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Old September 7, 2009, 06:11 PM
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Default Building an HTPC - Critique my build!

So, to make a long story short, since I just finished university, I've moved back home for the time being, which means I've brought with me terabytes of HD movies and TV shows on my PC. Once my father got a hold of all this over the network, he has seen the light and wants an HTPC for his LCD.

While we don't have a budget, the cheaper the better. I've put together a build with some new parts, and some old stuff sitting around here in the parts bin. The biggest question I have is could I downgrade a bit on the processor? Will the E5200 play 720/1080p files? Other than that I think it's pretty solid.

Case: Nmedia HTPC-1000B
Board: Gigabyte GA-G31M-ES2L
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E7400
HSF: Scythe Shuriken 3 Heatpipe Low Profile
Ram: 4 Gigs of Corsair XMS DDR2 800
Video: ASUS Radeon HD 4670 512MB
PSU: Silverstone Element 500W

I've already got the RAM, and the PSU is coming out of my current rig, as I'm upgrading that at the same time. I realize I probably could save some money going with an AMD build, but I have zero experience with AMD, and everything else here is Intel, so to keep things consistent I'm going to shy away from AMD for now.

I've got my shopping cart all ready to go and price matched at NCIX, but I'll wait until tomorrow before pulling the trigger. Just in case I missed something, or someone here has a better idea.

Cheers!
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Last edited by Andy; September 7, 2009 at 10:20 PM.
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Old September 7, 2009, 06:16 PM
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I have the E5200 and it runs blue ray rips just fine.
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Old September 7, 2009, 06:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bissa View Post
I have the E5200 and it runs blue ray rips just fine.
Yeah no complaints with the E5200 in my HTPC either.

Don't be afraid of AMD! It's really no different than building Intel IMO. And well their latest 785G chipset has HD4200 graphics built in, thus having native HDMI so you'd save quite a bit of money without the video card.

NCIX.com - Buy Gigabyte GA-MA785GM-US2H AMD785G mATX AM2+ PCI-E DDR2 Video Sound GBLAN CrossFireX HDMI Motherboard - GA-MA785GM-US2H In Canada.
NCIX.com - Buy AMD Athlon II X2 240 Dual Core Processor Socket AM3 2.8GHZ 2MB Cache 65W Retail Box - ADX240OCGQBOX In Canada.

If you need Intel though, then you could just grab a HD4350 and E5200 instead, unless you plan to game on this? Don't need a heatsink either, stock should suffice. I don't find the 45nm or 65nm stock coolers noisy, and the 60mm case fans will probably be louder.

And of course, do price match everything
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Old September 7, 2009, 06:42 PM
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What does the rest of the home theatre consist of? Is high sound quality a priority? No point in spending so much on a videocard. An HD4350 HDMI will perform just as well w/ DXMA.
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Old September 7, 2009, 06:58 PM
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Jdorm17 is right about AMD, it's the same that intel, but the 785Gchipset are really good and low cost. Way better and way recent then G31. I really think that you should concider that.

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Old September 7, 2009, 07:05 PM
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I'm no good with HTPC, but AMD is the way to go for HTPC builds. Their 785 chipset is excellent for HTPC, thus pretty much eliminating a need for a dedicated GPU. Plus you also get around to play with the rig and see if you can unlock the extra cores on those Phenom II.
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Old September 7, 2009, 07:41 PM
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I am pretty sure the 785G's still can't do 7.1 LPCM over HDMI. You would be better to stick w/ the G31 board and a dedicated ATI videocard.
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Old September 7, 2009, 10:19 PM
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Thanks for the info everyone. Looks like I will be switching processors, and saving some money there. I'm not worried about building an AMD system, but if something were to go wrong I would have no way to test parts. At least with Intel stuff, I've got four other rigs to swap parts around on and figure out what's broken.

I'll look into downgrading the video card, but I'm pretty happy with the price match I found for the 4670. As for audio, it's not really important as speaker wise we have a Sony 5.1 system that is missing two rear speakers. And, this will all be run through a Sony STR-DG720 receiver via HDMI.

I added the heat sink quickly, as I built a budget office system last week, with the same board I'm using here, with an E6400 and stock cooler, and god damn it was loud. It could just be a faulty fan, but I'd rather not take the risk, nor do I want to have to re order later and pay for shipping again.

----------

ARGH! So it's 2AM and I'm reading HTPC reviews on the 4350/4550 cards, and it looks like this is the way to go. I'm slightly worried about the passive cooling on some of these, as I imagine the enclosed space of an HTPC will get mighty hot. Looks like I've got tons more research to do.
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Last edited by Andy; September 7, 2009 at 10:46 PM.
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Old September 8, 2009, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lowfat View Post
I am pretty sure the 785G's still can't do 7.1 LPCM over HDMI. You would be better to stick w/ the G31 board and a dedicated ATI videocard.
Not sure, but it is based off the DX10, HD4xxx series though. So I don't see why it wouldn't.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy View Post
I added the heat sink quickly, as I built a budget office system last week, with the same board I'm using here, with an E6400 and stock cooler, and god damn it was loud. It could just be a faulty fan, but I'd rather not take the risk, nor do I want to have to re order later and pay for shipping again.

ARGH! So it's 2AM and I'm reading HTPC reviews on the 4350/4550 cards, and it looks like this is the way to go. I'm slightly worried about the passive cooling on some of these, as I imagine the enclosed space of an HTPC will get mighty hot. Looks like I've got tons more research to do.
I tried the stock E5200 heatsink (45nm, thus the slim design), and two 65nm ones off a E6600 and E6420. They were all pretty darn quiet, near silent. Maybe you just got a dud...I don't know.

AMD ones are usually on the louder side though, so that might need replacing, however I only have 939 ones. Not sure what the AM2/AM3 ones are like...

As for the GPU, I have the Gigabyte HD4350. It has a small fan on it which is silent. Only becomes audible if you crank it to 100%, and even still, the 60mm fans in my Silverstone case drown it out. My whole setup definitely isn't silent, but I also have a bunch of 80mm GELID fans in my TV cabinet to keep things ventilated.
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Old September 8, 2009, 11:37 AM
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What about hard drives? I know in my Case I have one Hard drive properly mounted and I had to build a a mount on the case to mount a second drive
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