HTPC build from scratch

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HTPC build from scratch

Postposted on Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:51 pm

Hey guys, thanks in advance for all the help. I've been reading everything I can on this site the past few days, but its always more comforting to have a convo specifically geared around your personal needs haha. Especially with this being my first build.

Per the guidelines (sorry if I skipped any):
I'm looking to build a mid level HTPC with crisp 1080 output. It will be used for streaming (Netflix, Hulu, MLB.tv, some online streams, etc), TV (with a cablecard tuner), stored content (my media that's already digital and also using Handbrake), and Spotify. I may also dabble in some light gaming (I use PS3 for heavy gaming). I prefer Newegg and MicroCenter, and live near a MicroCenter In Atlanta. My budget is around $500-$700. I tend to spend a few extra dollars for marginal upgrades, but I don't want to overpay or overkill. Here's what I'm thinking so far:

Case -- currently looking at either a Fractal Define Mini http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... ine%20mini or the Silverstone Tek GD05b http://www.amazon.com/Silverstone-GD05B ... f=pd_ybh_8

CPU -- Intel i5-3570k, or if that is overkill for my needs, then the i3-3225. If someone can elaborate on how much difference there is between the two for a HTPC build I would appreciate that

Motherboard -- I'm a little overwhelmed here as far as knowing what will fulfill my needs, but I've been looking at the ASUS P8H77-I LGA 1155 H77 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... _-13131841

RAM -- Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB DDR3-1600 http://www.microcenter.com/product/3821 ... (PC3-12800)_CL9_Dual_Channel_Desktop_Memory_Kit_(Two_4GB_Memory_Modules)

Cablecard Tuner -- Ceton InfiniTV 4 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6815706001 I realize adding this will probably put me over my budget, but its one of the main reasons I want to build this HTPC

The rest I'm still generic on and don't have specific models in mind:

- 1TB HDD
- SSD (what's a good size for an HTPC?)
- BD burner optical drive

So I realize that build blows my budget away, but its a start. Will this suffice for what I need, is it too much? Any advice is much appreciated. Thanks in advance!
HTPC: i3-3225, Z77 Pro4-m, ASUS HD7790 2GB, 120GB Samsung 840 SSD, 3TB & 2TB Barracuda HDDs, 2x4GB G.Skill Ripjaws, Asus BD, Ceton Infinitv4, CX430 PSU in a Fractal Define Mini
bostonhokie
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Re: HTPC build from scratch

Postposted on Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:57 am

Hi, I had a thread on this a little while ago. I basically built what was in my first post.

Based on the feedback I received the system that your planing is overkill. My i3-3225 is probably overkill if an HTPC system.

You need to decide how much gaming you plan to do. If you're going to do light gaming (as you said in you original post) I'd base the system on AMD's Trinity. I have posted a build using Trinity that thread as well. I didn't go with a Trinity based system because I didn't plan to game on my system and Intel CPUs use much less power under load.

Another alternative would be to get a discrete graphics card for an Intel build. For 1080p the HD 7770 is pretty good (and cheap).

In case you're too lazy to look:

CPU: Intel Core i3-3225 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor ($127.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Samsung 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Silverstone ML03B HTPC Case ($64.40 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Antec EarthWatts Green 380W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($49.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $352.35

CPU: AMD A10-5800K 3.8GHz Quad-Core Processor ($119.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock FM2A75 Pro4-M Micro ATX FM2 Motherboard ($81.97 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Sniper Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Silverstone ML03B HTPC Case ($64.40 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Antec EarthWatts Green 380W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($49.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $356.33
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Re: HTPC build from scratch

Postposted on Tue Mar 12, 2013 7:07 am

bostonhokie wrote: Hey guys.
Welcome to the Tech Report!

bostonhokie wrote: Case -- Silverstone Tek GD05b http://www.amazon.com/Silverstone-GD05B ... f=pd_ybh_8
For an HTPC-style case, I'd definitely choose the Silverstone GD04 or GD05.

Get a quiet power supply in the 300-450 watt range.
$89 SeaSonic SSR-450RM
$52 Corsair CX430M
$74 Corsair CX500M
$80 -10MIR PP&C Silencer Mk III 500W
$80 SeaSonic M12II 520

$63 SeaSonic S12II 380B
$66 SeaSonic SSR-360GP
$70 SeaSonic S12II 430B

bostonhokie wrote: CPU -- Intel i5-3570k, or if that is overkill for my needs, then the i3-3225.
The Core i5-3570K is overkill for an HTPC, but it is the best choice for gaming. Having it in your HTPC and not needing its quad-core performance won't hurt anything but your pocketbook. It's power usage isn't much if it is lightly loaded. The Core i3 would still be more than sufficient for the HTPC application.

