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Help me build my HTPC (1 Viewer)

Craig Aguiar

Stunt Coordinator
Feb 16, 2003
Hey all. I am about to embark on the next attempt. I have selected a few components that I think I will include and was wondering if anyone could fill in the blanks for me so to speak.

Case Thermaltake VC7001SNS

Video card nVidia 8600 GTS - i chose this one as it's in an $8000 HTPC I just saw in Hometheater Magazine so it must be good for an HTPC. check out this link. it's packaged with a modular PS to cut down on cables in my tiny case
EVGA GeForce 8600 GTS Video Card PSU Bundle - Ultra X3 ULT40064 1000-Watt Power Supply in Canada at TigerDirect.ca

700watt power supply - who cares what kind as long as it's quiet

RAM - 2 gig of something - don't know which one to get

processor ???? it must be at least an AMD X2 64 3800+ (or the Intel equivalent). Why? Don't know I just read that somewhere.

MoBo - I was looking at this one MSI 975X Platinum Socket 775
again, not sure what to get but one thing is for sure. it has to have the pci-e slot in posotion 6. the case has an adapter that alows you to mount the video card sideways and for it to fit the website says it must sit in position 6 on the mother board. Something with heat pipes to aid cooling would be good. Also it must be able to use firewire. RAID isn't a huge deal as i only plan to have one HD.

HD - Seagate 750GB barricuda

Optical drive - I'm thinking of this one
Pioneer BDC-2202B Blu-ray Disc/DVD/CD Combo Drive - I don't really care that it doesn't burn Blue Ray. Once thing that bugs me is that Blu-Ray DVDs must be played through the bundled WinDVD 8 LE player, can't through Media Center nor Windows Media Player. Is this normal for blue ray or just this one

That's about it for components. Ultimatly i just want to run this thing into a slave amp (6 channel) not a receiver. I want o be able to open the drawer, pop in a disc and have it play very quickly, like a regular DVD player. i don't know if it's processor speed or drive speed, etc that dictates that or what.

Thanks alot for your help. Amy input, good or bad, that you can offer would be much appreciated.



Senior HTF Member
Dec 17, 2003
RAM: I would suggest Corsair RAM. There are other good brands out there, but I've always had good luck with Corsair.

Power Supply: I agree with your assessment, but make sure it's a brand you've heard of (Antec, Thermaltake, etc) because a bad PSU could spell bad news for your other components.

CPU: I would suggest the Intel Core2Duo E6750.

Heatsink: Zalman CNPS9500 (this thing is a beast and is very quiet)
Mar 21, 2001
My 2 cents...

Case: It seems the case only accepts 80mm fans, so it might be hard to make it really quiet. Also with the small dimensions it is going to be a limiting factor if you aim for a decently quiet HTPC.

Mobo: You might consider looking for a mobo with a newer chipset, apparently (if you are going AMD) there is the newly released 780G-chipset with onboard HD-support, eliminating the need for external VGA (might want to wait for a few reviews though). For Intel I'd go for P35 or G33 or similar.

RAM: 2GB should suffice, if you run a 64-bit OS you could go for 4GB considering prices are fairly low at the moment. I've had no problems with either Corsair, Kingstone or Crucial, but choose a brand you are comfortable with - if your mobo supports it go with PC6400 or higher.

CPU: For HD_DVD and Blu Ray minimum recommended processor speed is 2.2-2.4GHz, but this is only critical if using onboard VGA. Using an external GPU (like the 8600) you could probably go a bit lower if you have to.

GPU: 8600GT seems to be among the preferred VGA cards, other options are HD2400/2600 and HD3450/3650. Considering the 8600GT is a bit older it might be easier to find support in the forums if you should run inte trouble, on the other hand the ATIs supposedly have lower power consumption.

PSU: I don't really see the point of a 700W PSU, it's unlikely you'll be using more than a couple of hundred Watts. I'd go with Corsair or Seasonic, something in the 500W range. Visit silentpcreview.com | Everything about Silent / Quiet Computers and check out the recommended list.

CPU-cooler: Again, visit silentpcreview.com | Everything about Silent / Quiet Computers and check out the recommended list. Unfortunately I doubt you'll be able to fit a silent CPU-cooler in the case you've chosen considering the height. If you check the SPCR forums you might find a decent recommended cooler.
The Zalman that SetH recommended can actually be a very good cooler (if it fits) if you perform a fanswap - otherwise it might not be quiet enough for your taste.

HDD: Seagate HDD:s aren't exactly reputed to be silent, but personally I find reliability to be a bigger concern, otherwise Samsung might be of interest (but I wouldn't buy one again cause my last crashed within a month).

Sound card: Don't really have any thought on this, but I reckon you'll need one if you skip the receiver. Preferably one with 5.1 analog outputs.

Usability is probably mostly going to be determined by software and the amount of effort you put into customizing it.
Having browsed around quite a lot looking for HTPC information, one thing that strikes me is that in order to have a setup you're comfortable with (i.e. it works good and is hassle free) most of your time and energy will probably be spent fiddling with the software, the hardware is the easy part...

Happy hunting :)


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