First Rig, Need Help

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First Rig, Need Help

Postposted on Wed Jun 18, 2014 2:13 pm

I'm looking to build a compact, media center type rig for streaming internet video, playing normal local video, and emulating some "classic" console games like super nintendo, gamecube, etc. I have a projector and bluetooth sound bar for output purposes so I just want a media center I can use b/c right now it's just my laptop.

I'm trying to stay around $300 if possible.

I live in Atlanta, GA, USA and don't have a preference of vendors since I'm pretty new to this.

Thanks for the help!
Jumpshot24
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Re: First Rig, Need Help

Postposted on Wed Jun 18, 2014 2:30 pm

Welcome to TR! :D

I think your best bet is something based on an AMD APU like this Gigabyte BRIX and then adding memory and storage. Since you're not doing high-end gaming, or even high-stress emulation, that this might be the most cost effective solution. It'll be more than $300, probably closer to 350-400, but as far as bang for your buck it seems pretty good. The BRIX Pro systems have been known to be loud, btu ArsTechnica reviewed this one and found it to be fairly quiet. A small mSATA drive for the OS and a bigger external drive for your emulators would be a good way to go. Add that and 4 or 8GB of memory and instant computer.
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Re: First Rig, Need Help

Postposted on Wed Jun 18, 2014 2:31 pm

If you want to DIY, look at fanless J1900 Celeron mITX boards and mITX cases. You can build a nice one of those cheap. Do you have a need for a lot of local storage or do you have a NAS of some sort? That will influence the choice of case.

EDIT: I suppose the J1900 may not be Game Cube worthy. Anyone know if it is?

EDIT2: Athlon 5350 is a good chocie for a low-power AMD based system. It won't be silent but will have more GPU grunt and be a little more quiet than some of the other solutions.
Intel NUC that has a lot more CPU grunt while having enough GPU for your needs. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6856102002
Losergamer04
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Re: First Rig, Need Help

Postposted on Wed Jun 18, 2014 3:01 pm

Thanks guys! I have some extensive cloud space so I wouldn't absolutely need too much local storage. I definitely would like to know whether building one for my purposes would be cheaper DIY vs already built.
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Re: First Rig, Need Help

Postposted on Wed Jun 18, 2014 3:16 pm

Honestly, I don't think a price difference is very much. At ~$300, it's a matter of picking priorities.

Storage Potential
CPU Power
GPU Power
Expansion Slots
Noise Generated
Heat Generated

Based on what you have said, I think a Celeron J1900 based mITX system would do best for you. No noise, just enough GPU for your gaming needs, lower power, no noise or mechanical moving parts.

EDIT: easier case and NIC to work with
Antec ISK 300-150
Asus J1900I-C motherboard
7260HMWDTX1 Wireless NIC
crucial mx100 SSD
Last edited by Losergamer04 on Wed Jun 18, 2014 3:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: First Rig, Need Help

Postposted on Wed Jun 18, 2014 3:23 pm

Depending on your abilities to put a system together from scratch, there are 2 Microcenters in Atlanta. If you go there, you can get an A8-6600K + MSI FM2-A75IA-E53 (mITX) for $135 + tax. ($105 if you drop down to the A6-6400K, which would be perfectly fine)
4-8GB of RAM will cost you just under $10/GB.
Then pick an enclosure that suits your fancy. I would recommend any one of these with accompanying PSU
The Silverstone cases I listed require an SFX PSU, or you can get the Corsair CS450M (80 Plus Gold) for $30 after MIR until 6/23/14 for the Cooler Master Elite 130.
If you've got a NAS, I'd recommend a small ~120GB SSD can be had for $60-$80
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Re: First Rig, Need Help

Postposted on Wed Jun 18, 2014 3:58 pm

Jumpshot24 wrote:I'm looking to build a compact, media center type rig for streaming internet video, playing normal local video, and emulating some "classic" console games like super nintendo, gamecube, etc. I have a projector and bluetooth sound bar for output purposes so I just want a media center I can use b/c right now it's just my laptop.

I'm trying to stay around $300 if possible.

I live in Atlanta, GA, USA and don't have a preference of vendors since I'm pretty new to this.

Thanks for the help!



If you're going to stick to SNES/Genesis/TG-16/etc... definitely get a wireless 360 controller or two. Will come in handy. If you're MAME/Kayaks bound, invest in a nice pair of arcade sticks.