Have you considered an aftermarket CPU cooler for quieter operation?

bostonhokie wrote: Motherboard -- I'm a little overwhelmed here as far as knowing what will fulfill my needs, but I've been looking at the ASUS P8H77-I LGA 1155 H77 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... _-13131841
That one won't work for your dual gaming/DVR application because a tiny Mini-ITX motherboard has only one PCIe slot. To allow installation of both a graphics card and a Cablecard tuner, you'll need Mini-DTX or DTX (which are rare and have two slots) or Micro-ATX (which is very common and has four slots). Look at a micro-ATX motherboard like the Asus P8Z77-M Pro, ASRock Z77 Pro4-M or Asus P8H77-M/CSM.

Toss a Radeon HD7770 in there and you've got a competent gaming PC that runs quietly and sips power.

bostonhokie wrote: - 1TB HDD
- SSD (what's a good size for an HTPC?)
- BD burner optical drive
A 90 to 256 GB SSD is a good size for your operating system and most-used programs. However, since you're going to use this as a DVR, that 1.0 TB hard-drive has got to go. Even if you put nothing but recorded TV on it, the bigger the better. The four tuners in your Cablecard device can easily fill up a 2.0 TB hard-drive in less than a week. Depending on your living room environment, you may want to avoid the big Seagate 7200 rpm drives. The head seek/park screech can be annoying enough in a quiet room in my gaming PC.
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: HTPC build from scratch

Postposted on Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:27 am

I don't think overclocking and HTPC go hand-in-hand. An unlocked processor isn't really necessary. Although at Microcenter, in the i5 arena, the 3570K costs the same as the 3450 after the $40 discount. I would jump at the i3-3225 for $120 at Microcenter so you can take advantage of the $40 CPU+mobo discount. Being an HTPC, I don't forsee a heavy amount of multitasking taking place. Even then, the i3 puts up some respectable performance numbers. The only problem, as mentioned before, is that the HD4000 graphics are outclassed by AMD Trinity IGP. If you go Intel, a discrete GPU like the 7770 for $90 after MIR (good deal by the way) would be recommended.

My A8-5600K plays DiRT Showdown at 1080p and high settings w/ AA in the 40+ fps range. Microcenter also offers $40 off FM2 mobos with purchase of an A10-5800K. IMO, that's the way to go. No need for a graphics card means you might be able to go mITX like the MSI FM2-A85IA-E53 for $84 + A10-5800K for $120 - $40 discount = $164. If you go with an AMD APU, make sure you get 1866MHz RAM though.
i5-3570K, ASRock Z77 Pro4-m, Asus GTX660 TOP, 120 GB Vertex 3 Max IOPS, 2 TB Samsung EcoGreen F4, 8GB G-Skill @1.25V, Silverstone PS07B
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Re: HTPC build from scratch

Postposted on Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:35 pm

DPete27 wrote: Intel HD4000 graphics are outclassed by AMD Trinity IGP. If you go Intel, a discrete GPU like the Radeon HD7770 for $90 after MIR would be recommended. Microcenter also offers $40 off FM2 mobos with purchase of an A10-5800K. IMO, that's the way to go. No need for a graphics card. If you go with an AMD APU, make sure you get PC3-14900 (DDR3-1866) RAM.

That's pretty good advice, if your gaming doesn't include the most demanding 3D titles.

$130 AMD A10-5800K

$94½ -17 combo Gigabyte GA-F2A85XM-D3H
or $120 -15 combo -15MIR Asus F2A85-M Pro

$63 2x4 GiB PC3-14900 G.Skill F3-1866C9D-8GAB (DDR3-1866, CAS 9, 1.5 V)
or $115 2x8 GiB PC3-14900 G.Skill F3-1866C9D-16GSR (DDR3-1866, CAS 9, 1.5 V)
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: HTPC build from scratch

Postposted on Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:41 pm

Hey bostonhokie, welcome to the forums!

I recently built an HTPC to do the same kinds of stuff you are looking to do. My forum post can be found here.

I wanted to build a system that used a little less power than average since my HTPC is on all the time.

