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Thread: HTPC/OFFICEPC Busted! Need a replacement, but on tight budget

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    HTPC/OFFICEPC Busted! Need a replacement, but on tight budget

    Hi guys,

    My old htpc/office pc is dead as one of my kids accidently spilt a drink over it. I've checked out the parts individually, but motherboard + ram + cpu + psu are DEAD. Rather than replace the parts, I want to start again and build another pc.

    My old pc specs were:-

    AMD Athlon II X2 240e 2.8GHz Socket AM3 2MB Cache
    Gigabyte GA-MA785GMT-UD2H 785G Socket AM3 DVI VGA HDMI Out 8 Channel Audio MATX Motherboard
    Kingston 2gb Ddr3 1333mhz Hyperx Memory Cl7(7-7-7-20)
    Shiny Piano Black/Red Super Slim Micro ATX Mini Tower Case - With 200W PSU
    Samsung SH-S223 22x DVD±RW DL & RAM SATA Optical Drive - OEM Black
    1TB Samsung HDD


    I don't know if this is possible, but my requirements are (in priority order!):

    1. LOW WATTAGE MINI-ITX HTPC THAT CAN EASILY HANDLE 1080P BLU RAYS
    2. SHOULD BE ABLE TO USE IT FOR GENERAL APPLICATIONS, SUCH AS MS OFFICE, ADOBE PHOTOSHOP, WEB BROWSING ETC
    3. BE ABLE TO USE IT AS A NAS/MEDIA SERVER, SO THAT THE WHOLE FAMILY CAN WATCH MOVIES/PHOTOS/MUSIC ON THEIR DEVICES

    Here comes the bomb shell/challenge - I only have a budget of £280, but I maybe able to stretch to £320 MAX.

    So can you guys help me?

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    • CAT-THE-FIFTH's system
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    Re: HTPC/OFFICEPC Busted! Need a replacement, but on tight budget

    What operating system was there on the old system??

    Is the 1TB HDD SATA?? Is it still working??

    I would get the following:

    http://www.ebuyer.com/398816-amd-a8-...-ad5500okhjbox
    http://www.ebuyer.com/537895-gigabyt...a-f2a85xn-wifi
    http://www.cclonline.com/product/109...DDR3-/RAM0984/
    http://www.cclonline.com/product/843...lack-/CAS0641/
    http://www.cclonline.com/product/982...t-OEM/PSU0486/
    http://www.cclonline.com/product/740...rnal-/CDR0084/
    http://www.cclonline.com/product/662...Drive/HDD1190/

    The motherboard has wireless built in. I would also see if I can transfer the Windows license over from your old system.

    If you can re-use the HDD but need a license,Windows 8 OEM 64 bit is around £70.

    The total comes to around £307 and you can get cashback too:

    http://www.topcashback.co.uk/ebuyer/
    http://www.topcashback.co.uk/ccl-computers-ltd/
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 04-09-2013 at 01:41 PM.


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    Re: HTPC/OFFICEPC Busted! Need a replacement, but on tight budget

    Thank you very much Cat. Yeah, the 1tb hdd is still working. I was thinking of using that only for movies as an external hdd, by getting a enclosure. For internal, I was planning to get a small SSD (64GB). What kind of power would this system suck? Even if it takes more power, is there any chance I could undervolt it? The reason is because I plan to use it as a central media sharing for my family.

    PS: I have a windows cd, so don't worry about the software
    Last edited by mediaofficepc; 04-09-2013 at 02:08 PM.

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    Re: HTPC/OFFICEPC Busted! Need a replacement, but on tight budget

    Trinity has low idle and low load power consumption. I assume the Windows version you have is either Vista,7 or 8??


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    Re: HTPC/OFFICEPC Busted! Need a replacement, but on tight budget

    Yes, I've got both win7 ultimate and win8 pro. Why do you ask mate?

    Trinity does have low idle, but since I want to leave it on for most of the time, I want it to idle as low as possible, so undervolt option would be great.

    Also what do you think I should get SSD (less space, but fast) or a normal 7200rpm hdd (slower, but lots of space)?

    Lastly, I hope your not going to mind, but below is a system I created using PC Part Picker:-

    CPU: AMD A8-5500 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor (£71.99 @ Ebuyer)
    Motherboard: ASRock FM2A85X-ITX Mini ITX FM2 Motherboard (£76.00 @ Ebuyer)
    Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Series 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£28.00 @ Ebuyer)
    Storage: Sandisk 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk (£64.94 @ Scan.co.uk)
    Case: Cooler Master Elite 120 Advanced (Black) Mini ITX Tower Case (£26.40 @ CCL Computers)
    Power Supply: XFX 450W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (£34.99 @ Maplin Electronics)
    Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer (£12.98 @ Novatech)
    Total: £315.30


    So what do you think?

