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  1. Member
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    Hi all, I am tired of new file is not playable in old media player and I am determined to build/buy a HTPC.

    Here is my requirement and what I wanted to do with it.

    1. Play full HD mkv with DTS-HD/Dolby truHD streaming via HDMI cable (to be decoded by receiver).
    2. Will use it to play angry bird on big screen or some simple flash game.
    3. Want to be able to browse the net ie. facebook, news, etc (no plan on multimedia/streaming from net like youtube)
    4. Weather station (forecast)
    5. Want to be able to install personal Anti Virus software (no need to run, while watching fullHD MKV).
    6. As download/bittorrent station so can run 7x24 and low power is very appealing.

    7. MAY want to be able to play 10 bit MKV
    8. Want to be able to hook a USB external BD-ROM and play BD movie from it.

    9. MAY want to be able to record from HDTV

    Point 1-6 is a must and 7-8 is nice to have while 9 is purely optional.

    I am considering on AMD Zacate (E350 or E450) like giada/Zotac mini PC because it has remote included. Do you think this platform will deliver? I am open to build HTPC from scratch and I will consider AMD APU A4 if I need to. I didn't want to add VGA card as I want to keep as low wattage as possible.

    Any advice on this? Many thanks in advance.
    Last edited by hanugro; 27th Feb 2012 at 07:44. Reason: Add something
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    your first thought should have been how much you wanna spend and then go from there. Right off, your gonna find it pretty difficult to play br's from an ext device with those little Zotac devices you mention. Even if they have USB 3 connectivity, the onboard video included in those little jokers aren't the speediest or best performing. You may get away with a 720p playing and get no stuttering but anything over that your gonna have stuttering issues...you can just about bank on it.

    Now if your willing to go the "Do-IT-Yourself route"..that's a different story...plenty of options that way.
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    Originally Posted by hanugro View Post
    Hi all, I am tired of new file is not playable in old media player and I am determined to build/buy a HTPC.

    Here is my requirement and what I wanted to do with it.

    1. Play full HD mkv with DTS-HD/Dolby truHD streaming via HDMI cable (to be decoded by receiver).
    2. Will use it to play angry bird on big screen or some simple flash game.
    3. Want to be able to browse the net ie. facebook, news, etc (no plan on multimedia/streaming from net like youtube)
    4. Weather station (forecast)
    5. Want to be able to install personal Anti Virus software (no need to run, while watching fullHD MKV).
    6. As download/bittorrent station so can run 7x24 and low power is very appealing.

    7. MAY want to be able to play 10 bit MKV
    8. Want to be able to hook a USB external BD-ROM and play BD movie from it.

    9. MAY want to be able to record from HDTV

    Point 1-6 is a must and 7-8 is nice to have while 9 is purely optional.

    I am considering on AMD Zacate (E350 or E450) like giada/Zotac mini PC because it has remote included. Do you think this platform will deliver? I am open to build HTPC from scratch and I will consider AMD APU A4 if I need to. I didn't want to add VGA card as I want to keep as low wattage as possible.

    Any advice on this? Many thanks in advance.
    The AMD E-350 and E-450 APUs do support Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA bitstreaming over HDMI and provide Blu-ray hardware decode acceleration and DirectX 11. I don't have one, but reviews I read seem to indicate a system built around these APUs could meet your needs, and will handle 1080i60 and 1080p24 video from Blu-Ray, but apparently not 1080p60.

    Is this one of the bare-bones systems you looked at? It has a good selection of connections for an external HDD and Blu-Ray drive. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16856173027

    Building your own HTPC will provide more options, plus the ability to enclose everything in a nice case, but is likely to consume more power.

    I like the things I have read about AMD's APUs. I want to build my next desktop around an A8 or A10 4-core APU.
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 27th Feb 2012 at 13:14.
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  4. Member
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    Thanks for responding. Does anyone that have hands on experience also comment on this? Most of the MKV seems to be 24p anyway.
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  5. Don't go with the Zacate. If you basing your component decisions on the fact it comes with a remote, remotes cost about $15 so your money is best spent on actually advanced components.

    If you were looking to build, I'd go with Asrock or Asus motherboards and an intel 2100.

    If you want to purchase a pre-built or pre-configured one. I'd go with Assassin HTPC. Their systems are low wattage and very highly reviewed.

