Media Center/HTPC Build: Need opinions and recommendations.

awaragi

Standard Member
Hi,

I am trying to put down the component list for an HTPC build that will also serve as a media server (BD and DVD Ripping/Air Video/Plex) and as a download/file/backup server. It has to be very quiet and looks relatively good since it will sit in my living room (short depth is a great plus).

Here is the primary list of components I decided upon after a week of research. All prices are in CAD$ and from DirectCanada.com.

Case: Silverstone GD06 (108$)
MB: P8Z77-M PRO (144$)
CPU: Core i5 3570K (234$)
CPU Fan: Coolermaster GeminII S524 CPU Heatsink 120MM 800-1800RPM (36$)
SSD/OS: Crucial M4 SSD Micron C400 128GB SATA3 (102$)
HD/MEDIA: WD Caviar Green 3TB SATA3 64MB (149$)
HD/MEDIA: WD Caviar Green 3TB SATA3 64MB (149$)
RAM: Corsair CML8GX3M2A1600C9 Vengeance Lowprofile 8GB 2X4GB DDR3-1600 (44$)
PSU: OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W (68$)
Optical: LG CH12LS28 12X Blu-Ray Combo (66$)
Remote: Windows 7 Vista XP Media Center MCE PC Remote Control and Infrared Receiver (amazon.ca) (16$)

Total price 1100$CAD + Taxes. I am a little bit over my budget of 1K+Tax but the fun factor is definitely worth it :)

I also have an old 1TB WD cavaria Green that I will throw in there with room for another in the future. I have planned to use for the OS an old Windows 7 Home premium license . It will be hooked via HDMI/Optical to a marantz sound system (5.1) and 46" LCD using XBMC. I also plan on using snapraid. My design began with the case, MB, CPU, etc.

Here are couple of questions, maybe some of your more experienced builder can answer:

1 - My biggest expense is the CPU and I am not 100% sure it will be worth it over an i3 in the long run? I don't do gaming but I will still like to try Diablo III (to remember the good ol' days of diable I/II). The 100$ different with the top i3 will not make or break the budget but I am so concerned about heat and potentially fan noise. Should I go with an i3+GPU for transcoding (how do you enable that anyway)?
2 - Will the CPU Fan and PSU I listed fit easily within the case?
3 - I am concerned about the SATA ports on the MB being on the side. Will I need different SATA cables than the ones that come with the MB?
4 - I am really lost on the PSU choice. I found SeaSonic X series SS-400FL Active PFC F3 400W to be greatly recommended but is it worth the extra money (about double the price) and will it be okay in my case choice?
5 - The Scythe Big Shuriken 2 REV.B CPU Cooler Heatpipe Heatsink 120MM Slim Fan was also greatly recommended but I worry about memory and PCIe slot clearance and if it is worth it?
6 - An OCZ RevoDrive 3 120GB PCIe SSD is about double the price of the Crucial SSD but I get to free a 2.5 drive, again is it worth it?
7 - Since I will be hooking up to the Optical or HDMI connection of the MB and in theory have a loss-less audio connection, is an investment in dedicated audio card (ASUS Xonar DG 5.1) simply an overkill?

I will be cross posting this to both AVForums and AVSForum. I hope that it is not against policy or etiquette.

Thank you for reading thus far! I know it is a lot of questions but this is my first build and I am really excited about it and looking forward to actually placing the order.

Best regards,
Pierre
 

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