Budget Box -- HTPC Duty Mainly

TheRicanTheRican Member
edited July 2013 in Hardware
I'm thinking about putting together an HTPC box but I'm getting torn between having it do double duty and play games as well.

As far as what I'm looking into hardware wise:


What do ya'll think? Under powered?


  • Forgot the harddrive: WD 1.5 TB, 7200rpm Green drive
  • ThraxThrax 🐌 Austin, TX Icrontian
    When you say "play games," can you specify what games, and what quality levels you expect in those games?
  • Hah, well mostly CS:GO and steam games. Not expecting too high of performance from an APU, but some research shows it can play Skyrim and BF3 relatively well abet with lower quality.

    I was thinking of possibly getting a HD 6670 GPU to crossfire so I can at least play newerish titles with alright FPS.

  • ThraxThrax 🐌 Austin, TX Icrontian
    Lots of games on Steam have very high performance demands once you start turning up the anti-aliasing levels.

    But for what games you've identified, I recommend going with a 6700K or 6800K. Probably not worth it to add a 6670, but a 7790 would be an excellent (and relatively inexpensive) step up from the APU's graphics. Low power requirements and cool running, plus it's small, so I imagine it would fit in an mATX case.

    One other thing I wanted to point out: DiabloTek is a no-name power supply company with a history of suspect quality control. I strongly encourage you to read some power supply reviews to find a more reputable option so that you don't put your system at risk.

    DISCLAIMER: I am the marketing and PR manager for AMD's desktop graphics cards. Please understand that I am making recommendations in a personal capacity to help you achieve your performance objectives. Even so, I want you to know who and what I am so you can judge the validity of my claims on your own if you desire.
  • Yeah I couldn't find anything that I knew for sure would fit into an mATX case (Yeah, I probably should know that already).

    Plus Newegg didn't have a lot of options (guess I should have gone to TigerDirect).

    Thanks for the recommendations Thrax, appreciate it.
  • GHoosdumGHoosdum Icrontian
    I have this 7750 which easily fits in my mATX desktop case with low profile bracket, doesn't use any external power connector, and is plenty fast for all my gaming needs.
  • If I am just going with discrete graphics, should I just get a regular cpu?
  • ThraxThrax 🐌 Austin, TX Icrontian
    I'd stick with the APU for a few reasons:

    1) Easier to find mATX motherboards with socket FM2.

    2) The CPU cores in the APU are identical to the CPU cores in the no-GPU AMD FX chip, so you're not losing any performance there.

    3) The prices on the APUs are a little lower, so you'll save cash.
  • I'd agree on the APU argument if you are going micro ATX or smaller form factor. In your position you can always consider giving the APU a test run minus a card to see if it delivers to your needs, make sure your power supply has a little overhead in case you want to add a card later.
  • Ahh, well then, no point in going with a non-apu system.

    Yea, I bumped up the PSU to a 500W which should be enough.
  • shwaipshwaip bluffin' with my muffin Icrontian
    It's more about the brand of the PSU than the wattage. Who is the manufacturer?
  • TushonTushon I'm scared, Coach Alexandria, VA Icrontian
    I would buy from these companies, in the noted order, with 80+ silver if you can spring for it:
    Corsair = Seasonic = Silverstone > OCZ = Cooler Master = EVGA = Gigabyte = NZXT = PC P&C = Thermaltake = XFX > else
  • http://silverstonetek.com/product.php?pid=308&area=en - This would be a really neat solution for an HTPC environment.
  • shwaip said:

    It's more about the brand of the PSU than the wattage. Who is the manufacturer?

    So Rosewill not good?
  • Straight_ManStraight_Man Geeky, in my own way Naples, FL Icrontian
    edited July 2013
    I have a Rosewill in a box that ran 24/7 for mere months ok doing folding@home and plugged into a UPS, but they can be good or god-awful at random. The best brands will last you 5 years or more, enough to last you through several upgrades.
  • TushonTushon I'm scared, Coach Alexandria, VA Icrontian
    TheRican said:

    shwaip said:

    It's more about the brand of the PSU than the wattage. Who is the manufacturer?