    -Redscare
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    you will definitely have to state your budget if you want people to get specific with hardware choices.
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    Budget is around $300-350. Is there any remote that will let you install with the casing? It will be neat rather than using external device (IR receiver) that is pluged into USB.

    If Zacate can't do it I would go with Liano A4. Other thing is I need to have as low as possible power consumption.
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    Originally Posted by hanugro View Post
    Budget is around $300-350. Is there any remote that will let you install with the casing? It will be neat rather than using external device (IR receiver) that is pluged into USB.

    If Zacate can't do it I would go with Liano A4. Other thing is I need to have as low as possible power consumption.
    Your budget is kind of small. Even if you buy a bare-bones $200 system like the one I linked to, which includes a case, motherboard, CPU,and PSU, you still need to acquire memory, HDD(s), an OS, and maybe an RF keyboard. Buying a good quality motherboard, CPU, PSU and case for HTPC use is likely to run more than $200.

    There are cases with an MCE-compatible IR receiver built in, but they are not cheap. Here is an example of one of the less expensive ones http://www.directron.com/fusionremote.html?gsear=1

    Antec also makes an IR receiver that installs in a drive bay, but it isn't practical for most HTPC cases because they often have only one external drive bay.

    A Llano A4 would provide the abilty to do all the things you want to do and watch Netflix and 3D movies. The Sandybridge i3 2100 is a better CPU overall, but AMD's Llano APUs have some built-in video and audio capabilities that aren't available with the competing Intel products.
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    Motherboard

    RAM

    Power Supply

    Case

    Processor

    here's $237 worth of stuff that could do a pretty low end htpc..this isnt including the priciest thing of them all...the hard drive.
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  10. Originally Posted by hanugro View Post
    Budget is around $300-350. Is there any remote that will let you install with the casing? It will be neat rather than using external device (IR receiver) that is pluged into USB.

    If Zacate can't do it I would go with Liano A4. Other thing is I need to have as low as possible power consumption.
    This is one of the most common mistakes I see. Instead of building a pieced together low quality HTPC for $300. Save your money for a couple more weeks or months and buy a system that is going to last you. You can put together a very good system for the 500-600 dollar range.
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    Originally Posted by Moontrash View Post
    Motherboard

    RAM

    Power Supply

    Case

    Processor

    here's $237 worth of stuff that could do a pretty low end htpc..this isnt including the priciest thing of them all...the hard drive.
    If the OP wants 7.1 audio via HDMI for his receiver, it doesn't appear that motherboard can provide it. The specs say its onboard VIA audio is 5.1. Also, according to Anandtech DDR3 1600 memory gives optimal performance from the integrated Llano GPU. http://www.anandtech.com/show/4742/amds-first-dualcore-llano-apus-a43400-a43300-launched
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 3rd Mar 2012 at 13:47. Reason: spelling
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  12. If you're going to buy a pre-built HTPC. buy a pre-built Assassin HTPC. Very well reviewed.

    If you're going to build one, go with an intel g620t for processor, h61 or h67 motherboard, and 2gb ram.

    Should keep you well below buget.
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    Originally Posted by redscare24 View Post
    If you're going to buy a pre-built HTPC. buy a pre-built Assassin HTPC. Very well reviewed.

    If you're going to build one, go with an intel g620t for processor, h61 or h67 motherboard, and 2gb ram.

    Should keep you well below buget.
    For the same money he can buy an A4 CPU and motherboard that will give him the features he wants onboard, and a CPU that is fine for an HTPC.

    2GB of RAM is enough to run Windows 7 32-bit, but it runs better with a little more memory. 4GB is needed to run Windows 7 64-bit.
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 4th Mar 2012 at 00:12.
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    I have a few thoughts about building an HTPC. If not using a bare-bones system, I wouldn't recommend a mini-ITX build for a couple of reasons. Mini-ITX motherboards cost significantly more than MATX motherboards. Cases that are intended only for mini-ITX motherboards are very cramped and more difficult to work on, especially for someone without much experience.

    AMD A4 vs Intel Sandybridge
    Intel may cost a little bit more, and built-in graphics are not quite as good, but i3 or intel g620t system will use less power. You will have to decide which considerations are most important. Here are some suggestions for components to look at for building one yourself.

