i3-compatible Gigabyte motherboard on Newegg. Are there other motherboards I should look at, or does this one have any missing features I should be conscious of?

Hard Drive

I have a spare 100GB 7200rpm laptop hard drive at home that I will use. Should I consider buying a 32GB SSD for OS/programs, which would fit in the other of the two 2.5" drive bays in the case I selected, or is it not really worth it for my needs?

RAM - CORSAIR XMS3 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM 1333 - link - $54

Not sure how good of a value this is, but I guess you can't go wrong with Corsair.

Optical Drive - Sony Optiarc Slim 4X BD-ROM - link - $152

Looks like this is the only slim Blu-Ray drive on Newegg. Are there any other models out there to consider?

TV Tuner - Hauppauge WinTV HVR-1250 - link - $50

This thing can definitely get HD ClearQAM channels, right? And how do most people handle the tuner in their setup? I could go with a USB solution but I really don't want a bunch of crap dangling out of the back of my system.

WiFi - TP-LINK TL-WN727N IEEE 802.11b/g/n - link - $14

Any USB WiFi adapter would do. I will likely figure out a way to mount this inside the case by connecting to the USB headers on the mobo. How do most people take care of WiFi in their builds? I know there are motherboards out there with integrated WiFi chips/antennae, but are they any good? Again, I could just stick this in the back of my computer but I really don't want a bunch of crap sticking out the back. Is there another TV Tuner solution that would free up the expansion slot for a WiFi card?

Keyboard - Logitech DiNovo Mini - link - $90? (ebay)

As with the WiFi adapter, I will likely mount the Bluetooth receiver inside the case.

USB Header Wires - StarTech USB A Female to USB Motherboard 4 Pin Header - link - $6 x 2 = $12

As described above, I would use these to mount the WiFi and Bluetooth adapters internally. Will this work?

Total Price - ~$650



Any advice would be really appreciated. I have had a lot of fun figuring this stuff out, but - this being my first build - I am sure I have made mistakes and overlooked some aspects.


Thanks!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,650 Posts
Build seems good.

I'll comment on a few points though.

On Newegg, there is a slim BD drive for $140, also ASUS has an external BD drive for $130 AR. You could possibly take it out and transfer the internal into your build.


Where is your data stored, locally or network?

Wireless is good enough for everything except uncompressed HD files.

If you have original quality HD movies then you won't be able play it without stuttering over wireless (even N).

Hard drive prices have fallen a lot, a 500GB, 7200 rpm laptop drive can be had for $50, 640GB, 7200 rpm for $65.

A 1TB, 5400 rpm laptop drive is currently on sale for $80.


What about the OS? Do you already have a license?


Considering that your build costs $650, I would suggest an alternative.

Think about getting a laptop; full featured Core i3 laptops with Blu-Ray drives & HDMI have been selling for $500-$600.

Off-the-shelf, you get a slim device with internal BD combo drive, 320-500GB hard drive, built-in wireless with an OS.

Of course you can't connect a TV tuner, but you can get a network tuner like the HDHomeRun.

You can hook up a wireless KB and a MC remote to control it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for taking the time to respond. Comments below in red.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hirent /forum/post/19562311


Build seems good.

I'll comment on a few points though.

On Newegg, there is a slim BD drive for $140, also ASUS has an external BD drive for $130 AR. You could possibly take it out and transfer the internal into your build.
Hmm, I can't seem to find the $140 model you're referring to. That's a good point about the ASUS drive; I didn't see the rebate. Also this $80 Polaroid drive might work... unless it's crap.


Where is your data stored, locally or network? Network (WHS).

Wireless is good enough for everything except uncompressed HD files.

If you have original quality HD movies then you won't be able play it without stuttering over wireless (even N). I don't have any uncompressed HD. This is for my bedroom TV so quality's not a huge concern. I'll mostly be using this to play blu-rays, watch netflix instant, and stream my old XviD rips of TV show DVDs.

Hard drive prices have fallen a lot, a 500GB, 7200 rpm laptop drive can be had for $50, 640GB, 7200 rpm for $65.

A 1TB, 5400 rpm laptop drive is currently on sale for $80.
Wow, prices really have come down. I probably won't need much space, but if I do, I'll be sure to look into a cheap upgrade.


What about the OS? Do you already have a license? I do. Technet subscription.


Considering that your build costs $650, I would suggest an alternative.

Think about getting a laptop; full featured Core i3 laptops with Blu-Ray drives & HDMI have been selling for $500-$600. That's true. Not sure how keen I am on the idea of a laptop, as I have very limited footprint space in my bedroom; but if it really is that much better of a value, I'll consider it. Any other ideas for reducing the price of this build?

Off-the-shelf, you get a slim device with internal BD combo drive, 320-500GB hard drive, built-in wireless with an OS.

Of course you can't connect a TV tuner, but you can get a network tuner like the HDHomeRun. Does the HDHomeRun actually perform well over WiFi? If so, I'd consider hooking one up to my WHS, scrapping the PCI tuner card altogether, and using a PCI WiFi card in its place.

You can hook up a wireless KB and a MC remote to control it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nvts
I had basically the same build set up before my girlfriend said that the nMediaPC 8000 Wooden HTPC Case looked cool so I can go with the Gigabyte 57 board now.
Ha! Very classy. Unfortunately I don't think that will fit in the space I have for this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nvts
I was also worried about the power supply.This calculator seems to work well for me.
Shoot. The calculator is recommending just over 200W. I guess I'll need a new power supply, or maybe a new case. Maybe this one would work? It's a little cheaper, and includes a 250W PSU; but it only has space for one hard drive, and according to the reviews it has a really loud fan, and it can't even really accommodate an expansion card. Or there's this one , also with 250W, and room for a 2.5" and a 3.5" drive; but it's a bit fatter and I'm hesitant to pull the trigger without confirmation that it would accommodate an expansion card. There's no perfect case, is there... Thoughts?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nvts
I was either going to get an external drive or this case since space wasn't too big of a deal and the reviews looked fairly good.
Yeah, I had that one on my "short list", but it's a bit fat, and for its size I can't believe it only holds one hard drive. (Who needs an external 3.5" drive bay?)


