How To Build a Compact 3D-Enabled HTPC For Less Than $1000

23

Comments

+ Add a Comment
avatar

Bogdan

My preference for HTPC over the multitude of streaming boxes is that you get 100 percent fidelity of the Internet.

Best regards,

Cazare Sovata

avatar

tetsu81vn

Mac OS X version 10.7.0 Lion (upgrade from refresh 10.6 install to 10.6.8 combo upgrade to 10.7.0 xmove + multibeast)

ZOTAC H67ITX-C-E LGA 1155 Intel H67 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Mini ITX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813500064

Sparkle GeForce GT430 1024 MB DDR3 PCI-Express 2.0 with Native HDMI Graphics Card Video Card, SXT4301024S3LNM
http://www.amazon.com/Sparkle-GeForce-PCI-Express-Graphics-SXT4301024S3LNM/dp/B00471O8VU

Intel Core i3-2100 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz 2 x 256KB L2 Cache 3MB L3 Cache LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I32100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115078

RW-DVD ASUS DWR-24B3STTR (Tray) DVD R24 W24 RW8VCD R48 W48 RW32SATA

Second hand case XC Cube EZ661L SIlVER (with 275W SFX psu FSP275-60CU ) http://aopen.jp/products/baresystem/ez661l_silver.html and http://www.atxpowersupplies.com/275-watt-power-supply-FSP275-60CU.php

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-8GBRL
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231311

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F1 HD103UJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152102

 

Cool mini full 3d htpc with dual boot windows 7 and mac osx Lion 10.7

http://www.tonymacx86.com/viewtopic.php?f=54&t=29696

avatar

dmking79

Liking this build a lot, curious how the 3d works.  Do you need special software or will VLC do the job?

 

Been looking at NVIDIA and AMD's 3d offerings and it seems needlessly complex (and expensive).  Also, slightly off topic but still kind of on...does anyone know if XBMC supports 3d blu-rays either as an iso or mkv?  Google can probably tell me, but I figured that while I was here...

avatar

southernroutes

Hey Gordon,

Thanks for inspiring me to upgrade my aging AMD-based HTPC with a slightly modified version of yours. Here's what I ended up going with (and why):

Case: IN WIN BP655.200BL Mini-ITX Case w/ 200W PSU

Mobo: Same Zotac H67 as yours

CPU: Same Intel i3 2100T as yours

Cooler: Same Silverstone NT07-1156 as yours

RAM: Spare 4GB (2x 2GB) Rip Jaws I had laying around ;-)

Optical Drive: SAMSUNG Black Blu-ray Drive SATA Model SH-B123L

SSD: OCZ Agility 2 OCZSSD3 3.5" 90GB SATA II (from my previous system)

Tuner Card: Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 Dual TV Tuner 1213 (PCI-Express x1)

OS: Win 7 Ultimate

I went with the In Win case so that I could keep my Hauppauge dual tuner card since this is our primary TV/DVR/web streaming device. The case allowed me the physical space to stick the low profile card into the PCI x16 slot (the Zotac's BIOS needed no mods in order to work) and, while not as tiny as your Silverstone Lascala, it's still REALLY small.

Though it's look is a bit generic, I really can't say enough about this case. It's as thoughtfully laid out as the Zotac mobo and the two are a perfect compliment to on another. The extra pop-outs allowed me to mount the USB 3.0 ports above the I/O shield, leaving the PCI slot open for the tuner card. I'm actually thinking of redoing my gigantor Cooler Master desktop beast in favor of an identical system for daily use. 

I'll admit that I was a bit skeptical of the Intel CPU's ability to push such a high-quality signal to our 42" flat screen TV, but I'm floored by the quality. Since we're not gamers there's no need for a dual-slot graphics card that needs more fans than the CPU to prevent from melting--not to mention the huge PSU to power such a card and all the fans required to keep that cool. 

Mini ITX + Sandy Bridge? I'm sold.

 

avatar

southernroutes

Hey Gordon,

Thanks for inspiring me to upgrade my aging AMD-based HTPC with a slightly modified version of yours. Here's what I ended up going with (and why):

Case: IN WIN BP655.200BL Mini-ITX Case w/ 200W PSU

Mobo: Same Zotac H67 as yours

CPU: Same Intel i3 2100T as yours

Cooler: Same Silverstone NT07-1156 as yours

RAM: Spare 4GB (2x 2GB) Rip Jaws I had laying around ;-)

Optical Drive: SAMSUNG Black Blu-ray Drive SATA Model SH-B123L

SSD: OCZ Agility 2 OCZSSD3 3.5" 90GB SATA II (from my previous system)

Tuner Card: Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 Dual TV Tuner 1213 (PCI-Express x1)

OS: Win 7 Ultimate

I went with the In Win case so that I could keep my Hauppauge dual tuner card since this is our primary TV/DVR/web streaming device. The case allowed me the physical space to stick the low profile card into the PCI x16 slot (the Zotac's BIOS needed no mods in order to work) and, while not as tiny as your Silverstone Lascala, it's still REALLY small.

