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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone.


I've been thinking about trying to get my hands on a HTPC. This PC would be for nothing but watching movies from both the drive and on the web. I was looking fomr something small yet sturdy.


i3 or i5. Windows 8.1 and wi fi are a must. Everything else doesn't matter.


Does anyone know of a website that allows me to get something like this? I could build one but with I don't think that would work to well with having such large hands. So I was looking for a pre built one for around 5/600. The lower the better.


Thanks for any advice you may have!


Juke
 

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The Ivy Bridge Intel NUCs look like any other black hockey puck media streamer. The build quality is amazing. They are also very fast. I've used the NUC DC53427HYE for XBMC and Plex Media Server with Windows 8.1 Pro and Windows Server 2012 R2 respectively. With these OSes the boot time with an inexpensive Samsung EVO4 is faster than most modern TV's. However, the energy consumption is low enough that you don't have to worry about powering it off. Of course, since it's Intel motherboard and chipset S3 also works very well. The NUC is fairly quiet as well.


I was able to build the DC53427HYE from Amazon with 120GB Samsung EVO4 SSD, 16GB Crucial RAM for ~$600 USD, so it meets your budget and that definitely overkill i.e. "Smallest Yet Most Powerful HTPC".
 

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Discussion Starter #6

Quote:
Originally Posted by shortcut3d  /t/1522258/smallest-yet-most-powerful-htpc-build-for-the-price#post_24475072


The Ivy Bridge Intel NUCs look like any other black hockey puck media streamer. The build quality is amazing. They are also very fast. I've used the NUC DC53427HYE for XBMC and Plex Media Server with Windows 8.1 Pro and Windows Server 2012 R2 respectively. With these OSes the boot time with an inexpensive Samsung EVO4 is faster than most modern TV's. However, the energy consumption is low enough that you don't have to worry about powering it off. Of course, since it's Intel motherboard and chipset S3 also works very well. The NUC is fairly quiet as well.


I was able to build the DC53427HYE from Amazon with 120GB Samsung EVO4 SSD, 16GB Crucial RAM for ~$600 USD, so it meets your budget and that definitely overkill i.e. "Smallest Yet Most Powerful HTPC".

I was interested in something like that but the problem is building something so small. I thought maybe my hands were to big making things to hard to build.
 

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Just out of curiousity, why is Windows 8.1 a must? I think most HTPC users lean more towards Windows 7.


FYI, the NUCs may be small, but there's more than enough room to install the RAM and mSATA drive. You don't have to be a surgeon to get things installed in the case.
 

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Discussion Starter #8

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Originally Posted by captain_video  /t/1522258/smallest-yet-most-powerful-htpc-build-for-the-price#post_24476433


Just out of curiousity, why is Windows 8.1 a must? I think most HTPC users lean more towards Windows 7.


FYI, the NUCs may be small, but there's more than enough room to install the RAM and mSATA drive. You don't have to be a surgeon to get things installed in the case.

Do any of those come pre built?


And I just happen to like windows 8 mainly. Not really a must though.
 

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NUCs come with just the power supply and case. The motherboard includes the CPU and is already installed in the case. You need to install RAM and a hard drive. Some of the latest Haswell models can accommodate a 2.5" SSD instead of a mSATA drive and currently have drivers only for Windows 8/8.1, but Windows 7 drivers are supposed to be on the way if they're not already available. You can find pre-built units on ebay, but be prepared to pay through the nose for them.


They're really not difficult to put together. Loosen the four screws securing to bottom cover and open the case. The mSATA drive inserts in the mini-PCIe slot and is secured with a single screw. The SODIMM RAM modules simply click into place. If you're installing a SSD in one of the newer units you'll probably have to secure the drive to a bracket with a few screws and connect an internal cable.


To install the OS or any other software you'll need to do it from either a USB drive or an external USB optical drive. Microsoft has a utility to configure a USB flash drive with an image from a Windows installation disc.

http://pcsupport.about.com/od/windows-8/a/install-windows-8-usb.htm


The utility works for either Windows 7, 8, or 8.1. Just create the image using Nero, ImgBurn, or other CD/DVD burning utility. Run the USB drive setup utility and point it to the image. It will create a bootable image on the flash drive and allow you to install Windows directly from the drive. Just configure the BIOS on the NUC to boot from the USB drive and it will automatically initiate the installation when you boot it up.


USB ports get used up in a hurry so you may need to connect an external USB hub to accommodate the mouse, keyboard, external drives, etc., until you get things installed and configured. I use a Lenovo 5902 wireless keyboard/trackball remote for mouse and keyboard control and a USB IR receiver for the remote. If you want to use it as a DVR then you might want to consider using an external USB drive to store the recordings.
 

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Discussion Starter #11

Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video  /t/1522258/smallest-yet-most-powerful-htpc-build-for-the-price#post_24476500


NUCs come with just the power supply and case. The motherboard includes the CPU and is already installed in the case. You need to install RAM and a hard drive. Some of the latest Haswell models can accommodate a 2.5" SSD instead of a mSATA drive and currently have drivers only for Windows 8/8.1, but Windows 7 drivers are supposed to be on the way if they're not already available. You can find pre-built units on ebay, but be prepared to pay through the nose for them.


They're really not difficult to put together. Loosen the four screws securing to bottom cover and open the case. The mSATA drive inserts in the mini-PCIe slot and is secured with a single screw. The SODIMM RAM modules simply click into place. If you're installing a SSD in one of the newer units you'll probably have to secure the drive to a bracket with a few screws and connect an internal cable.


To install the OS or any other software you'll need to do it from either a USB drive or an external USB optical drive. Microsoft has a utility to configure a USB flash drive with an image from a Windows installation disc.

http://pcsupport.about.com/od/windows-8/a/install-windows-8-usb.htm


The utility works for either Windows 7, 8, or 8.1. Just create the image using Nero, ImgBurn, or other CD/DVD burning utility. Run the USB drive setup utility and point it to the image. It will create a bootable image on the flash drive and allow you to install Windows directly from the drive. Just configure the BIOS on the NUC to boot from the USB drive and it will automatically initiate the installation when you boot it up.


USB ports get used up in a hurry so you may need to connect an external USB hub to accommodate the mouse, keyboard, external drives, etc., until you get things installed and configured. I use a Lenovo 5902 wireless keyboard/trackball remote for mouse and keyboard control and a USB IR receiver for the remote. If you want to use it as a DVR then you might want to consider using an external USB drive to store the recordings.

Sounds like I will build one of these units. Is there a link for a starting on? I know I wanted it to have an i3. Everything else doesn't really matter to me.
 

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Thanks for posting, but that's neither small nor powerful. And how do you run any extenders (besides Xbox) from Win 8, or even Windows Media Center for that matter?
 
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