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Topic # 113523 19-Jan-2013 11:48
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Hi, I'm wanting to build a cheap HTPC for my parents to replace their various TV boxes. I want it to be able to watch and record Freeview (with an inbuilt tuner) and also play DVDs and Bluray.

Here's the parts I'm currently looking at:

CPU: Intel Pentium Dual Core G860 3.0GHz LGA1155 3M Cache Processor
http://www.pbtech.co.nz/index.php?z=p&p=CPUIT0860

Video: Asus HD 5450 1GB SILENT GDDR3 PCI-E HDCP VGA/DVI/HDMI Low Profile Capable VGA Card
http://www.pbtech.co.nz/index.php?z=p&p=VGAAS55957&name=Asus-HD-5450-1GB-SILENT-GDDR3-PCI-E-HDCP-VGADVIHDM

RAM:STRONTIUM 4GB 1600MHz DDR3 Single Module PC12800
http://www.pbtech.co.nz/index.php?z=p&p=MEMHYN54095&name=STRONTIUM-4GB-1600MHz-DDR3-Single-Module-PC12800-w

Hard Drive: Seagate 2TB Barracuda SATA3 7200RPM 6Gb/s 64MB Internal HDD
http://www.pbtech.co.nz/index.php?z=p&p=HDDSE2204X&name=Seagate-2TB-Barracuda-SATA3-7200RPM-6Gbs-64MB-Inte

Bluray Player: LG CH12LS28 12X Blu-Ray COMBO Drive Black Colour M-DISC Retail box
http://www.pbtech.co.nz/index.php?z=p&p=DVWLGC24&name=LG-CH12LS28-12X-Blu-Ray-COMBO-Drive-Black-Colour-M

TV Tuner: Hauppauge HVR2200 OEM Dual digital PCI-E Freeview PAL/SECAM TV receivers, FM radio receiver WinTV-HVR-2200 No Remote
http://www.pbtech.co.nz/index.php?z=p&p=TVNHGR0055&name=Hauppauge-HVR2200-OEM-Dual-digital-PCI-E-Freeview-

Case: ???
I have no idea what to get here. As small as possible would be good.

Motherboard: ???
I'm not really sure about this either. This is my first PC build so I'm a bit clueless. I know I need to match the CPU with the Mobo but I'm sure exactly how I go about doing this.

OS: Linux and XBMC

So what's your guys expert opinion on what I've got so far? Am I spending too much on anything or too little? Any suggestions on better parts would be great.

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398 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 747338 19-Jan-2013 12:45
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Mobo:
http://www.pbtech.co.nz/index.php?z=p&p=MBDASR0550&name=ASRock-B75M-ITX-Intel-B75-Mini-ITX--Socket-1155-2X

There are other boards (matx), but this one's mini-itx so you can use smaller cases,

Case:
http://www.pp.co.nz/products.php?pp_id=AA38624&ref=pricespy

Other than the that look at perhaps a more reputable brand of memory Corsair, Kingston, G. Skill

I don't have stellar pc building knowledge myself, but just looked up customer feedback on newegg.

I'm sure others will chime in with suggestions of their own.





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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 747339 19-Jan-2013 12:46
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I'm just pricing up a similar spec HTPC.

If you get an AMD A-series chip it has a GPU on board so you don't need a separate video card. This will make the whole thing cheaper, cooler and quieter. I am looking at the A4-3400 FM1.

A motherboard which will work with that is the ASROCK A75M-HVS and it has HDMI.

Most people say that a 'green' HDD is better as it will be quieter. I'm looking at the WD green 2tb.

Bluray drives are quite a bit more than DVD drives so I'm going to stick with my PS3 for blurays initially.

Cases: there are lots out there but many of them are really pricey so I'm going for the Antec NSK2408B which is big, but cheapest, and has loads of room for expansion. And has a suitable power supply built in. Obviously if you are committed to a certain case, everything else has to fit it.

Your choice of RAM looks good. From what I have read, you only need 4 Gb but its worth having 1600 or better.

Have you looked at pricespy? It's a very convenient way of tinkering around with specs and prices. Have a look at my list here:http://pricespy.co.nz/list.php?l=66988&view=m

I built my first PC a couple of years ago - I couldn't believe how simple and how much fun it was. If you enjoy that kind of thing I guess.




HTPC: Antec NSK2480B case, AMD A4-5300 CPU, Asus F2A85-M LE mobo, WD Caviar Green 64Mb 2TB HDD, HD Homerun, Win7 Home Premium, RAM 1600Mhz 4Gb.
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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 747344 19-Jan-2013 13:05
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+1 for turbs suggestion to go with AMD APU. I have recently built a pretty similar system to he suggests above in the same Antec case, though I have yet to get a bluray drive or tuner card - I am considering just going with a network tuner such as AVerMedia HD HomeFree Duet or HD Homerun. Not sure how "parent friendly" it would be though :)


If I were to do it now I would consider going with Trinity though, maybe:
AMD A-Series A6-5400K
Gigabyte GA-F2A75M-D3H

as that APU was recently confirmed to support 3D bluray playback (which I wanted "just in case") and AMD I believe have committed to another round of FM2 APUs - so should be upgradable at some point.

Having said that Llano (e.g. the A4-3400) is good bang for buck and should do everything including 3D bluray playback if ever needed.

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 747359 19-Jan-2013 14:07
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LordUberDowzen: I'm wanting to build a cheap HTPC for my parents ...

