Ultimate HTPC Media/Gaming

PeterHMR

Standard Member
Looking to built a HTPC. From a technical background but haven't being building or looking at PC hardware in a long time. I've put a list together below based on the research I've done so far but I'm still unsure if this is the best setup for me or will actually do what I want.

HTPC should be able to do the following

Gaming - Going to pair up with Xbox controllers and looking for quaility performance and graphics.
TV - FTA Digital HD, Free SAT HD, dual recording and EPG
Media Centre
3D Blueray Movies with HD audio
Music

Asus P8Z77-V LX Motherboard
Crucial Ballistix Tactical Tracer w/LEDs 8GB kit (4GBx2) DDR3
Pioneer BDR-208DBK BD/DVD/CD Blu-Ray Disc Writer OEM Drive
Be Quiet! BN201 Dark Power Pro 10 Power Supply (650 Watts)
Intel 320 2.5 inch Solid State Drive 80GB 25nm MLC Internal
Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB SATA 6 Gb/s 64MB 3.5 inch Hard Drive
Creative Sound Blaster Recon3D PCIe Fatal1ty Professional Sound Card
Hauppauge WinTV-HVR0-4400 Hybrid TV Card
Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Processor 6MB L3 Cache 5GT/s Bus Speed (Boxed)
EVGA GeForce GTX 670 Superclocked+ 4096MB Graphics Card
Lian Li PC C60

I would really appreciate any comments or advice as I'm not that familair with PC hardware and only putting this together from what I've read over the last couple of hours. Budget is £1500ish.
 

spacemanc

Active Member
Its a good spec which is similar to my gaming PC. The main differences on mine are that I didnt bother with a soundcard (really not that necessary nowadays) and I went with a far better value HD7850 (plays almost all games on max settings, and those that I can't play at max the "downgrade" is almost imperceptible)

You should be able to spend a lot less than £1000 if you shop around.
 

WheresMyArtisan

Active Member
Hmmmm.

Personally I'm not sure how well recording TV and playing demanding games would mix. I would have thought that a game stressing the CPU up to 100% might make recordings stutter and/or your game performance might suffer due to the distraction of recording. Others may know more and say it works fine - I haven't tried it myself, as I have always kept TV and games segregated.

How quiet do you want it to be? The "classic" HTPC is generally a minimal-spec CPU and graphics to keep the power and noise down. An almost silent PC is possible with low-spec parts, but I'd be pretty sure that this spec would probably be audible in the room.

There have been a few debates on here about mixing gaming and HTPCs. I don't think there's a right or wrong answer, but there's compromise involved. Noise and power versus performance. Personally I'd get a minimal PC now, then an Xbox 720 next year (and an Xbox 360 to be going on with if necessary). This would possibly even be cheaper than an all-in-one - perhaps half of your budget for the two.

This would also make more sense from an energy efficiency perspective - only the low-energy PC would be on while watching/recording TV. Then the beast is switched on as needed for gaming.

I know others differ in their opinions about a gaming HTPC. This may spark a healthy debate!
 

spacemanc

Active Member
He didn't mention whether or not he wanted to do both things simultaneously, but even if he did I don't think it would be much of a problem as recording doesn't use too much resources afaik.

I agree with Artisan that separate systems is probably better but I suppose it depends on your situation - if you're a student in a tiny room, looking to either game or watch occasional TV, then all in one might be best. I also agree with the point about noise - it's difficult to make a good gaming PC that is also very quiet, but if you choose your parts well it's not too bad.

My gaming PC, where noise wasn't really an issue, is very quiet because the i5 doesn't need much cooling, I use a Coolermaster Silencio soundproofed case, and my HD7850 card is also very quiet. I imagine that the GTX 670 will sound like a hairdryer. Generally with gaming graphics cards, it best to spend around £150 - this will get you a very capable card which is also efficient and quiet. Once you go over that price point, then you tend to get only a slight performance boost, but lots of drawbacks.
 

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