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media pc build recommendations
deeper
Brisbane, Queensland
4100 posts
Howdy, don't often make threads but my brother is chasing some suggestions on building a media machine to sit plugged into his tele for storage and streaming and I haven't really been following the game.

The guy is a massive mac fanboy (iMac, Macbook, Apple TV, iPad, iPhone, iPod ETC) and I think because of it has set an equally (seemingly) massive budget for his spend $1500-$3000. He already has a NAS that he plans on using for his backups but rather than buying additional NAS-units he said he would rather go this route.

My personal thoughts were to build a "does the job" system (below his budget) and allow for the future addition of more storage (as hdd's decrease in price over time).

Looking for suggestions / opinions - here's a basic list I chucked together:
Intel Core i3 2120 3.30Ghz 3MB Cache LGA1155 CPU
Internet Price: $122.00

Asus P8B75-M B75,4DDR3,4+1+1PP,HDMI,DVI,DSUB,GBLAN,LLC MVP,mATX
Internet Price: $79.00

G Skill 8G(2x4G)DDR3 1333Mhz PC3-10666 CL7(F3-10666-8GBXH)
Internet Price: $55.00

Liteon IHBS312(BLACK) BLURAY BURNER/12X BDWRITE/16XDVDRW/48XCDRW
Internet Price: $82.00

Western Digital 3TB Green 64MB SATA 3 WD30EZRX [x2]
Internet Price: $169.00

OCZ Agility 3 60G SATA3 SSD
Internet Price: $62.00

Gigabyte GF GT610 Silent PCI-E 2.0 1GB 64-bit DDR3,810/1200 MHz,DVI,HDMI,VGA,Fan,LOW PRO
Internet Price: $44.00

Corsair HX-650 ATX Power Supply, 120mm fan
Internet Price: $131.50 [is this plenty enough even running say.. 8 drives?]

Silverstone Fortress FT01 Black
$189

Logitech diNovo Edge
$145

TOTAL COST: $1247.50 [2x 3TB TOTAL]
+x2 WD GREEN 3TB = $1585.50 [4x 3TB TOTAL]
+x4 WD GREEN 3TB = $1923.50 [6x 3TB TOTAL]

Couple of specific things:

a) Any suggestions on a case? He said he'd possibly prefer a media (HTPC) style case but the priority is having room for expansion regarding the storage capabilities. The Silverstone FT01 seemed like a good design to me with lots of bays so I chucked it in before he suggested a preference.

b) is the graphics card a complete waste being that there is onboard HDMI?

c) he has a 55" Samsung LED 3D TV. He will never play games using this machine.

Cheers aye
07:29pm 09/08/12 Permalink
system
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07:29pm 09/08/12 Permalink
deeper
Brisbane, Queensland
4102 posts
Also just adding to it - SATA Controller cards - any hot tips on these for when he wants to add more drives? Thanks.
07:47pm 09/08/12 Permalink
shad
Brisbane, Queensland
3782 posts
I'm going to have to rebuild soon due to a mobo slowly dying. Thinking of a Silverstone ATX LC17B (HTPC style) since its got 6x hd capacity and 2x external plus it will fit in my tv stand.

I'm going with a cheaper cpu since all it needs to be able to do is decode 1080p and since the cpu can handle the decoding I'll just use onboard video. The rest I can't comment on since I have all the parts already.

07:49pm 09/08/12 Permalink
parabol
Brisbane, Queensland
7174 posts
Asus P8B75-M B75,4DDR3,4+1+1PP,HDMI,DVI,DSUB,GBLAN,LLC MVP,mATX

Ditch the ASUS and go ASRock as they are generally more reliable.
G Skill 8G(2x4G)DDR3 1333Mhz PC3-10666 CL7(F3-10666-8GBXH)

A bit overkill for streaming. 4GB will suffice if you want to save a few dollars.
Western Digital 3TB Green 64MB SATA 3 WD30EZRX [x2]

This is currently one of the most failure-prone big drives on the market. Avoid.
OCZ Agility 3 60G SATA3 SSD

While the low price attracts people, don't be fooled: another known failure-prone drive. OCZ should not be making SSDs full-stop.
Corsair HX-650 ATX Power Supply, 120mm fan

I think that's a bit overkill even for 8 drives. Take into account you won't have a high end video card in there running BF3, so you've already produced heaps of breathing space in terms of available power.

I'd go the OCZ Fatal1ty 550W as it's much cheaper ($70-ish) but is still modular. (For the record I hate the Fatal1ty "brand" but this PSU is actually good).
b) is the graphics card a complete waste being that there is onboard HDMI?

This may very well be the case. I didn't get a graphics card for my latest build. Try the build without one and see if it works well. If not, add a card later. Though I bought a CPU that had Intel Graphics 3000 (not 2000 which is what your CPU will have) - have a read on forums as to whether others have used 2000 for media PCs.

