Author Topic: HTPC Build  (Read 6896 times)

Offline brain candy

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HTPC Build
« on: July 16, 2012, 11:40:45 AM »
Hey all, I'm planning on buying parts for a mini-ITX HTPC build this week and was hoping y'all would be up for critiquing my rough draft or suggesting some alternatives. :) I got bored and dragged out an old PC so that I could watch the weekend footy on my TV instead of on my Mac. I've been toying around with the idea of an HTPC for a while, but I had such a blast setting up Lubuntu on this box that I now really want a new toy.

Usage:
- Paired with a Samsung 46" 1080P TV via HDMI.
- Streaming footy games
- Playing all the file types that my PS3 and/or Samsung TV can't play
- Game emulation. NES, SNES, N64, etc.
- Potential future NAS device (Would install secondary storage)
- The boyfriend is thinking about a Minecraft server (not all that important)
- Silent computing

Givens:
- This will be a Linux box. Most likely Lubuntu or XBMC.
- Mini-ITX platform, low wattage CPU and PSU, and integrated Intel HD 3000 or up graphics.
- Under $500
- I'm very sold on the Antec ISK series cases.

I'm not very concerned about:
- Blu-ray playback.
- Using the stock Intel fan. It's low profile and the CPU runs cool, so I don't really care to mess around with a 3rd party cooler.
- Local storage. This case only takes SSD drives. I'm thinking of starting with a smaller capacity SSD as the boot drive and going from there. Dependent on what y'all can find, of course. :)

- CASE
Antec ISK 310-150 Black / Silver 0.8mm cold rolled steel Mini-ITX Desktop Computer Case 150W Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129081

Antec ISK 300-150 Black 0.8mm cold rolled steel Mini-ITX Desktop Computer Case 150W Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129080

Same case, different look. I was leaning towards the black, but the front of the silver one makes the black front look like it's made of plastic.

- MOBO
Intel BOXDH67CFB3 LGA 1155 Intel H67 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Mini ITX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813121507

- CPU
Intel Core i3-2105 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 3000 BX80623I32105
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115090

- HARD DRIVE
Crucial M4 CT064M4SSD2 2.5" 64GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148441

OR

ADATA S510 Series AS510S3-120GM-O 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820211588

- MEMORY
Crucial Ballistix sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148543

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HTPC Build
« on: July 16, 2012, 11:40:45 AM »

Offline chexquestisawful

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Re: HTPC Build
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2012, 09:51:37 AM »
Sounds pretty good, but you might want to up the CPU a bit higher if you plan to do serious emulation, esp. if you want to emulate systems like the PS2, xBox 360, or Wii; Those are pretty power-intensive.

Also, The 64 GB SSD seems like it would be too small. Personally, I'd recommend a config where you have a 32 GB SSD with a secondary 256 or 512 GB Regular HD. If that doesn't work, then definately get the 120 GB SSD, and maybe get an external 1-2 TB HD for that  Uber-Awesome USB 3.0 setup on the motherboard(big plus on selecting that board, BTW!).

EDIT:I don't know if Lubuntu or XBMC support Solid State Drives yet, so that's something to consider.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2012, 09:53:13 AM by chexquestisawful »
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Offline brain candy

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Re: HTPC Build
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2012, 01:38:33 PM »
Seems that most HTPC builders (especially XBMC guys) go for the low-wattage $50 range Pentium G series processors despite the lack of hyper-threading, so I thought I was buying a whole lot of hardware to do a whole lot of nothing!  It just feels so wrong only spending $50 on a CPU... XD

I'm with you on the processor, for sure, the CPU has been my real sticking point this time around. It's hard picking from the few that match the 65 watt or lower, at least HD 3000 graphics in an LGA1155 socket profile.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007671+600095610+600039174+600265637&QksAutoSuggestion=&ShowDeactivatedMark=False&Configurator=&IsNodeId=1&Subcategory=343&description=&hisInDesc=&Ntk=&CFG=&SpeTabStoreType=&AdvancedSearch=1&srchInDesc=

I feel that the performance difference in the HD 3000 vs the HD 2000 graphics is significant enough that I can take a hit on the clockspeed and other variables to get the better GPU. And unfortunately, the first quad CPU doesn't become an option until the $200 price point.

