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My proposed HTPC build


Jimbo
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Hi there,

 

I have been a lurker for a while, but as I am now planning my new HTPC build, I have a question about the motherboard.

 

I currently have an Acer Aspire Revo R3610 as an HTPC, using a WHS holding 4 Tb of ripped DVD's and an HDHomeRun as my TV source. I am looking to replace my fairly old Sony DVR with the HTPC but the Revo isn't quick enough for that purpose. I would also like to watch Freeview HD channels (which are HD over-the-air channels here in the UK), but the HDHomeRun is DVB-T whereas Freeview HD uses DVB-T2 !!

 

So my proposed build is as follows -

 

Case - Silverstone ML03B

CPU - Intel i3-2100T

Motherboard - ???

Graphics - CPU onboard (or existing passive ATI 4350 card ?)

Fans - Artic Cooling (thanks Ikon !)

PSU - Silverstone ST40F-ES

Memory - Corsair XMS3 DDR3-1333 2x2Gb

Hard disk - OCZ Vertex 2E 60 Gb

Hard disk 2 - Western Digital WD5000BPVT Scorpio Blue 500 Gb (existing spare drive)

Optical Drive - existing DVD drive (upgrade to BD later on if reqd)

TV Tuner - Blackgold BGT3620 (one of the few DVB-T2 cards at the moment)

 

I am on a fairly tight budget and this lot comes to around £440, with the motherboard still to specify. I was planning to use a Gigabyte H67 board, but was wondering whether a cheaper H61 board would do the job. I won't do anything more than just plug everything in and don't need the extra ports, so what would the benefit of a H67 be ?

 

Thanks,

 

Jim.

 

P.S. Once this is done, I will be moving onto a WHS2011 build :-)

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I'll be interested to see how you like the Intel i3-2100T. Looks like you're building a very quiet system. Can't speak about video requirements for Blu-ray, but the onboard graphics (Gigabyte H55N-USB3 mobo) in my i3-530 build have no problems playing back DVD folder rips. For that matter, neither does my underpowered $299 Acer notebook, and that video is nowhere near as good. You could probably get by without the video card for now.

 

Here's a comparison of the chipsets you were asking about: http://ark.intel.com...are/52806,52807 Don't quote me, but I believe the H67 has onboard RAID whereas the H61 does not. So, in my opinion, you'd be fine with the H61 board as long as you think it has enough ports for your purposes.

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I had one of these cases ... they are solid for the price ... however, be careful. This is not a standard size case. I also used the Silverstone PSU ... it is not quiet.

I ended up switching to a Seasonic PSU to obtain the reduced noise levels I was after. Make sure you use a shorter PSU.

http://www.sendpix.com/albums/11080722/224215000000014bf9d32871f82b976a69cc9f59347aa3/?p=1

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Hi there,

 

I have been a lurker for a while, but as I am now planning my new HTPC build, I have a question about the motherboard.

 

I currently have an Acer Aspire Revo R3610 as an HTPC, using a WHS holding 4 Tb of ripped DVD's and an HDHomeRun as my TV source. I am looking to replace my fairly old Sony DVR with the HTPC but the Revo isn't quick enough for that purpose. I would also like to watch Freeview HD channels (which are HD over-the-air channels here in the UK), but the HDHomeRun is DVB-T whereas Freeview HD uses DVB-T2 !!

 

So my proposed build is as follows -

 

Case - Silverstone ML03B

CPU - Intel i3-2100T

Motherboard - ???

Graphics - CPU onboard (or existing passive ATI 4350 card ?)

Fans - Artic Cooling (thanks Ikon !)

PSU - Silverstone ST40F-ES

Memory - Corsair XMS3 DDR3-1333 2x2Gb

Hard disk - OCZ Vertex 2E 60 Gb

Hard disk 2 - Western Digital WD5000BPVT Scorpio Blue 500 Gb (existing spare drive)

Optical Drive - existing DVD drive (upgrade to BD later on if reqd)

TV Tuner - Blackgold BGT3620 (one of the few DVB-T2 cards at the moment)

 

I am on a fairly tight budget and this lot comes to around £440, with the motherboard still to specify. I was planning to use a Gigabyte H67 board, but was wondering whether a cheaper H61 board would do the job. I won't do anything more than just plug everything in and don't need the extra ports, so what would the benefit of a H67 be ?

 

Thanks,

 

Jim.

