Existing HTPC upgrade advice

Apone

Member
Hi folks. Seasons Greetings:)

I want to upgrade my HTPC with newer components and have a budget of 200 quid.

I already have the following which i will use in the build :

Silverstone LC17 case
LG BD drive
Corsair HX620 psu
Win 7 Home Premium 32bit
TMT 3

So i need new

Motherboard
CPU and cooler
RAM (4gb should be enough for me)
GPU

My budget is 200 quid and i would appreciate any advice on which components to go for.

On the Motherboard side, an option to use Realtek HD Audio would be good if in case i decide not to bitstream and use the onboard analogue audio jacks for a 5.1 set up.

GPU would need to have the ability to bitstream HD audio if required in future.

My current build is using an Intel Q6600 processor (with retail cpu cooler), Gigabyte P35C- DS3R motherboard, DDR2 Ram and an ATI 2600XT gpu.

Any advice please?:)
 

GeorgeStorm

Active Member
I'm looking to go the AMD route with my media PC, looking at the biostar matx boards, 4/8gb of corsair vengeance (red to go with the colour theme) a 3800/30850/30870k (aiming to use it as a LAN pc without a dedicated gpu)

That setup should easily be able to do what you want from what I know, and comes in at around £200
 

simon194

Well-known Member
My current build is using an Intel Q6600 processor (with retail cpu cooler), Gigabyte P35C- DS3R motherboard, DDR2 Ram and an ATI 2600XT gpu.

Any advice please?:)

TBH your current setup is more than adequate and just change the stock cooler for a quieter one and the graphics card for something like a AMD HD6000 series card because that will give you the option of 3D as well.
 

spyder viewer

Well-known Member
I tend to agree with Simon194, your only shortcoming for HTPC use is the graphics card. Apart from probably not playing BR very well, what other shortcomings are there in your current system? What do you use the machine for apart from music and movies?
 

Apone

Member
Hi guys

Thanks for taking the time to reply:)

My current build is more than enough for BD playback and even though the 2600xt is a low end gpu, it is more than enough for standard BD playback (when the HTPC works it's great).

When i look at the specs of the HTPC, the gpu is the major weak link (for not being able to bitstream) everything else is more than enough to handle BD and surfing the web.

Thinking that the passive GPU is to blame I borrowed a fan based 5570 card and that installed and played fine with bitstreaming as well. But alas the HTPC still crashed later on:thumbsdow

I know i have a very fast CPU for a standard HTPC and it seems a shame to have to not use it again and socket 775 motherboards are few and far between. Maybe i could sell the cpu (any idea what these are worth?)

Have to say that the retail CPU cooler is fine for my use and not that noisy at all tbh.

I use the HTPC for movies and surfing the web. So nothing fancy at all. I would like to get into pc gaming but not until i have a 'stable' HTPC platform :rolleyes: (I know i would need a much better GPU for that in future)

I have never flashed the Bios or anything like that as to be honest - i'm a little scared to do it:blush: Not for the HTPC novice like me from what i have read.

This was my first ever HTPC build from afew years ago and i have not changed anything on it apart from going to Win 7 from Vista. I have installed a new HDD and operating system on it when i went to Win7.

So i am thinking that components must be better now than before hence my interest in a fresh new build.

The 3 components Andy98765 mentions look interesting and come in at approx 165 quid (leaving 35 quid for an ATI 6xxx series card) - the motherboard also has a HDMI socket:eek:. Will that play BD movies without a seperate gpu? or is the CPU not powerful enough? Can a quad core go into that motherboard?

Or to put it another way, can i get 'intergrated' GPU/motherboard that will play/Bitstream BD movies and a quad core cpu and 4gb ram for 165 quid?

Thanks for the help folks:)
 
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Andy98765

Distinguished Member
For £165 you get a full Bluray capable PC. It has built in 6000 AMD graphics.

You do not need any new graphics card.
 

Apone

Member
Hi

Thanks for the reply. I shall look into these components. The 6000 built in graphics does seem to be a good option as i suppose it will bitstream HD audio as well?


While i was out today, i came across an ex dem desktop pc for 249 quid. It has the following spec

Core I3 3.1Ghz 2100 CPU
Win7 64bit OS
3GB DDR3 ram
500GB HDD
Intergrated Intel Graphics (GMA X4500 i think)
DVD writer
Motherboard has HDMI socket at the rear
Tower case (but i would use my existing case tbh)
250w PSU (again i would not use as i have a 620w modular psu)

While the above price is more than my 200 quid original budget, i was wondering if i could use the components (motherboard, cpu, ram) mentioned above to re build my HTPC? So i would take out the motherboard and hdd and ram as drop everything into my existing case?

