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Old 01-07-2013, 12:05 AM   #1
TripleThreatTLT
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Default Review my HTPC Build

Hi All,

I finally convinced my wife it was time to ditch DirectTV. I've been researching HTPCs for a few days and would just like a critique of my build. I'm including all my items that I'll be upgrading in order to accomplish my goals.

My goal for the system is to be able to record OTA broadcasts, stream netflix / amazon etc. Honestly it will probably end up playing Mickey Mouse 8 hours a day for my kids... I could care less about 3-D movies, and have an I7 upstairs for gaming.

HTML Code:
Component       Name                                    Price   Supplier
Router          Linksys E4200                           79.99   Cisco
Tuner           SiliconDust HDHomRun Dual Tuner         81.56   Amazon
Case            SilverStone Micro ATX ML03B             59.99   Amazon
Power Supply    Antec NEO ECO 400c 400W                 33.99   Amazon
Motherboard     ASRock DDR 1333 Intel LGA-1155 H77M     64.99   Amazon
Processor       Intel G540 CPU 2.5 LGA 1155             44.99   Amazon
Ram             Crucial Ballistix 4GB 2x2GB DDR 1866    18.99   Newegg
DVD Drive       Lite-On DVD/CD                          23.99   Newegg
SSD             64Gb Crucial C300                       59.99   Work
Hard Drive      Western Digital 3 TB Green              129.99  Amazon
OS              Windows 7 Home Premium                  99.99   Newegg
Controller      Logitech K400                           29.99   Amazon
Wifi Card       ASUS PCE-N15                            26.99   Amazon
			
Total                                                   755.44	
I'm a tad over budget but I honestly can't think of anything in particular to save costs besides ditching the SSD and maybe getting a smaller hard drive.

Anyway what does everyone think?

Thanks,
Tom

PS anyway besides the HTML tag to get a list to copy and paste in easily?
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:53 AM   #2
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Why do you need a new router? Does your house otherwise not have any wireless? Wireless G is enough for most streaming purposes.

The SSD is a luxury item. It'll feel nice to have, but the system will otherwise run just fine on the hard drive.

If it weren't for the Netflix streaming, I'd say just run Linux and XBMC, but Netflix locks you in. IMHO if you already have Amazon, it's not worth the extra $100 just to use Netflix streaming.

Edit: Hell, you could buy a separate Roku box for less than the cost of windows, to watch Netflix on.

Last edited by crashtestdummy; 01-07-2013 at 11:03 AM.
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:59 PM   #3
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He's not looking to do just Amazon and Netflix. He also wants to do OTA recording. Which XBMC doesn't do itself (it relies on MythTV). This leaves you with WMC or MythTV on Linux.
WMC is a one time cost of $99 for a Windows 7 Premium license.
MythTV / Linux is free, but guide data will cost you $25 per year from Schedules Direct.

OP, check out this review of the Silverstone case.
http://www.missingremote.com/review/...l03b-htpc-case
Make sure that the PSU depth and DVD drive depth will leave you enough room to plug in the data/power connectors for the DVD drive.
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:18 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucklessgorath View Post
He's not looking to do just Amazon and Netflix. He also wants to do OTA recording. Which XBMC doesn't do itself (it relies on MythTV). This leaves you with WMC or MythTV on Linux.
WMC is a one time cost of $99 for a Windows 7 Premium license.
MythTV / Linux is free, but guide data will cost you $25 per year from Schedules Direct.

OP, check out this review of the Silverstone case.
http://www.missingremote.com/review/...l03b-htpc-case
Make sure that the PSU depth and DVD drive depth will leave you enough room to plug in the data/power connectors for the DVD drive.
XBMC v12, which is in RC stage, has PVR ability.
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:44 PM   #5
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NextPVR is also a very viable option for OTA recording. However, if you're already buying a Win7 license there's no reason to not go with WMC.

Edit: Oh, I see that the XBMC PVR is in fact using NextPVR as an option for the backend.

Last edited by SaurusX; 01-07-2013 at 03:47 PM.
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TripleThreatTLT View Post
I'm a tad over budget but I honestly can't think of anything in particular to save costs besides ditching the SSD and maybe getting a smaller hard drive.
Do you live near a Micro Center?

You can use a USB WiFi adapter. Decent ones go for $15 on sale. Speaking of sales, when are you going to build this? Windows often goes on sale for $10 or $20 less. Optical drives are commodities. I've seen them on sale for $15, but pretty common for under $20. For those parts you absolutely know you will be getting, you may want to take advantage of sales as they happen.