Overall you're on the right track, just need a bit of tweaking to jump to better models/brands if you want the build to be stable.

last edited by parabol at 20:08:18 09/Aug/12
08:02pm 09/08/12 Permalink
deadlyf
Queensland
2732 posts
I would advise against not having networked storage, I was surprised to discover how much of the noise from my PC was the platter drive spinning when I got an SSD. I reckon noise has got to be a key issue with a media PC, make sure the case is quite, the PSU is quite and have as little extraneous components as possible to cut down on the noise. On his budget you could easily get a NAS for media as well as a HTPC.

If you don't want to use it as a games machine as well as a media PC then there probably isn't really a need for the GFX card.

You might want to consider getting a tablet and using Unified Remote instead of getting the expensive logitech keyboard, not sure if it's available on Apple but if he already has an ipad being an Apple fanboy you might want to check. You could also possibly get a samsung remote app for the TV on the tablet as well if it's a wifi TV.
08:50pm 09/08/12 Permalink
mental
Brisbane, Queensland
3403 posts
*Quiet !

Agree with leaving the video card out and trying the onboard first.
08:59pm 09/08/12 Permalink
crazymorton
Brisbane, Queensland
3282 posts
09:10pm 09/08/12 Permalink
skythra
Brisbane, Queensland
5950 posts
Even one of those super cheap android HDMI dongles would be fine, don't need a stream then, just wireless.
09:12pm 09/08/12 Permalink
dais
Brisbane, Queensland
9859 posts
Ditch the ASUS and go ASRock as they are generally more reliable.


source?
09:16pm 09/08/12 Permalink
parabol
Brisbane, Queensland
7176 posts
Ditch the ASUS and go ASRock as they are generally more reliable.

source?

S***loads of research (user reviews from multiple major sellers and trawling manufacturer's forums to learn about common problems) prior to purchasing motherboards over the last couple of generations.

Then backed up by:

http://www.behardware.com/articles/862-2/components-returns-rates-6.html

(In their favour, ASUS did a bit better than before with their Z77 range)
09:37pm 09/08/12 Permalink
Rdizz
Germany
2098 posts
ocz is alright id bet 50 that the reason most people whinge about them is because they have nfi how to get them running correctly. i have a vertex 2 & 4 with no problems
09:44pm 09/08/12 Permalink
dais
Brisbane, Queensland
9860 posts
ok cheers
09:45pm 09/08/12 Permalink
hardware
Brisbane, Queensland
10307 posts
That's a big call parabol. I remember back about 8 years ago when I worked for Global we had the Asus rep come in and tell us all about their new AsRock budget-arm range and how essentially the boards are manufactured in the same way, but they didn't have after-build Quality Control checking to anywhere near the level that the Asus boards did.
But that was 8 years ago and I have no idea whether their ethos/methods are still the same.
09:47pm 09/08/12 Permalink
parabol
Brisbane, Queensland
7177 posts
ocz is alright id bet 50 that the reason most people whinge about them is because they have nfi how to get them running correctly.

... and you would have lost your 50 instantly.

People whinge about OCZ because their quality control is s***, which has caused them to have many, many firmware issues on their drives spanning several generations and models of their hardware. In contrast Intel picked up Sandforce and released stable firmware on their own while OCZ was still struggling to solve their endless issues.

And lol @ "because they have nfi how to get them running correctly". I've never had to do anything for the three Crucials I bought and installed. Not a single firmware or special driver or patch required. Just installed Windows 7 and done.
But that was 8 years ago and I have no idea whether their ethos/methods are still the same.

Yep the 8 years thing is probably the issue there. I didn't touch ASRock when their first models started shipping. Even a couple of years ago I still wouldn't touch them with a 10 foot pole. But over the last few generations they've been better than both ASUS and Gigabyte on average. You can rest assured that if they push a couple of generations of bad hardware I will just as quickly warn people against them.

Also I'm not sure what's "bold" about my claim. Just read up the user-reviews/issues of the common boards from the three manufacturers over the last couple of gens of hardware for yourself like I did before I came to that conclusion. My only goal is to narrow down and buy the most stable hardware possible as I hate having to troubleshoot random crashes, etc - I just don't have time for it!

last edited by parabol at 22:00:46 09/Aug/12
09:52pm 09/08/12 Permalink
kos
Germany
2129 posts
if he has a NAS why not just buy a WD or a PVR and stream?

