Thoughts on my planned $600 HTPC/mid-level gaming build?

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Beta member
Hey everyone!

After many, many years of being laptop based, I've decided to build a new tower. That being said, I might be rusty. I've read quite a bit here on the forums, done a fair bit of research, and spec'd out what I think I'm going to go with. If you wouldn't mind, I'd appreciate some advice though to make sure I'm in the right ballpark.

Approximate Purchase Date: this week

Budget Range: $600 out the door, after tax and shipping. I'm ok with using rebates.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: First priority, HTPC/media server. Second priority, as much gaming as I can squeeze out of a $600 build (I'm realistic and know it will likely only be mid-level game performance.)

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS

Preferred Website(s) for Parts:; open to others. 45 minutes from a Micro Center, so that's an option too.

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: no particular preference

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Probably not

Monitor Resolution: 1920 x 1080 (using hdmi to a 52" 1080p hdtv)

Additional Comments:

1. The primary use will be HTPC. I do all my tv watching via usenet/torrent downloads. Current setup has them stored on my laptop and streamed to my ps3 via ps3 media server. New build needs to be moderately quiet.

2. I'm unfamiliar with how analog 5.1 connections work. On my all-in-one stereo, I have 2 optical inputs in-use. I believe I also have one un-used analog input (single RCA style plug). If I'm following things right, I should be able to output 5.1 from the audio jack on the mobo to the analog RCA input (with the proper cable)? I've read that this will only give me 5.1 on video things, not games which would require a dedicated sound card. 5.1 sound for gaming is not necessary for the initial build.

3. If I decide in the future to make it more of a serious gaming machine, I'll consider a beefy gfx at that time.

Here's what I've come up with:

AMD Phenom II X4 960T Zosma 3.0GHz Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor HD96ZTWFGRBOX
$139 - [...] 6819103995

ZOTAC AMP! ZT-50402-10L GeForce GTX 550 Ti (Fermi) 1GB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
$124 - [...] 6814500194

ASRock N68C-S UCC AM3/AM2+/AM2 NVIDIA GeForce 7025 / nForce 630a Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
$49 - [...] 6813157204

Patriot Gamer 2 Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model PGD38G1333ELK
$29 after rebate - Already purchased

Hard Drive
Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
$109 - [...] 6822148697

Power Supply
Rosewill Stallion Series RD450-2-DB 450W ATX V2.2 Power Supply
$34 - [...] 6817182022

Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
$39 after rebate - [...] 6811129042

Optical Drive
LITE-ON DVD Burner - Bulk 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM Black SATA Model iHAS124-04 - OEM
$17 - [...] 6827106289

Estimated tax - $39
Estimated shipping - $20

Total estimated cost - $607

So, whatcha think?



Daemon Poster


Daemon Poster
Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
i can't recommend a rosewill psu. i would look at getting something with slightly more wattage if you plan to get a slightly powerful gpu. perhaps: - Antec BP550 Plus 550W Continuous Power ATX12V V2.2 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply

i am not so sure on the quality of the asrock boards, either...

if you need to save a little money, i would cut down on the size of the hd, and then upgrade as you get money to a 2 Tb green drive.

+1. I'd avoid AsRock boards if I were you. From what I've heard, they aren't the best. Also, you NEED a better PSU. That 450w Rosewill just isn't going to cut it. It may work, but it's not a quality PSU, and there isn't much (really any) room for GPU upgrades there.


Fully Optimized
+1 on the AsRock= thumbs down - I have one and it is a pain- refuses to hold settings, etc.
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