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Help me build a new HTPC


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#1 Stoffel

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 19:30

Can somebody help me put together a new cheap HTPC. I would love to keep it under $500

 

What I would like is

 

Haswell Core i3 processor

4 to 8GB Ram

128GB SSD

USB3 ports

HDMI out

 

separate gfx card would be nice but is not really necessary,

 

Small tower setup so I can add extra harddrives once my external ones start to fail

As silent as possible as it will be standing in the livingroom.

 

I live in Honduras but can order all my parts in the USA, but it has to be through Amazon I think because of cc.

 

I need most of the help with case, motherboard and cooler I guess, but tips on which brands of SSD are better would also be welcome, since I haven't put a pc together in over 10 years.

 

Thanks for any input




#2 Jason S.

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 19:42

i'd look into those Z87 ITX motherboards. theyre small but still have a ton of features. They have (2) DIMM slots, (1) x16 slot for a video card, i3 support, wireless etc.

 

Here's an example - Gigabyte Mini ITX

 

these days, any SSD will do. SSDs have pretty much reached the limit of SATA3 so it's hard to go wrong.



#3 HawkMan

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 19:52

Personally I only use proper HTPC cases for my htpc's like the silver stones, which is the cheapest quality brand, but there are others much more expensive. Towers don't make much sense to me, you can fit them in any tv/media furniture and they look big and ugly and don't have displays which can be neat.

My second floor media PC is a tiny little Shuttle XPC box though, those are awesome but you can only fit like two hard drives in it if you need that. You can fit full size graphics cards though.

#4 OP Stoffel

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 20:06

Thanks for the input so far, but looking at the HTPC cases only raises more questions :)

Which, and how many fans should I buy, what PSU,...

 

Putting the bits together will be no problem, just picking the right stuff seems a bit hard at the moment



#5 HawkMan

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 20:12

Get a decent HTPC case, the fans in it should be enough but you might consider replacing them with more silent fans. And get a corsair fully enclosed water cooling system for the CPU for silence, like the H60-H120 depending on system and cooling needs.

You'll want a quality brand modular PSU to have as little wiring as possible.

#6 OP Stoffel

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 22:48

Would something like this make sense?

Or should I really buy a separate gfx card?

 

Screenshot (4).png

 

 



#7 Fahim S.

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 22:52

Why not buy an i3 Haswell Intel NUC?

#8 OP Stoffel

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 22:54

Why not buy an i3 Haswell Intel NUC?

 

This seems like it has more options to upgrade/extend with extra hard drives, dvd player in needed

 

Do you have an Intel NUC? Are you happy with it?



#9 jjkusaf

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 23:05

Would something like this make sense?

Or should I really buy a separate gfx card?

 

attachicon.gif

 

You do know that processor and the motherboard are not compatible right?  The shuttle is LGA1155 while the CPU is LGA1150.

 

If you are using it just as an HTPC...the built in GPU works perfectly.

 

Also, check this site out for some tips/suggestions.  http://forum.xbmc.or...lay.php?fid=112  (also the XBMC software itself)

...and this site   http://www.avsforum....eater-computers

 

HTPCs is probably the easiest and cheapest PC you can put together.  You do not need a big processor or a big GPU.  Pretty much every new motherboard out there has all the options you need.  You do not need a lot of RAM.  

 

What you do need is quiet PC with enough room for hard drive expansion.  Once put together...you probably will never need another one again (until it dies anyway).  I've had the same HTPC setup since '09 and have no intentions on replacing it anytime soon.  Have over 600 movies and bunches of TV shows...using almost 5TB of data (on 2 3TB drives) with one more free area in the case for another HD.

 

In other words...don't skimp on the case and make it quiet.



#10 +warwagon

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 23:19

This seems like it has more options to upgrade/extend with extra hard drives, dvd player in needed

 

Do you have an Intel NUC? Are you happy with it?

 

I have one. It's the Celeron Version.

http://www.neowin.ne...little-machine/

 

But here is the i5 barebones

 

http://www.amazon.co...ds=Intel i5 nuc

 

You just have to add 60 GB MSata

and some Ram.

You can't add an internal but you could use 3.0 External.

Mine is whisper Quiet.



#11 OP Stoffel

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 23:32

Ok, second attempt.

This seems like the cheaper option, just have to keep using external HDDs I guess

 

Does anybody have any experience with Intel NUC

 

Screenshot (5).png



#12 OP Stoffel

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 23:36

You do know that processor and the motherboard are not compatible right?  The shuttle is LGA1155 while the CPU is LGA1150.

 

If you are using it just as an HTPC...the built in GPU works perfectly.

 

Also, check this site out for some tips/suggestions.  http://forum.xbmc.or...lay.php?fid=112  (also the XBMC software itself)

...and this site   http://www.avsforum....eater-computers

 

HTPCs is probably the easiest and cheapest PC you can put together.  You do not need a big processor or a big GPU.  Pretty much every new motherboard out there has all the options you need.  You do not need a lot of RAM.  

 

What you do need is quiet PC with enough room for hard drive expansion.  Once put together...you probably will never need another one again (until it dies anyway).  I've had the same HTPC setup since '09 and have no intentions on replacing it anytime soon.  Have over 600 movies and bunches of TV shows...using almost 5TB of data (on 2 3TB drives) with one more free area in the case for another HD.

 

In other words...don't skimp on the case and make it quiet.

 

I use XBMC at the moment on an old core i3 laptop, but that one is dying. That's why I'm looking for some sort of replacement.

The Intel NUC seems to do what I want and for less then $500 it fits my budget.

 

At the moment most of my movies and tv series are also stored on external HDDs



#13 HawkMan

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 23:44

There is a slightly bigger(.taller) NUC that you can mount a single regular HDD in, not sure right now, but probably laptop size drives and not 3,5 though.

#14 Fahim S.

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 09:10

There is a slightly bigger(.taller) NUC that you can mount a single regular HDD in, not sure right now, but probably laptop size drives and not 3,5 though.

 

That's correct - a 2.5" drive can be installed into it in addition to the mSATA SSD.  The taller one is the D54250WYKH as opposed to the D54250WYK. I think the biggest disk you'd be able to put into it would be a Hitachi Travelstar 5K1500 1.5TB 2.5" 5400RPM.  I am not sure if it supports 15mm drives (where 2TB becomes an option).

 

If I were the OP, I'd move the external drives to a NAS/Server.



#15 +patseguin

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 19:33

I built an i3 system a couple years ago and put an nVidia 630 card in it so I could get HD audio through HDMI. It's got 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD and runs OpenElec and I love it. I have a Synology NAS in the basement with 10 3TB drives. A little over 300 movies and 100 TV shows and a little over 50% is taken up. All of it is HD with the exception of maybe 2 movies and a couple TV shows.