After all that has been said, I'm not really looking to do any massive emulation. We already own and run a PS3, PS2, 360 and passed on the Wii when we had a chance to get one cheap. I'm just really hung up on wanting to get the best and newest (I so want to get an Ivy Bridge), but since this is an HTPC, it would mostly be a waste if I did, especially since I've set a budget.

Quote
Also, The 64 GB SSD seems like it would be too small. Personally, I'd recommend a config where you have a 32 GB SSD with a secondary 256 or 512 GB Regular HD. If that doesn't work, then definately get the 120 GB SSD, and maybe get an external 1-2 TB HD for that  Uber-Awesome USB 3.0 setup on the motherboard(big plus on selecting that board, BTW!).

EDIT:I don't know if Lubuntu or XBMC support Solid State Drives yet, so that's something to consider.

I'm with you here as well! I really want to start off big, but the budget restrictions I've set has kept me hovering around that 64 GB SSD price range. For a tiny OS and no local storage, I don't think it'll be too much of a problem. A secondary drive would be added down the line and external devices would be used for any big TV series and such. Really excited about utilizing that USB 3.0!

Linux supports SSD natively, luckily, TRIM and all. I've got 3 or so workstations running Red Hat on SSDs, so no worries there. :) Currently, my biggest SSD support offender is my MacBook... The little bugger doesn't support TRIM. It was still worth replacing its traditional drive with an SSD though.

Thank you so much for your help. I really needed to talk this out. You've given me some things to think about. If you have any suggestions for better storage prices, better CPUs, or anything, I'm so up for it. :)
« Last Edit: July 17, 2012, 04:32:54 PM by brain candy »

Offline brain candy

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Re: HTPC Build
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2012, 06:32:54 PM »
Bumpity Bump!

I'm back with my recently resurrected HTPC project. Needs are basically the same, only now the boyfriend will be doing some light gaming on it. I still havent decided if I want to spend money on Windows 8 or go with a Linux build.

This is what I have so far:

CPU:  AMD A10-5800K 3.8GHz Quad-Core Processor  ($129.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler:  Corsair Hydro Series H60 74.4 CFM  Liquid CPU Cooler  ($65.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard:  ASRock FM2A75M-DGS Micro ATX  FM2 Motherboard  ($55.98 @ Newegg)
Memory:  G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1866 Memory  ($34.99 @ Newegg)
Storage:  Samsung 830 Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk  ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Case:  BitFenix Prodigy (Black) Mini ITX Tower Case  ($104.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply:  SeaSonic 360W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V Power Supply  ($55.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $520.90

I'm not entirely happy with the price... As usual, any tips, leads on good hardware, and alternative builds are much appreciated. :)

Offline ChexCommander

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Re: HTPC Build
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2012, 02:42:42 AM »
Bumpity Bump!

I'm back with my recently resurrected HTPC project. Needs are basically the same, only now the boyfriend will be doing some light gaming on it. I still havent decided if I want to spend money on Windows 8 or go with a Linux build.

This is what I have so far:

CPU:  AMD A10-5800K 3.8GHz Quad-Core Processor  ($129.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler:  Corsair Hydro Series H60 74.4 CFM  Liquid CPU Cooler  ($65.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard:  ASRock FM2A75M-DGS Micro ATX  FM2 Motherboard  ($55.98 @ Newegg)
Memory:  G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1866 Memory  ($34.99 @ Newegg)
Storage:  Samsung 830 Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk  ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Case:  BitFenix Prodigy (Black) Mini ITX Tower Case  ($104.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply:  SeaSonic 360W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V Power Supply  ($55.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $520.90

I'm not entirely happy with the price... As usual, any tips, leads on good hardware, and alternative builds are much appreciated. :)

Well for starters, are you sure you need the CPU cooler? If overclocking doesn't factor into "light gaming", I think you're perfectly fine without it. AMD stock fans are solid.

