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-   -   My refined HTPC build (http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/htpc-systems-software/15717-my-refined-htpc-build.html)

Mr. Gruntsworthy March 12, 2009 07:25 PM

My refined HTPC build
 
Updated March 18

Though my PS3/Xbox 360 does a fine job for HTPC work, I have the insatiable urge to build a dedicated PC for such a task.

Here is what I have so far:

Quote:

Case: Antec Minuet 350 mATX Black Case
OS: Windows XP SP3
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E4600 @ 2.4GHz, 800MHz FSB
HSF: Stock Intel cooler, some higher grade thermal paste
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA--G31M-ES2L s775 Micro ATX MB
Power Supply: Included with Antec Minuet 350
Graphics Card: Sapphire HD4550 512M GDDR3 (LP) PCI-E
Memory: 3GB total DDR2 @ 667MHz (1 x 1GB; 1 x 2GB)
Hard Drives: WD WD1600AAJS 160GB 7200 8MB SATA (Operating system and apps)
Optical Drives: LG GH22NS30 22x DVDRW SATA BLK
*I'm purchasing a brand new Antec Minuet 350 (with included power supply).

I chose XP SP3 for something that's light on system resources.. but I also have Vista Home Basic should that be reccommended instead. Both are legally owned by me :)

The cpu and memory I already own from an older rig. 3GB of DDR2 667MHz, and a Core 2 Duo E4600 @ 2.4GHz should more than suffice for these categories, right?

The motherboard I picked because it fits all my necessary requirements:
Quote:

mATX, 1 x PCI-E slot, 2 x SATAII, LGA775 slot supporting 800MHz FSB (specifically the E4600), RAM support of 667MHz clock DDR2
It's also within a reasonable price range. However, I'm open to suggestions, as long as it fits the specs i need, or you reccommend.


*The power supply will be the included 350W PSU that comes with the Antec Minuet 350.

*I've decided to go with the Sapphire HD4550 on this one. It's low-profile, which means it'll fit inside the Antec Minuet 350, provided it comes with a half-size bracket I can affix it to. If not I guess I gotta purchase those separately.

The HDD: I just need something relatively small, but with plenty of breathing room for the operating system to run optimally. This 160GB WD drive is cheap but reliable. Any other reccomendations on this one? I really only need it for the OS and any media apps. All media is going to be stored in my main rig via my 500GB WD drive and my (as of yet to be purchased) 1TB Hitatchi drive.

-----------------------------------

Below, is the parts i need to build the machine. I can build it for under $400.


Quote:

System Parts (remaining)
----------------------

MOBO..: Gigabyte GA--G31M-ES2L s775 Micro ATX MB...| $070
GFX....: Sapphire HD4550 512M GDDR3 (LP) PCI-E.........| $067
HDD....: WD WD1600AAJS 160GB 7200 8MB SATA.........| $048
CASE..: Antec Minuet 350 mATX Black Case (350W)......| $125
BDR....: LG GH22NS30 22x DVDRW SATA BLK................| $030

----------------------------------------------------------

Totl:............................................. ........................| $340
*=updated paragraphs

lowfat March 12, 2009 08:48 PM

I would highly suggest going with this board NCIX.com - Buy Gigabyte GA-E7AUM-DS2H mATX LGA775 GF9400 DDR2 1PCI-E 2PCI SATA2 Video Sound GBLAN HDMI Motherboard - GA-E7AUM-DS2H In Canada.
and dropping the one you have as well the GPU if you are wanting to go the bluray route. It can play uncompressed LPCM audio over HDMI so you can take advantage of the HD audio that most bluray discs have. Even if you don't have a receiver that supports HDMI 1.3a it still leaves you with a path for upgrades to your home theater without having to revamp your HTPC.

But wait, you have a PS3 why would you get a BD drive then? Don't make a whole lot of sense.

Mr. Gruntsworthy March 12, 2009 09:18 PM

like i said, i have this insatiable urge :P building pc's makes me happy

rjbarker March 12, 2009 09:26 PM

Quote:

like i said, i have this insatiable urge :P building pc's makes me happy
Then just take what you got...get what you need and build a 2nd Rig....you'll notice many of us have a 2nd..hell I have a 3rd n 4th...keep recycling the parts.

Mr. Gruntsworthy March 12, 2009 09:33 PM

I do have old rigs lol. My older E4600 rig is downstairs in storage, as is my older P4 1.7GHz machine. (I'm planning on recycling that P4 into a file server. P4 is socket 478, right?) I even have an old AMD 300MHz machine down there.

rjbarker March 12, 2009 09:55 PM

Then dig out the parts man and get to it...I monkeyed aroung the other day on my Bench and got my old Compaq Presario spinning away...AMD K62..Windows 98....if played a little of my last Saved Game of Quake....then thiers my Mac...1994...what a bute...the P4 with the 6800GT is in my wifes Office....the E8400 is still spinning away at 4.05 Ghz (for the past year...that athlete just keeps on going) and threw the 9800GTX+ in thier "for the hell of it"......thne thiers the piece of crap Pentium Centurion or some crap Processor..still boots up, but slower than the second coming....
point is..we love building em.....so build away...!

Mr. Gruntsworthy March 13, 2009 09:52 AM

haha... i might actually pick up the minuet case today to get things started

HaDeS March 14, 2009 11:24 AM

I didnt have much luck doing a media PC with windows xp. Needed Media Center 05 is solid tho.

Mr. Gruntsworthy March 14, 2009 06:22 PM

i bought the Antec Minuet case... but it had no power supply (I got the thing second-hand at Cash Converters for $35)... but I learned that the Antec Minuet has a specially-sized PSU. Can anyone confirm that? Or tell me of any MicroATX PSUs I can try and fit into the Minuet case?

Mr. Gruntsworthy March 18, 2009 04:02 PM

a bump with a new question/updates.

I'm split on which graphics card to get. I've decided on between two low-profile cards. The HD4550 (which has a fan) for $67, or the HD4350 with passive cooling for $55. Now, I want the card to be able to play hi-res video, like 720p, maybe even 1080p (though my tv isn't even HD, alot of stuff I download has no standard def version). If the 4350 can handle the stuff, I'd much rather have it than the 4550, not only because of the minor price difference but because of the passive cooling too. So, my question is; which one of these two listed cards would you reccomend? I'm split 50/50 right now.

Also, i've got 3 possible motherboards that I could stick in this HTPC rig:

ASRock G31M-S s775 2DDR2 PCI-E MicroATX | $057
Intel DG35EC LGA775 DDR2 8GB PCI-E MB | $115
Gigabyte GA--G31M-ES2L s775 Micro ATX MB | $070

Those three all fit the criteria I need; and right now I'm leaning towards the Gigabyte board.

Also, a question: Would the 4550 or the 4350 be bottlenecked by a PCI-E x16 slot? (what I mean is, the slot is not PCI-E2.0).

The rig won't be gaming or anything like that. Only media-related activities, and maybe some minor browsing for whatever reason.

I'll be updating the main post with an updated build sometime later after I've recompiled a list of parts. :)


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