What do I need to build a HTPC from scratch ?

Discussion in 'Microsoft Windows' started by iendicott, Mar 29, 2006.

  1. iendicott

    iendicott
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2005
    Messages:
    268
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Peterborough
    Ratings:
    +5
    OK so far can think of

    1. Case - Mini tower or HTPC size
    2. Motherboard - SATA interface + USB 2 + PCI express
    3. PSU - Dual Core ???
    4. Memory - Around 2gb
    5. Processor - P4 3mhz+
    6. Fan (s)
    7. Graphics Card - PCI Express
    8. Sound Card - 7.1 Surround
    9. DVD Drive - Dual layer
    10. Hard Disk - 500gb Sata
    11. Network adapter - Gigabit ?

    Anyone think of anything else ?

    Also what kind of price am I looking at to build one from scratch with these specs.
    Where is the best place to go for parts ?


    Thanks Ivan
     
  2. Media-Man

    Media-Man
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2005
    Messages:
    486
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Location:
    Oxfordshire
    Ratings:
    +56
    1 GB should do you.
    TV card?
    Remote control?
    Keyboard?

    Price really depends on how quiet you want it (Decent quiet CPU cooler, quiet/silent PSU, etc soon add up to overall cost).
    Case prices can vary in cost to. £70ish for a decent HTPC case sans VFD/ir throught £180ish for VFD/IR equipped case right upto £500 for a case with touchscreen.
    Soundcard only really necessary if you're requiring good quality analogue in/out . If using SDPIF then this will just be streamed straight through
     
  3. iendicott

    iendicott
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2005
    Messages:
    268
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Peterborough
    Ratings:
    +5
    OK forgot TV card, remote and keyboard cheers.

    Is it possible to build one for less than £500 ? or is it better to spend a little more on it for decent components ?
     
  4. DNWILLIAMS

    DNWILLIAMS
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2005
    Messages:
    366
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +13
    Spec seems ok, my personal opinion is to get a motherboard that supports AMD socket 939 and use a 64 bit processor, the Asus A8N-VM CSM is a popular one, choice is yours, if your budget can stretch to it get a X2 processor.

    How are you planning on using the sound, through a seperate a/v amp? If so then I connected my HTPC to my amp using the motherboards on board S/pidif connection, and it works great. Also are you planning on getting one 500GB hard drive or two 250GB ones? You could buy three 250GB hard drives for the price of one 500GB one.

    For a case I bought an LC16M and it's superb, (bit of help off mediapc.tv to get it sorted :smashin: ) it already has good cooling but if you put a quiet front fan in it helps the through flow of air.

    Finally are you putting MCE2005 on as your O/S, I wasn't sure but took the plunge and haven't looked back.

    Best of luck with your system
     
  5. iendicott

    iendicott
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2005
    Messages:
    268
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Peterborough
    Ratings:
    +5
    Umm interesting about the price of hard drives..

    Is there any benefit of AMD or Intel chips and vice versa ?

    With the sound system I would have to buy an amp and speakers.
     
  6. Media-Man

    Media-Man
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2005
    Messages:
    486
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Location:
    Oxfordshire
    Ratings:
    +56
    ahh Was it you who had the remote control problem yesterday?
     
  7. Media-Man

    Media-Man
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2005
    Messages:
    486
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Location:
    Oxfordshire
    Ratings:
    +56
    £500 is just do-able if you don't mind noise and can do without a 500GB HDD (say 250GB)
     
  8. DNWILLIAMS

    DNWILLIAMS
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2005
    Messages:
    366
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +13
    AMD and Intel is a personal choice thing, there are pros and cons with each and I'm not going down the one is better than the other route on this thread its been done to death :boring: I prefer AMD processors and the choice of motherboards available for AMD processors but that doesn't mean I think Intel processors are no good.

    Your going to need speakers anyway if you haven't already got them and a nice amp and speaker set will go well with that 40" Sony your hankering for :) otherwise a lot of motherboards have sound ports that allow for 5.1 analogue connection to speaker sets, it's just a shame to not connect your sound digitally if you have the option.

    mediapc.tv has some good prices on components and ebuyer are as competitive as anyone now they've sorted out there delivery problems.
     
  9. iendicott

    iendicott
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2005
    Messages:
    268
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Peterborough
    Ratings:
    +5
    So I need to connect the PC to the amp via SPDIF to get the best sound from it.

    Cheers guys I am off to price up a system.

