Recommendation on Hardware for a Window's based Mini-ITX HTPC Build (Group #7)

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pglover19 Offline
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Post: #1
Recently I found out about XBMC and purchased a HP N40L to use as a HTPC in my home theater room. Now, I want to expand XBMC in other rooms in my house (Master Bedroom and Family Room). Currently I have 5.1 surround sound in those rooms as well.

I have some left over computer parts from a computer build 2 years ago and was wondering if they can be used to build a Group #7 Mini-ITX HTPC (http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=94199). Here are the parts I have:

1. Hard Drive – Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 250 GB 8MB Cache
2. Hard Drive – Maxtor DiamondMax 100 GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache
3. Memory - HP 2GB DDR3 1333MHz Pc3-10600e Memory
4. Memory - HP 2GB DDR2 800MHZ PC2-6400 Memory
5. Power Supply – Antec EarthWatts Green 380 watts
6. CPU - Intel Celeron Processor 2.2 Ghz 64-bit
7. CPU COOLER - Stock coolers from an Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 and Intel Core 2 Quad 9300 processor
8. CPU COOLER - Zerotherm CF800 cooler

If none of the parts can be used, I will look thru Eskro's thread ((http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=94199) to come up with a parts list for a Group #7 mini-ITX HTPC and post the list tomorrow for feedback.

Thanks...
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pglover19 Offline
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Post: #2
anyone? I want to order my parts today....
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baldmosher Offline
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Post: #3
I gave myself 3-4 months to come up with a system spec.

baldmosher™
Trying to save his marriage with a HTPC
Current system: TV unit, 37PFL5405H, Microserver N40L (as HTPC), Xbox360, BDP-S370, FoxsatHD, Azur 540Rv2, Keysonic 540RF, Harmony 300
Planned W7x64 AMD mATX (HT)PC build: Case, PSU, RAM, Mobo, CPU Total £240 + IR + HSF? + SSD?
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pglover19 Offline
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Post: #4
baldmosher Wrote:I gave myself 3-4 months to come up with a system spec.

Do you think it would be cheaper to just purchase a pre-built unit like the Gateway SX2370-UR30P? It's on sale at Best Buy for $349.

How does the Gateway unit(AMD A6-3600 2.1Hz with Integrated Radeon HD 6530D GPU) unit compare to my HP N40L unit (AMD Turion II Neo 1.5GHz CPU with HIS 6450 GPU)?
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baldmosher Offline
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Post: #5
It'd possibly be cheaper, and definitely a lot less hassle now, to buy a system outright.

I've never bought a prebuilt PC in my life. Smile You won't know what parts have gone into it, unless you spec & build it yourself. e.g. Dell build systems that last 4 years. I have a habit of building systems that last 10 years or more - and I don't exactly spend a lot on them. And it's more fun building your own.

You should see a marked improvement in CPU speeds with A6-3500 cf N40L+6450, but very little difference in GPU speed, as it's basically the same GPU in the A6. If you're into 3D gaming you might notice a small boost from having the GPU onboard, and also from possibly having faster RAM.

baldmosher™
Trying to save his marriage with a HTPC
Current system: TV unit, 37PFL5405H, Microserver N40L (as HTPC), Xbox360, BDP-S370, FoxsatHD, Azur 540Rv2, Keysonic 540RF, Harmony 300
Planned W7x64 AMD mATX (HT)PC build: Case, PSU, RAM, Mobo, CPU Total £240 + IR + HSF? + SSD?
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baldmosher Offline
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Post: #6
PS if you won't be using them for anything other than XBMC then why not save money and just get a couple of simple & tiny ION boxes, or an AppleTV2, or similar? The N40L should be able to handle transcoding of one stream at a time.

baldmosher™
Trying to save his marriage with a HTPC
Current system: TV unit, 37PFL5405H, Microserver N40L (as HTPC), Xbox360, BDP-S370, FoxsatHD, Azur 540Rv2, Keysonic 540RF, Harmony 300
Planned W7x64 AMD mATX (HT)PC build: Case, PSU, RAM, Mobo, CPU Total £240 + IR + HSF? + SSD?
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pglover19 Offline
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Post: #7
baldmosher Wrote:It'd possibly be cheaper, and definitely a lot less hassle now, to buy a system outright.

I've never bought a prebuilt PC in my life. Smile You won't know what parts have gone into it, unless you spec & build it yourself. e.g. Dell build systems that last 4 years. I have a habit of building systems that last 10 years or more - and I don't exactly spend a lot on them. And it's more fun building your own.

You should see a marked improvement in CPU speeds with A6-3500 cf N40L+6450, but very little difference in GPU speed, as it's basically the same GPU in the A6. If you're into 3D gaming you might notice a small boost from having the GPU onboard, and also from possibly having faster RAM.

Could I build a Group #7 HTPC with a AMD-A6 CPU for less? Based on eskro's thread for a AMD-A6 build, once you add in the cost of a hard drive and Windows OS, it's about the same price. I don't mind building one myself since I have some spare parts. Additionally, I would love to build one using the AMD A-8 chip. Decision... Decision....
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pglover19 Offline
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Post: #8
baldmosher Wrote:PS if you won't be using them for anything other than XBMC then why not save money and just get a couple of simple & tiny ION boxes, or an AppleTV2, or similar? The N40L should be able to handle transcoding of one stream at a time.

