Thoughts on my planned $600 HTPC/mid-level gaming build?

grifta67

Junior Member
Mar 27, 2012
4
0
61
Hey everyone!

After many, many years of being laptop based, I've decided to build a new tower. That being said, I might be rusty. I've read quite a bit here on the forums, done a fair bit of research, and spec'd out what I think I'm going to go with. If you wouldn't mind, I'd appreciate some advice though to make sure I'm in the right ballpark.


Approximate Purchase Date: this week

Budget Range: $600 out the door, after tax and shipping. I'm ok with using rebates.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: First priority, HTPC/media server. Second priority, as much gaming as I can squeeze out of a $600 build (I'm realistic and know it will likely only be mid-level game performance.)

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com; open to others. 45 minutes from a Micro Center, so that's an option too.

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: no particular preference

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Probably not

Monitor Resolution: 1920 x 1080 (using hdmi to a 52" 1080p hdtv)

Additional Comments:

1. The primary use will be HTPC. I do all my tv watching via usenet/torrent downloads. Current setup has them stored on my laptop and streamed to my ps3 via ps3 media server. New build needs to be moderately quiet.

2. I'm unfamiliar with how analog 5.1 connections work. On my all-in-one stereo, I have 2 optical inputs in-use. I believe I also have one un-used analog input (single RCA style plug). If I'm following things right, I should be able to output 5.1 from the audio jack on the mobo to the analog RCA input (with the proper cable)? I've read that this will only give me 5.1 on video things, not games which would require a dedicated sound card. 5.1 sound for gaming is not necessary for the initial build.

3. If I decide in the future to make it more of a serious gaming machine, I'll consider a beefy gfx at that time.

Here's what I've come up with:

CPU
AMD Phenom II X4 960T Zosma 3.0GHz Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor HD96ZTWFGRBOX
$139 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819103995

GFX
ZOTAC AMP! ZT-50402-10L GeForce GTX 550 Ti (Fermi) 1GB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
$124 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814500194

Motherboard
ASRock N68C-S UCC AM3/AM2+/AM2 NVIDIA GeForce 7025 / nForce 630a Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
$49 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813157204

Memory
Patriot Gamer 2 Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model PGD38G1333ELK
$29 after rebate - Already purchased

Hard Drive
Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
$109 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822148697

Power Supply
Rosewill Stallion Series RD450-2-DB 450W ATX V2.2 Power Supply
$34 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817182022

Case
Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
$39 after rebate - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811129042

Optical Drive
LITE-ON DVD Burner - Bulk 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM Black SATA Model iHAS124-04 - OEM
$17 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16827106289


Estimated tax - $39
Estimated shipping - $20

Total estimated cost - $607


So, whatcha think?

Thanks!
 
Last edited:

pauldun170

Diamond Member
Sep 26, 2011
9,133
5,072
136
That 960t isn't a good candidate for htpc build due to TDP.

A i3-2100 and basic H61 board would be a better choice.
Get a 80+ certified PSU
Good deal on that case though it is overkill.
 

grifta67

Junior Member
Mar 27, 2012
4
0
61
Just to follow up, after some active discussion over at Tom's, this is what I ended up ordering.

CPU
Core i5 2500K LGA 1155 Boxed Processor
$179 - http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0354589

GFX
evga 01G-P3-1557-KR NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti Superclocked 1024MB GDDR5 PCIe 2.0 x16 Video Card
$129 - http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0363754

Motherboard
ASRock Z68 Pro3-M Socket 1155 Z68 mATX Intel Motherboard
$54 - http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0367879

Memory
Patriot Gamer 2 Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model PGD38G1333ELK
$29 after rebate - Already purchased

Hard Drive
HITACHI Deskstar 7K1000.D 1TB 7,200RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM
$109 - http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0375261

Power Supply
Antec Basiq Series VP450 450 Watt ATX Power Supply
$34 - http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0369035

Case
Thermaltake V3 Black Edition ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
$27 - http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0323929

Optical Drive
LG 22x DVD±RW Super Multi Dual Layer Burner - OEM
$15 - http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0382272


Estimated tax - $42
Estimated shipping - $0

Total estimated cost - $625
 

pauldun170

Diamond Member
Sep 26, 2011
9,133
5,072
136
Just to follow up, after some active discussion over at Tom's, this is what I ended up ordering.



Memory
Patriot Gamer 2 Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model PGD38G1333ELK
$29 after rebate - Already purchased

Unless I missed it, I don't see that memory on the supported list for that board. Gonna go out on a limb and say always use memory on the supported list when it comes to ASROCK

http://www.asrock.com/mb/memory.asp?Model=Z68 Pro3-M
 

grifta67

Junior Member
Mar 27, 2012
4
0
61
huh, well that would be some shit if it didn't work. Guess I didn't realize there were compatibility issues with RAM these days.

fingers crossed...
 
Last edited:

mfenn

Elite Member
Jan 17, 2010
22,400
5
71
www.mfenn.com
2. I'm unfamiliar with how analog 5.1 connections work. On my all-in-one stereo, I have 2 optical inputs in-use. I believe I also have one un-used analog input (single RCA style plug). If I'm following things right, I should be able to output 5.1 from the audio jack on the mobo to the analog RCA input (with the proper cable)? I've read that this will only give me 5.1 on video things, not games which would require a dedicated sound card. 5.1 sound for gaming is not necessary for the initial build.

What you're describing on your receiver is not analog 5.1, it's S/PDIF over coax. It's the same data as your optical connections, just over a copper medium. To take advantage of it, you'd need a coax digital output on the mobo, which the Pro3-M doesn't have.

An analog 5.1 connection will use 6 separate RCA plugs (or 3 stereo minijacks).
 

grifta67

Junior Member
Mar 27, 2012
4
0
61
What you're describing on your receiver is not analog 5.1, it's S/PDIF over coax. It's the same data as your optical connections, just over a copper medium. To take advantage of it, you'd need a coax digital output on the mobo, which the Pro3-M doesn't have.

An analog 5.1 connection will use 6 separate RCA plugs (or 3 stereo minijacks).

Thanks mfenn! I'm so used to using toslink that I guess I equate that as the only digital connection, not good old fashioned RCA coax.
 
Last edited:

Topweasel

Diamond Member
Oct 19, 2000
5,436
1,655
136
Not at all. Ive never used the supported memory list. Im even mixing pairs of RAM. And so is my friend.

Some boards are picky period, some like ASrock boards since they fully separated from Asus, has been a bit of a pain to keep stable. The memory works and passes most if not all test, but small seemingly one time occurrences keep popping up.