The i3-3225 is a pretty good choice for an HTPC - low power draw and decent integrated graphics. I've been able to play Battlefield 3 at 720p with low graphics settings at around 30fps. Obviously not ideal, but it gives you an idea of what the HD 4000 graphics are capable of. I don't know anything about AMD APUs (their CPU+GPU combos) other than what I've read online. They seem to do much better with gaming, but less good with power draw. Between the 3225 and 3570k, the biggest differences will be power draw for an HTPC. I don't think you'll notice any other difference. Not worth the extra cash in a non-gaming build IMO.

I used the Silverstone GD05B case and I like it. Unless you are really great with cabling, I'd recommend a modular power supply since there isn't a ton of space to hide unused cables. Its decently quiet, but you can hear it going in my living room when the TV is not on. My system stays int he 30c temperature range with the stock intel heatsink and only one fan running in the case.

For a motherboard, unless you plan to use a separate sound card, be sure your MoBo has an optical out if you need that connection for your home theater. I neglected that feature in my build so I decided to get a separate USB sound card solution, the Creative Soundblaster X-Fi since I plan using it with both my gaming build and HTPC.

You don't list an OS in your build. You will probably want Windows 7 since it comes with Windows Media Center built in. You will need Media Center (not just Media Player) for your Ceton Infinitv4. You may be able to get Media Center for free with Windows 8, otherwise I think MS was charging $20 for it.

For RAM, that G.skill ram in my build works great and its only 1.25v, so it has lower power draw.

I'd definitely go with a 2TB or larger drive for your main DVR. You'll find yourself scouring the tv listings for good movies to record and store. A 2 hour HD movie can be anywhere from 10-18gbs, so that space starts to go fast. I use a 1TB drive for my OS, games and storage and then the 2TB drive for my DVR and for storing system backups. I really don't see a need for an SSD unless you plan on doing more than watching TV, web browsing and some occasional light gaming. With my build I can easily record 4 shows and watch a 5th without my computer skipping a beat. I'm not sure a 7200RPM drive is needed, but that's what I got.

Unless you plan on burning lots of Blu-Rays, just skip the BD drive. I have one in my build because I wanted to use it for watching movies and its a pain, and more expensive since you need a program to watch the Blu-rays with. Most of those programs cost between $50-$100. Your PS3 will play blu-rays much better.

The Ceton cablecard tuner is a great choice. Mine runs flawlessly. Highly recommended!

Good luck with the build!
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: HTPC build from scratch

Postposted on Tue Mar 12, 2013 7:22 pm

First of all, thanks for all the feedback so quickly! It was nice to come home from work and see so many detailed responses

For a motherboard, unless you plan to use a separate sound card, be sure your MoBo has an optical out if you need that connection for your home theater.


I just use HDMI to connect to my surround sound and then from my surround sound to my tv, so this isn't a requirement.

Unless you plan on burning lots of Blu-Rays, just skip the BD drive. I have one in my build because I wanted to use it for watching movies and its a pain, and more expensive since you need a program to watch the Blu-rays with. Most of those programs cost between $50-$100. Your PS3 will play blu-rays much better.


Unfortunately, my PS3 won't play blu-rays anymore :cry: yet it will read a game on a Blu-ray disc....that's another problem though haha. So I will need the Blu-ray player. As far as burning blu-rays, I've always wondered if it keeps the same high quality?

I like the Silverstone GDO5B case a lot bc it will fit nicely in my entertainment center (especially when I ditch the Comcast box!). I like the Fractal Define Mini case bc it is supposed to be really quiet and looks very easy to manage cables and maybe upgrade later. That's honestly my toughest decision haha.

I really don't see a need for an SSD unless you plan on doing more than watching TV, web browsing and some occasional light gaming.


Most articles I've read rave about the SSD being a must-have, is that primarily for more gaming-centered builds or for an added boost overall? I would certainly consider reallocating that cost somewhere else (bigger HDD probably) but I don't want to sacrifice performance if it makes a difference.

As for gaming, the amount I would use it for this does not justify much additional spending. And the gaming I would do would certainly not be classified as demanding.

Look at a micro-ATX motherboard like the Asus P8Z77-M Pro, ASRock Z77 Pro4-M or Asus P8H77-M/CSM.


I was looking at the ASRock Z77 Pro4-M, any expanded thoughts on that board? Also, I've read mixed reviews on Asus motherboards, some people have said they've run into problems with them. Any similar experiences in here?

I realize I probably don't need the i5 3570k, but its just so tempting at that price. Will the i3 3225 run into any issues streaming in high quality without the discrete GPU? And I don't really know much about AMD, so I've just never really considered going that route. I guess I'm just used to the Intel brand, illogical bias there haha.

