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reccomendations for htpc on a tight budget

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by paul1672, Feb 22, 2005.

  1. paul1672

    paul1672
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    hi there.
    i'm now in the process of thinking over building my second htpc as i'd really like to see what improvements theatertek has made since i last used it.
    i've also got the feeling my laptop wont be lasting much longer so it's a good excuse......
    i'm on a tight budget to try and keep the missus happy so any help would be really appreciated.
    after an afternoon of browsing i've come up with the following idea:

    motherboard : MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum (Socket 939) Motherboard (MB-027-MS) £89

    memory : Crucial 512MB DDR PC3200 CAS3 (CT6464Z40B) (MY-024-CR) £52

    graphics card : XFX GeForce 6600 GT 128MB DDR3 TV-Out/Dual DVI (AGP) - Retail (PVT43A-NDF7) (GX-024-XF) £147

    cpu : AMD Athlon 64 3200+ Winchester 90nm (Socket 939) - Retail (CP-097-AM) £140

    operating system : windows xp home oem edition £56

    pc case : Arctic Cooling T1 Silentium Silent Midi Tower Case - 350W Seasonic Silent PSU (CA-000-AR) £59

    i already have two 40gb ide hard drives that i'm hoping will be ok to use....

    i also already own a nec 3500a dvd rewriter that i could use.

    this gives me a grand total of £543

    all items found at www.overclockers.co.uk

    is this going to be a reasonably good spec machine for htpc duties and is there anything i may of missed out?????

    once again any help would be greatly appreciated.
    any mistakes i've made that you could correct would be really appreciated.
    i really am no expert in this but i love to learn.....

    paul
     
  2. dekoded

    dekoded
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  3. DaveP

    DaveP
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    The problem I found with the Shuttle type solution is that you are restricted to one AGP slot and one PCI slot.

    I bought This Case and fitted a mATX card. These have three PCI slots so you can instal two DVB-T cards and still have one spare. The case is not much bigger than a shuttle and has a very quiet power supply

    Dave
     
  4. paul1672

    paul1672
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    thanks for the ideas guys but i've really got my heart set on somethin like the above.
    having said that,is there a mATX board that will take an amd64 3200 cpu?
    if so,i could be tempted to sway this way as they do look kinda cool.
    anyone else out there got any suggestions/opinions on my list for me?
    many thanks
    paul
     
  5. zAndy1

    zAndy1
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  6. paul1672

    paul1672
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    right,i think i've finally decided on the following specs:

    case: http://www.tekheads.co.uk/s/product?product=603762

    graphics card: http://www.tekheads.co.uk/s/product?product=603810

    cpu: http://www.tekheads.co.uk/s/product?product=603648

    motherboard: http://www.ebuyer.com/customer/prod...2hvd19wcm9kdWN0X292ZXJ2aWV3&product_uid=85593

    memory: http://www.ebuyer.com/customer/prod...2hvd19wcm9kdWN0X292ZXJ2aWV3&product_uid=46420

    operating system: windows mce 2005

    can someone advise me if the motherboard will take my ide hard drives???
    i know it takes the new sata drives but will it also accept the old style ide drives???
    just want to be sure before i go ahead and order everything as i'd really like to be able to make use of the h/drives i have...
    also,will the case be fine for this motherboard???

    am going to be using the dvd rewriter i already own also..

    do you think i might need any more fans??

    many thanks in advance for any opinions.
    hopefully i'm now all set to order my parts.
    just waiting for you guys opinions...
    paul
     
  7. zAndy1

    zAndy1
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    All I'd say is I'd get 1GB of Ram (for the extra cost it's worth it) and perhaps that graphics card might be a bit noisy unless you're planning on putting a silent cooler on it? What are you planning to do about the CPU cooling, use the standard heatsink/fan? Again potential for some noise there if so, just worried that the noise is going to become a factor that's all..
    Apart from that.. all good stuff!

    Cheers,
    Andy
     
  8. paul1672

    paul1672
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    hi there andy.
    thanks for the input.
    do you reckon the nvidia card is worth the extra cash or would i be better off with the fanless radeon 9600 and using the money saved on extra memory?
    also,is the case fine for the motherboard?
    not sure about the processor fan as i think i read on your thread about the problem with fitting the zalman fan on the cpu and that would worry me as i'm a bit heavy handed.
    forgot to mention,i take it from your reply the h/drives will be fine???
    many thanks
    paul
     
  9. zAndy1

    zAndy1
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    To be honest I'd get a 128MB Ati 9600 fanless for about £60 and like you say use the saving to get the extra memory. I know people will often say 512MB is plenty for HTPC use but I still think it adds that little extra stability and responsiveness that is well worth having. True fitting a zalman CPU fan to that motherboard is a pain in the ass, I don't know if there are other motherboards it would be easier on. By all accounts the standard heatsink/fan isn't that noisy anyway and cool 'n' quiet helps keep the fan speed down. The case is a bit of an unknown quantity to be honest, not sure how quiet the PSU is in it, it sounds like it's been designed to be quiet but you never know till you get them in your living room! IDE Hard drives are fine with that motherboard, I'm using one...

    Cheers,
    Andy.
     
  10. paul1672

    paul1672
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    cheers for that.
    well,i'm going to go order my bits now and have fun building.....
    many thanks for the input.
    paul
     
  11. zAndy1

    zAndy1
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    looked at a review of that case and it's a seasonic PSU which are well regarded and quiet so you should be ok..

    Cheers
    Andy
     
  12. paul1672

    paul1672
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    sorry to be a pain.
    there seems to be many radeon 9600's out there.
    do you have a recommendation for me?
     
  13. zAndy1

    zAndy1
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