Spec me a system!


Active Member
im looking to replace my current PC soon-ish...i will want one that is HDCP compliant throughout and quiet enough that i can sleep with it on a few metres away (but by no means needs to be 100% silent), and can play a 1080p media file with absolutely no slowdown or jerkiness (and preferably be able to upscale using ffdshow to 1080p)!is this reasonable?

Main uses would be TV through MCE, DVDs, Xvid/x264 movie files, and a bit of email/internet.

To start i would just use my DVD-RW drive from my old PC,but in a few months ill replace with a blu-ray or HD-DVD drive (when they are a bit cheaper) (hence need for HDCP compliance).

im thinking about the following costs as en estimate:

case - £100
PSU - £100 (fanless?)
GFX - £100
CPU - £150
Memory - £150
Mobo - £100
sound - £40
HDD - £80

is anything missing from there?and do the approx costs seem reasonable or too high, or might i be better off buying pre-built?any guidance would be appreciated.



Active Member
The case kinda depends on what you need: attractiveness? expandibility? If you aren't bothered how it looks, clearly the best case around is the Antec P180. Several large/slow/quiet fans included, separate compartment for PSU so its heat doesn't affect the rest of the setup, loads of HD space, etc. See the review at silentpcreview for more details.

PSU: £100 seems a bit too much. Again it depends how much you want to power, but generally you can't go wrong with Seasonic s12 models. The S12-430 is about the quietest thing going, and is £45. Have a read of silentpcreview's various guides for other considerations.

GFX: Has to be a 7600GT at that price - there's simply no benefit going any faster for HD acceleration (8800s do better, but cost a bucketload more). Google around for reviews on particular models, there are a _lot_ of differences in noise. If you can find one, this might be good for £100 (7600GT, HDCP, passive cooling, takes spdif sound in):

Memory: Just get 2GB of ddr800 for £90ish. No point paying for anything more unless you intend to overclock crazily.

HDD: best drive atm is the Western Digital 500GB WD5000KS. It's the quietest thing around, has very low heat, and is £78 at ebuyer. You can get 750GB or 1000GB drives now, but the prices are really high.

CPU/mboard: Get a Ggabyte GA-965P-DS3 for £75 and an e4300 for £110. I have these, you can do 3ghz easily with a £30 cooler and stock voltages (I use a Big Typoon, but there are plenty for around £30, see xbitlabs' various roundups). Heat isn't remotely a problem at 3ghz, the motherboard seamlessly lowers to 2ghz for lower heat/noise most of the time, fan autospeed works perfectly so your fans are lowered to silent speeds most of the time. Temps are 25C idle, 45C load, and it can play anything easily (toughest Bluray AVC is 40% average).

If you want to overclock a bit more, go for a e6400, but the benefits are pretty minimal imo. For a HTPC anything above a C2D 2ghz does all you need.


Active Member
i wouldnt want to overclock!id be more likely to underclock to save on heat.

i have an AMD 3000+ atm,it just seems to be borderline with certain things, 1080p playback is slightly jerky...but my main issue with my system is its a noisy beast!

thanks for the advice,will be considring my options soon.

does HDCP compatibility matter for the mothterboard?or is it just the gfx to worry about?

that antec p180 i was already looking at,i thought it looked really nice :) so glad it gets good reviews!

thinking about it,it may even be worth me buying a new case and PSU and seeing how that goes for quietness.


Active Member
i wouldnt want to overclock!id be more likely to underclock to save on heat.

Hehe - well, with a P180 doing the cooling, heat simply won't be a problem. Even overclocked to 3ghz running Bluray AVC I'm only at 40 degrees CPU, with the fans turned down so I can't hear them. A P180 would make a much better job of it, with its multiple 120mm units taking the heat out.

With a good case and C2D, you only have heat problems when you overclock to the point where you need to raise the voltage a lot - for a e4300 that's about 3ghz, which is why I stopped there.

does HDCP compatibility matter for the mothterboard?or is it just the gfx to worry about?

The graphics card and the display only. You can use VGA or component without HDCP at all though, at least for a few years.

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