I'm off to read the other threads linked in your responses, and thanks again for the continued help!
HTPC: i3-3225, Z77 Pro4-m, ASUS HD7790 2GB, 120GB Samsung 840 SSD, 3TB & 2TB Barracuda HDDs, 2x4GB G.Skill Ripjaws, Asus BD, Ceton Infinitv4, CX430 PSU in a Fractal Define Mini
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Re: HTPC build from scratch

Postposted on Tue Mar 12, 2013 8:29 pm

bostonhokie wrote:First of all, thanks for all the feedback so quickly! It was nice to come home from work and see so many detailed responses No problem, glad to help!

For a motherboard, unless you plan to use a separate sound card, be sure your MoBo has an optical out if you need that connection for your home theater.


I just use HDMI to connect to my surround sound and then from my surround sound to my tv, so this isn't a requirement. Nice. My home theater doesn't have HDMI.

Unless you plan on burning lots of Blu-Rays, just skip the BD drive. I have one in my build because I wanted to use it for watching movies and its a pain, and more expensive since you need a program to watch the Blu-rays with. Most of those programs cost between $50-$100. Your PS3 will play blu-rays much better.


Unfortunately, my PS3 won't play blu-rays anymore :cry: yet it will read a game on a Blu-ray disc....that's another problem though haha. So I will need the Blu-ray player. As far as burning blu-rays, I've always wondered if it keeps the same high quality? Budget $100 for a good bluray playback program. PowerDVD gets some recommendations around here, just be sure to get the one with BD support. FYI Newegg has an Asus BD burner for $56 after rebate as a daily deal. See here

I like the Silverstone GDO5B case a lot bc it will fit nicely in my entertainment center (especially when I ditch the Comcast box!). I like the Fractal Define Mini case bc it is supposed to be really quiet and looks very easy to manage cables and maybe upgrade later. That's honestly my toughest decision haha. Cable Management was a pain in the silverstone . A modular power supply will help a lot.

I really don't see a need for an SSD unless you plan on doing more than watching TV, web browsing and some occasional light gaming.


Most articles I've read rave about the SSD being a must-have, is that primarily for more gaming-centered builds or for an added boost overall? I would certainly consider reallocating that cost somewhere else (bigger HDD probably) but I don't want to sacrifice performance if it makes a difference. I've never felt that an ssd would help my htpc enough to be worth it. My htpc boots fast and runs very well with old school mechanical drives. I would recommend making a 150gb or so partition on the drive that will have your OS on it since that will help response time a lot. The technique is called `` short stroking'' (insert juvenile comment here) if you want to read up on it. If it were me, I'd spend that ssd money on something else, you definitely won't miss it for DVR work, email and video watching.

As for gaming, the amount I would use it for this does not justify much additional spending. And the gaming I would do would certainly not be classified as demanding.

Look at a micro-ATX motherboard like the Asus P8Z77-M Pro, ASRock Z77 Pro4-M or Asus P8H77-M/CSM.


I was looking at the ASRock Z77 Pro4-M, any expanded thoughts on that board? Also, I've read mixed reviews on Asus motherboards, some people have said they've run into problems with them. Any similar experiences in here?

I realize I probably don't need the i5 3570k, but its just so tempting at that price. Will the i3 3225 run into any issues streaming in high quality without the discrete GPU? And I don't really know much about AMD, so I've just never really considered going that route. I guess I'm just used to the Intel brand, illogical bias there haha. No issues with my 3225 doing anything short of high end gaming since I don't have a discrete GPU. I record 4 shows at a time while watching a 5th without a hitch. I've also done video encoding/decoding, streamed netflix and played minesweeper all at once without issues. Save the cash bro... And put it towards a gaming PC ;p

I'm off to read the other threads linked in your responses, and thanks again for the continued help!
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: HTPC build from scratch

Postposted on Wed Mar 13, 2013 8:39 am

I see no need to buy a blu ray burner for the HTPC. With an HTPC, evertying is going to be recorded/stored on the hdd, how often do you see yourself needing to burn your recorded shows on disc media anyway. You can easily use an external hdd or flash drive for that. Just get a stand-alone blu ray player and bypass all the software playback headaches. The only reason to need a blu ray drive would be to rip your blu ray movie collection to your HTPC for use in a program like XBMC. Otherwise, if you want an optical drive, just get a DVD burner for $20.

