~$500 HTPC system

zyir

n00b
Joined
Jul 15, 2008
Messages
25
Here's a relatively inexpencive HTPC setup that I'm thinking of building...
I don't know a lot about HTPC systems, except that they need to be able to handle multimedia tasks, file conversions, and HD video. So, this may not be the best selection for a ~$500 system. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. :)

Case: Athenatech Black SECC Steel A3712BB.450 ATX Media Center / HTPC Case - Retail
Motherboard (not sure on this one yet): GIGABYTE GA-EG31M-S2 Intel G31 Micro ATX
Processor (not sure on this one yet): Intel Core 2 Duo E7200 - Retail
Memory: G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800
Video card (looks ok for under $100): EVGA 512-P3-N954-TR GeForce 9500 GT 512MB
Blu-Ray drive: LITE-ON Black 12X DVD-ROM 32X CD-ROM SATA Blu-ray DVD-ROM Drive Model DH-4O1S-11 - OEM (big MAYBE on this one at about $130, may just use an IDE DVD/CD drive from another PC)
Wireless Network card: EDIMAX EW-7128G IEEE 802.11b/g PCI Wireless Card
Remote: eDATA DEC-200B Vista Certified Infrared Remote Control W/ Receiver & Blaster

Totals at around $500, even with the Blu-Ray drive. I'll also use a 320GB IDE hard drive that I already have.

And some of questions...
I see a lot of HTPC systems with AMD processors instead of Intel. Does AMD handle multimedia processing better? If so, what would be a good processor and motherboard to replace the ones I've chosen?

Also, I'm not sure what might be the best choice of OS. Mythbuntu looks tempting as I'm familiar with Ubuntu on my dual-boot system, , but I'm not sure if all the devices will work properly.
On the other hand, I've seen a lot of references to Vista Media Center. Is this included as part of Vista Home Premium, or can it be purchased as an OEM version?
 

SC385

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 14, 2004
Messages
1,333
Many people are choosing AMD HTPC systems because the 780g and 8200 motherboards on board GPUs can decode HD video with little CPU overhead.

For alternatives check out the GA-MA78GPM-DS2H and an AMD 4550e for a low power CPU.
 

Dangman

Ninja Editor SuperMod
Joined
Dec 15, 2005
Messages
46,062
In addition to the above advice, I recommend getting this better quality HTPC case and PSU:
Antec NSK2480 mATX case with Antec Earthwatts 380W PSU - $89

If you go with the AMD setup that SC385 recommended, you can drop the video card altogether. Even for HD content, the onboard video of the 780G chipset is more than capable of handling it.

Vista Media Center comes with Vista Home Premium.
 

zyir

n00b
Joined
Jul 15, 2008
Messages
25
Shit, for $25 more go with the Antec.
Heheh... Yeah. I think I will. It's a nice lookin' case, too. :D

That's a really nice little ITX setup, with some good HD info in the thread, too.
I think I may go with one of the AMD solutions. Lower cost, and it should do just about everything I need in a HTPC.
Still not sure which motherboard and CPU to go with, I'd like something that has optical audio output.
 

SJetski71

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Sep 6, 2002
Messages
14,641
Still not sure which motherboard and CPU to go with, I'd like something that has optical audio output.
Poster #2 picked the right one ;)

GA-MA78GPM-DS2H

It has 128megs of ram onboard dedicated for video ("sideport memory"), and it also has optical audio output. Seperate video cards need not apply.
 
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