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Rich's HTPC Build

Rich1981

Established Member
Morning all i am delving into the world of upgrading all my Av equipment and getting the most out it. I have wanted a pc hooked up to my tv with all our films loaded on along with music and pictures for a while now. I have started to use an old tower PC i had from 2004, however is very noisy and needs more memory a better grafix card and bigger hard drive. I have now decided to build a new system from scratch on a tight budget. I have never built a computer before so bear with my very limited knowlage.

Case will be this one:- X-Case X1501A - Black Silver - No Psu - (comes with a power pupply)

Motherboard:- Maybe this one ASUS M5A78L-M LX AMD 760G uATX Motherboard at cheap prices | PC World

Processor:- Something like this. AMD Athlon II X2 260 Processor at cheap prices | PC World

Memory:- will be 4GB

Grafix Card:- will need to have a HDMI output. Maybe this one. PNY NVIDIA GeForce 8400 GS PCI-E Graphics Card - 512MB at cheap prices | PC World

Blue Ray Drive:- Standard drive nothing fancy. LITE-ON iHES212 Internal Blu-ray Player at cheap prices | PC World

Hard Drive:- Might look at using an old Hard Drive for the Operating system and a seperate 2Tb drive for storage of media.

Operating System:- Windows 7 or XP with media centre.

I will be using a wireless keyboard and mouse.

Does what i suggest sound realistic? any comment welcome.
 

Monty Burns

Prominent Member
I only use Intel CPU's so can't comment on the AMD choice but, I wonder if it has enough juice?

Are you planning to pass the audio over HDMI or an optical cable?

What budget do you have? I've proven that (not including O/S) you can build an I3 system for a smidge over £200.
 

Rich1981

Established Member
I only use Intel CPU's so can't comment on the AMD choice but, I wonder if it has enough juice?

Are you planning to pass the audio over HDMI or an optical cable?

What budget do you have? I've proven that (not including O/S) you can build an I3 system for a smidge over £200.

my budget is around £200 - £250. I thought the sound went through the HDMI but if i can get a card with optical on it that would be great. What is an "I3 system" sorry for sounding dumb.

Edit: a sound card like this with an optical adapter. http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/asus-xonar-ds-7-1-channel-pci-sound-card-07929963-pdt.html
 
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Monty Burns

Prominent Member
Its part of the latest range of Intel Processors (i3, i5 and i7). If you look at modern laptops they may well have a sticker on them saying "Intel Core i.." on them. I3 is the smallest and least power hungry, going up to I7 which is a beast and will require its own power station hehehe (ok, im exagerating).

You really need someone with CPU "grunt" knowledge to tell you the diference but I suspect the I3 is far superiour to a low spec AMD. With the spares you plan to recycle you can easily build an I3 system for your budget. What I can tell you is that lower power doesn't always mean less heat. I can't hear the fan on my I3 and its the stock cooler and it can be decoding 2x HD channels and watching a 3rd recorded HD channel.

Sound can and does go through the HDMI but in my case as I only have a 5.1 system I just put mine through an SPDIF/Optical. Generaly you will find this on the motherboard and not the gfx card. If you have more than a 5.1 system then you will want to use HDMI. Some people can also hear the diference between HDMI (bitstreamed, uncompressed, raw) sound compared to the DTS/DD5.1 over SPDIF - I can't though.

edit:

Seems your processor actually gets reasonable results on this page. You will probably be OK with the AMD planned :)
 
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Rich1981

Established Member
initially this will just be direct to the tv via HDMI but eventually will go into a AV receiver then to a TV so i think i will stick to the HDMI and eventually upgrade the sound card. How much can you pick up a decent intel processor for?
 

