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Old 03-19-2009, 10:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Small HTPC?

This is what's up: My mom likes to watch tv shows and stuff, but she doesn't have cable and misses a lot of her shows, so she needs to watch them on the computer. She can't stand sitting in her computer chair, so she needs to be able to watch it on the TV in a different room. She borrowed my laptop for a while, which I hooked up to her TV, and she loved it.

So I was thinking it might be a cool gift to get her a small home theater kind of pc. I don't know what people usually put in an HTPC, but this would need to be small and cheap.

So I was thinking of putting it in the cabinet underneath the tv with a small case and getting her a wireless mouse and keyboard to have over on the table by the couch.


Does this sound like a decent idea?
Small case, micro atx board, cheap cpu, etc.

I don't really know what kind of components you would put in something like this... but I'm guessing onboard video and audio is fine? Is there any onboard video with an hdmi port that would transmit sound also? Otherwise I might have an audio cable to do that through the TV.

Can anyone put together a parts list? Let's say $300? (just for the tower... don't need OS. less than 300 would be wonderful)

also recommend a very cheap wireless keyboard + mouse combo? (not included in the $300 budget)

I'll throw up my attempt at a parts list in a few mins

Thanks in advance!

Edit: what's the deal with barebones kits? What do you usually get in them, and would one of those be a good option for me?
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Old 03-20-2009, 12:15 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Small HTPC?

Newegg.com - APEX DM-318 Black Steel MicroATX Slim Case Computer Case ATX12V Flex 275W Power Supply - Computer Cases
Newegg.com - ASRock A780FullHD AM2+/AM2 AMD 780G Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - AMD Motherboards
Newegg.com - AMD Athlon 64 X2 7750 Kuma 2.7GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache 2MB L3 Cache Socket AM2+ 95W Dual-Core black edition Processor - Processors - Desktops
Newegg.com - G.SKILL 1GB (2 x 512MB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Desktop Memory

$211.16 after shipping...didn't know what size HDD you wanted. The onboard on the 780G chipset should be enough for an HTPC, and that case is nice, compact, but still a good case. Baez will attest to that.
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Old 03-20-2009, 01:08 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Small HTPC?

mmkay

so let's say i throw in a dvd drive: Newegg.com - LITE-ON Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 22X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM SATA 22X DVD Burner - CD / DVD Burners

throw in 160gb: Newegg.com - Western Digital Caviar SE WD1600AAJS 160GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - Internal Hard Drives

that's an extra $65

so I would be right up to that $300 mark

so few questions:
1. What would be the cheapest way I could get an HDMI port on there (one that can do sound also)?
2. Is it fine to stick with the PSU that comes with that case?
3. Any other cases you can recommend that might be a bit more flashy? (look cooler)
any idea how this one is? Newegg.com - Rosewill R379-SM Black/ Silver 0.8mm SGCC Steel MicroATX Slim Case Computer Case PSU ATX12V Flex 300W Power Supply - Computer Cases
4. Would it be worth it to bump it up to this ram? Newegg.com - G.SKILL 2GB &#40;2 x 1GB&#41; 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 &#40;PC2 6400&#41; Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Desktop Memory
It's $10 more, but free shipping, so it would be close... I know the timings are worse, but it's an extra gig.

oh and I guess it would also need a wireless card in it... do I have room in those cases and recommend any wireless card? don't really know what I'm looking for there...
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Old 03-20-2009, 03:34 AM   #4 (permalink)

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Default Re: Small HTPC?

1. Easiest would be a motherboard with an HDMI port.
2. Yes the PSU in the Apex case is great.
3. The one you posted is good but it depends if you're looking for asthetics over quality. Apex is quality and Rosewill is looks. Although Rosewill does have okay quality.
4. For the current price difference yes it is worth it. If the gap grows by the time you buy then I would say no.

This is a good little wireless adapter I've used in many builds: Newegg.com - ASUS WL-167g IEEE 802.11b/g USB 2.0 WLAN Adapter (pen-type) Up to 54Mbps Data Rates 64/128-Bit WEP, WPA - Wireless Adapters
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Old 03-20-2009, 03:46 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Small HTPC?