[edit] I suggested a stand-alone blu ray player because of the many complaints I've heard about trying to get blu ray playback to work on HTPCs. I personally already had a stand-alone player before I updated my HTPC for 1080p content. (just some background to my recommendations)
Last edited by DPete27 on Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
i5-3570K, ASRock Z77 Pro4-m, Asus GTX660 TOP, 120 GB Vertex 3 Max IOPS, 2 TB Samsung EcoGreen F4, 8GB G-Skill @1.25V, Silverstone PS07B
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Re: HTPC build from scratch

Postposted on Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:26 am

The full version of PowerDVD 12 Ultra is $65 from Cyberlink. The OEM version included with Blu-ray burners like this one may only allow stereo sound output rather than full 5.1 or 7.1 surround. PowerDVD intregrates into Windows Media Center with your Windows 8, Windows 7 or Windows Vista HTPC.
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: HTPC build from scratch

Postposted on Wed Mar 13, 2013 8:42 pm

DPete27 wrote:I see no need to buy a blu ray burner for the HTPC. With an HTPC, evertying is going to be recorded/stored on the hdd, how often do you see yourself needing to burn your recorded shows on disc media anyway. You can easily use an external hdd or flash drive for that. Just get a stand-alone blu ray player and bypass all the software playback headaches. The only reason to need a blu ray drive would be to rip your blu ray movie collection to your HTPC for use in a program like XBMC. Otherwise, if you want an optical drive, just get a DVD burner for $20.

[edit] I suggested a stand-alone blu ray player because of the many complaints I've heard about trying to get blu ray playback to work on HTPCs. I personally already had a stand-alone player before I updated my HTPC for 1080p content. (just some background to my recommendations)


Well my problem is that I own a considerable amount of blu-rays and my PS3 won't play them, and I don't have another player. I could buy a stand-alone Blu-ray player but I like the idea of consolidating that into the htpc. I would very rarely have the need to burn to a disc, but I would like a way to play them. As a side thought, if I bought a Blu-ray drive but not a program to play them properly, I could still rip them and play them through WMC correct? About how much space does an average Blu-ray movie take when ripped?
HTPC: i3-3225, Z77 Pro4-m, ASUS HD7790 2GB, 120GB Samsung 840 SSD, 3TB & 2TB Barracuda HDDs, 2x4GB G.Skill Ripjaws, Asus BD, Ceton Infinitv4, CX430 PSU in a Fractal Define Mini
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Re: HTPC build from scratch

Postposted on Thu Mar 14, 2013 10:57 am

Poke around the threads related to HTPCs and you'll find plenty of carping about the difficulties in getting consistent BR playback on an HTPC. Unless you're planning to invest in some extra software and time to rip your collection to the HTPC, a set-top BR Player is generally the most reliable choice.
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Re: HTPC build from scratch

Postposted on Thu Mar 14, 2013 1:28 pm

bostonhokie wrote:
DPete27 wrote:I see no need to buy a blu ray burner for the HTPC. With an HTPC, evertying is going to be recorded/stored on the hdd, how often do you see yourself needing to burn your recorded shows on disc media anyway. You can easily use an external hdd or flash drive for that. Just get a stand-alone blu ray player and bypass all the software playback headaches. The only reason to need a blu ray drive would be to rip your blu ray movie collection to your HTPC for use in a program like XBMC. Otherwise, if you want an optical drive, just get a DVD burner for $20.

[edit] I suggested a stand-alone blu ray player because of the many complaints I've heard about trying to get blu ray playback to work on HTPCs. I personally already had a stand-alone player before I updated my HTPC for 1080p content. (just some background to my recommendations)


Well my problem is that I own a considerable amount of blu-rays and my PS3 won't play them, and I don't have another player. I could buy a stand-alone Blu-ray player but I like the idea of consolidating that into the htpc. I would very rarely have the need to burn to a disc, but I would like a way to play them. As a side thought, if I bought a Blu-ray drive but not a program to play them properly, I could still rip them and play them through WMC correct? About how much space does an average Blu-ray movie take when ripped?


Complete rip would average about 28-35 GB each disk.
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Re: HTPC build from scratch

Postposted on Thu Mar 14, 2013 2:20 pm

Arvald wrote:Complete rip would average about 28-35 GB each disk.

...at native quality.