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit $79.99 shipped with coupon EMCNJNJ46 (expires today 1/7)
Lite-On DVD writer $16.99 shipped (expires today 1/7)

This WiFi adapter is only $19.99 shipped (out of stock, was $14.99 until 1/4) and I've had good results with it.

You can look for cheaper RAM. For instance $1 less gets you some Crucial DDR3-1600 that is CAS 8, versus the stuff you picked at CAS 9 DDR3-1866. Almost the same, but the cheaper stuff has shorter heatsinks which blocks less air (maybe) in small cases.

Crucial C300 is an old model. At $60 I would not recommend that. Look for a sale on newer models.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lucklessgorath View Post
OP, check out this review of the Silverstone case.
http://www.missingremote.com/review/...l03b-htpc-case
Make sure that the PSU depth and DVD drive depth will leave you enough room to plug in the data/power connectors for the DVD drive.
The Antec Neo Eco 400C is really short for a PSU at around 140mm depth.
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:09 PM   #7
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The router upgrade is due to the fact that my current e2000 is having issues providing a reliable connection at my tv. So I'm upgrading strictly to get better range.

I did take into account the power supply size in respect to the case requirements.

I'm actually leaning now towards buying the hdhomerun and router and partioning my main pc with Ubuntu and using that as a proof of concept for xbmc and mythtv. Netflix can be handled by my tv, Wii, or xbox so the netflix Linux issue can be avoided.

The trick with Linux will be is how straightforward and easy I can make it for the wife. If she doesn't like how it turns out then I'm in trouble.

Any thoughts is xbmc and mythtv normally spouse approved?
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:30 PM   #8
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My kids (8 & 6) use our OpenELEC PC no problem. Have a look at OpenELEC if you're looking for something "appliance"-ish with XBMC. I also don't have an SSD, just a 16GB USB stick I bought a USB-to-USB header adapter for an installed internally.

For TV though, you can't beat WMC. My wife and kids have no problem with it either. It's the mainstay in our house for live TV.
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Old 01-14-2013, 01:26 PM   #9
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I don't use MythTV but XBMC is approved by my wife. Especially with the iOS remote app for XBMC.
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Old 01-14-2013, 03:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TripleThreatTLT View Post
The trick with Linux will be is how straightforward and easy I can make it for the wife. If she doesn't like how it turns out then I'm in trouble.
I just got my HTPC up and running, and I'm trying out both WMC and XMBC to see which one is more spouse-proof. I sold her on the idea that it would be everything all in one place and very easy to use... now I have to deliver!

I'll be swapping my old 64GB SSD from my desktop into the HTPC once I replace it with a 256GB one, but I currently have the OS (W7) on a 500GB HDD partitioned down to 64GB... aside from startup I really can't complain about the speed and functionality. Having said that, you can get a 64GB SSD for around $50, so it's not a deal-breaker unless your budget is that tight.

Most of my components I waited to catch on sale... CX430 PSU $17 AR, W7 $79, 2TB HDD $99, G620 CPU $49, etc...
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Last edited by Charlie98; 01-14-2013 at 03:25 PM.
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Old 01-14-2013, 03:47 PM   #11
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Ditch the new router and the SSD and spend that money to run a network cable to the computer. Wireless will be problematic.

You will need a remote control. If you already have a programmable remote (e.g. Harmony), just buy any cheap WMC remote with a decent IR receiver.
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Old 01-14-2013, 06:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Binky View Post
Ditch the new router and the SSD and spend that money to run a network cable to the computer. Wireless will be problematic.

You will need a remote control. If you already have a programmable remote (e.g. Harmony), just buy any cheap WMC remote with a decent IR receiver.
Or just buy an IR receiver like this one:

http://flirc.tv/
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Old 01-14-2013, 07:44 PM   #13
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Or just buy an IR receiver like this one:

http://flirc.tv/
That will probably work fine, but it's more than a remote and a receiver at ~$28 shipped.
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Old 01-15-2013, 07:04 PM   #14
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You can also try powerline networking instead of getting a new router. I have had good luck with a pair of Zyxel 500 MBPS adapters
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:18 PM   #15
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Have you considered an Intel NUC?
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no...el+NUC+mini-PC

http://www.anandtech.com/show/6267/i...argeted-at-399

I have a Roku and a Sandybridge PC Tower HDMIed to a panel TV. Both boxes are connected via Ethernet. When the Haswell NUC is available I intend to replace the PC.
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