Monty Burns

Prominent Member
As I said above mate, wouldn't bother, seems the AMD has enough power so stick with your plan :)
 

Monty Burns

Prominent Member
You don't need anything even semi-flash to do 3D, my old, cheap (£20), passive cooled, Nvidia 220 does it fine. Don't get confused between 3D gaming and 3D films (the latter is FAR less taxing)
 

wokeye

Established Member
I have that CPU and an Asus motherboard similar to that one, except mine has onboard graphics which I do not use. For my GFX I use a passively cooled HD5450. The CPU is more than powerful enough for anything that I use. It plays 1080p fine and is also fine for video encoding using Ripbot. I am pretty pleased with the way that my HTPC performs for the outlay. One thing that I would advise is to get a fairly quiet CPU cooler as the AMD one was pretty noisy. I use a Scythe Shuriken Rev. B SCSK-1100 I never hardly hear it. Make sure you get a quiet PSU too.
 

Monty Burns

Prominent Member

spacemanc

Established Member
Board is good - I recently built a system with it - it's not got USB3 but that's not a massive issue really.

CPU should be fine

What RAM are you planning to use? It has a big effect on day to day use.

Be very careful with PSU's. You want a quiet efficient PSU - but the main thing to watch is the connectors. Alot of PSU's thrown in with cases will be missing PCI-E connectors, and one that I bought recently only had a single SATA connector!

I'd definitely consider this for graphics:

XFX ATI Radeon 6450 HD 625MHz 1GB PCI-Express 2.1 HDMI (HD-645X-ZNH2) - dabs.com

dabs.com are cheap, and although they have next day delivery option, just choose standard delivery and 99% of time its next day - also using quidco.com I got the usual 5% cashback plus £10 off last week :)

ebay is always worth a look, but obviously be careful. I've built a very good 'value' HTPC, by shopping around on ebay. It wasn't exactly cheap but amazing price for the spec. I also bought the M5A78L-M LX on there brand new for £24 incl. postage.
 

tony_park

Established Member
Hi,

if you can stretch to it, go for a nesteq semi fanless psu - Nesteq ASM X-Zero Heat-piped Cooled Semi-Fanless Power Supplies, these are great, the fan only comes on when the unit gets warm - I've never heard ours come on yet, and I've been using this psu for probably 5 years now!

They also have a great selection of quiet cpu coolers on there.

The Atom D525 is possibly the better of the atom processors to go for, but for the extra capacity, stick with either the AMD chip or an i3 2100T.

Tony
 

Rich1981

Established Member
Right then after lots of deliberating and changing my mind i am going to build a very basic system with the following parts:-

Case will be this one:- X-Case X1501A - Black Silver - No Psu - (comes with a 300watt power pupply) £35.98

Motherboard:- ASUS M5A78L-M LX AMD 760G uATX Motherboard £38.81

Processor:- AMD Athlon II X2 260 Processor £51.99

Memory:- 4GB (2x 2gb) £18.42

Grafix Card:- Not bothering yet sticking with the motherboard if i can.

Blue Ray Drive:- At a later date.

Hard Drive:- Will just take the 250GB from my old PC. Operating system already loaded on so hopefully just plug in and go.

Operating System:- XP already on Hard Drive if that dont work re-load XP.

Once it's up and running i will use XBMC as my media centre.

I will be using a wireless keyboard and mouse.

Total cost £145.20 for a very simple way to view my media at the click of a button. At a later date i can install a Blueray drive and better grafix cards for the time being it should do the job.
 

Monty Burns

Prominent Member
Nothing wrong with that for the money :smashin:

.... apart from the PSU "pupply" of course :D
 

Monty Burns

Prominent Member

spacemanc

Established Member
You'll want a gfx card if you go for that board - it only has a VGA output. You can pick up a passive HD 5450 for about £25 or a HD 6450 for £5-£10 more. If you're paying full price for that board, and don't want to buy a gfx card, then maybe look at upgrading the board. Something like this costs only a little more and has the same IGP, but better sound and better outputs:

MSI 760GM-E51-FX Motherboard - 760GM-E51 (FX) - Scan.co.uk
 

Monty Burns

Prominent Member
You'll want a gfx card if you go for that board - it only has a VGA output. ...

Oh s*&t sorry! My mistake, and well spotted! For some reason I checked the original mobo. :suicide:

Hope you haven't purchased it yet?:
 

-BA-

Standard Member
Hmm like the look of that 6450 card. It does however say that the recommended PSU is 400w. Would a 300w not struggle?
 

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