EDIT: After reading the reviews, it looks like the stock cooler could be better. Still, $65 seems a bit steep for a cooler IMO.
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Offline Atariangamer

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Re: HTPC Build
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2012, 04:35:19 AM »
One good thing about a great cooler is SILENCE.

My Xbox 1 that I use as a media center and games console (benefits of modding, woot) is ANNOYING when watching quiet movies or playing games with story. The hard drive is loud and the fans can get loud, so a quiet box would be NICE.

If that's the kind of thing that bugs you, stick with the cooling. HOWEVER: I saw quite a few reviews that the H60 was pretty iffy...check into that. Antec now has a Kuhler line or something that does the same thing.

AMD is now my platform of choice for the sheer fact that Rep's PC (which we built for a small budget) can max everything he tries. That and they're cheap for power.

I'll try and check around for some options soon. Else price, that looks great spec wise.
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Offline ChexCommander

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Re: HTPC Build
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2012, 07:33:27 PM »
One good thing about a great cooler is SILENCE.

My Xbox 1 that I use as a media center and games console (benefits of modding, woot) is ANNOYING when watching quiet movies or playing games with story. The hard drive is loud and the fans can get loud, so a quiet box would be NICE.

If that's the kind of thing that bugs you, stick with the cooling. HOWEVER: I saw quite a few reviews that the H60 was pretty iffy...check into that. Antec now has a Kuhler line or something that does the same thing.

Ah, true. If it's going to be an HTPC then that would make sense.
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Offline brain candy

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Re: HTPC Build
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2012, 06:53:30 PM »
Y'all are correct, I am considering the 3rd party cooler because 1.) The AMD stock SUCKS and 2.) Silence. I really don't want to buy that Corsair though because of the reviews and the fact that Corsair recently changed their leak policy... Unfortunately, Antec, Thermaltake, CoolerMaster and co. do not make FM2 socket liquid cooling kits yet. (Antec has a "B stock" that does but it carries a limited 90 day warranty). The AMD has a "K" in its name which means I can overclock the crud out of it. I hadn't planned on OCing, but since I can, I've gotta try which makes cooling a bit more important. Are y'all seeing any alternatives coolers I could use? I really like the liquid cool kits because there isn't actually a whole lot mounted directly onto the motherboard (great for travel) but I'm not opposed to a giant cooling tower as long as it's pretty silent.

Also, I'm still torn on if I want to go with Windows 8 or a Linux distro. The gaming wouldn't go down so well with Linux, but I don't have much confidence in Windows 8 either!

AMD is now my platform of choice for the sheer fact that Rep's PC (which we built for a small budget) can max everything he tries. That and they're cheap for power.

I hadn't even considered AMD for this build as their performance, thermal design, and power usage was pathetic compared to Intel, but dang, that AMD A10-5800K is a powerhouse! It may not compete with Intel in performance, but as an APU it's unbeatable. Wanting to do integrated graphics, I was very wary of relying on Intel's HD graphics and unwilling to spend ridiculous amounts for the HD 4000 graphics so this little AMD ended up being a lifesaver. This is the top of the line FM2 socket AMD APU and it's cheaper than the bottom of the barrel iCore APU. Impressive! I'm happy to hear that Rep has had such a good experience! I'm looking forward to working with an AMD again. :)

On my iPhone, sorry for any typos and/or bouts of incoherence.

Offline xbolt

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Re: HTPC Build
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2012, 08:59:46 PM »
The gaming wouldn't go down so well with Linux, but I don't have much confidence in Windows 8 either!

Well, Steam's coming out for Linux in the near future.

Offline ChexCommander

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Re: HTPC Build
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2012, 12:34:07 AM »
The gaming wouldn't go down so well with Linux, but I don't have much confidence in Windows 8 either!

Well, Steam's coming out for Linux in the near future.

In the near future...in Valve Time.
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Offline brain candy

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Re: HTPC Build
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2012, 04:44:03 PM »
The gaming wouldn't go down so well with Linux, but I don't have much confidence in Windows 8 either!

Well, Steam's coming out for Linux in the near future.

