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Thread: HTPC - First build advice.

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    HTPC - First build advice.

    Hi all, new to the forum (obviously as this is my first post ) and looking for advice on compatibility of parts and whatnot. Im planning on building my first HTPC, and as I have read through other posts where people wrote their specific needs and got good feedback, thought i'd try my luck here.

    What im looking for :-

    Bluray Writer
    Card Reader
    At least 2 USB spaces in front and back (couple of 3.0 for future use would be good too).
    2 HD bays
    1TB HDD
    4GB RAM
    Wireless card
    Windows 7

    RC, Bluetooth and TV Tuner too if possible but not as essential.

    This will not be a gaming PC, the only games I generally play are Football Manager and ones like that so even if i was to install it on this PC, which is unlikely, it wouldnt need much to play it.
    I will mostly be using it to watch movies, surfing the web and ripping files for back up/storage purposes. If ill need a higher spec graphics card than whats on-board in order to get more out of watching the blu ray discs then so be it.

    As I said, this is my first build, so I have no preferences at all at the moment when it comes to cases or whether the processor is intel or AMD or whatever, although I have been looking more towards the Intel i3 but for no particular reason. So any suggestions are welcome. I have installed drives, memory and various other things into computers before but ive never done a 'full build'.

    Id like to keep my budget at/below £500.

    Thanks for the

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    Re: HTPC - First build advice.

    I would have a look at the components I suggested in the HTPC build:

    http://forums.hexus.net/2150593-post5.html

    The build is roughly around £550. Hard drives prices have gone up so you should be looking at a similar amount if you drop the tuner card and keep the keyboard. However,it should be possible to get the build closer to around £500 if you go for a motherboard with 2 RAM slots only.

    A 2TB hard drive should be around £100 ATM. The Llano CPUs have much faster IGPs than a Core i3.

    What encoding software do you intend to use BTW??

    Edit!!

    Another case worth considering is the Antec NSK2480 which has an Antec EarthWatts 380W PSU.
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 19-01-2012 at 12:21 AM.


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    Re: HTPC - First build advice.

    Thanks for the last reply and the link, ill have a look in there once ive replied to this.

    I really dont need the tuner card, or at least could be something I install later. At the moment im using a mini keyboard to control my PC through a bluetooth USB so I wont need a keyboard either. If a remote comes standard then thats all well and good.

    Whilst a 2TB HD isnt exactly necessary (I have a 750GB at present that ill be using as a secondary HD), if it can be within the budget of everything else I want its a bonus. Thanks for the CPU suggestion too.

    I did actually look at the NSK2480 case in my searching over the last few days and like it, so that could be the first 'problem' out of the way for me lol.

    I honestly haven't been encoding for a good few years and have lost touch with what software to get, whether its free or not.
    I could be off the mark but i'm pretty sure the software I used to use when doing DVD's was called tmpgen, although whether this is still around and has blu ray capabilities im not sure.

    *goes off to read the link*

    EDIT - The name slipped my mind before but upon reading the equipment in your link, the Rii Mini Keyboard is what I have at the moment and intend on using on the HTPC.
    Last edited by barneybee; 19-01-2012 at 12:45 AM. Reason: Added info.

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    Re: HTPC - First build advice.

    To put it in context - a Llano A6-3670K will be faster than a Core i3 2100 for HandBrake encoding and the IGP is massively faster. The Core i3 2100 does have Quick Sync which can be used for massively accelerating loads at a lower quality although the software is not free. OTH,common applications like Sony Vegas can be accelerated by the AMD IGPs.

    I would look at what software you intend to use - then it will be easier to check whether a Core i3 or an AMD CPU would be a better choice. However,the AMD IGP will be much better if you want to play any games. The IGP is also better for video playback too.

    However,hard drive prices have sky-rocketed recently due to the Thailand floods an even a 1TB drive will be around £70.

    To keep to your budget these are your choices:
    1.)Core i3 2100(65W)
    2.)AMD A6-3670K(100W)
    3.)AMD A6-3600(65W)
    4.)AMD A8-3870K(100W)
    5.)AMD A8-3800(65W)

    The A6-3600 and A8-3800 are hard to get hold off.


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    • CAT-THE-FIFTH's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Less E-PEEN
      • CPU:
      • Massive E-PEEN
      • Memory:
      • RGB E-PEEN
      • Storage:
      • Not in any order
      • Graphics card(s):
      • EVEN BIGGER E-PEEN
      • PSU:
      • OVERSIZED
      • Case:
      • UNDERSIZED
      • Operating System:
      • DOS 6.22
      • Monitor(s):
      • NOT USUALLY ON....WHEN I POST
      • Internet:
      • FUNCTIONAL

    Re: HTPC - First build advice.

    I had a quick look round - the 2.9GHZ A8-3850 is either a tad quicker or a tad slower than a Core i3 2100 for TMPGEnc. It probably means the 2.7GHZ A6-3670K will be slightly slower - but is quicker in other encoders like HandBrake. OTH,the IGP is upto twice as quick for games and is better for video decoding.

    I also read that TMPGEnc is CUDA accelerated by Nvidia graphics cards too, although I am not sure if this leads to lower quality than using the CPU only. It is the case with Quick Sync too.

    What you could also do is get an 2.6GHZ Athlon X4 631:

    http://www.sosol.com.cn/html/2011/20..._222582_3.html

    You can use the money saved to get a GT430 for around £40. The X4 631 and GT430 will consume more power but should be the best peforming setup. OTH,socket FM1 will be EOL this year.

