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637 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 173304 18-May-2015 18:01
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After quite a bit of deliberation I've come to the conclusion that I might need a HTPC.

It will mainly be used for storage and playback of movies, pics and music, and with browsing the internet etc. I doubt I will use it for gaming as I have a PS4.

From what I've read it would be cheaper to build one myself rather than buy something prebuilt. 

I wouldnt mind buying a second hand one, or second hand parts, but there doesnt seem to be too many for sale.

I've done a bit of research and this is what I have come up with:

Case - Silverstone Lascala - $150
LC17
LC10

I3 4160 - $165

Asus H97 Plus - $166

Kingston 2x2GB - $84

SSD - $90

Corsair PSU - $90

Tv Tuner - $167

Wifi - $50

I have Windows 7 OS
(Will add additional hard drives later on)

Is there Anything I've missed?

It's a bit more money than I would like to spend, and I'm not sure the other half would approve.

Please let me know your thoughts, and if you think anything should be changed.

Thanks




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Reply # 1307376 18-May-2015 18:08
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if no gaming you could go with Pentium. I built 3 for what you say you want and they are fine.  2 use the Pentium G3258 anniversary edition. I bought them at $105 inc
shipping at the time. The 3rd one I used the Pentium G3240.  Perfect for htpc




HTPC Intel Pentium G3258 cpu, Gigabyte H97n-wifi motherboard, , 8GB DDR3 ram, onboard  graphics. Hauppuage HVR 5500 tuner,  Silverstone LC16M case, Windows 10 pro 64 bit using Nextpvr and Kodi


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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1307378 18-May-2015 18:11
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What software are you planning to run?

Personally, I have always found software lacking, so I still run cheap media players (AC Ryan and Popcorn Hour boxes) with a RAID backend. No live TV, but that's built in to the television anyway.

Most of the work of a HTPC is done by the video hardware, so a cheaper solution might be to go down the Raspberry Pi route with Kodi.

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 1307379 18-May-2015 18:12
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Silverstone cases come with imon remotes. Avoid imon at all costs, it's caused me more grief than any other component. (edit: those cases may not have remotes at all, so that's ok)

That's a MASSIVE power supply for what you're doing.

I started out with one machine under the TV, I now see that as a mistake. The ideal situation is a server somewhere out of the way and a small quiet machine at the viewing point/s.

You may also find a network tuner like the HD Homerun more useful.




Location: Dunedin

 

 




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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1307410 18-May-2015 19:06
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Thanks for the replies.

I have just started using Plex, Kodi, Windows Media Centre.

I did wonder about the power supply, I just went by what other people had bought (found on other forums). 

The main reason I want a large htpc is because of the storage. 

One day I would like a central hub in a cupboard somewhere, but as I'm renting something under the tv will do. 
I also have a logitech universal remote if that could replace the imon remote.

Thanks

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  Reply # 1307466 18-May-2015 20:09
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How about a Raspberry Pi 2? It can't stream but with Kodi it can do everything else well, connected to a PC as the server or a hard drive for media. It's around $55, plus $10 for an 8GB memory card (Sandisk), $20 for a USB PSU if you need one, and a $10 case.

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  Reply # 1307474 18-May-2015 20:19
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It's not the imon "remote" as such, its the whole imon system. There is a chance its improved, but I wouldn't risk it. Fool me once...

My software of choice is Mediaportal. I also use the addins mptvseries and moving pictures to make it a pretty unbeatable system IMO.




Location: Dunedin

 

 


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  Reply # 1307477 18-May-2015 20:27
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I've bought a little Minix Neo Windows 8.1 box from Expansys for just over $200, and I think it would do what you want with the addition of an external hard drive for storage (since it has none onboard). I added a Microsoft wireless media keyboard with trackpad for around $45, and you can add a Flirc for remote control access. It browses the net, streams on demand from TVNZ and TV3, and I'm running Plex Home Theatre which seems to work a treat. It's fanless so completely silent. If budget is a concern, it might be a way of getting the other half across the line. It comes with fully-licensed Windows 8.1.

Another alternative I looked at was an Intel NUC - you buy the box with the processor you want, then customize by adding the hard drive, memory, and OS that suits. If you already have Windows 7 then you could get a Celeron model for around $300-ish. PB Tech have a good range. A lot of people here use them as HTPCs - they have inbuilt IR receivers so are perfect for the purpose.