    Intel

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116401 $80

    MATX Motherboards:

    The $27 difference in price may be worth it if you can use the extra features
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157256 $63
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813121506 $90


    Memory: Low profile memory can be helpful in a cramped case, otherwise memory with heatspreaders can't hurt
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820134792 $27
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231179 $28

    AMD

    CPU:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103955 $70

    Motherboard
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157260 $75 + $5 SH
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131769 $85

    Memory
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820104166 $29

    Case
    It is hard to recommend a case for someone else because personal tastes differ. Moontrash's choice is decent for a inexpensive tower and would be easy to work on. However, a lot of people like an HTPC case that blends in with their other consumer electronics. Such cases are often a little more difficult to work in and tend to cost more.

    PSU
    Don't use a cheap PSU or the PSU that comes with a case, unless you have no choice. (For example, the case requires a proprietary SFF or TFX PSU.) Buy an 80 Plus PSU from a quality brand if you can. A PSU can take other components with it when it fails, so a cheap PSU can turn out to be an expensive purchase.

    Memory
    When populating all memory slots, some boards require the use of single-sided memory. (Chips are all on the same side of the circuit board.) Find out it that is the case before buying memory.
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 4th Mar 2012 at 14:07.
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    Thanks all, I am quite OK in building a PC as I have been building my own PC since 10 years ago.

    The key point is FullHD MKV with DTS/Dolby through HDMI. My receiver at the moment is only 5.1 but 7.1 is nice to have so I don't upgrade it in the future. The problem with my current media player (have 3 players, 2 chinese brand and 1 WD live HD, and none of them play few newer files I get from the net and none of them have firmware update available). With a proper PC you can always get newer codec.

    Another key point will be low power as it may run 24x7 as download/torrent station. I have been using my old quadcore PC downloading 3 days at time and I wish to emit less carbon

    So based on these two must have feature, what is your suggestion? I think I can flex another $50. But I still have to buy 4x3TB HD for my new RAID box so I can't really go beyond $400. I have spare win license now that my netbook running ubuntu.
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    Originally Posted by hanugro View Post
    Thanks all, I am quite OK in building a PC as I have been building my own PC since 10 years ago.
    If that is the case, you should be able to start putting together a list of components by yourself, using the suggestions you have already received as a starting point.
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    Originally Posted by hanugro View Post
    I have spare win license now that my netbook running ubuntu.
    If the Windows license came with the netbook, then you don't have a spare. An OEM license can't ordinarily be transferred. Microsoft won't validate an OEM license for a different computer. Even if you never used the license, MS knows which computer maker bought the license.
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    I noticed that the some items on my previous list have now been discontinued, so I made new lists with some different hardware suggestions. I didn't include an optical drive.

    AMD
    CPU http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103955 $70
    MOB http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128517 $80
    RAM http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820104166 $31
    OS http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116986 $100
    PSU http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371034&Tpk=N82E16817371034 $45
    HDD http://www.amazon.com/Western-Digital-Caviar-Cache-Desktop/dp/B00461K1QW $75
    CASE http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811147111 $30 + $5 S&H

    The total for this comes to $436 You could save $17 by using the motherboard Moontrash suggested http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157277&Tpk=N82E16813157277 if its limitations are acceptable. That would bring the total down to $419



    Intel
    CPU http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116407&Tpk=G630T $85
    MOB http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131716 $81
    RAM http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231310 $23
    OS http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116986 $100
    PSU http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371034&Tpk=N82E16817371034 $45
    HDD http://www.amazon.com/Western-Digital-Caviar-Cache-Desktop/dp/B00461K1QW $75
    CASE http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811147111 $30 + $5 S&H

    The cost for this low-end Intel system is $444. I don't do much window shopping on the Intel side anymore, so someone else may have better insights.
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 14th Mar 2012 at 18:45.
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    Repeated my post above by mistake
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 14th Mar 2012 at 18:45.
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  20. Addendum to what other posters have said. I recently changed to an 80plus PS and am surprised as I think it has lowered my electricity consumption.
    Re AMD vs Intel, with AMD the chips do seem to consume more power, but then you don't need a seperate Gfx card so, AMD A4,A6 vs INtel + Gfx card.
    AFAIK e350 will do all that you require, Good luck on finding E450, seem to be in short supply (GLOFO no Go?)

    JK, Do you even know what 10bit MKV brings to the party?
    Corned beef is now made to a higher standard than at any time in history.
    The electronic components of the power part adopted a lot of Rubycons.
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