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Need advice on a HTPC build

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Jokerzwyld77

Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2010
First off let me get this out of the way... I have NEVER built a HTPC before but I have built untold amount of PC's for myself, friends and customers.

What I am looking at is replacing the overpriced DVR rental fees from my cable company to save money in the long run.

What I need the HTPC to be able to do is listed below.

NO GAMING AT ALL ( I have my rig in my sig for that )

Need it to be able to run a 1080p 42" LCD to watch Blu-ray and DVD's.

Need it to have Massive storage (Thinking a 1.5Tb HDD because it seems every 2tb HDD I read about is crap ) for the DVR function as the current DVR I have fills up so fast it it unreal when recording a HD Channel.

Need it to have some type of TiVo style recording option to be able to record seasons as they come on and so forth. Not sure if this is something I could get to use with my cable service ( think TV Guide Channel ).

Need the Mother Board to have 5.1 audio as I am buying a new Surround Sound system soon.

Case has to be all Black. Wifes orders! Everything is going to have to match the current entertainment system / TV according to her.



PARTS I HAVE SO FAR IN MIND:

Case
SILVERSTONE Black Aluminum / 0.8mm SECC GD05B micro-ATX / Mini-DTX / Mini-ITX MB, 1x5.25", 2x3.5"+1x2.5"HDD or 1x3.5"+2x2.5"HDD, 3x120mm golf bladed fan, 11" expansion card capable HTPC Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811163166

Power Supply
CORSAIR CMPSU-400CX 400W ATX12V V2.2 80 PLUS Certified Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139008

CPU
AMD Athlon II X2 240 Regor 2.8GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core Processor ADX240OCGQBOX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103688

Motherboard
ASUS M4A785-M AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131595

Memory
2 x G.SKILL 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5S-1GBNT
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231170

Blu-Ray Drive
ASUS Black 4X BD-ROM 8X DVD-ROM 32X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-ray Drive Model BR-04B2T - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827135205

Storage
Western Digital Caviar Black WD1501FASS 1.5TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136592

Video Card
VisionTek 900311 Radeon HD 5450 (Cedar) 512MB 64-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814129155


Thanks in advance for any input you guys have. :salute:
 
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I'd go with a Corsair VX450 as the PSU as the system won't be too power hungry. Heck even a Corsair 400CX would work great.
 
I'd go with a Corsair VX450 as the PSU as the system won't be too power hungry. Heck even a Corsair 400CX would work great.

Nice PSU thanks!

Anyone know if there are any modular ones that could be used in a HTPC case? Seems like being able to remove the unwanted cables from the case would help with cooling it.
 
If this belongs in a different forum by all means please move it there. I started it here because of the nature of questions on so many different items.
 
You can report your own post to have a mod move it... ("!" button)

But yeah, minimal for an HTPC.
 
Updated parts list in first post. Need some input on a TV Tuner card if anyone has a good one. The price is starting to get up there a bit ( $549.49 shipped before I look around for best prices ) and making me wonder. Would I be better off buying a mass produced system from somewhere like Dell / Best Buy and gutting it into a HTPC case? Since I am not going for top end gaming or anything but Blu-Ray and DVD playback and some TV Recording.
 
You can go CX400 on PSU to save money, as well as 2GB of ram really...

Whats killing you is your case, and BR player.

I wouldnt imagine you could beat out a Dell with a BR player and such, but its worth it, for you to check...
 
Changed the PS and memory in the list. Still looking around at TV Tuner Cards but the changes helped get the price down a bit.
 
Why the videocard? I'd save that money and go 4GB of ram. What OS Win 7 Home Premium x64?
 
What I am looking at is replacing the overpriced DVR rental fees from my cable company to save money in the long run.

Need some input on a TV Tuner card if anyone has a good one. The price is starting to get up there a bit ( $549.49 shipped before I look around for best prices ) and making me wonder.

I hate to throw cold water on the plans but you won't be able to tune most cable channels using a typical PCIe QAM tuner card that goes into a PC. Most channels coming from your cable provider are scrambled except those that are local stations (i.e., also generally broadcast OTA). That DVR/STB you have now descrambles the cable signals. A regular digital tuner connected directly to your cable can't do that. What you will be able to get with a regular digital tuner varies some by cable provider and locality but it's basically safe to assume now that you'll only get your locals. Cartainly you won't be able to tune any premium channels you might have like HBO, SHO, etc.