Yes.. The machine will only be used to run XBMC in the other rooms. Now all of my content is 1080P rips (mkv and M2TS). The unit will be wired because I have a nearby network connection in each room. The unit needs to be able to stream the 1080P content from the NAS (HP N40L) fluently without any stutter or jitter. I would love to purchase a low cost device for this. Can you provide model numbers of units that can provide me a low cost solution.
(This post was last modified: 2011-12-15 16:22 by pglover19.)
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bluray Offline
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pglover19 Wrote:Do you think it would be cheaper to just purchase a pre-built unit like the Gateway SX2370-UR30P? It's on sale at Best Buy for $349.

How does the Gateway unit(AMD A6-3600 2.1Hz with Integrated Radeon HD 6530D GPU) unit compare to my HP N40L unit (AMD Turion II Neo 1.5GHz CPU with HIS 6450 GPU)?
For $349 A6-3600 is a very good price. You should be able to playback everything with HD6530D iGPU. HD6530D has identical spec as HD6450 discrete GPU. If you want more GPU power in the future, you can crossfire HD6530D with another HD6xxx GPU too, but I doubt that you need another GPU. That $349 Gateway should be ready for XBMC out of the box. Smile

>Alienware X51- do it all HTPC
>Simplify XBMC configurations
>HOW-TO Bitstreaming using XBMC
I refused to watch movie without bitstreaming HD audio!
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baldmosher Offline
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Post: #10
I'd recommend you read the sticky threads for more info, especially eskro's, and not just flick through them casually. There are countless variations that will do what you need but most of the important info can be found in the first few clicks.

"Low cost" is subjective Wink

baldmosher™
Trying to save his marriage with a HTPC
Current system: TV unit, 37PFL5405H, Microserver N40L (as HTPC), Xbox360, BDP-S370, FoxsatHD, Azur 540Rv2, Keysonic 540RF, Harmony 300
Planned W7x64 AMD mATX (HT)PC build: Case, PSU, RAM, Mobo, CPU Total £240 + IR + HSF? + SSD?
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pglover19 Offline
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Post: #11
bluray Wrote:For $349 A6-3600 is a very good price. You should be able to playback everything with HD6530D iGPU. HD6530D has identical spec as HD6450 discrete GPU. If you want more GPU power in the future, you can crossfire HD6530D with another HD6xxx GPU too, but I doubt that you need another GPU. That $349 Gateway should be ready for XBMC out of the box. Smile

I am really trying to justify the purchase of the Gateway PC when I only want to run XBMC in the other rooms. The PC will have no other purpose then to run XBMC... Additionally, I wanted a mini-ITX unit... Do you know if the parts in the Gateway could fit inside a mini-ITX case like the Apex MI-008case?

Also, can any of my spare parts listed in Post #1 be used in building a HTPC?
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bluray Offline
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Post: #12
baldmosher Wrote:"Low cost" is subjective Wink
"Low Cost" is very subjective subject. But $349 for a fully equipped A6-3600 (included APU, case, PSU, HDD, RAM, Windows 7, etc) PC's, it is as "Low Cost" as it can be for an A6-3600. I'm a DIY person, but I don't think that I can beat this price to build an A6-3600 myself! Smile

Here is more info on it- Gateway - Desktop / AMD A-Series Processor / 4GB Memory / 1TB Hard Drive.

>Alienware X51- do it all HTPC
>Simplify XBMC configurations
>HOW-TO Bitstreaming using XBMC
I refused to watch movie without bitstreaming HD audio!
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pglover19 Offline
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Post: #13
bluray Wrote:"Low Cost" is very subjective subject. But $349 for a fully equipped A6-3600 (included APU, case, PSU, HDD, RAM, Windows 7, etc) PC's, it is as "Low Cost" as it can be for an A6-3600. I'm a DIY person, but I don't think that I can beat this price to build an A6-3600 myself! Smile

Here is more info on it- Gateway - Desktop / AMD A-Series Processor / 4GB Memory / 1TB Hard Drive.

Man.. You are making this decision really hard for me.. It is so tempting. Once again I only need a unit to run XBMC in the other rooms. It looks like folks have had success running XBMC on a AppleTV 2. But reading thru the forum, they are having some problems streaming 1080P content. Is the AppleTV 2 a solution based on my needs? If not, I will go ahead and purchase the Gateway pre-built unit. I just didn't want to spend a lot for a device to be used in the other rooms.
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bluray Offline
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pglover19 Wrote:Do you know if the parts in the Gateway could fit inside a mini-ITX case like the Apex MI-008case?
Have you see Gateway A6-3600 in person? I saw one in person, and it is very tiny (it's 2" in width/depth bigger but it is 1.2" thiner than Apex MI-008). I'm not 100% sure that the component in the small form factor will fit in the Mini-ITX case though, but I think that you'll be happy with Gateway case.

>Alienware X51- do it all HTPC
>Simplify XBMC configurations
>HOW-TO Bitstreaming using XBMC
I refused to watch movie without bitstreaming HD audio!
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pglover19 Offline
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Post: #15
bluray Wrote:Have you see Gateway A6-3600 in person? I saw one in person, and it is very tiny (it's 2" in width/depth bigger but it is 1.2" thiner than Apex MI-008). I'm not 100% sure that the component in the small form factor will fit in the Mini-ITX case though, but I think that you'll be happy with Gateway case.

No, I have not seem the unit yet... What is your opinion on the AppleTV 2 as a solution for running XBMC in the other rooms?
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