New Build Hardware Advice Needed


Standard Member
I'm planning a new home theatre system from scratch. I have a decent budget but am also looking at getting a new laptop so while I want a good system I don't want to go overkill. System will be hooked up to a 3D TV through HDMI/DVI for video and SPDIF/Optical for sound.

I come from a technical background so I have no issues building, modifying, tweaking hardware/software etc. I don't have a lot of experience with this sort of thing which is why I'm looking for some good advice.

My requirements are as follows

- I live in Ireland and would like to pick up Saorview digital TV signal. I would also like to pick up Freesat. I'm not sure if more channels are available through a different system if there is I'd be interested but I'm looking for quality rather than quantity and no monthly cost.
- I would like to be able to pause, rewind, fast-forward etc. I would like to be able to set scheduled recordings and series link. I would also be able to watch live TV while this is happening and as a possibility record 2 channels from the same source at the same time while watching another live.
- I would like the option of viewing a image from a IP security camera. I know I can do this in windwos but I'm looking for this to be integrated. This is not a showstopper but would be useful.
- Access to online playback services like RTE player/iPlayer etc.
- I haven't experience 3D but would like the option of it. I will be getting a TV with this enabled.
- Sound quality has to be very good. I have good quality floor standing large speakers with a 5.1 amp.
- Obvious other things like access to my media collection both video and audio in a number of formats.
- DVD and Blueray
- Gaming. I'm not a big gamer and won't be playing battlefield online or anything like it. I used to run a few emulators and would like to set this up for maybe a NES, Wii and other similar social type games. I'm not sure if a PC can fully emulate a Wii but I would like to give this a go and have it seamless built into the whole interface

I think I've got all my requirements but again I'm new to this scene I would like to put everything into this I can. I would like to run this all through one seamless interface. I don't mind long difficult setups with lots of addons as long as the end product is seamless and easy for other people to use. I've used XBMC in the past on a laptop hooked up to a project as a cheap option and was impressed by the interface. From a small amount of research it should handle everything above but I'm open to recommendations. Just to stress this will be used by my wife, friends etc. for watching TV so it has to be fool proof and seamless. Also to point out I would like to be able to seamless access emulators like NES, Wii etc from the interface.

Hardware wise I'm looking for advice on the following.

I would like to water cool. I'm not sure if this is a big thing anymore as it used to be. I'm not opposed to fans but I would like the system to be quite and I would like the challenge of doing this.

Case –I like Lian Li but again cases are mainly subjective and I can find something I like. I can modify it to my own needs for water cooling.
HDDs – 1x SSD for the OS and programs to reside on maybe 64/128GB recommendations welcome.
3/4x 2TB drives two of these will be linked to automatically backup where I will store all my files, photos, music etc that I don't want to lose. The third will be storage for movies and TV shows which I don't care if I lose and the forth will be further storage if required.I probably won't buy the 4th but will leave space for it.
Sound – Decent quality sound with digital SPDIF output to my amplifier. Optical is a possibility but not something I've used before so would prefer SPDIF.
Graphics – I don't think I'm doing anything to intensive above but my main objective is to be completely seamless so no slow down or jerkiness so it needs to have plenty of power for a big display and handle everything above. Also watercooled if available.
PSU – Again not looking for anything special just a good quality unit that's more than able to power everything. Can you get these as water cooled?
Processer – Not real requirements here other than being able to handle all of the above.
Motherboard – As above I presume integrated gigbit Ethernet is standard.

To summarise I have two main requests

1. Advice on what platform to use. I've experienced XBMC and like it but I want something that will seamlessly handle everything above inc PVR and Emulated games like Wii.
2. Hardware advice. I will be doing my own research but have not built PCs in a long time and out of touch. If someone would give a good recommendation for each component it would be much appreciated.
3. Recommended suppliers. I dealt with CCL computers about 10years ago and see they are still going which might say something in itself. Any other recommendations welcome.

I'd like to purchase this system online in the UK. My budget is around £1000 which I think should be able to give a very good system. I will stretch if I need to but only if there are clear benefits.
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Standard Member
I'm in no way an expert but do have a suggestion. Don't know if you are set on intel or amd but I run amd. I'm getting ready to order all my parts for my htpc build. I'm going with the Amd A10-5800k cpu. 3.8ghz unlocked and overclockable. This is considered an apu. It does both the functions of a cpu and also graphics. If you have onboard video you have no need to a seperate video card. Browse youtube and search for a10-5800k and you will see what i'm talking about.

As for platform do some research into something called hyperspin if you want emulated games. I seen a video on youtube where someone used xbmc and included hyperspin and it worked great. Just something to think about.


Established Member
The A10-5800k is possibly too high-powered for a living room. Mine has an A4-3400, which works perfectly. The idle power of the A10 will be higher than an A4, so you may get excessive heat/noise and electric bills (it does add up significantly when a PC is on a lot of hours per day).

My suggestion would be to start low. There's a 90% chance it will be fine. If not then upgrade the CPU and ebay the original. You'd lose out by only a few £'s, and not end up effectively using a Ferrari to pop down to the shops.

Personally I don't understand why anyone would want anything other than an A4-3400, but I don't want to sound like a stuck record! They're about £20-£30 now, and that's for a dual core CPU and GPU in one. This means an FM1 board though, but they're every bit as good as FM2 and cheaper.

Edit: Just saw you want 3D. That may involve a bit more GPU power. I'm sure an FM1 GPU could handle it though - they do support UVD 3, which is what's needed. Possibly even the not-so-humble 3400 could handle it.
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