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Old September 17, 2009, 10:18 PM
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Default HTPC build

HI!

Long time lurker, first time poster (even so I'm not really sure if this should go in this section or in the builds section).
What I've come to ask is for your collective wisdom about HTPC builds and advice on parts. I've got some parts already (HIS HD 4350, Auzentech Xplosion cinema, logitech Dinovo edge keyboard) but I'm looking for suggestions on the rest so let's get right into it. What I'm looking for with most parts is low power draw and heat buildup for the buck.

Processor:
I kinda favor AMD, but the brand isn't as important to me as performance combined with low heat, I'm kinda thinking about a phenom II 550 but I'm open to suggestions

Case:
So far I've managed to narrow it down to 3 products by silverstone, an LC17S, an LC16G-MR and a CW01S-R. I have no special loyalty to silverstone but those are available through either Newegg or NCIX. I do like the brushed aluminum look without too much paint, and the size of those cases (all can take an ATX board I believe) is only because of the...

Motherboard:
I don't got a friggin clue what's best. ATX/MATX?? I wanna have firewire, at least 8 sata, and good quality now gimme your best shot.

Hard Drive:
I'm wondering about running 2.5" drives b/c less heat and power draw but my assumptions may make an ass out of me. I'd like around 1.0-1.5TB, likely WD b/c seagate has me wound up with irrational worries

Optical Drive:
I'm partial to pioneer drives. I've been unhappy with LG drives and have little experience with other makes

PSU:
something good and modular would be best (with as close the the power draw I'll need)

Memory:
probably around 3 gig to have a nice bit of room to work

CPU Cooler:
go with stock (I'm not much of an overclocker) or go with something fancy and passive, help me decide.

I usually try to get most of my parts from Memory Express in Edmonton, have never bought from NCIX or Newegg, but there's always a first time... and that's about it.

Lemme know what you think.
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Old September 18, 2009, 09:27 PM
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e5200, $50 mobo, WD 1TB Green, basically stuff in my sig worked very well for me, I even got to overclock little sucker, couldn't help myself.
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Old September 18, 2009, 09:36 PM
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For memory you might as well get a 4GB kit. Can be had for around $65 or so. G.Skill is good and not expensive.
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Old September 19, 2009, 04:06 AM
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What do you need 8 sata connectors for? one optical and one large & quiet hard drive is all you want. You have to remember that this is going to be in your living room... or something along those lines. Most cases HTPC won't hold that many hard drives anyway. And yes Gskill is great for the prices.
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Old September 19, 2009, 07:13 AM
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Take a look at my sig, the HTPC.
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Old September 19, 2009, 07:50 AM
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I'll look into G-skill ram. I hadn't really considered it because Memory Express doesn't carry that brand. I have considered going intel again, but think I'd like to go with AMD again, I'd need to see some power consumption numbers to really help me decide, and those are harder to find; at least for me. That's kinda why I'd like to go with the 550. (Actually, I have mostly made up my mind about that, so I'd need compelling evidence to change it). Can anyone recomend an effective and quiet CPU cooler, or an effective cooler and a quiet fan? I build as a hobby and am in a rural area so don't have ready access to a good store nor do I have the experience with them to know what works well and is quiet and what just looks fancy and has good marketing. I have had good luck with Thermal Right aftermarket GPU coolersbut that's the extent of it.

@Misterd: You're probably right, I only need 4 Sata, I do like the flexibility of having more options though

And does anyone know if there's a retailer in Canada that carries Lian-Li HTPC cases in the plain brushed aluminum finish? Has Lian-Li stopped making them?
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Old September 19, 2009, 07:54 PM
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NCIX.com - Buy NCIX Value Bundle Deal AMD Athlon II X2 245 & Gigabyte MA785GM-US2H DDR2 Motherboard -UNASSEMBLED - 785GM-X2-245 In Canada.

Don't really need a Phenom II X2 550 IMO, you won't be overclocking and you don't need top performance for a HTPC. The Athlon II X2 245 has plenty of power for media playback. And the onboard graphics of the 785G would suffice, but using your HD4350 is better still since you get 7.1 audio over HDMI. Could probably run Hybrid Crossfire to get some extra GPU power (uses onboard + video card).

NCIX.com - Buy OCZ ModXStream Pro 400W ATX 20/24PIN Modular Cables 140MM Fan Active PFC Power Supply - OCZ400MXSP In Canada.

Assuming you want modular, that should be plenty. About the only low-wattage modular PSU that I know of. Otherwise you'll be paying way more for a ton of power you'll never use.

NCIX.com - Buy Western Digital WD10EADS Caviar Green 1TB SATA 32MB Cache 3.5IN Hard Drive OEM - WD10EADS In Canada.

$100 for 1TB, and it's "green" meaning low-power and heat. I'd personally suggest having 2 in RAID1 for redundancy since I can't fathom having 1TB of unsecure data, but that's just me.

Memory, whatever 2x2GB DDR2 kit you want. Really doesn't matter.

CPU Cooler, don't think it's necessary. The stock cooling should be adequate and shouldn't be overly noisy. If it ends up being noisy, then think about replacing. However, could grab one of these since it's not overly expensive:
NCIX.com - Buy Arctic Cooling Alpine 64 AM2 AM3 S939 500-2000RPM 36CFM Heatsink Fan - ALPINE64PRO In Canada.

Optical, I'm fine with Pioneer too, grab a SATA model for easier cable management.

Case, whatever suits your tastes. Having a mATX motherboard as above really opens up your options though.
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Old September 19, 2009, 09:11 PM
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I agree with jdrom on the athlon II, unless you are gaming or overclocking the extra 50-30$ for the phenom 550 is just wasted. Will run cooler too. The Modxstream is also the only modular PSU I can think of with low volts. 8 sata ports really? Don't forget IDE can add 2 devices. HTPC you definitely want a micro atx board since every htpc case is matx or itx (even smaller). Doesn't make sense to have a big honky tower in a tv shelving unit.
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Old September 19, 2009, 09:16 PM
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I put a OCZ ModXStream Pro 400W in a PC for my mom. I was surprised how good it was and quiet too. Oh and modular.
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Old September 19, 2009, 10:35 PM
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@clone63: I understand what you (and others) are saying about the ph2 550, but $30-$50 isn't really a huge deal to me considering the (slightly better) longevity, the heat may be though. I'll try to find some numbers. Most cases I've been looking at do support full ATX boards, I've actually got a desktop already but I want something that will actually look decent in my entertainment unit. If I'm able to find the case I want I'll likely not worry about the 8 sata so much.
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