 

P.S. Once this is done, I will be moving onto a WHS2011 build :-)

 

Main difference between the H61 and H67 is Sata 3, Number of USB ports, few PCIe Lanes and no RAID. Most of that (except Sata 3) does not make much difference in an HTPC. What will make a big difference is to loose the 500 gig drive and replace it with a full size Sata 3 1-2T drive. The performance difference is about 3x. This will help if you start recording multiple streams of SD/HD. Also, I would go with the 2100 not the 2100T. Very little difference at the wall but faster and cheaper. Lastly, stick with the built in video of the 2100 not the ATI card.

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. Also, I would go with the 2100 not the 2100T. Very little difference at the wall but faster and cheaper.

 

QFT. The "S" and "T" versions of the Sandy Bridge chips are merely downclocked chips. The chip is no different than the standard version, simply runs slower so it uses a bit less power. You can get the same result by underclocking the standard chip.

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Thanks to everyone for the useful replies. One point I forgot to make is that the HTPC needs to be ultra-quiet because my wife has excellent hearing and so the box will not be domestically acceptable unless it is really quiet. So taking your comments in turn -

 

dvn & pcdoc - thanks for the info on the graphics, the ATI card can go back in the spares box (probably to be used on the new WHS)

 

roadbuilder - good call on the Silverstone PSU, I will check out the Seasonic

 

pcdoc & timekills - thanks for the info on the i3 2100T. It was chosen to reduce the heat load and so reduce the fan noise, but if the standard 2100 can be underclocked for a lower price, that would be brilliant. This will be the first time I have underclocked a processor, so that will be a novel experience ;-)

 

pcdoc - the 500 Mb drive is mainly there for short-lived recordings and caching, as most of the recordings would be copied off to the WHS. I did debate about just having the SSD, but felt an extra drive would make things a bit easier. This is in my spares box and is pretty quiet, so was ideal. With a tight budget (less than £500 if possible), I could only afford a larger disk by sacrificing the SSD. As it is, I might forget the TV Tuner for the time being, to keep costs down.

 

Thanks again,

 

Jim.

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Checkout the Silverstone GD05My link[/url I dumped my GD03 and went with the GD05. Much superior case in build and still mico atx. Buy one these fan controllers [url=http://http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811996023&Tpk=XIGMATEK%20fan%20controller]My link Chain all three case fans together and set them to low and this case is virtually silent. Dump the stock CPU cooler and go with a big 120 cm horizontal cooler.

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Thanks to everyone for the useful replies. One point I forgot to make is that the HTPC needs to be ultra-quiet because my wife has excellent hearing and so the box will not be domestically acceptable unless it is really quiet. So taking your comments in turn -

 

dvn & pcdoc - thanks for the info on the graphics, the ATI card can go back in the spares box (probably to be used on the new WHS)

 

roadbuilder - good call on the Silverstone PSU, I will check out the Seasonic

 

pcdoc & timekills - thanks for the info on the i3 2100T. It was chosen to reduce the heat load and so reduce the fan noise, but if the standard 2100 can be underclocked for a lower price, that would be brilliant. This will be the first time I have underclocked a processor, so that will be a novel experience ;-)

 

pcdoc - the 500 Mb drive is mainly there for short-lived recordings and caching, as most of the recordings would be copied off to the WHS. I did debate about just having the SSD, but felt an extra drive would make things a bit easier. This is in my spares box and is pretty quiet, so was ideal. With a tight budget (less than £500 if possible), I could only afford a larger disk by sacrificing the SSD. As it is, I might forget the TV Tuner for the time being, to keep costs down.

 

Thanks again,

 

Jim.

 

Good luck. Do not sacrifice the SSD, it is the single best thing for performance on an HTPC. Also, I would not under clock the CPU. The 2100 is very good at power management and will handle itself. If you want quiet, look rather at the fans in your case, the CPU heatsink, and the PSU. Use fan controller if they are too loud. Under clocking will not do anything to noise if you have a noisy heatsink, fans or power supplies.

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Good luck. Do not sacrifice the SSD, it is the single best thing for performance on an HTPC. Also, I would not under clock the CPU. The 2100 is very good at power management and will handle itself. If you want quiet, look rather at the fans in your case, the CPU heatsink, and the PSU. Use fan controller if they are too loud. Under clocking will not do anything to noise if you have a noisy heatsink, fans or power supplies.

 

Thanks for clarifying; I need to be careful when I say "you can" that it doesn't get confused with "you should." :P

 

I.E. you can underclock the 2100 to get the same (minuscule if any) power difference gained from the 2100T (also giving you less speed and probably no advantage from actual power draw just like the 2100T.)

 

I forgot to add the points inside the parentheses.

 

P.S. SilentPC did a decent comparo of the 2100S/2400T vs their stock speed/power versions, as well as against an undervolted (but stock 3.1 Ghz speed) 2400.

 

Last page here: "Winner" was undervolted 2400

Edited by timekills
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