I think one of my friends settled on about 5-8GB per full-disc encode with mild compression losses, and I've seen a couple BR compressions down to about double the size of native DVD that still looked noticably better. Obviously that's not archival quality, but since you can then put your source disc into storage and not worry about yanking it in and out of a player drawer several times, it's going to last longer anyway.
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Re: HTPC build from scratch

Postposted on Thu Mar 14, 2013 7:19 pm

Okay, seems like I need to do some more research into Blu-ray drives. Thanks for the info. This LG seems to have decent reviews http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... _-Homepage but I'll have to check out some software options.

As for HDD, I've found a couple more that I'm looking at. This one may be the winner: Seagate Barracuda 3TB 7200 RPM
www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Ite ... 6822148844

Or maybe this 2TB Western Digital: www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Ite ... alParent=1
HTPC: i3-3225, Z77 Pro4-m, ASUS HD7790 2GB, 120GB Samsung 840 SSD, 3TB & 2TB Barracuda HDDs, 2x4GB G.Skill Ripjaws, Asus BD, Ceton Infinitv4, CX430 PSU in a Fractal Define Mini
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Re: HTPC build from scratch

Postposted on Thu Mar 14, 2013 8:35 pm

ludi wrote:
Arvald wrote:Complete rip would average about 28-35 GB each disk.

...at native quality.

I think one of my friends settled on about 5-8GB per full-disc encode with mild compression losses, and I've seen a couple BR compressions down to about double the size of native DVD that still looked noticably better. Obviously that's not archival quality, but since you can then put your source disc into storage and not worry about yanking it in and out of a player drawer several times, it's going to last longer anyway.

The big savings come at dropping audio... drop other languages. drop DTS Master or Dolby Master (7.1 formats) down to 5.1.
Also dropping special features is huge too.

Much more discussion around doing this gets into talk about breaking DRM.
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Re: HTPC build from scratch

Postposted on Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:32 pm

bostonhokie wrote:As for HDD, this one may be the winner: Seagate Barracuda 3TB 7200 RPM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6822148844
I've got a couple of those in my gaming PC. Other than the somewhat noisy head seek/park every so often, they work very well.

The 3.0 TB Western Digital Caviar Green for $125 is quieter but slower.
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: HTPC build from scratch

Postposted on Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:20 pm

Update: I bought the 3TB Seagate Barracuda and found a restocked Fractal Define Mini on ebay for $50 including shipping that I couldn't pass up. Total spent so far = $190. I'm gonna go with the i3-3225 and ASRock Z77 for another $190 once I get a chance to visit MicroCenter. As for Ram, is there any difference between a single 8gb stick and 2x4gb sticks? Then its just PSU, Ceton cablecard tuner, and maybe bluray drive..I'm budgeting around $65 for RAM and i have no idea what a decent PSU costs, and around $65 for a BD if I go that route. So should come in around $600 before the Ceton.

Concerning the PSU, how much power do I need for a build like this?
HTPC: i3-3225, Z77 Pro4-m, ASUS HD7790 2GB, 120GB Samsung 840 SSD, 3TB & 2TB Barracuda HDDs, 2x4GB G.Skill Ripjaws, Asus BD, Ceton Infinitv4, CX430 PSU in a Fractal Define Mini
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Re: HTPC build from scratch

Postposted on Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:57 pm

The difference b/w one 8GB stick and 2x4gb is the ability to use both memory channels. You want a pair instead of a single because you'll get the most performance you can from your system. I few months ago you might have been able to get 2x8gb but unfortunately memory prices seem to be on the rise. No matter, 8GB will serve you well in an HTPC application. With a $65 budget, I would pick from one of the following:
Gskill 1600 low latency - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820231445
Gskil 1866 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820231455
Corsair 1600 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820145345
i7-3770K | Asus P8Z77-V LK | 8GB DDR3-1600 | HD5850 | 128GB 840 Pro | Samsung F3 1TB | U2412M | Define R4 | Seasonic 520W M12II | Win7 Pro x64.
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Re: HTPC build from scratch

Postposted on Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:02 pm

Your Ivy Bridge processor has two memory channels. If you only populate one channel, you will have half as much memory bandwidth. This will slightly reduce performance... UNLESS you use the integrated graphics, in which case it will be crippling.

