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HTPC i3 HTPC Build

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Salty Wagyu, 23 Jan 2011.

  1. Salty Wagyu

    Salty Wagyu moo

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    I have spent the last few days checking around for good parts on review sites, luckily Scan.co.uk had all the parts I decided on, so an SS:

    [​IMG]

    Comes up to around £444 (1.34am edit: free delivery and scansure excluded)

    This will be for: Divx/Xvid SD playback, H.264 720p/1080p HD playback, and maybe some Youtube/BBC iPlayer. Also will run a 2TB drive that my main PC will backup files to on a daily schedule automatically.

    --

    I am still undecided on my choice of Motherboard and Case. I will definitely want MicroATX so I can have additional PCI slots should onboard audio/ethernet ever die later on down the road, besides they're priced around the same as their Mini-ITX versions, so no loss there.

    Asus P7H55-M Pro or Gigabyte GA-H55M-UD2H

    Both look good, what I want importantly is being able to control the voltage of my CPU and case fans, so I can drop them to 9v instead of the full 12v. Or at least temperature control so I can fine tune when it should ramp up fan RPM at a certain threshold.
    --

    For the case - Silverstone GD05 or Antec Fusion Remote Black

    The Antec is a bit more expensive due to the LCD panel and Remote, and I have no idea if the remote is any good. I want to be able to play/pause/rewind/forward in any media player I use, be it MPC-HC, KMPlayer, VideoLAN and others. And easily binding keys such as F1, F2, Ctrl+[ Ctrl+] to control subtitle sync. :wallbash:

    Although I may go get a Logitech diNovo Mini or a Lenovo N5901 instead, as I will occasionally need to browse to Subscene and download new subtitles as I do end up with rubbish english subtitles sometimes.

    I also want good dust filters on the case!

    --

    Other notes: I won't be getting a BD Drive as I have my PS3 for that, might get one later down the road when they're cheaper if I do want it though! And also a £35 Sapphire HD 5450 discrete fanless card is an option if I come across issues with Intel's HD Graphics.

    RAM I assume is fine, cheap value ram and it passes QVL for the Asus board at least.

    The 2TB is just to store content backed up from my PC (it'll be like a NAS, kind of). I have a 60GB OCZ Agility SSD already lying around that I can use as the Windows boot drive.

    I am also wondering if I should wait for Sandy bridge's i3-2120 and motherboard on February 20th for a few quid more, doesn't hurt to future-proof it a bit further.

    I think that's everything! I'm happy to buy parts elsewhere as well if I'm to change any of the specs.
     
    Last edited: 24 Jan 2011
  2. thewelshbrummie

    thewelshbrummie Minimodder

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    I'm assuming you don't want to watch TV with it... otherwise allow £50 for a dual-tuner DVB-T card, £110 if you want a Freeview HD dual-tuner card.

    I'd save a bit more cash and go for the i3 530 (or the 540 as Scan don't seem to have the 530 anymore). I've dropped the multiplier on mine and run it at around 2.5GHz rather than the stock 2.93 which is still more than powerful enough for a HTPC. You shouldn't need a discrete GPU either - the onboard GPU in my i3 530 is more than happy decoding Blu-Ray discs at 1080p without any problems.

    Saying that, I'd wait for Sandy Bridge. Non-Sandy Bridge boards won't support any HDD over 2TB as a boot drive - Sandy Bridge does and will come wit the UEFI BIOS instead. And if 3D support is a consideration the new chips will support 3D 1080p over HDMI 1.4. If it was me, I'd wait.

    The Antec case - I have mixed thoughts on the remote. It did some things that the remote for my TV card didn't do. Saying that I ditched both and now use one of these - basically the Microsoft remote designed for Vista, just with Origen branding. It works fine so long as the bundled drivers for the LCD in the case are installed and the iMon app is running. But it's worth the extra £14 if you go with the Antec.

    If possible get a lower powered PSU as 500W is overkill - I had to buy a similarly rated one though as modular PSUs that are rated at around 350W were impossible to find a year ago when I built mine.

