Looking to build a new PC for HTPC/emulation/gaming

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Re: Looking to build a new PC for HTPC/emulation/gaming

Postposted on Mon Mar 31, 2014 4:00 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:If you're connecting to your TV using HDMI, you probably don't need a sound card.


Ok, that's fair enough. I'd be connecting it via HDMI to the receiver, which is then output to the TV. I'm guessing a sound card would still not be required? Would there be any difference in sound quality with this sort of setup? Happy to spend a little on the sound card if it makes a difference, but can just as easily drop it from the build.

Chrispy_ wrote:You don't need thermal paste either, you'll get some with the 212EVO and the difference in temperature between that and the Arctic Silver is going to be so negligible that it's not worth doing.

You're better off spending another $9 on the heatsink instead, but I wouldn't bother because the EVO is already plenty good enough for cool and quiet operation, even with a mild overclock.

Cool, I'll ditch it then - didn't think of the past that comes with the cooler. If anything, I'd only be looking at a mild OC, so guessing that would be suitable.
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Re: Looking to build a new PC for HTPC/emulation/gaming

Postposted on Mon Mar 31, 2014 6:47 pm

The EVO can even handle quite aggressive overclocks, but at the cost of fan noise.
I suspect it's not important to you but aggressive overclocks/overvoltage usually means you need watercooling with at least a 240mm radiator to use slow fans.

astuart88 wrote:I'd be connecting it via HDMI to the receiver, which is then output to the TV. I'm guessing a sound card would still not be required? Would there be any difference in sound quality with this sort of setup?


With that setup, the sound cards (dedicated, or on-board) would be inactive. You could even disable them under the device manager and you'd still get sound, if you wanted.
The receiver decodes the sound and will appear as your sound device in windows, or if it's in pass-through mode, your TV will be your sound device.

My information may be out of date, but the only reason to get a sound card these days is for analogue audio (almost obsolete unless you're doing recording instead of playback)
I hear rig lists are all the rage, and I <3 the rage! Workstation = Black tower thing; HTPC = Shhhh!; Laptop - AMAZING FOLDING PC!
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Re: Looking to build a new PC for HTPC/emulation/gaming

Postposted on Mon Mar 31, 2014 7:32 pm

Hey bud,

Glad you took some time and made some final-ish decisions. Puts the whole thing into perspective doesn't it?

Get a sound card if you want to use analog (e.g. headphone) inputs. If you will just, or primarily, be using TV sound, then you don't need the sound card.

4TB is massive. If money becomes an issue again, you can chop that down to a 2 or 3TB and still do fine for TV recording as long as you don't need to record everything in HD.

Haswell is great an all, but not amazing for overclocking. Here's hoping that Intel follows up on that promise to give us solid overclocking chips soon, maybe even before you do your build? One can hope.

As for the cooler - I don't think a 212 Evo fits in a GD07 based on this review of the GD07. I'd go with a 120MM Corsair water cooling unit if you want to overclock, something like this H80i. Also, note that the stock cooler will do fine until you want to overclock.

For internet connectivity, I've always done well with Trendnet offerings, like this 4 port bridge. It basically takes an existing wireless signal and lets you connect more devices via ethernet. I got mine for US$25 and it gets me speeds as good as this Asus wireless USB adapter (got the Asus initially, then returned it for the Trendnet when that went on sale. Before that, used a single port Trendnet bridge for 5 years). I like it because I can place the adapter anywhere, even several feet from my PC and get solid speeds.

Skip the fans initially, you can always add them later if you need the extra cooling. I was going to toss extra fans in my GD05 and never did. Only ever hooked up one of the included fans actually and my HTPC runs quiet and cool. Case should come with a few fans, so give them a try first.

Also, I know the Blu-ray burner is tempting, but I'd say just skip it. I got one for my HTPC and never use it for anything other than watching DVDs and burning regular DVDs. You can save $50 and just get a Lite-On DVD burner.

All in all, its a solid build that should serve you well for a long time. Shoot, only thing you'd need to replace in the next 5 years is the GPU assuming you wanted to keep up with the most cutting edge games at higher settings. Definitely keep us updated and post pics! You can use Pcpartpicker.com to post your pics and tell your story.
Gaming: i5-3570k/Z77 Extreme4/212 Evo/Corsair 500R/16GB Ballstix Tact 1600 CL8/MSI 7850 2GB/840 250gb, EVO 500gb, SG 3tb/Tachyon 550w/Win7

HTPC: i3 3225/H77/8gb g.skill 1.25v/1+2TB HDD/Asus BR/Asus 7850 2gb/Silverstone GD05B/Antec 380w/InfiniTV 4/Win7
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Re: Looking to build a new PC for HTPC/emulation/gaming