    Edit!!

    It seems you need to pay for TMPGEnc:

    http://www.tmpgenc.net/en/download.html

    http://tmpgenc.pegasys-inc.com/en/product/te4xp.html
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 19-01-2012 at 01:31 AM.


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    Re: HTPC - First build advice.

    There is so much terminology there that I need to look up to understand lol sorry. I honestly have no preference either way and trust your judgement. Like I said I doubt very much ill be playing games, and even if I do they will never be the ones that need high graphics, most of the performance of the system will go towards the encoding and/or playing the bluray discs.

    As far as I know, the i3 2100 is 3.10GHz.
    Had a wee look at Handbrake, looks like a nice straightforward program so ill probably go for that rather than tmpgenc to give it a shot. Its free so cant complain!

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    • CAT-THE-FIFTH's system
      • Motherboard:
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      • Massive E-PEEN
      • Memory:
      • RGB E-PEEN
      • Storage:
      • Not in any order
      • Graphics card(s):
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      • PSU:
      • OVERSIZED
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    Re: HTPC - First build advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by barneybee View Post
    There is so much terminology there that I need to look up to understand lol sorry. I honestly have no preference either way and trust your judgement. Like I said I doubt very much ill be playing games, and even if I do they will never be the ones that need high graphics, most of the performance of the system will go towards the encoding and/or playing the bluray discs.

    As far as I know, the i3 2100 is 3.10GHz.
    Had a wee look at Handbrake, looks like a nice straightforward program so ill probably go for that rather than tmpgenc to give it a shot. Its free so cant complain!
    There is a HandBrake Chart which I started on Hexus:

    http://forums.hexus.net/pc-hardware/...ded-power.html

    The A6 3670K should be a tad ahead of a Core i3 2100 and the IGP from what I gather should be better in most cases for video playback. I would do some reading about Quick Sync which the Core i3 2100 has,the software which supports it and whether it is good enough quality for you. Remember that CPU only encoding is best quality but takes longer.
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 19-01-2012 at 02:11 AM.


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    Re: HTPC - First build advice.

    sorry if im hijacking this threat but atm i got my gaming pc in the living room and its a eATX case so preatty space consuming nd a waste of power cause im using a rii keyboard nd not gaming as of late so im also building a HTPC. i been looking at psu's nd im liking the look of this one is it ok to put in a htpc case nd is it any gd if u know of any better ones recon u can link me to one on scan

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    Re: HTPC - First build advice.

    changed my mind going for the antec nsk2480-uk v2 shame about having to put a blu ray drive in kinda ruins the front end

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    • GeorgeStorm's system
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    Re: HTPC - First build advice.

    I'd fully recommend a llano cpu, am currently using one as my main pc (just to give it a trial run, since I'm selling my i7 setup, and am not sure when I will be able to replace it)
    At stock settings, with 2 2tb drives, an SSD, 6 fans and a watercooling pump, my 3870k setup pulls around 60-80W from the wall.
    So obviously if you went for a lower model, it would be even less (and if there was no pump etc)
    Has no problems with 1080p content etc
    I've become rather a fan

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    Re: HTPC - First build advice.

    http://www.scan.co.uk/savedbasket/0f...a56f886ac1b568
    thats my systm i have designed, got some hdds lying around i can use and not gunna buy any at the current prices

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    • GeorgeStorm's system
      • Motherboard:
      • MSI Z77IA-E53
      • CPU:
      • i5 3450
      • Memory:
      • 8gb DDR3 1866mhz C10
      • Storage:
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      • Graphics card(s):
      • GTX780
      • PSU:
      • Silverstone 450W SFX
      • Case:
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      • Operating System:
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    Re: HTPC - First build advice.

    Looks good, although maybe I've missed it, buy why are you bothering with the dedicated card if you won't really be playing games on it?
    The onboard will cope with any media you want to play

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    Re: HTPC - First build advice.

    i will play strategy games on it from time to time u c yeah i culd save some xtra by leaing out the gfx card, nd how good is the on board gfx really u never know, its just a save guard i presume, i wouldnt put in other peoples system

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    Re: HTPC - First build advice.

    but then again the onboard come with direct 11 and it says it perfect for media playback nd gaming, its moar of an optional thing anyway

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    Re: HTPC - First build advice.

    Umm, getting this back on my own topic lol.

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    There is a HandBrake Chart which I started on Hexus:

    The A6 3670K should be a tad ahead of a Core i3 2100 and the IGP from what I gather should be better in most cases for video playback. I would do some reading about Quick Sync which the Core i3 2100 has,the software which supports it and whether it is good enough quality for you. Remember that CPU only encoding is best quality but takes longer.
    Cant really argue with those chart results!
    After reading up on it a bit, there does seem to be plenty software available for the i3 with regards to encoding, but as you say most of it is extra expense, and that'll probably put me over budget.

    So yeah, seeing that chart (although its not on it) puts things into perspective and, for my particular needs the 3670K is probably best.

    Will this CPU work with the MB/RAM you suggested in your original link/guide to the £550 HTPC?

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    Re: HTPC - First build advice.

    sorry dude for hijacking ur post well u can look at my parts like take some idears if u want like, might have helped yeah pick something. anyway im sorted now and im leaving the grafix card out going with the onboard one seems good enough, i been using that handbreak software today and works quite well

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