A 500gb hdd and Win 7 operating system would normally cost 140 quid i think.

What do you guys reckon? Spend the 165 on the 3 components mentioned or spend the extra 85 and get the HDD and operating system and use that (i could always clone the 500gb HDD to my existing 1.5tb drive).

Thanks in advance!
 

Apone

Member
Any thoughts folks on the above post?:)
 

Apone

Member
I've decided against going for the cheap desktop i mentioned as taking the parts out to implant into my existing HTPC will invalidate any warranty on the desktop should anything go wrong.

I see that the individual components that Andy mentions have a 3 year warranty as well.

Apart from the amd platform of 3 components that come in at approx 165 quid, does anyone know what a similar specced Intel platform come in at with intergrated graphics with regard to cost? Just want to compare the two platform parts/cost.

Budget for a motherboard, cpu, 4gb ram is still 200 quid.
 
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Apone

Member
Hi

So are there any other components that could do the same job as the 3 components mentioned by Andy?

165 seems to be a good price for what these 3 components will do, can i get quad core amd cpu with intergrated graphics that can play BD and a compatible motherboard with HDMI socket and ram for 200 quid?
 

spacemanc

Active Member
Quite a few of your unwanted parts have a reasonable resale value. I would estimate after ebay fees and postage costs:

Corsair HX620 £35
CPU/Motherboard/RAM £40
ATI 2600XT £25

Total : @£100

Andy98765's suggestions are good, but personally I would consider the following:

Asus M5A78L-MLX £20-£30
AMD Athlon X2 or X3 £40-£50
ATI HD 6450 1GB £30
4GB RAM £15

+

300w-500w PSU £30


Total: @£145

Spend an extra £15 on an aftermarket CPU cooler, and the PC will be as good as silent.

Dump the TMT3 software and use a free alternative.

You should be able to build a very capable, efficient and quiet HTPC - and it will cost you a fraction of your £200 budget.
 

Apone

Member
Thanks for the suggestions guys.

The Quad core bundle is very appealing and not bad a price as well:)

I really like the fact that it has been handpicked, test and configured by Overclockers already.

From my understanding, it gets delivered already built by OC so all i would need to do is drop the whole caboodle into my existing HTPC case with the risers etc, plug in the HDD, case fans etc and away i go?

The only thing i don't like about it is that it only comes with 12 months warranty:( (although it is collect and return). Do OC do an extended warranty on the bundle?

The individual components Andy mentioned previously come with 3 years on CPU and motherboard and that is a big draw for me. I have had my motherboard go on me after one year and as i had a 3 year warranty, it got replaced - hence my positive vibe towards a 3 year warranty.

The OC bundle
PROS-is already built, has Quad core CPU (so will be good for future gaming if needed- a separate GPU will bee needed i know)
CONS - No built in HD bitstreaming ATI graphics, no HDMI socket, have to buy a GPU for bitstreaming, only 12 months warranty on parts

Andy98765 recommendation
PROS - Built in ATI HD graphics, HDMI socket onboard, (no gpu needed for BD), 3 year warranty on CPU and Motherboard

CONS- Triple Core CPU, (tbh this is still more than enough for BD playback), Have to build it myself :blush:

Decisions decisions:facepalm:
 
Hello mate.

Your saying something is causing your HTPC to crash whilst playing back a film and hence you want to upgrade??

If so then maybe its worth first of all finding out the route of the problem as to why its crashing. I presume its played back HD content at some stage with no issues.

I'd look at something like this personally XFX HD 6790 AMD Radeon Graphics Card - 1GB - HD-679X-ZRFC - Scan.co.uk more than enough ooomph for a HTPC and decent enough as a gaming card when you want to go down that route.

I would generally advise against doing a combined HTPC/Gaming machine myself as to me there two different beasts and one can be a relatively small, quiet and low powered device where as the gaming rig is usually on a larger scale, needs a lot more processing power/ram etc than a HTPC ever would which also normally means more cooling required.

Find out the cause of the crashing first mate before throwing money at a new mobo and cpu unless thats what you really want to do?
 

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