Though it's look is a bit generic, I really can't say enough about this case. It's as thoughtfully laid out as the Zotac mobo and the two are a perfect compliment to on another. The extra pop-outs allowed me to mount the USB 3.0 ports above the I/O shield, leaving the PCI slot open for the tuner card. I'm actually thinking of redoing my gigantor Cooler Master desktop beast in favor of an identical system for daily use. 

I'll admit that I was a bit skeptical of the Intel CPU's ability to push such a high-quality signal to our 42" flat screen TV, but I'm floored by the quality. Since we're not gamers there's no need for a dual-slot graphics card that needs more fans than the CPU to prevent from melting--not to mention the huge PSU to power such a card and all the fans required to keep that cool. 

Mini ITX + Sandy Bridge? I'm sold.

 

avatar

uchatha

JUST BCOZ this i3 is 3D capable, does not mean it is a 3D HTPC. Don't we need a 3D capable Blue Ray Drive? And yes the 3D capable software like Arcsoft Total Media Theater 5 to play. so why are you calling it a 3D  HTPC?

avatar

jstutman

Some of the stuff you speak of while you do these builds make no sense. Why not just come out and tell us the truth? G-Skill provided sponsorship and you needed an excuse. Your excuse that the heads might crash....the excuse your htpc gets moved around....

My mother always said, if your going to lie. You should at least make the lie sound truthful.

 

avatar

gordonung

Sigh..

 

You got me.

 

I built this HTPC with a small SSD (unlike the one we built with the 2TB last time) because the SSD Illuminati got to me. Not because of the 20 second boot time and not because it makes absolutely no noise and not because you can't crash the heads.

avatar

jimofnyc

Hey Gordon, what happened to your usual blue latex gloves? Hope you washed your hands before the photo shoot. Or after...

avatar

dracx619

ever since i converted my old rig into a full time htpc and ditched tivo forever, ive been stupidly happy. having all of my music, movies, videos, and pics in my decked out mce has not only been very handy, but always gets wows, and "thats a computer, no way?!" from my friends and guests.

since i dont remember seeing an article about building an htpc in max pc in the past, i kind of went into it blindly so thank you gordon, i now have a nice map for when i build my next htpc. this small formfactor is great since its kind of a pain trying to find a sleek contemporary tv unit that can house the monster i have now.

i would love, love, love to see a feature in the mag that goes through various builds and configurations such as yours, a super quite unit, one that serves as both a htpc and media server, etc. going through the various software out there such as mce, myth tv and others. that would be great!

avatar

razorpetti37

Gordon, are you playing intramural football or something in your media room? The possibility of damage to a mechanical hard drive due to bumping your HTPC seems like an odd reason to go with a SSD over a mechanical hard drive. Aside from opening the DVD tray on my HTPC, I never touch it when it is powered up. If I'm moving cables around behind it or plugging stuff into the rear USB ports, usually the system is powered off.

avatar

Maximum Defiant

I went with an Atom mobo for my build, (Asus AT5NM10-I)

- Apex MI-100 Mini-ITX mirror case (w/250 watt PSU),

- Plextor PX-880SA,

- 3 GB Corsair XMS2-6400 (since this board isn't dual channel, & I defiantly stick to my nLited WinXP-32 bit OS, I used a 1 & a 2 GB module,

- 500 GB Seagate Momentus XT Solid State Hybrid HDD. (more room & seems to be almost as fast as my original 100 GB SSD)

I went with a laptop drive as it allows me to mount it in the floppy drive bay, and to fit a fan into the hard drive mounting spot for this case. Since my mobo is fanless, this drops core temps 15 - 20 (C)

It may not be the 'latest & greatest', but for now it does all I need it to, and I find myself using it over my Tri-core Athlon and Quad-core QX6700 comps.

 

avatar

somethingelse

This build is pretty good, except the case.  I would go for the InWin BP655.  Used two of these for work, they're awesome.  Smaller then the SilverStone you chose and has a Low profile PCIe slot.  Also comes with a 200Watt power supply (has a 300Watt option also)

And since the case has a low profile PCIe slot, I'd stick a low profile AMD 6570 card or an Nvidia GT430 or GT520 card; much faster then the Intel IGP, supports DX11 and has better 3D capabilities.  Of course that would add about a $100 to the final price, but it's well worth it.

avatar

ShyLinuxGuy

The gf's parents want me to build an HTPC-type box (from what I've gathered, they're pretty clueless when it comes to stuff like this) for their new media room soon. I'm thinking about doing something like this: the 3GHz Regor Athlon II  (same used in my own build), 4-6 gigs of memory, 1TB hdd (maybe 2x 500GB striped??). They want to basically watch movies, and replace their desktop in their office with this (yes, pull up Word and Excel on the big screen, on a projector). They will use this for their TV and their "office PC" for the most part. I've never really done an HTPC setup before, I would know how to put it together of course, but is this overkill? Or not good enough?