Postposted on Mon Mar 31, 2014 8:28 pm

http://us.coolermaster.com/en/product/D ... 2-evo.html
CoolerMaster wrote: Hyper 212 Evo CPU cooler dimension: 120 x 80 x 159 mm

http://www.silverstonetek.com/product.p ... 30&area=en
Silverstone wrote: Height limitation of CPU cooler in GD07 case: 138 mm


What you probably need in this case is something like the GeminII S524.
CoolerMaster wrote: GeminII S524 CPU cooler dimension: 144 x 144 x 105 mm
The A$111 Noctua NH-C12P SE14 is only 114 mm tall. The A$123 Noctua NH-C14 is 130 mm tall.

The ATX Grandia GD07 case takes up 33.5 liters. I believe that you'd be okay with a 22.4-liter micro-ATX case like the Grandia GD04, Grandia GD05 or the similar Grandia GD06.
i7-4770K, H70, Gryphon Z87, 16 GiB, R9-290, SSD, 2 HD, Blu-ray, SB ZX, TJ08-E, SS-660XP², 3007WFP+2001FP, RK-9000BR, MX518
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Re: Looking to build a new PC for HTPC/emulation/gaming

Postposted on Mon Mar 31, 2014 9:27 pm

Good spot.
The TX3 EVO is probably the tallest tower you can get away with at 136mm, tower being preferred to a down-facing cooler but not vitally so.
I hear rig lists are all the rage, and I <3 the rage! Workstation = Black tower thing; HTPC = Shhhh!; Laptop - AMAZING FOLDING PC!
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Re: Looking to build a new PC for HTPC/emulation/gaming

Postposted on Mon Mar 31, 2014 11:35 pm

Cheers guys.

Chrispy_ wrote:The EVO can even handle quite aggressive overclocks, but at the cost of fan noise.
I suspect it's not important to you but aggressive overclocks/overvoltage usually means you need watercooling with at least a 240mm radiator to use slow fans.

With that setup, the sound cards (dedicated, or on-board) would be inactive. You could even disable them under the device manager and you'd still get sound, if you wanted.
The receiver decodes the sound and will appear as your sound device in windows, or if it's in pass-through mode, your TV will be your sound device.

My information may be out of date, but the only reason to get a sound card these days is for analogue audio (almost obsolete unless you're doing recording instead of playback)


Sound card is gone then! Cooler will have to be switched out anyway :/.


JustAnEngineer wrote:http://us.coolermaster.com/en/product/Detail/cooling/hyper-series/hyper-212-evo.html
CoolerMaster wrote: Hyper 212 Evo CPU cooler dimension: 120 x 80 x 159 mm

http://www.silverstonetek.com/product.p ... 30&area=en
Silverstone wrote: Height limitation of CPU cooler in GD07 case: 138 mm


What you probably need in this case is something like the GeminII S524.
CoolerMaster wrote: GeminII S524 CPU cooler dimension: 144 x 144 x 105 mm
The A$111 Noctua NH-C12P SE14 is only 114 mm tall. The A$123 Noctua NH-C14 is 130 mm tall.

The ATX Grandia GD07 case takes up 33.5 liters. I believe that you'd be okay with a 22.4-liter micro-ATX case like the Grandia GD04, Grandia GD05 or the similar Grandia GD06.


Actually just picked up the cooler would be too big for the fan while I was putting everything into PCPartPicker (http://au.pcpartpicker.com/p/3k1tA). I've gone with the Noctua NH-L9i instead, which shouldn't cause any issues. I could probably go with one of the different Grandia's, but I like the look of this one. I quite like the look of the GD06, but it seems the heatsink clearance is even tighter than the GD07... The GD07 is a little bigger than some of the others, but will be fine in my TV cabinet. I had a look for the Gemini cooler one you posted, but seems a little tough to find in AU. Would prefer the tower cooler, but the Noctua one may have to do. I don't REALLY plan to do any OCing, it's more of a 'just in case'. That, and I want to keep noise to a minimum. If I'm not doing any overclocking, would a heatsink and case fans make the build run any cooler and thus not as noisy?

southrncomfortjm wrote:Hey bud,

Glad you took some time and made some final-ish decisions. Puts the whole thing into perspective doesn't it?

Get a sound card if you want to use analog (e.g. headphone) inputs. If you will just, or primarily, be using TV sound, then you don't need the sound card.

4TB is massive. If money becomes an issue again, you can chop that down to a 2 or 3TB and still do fine for TV recording as long as you don't need to record everything in HD.