Geek girl. Freelance copywriter and editor at Unmistakable.co.nz.

 

Currently using: Modified 2008 Mac Pro, HP M6-1017TX Laptop, iPad Pro, iPhone 7, iPhone 6S, AppleTV4.


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  Reply # 1307479 18-May-2015 20:27
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Been a while since I built mine, but I've been extremely happy with my setup based on an AMD APU. Handles everything I've thrown at it, including netflix, all manor of media files, 3D bluray, some light gaming, etc. Might be worth looking at as they were a fair bit cheaper than the intel setup when I put mine together.



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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1307487 18-May-2015 20:36
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Thanks for the replies.

My idea for getting a larger system is the need for storage. I already have over 3tb of data and that will only get bigger in time.

I've heard about mediaportal, will have to check it out.

Thanks for the recommendation, i watch 3d blurays as well so that's good to know.

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  Reply # 1307504 18-May-2015 21:26
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33coupe: Thanks for the replies.

My idea for getting a larger system is the need for storage. I already have over 3tb of data and that will only get bigger in time.

I've heard about mediaportal, will have to check it out.

Thanks for the recommendation, i watch 3d blurays as well so that's good to know.


I have my R.Pi2 connected to my PC, which also runs Kodi. I have something like 6TB of disk in it. You can also connect an R.Pi to a NAS, or anything else really.

They're a bit more hassle, a bit more of a toy, and probably a bit less reliable, but they're super cheap :)



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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1307535 18-May-2015 22:04
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Ah right, that's a good idea.

Unfortunately I dont have a pc, only an aging laptop.

That's why I think I need a HTPC. I should be able to eliminate my laptop (slow & stutters during playback) and the freeview stb. It also gives me the option to upgrade components over time.

I've just read that low TDP is important and that the differece between AMD and Intel is the software / hardware decoding, and that AMD are cheaper but the intel use less power.

Back to the drawing board lol

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  Reply # 1307540 18-May-2015 22:09
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33coupe: 
Thanks for the recommendation, i watch 3d blurays as well so that's good to know.


You do need to be careful if you're wanting to play 3D blurays on it (i.e. 3D physical bluray discs) as I seem to recall only some APUs\GPUs support MVC required for it (or it has to be done in software which requires a lot of horsepower IIRC) This was one area where the APUs really appealed to me as they do it all; sadly it seems the more recent ones removed the ability from the cheaper SKUs I think.



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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1309590 21-May-2015 23:00
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After a bit more research here's an a AMD based build:

HTPC

This comes in $135 cheaper if I leave out the TV Tuner and Wifi on both lists.

Or I could spend a bit more and get something already done:

Trademe listing

What do you guys think?

Part of me thinks I should hold off for a while (extremely difficult tho lol) and wait to see if any second hand parts come up for sale.

Thanks




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  Reply # 1309599 21-May-2015 23:21
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Not sure if the A6 will do 3D bluray if that's important to you.  I'd go for a cheaper mobo though, maybe:

http://pricespy.co.nz/product.php?e=2511903

You could possibly save a bit on SSD too, though possibly not if you're wanting to record to it. But if you'll mostly just be streaming then maybe something like:

http://pricespy.co.nz/product.php?p=802952


I think I'm also just running 2GB of RAM without any issues, so could possibly save on that too (I can check if you want) - just make sure you get 1600MHz or greater though as it's effectively your VRAM with the APU. 

Then if you really wanted 3D bluray I'm pretty sure the A8 supports it, you could look at one with the saved money. 



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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1309606 21-May-2015 23:51
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Thanks for that. 

 

I was initially looking for a full ATX board as the case supports it and the extra drive space would be nice. But it seems there arent too many out there, and they are quite a bit more money. 

Ideally on a mobo it will have support for 7.1 (in case I buy 2 extra speakers), and 4k display support to try future proof myself a bit.

Apparently that SSD only has 70mb write speed.

Im not sure if it will make a difference but I will only watch 3d bluray downloads. The physical discs I will use on my ps4.

I did read that you should buy at least 1600mhz RAM (if not more) as the AMD APU uses quite a bit of it.

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