To tune all channels you subscribe to directly you need a digital CableCARD tuner (DCT) or you can go another route than direct tuning with a card by using an HD-PVR from Hauppauge instead which captures the component (analog) out from a STB. However you still have the STB rental and the HD-PVR can be somewhat unreliable. As far as DCTs go the options are pretty limited right now. Nobody sells a new DCT that you can get shipped to you as of today. There are quite a few threads about it here already so take a look and then maybe clarify who your provider is and exactly what you need to record and how you plan to use those recordings.
 
I would be keeping the digital box they offer which is free but the DVR service is what they charge me for every month.

Would I be able to input from the digital cable box and record on the HTPC since the signal is unscrambled when it gets to the TV Tuner card this way?

WALL >>>>> Cable Box >>>>> HTPC >>>>> TV?
 
You can do it with the component output signal from a STB. That's what the HD-PVR does but the HD-PVR box is not internal to the PC. The HD-PVR redigitizes the component and sends that back to the PC over USB. It also needs an IR blaster from the HD-PVR to the STB so it can control the STB. You usually have to have a STB specifically for it (meaning probably an extra rental).

Some of the regular digital tuner models (PCIe) will also recapture analog and have an the necessary IR blaster interface as well but IIRC I think those will not handle 720p/1080i (HD). Just SD analog. I think the Hauppauge tuners have a component in+IR out for that. But the HD-PVR does HD for sure so it's the choice if that's what you need.

If you want to connect cable directly to the PC you'll need a (used) ATi DCT or one of these if/when they finally start shipping. They cost $400 and you'll still need a CableCARD rented from the cableco.
 
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I recommend... MY HTPC! :p Use it as inspiration.
img2554cut.jpg

Antec ISK 300-150 - Tiny ITX case with 150w PSU, slimline disk drive slot, 2.5" HDD mounting point, low-profile PCI slot.
ZOTAC GF9300-I-E - Motherboard with GPU easily OC'd to >9400 speeds, PCIe 16x, and a cheap USB-jumper WiFi module.
2x2GB DDR2-1066
e3300 (2.5GHz C2D)
Not bleeding-edge anymore, but a great little guy... I've actually made 3 of them, mine has a 40GB X25V SSD instead of a 500GB 2.5" since my data is on my desktop and eSATA externals.

Now, if you want a HTPC that also doubles as your desktop computer, I suggest the micro-atx Antec NSK2480, a rather old case+psu with an excellent 380w power supply.
 
You can also find out what channels are not scrambled by just plugging the coax directly into the tv. The channels you get are unscrambled.
 
I recommend... MY HTPC! :p Use it as inspiration.
http://img716.imageshack.us/img716/4954/img2554cut.jpg
Antec ISK 300-150 - Tiny ITX case with 150w PSU, slimline disk drive slot, 2.5" HDD mounting point, low-profile PCI slot.
ZOTAC GF9300-I-E - Motherboard with GPU easily OC'd to >9400 speeds, PCIe 16x, and a cheap USB-jumper WiFi module.
2x2GB DDR2-1066
e3300 (2.5GHz C2D)
Not bleeding-edge anymore, but a great little guy... I've actually made 3 of them, mine has a 40GB X25V SSD instead of a 500GB 2.5" since my data is on my desktop and eSATA externals.

Now, if you want a HTPC that also doubles as your desktop computer, I suggest the micro-atx Antec NSK2480, a rather old case+psu with an excellent 380w power supply.

A little hard to cram tons of storage into a 2.5" drive. :p
 
A little hard to cram tons of storage into a 2.5" drive. :p
True, a 3.5" looks huge compared to the thing and you can't really shove one in...
I have the mass-storage elsewhere, on externals and home Gbit network.

I've actually seen a box that was nothing more than an ATX PSU, 8 hard drives(4 TB pairs), and a PCIe controller card with a ribbon cable sticking out... pretty awesome... although if you want a little file server and not some huge parasite(of win), a cheap atom board with Gbit and lots of SATA ports gets the job done.
 
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