Haswell is great an all, but not amazing for overclocking. Here's hoping that Intel follows up on that promise to give us solid overclocking chips soon, maybe even before you do your build? One can hope.

As for the cooler - I don't think a 212 Evo fits in a GD07 based on this review of the GD07. I'd go with a 120MM Corsair water cooling unit if you want to overclock, something like this H80i. Also, note that the stock cooler will do fine until you want to overclock.

For internet connectivity, I've always done well with Trendnet offerings, like this 4 port bridge. It basically takes an existing wireless signal and lets you connect more devices via ethernet. I got mine for US$25 and it gets me speeds as good as this Asus wireless USB adapter (got the Asus initially, then returned it for the Trendnet when that went on sale. Before that, used a single port Trendnet bridge for 5 years). I like it because I can place the adapter anywhere, even several feet from my PC and get solid speeds.

Skip the fans initially, you can always add them later if you need the extra cooling. I was going to toss extra fans in my GD05 and never did. Only ever hooked up one of the included fans actually and my HTPC runs quiet and cool. Case should come with a few fans, so give them a try first.

Also, I know the Blu-ray burner is tempting, but I'd say just skip it. I got one for my HTPC and never use it for anything other than watching DVDs and burning regular DVDs. You can save $50 and just get a Lite-On DVD burner.

All in all, its a solid build that should serve you well for a long time. Shoot, only thing you'd need to replace in the next 5 years is the GPU assuming you wanted to keep up with the most cutting edge games at higher settings. Definitely keep us updated and post pics! You can use Pcpartpicker.com to post your pics and tell your story.


Certainly did put things into perspective! I was basing my estimates on other HTPC builds I'd seen, but I guess mine isn't going to be just an HTPC. Happy to spend the extra money, provided I know it's decent value for what I'm after.

I'll be removing the sound card.

4TB probably is a bit large, but I'd rather have the storage space just in case I do decide to fill it...

As for the wireless bridge - would there be much difference between using a bridge which picks up wireless signals, and a PCI-E wireless receiver? From what little research I've done, the PCI-E receivers can be a little bit flaky. I guess using the bridge would allow me to move it to a bit of a better position interference wise, and then just run the ethernet cable from there, correct?

Pretty sure the Blu-Ray drive I have isn't a RW, just a reader.

As for the fans, I know it's probably a bit of overkill, but I was concerned about noise. If it's overkill and it's doubtful that they'll make a difference, I Can certainly remove them. Could always just get them later too.
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Re: Looking to build a new PC for HTPC/emulation/gaming

Postposted on Tue Apr 01, 2014 4:21 am

Are you going to try to watch blu ray movies using that drive? Just note that windows doesn't have a blu ray watching program built in. You will need to buy a standalone program and those can run from $30 to $100. Some people swear they have no issues with them, others bash those programs pretty badly.

Actually looks like Windows 8 doesn't have a DVD watching program either. See this article.

If you really just want to watch blu rays, I recommend getting a $50 blu ray player from Samsung or LG.

Correct on the WiFi question. Almost everything has Wi-Fi now so that bridge isn't as useful as it was before but it's still more versatile than a PCI card. Shoot I think I used my old one to get my Xbox 360 on to a hotels free WiFi to pay mass effect 3 online.
Gaming: i5-3570k/Z77 Extreme4/212 Evo/Corsair 500R/16GB Ballstix Tact 1600 CL8/MSI 7850 2GB/840 250gb, EVO 500gb, SG 3tb/Tachyon 550w/Win7

HTPC: i3 3225/H77/8gb g.skill 1.25v/1+2TB HDD/Asus BR/Asus 7850 2gb/Silverstone GD05B/Antec 380w/InfiniTV 4/Win7
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Re: Looking to build a new PC for HTPC/emulation/gaming

Postposted on Tue Apr 01, 2014 5:27 am

southrncomfortjm wrote:Are you going to try to watch blu ray movies using that drive? Just note that windows doesn't have a blu ray watching program built in. You will need to buy a standalone program and those can run from $30 to $100. Some people swear they have no issues with them, others bash those programs pretty badly.

Actually looks like Windows 8 doesn't have a DVD watching program either. See this article.

If you really just want to watch blu rays, I recommend getting a $50 blu ray player from Samsung or LG.

Correct on the WiFi question. Almost everything has Wi-Fi now so that bridge isn't as useful as it was before but it's still more versatile than a PCI card. Shoot I think I used my old one to get my Xbox 360 on to a hotels free WiFi to pay mass effect 3 online.