And you're going to want something a little beefy to run Dolphin to emulate Gamecube/Wii games (for Wii, you'll also need a sensor bar and wiimotes + nunchuks). If you ever want to emulate Saturn or PS2, you WILL need a beefier machine (think 4GHz CPU with a very fast DX11 GPU). Don't bother with Dreamcast yet. Still very flaky.
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Re: First Rig, Need Help

Postposted on Wed Jun 18, 2014 6:12 pm

Jumpshot24 wrote:I'm looking to build a compact, media center type rig for streaming internet video, playing normal local video, and emulating some "classic" console games like super nintendo, gamecube, etc. I have a projector and bluetooth sound bar for output purposes so I just want a media center I can use b/c right now it's just my laptop.

I'm trying to stay around $300 if possible.

I live in Atlanta, GA, USA and don't have a preference of vendors since I'm pretty new to this.

Thanks for the help!




I forgot to mention, but I've always had good experiences with NewEgg.com, and I'm pretty sure there's a Fry's Electronic off 85 northbound.
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Re: First Rig, Need Help

Postposted on Wed Jun 18, 2014 9:34 pm

You guys are the bomb. I'm going to definitely stop by a microcenter and fry's to feel it out but I'm very pleased with the input. Thanks a ton. I'll let you guys know what I end up doing!
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Re: First Rig, Need Help

Postposted on Mon Jun 23, 2014 7:41 pm

Quick question and maybe an obvious answer, are there specific cases that have an hdmi port or is it standard?
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Re: First Rig, Need Help

Postposted on Mon Jun 23, 2014 8:22 pm

Whether the computer will have an HDMI port does not depend on the case. If integrated graphics, it depends on the motherboard. For discrete graphics it depends on the GPU.

It seems like you're planning on integrated graphics, so look at the motherboard to be sure it has HDMI.

In any case, almost all motherboards and GPUs have an HDMI port, so this shouldn't be an issue.
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Re: First Rig, Need Help

Postposted on Tue Jun 24, 2014 6:45 am

As an emulator fan I would suggest you try and avoid Intel. I've had numerous Playstation and Nintendo emulator struggle with Intel IGPs, even as recently as HD4000 in my Ivy-bridge laptop.

Given your size constraints and budget, I'd look at seeing if you can find a deal on one of the 65W Kaveri chips (A8-7600, for example). Not only will it run emulators well, but it'll also run a lot of the local-coop games on steam like Awesomenauts or Forced (both of which I cannot recommend highly enough).

Also, two XBox360 pads are worth getting given their now low price.
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Re: First Rig, Need Help

Postposted on Thu Jun 26, 2014 11:43 pm

Thanks!
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Re: First Rig, Need Help

Postposted on Fri Jun 27, 2014 12:08 am

Chrispy_ wrote:As an emulator fan I would suggest you try and avoid Intel. I've had numerous Playstation and Nintendo emulator struggle with Intel IGPs, even as recently as HD4000 in my Ivy-bridge laptop.



I should point out that PCSX2 and Dolphin do tend perform better on Intel*. I honestly don't have time to search the PCSX2 forums, but there were posts from the dev team regarding Intel being better than AMD at running the multiple virtual PS2 components. And you will want a fast GPU with 2-3GB VRAM.

Older emulators, like Kawaks, Neo-RAgeX, whatever the good SNES emulator was, and Gens (genesis/segaCD/32X) will happily run on mid to low range hardware. There's a really nice TG-q6/PCE-CD emulator, but I'll be damned if I can find something that will let me mount an image in a virtual drive without throwing an error.



*I forgot to mention that I used to use both emulators on my athlon 2. Pokey, but they worked. Once I upgraded, it was like night and day.
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Re: First Rig, Need Help

Postposted on Sat Jun 28, 2014 9:57 pm

Rosewill RS-MI-01 BK Mini ITX Tower/ Desktop Computer Case with 250W 20+4Pin & 2SATA Connectors Power Supply
ASUS J1800I-C Intel Celeron Dual-Core J1800 Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU/VGA Combo
AMD A4-6300 Richland Dual-Core 3.7GHz (3.9GHz Turbo) Socket FM2 65W Desktop Processor AMD Radeon HD 8370D AD6300OKHLBOX
Crucial MX100 CT128MX100SSD1 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
G.SKILL 8GB (2 x 4GB) 204-Pin DDR3 SO-DIMM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Laptop Memory Model F3-10600CL9D-8GBSQ

I compiled this wish list on newegg for my build but I was wondering if I could build a similar rig from Microcenter - Atlanta/Marietta parts. Can anyone help me out with this? Also, I'm not entirely sure if these parts would all be compatible with each other so bear with me. Thanks!
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Re: First Rig, Need Help

Postposted on Sat Jun 28, 2014 10:11 pm

You can't mix that motherboard with your other parts.

Here are the sorts of things that one could find at Micro Center:
$100 AMD A8-6600K quad-core APU + Gigabyte GA-F2A55M-HD2 micro-ATX motherboard.
$80 2x4 GiB PC3-12800 Crucial Ballistix Sport memory
$0 Integrated APU graphics
$80 128 GB Crucial MX100 SSD
$70 Cheap micro-ATX case with power supply
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Re: First Rig, Need Help

Postposted on Sun Jun 29, 2014 1:35 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:You can't mix that motherboard with your other parts.