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    Re: HTPC/OFFICEPC Busted! Need a replacement, but on tight budget

    Quote Originally Posted by mediaofficepc View Post

    CPU: AMD A8-5500 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor (£71.99 @ Ebuyer)
    Motherboard: ASRock FM2A85X-ITX Mini ITX FM2 Motherboard (£76.00 @ Ebuyer)
    Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Series 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£28.00 @ Ebuyer)
    Storage: Sandisk 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk (£64.94 @ Scan.co.uk)
    Case: Cooler Master Elite 120 Advanced (Black) Mini ITX Tower Case (£26.40 @ CCL Computers)
    Power Supply: XFX 450W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (£34.99 @ Maplin Electronics)
    Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer (£12.98 @ Novatech)
    Total: £315.30


    So what do you think?
    Won't play blu-rays, single channel ram might be slower? Might be able to do some internal dual channel stuff maybe.

    Also see the review my build board for more ideas:
    http://forums.hexus.net/review-my-build/

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    Re: HTPC/OFFICEPC Busted! Need a replacement, but on tight budget

    Thank you for that. The problem I have is that I honestly don't have a clue. One option I'm thinking of is that I could go for an android stick/wdtv live/portable media player for all my tv needs. This way I don't even need a htpc, but simply a basic office and web browsing computer. It would also allow me to have portability too and that way I could connect the wdtv live/android to my main tv and put all movies on an external hdd hooked upto it. The wdtv/lan hdd can then also be shared across the network via rj45, allowing me to send files to it via my main pc upstairs.

    That is why I was hoping someone could guide me and help me make my mind up.

    EDIT: I've been thinking, and the above option definitely makes more sense.
    Last edited by mediaofficepc; 04-09-2013 at 04:21 PM.

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    Treasure Hunter extraordinaire herulach's Avatar
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    Re: HTPC/OFFICEPC Busted! Need a replacement, but on tight budget

    How comfortable with software are you?
    I have something filling a similar role - The HP N54L microserver. Its tiny & quiet, and fills the role of HTPC/Backup machine pretty well.
    This: http://www.ebuyer.com/430446-prolian...-in-704941-421
    Plus basically any discrete pci-e GPU with HDMI out, say for example this 5450 http://www.ebuyer.com/519591-powerco...5450-1gbk3-she and a 2TB HDD comes in more or less bang on £280. If you want to run windows rather than linux then the extra money might be worth spending on 4Gb of ram.

    Its more than capable of playback of BR quality media (which is what I assume you mean) and assuming your existing drive works would give you 3.25 TB of storage space. If you don't need that much space you can comfortably get a Bluray player in under budget.

    XBMC can easily be setup to stream whatever you fancy, and you can presumably reuse whatever input method you need. The advantage of that setup is very low power, quiet (I'm sat in the same room as it now and can't hear it over the fan on my laptop) and you've got ample space for more drives as you need them.

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    Re: HTPC/OFFICEPC Busted! Need a replacement, but on tight budget

    Thanks herulach. I'm ok with software knowledge, but the problem with a microserver is that I can't use it for pc purposes as I need it to have windows, ms office, basic photo editing, web browsing.

    What kind of a setup do you have at your home/office?

    FYI, I currently have:-

    1 main pc (Win8 Pro) upstairs - Has 2TB hdd - Used for editing, gaming, downloading and whatever that is downloaded, is then copied to a usb hdd to be transferred to the HTPC or other devices
    1 htpc (Win 7) (now busted!) - Has a 1TB hdd - Used for watching HD movies as it has a hdmi lead running directly to an LCD TV and also a vga cable running to a monitor for general office work.
    Both of the above devices are hardwired via 1gb lan to a 60mb virgin super hub router.

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      • Storage:
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      • Graphics card(s):
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      • Case:
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    Re: HTPC/OFFICEPC Busted! Need a replacement, but on tight budget

    That AsRock motherboard is actually quite nice as I know a forum member who uses two of them ATM. The Gigabyte does wifi built in,but you could use a USB wireless stick instead. I would try to run the RAM in dual channel as the A8 has a decent IGP.

    Having said that you could get the A8 5600K:

    http://www.ebuyer.com/398815-amd-a8-...FcbLtAod200ANg

    It comes with SimCity which you could sell on Ebay.

    The FSP PSU is not too bad for the price at all,although the XFX is a better but more expensive PSU.


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    Re: HTPC/OFFICEPC Busted! Need a replacement, but on tight budget

    Quote Originally Posted by mediaofficepc View Post
    Thanks herulach. I'm ok with software knowledge, but the problem with a microserver is that I can't use it for pc purposes as I need it to have windows, ms office, basic photo editing, web browsing.

    What kind of a setup do you have at your home/office?