In this build the 120W psu seems really inadequate and if this was built in mATX/ATX format, it would probably be $200-300 cheaper (or could be allocated to more powerful stuff).

avatar

Zoso7

Yesterday, I finished a Fusion HTPC build using the Gigabyte E350 Mini and a Lian Li PC-Q11 case. A SSD?  I don't get not having huge amounts of storage, since boot time is always shorter than what the popcorn takes. The E350 with the hidden fan on the Lian Li case is dead quiet. 37 Watts idle, 59 Watts under load. I've found the slightly slow CPU to be a non issue and the AMD 6310 graphics in a tiny APU is the bomb.

avatar

livebriand

There's really no point in an SSD with this. Also, even though the i3 is better with regular CPU performance, the AMD Fusion E350 has pretty good graphics (for integrated), and that's what really counts if you plan on watching HD video. The CPU doesn't actually do too much work there.

avatar

gordonung

My main reason for an SSD is to eliminate another moving part and because I find that things in the HTPC rack tend to get tossed around. Think of typical PVR that people have and what happens to it when they hook up a new blu-ray deck or stereo. Do they power down that PVR before they start moving it around or do they just move it aside without thinking that there is a hard drive in there that could easily die from the jostling. I also decided that local storage is not an issue. I don't use my HTPC as a server, I use my server as a server.

avatar

iceman08

Well, I think he might have gone with the SSD in terms of lower heat output, which could contribute to lower temperatures.

avatar

Slugbait

I took a different approach to my HTPCs. First, they have to be able to record/pause high-def TV. They need to have sufficient space...I don't care about boot times because I never boot, I just take a few seconds to come out of S3. It has to be upgradeable. They have to look like they belong in my cabinets.

Case: Silverstone LC17-B. I got a "mint" condition case from Amazon Warehouse for $109, and they occassionally still have them (like, right now...). A couple of friends asked if it was an amp, since everything is "hidden". Drop-dead gorgeous case, and can take a full-size ATX mobo.

Everything else is based on current Newegg prices....

Hauppauge HVR-1250 tuner, $60. Not a dual-tuner, but then again there is seldom two HD programs on the air at the same time that I want to watch. Never had a single issue with it, including initial installation. Rock-solid card.

Azio AWU212N wireless adapter, $17. I get a 5-bar signal from clear across the house on a separate floor. No complaints.

Here's what I would probably get if building the rest today...

PSU: XFX (Seasonic) P1-650X-CAH9 650W, $89. My Antec NEO 520C (Seasonic) is dead silent, so I would probably go with Seasonic again, especially for the power of Bronze with an HTPC.

Mobo: Biostar H67MU3, $75. Actually, I chose this for features/price...would probably splurge on an Asus if I was really serious.

CPU: i3-2100T. I thought it was a decent choice.

RAM: Corsair Vengence 2x2GB, $30 AR. If you can stomach a rebate, I think this is currently the best deal.

Storage: Samsung SpinPoint F4 2TB, $80. There is no boot time, just S3. Plenty of room for recording HD, and of course, lots of games.

Optical: LG WH12LS30 BD-R, $100. Comes with five blanks.

Asus ENGTX460, $164 AR. Another rebate gig. I was fortunate two months ago with a Gigabyte GV-N460OC-1Gl for just $150 (no rebate). And seriously, if you want to play CoD:WaR at 1080P, something like this is basicaly a necessity...my box didn't cut it with an old 8600GTS.

Throw in the price of the OS and a wireless KB/mouse, and you're sitting right around $1000. It looks great in any cabinet, you can do OTA HD, you can game, and you're set for possible expansion or upgrades later.

avatar

TsunamiZ

why spend that much on an htpc when you can get the job done with less than $100?  if you don't need 3d, that is.  for non-streaming video playback, diamond mp1000 media player is the best video player i've found to hook up to my hdtv.  better than micca or any of the current competition.

avatar

HeartBurnKid

This will do so much more than your $100 streaming box, it's not even funny.  You might as well ask why buy a PC over an XBox, or why buy a smartphone over a $20 flip phone.

avatar

gordonung

Because HTPC's get the job done. This HTPC is obviously very expensive because of its capabilities but features and capabilities can be cut down to make it more affordable. My preference for HTPC over the multitude of streaming boxes is that you get 100 percent fidelity of the Internet. You can't be locked out, you can go anywhere you want, run any plug-in you want. Watch Netflix, Hulu, QuestionableTube -- whatever you want. It all works on an HTPC with a real OS and real browser (or any browser) you want on it.

avatar

quicks0rt

You're probably right about the cost-effectiveness of this pc, but we're talking about HTPC. Not some random media player.

Log in to MaximumPC directly or log in using Facebook

Forgot your username or password?
Click here for help.

Login with Facebook
Log in using Facebook to share comments and articles easily with your Facebook feed.