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Questions about HTPC build! :)

Quantos

Senior member
Dec 23, 2011
386
0
0
Hiya guys!

Well, the time has come for my to build an HTPC. The idea had been in my mind for quite some time now, but I have now started to look into it in details.

I've spent a few hours looking up parts already, and I'm quite confident on what I've found. Here's my status:

Case: Lian-li PC-C37U: I needed a good quality case that is now too tall (I have a 6" limit). This one also comes with a power supply, so I think it sounds like a good choice.
Motherboard: ASRock H77M.
CPU: Intel i3 3225: Specifically this one because I think the price increase over other i3s is justified by the use of an HD4000 instead of the HD2500.
RAM: Samsung 4GB.
Disk Player: ASUS BC-12B1ST.

I'm pretty confident these are good choices, but I now get into the part where I'm having issues choosing: storage. I plan on getting a smallish SSD to host the operating system of the HTPC, along with a single HDD to hold data.

I looked into different backup options. I considered at first creating a simple RAID setup inside the HTPC itself, but realized quickly this is neither convenient nor feasible. It would require the use of higher quality drives, which would tend to be both louder and less power efficient, both qualities which I do not want inside the HTPC. Thus, I have ruled that at the moment I will only use a single HDD inside the HTPC, and back up data on my usual PC, which has quite a lot of free space. I also do not plan on immediately going crazy download wise, so I do not expect that I will require huge data storage solutions before some time. I plan on creating a dedicated server at some point which will serve as a backup solution / NAS storage.

However, that leaves me with two questions. First, which SSD should I get, and how big should it be? 64GB should be enough, but 128GB SSDs are faster and can be found for only a small premium over 64GBs these days when on sale. Also, I need help choosing which make and model I should take. I have an OCZ (gasp) Agility 3 in my desktop PC, and from what I have read on OCZ in the past few days, I am amazed that the thing has not exploded yet. What would be best? Samsung? Plextor? Intel? o_O

Second, which HDD should I get? I have heard that it would probably be best to get a relatively slow, but quieter and greener drive, à la Samsung F4 or WD Intellipower. I have considered the Samsung, but the new Seagate warranty does not look too good (1 year only), and it seems it can pretty much only be found on Newegg. I also have a tendency not to trust Seagate too much, but I'm unsure if this lack of trust is unfounded.

Ideas? ^_^

Thanks

edit: what about a WD Blue? Are they quiet enough to be used in an HTPC setup?
 
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RaiderJ

Diamond Member
Apr 29, 2001
7,582
1
76
My HTPC just has a 32GB SSD - got it for free as part of a combo deal. Runs Windows 7 Media Center just fine with about 10GB of free space (disabled hibernate & lowered swap file size). I think it's an OCZ? I figured when it died I'd just get another one - wouldn't lose anything important. I think other brands besides OCZ have pretty good reliability, but check online about a specific model to make sure.

I don't care for Seagate drives either, but their reliability may have improved over the last couple years. Personally, I'm running 6 Samsung F4EG 2TB drives in my file server, and haven't had a single problem with them in over a year now. If you're just going for a storage drive, cheap & slow is fine, as you'll not need the extra performance.
 

Quantos

Senior member
Dec 23, 2011
386
0
0
My HTPC just has a 32GB SSD - got it for free as part of a combo deal. Runs Windows 7 Media Center just fine with about 10GB of free space (disabled hibernate & lowered swap file size). I think it's an OCZ? I figured when it died I'd just get another one - wouldn't lose anything important. I think other brands besides OCZ have pretty good reliability, but check online about a specific model to make sure.

I don't care for Seagate drives either, but their reliability may have improved over the last couple years. Personally, I'm running 6 Samsung F4EG 2TB drives in my file server, and haven't had a single problem with them in over a year now. If you're just going for a storage drive, cheap & slow is fine, as you'll not need the extra performance.
That's what I was thinking as well; I don't plan on having a lot of applications on the SSD, so I do not really see how anything over than 64GB wouldn't be overkill.

As for brands, both in the case of the HDD and SSD, I just can't seem to find entirely reliable information. There doesn't seem to be any data on drive reliability, it's all word of mouth in forums. The general feeling does seem to be that OCZ is unreliable, and I can understand that it cannot be entirely unfounded rumours, but I can't help but think there's a sort of bandwagon going on here. The way people talk about it, OCZ rate of failure is immense. I'm not saying that's not true; I'd just like to have actual data confirm that...
 

RaiderJ

Diamond Member
Apr 29, 2001
7,582
1
76
Honestly, for a simple HTPC where the most you're going to lose is the time to re-install on a new drive, I would be fine with OCZ. That said, I wouldn't pick an OCZ drive over another if the price difference was minimal.

In reality, any drive can fail. However, I avoid drives that seem to have the worst reliability.
 

Quantos

Senior member
Dec 23, 2011
386
0
0
Well, thought I might update this. I made a few changes and ordered everything.

The final setup is:

Case: Silverstone GD05B USB3.0.
Motherboard: ASRock H77M.
CPU: Intel i3 3225.
RAM: Samsung 4GB.
Disk Player: ASUS BC-12B1ST.
PSU: Antec Earthwatts 380w.
SSD Crucial M4 64GB.
HDD WD Green 2TB.

The Silverstone gets good reviews and actually fits in my 6" limit (albeit quite tightly). I found the SSD at similar prices to an OCZ anyway, and it seems like a safer purchase based on general opinions. As for the HDD, the green really seems to be what fits the best in HTPCs.

I've received most of the stuff in the past few days and spent the evening yesterday building it. I'm just missing the RAM now (damn thing ships from Industry :confused:). I'm liking the case so far. The only problem I have with building the thing is that the motherboard provides two SATA3 cable, one of which has one of its connector at a 90 degree angle. That's nice and all, but I can't use it. The way the case's 2.5 and 3.5 bays are made, I simple can't use it. The HDD and SDD are flipped and screwed on by the holes on their reverse sides, which causes the connector to be the "wrong" way around. That means that a 90 degree SATA connector would get in the way of the close closing. On the motherboard, there are two SATA3 connectors, and they are positioned the opposite of each other, meaning that connecting the 90 degree cable in one of them would block the other. I weirdly didn't have any cables lying around either :(

Apart from that everything went swimmingly. Pending memory to start installing software! :colbert:
 
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Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,480
451
126
You can buy SATA cables for fairly cheap, and angled connectors are fairly common these days. I actually had to buy a very oddly angled connector for my last HTPC build. Unlike most angled connectors that are angled parallel to the connector, mine is angled perpendicular. It lets me clear the heat pipes significantly easier!

EDIT:

At worst, I would just consider nixing the hard drive. I keep everything on another PC, but in the mean time, you could always just use your main desktop as a media server. Chances are it wouldn't slow your PC down while you're using it since you would be on the HTPC while watching a video. :p
 

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