In the near future...in Valve Time.

Exactly! We must factor in Valve Time. ;)

Sadly, I'd be the only one rocking the Valve games. The boyfriend would like to continue playing Minecraft (Linux native), Guild Wars 2 (maybe), and Diablo II. I think the AMD APU could handle it, but getting these games set up on Linux with an APU sounds like a mess.

I'm still having a hard time talking myself into this AMD APU. Good on AMD for offering affordable quad-cores to the consumer, but wow, they are utterly left behind in per-core performance. Right now, I'm fretting about the energy and heat efficiency hit I'll take by going AMD... Anyone have any sweet Intel ITX builds in mind? I'd love to compare. (I need to go price one out myself)

Offline Atariangamer

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Re: HTPC Build
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2012, 06:37:47 PM »
Well, if its any idea, ZeldaGamer00 was using a Core i5 w/ Intel HD 3000 or 4000 in his computer, and managed good framerates on decent settings...But that was Sandy Bridge. Ivy seems to be sporting...2500?! wha~

Yeah. That's no good. 4000 is better than 2500 in all cases, and not even by that much. The one that got closest to a dedicated graphics card was another AMD: the A8-3870K. But you've got an A10 picked out...which will be better in the long run.

But! If gaming isn't going to be the main thing, an i5 Sandy Bridge would be your better bet. Or better yet, i7. That is one thing I'd say, my laptop has never failed to pour on the performance in non-gpu restricted applications. I'm constantly surprised by it. It's just so friggin expensive.
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Offline brain candy

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Re: HTPC Build
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2012, 01:28:43 PM »
Ack, I'm behind!

Atarian, I've been bouncing around your last post in my head for the last few weeks and am again leaning back towards an iCore of some kind. I talked with the boyfriend and figured out that the "HTPC" part of our build definition is holding us back and narrowing our scope a little too much. We've parked one of our other rigs in front of the TV for the last few weeks and have done nothing but play Minecraft, Guild Wars 2, Starcraft 2, Diablo III, and watch Chobits on it. Waaay more game heavy than I originally thought. I think we need to re-define my build as a mini ITX form factor budget gamer + Part-Time HTPC (during footy season). I still want to go ITX because I need something really small to sit next to the TV and... that case.

So, I'm really going to need help picking out a mid-range GPU. :facepalm

Edit: Oy, here is my worst case scenario skeletal build. I went for spiffy and new and then tried to budget within the available options. It got expensive fast.

CPU:  Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor  ($319.99 @ Newegg) ($229.99 at MicroCenter In-Store pickup + $50 off any Z77 chipset mobo)
Motherboard:  Asus P8Z77-I Deluxe Mini ITX  LGA1155 Motherboard  ($184.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card:  XFX Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card  ($179.99 @ Newegg)
Case:  BitFenix Prodigy (Black) Mini ITX Tower Case  ($94.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $759.95 $669.95

P.S. AMD gets the GPU nod due to Linus Torvalds.
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« Last Edit: December 06, 2012, 11:47:43 AM by brain candy »

Offline brain candy

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Re: HTPC Build
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2012, 11:51:16 AM »
Last night, I purchased:
Quote
CPU:  Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor  ($319.99 @ Newegg) ($229.99 at MicroCenter In-Store pickup + $50 off any Z77 chipset mobo)
Motherboard:  Asus P8Z77-I Deluxe Mini ITX  LGA1155 Motherboard  ($184.99 @ Newegg)

So, just building off of this now. Thanks again for all the help!

Offline Atariangamer

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Re: HTPC Build
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2012, 04:02:43 PM »
I was just looking at that motherboard...what the heck is that DIGI+ VRM?
It says something about improving the onchip Intel graphics...?!?

Anyways, I can't argue with that graphics card, except for the fact its XFX and I had an awful time with XFX...until I went ATI. <_<
So who knows? Maybe they're just better with AMD stuff. Also, that card is amazingly cool as far as the features go.


But again, remind us of the remaining budget, as well as let us know: do you have a PSU and some memory hanging around? or is that going to have to be factored in as well?
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