Go with 2x4 GiB of PC3-12800 or faster, CAS 9 or quicker, 1.5 V or lower DDR3 memory.
$65 2x4 GiB PC3-14900 Corsair CML8GX3M2A1866C9R (DDR3-1866, CAS 9, 1.5 V)
$63 2x4 GiB PC3-14900 G.Skill F3-1866C9D-8GAB (DDR3-1866, CAS 9, 1.5 V)
$65 2x4 GiB PC3-12800 G.Skill F3-12800CL8D-8GBXM (DDR3-1600, CAS 8, 1.5 V)
$59 2x4 GiB PC3-12800 Crucial BLS2K4G3D1609ES2LX0 (DDR3-1600, CAS 9, 1.35 V)
$96 2x8 GiB PC3-14900 GeIL GEV316GB1866C9DC (DDR3-1866, CAS 9, 1.5 V)
$115 2x8 GiB PC3-14900 G.Skill F3-1866C9D-16GSR (DDR3-1866, CAS 9, 1.5 V)
$108 2x8 GiB PC3-12800 G.Skill F3-1600C9D-16GAR (DDR3-1600, CAS 9, 1.5 V)


Your HTPC build doesn't need more than 25 amperes (300 watts) on the +12V line. Any of the modular power supplies that I linked previously in the thread would be more than sufficient.
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: HTPC build from scratch

Postposted on Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:20 am

bostonhokie wrote:Update: I bought the 3TB Seagate Barracuda and found a restocked Fractal Define Mini on ebay for $50 including shipping that I couldn't pass up. Total spent so far = $190. I'm gonna go with the i3-3225 and ASRock Z77 for another $190 once I get a chance to visit MicroCenter. As for Ram, is there any difference between a single 8gb stick and 2x4gb sticks? Then its just PSU, Ceton cablecard tuner, and maybe bluray drive..I'm budgeting around $65 for RAM and i have no idea what a decent PSU costs, and around $65 for a BD if I go that route. So should come in around $600 before the Ceton.

Concerning the PSU, how much power do I need for a build like this?


Good find on the Fractal case. It's really compact and should be very quiet.

As for the PSU, definitely check out the ones JustAnEngineer linked. I still highly recommend a modular power supply since it will make cable management so much easier without having to hide all the unused cables. I just completed my first build with a modular PSU and it was so easy compared to my older HTPC build with a non-modular supply. One of the Seasonic PSUs in the 300-400 watt range should do the trick. Prices are actually sub-$60 if you have Shoprunner - if you don't definitely sign up for their free trial, then cancel it before you get charged. They will probably send you an offer for another free 3 month trial that you can use.

Definitely also go with a dual channel memory kit as everyone has said. 8gb should be fine for your HTPC.
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: HTPC build from scratch

Postposted on Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:39 pm

Just a side thought -- if i want to get a SSD later is it difficult to transfer the OS from the HDD without screwing anything up?
HTPC: i3-3225, Z77 Pro4-m, ASUS HD7790 2GB, 120GB Samsung 840 SSD, 3TB & 2TB Barracuda HDDs, 2x4GB G.Skill Ripjaws, Asus BD, Ceton Infinitv4, CX430 PSU in a Fractal Define Mini
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Re: HTPC build from scratch

Postposted on Tue Mar 19, 2013 10:36 am

bostonhokie wrote:Just a side thought -- if i want to get a SSD later is it difficult to transfer the OS from the HDD without screwing anything up?



You can do a google or bing search about that, but from what I know, it is difficult and can actually mess things up. Its probably easier to just do a fresh install on the SSD.

When you get the SSD, you will also want to do some searches on how to optimize it for a long life. Generally it seems like you want to move certain folders (My Documents, etc) onto a mechanical HDD and turn off some windows features that really aren't needed with an SSD.
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: HTPC build from scratch

Postposted on Tue Mar 19, 2013 11:11 am

bostonhokie wrote:Just a side thought -- if i want to get a SSD later is it difficult to transfer the OS from the HDD without screwing anything up?

Why not just set up Intel Smart Response? I have it on my HTPC and it's drastically faster even with a small 30 GB SATA2 SSD.
Z68XP-UD4 | 2700K @ 4.4 GHz | 16 GB | 770 | PCP&C Silencer 950 | XSPC RX360 | Heatkiller R3 | D5 + RP-452X2 | HAF 932 | 1 TB WD Black w/ SRT
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Re: HTPC build from scratch

Postposted on Tue Mar 19, 2013 2:28 pm

bostonhokie wrote:Just a side thought -- if i want to get a SSD later is it difficult to transfer the OS from the HDD without screwing anything up?