    FYI, I currently have:-

    1 main pc (Win8 Pro) upstairs - Has 2TB hdd - Used for editing, gaming, downloading and whatever that is downloaded, is then copied to a usb hdd to be transferred to the HTPC or other devices
    1 htpc (Win 7) (now busted!) - Has a 1TB hdd - Used for watching HD movies as it has a hdmi lead running directly to an LCD TV and also a vga cable running to a monitor for general office work.
    Both of the above devices are hardwired via 1gb lan to a 60mb virgin super hub router.
    Why can't you use it for day to day stuff? The microserver is left on continuously connected up to the TV running XBMC to act as a media player & stream via DLNA to tablets etc. It also has samba installed an active directory controller so the my documents folders for me & the mrs are roamed across both laptops (one win 7, one win 8) and PC (till it broke).

    Theres no reason you couldn't install windows & office on it and connect up the VGA port to a monitor. It won't run games, but will happily sit with office/chrome running. Just thought I'd throw it out there incase you need the disk space.

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    Re: HTPC/OFFICEPC Busted! Need a replacement, but on tight budget

    Thanks Cat, but did you read Post #7 mate? I'm in a dilemma as I'm thinking to buy a cheap basic pc and then a small portable media player such as wdtv live or android stick...this will allow me to watch movies at home and when I'm out at a friends without using too much power...what do you think mate?

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    Treasure Hunter extraordinaire herulach's Avatar
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    Re: HTPC/OFFICEPC Busted! Need a replacement, but on tight budget

    Quote Originally Posted by mediaofficepc View Post
    Thanks Cat, but did you read Post #7 mate? I'm in a dilemma as I'm thinking to buy a cheap basic pc and then a small portable media player such as wdtv live or android stick...this will allow me to watch movies at home and when I'm out at a friends without using too much power...what do you think mate?
    If you don't want to play with settings etc then the build you've specced is perfectly reasonable. If it were me I'd be tempted to drop down to a 4 core processor and reuse your existing HDD. THat will give you the budget to get a better PSU, Blu Ray drive and maybe dual channel ram. Which all should have better impact on lifetime/usability, and I suspect Dual channel ram (or 8GB) will have more impact than the extra 2 cores in the build.

    The android box is probably a bit of a red herring, they generally aren't that useful for browsing etc, and you won't save any power as you'll need one or other of the PCs switched on to stream from anyway.

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    Re: HTPC/OFFICEPC Busted! Need a replacement, but on tight budget

    Quote Originally Posted by herulach View Post
    Why can't you use it for day to day stuff? The microserver is left on continuously connected up to the TV running XBMC to act as a media player & stream via DLNA to tablets etc. It also has samba installed an active directory controller so the my documents folders for me & the mrs are roamed across both laptops (one win 7, one win 8) and PC (till it broke).

    Theres no reason you couldn't install windows & office on it and connect up the VGA port to a monitor. It won't run games, but will happily sit with office/chrome running. Just thought I'd throw it out there incase you need the disk space.
    Hi mate, are you trying to say you got a spare microserver? If so, then I'll have it! lol!


    Quote Originally Posted by herulach View Post
    If you don't want to play with settings etc then the build you've specced is perfectly reasonable. If it were me I'd be tempted to drop down to a 4 core processor and reuse your existing HDD. THat will give you the budget to get a better PSU, Blu Ray drive and maybe dual channel ram. Which all should have better impact on lifetime/usability, and I suspect Dual channel ram (or 8GB) will have more impact than the extra 2 cores in the build.

    The android box is probably a bit of a red herring, they generally aren't that useful for browsing etc, and you won't save any power as you'll need one or other of the PCs switched on to stream from anyway.
    I did take a look at the microserver...seems like a great machine...only that it's much less powerful than the old htpc that blew up on me.

    Rather than confuse myself and you guys and keep going around it circles could I suggest an idea? How about I give you my full setup at home and then you decide the best solution for me?

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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/OFFICEPC Busted! Need a replacement, but on tight budget

    Quote Originally Posted by mediaofficepc View Post
    Thanks Cat, but did you read Post #7 mate? I'm in a dilemma as I'm thinking to buy a cheap basic pc and then a small portable media player such as wdtv live or android stick...this will allow me to watch movies at home and when I'm out at a friends without using too much power...what do you think mate?
    You could always use a Raspberry Pi for media uses,like a number of my mates do.


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    Re: HTPC/OFFICEPC Busted! Need a replacement, but on tight budget

    Quote Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
    Won't play blu-rays,
    How come? I can't see anything obvious apart from the lack of Bluray drive.

    Quote Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
    single channel ram might be slower? Might be able to do some internal dual channel stuff maybe.
    The IGP takes a quite a hit from single channel. Enough to buy the dual stuff is there isn't a massive price difference.
    The IGP on the APU only really wants two things: Dual channel and high frequency. Timings seem to not make a huge difference compared to those two.
    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    And by trying to force me to like small pants, they've alienated me.

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