Really? Well in that case, the Blu-Ray drive is gone! I would actually consider removing the OD all together (which IIRC, gives a bit more clearance for a cooler - would have to double check the specs again). I usually watch DVD's and Bluray's on the PS3, which will still be setup at the same TV as the HTPC. Essentially everything I have these days is digital. Although, I guess I would need an OD to install the OEM version of Windows 8 :/. Though, I'm assuming that I could just install it from a USB drive and use the license from the OEM. Any issues with the USB drivers on the motherboard on a fresh install? I'm pretty sure one of my builds years and years ago had an issue with USB until I installed Windows, but surely that would have changed by now.

As for the bridge, I think I'll definitely consider that. From what I've read, the metal on the back of the case and the fact the antenna are backed up against the wall do make the wireless spotty at times. Nothing annoys me more than internet dropping out, so the bridge is a worthwhile option simply because I can move it to a better spot.

Thanks for your help, it is definitely appreciated!

Now, to consider whether to even buy an overclockable CPU...I've never once OC'd anything in my life, but would be willing to do it provided it's simple enough and the performance gains are worthwhile...
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Re: Looking to build a new PC for HTPC/emulation/gaming

Postposted on Tue Apr 01, 2014 5:52 am

The version of PowerDVD that comes bundled with Blu-ray drives works fine. It may be limited to stereo sound.
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Re: Looking to build a new PC for HTPC/emulation/gaming

Postposted on Tue Apr 01, 2014 8:31 am

Anytime on the help. Helping others build helps keep me or of trouble since I'm itching to build another system just for the heck of it.


Yeah, I use my PS3 for movie watching even tho my htpc is hooked up to the same TV. Wish I could have saved the money on my blu ray drive and gone with a 7950 or gtx 660 ti.

As for overclocking, it's pretty easy now. You can watch this guide to get an idea. There are tons more, and probably some that use your own motherboard.

The biggest thing is to be sure to get your voltage down as low as possible and then stability test the system. Nothing worse than a crash in the middle of a Guild Wars 2 world v world raid to get you to stability test more.
Gaming: i5-3570k/Z77 Extreme4/212 Evo/Corsair 500R/16GB Ballstix Tact 1600 CL8/MSI 7850 2GB/840 250gb, EVO 500gb, SG 3tb/Tachyon 550w/Win7

HTPC: i3 3225/H77/8gb g.skill 1.25v/1+2TB HDD/Asus BR/Asus 7850 2gb/Silverstone GD05B/Antec 380w/InfiniTV 4/Win7
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Re: Looking to build a new PC for HTPC/emulation/gaming

Postposted on Mon Apr 21, 2014 9:34 am

Saw this deal on Slickdeals and thought about this build again: http://slickdeals.net/f/6873678-xfx-cor ... -on-newegg

The R7 265 is basically the same as the 7850. I run 7850s in both my systems and am actually pretty happy with them despite what i've said before. My gripes about them mostly concern MMOs, Star Wars TOR and Guild Wars 2, but in reading more and doing some testing, I've found that the issues there are mostly due to bad engines and internet ping/bandwidth. Lately, I've been playing a lot of more recent games (Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Witcher 2, Batman: Arkham Origins, Battlefield 3) and my 7850 handles all of them like a champ at 1080p when the AA is not too high, with a decent amount of other eye candy turned up. I'm talking 60fps most of the time, with drops to 45ish only if things get really intense. You don't play MMOs, so the 265/7850 may be just the card for you at $100US less than the 760.

Only thing is, my testing mostly happens when i've got my 7850 overclocked to 1140 core clock (up from 860) and 5200 memory clock (up from base). I did some basic benchmarking when I had it at stock values using Tomb Raider and the overclocking definitely produced 10-20% more FPS at the same setttings. I've also got my processor pumped up to 4.4ghz (though, in my testing, the only game that seemed CPU limited was Guild Wars 2).

Other note is that I don't know if there is any difference in the overclocking headroom on a 265 v. 7850. They should be the same, but I'm not sure.

Here is a link to Newegg for a Powercolor 7850, so they are still around, though apparently at a higher price than 265s.

The 7850 won't have the longevity of the 760, but if you truly aren't a big gamer (and just want to keep doing the emulation stuff), then this may be a good switch.

So, for a nice change of pace, we may actually be lowering the cost of your build. You may even be able to get some free games included: http://techreport.com/news/26341/after- ... -yet-again
Gaming: i5-3570k/Z77 Extreme4/212 Evo/Corsair 500R/16GB Ballstix Tact 1600 CL8/MSI 7850 2GB/840 250gb, EVO 500gb, SG 3tb/Tachyon 550w/Win7

HTPC: i3 3225/H77/8gb g.skill 1.25v/1+2TB HDD/Asus BR/Asus 7850 2gb/Silverstone GD05B/Antec 380w/InfiniTV 4/Win7
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