However if I go with that one, I could probably cheapen up my build significantly by going with a full-size blu-ray drive, rather than a slim.


I'm just trying to keep this thing small and tidy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
One of the reasons I wanted the Gigabyte board was the built in USB3 support. I wasn't worried about having one internal drive as I was thinking about a year from now when I fully expected to have a couple of 5TB USB3 external HDs.
The wooden case holds 4 internal though.



I picked up a full sized BR drive when they were $40 and free shipping a week ago and stuck it into my old system. So far, I'm quite happy with it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yeah I'm sure I would be fine with only one internal drive (unless you think I should consider adding an SSD for OS/programs), but the APEX case is just too big-looking for my space. Who knows, maybe in person it's really not that big.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,150 Posts
Nearly flawless build, imo.


That Antec case is the best ITX case on the planet. Period.


And that Gigabyte board is the best ITX board on the planet. Period.


i3 is excellent.


RAM choice is excellent.


For the hard drive I would go with a 60GB SSD if you can swing it financially. If not then go with the 100GB laptop drive that you already own.


Awesome build. You are going to be very happy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Awesome. That's a big help.


I might upgrade to an SSD later if I find the HDD doesn't quite cut it.


Just a couple final questions if you have a moment.
  • Might this thing have heat issues?
  • Will this thing accomplish what I want? (Blu ray, 1080p Flash/Netflix)
  • Is this too much to spend for these needs? If so, any ideas on cheapening this thing?
  • Is there a better way to handle WiFi?


I really appreciate it. If all is well, I'll most likely go ahead and pull the trigger this weekend.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
If you're still thinking about utilizing the tuner card, and if you're planning to use Windows Media Center, just remember that WMC cannot record to any drive but a local one. There are a few workarounds, but it's not easy to do. What some do is record to their smaller internal drive and use WHS or other solution to move the recorded files over the network to a larger server.


What you have proposed is very close to my next build. Waiting on the MB to arrive.



I have also found that the rest of my non-geek family wants a regular type IR remote. I needed one for the IR blaster to control my satellite box anyway.


Unless you're going to be gaming, the integrated video on the i3-540 should work fine.


Re: the SSD, anecdotal reports that the SSD makes the UI in Windows Media Center much more "snappy". There is nothing per se about HTPC that demands a SSD, except for the noise heat, and power required aspects.


Good Luck! Let us know how it works out...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
It looks like the RAM is out of stock, so maybe I'll go with this one...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820145278

Looks basically the same.

Quote:
Originally Posted by snedecor /forum/post/19582464


Re: the SSD, anecdotal reports that the SSD makes the UI in Windows Media Center much more "snappy". There is nothing per se about HTPC that demands a SSD, except for the noise heat, and power required aspects.


Good Luck! Let us know how it works out...

Thanks, I'll keep that in mind about SSDs. And I most definitely will keep you posted.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,876 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by snedecor /forum/post/19582464


If you're still thinking about utilizing the tuner card, and if you're planning to use Windows Media Center, just remember that WMC cannot record to any drive but a local one. There are a few workarounds, but it's not easy to do. What some do is record to their smaller internal drive and use WHS or other solution to move the recorded files over the network to a larger server.


What you have proposed is very close to my next build. Waiting on the MB to arrive.



I have also found that the rest of my non-geek family wants a regular type IR remote. I needed one for the IR blaster to control my satellite box anyway.


Unless you're going to be gaming, the integrated video on the i3-540 should work fine.


Re: the SSD, anecdotal reports that the SSD makes the UI in Windows Media Center much more "snappy". There is nothing per se about HTPC that demands a SSD, except for the noise heat, and power required aspects.


Good Luck! Let us know how it works out...

Do you need to use whs to copy over media center recordings or can you just use any networked share drive? I was planning on recording locally and the just copying to another machine by hand.


Thanks

Chris
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schlotkins
Do you need to use whs to copy over media center recordings or can you just use any networked share drive? I was planning on recording locally and the just copying to another machine by hand.


Thanks

Chris
As I understand, recorded TV shows are just stored as regular files on your hard drive. I've always backed them up by hand in the past. I think you can add network folders to your WMC media library as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
344 Posts
I use HVR-2250; a dual channel tuner. If you want to watch one channel while recording another, you might consider an upgrade. Here's a link. To be honest, I use two and can watch/record four channels simultaneously.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,764 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schlotkins
Do you need to use whs to copy over media center recordings or can you just use any networked share drive? I was planning on recording locally and the just copying to another machine by hand.
You can use any network drive. That's what I do. I record shows locally and copy them manually to the unRAID share.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by tehowell /forum/post/19589516


I use HVR-2250; a dual channel tuner. If you want to watch one channel while recording another, you might consider an upgrade. Here's a link. To be honest, I use two and can watch/record four channels simultaneously.

I definitely would do this if it wasn't an extra $70. I mostly just want the TV tuner to record any network shows that I have to miss because I had to work late one night. The way I see it, if I want to record one thing and watch something else simultaneously, I can just hit record on WMC and then use my actual TV to watch the other show live.
 
1 - 20 of 30 Posts
Top