    Mobo - it'll do the job nicely, though tbh any H55 mobo with HDMI output will as well. Do you want 5.1/7.1 surround sound support? You might need to check the specs if you do.
     
  3. Salty Wagyu

    Salty Wagyu moo

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    Nah, no TV. I have a Sky HD box, but the possibility is there as we'll get freeview coverage in 2012.

    Will take that into consideration, could probably get away with taking the fan off from the Scythe Shruiken when it's underclocked too. Although, doesn't the GPU get underclocked with the CPU?


    If I got that remote, would I need an IR receiver if I went with Silverstone? I don't care much for Antec's LCD display to justify the price increase.

    Yeah it is overkill, but I've read that people couldn't tell if their PC was on with that PSU being used. But if I can find a decent brand alternative modular 350w but also near-silent I would get it :)

    I don't do anything fancy with sound, since I have a hearing loss. It's just plugged directly into a Samsung LE32C530, so it's Stereo I guess. I have had problems in the past when media players make voices really quiet when sound effect/music volume is loud enough, so I have to normalize the audio in the ffdshow codec since downmixing to 2.0 Stereo doesn't seem to fix it. Don't know if 5.1/7.1 has any relevance on this though.

    Thanks for your help!
     
    Last edited: 24 Jan 2011
  4. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    You can save money with an Antec EarthWatts 380W - you don't need that power. Also, even 2GB of memory will be enough just for a basic playback machine.

    See how you get on with the stock cooler first too because if the chip is sitting idle most of the time it will be very quiet.
     
  5. Salty Wagyu

    Salty Wagyu moo

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    I'll check out the Earthwatts. Noticed it's using an 80mm fan, bit concerned if that's going to make more noise.
     
  6. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    See some reviews (Anandtech did one), it's a quality PSU. Your system will use at most ~150W I'd guess, it will be hitting ~50% load tops even for a 380W.

    On a good H55 board you can underclock the GPU separately to the CPU. I've run an i5-661 at 2GHz w/ 533MHz GPU at just 1V on the Gigabyte H55N-USB3 and it still played back 1080p perfectly, while remaining lovely and cool. i3 underclocking may vary though: generally the GPU doesn't like undervolting though because that die houses the memory controller too.

    EDIT: :eeek: Just noticed 4GB of memory is just £36. Holy **** that's come down in price!
     
  7. meandmymouth

    meandmymouth Modder

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    Yeah, almost tempted to buy an extra 4GB and go up to 8GB so I can run some virtual machines
     
  8. Salty Wagyu

    Salty Wagyu moo

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  9. Salty Wagyu

    Salty Wagyu moo

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    Removing the Scythe Shruiken as well, been told the stock fan on the i3 is quiet enough, especially since it will rarely hit load for the RPMs to ramp up.

    Adding a Logitech diNovo as I will definitely need to be using a keyboard often, and maybe this MCE remote, as it has a receiver included, apparently works fine with XBMC too if I choose to use that on Windows 7.
     
  10. Salty Wagyu

    Salty Wagyu moo

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    I noticed the Be Quiet E8 Series of PSUs today, I couldn't find a single english review, but Tweak.de have reviewed it (click english flag top-right) http://www.tweakpc.de/hardware/tests/netzteile/be_quiet_straight_power_e8_cm/s01.php and they say it's the quietest they've ever had in the lab.

    This might convince me over the Earthwatts as it maintains 14-15dba from idle to load, whereas the Earthwatts starts from 20 dba and goes up to 28-34 dba

    [​IMG]

    I don't mind paying a little more though, just not anything like £120 which the Seasonic fanless is priced at. But will see if any english reviews pop up during the next few weeks for the BeQuiet E8

    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/400w...80-plus-bronze-89-eff-147db-eps-12v-120mm-fan
     
  11. JohnSheridan

    JohnSheridan What's a Dremel?

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    Built HTPC machine for work using that Silverstone case - lovely case - oozes quality.

    Comes with notes telling you which order to build it which you would need to follow.
     

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