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Old 02-16-2010, 12:25 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default HTPC - Plan to buy hardware this week.

Hello everyone . I haven't been on those forums in ages.......

Anyways.. I want to build HTPC. I always planned to do this, but never got around it.

But now, after my internet/phone/tv provider charge me $150 () or more per month, plus it seems like the same movies are showing day after day.... I decided I need hurry up and do something.

So I am thinking to just build HTPC, rip all my DVDs, possibly also put music on there too.. etc.. and just have basic local channels for news and what not.

I have 1080p LCD TV, with which I plan to use with this HTPC (I will connect TV and HTPC by HDMI, I have few movies which are in HD). Viewing local channel from same interface could be nice, but maybe not the top priority (for that I guess I will need tv-tuner?)

Please advice me on the hardware that I need for HTPC. Here is something that I had come up with:

Video card: - GIGABYTE GV-R455D3-512I Radeon HD 4550 512MB 64-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards (nice price after mail-in rebate)
or - MSI N210-MD512H GeForce 210 512MB 64-bit DDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Low Profile Ready Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards
or - MSI N94GT-MD512 GeForce 9400 GT 512MB 128-bit GDDR2 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards
Questions: Which is better? ATI or Nvidia for HTPC use?
Its probably would be better to have something fan-less, for less noise.
Which card do you think good for viewing 1080p movies?

2GB probably should be enought? what do you all think? - G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-2GBNQ - Desktop Memory (Nice price, it seem)
Actually, I have the above memory in my current Desktop.
Another option which I can take is to use the memory which I have now in my Desktop PC for HTPC, and buy new maybe better memory for my Desktop.
Please give me ideas on what kind of memory I could use for HTPC and if 2GB is too much or too little or enough.

I have a lot of uncertainty to what kind of CPU would I need for HTPC.
Also if I should choose AMD or Intel. I was reading somewhere else that AMD is better, since it is cheaper.
What kind of CPU can be low-noise and possibly low power consumption?
Somewhere I heard about AMD4850e? Is it any good? Any other good CPUs for HTPC?

How much power do I need? I also would like it to be kind of quiet. Would be nice if it is cheap too.

What size of Motherboard should I use? I know it would be depend on case and CPU, but which size standard is better for HTPC?
MicroATX, Mini-ITX? ATX is probably too big for HTPC, right?

What is I will buy this: - Antec New Solution NSK2480 Black/Silver 0.8mm cold-rolled steel MicroATX Desktop Computer Case 380W Power Supply - Computer Cases
It have 380W Power Supply. Is that Power Supply good enough?

HardDrive: - Western Digital Caviar Green WD10EARS 1TB 5400 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
I heard they consume less power? And lowest price for 1TB?

Optical Drive:
Probably not so important. I will get something.

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Old 02-16-2010, 01:21 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: HTPC - Plan to buy hardware this week.

Personally I would go with the Radeon as it's cheap and does what you need, unless you think you may go with a low profile case in which case go with the GeForce 210 as it provides the low profile bracket.

2GB should easily be enough as my gaming desktop is still chugging along with 2GB of memory on Windows 7.

As for the motherboard it is entirely up to what you would like, personally I would go with a Micro ATX board and case to keep size down. Mini-ITX wouldn't be the best choice for a modern HTPC (though I haven't looked at ITX boards for a while and they may have advanced significantly since then) as they'd generally be too weak to run HD video.

I run a 1TB greenpower and it works fine for me, should be great for HTPC use.

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Old 02-16-2010, 08:01 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: HTPC - Plan to buy hardware this week.

what about CPU? Which should I get? I am really not sure what kind I need for HTPC

How about this one?
well.. maybe no. it's marked 80W, maybe not very good.

or maybe this:
35W (this I was reading this can't do 1080p rips, which I will not do on my HTPC anyways).

or this maybe?
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Old 02-16-2010, 12:06 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: HTPC - Plan to buy hardware this week.

Get an Athlon II X2 240, Athlon II X3 4XX, or Athlon II X4 620 any of those would be good for an HTPC.
And get a 785G motherboard and you won't even need a dedicated graphics card.
The Radeon 4200 built in graphics can play 1920x1080 resolution videos no problem.
Though if you want later, I'd go with a fanless GPU, possibly low profile, and check benchmarks to make sure it's decent.
As far as power goes, a 380w or 430w Antec Earthwatts would tie you over a 400w Corsair or something along those lines.
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Old 02-17-2010, 01:21 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: HTPC - Plan to buy hardware this week.

Thanks. I will go with that mobo and on board video card then. I was worried before if it can handle 1080p.
Thats will save me some money. And like you said, I can always buy GPU later.

I might pick Athlon II X2 240, since it have lower wattage.

But how does Athlon II X2 240 compares to this:
AMD Sempron 140 Sargas 2.7GHz 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM3 45W - AMD Sempron 140 Sargas 2.7GHz 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM3 45W Single-Core Processor - Processors - Desktops

Also. Since I will use Linux on my HTPC. I am looking at alternative Intel/GeForce build (different mobo with integrated video chip and CPU)
Here is what I think about intel motherboard:
XFX MI93007 AS9 LGA 775 NVIDIA GeForce 9300 (Can on board GeForce 9300 handle 1080p playback? I heard GeForce 9300 and ATI 4200 are almost equivalent). - XFX MI93007 AS9 LGA 775 NVIDIA GeForce 9300 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - Intel Motherboards

And I am not sure which intel CPU is good for HTPC. Can someone recommend me something?

PS. I also might get this case:
hec Black 0.7mm Thickness SECC 7K09 Micro ATX (270W PSU)
cheaper and probably PSU would be enough.
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Old 02-17-2010, 09:19 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: HTPC - Plan to buy hardware this week.

Well, the Sempron is a single core CPU and would have a little trouble in rendering compared to a dual core CPU.
I know for sure one thing you can do if you do buy the Athlon II X2 240, to save on power draw and reduce heat...
Is to lower the vcore significantly.
I heard you can lower the vcore to 1.1v and keep it at stock speeds.
If you downclocked it to 2.6Ghz or 2.4Ghz you could probably get the vcore even lower.

Also, there are Geforce boards for the AM3 and AM2+ sockets so you don't have to go Intel, even if you want to go Nvidia.
For example

If you go the Intel/Geforce 9300 route (It's close but 785G beats it more than loses to it, also 785G can usually overclock further, but that's irrelevant on a HTPC)

I recommend an e5300


You could get an i3 530 and go the 1156 route, though it will cost you some more $$

If you end up deciding against integrated, since you're using Linux I recommend going with a GT 220, if you want some more power though, go with a GT 240.
GT 220 - $50-70
GT 240 - $70-110

Also, there are fanless GT 220's and there is only at this time... ONE fanless GT 240 by Zotac, and it's a little over $100 on the egg.

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