To expand on that a bit, you need to pay attention to the type of CPU socket, and make sure you get a CPU that uses the same type of socket your motherboard has. Intel and AMD sockets are not compatible, and both vendors have multiple incompatible sockets even within their own product lines.
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Re: First Rig, Need Help

Postposted on Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:54 pm

Thank you, that helps alot and would not be something I would've figured out til it was too late. Microcenter isn't incredibly close to where I live in ATL so I would like to ration my visits lol.
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Re: First Rig, Need Help

Postposted on Tue Jul 01, 2014 10:02 am

Shoot, I just prefer to ration my visits because it's always so damn expensive whenever I go there.
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Re: First Rig, Need Help

Postposted on Tue Jul 01, 2014 10:36 am

Me loves Microcenter :)

I can walk around for a good 2 hrs and driver my wife crazy......but its fine when she goes clothes shopping and walks around for way longer and happens more often!! It is kinda funny when she asks if I like say a pair of shoes or a blouse.....I realize she knows fashion way better then me so I say I like everything unless it is truly ugly to me. :lol:
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Re: First Rig, Need Help

Postposted on Tue Jul 01, 2014 10:44 am

vargis14 wrote:I can walk around for a good 2 hrs and driver my wife crazy......but its fine when she goes clothes shopping and walks around for way longer and happens more often!! It is kinda funny when she asks if I like say a pair of shoes or a blouse.....I realize she knows fashion way better then me so I say I like everything unless it is truly ugly to me. :lol:

If you want to stir up trouble, point out to her that it is analogous to you asking her which motherboard to buy.

"Oooh, get that one with the purple connector thingies on it!" :lol:

(No offense intended to any female geeks on the forum... :wink:)
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Re: First Rig, Need Help

Postposted on Thu Jul 03, 2014 9:25 am

Lol thanks guys, yeah I'm going today to pick up the stuff today. One last thing, do they sell Windows 8 cheap anywhere for my build or do you guys know of anyway I can get it not for $80-100?
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Re: First Rig, Need Help

Postposted on Thu Jul 03, 2014 9:38 am

$80 is pretty reasonable, considering. I snagged a retail copy on Amazon for $100 a few weeks ago and thought it was a good deal. :)
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Re: First Rig, Need Help

Postposted on Thu Jul 03, 2014 9:54 am

Jumpshot24 wrote:do they sell Windows 8 cheap anywhere for my build or do you guys know of anyway I can get it not for $80-100?

Not unless you know someone in college. However, even college deals are starting to dry up around here (University of Wisconsin / University of Minnesota)
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Re: First Rig, Need Help

Postposted on Thu Jul 03, 2014 10:17 am

Microcenter is selling Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 for around $100. Better price than you find over at Frys (which is at $119.)
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Re: First Rig, Need Help

Postposted on Thu Jul 03, 2014 10:47 am

just brew it! wrote:
vargis14 wrote:I can walk around for a good 2 hrs and driver my wife crazy......but its fine when she goes clothes shopping and walks around for way longer and happens more often!! It is kinda funny when she asks if I like say a pair of shoes or a blouse.....I realize she knows fashion way better then me so I say I like everything unless it is truly ugly to me. :lol:

If you want to stir up trouble, point out to her that it is analogous to you asking her which motherboard to buy.

"Oooh, get that one with the purple connector thingies on it!" :lol:

(No offense intended to any female geeks on the forum... :wink:)


No offence taken since I would be better off asking a goldfish about computer components.
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Re: First Rig, Need Help

Postposted on Thu Jul 03, 2014 10:54 am

Hey guys--thanks for helping out Jumpshot. We work together and I pointed him here and told him that you would get him sorted out--so good work and thanks for it.
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Re: First Rig, Need Help

Postposted on Mon Jul 07, 2014 6:24 pm

Hey guys, I put together my new rig and it powered up but I tried connecting it to my projector via HDMI and then via VGA and I'm not getting an image. What should I check to troubleshoot?
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Re: First Rig, Need Help

Postposted on Tue Jul 08, 2014 8:24 am

You might be running into a DRM / HDCP issue connecting HDMI through to VGA. Do you have a monitor that you can try? You'd probably have better luck going from DVI, if you can.
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Re: First Rig, Need Help

Postposted on Wed Jul 09, 2014 11:22 am

I tried to plug it into a normal monitor via VGA and also DVI and still didnt show an image. I've checked and rechecked my plugs and to my knowledge, nothing is out of place. What kind of errors on my part would cause no image?
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