Your parents must be much more tech-savy than mine. Although a well-configured HTPC is relatively stable and troublefree, problems do crop-up from time to time that need a reasonable degree of Windows knowledge to fix.



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Geek


  Reply # 747403 19-Jan-2013 16:18
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Thanks for all the great advice, I'll look into all of it. From what you guys have said it seems like ditching the video card would be a good idea. That seems like a great idea, my only concern would be whether 1080p content might stutter a bit. I assume that wouldn't be an issue?

Deev8: Your parents must be much more tech-savy than mine. Although a well-configured HTPC is relatively stable and troublefree, problems do crop-up from time to time that need a reasonable degree of Windows knowledge to fix.


They are reasonably tech-saavy, but I am expecting to be called upon when things go wrong! Even if I'm not available I figure they can always get someone in to fix it.

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  Reply # 747415 19-Jan-2013 16:52
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Is there something like the Dell Zino HD out there? That's kinda old now so maybe an alternative to the Zino?




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  Reply # 747765 20-Jan-2013 13:11
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Your stated requirements are that they need to be able to watch and record Freeview (with an inbuilt tuner), and also play DVDs and Bluray.

If that's all they need, then an HTPC could be overkill and require a lot of support from you - unless they are tech savvy and particularly want one.

A Panny blu-ray recorder can be had for around $800 in sales, and seems to tick all of the requirements you list. It also gives disk burning and DLNA streaming etc if they need that. It could be a cheaper, simpler, tidier solution to their needs?

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  Reply # 747819 20-Jan-2013 15:15
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JimmyH: Your stated requirements are that they need to be able to watch and record Freeview (with an inbuilt tuner), and also play DVDs and Bluray.

If that's all they need, then an HTPC could be overkill and require a lot of support from you - unless they are tech savvy and particularly want one.

A Panny blu-ray recorder can be had for around $800 in sales, and seems to tick all of the requirements you list. It also gives disk burning and DLNA streaming etc if they need that. It could be a cheaper, simpler, tidier solution to their needs?

+1
I got my BWT720 on sale for $650. Much less cumbersome and fiddly than a HTPC. Also extremely quiet.

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  Reply # 749406 23-Jan-2013 11:09
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AMD A-Series A6-5400K
Gigabyte GA-F2A75M-D3H


+1 on above

In your original post you mentioned HD5450, I wouldn't recommend this if you wanted to go the seperate video route then the HD6450 is a much better choice.

RAM - Consider getting cheaper RAM

Re: A4 llano CPU mentioned above - Would not recommend for an HTPC, the onboard GPU (HD6410D) on this can struggle a bit with 1080i DVB-T, the AMD Trinty  A4-5300 is better suited for 1080i.




HTPC: Intel i3-2100 / 12GB RAM / AMD HD7750 / 480 GB SSD / 58TB Storage / MediaPortal / MadVR / Win10
AVR: Pioneer Elite SC-LX87 220W 9.2 Ch AVR
Speakers: Wharfedale Jade 7 Fronts / Jade 2c Center / Jade 5 Rears
Subs: iNuke 3000dsp 3000W proamp with 4x 15" JBL Sealed Subs
Display: Samsung 60" UA60H6400 LCD TV
Accessories: Gefen HDMI Detective with splitter


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  Reply # 749465 23-Jan-2013 12:15
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I have a HVR-4400 TV tuner I am looking at removing from MY PC and selling as I never use it anymore.
It have dual tuners as well as hardware encoding (I believe)

I want to remove it to try and get a PCI-e raid card so I can add more HDD's.

The TV card comes with WinTV which I found heaps easier to set up than WMC and a remote control.

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 749563 23-Jan-2013 14:22
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dickytim: I have a HVR-4400 TV tuner I am looking at removing from MY PC and selling as I never use it anymore.
It have dual tuners as well as hardware encoding (I believe)

I think the HVR-4400 is a single hybrid tuner (dvb-t and dvb-s).

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  Reply # 749570 23-Jan-2013 14:34
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I would never build an HTPC for someone else. Even if it only needs minor attention to the tune of 2 minutes in the Windows GUI once a month, that equals quite a fail in the eyes of a non geek who has to wait 2 hours, days or weeks for someone to come and find out why they cant watch tv, cant get their guide, or their audio is out of sync.

Each to their own!

Every non geek who loved my HTPC and ask how to get one was directed to Noel Leemings for a MyFreeview!




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  Reply # 749601 23-Jan-2013 14:57
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it's called a set top box

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  Reply # 749615 23-Jan-2013 15:09
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If they just want a dual tuner Freeview PVR, that plays DVD and Bluray, go down the myfreeview route,  

Both Panasonic and Samsung have products the satisfy your requirements, 


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  Reply # 749622 23-Jan-2013 15:16
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Archer77: I think the HVR-4400 is a single hybrid tuner (dvb-t and dvb-s).

The HVR-4400 has one DVB-S/S2 (Freeview Satellite, Sky) tuner and one hybrid DVB-T (Freeview HD)/analog/FM tuner. Total = 2 tuners.
The HVR-3xxx has one hybrid DVB-S/T/analog/FM tuner. Total = 1 tuner.

dickytim: It have dual tuners as well as hardware encoding (I believe)

It does not have hardware encoding... and even if it did it would be irrelevant for Freeview reception.

@LordOberDowzen
Like other people here have said, I'd advocate an STB.
An XBMC + PVR setup is unlikely to be maintenance free given how "fresh" the PVR support is. Linux may make it worse assuming your parents are are unfamiliar with it (even the smallest issues will require your input).

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