HTPC Build -- Please Critique

Valaire

Gawd
Joined
Dec 16, 2005
Messages
846
Getting ready to move into a new apartment September 1st or September 15 and have planned this HTPC for awhile. Decided to build it now because life will be very hectic when I'm moving as I'm buying virtually all new furniture. No budget. In NY so have access to Microcenter and Amazon charges sales tax but Newegg doesn't. Will check out Microcenter later on, or might be lazy and just order all from Newegg.

Goals

- Playback of 1080P MKV
- Playback of 2D Bluray
- Emulation of NES, SNES, N64, PSX, PS2
- Playback of music
- Live TV/DVR from OTA HD broadcast

Build

$150 - Lian Li PC-C37B
$125 - i3 2100
$80 - Asus P8H61
$30 - G.Skill Ripjaw X DDR3 1333 4GB (2GB x2)
$45 - Antec Earthwatts 380W
$95 - Intel 320 Series 40GB
$80 - Samsung F4 2TB
$55 - Lite-on Bluray Reader 4x
----------
$665 (b/f tax/shipping)

Thoughts

Case was the big splurge as I can get an uglier case for $60. But the Lian Li speaks directly to my soul and since my fiance is an interior designer I decided to splurge here to make it high on WAF.

I want a more powerful HTPC because I'd like it to excel at emulating the systems mentioned above with high WAF. My question is what extent this will suffice with onboard graphics for emulating. My suspicion is that emulators are largely CPU dependent for stability and use GPU for flair. I'd like some tips here in terms of when/if I would need a graphics card, and I assume I'd need a half height one to fit in the case. Either way I'll probably get it without the card first and test it out. Emulation is still secondary to MKV playback and LiveTV.

This will eventually hook up into probably a Denon receiver via HDMI, and through that to a 2D 1080P Samsung or Panasonic Plasma I'll probably purchase next month. I'll also be purchasing a Homerun Dual networked TV tuner, and a monoprice indoor antenna--hopefully that will pick up what I need (I live in Manhattan).

The software I'll be using is either 7MC Mediabrowser, XBMC, or some combination of the two. And TotalMediaTheatre for bluray playback.

Thanks.
 
Last edited:

Xonim

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 14, 2011
Messages
1,035
You're missing a processor in that build. By the looks of it, I'm going to guess you're thinking i3 2100?

For about $20 more, you could go from the Intel 40GB SSD to a Crucial M4 64GB SSD. 40GB may be enough, but depending how many "extra" programs you have, it might be worth the investment. I have my MB cover art cache on my SSD, and it's up to a few GB now.

Other than that, looks like a good setup. The onboard graphics on the i3 should be enough for your stated needs, though I can't say for sure about the emulation. I too, would assume though, that the emulation would be more cpu dependent than gpu dependent.
 

Valaire

Gawd
Joined
Dec 16, 2005
Messages
846
Thanks, I was missing a quote in the URL tag quoting that left the CPU out. The reason I went for the Intel over the Crucial:

- I don't think I need the extra GB (Windows 7 sans Hibernate and System Restore + img cache)
- H61 mobo is Sata II only

Didn't think I needed the extra speed.
 

fventura03

n00b
Joined
Jun 23, 2011
Messages
54
my little old core2duo can play n64, nes, snes very well, not sure about psx or ps2 though, i'm guessing the i3 can handle it...

the only thing you might have some problems with is if you try Wii emulator (dolphin), that depends mostly on the GPU.
 

kac77

2[H]4U
Joined
Dec 13, 2008
Messages
2,640
I think you really need to add a discrete. It's kind of ridiculous to be spending almost 600+ with SSD's in toe without a discrete which will give you a much better experience since you are trying to game on it too. SNES games ok. N64/PS and especially PS2 emulation is going to struggle on an i3's IGP at 1080.
 

lvyelion

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 2, 2009
Messages
289
I think you really need to add a discrete. It's kind of ridiculous to be spending almost 600+ with SSD's in toe without a discrete which will give you a much better experience since you are trying to game on it too. SNES games ok. N64/PS and especially PS2 emulation is going to struggle on an i3's IGP at 1080.

Will the GT430 be sufficient or GTS450?
 

Valaire

Gawd
Joined
Dec 16, 2005
Messages
846
I'll probably try it without a GFX first and see what the limitations are in terms of scaling and effects. That said, does anyone with experience doing what I'm doing have any advice on what the best value GFX would be in this situation? The considerations would be that it would have to fit in the case, and not make much noise.

Also, on the remote situation, anyone have a recommendation for a pretty decent WMC remote to tide me over until I pick up a Harmony to clone those signals. It's too bad the cases don't have built-in IR receivers. Gonna look uglier.
 

Xonim

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 14, 2011
Messages
1,035
The Antec Fusion case has a built-in IR receiver. I'm sure there are others, but that's the one I see mentioned most.

For my setup, I use a Rosewill IR Remote . I just have the little USB dongle in a frontside USB port, though I believe it came with a short extension cable if you wanted to use a rear-USB and "mount" it somewhere in your entertainment center. It has worked well for me. Out of stock / deactivated at newegg though.
 
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