1. Recommend a mobo w/ hdmi port?
2. Any internal options for wireless adapter?

Also what do you guys think about this: Newegg.com - ione KBP20 Silver & Black 87 Normal Keys USB RF Wireless Ultra slim size design Keyboard - Keyboards
I could hide the PC in the cabinet and then use the extension to put the little usb receiver out in the open, then just leave the keyboard by the couch and use the little joystick on the keyboard for a mouse.

Or anyone have another recommendation for a <$50 keyboard+mouse solution? Thought it would be nice to have the mouse built into the keyboard, either with a touchpad or a joystick like that... and a smaller/lighter keyboard would be best.

Also prices/deals will probably change cuz I just had the idea that I should hold off for a month or so and get credit for this being a mothers day present :laughing:
So that means I'll probably go with whichever case is cheaper on the day I order.

Edit: Would this mobo work?: Newegg.com - ASUS M3A78-EM AM2+/AM2 AMD 780G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - AMD Motherboards
or this: Newegg.com - Foxconn A7GM-S AM2+/AM2 AMD 780G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - AMD Motherboards
They're a bit more expensive, but I'd be willing to spend the extra for the hdmi port.
And I guess I assumed this before, but I wanna double check... is the onboard video on one of these mobos good enough to play movies, etc, on a 32" LCD?

Also I've never gotten a retail cpu... does it come with thermal paste pre-applied? I already have some tx-2, but how does that work if it comes with stuff on it?
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Old 03-20-2009, 08:43 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Small HTPC?

Either mobo will be fine. I'd say get the Foxcon since it's cheaper. The onboard video is basically an ATI 3200, so it will be fine. Even if it was a 2400/2600 it would be ok.

Retail CPUs come with the thermal paste pre-applied, so no application necessary.

As for RAM, the reason I put 1gb in there is because you won't really notice a performance difference between the two. You can put 2gb if you like, it's up to you.

If you want an internal WiFi adapter, either one of these is a good bet:

Newegg.com - Computer Parts, PC Components, Laptop Computers, Digital Cameras and more!

Dunno much about wireless keyboards with touchpads, sorry.

I still say the Apex would be a better case, but it's really up to you. Rosewills have OK quality, but not that great.
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Old 03-20-2009, 09:36 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Small HTPC?

The x2 4850e has a 45w TDP vs the 95w TDP of the x2 7750 but is still more than fast enough for a htpc.

Newegg.com - AMD Athlon X2 4850e 2.5GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM2 45W Dual-Core Processor - Processors - Desktops

I have the Foxconn 780g and have been pretty happy with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hikaricloud View Post
The onboard video is basically an ATI 3200, so it will be fine. Even if it was a 2400/2600 it would be ok.
A HD 2600 is significantly faster than a HD 3200. I agree the 3200 would be fine for a htpc though.
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Old 03-20-2009, 10:31 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Small HTPC?

There was a 2400 in that sentence too... :P

But I was actually talking about the Avivo HD technology...weren't they implemented with the 2400/2600? Hence why I mentioned them...
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Old 03-20-2009, 01:41 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Know anything about this case? Newegg.com - APEX MI-008 Black Steel Mini-ITX Tower Computer Case 250W Power Supply - Computer Cases
My boss got it and said he had some sort of trouble with the power supply... like it didn't fit or something.

How much difference will be noticeable between those two cpu's? I'd like to get the cheaper and less power one if it will give similar performance.

So to clarify because I'm a complete networking newb (and have never had more than one computer), if I stick one of those wifi adapters in the computer, 1. will it be able to connect to the internet (and how does this work? is it just like a laptop where it just shows available networks?) and 2. will it be networked with the other desktop in the house, which is connected to a wireless router (we already have the wireless goin). I'd like this so that I could backup the data wirelessly to the external hdd I have connected to the current desktop.
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Old 03-20-2009, 01:48 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Small HTPC?

The case looks alright, and Apex makes some ok lower end stuff. The PSU should fit fine since it comes with it.

You could get the lower wattage CPU, it should be fine. I don't think the performance difference is going to be that noticeable.

The networking thing will work just like a laptop. It will show available networks and you connect to one. No biggie. And to back up data do your external over the network, you'd have to share it, obviously.

EDIT: Wait, that case is ITX, not micro ATX. It's a no go.
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