    :smashin:
     
  10. DNWILLIAMS

    DNWILLIAMS
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2005
    Messages:
    366
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +13
    No my problem was a VFD display that didn't display :thumbsdow , couple of weeks back but thanks again for your advice we're up and running and looks great :thumbsup:
     
  11. iendicott

    iendicott
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2005
    Messages:
    268
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Peterborough
    Ratings:
    +5
    But there is going to be 6 flavours of Vista, that means the home version is going to work on Intel based chips surely otherwise Gates would be shooting himself in the foot :confused:
     
  12. nigelbb

    nigelbb
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2005
    Messages:
    5,309
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    103
    Ratings:
    +491
    Intel make 64bit x86 CPUs & both manufacturers still make 32bit CPUs. The current Intel bargain looks to be a dual core 2.66GHz 64bit for under 90 pounds http://www.ebuyer.com/customer/prod...hvd19wcm9kdWN0X292ZXJ2aWV3&product_uid=107617
     
  13. iendicott

    iendicott
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2005
    Messages:
    268
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Peterborough
    Ratings:
    +5
  14. Cable Monkey

    Cable Monkey
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2002
    Messages:
    3,494
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Birmingham
    Ratings:
    +205
    No more so than you would a dual core AMD chip. The heat issues of the first generation Prescott core has been pretty much sorted. Both CPU's have their merits.

    frintc, you might want to check your information. It is a little misleading! Why would an owner of the current crop of single core 64bit Intel chips or any of the dual core owners need a new setup?;)
     
  15. iendicott

    iendicott
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2005
    Messages:
    268
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Peterborough
    Ratings:
    +5
    But I take it a dual core processor is going to throw out more heat than a single core ?
     
  16. Cable Monkey

    Cable Monkey
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2002
    Messages:
    3,494
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Birmingham
    Ratings:
    +205
    I from that point of view you are right (I thought you were refering to the old Prescott heat issues) but I think at idle they are no warmer than any cpu. Modern cooling solutions have also evolved and a decent heatsink will have no problems. However for a silent solution perhaps they are not the best choice!
     
  17. iendicott

    iendicott
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2005
    Messages:
    268
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Peterborough
    Ratings:
    +5
    "Prescott" - I take it this was the core in all the old pentium 4's ?

    I am new to this so help me out please !

    Anyway I see thay are naming there chip processors now as well...
     
  18. Cable Monkey

    Cable Monkey
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2002
    Messages:
    3,494
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Birmingham
    Ratings:
    +205
    Pentium 4's have gone through a number of incarnations:

    Willamette (423). Fat, slow and hamstrung by Intels insistence on expensive RIMM memory for performance applications.

    Northwood 533 (478), slimmer die and used with DDR enabling it to match Athlons XP's.

    Northwood 800 (478), the beast was unleashed and together with a good chipset they were faster than their Athlon equivalents.

    Prescott 533/800 (478). Bad engineering resulted in these initial chips being virtually unuseable at full throttle due to heat.

    Prescott 800/1033 (775). Later incarnations have good temperature regulation, have 64bit capability and come in dual core variations. Every bit as capable as their AMD64 equivalents, they are still plagued with comparisons with early Prescotts. AMD64's edge it due to cost (chips and motherboards) and their gaming prowess.
     
  19. Media-Man

    Media-Man
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2005
    Messages:
    486
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Location:
    Oxfordshire
    Ratings:
    +56
    It's actually not bad at all.:smashin:
     
  20. Media-Man

    Media-Man
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2005
    Messages:
    486
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Location:
    Oxfordshire
    Ratings:
    +56
    The RIMM was chipset dependant rather than CPU dependant. I have the (mis)fortune to work on the ill fated camino (i810) chipset Pheonix BIOS all those years ago.... :s :suicide:
     
  21. iendicott

    iendicott
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2005
    Messages:
    268
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Peterborough
    Ratings:
    +5
    Been thinking about the processor type, do I really need a dual core processor or just a fast single core one for use with a media centre ?
     
  22. FazerThou

    FazerThou
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2003
    Messages:
    1,923
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    66
    Location:
    Bath
    Ratings:
    +156
    My spec is athlon 64 3200+, asus A8n - vm with sdpif out, zalman cooler (7000 or 7700 cant remember which), black gold tv card, 250GB Samsung spinpoint, Silverstone LC11 case, microsoft keyboard remote and MCE, 80mm AcoustiFan for outlet, Pioneer 110 DVDrw. Works fine and very quiet. Should be able to do that lot for under £600.:)
     
  23. DNWILLIAMS

    DNWILLIAMS
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2005
    Messages:
    366
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +13
    Go the single core processor route for now, then as and when dual core applications or general software requirements get to the point where they need dual core processing power all you have to do is swap your chip, AMD based Socket 939 boards allow this, I'd imagine the Intel boards are capable of single and dual core chip upgrades too. :smashin:

    I sort of cascade my upgrades, the main office based gaming, big application pc will shortly get a dual core processor, then I'll change the board in my HTPC and add the "spare" AMD 64 chip to that and then the processor and board from the HTPC will upgrade the NASlite server, or maybe I'll build another pc for somewhere, not got one in the kitchen yet :rotfl:
     

Share This Page

Loading...