I think it is relatively easy. I have been using Acronis for many years to do that. There seems to be many free utilities. You may want to try such utility before resorting to starting from scratch.
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Re: HTPC build from scratch

Postposted on Fri Mar 22, 2013 8:54 am

This Samsung 120GB SSD is a daily deal for $100 from $130. Good enough deal to jump on it? I was considering getting a cheaper smaller SSD to just use for that caching SRT type trick but I may go this route and just go over my budget..here's to hoping march madness brings me some extra spending money!
HTPC: i3-3225, Z77 Pro4-m, ASUS HD7790 2GB, 120GB Samsung 840 SSD, 3TB & 2TB Barracuda HDDs, 2x4GB G.Skill Ripjaws, Asus BD, Ceton Infinitv4, CX430 PSU in a Fractal Define Mini
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Re: HTPC build from scratch

Postposted on Fri Mar 22, 2013 11:04 am

bostonhokie wrote:This Samsung 120GB SSD is a daily deal for $100 from $130. Good enough deal to jump on it? I was considering getting a cheaper smaller SSD to just use for that caching SRT type trick but I may go this route and just go over my budget..here's to hoping march madness brings me some extra spending money!


That's a pretty great deal on that SSD. There is no doubt, SSD makes things go lightning fast.

I'd guess the question is, how important is your budget? You won't have to eat only Ramen noodles for a week (or month?) to make up the difference hopefully. If your budget isn't something your are 100% bound to, then go for it if you really want it. I normally set a budget and then go over it since Imy budgets aren't based on tight finances, but some kind of desire to just not spend *too* much on something that is purely for entertainment.

I will note though, as I have before, that an SSD on an HTPC that you won't be doing much gaming on is a bit of overkill. Yeah, it will make things faster, but how important is the faster when its just doing HTPC stuff?

Since you are big on console gaming, I'd put that $100 away and save towards the sure to be very expensive PS4.
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
southrncomfortjm
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Re: HTPC build from scratch

Postposted on Fri Mar 22, 2013 12:12 pm

Sure, get the SSD. It's silent and uses very little power.
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: HTPC build from scratch

Postposted on Fri Mar 22, 2013 1:57 pm

southrncomfortjm wrote:I will note though, as I have before, that an SSD on an HTPC that you won't be doing much gaming on is a bit of overkill. Yeah, it will make things faster, but how important is the faster when its just doing HTPC stuff?
I've found that the SSD makes a difference in areas where in an ideal world you wouldn't worry about it: Rebooting. Sure, I'd love to have a nice stable HTPC that never needs to reboot, but between the age of my HTPC, the years worth of Win7 updates and the poor implementation of hibernation... I find that I invariably need to reboot right before SWMBO comes downstairs to watch something. The Wife Acceptance Factor takes a huge hit if she ends up twiddling her thumbs for a couple minutes whilst your spiffy cool custom built HTPC restarts. The pressure to ditch it in favor of your cable company's DVR will eventually get to the annoyance level - regardless of any argument about monthly fees and lack of Netflix.

As an aside: A good Logitech Harmony remote is a godsend some days. :)
If there is one thing a remote-controlled, silent and unseeable surveillance/killing machine needs, it’s more whimsy. -- Marcus
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Re: HTPC build from scratch

Postposted on Fri Mar 22, 2013 2:23 pm

I haven't had a single issue with BluRay discs any time recently. PowerDVD seems to have no issues now with my LG reader. I, however, do not rip on the same system as Cyberlink's stuff interacts with it and causes issues - at this point ripping BD is not much harder than ripping DVDs.

If you get a board that supports SRT, you only need a small 32 or 64GB SSD - it will in fact not work with a larger SSD (OK Some BIOSes will still let you USE 120GB and what not disks, but the SRT itself it limited to 64GB.) This is great combined with green disks like the WD Green 3TB.

Personally my setup is about like this:

Core i3-3225 CPU
GIGABYTE GA-H77M-D3H Motherboard
Samsung Low Profile Low Voltage 4GBx2 1600Mhz DDR3 RAM - You can get this from Amazon and it's good stuff - tiny and cool
Crucial M4 120GB SSD
No Mechanical HDD as I have a NAS over Gigabit Ethernet
Seasonic SS-400FL2 PSU - This is a fanless crazy awesome PSU. It's amazing as it doesn't get very hot, hell less hot than my 520W in my gaming PC.
hec 7K09BBA30FNRX Case - This is a steel case that's media component looking and honest is only like $50 - I really hate aluminum cases.
LG BluRay Drive - As I said, I stopped having problem when I went to the LG+Cyberlink combo on Playback
Lenovo N5902 Wireless Keyboard/Trackball - You gotta have something to control a HTPC running Windows, and this is it. :)
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