    So Rosewill not good?
    They have extremely variable build quality because Newegg will use a different manufacturer. They have not been very good recently
  • TheRicanTheRican Member
    edited November 2013
    Right-o. So I didn't actually end up building this box and I'm re-envisioning it for around this time. Here's what I got:

  • Cliff_ForsterCliff_Forster Icrontian
    edited November 2013
    If your budget is tight and you want to run something quiet with a GPU that will run fairly cool. I just built around the AMD FM2, with a 65 Watt Athlon X4 (CPU cores only, not APU), from there I added a 7790 for $100 and I'm pleasantly surprised how well it games. If you want to get cute, that's the kind of build that you could comfortably go mini ITX on.
  • TheRicanTheRican Member
    edited November 2013
    Yeah right now I'm trying to decide to spend or not to spend. Figure I could build a kickass rig to game on 55 inch and serve up media.

    Is the i3 my bottleneck here?
  • Size of the single screen should not matter much, regardless you will likely send it 1920X1080 or 1280X720 to scale up when you game. The i3 is perfectly fine, but I feel like it's overspending. I built on this for $80, and I know, I know, core for core it's a looser, but.... It does not bottleneck the card's in the range that you will likely consider in a home theater environment, and I just slapped the stock heat-sink on it and it's cool and quiet. Get a slightly better heatsink the fan will barely spin up. You could consider an R7 260X it's going to play every modern game on a single monitor well and will process everything through a single HDMI out. I've used Asus cards with this type of cooler and they are always near dead silent.

    What budget would you like to stay inside?
  • The build I postee is around $900, guess I'd stay around 1000 or so.
  • Cliff_ForsterCliff_Forster Icrontian
    edited November 2013
    With a grand for a budget I might do something like this.

  • I haven't been sold on the SSD's; I was just going to keep using regular HDD's since they are both cheap and have a lot of space. It was between that or building a NAS (which I might still do).

    Any advantages of the X4 over the i3?
  • TushonTushon I'm scared, Coach Alexandria, VA Icrontian
    I would not build a new machine without an SSD now. You will be sold on it once you actually have it in your possession. Sub minute reboots, near instantaneous loading times for games or programs, blah blah blah. You should trust us on this one. Get a 128GB or 256GB SSD and a 1TB+ standard HDD for storage.
  • CrazyJoeCrazyJoe Winter Springs, FL Icrontian
    I absolutely agree with Tushon. Upgrading my primary HD to an SSD is the greatest single improvement change in PC performance of any upgrade that I can ever remember in my lifetime. The load times and access rates for data are crazy fast. HDD for storage is still the way to go for now if you're on a budget, but for your OS and most used programs, I can't imagine not having an SSD now.
  • The X4 main advantage is saving about $65 on the CPU and getting you a true quad core vs. a dual core with hyper threading. The X4 won't bottleneck that range of graphics cards. I'd save some money and build on it assuming you are just watching HD video and playing games on it.
  • TheRicanTheRican Member
    edited November 2013
    Think I'm done building it...

    PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2bK6q
    Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2bK6q/by_merchant/
    Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2bK6q/benchmarks/

    CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($194.99 @ NCIX US)
    Motherboard: MSI Z77A-G45 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($67.55 @ Newegg)
    Memory: G.Skill Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($49.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($54.99 @ Newegg)
    Video Card: Sapphire Radeon R9 280X 3GB Video Card ($371.98 @ NCIX US)
    Case: Thermaltake Level 10 GTS Snow Edition ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: Corsair Builder 500W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($25.99 @ Newegg)
    Total: $815.48
  • fatcatfatcat Mizzou Icrontian
    I'd say that leans a lot more towards a gaming rig than HTPC, but looks solid. Enjoy!
  • Thanks. I eventually decided if I'm spending around 300-400 for a HTPC might as well just go all out.
  • You are going to be pushing that 500 watt budget supply hard. It will work fine, but probably a bit warmer and less efficient under load than it could have been if you sized just a little bigger. I'd of spent a touch more and gotten the CX600 for a budget power supply. I want the extra eight amps on the twelve volt rail running that CPU and GPU combo.

    Before you build seriously consider one of these specials on an SSD for your boot drive. It's going to make installing windows, your drivers, booting better. That Caviar blue is going to slow everything down. It's fine for storing your files, but for your boot drive it's garbage.
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