http://www.itopfield.com.au/product-detail.asp?idx=249

http://www.wdc.com/en/products/homeentertainment/

Or even better just jailbreak the Apple TV that he already has.
10:20pm 09/08/12 Permalink
andrewus
Brisbane, Queensland
2797 posts
openmediavault +1

great for minidlna server and file sharing is tops.
I just use Air Video Server on my desktop and play the movie to ipad then airplay to AppleTV (on the non dlna tv)
10:27pm 09/08/12 Permalink
TiT
Brisbane, Queensland
5044 posts
Ok my question is does he want a Turner Card and record TV? If he doesnt I would recommend buying a cheap pc even mini itx (that is what i have done) and store all your movies on NAS drive. System is quiet and all your storage is somewhere else and you run your torrents etc on ya NAS drive and you also save on power etc. Also if he has NAS drive you buy several Apple TV and jailbreak them and run plex on XBMC and run your movies anywhere. just buy nice Powerful NAS!!!
10:30pm 09/08/12 Permalink
Rdizz
Germany
2099 posts
Such fanboyism parabol..
firmware issues for cruical

I also just installed win 7 and ubuntu on my drives with no dramas but as with ANY SSD they must be maintained and setup correctly or dont expect them to last.

OCZ is fine as is any other brand no one brand is clearly better than others at the moment as SSD's are still young and just getting mainstream.
06:49am 10/08/12 Permalink
Spook
Brisbane, Queensland
34104 posts
haha, no way rdizz

CRUCIAL ARE PERFECT AND NEVER HAVE ANY ISSUES, lulz at parabol

id go asus over asrock as well

ive always built machines for myself and my customers with asus, never had any issues, will continue to use asus

i too have an ocz drive, hasnt skipped a beat (i have had issues with other sandforce drives, they've all be resolved now with a few firmware updates, no biggie)
06:55am 10/08/12 Permalink
unclebobsticle
Sunshine Coast, Queensland
157 posts
id go asus over asrock as well


Asus has a name but from my personal experience, I believe the failure rates on Asus were higher then Asrock. Even with all solid state caps and extra copper Asus use in their boards. Return rates on Asrock are much lower for quantities sold within Australia.
Though that being said Asus warranty is now very fast within Australia compaired to Asrock.

SSD's I would go Intel/Corsair Both have awesome return polices. Intel have lowest return rate Aus wide but be prepaired to pay a little more.

I believe everything parabol has said, has pretty much been spot on.

If your looking for fast warranty within Australia go Gigabyte/Asus. (Tip if you have problems with these items call Asus or Gigabyte direct they will be more then helpful). Both have contact numbers within Australia for support and I know they have a less then a 2 day turn around policy from the distributor. this mean a repaired or new board within a couple of days.
09:55am 10/08/12 Permalink
parabol
Brisbane, Queensland
7179 posts
firmware issues for cruical

CRUCIAL ARE PERFECT AND NEVER HAVE ANY ISSUES

Oh wow, almost all those threads in your google search link are about the one bug that was insta-fixed on first attempt (compared to how many bugs and fixed for OCZ that they're still struggling with?)

Must be conclusive evidence that Crucial is so s*** and OCZ is way better. Har Har, very mature guys.
Such fanboyism parabol..

Yeah totally, I must have some definite bias and hate OCZ. It's not like I recommended the OP to buy an OCZ PSU earlier in the thread...
I'd go the OCZ Fatal1ty 550W

Oh wait, I did! But you wouldn't know because you don't read posts properly before flapping at the keyboard.
10:14am 10/08/12 Permalink
Rdizz
Germany
2101 posts
ok, let me be more accurate, SSD fanboyism.
I am not sure where you are getting this info from (provide a link?) but I never did a firmware update on my Vertex 2 until I got my vertex 4 a month ago and never had a problem and its still got 89% life left. I think people just read more about OCZ having problems because they are the best selling.

Also please point out to me where I said crutial is s***? If you read my post correctly you would notice I said most ssd's brands are equal (not including performance) and in saying that I mean all have their fair share of bugs or hardware issues.

07:36pm 10/08/12 Permalink
parabol
Brisbane, Queensland
7181 posts
ok, let me be more accurate, SSD fanboyism.

Yes my recommendation of either of two manufacturers (Intel or Crucial) each widely known for their stability and good quality control, over a manufacturer (OCZ) that's notorious in the industry for generations of buggy SSDs is total fanboism and does not in any way take into account any actual facts.

You got me. *rolls eyes*
/exit_thread

last edited by parabol at 19:55:57 10/Aug/12
07:50pm 10/08/12 Permalink
crazymorton
Brisbane, Queensland
3285 posts
see all the crap you have to deal with deeper.

just go a pvr for recording TV, hell grab a Tivo, or WD for streaming from your NAS
07:51pm 10/08/12 Permalink
Spook
Brisbane, Queensland
34111 posts
see all the crap you have to deal with deeper.

just go a pvr for recording TV, hell grab a Tivo, or WD for streaming from your NAS


or just buy a samsung tele and do it all via the tele, like i do (note, i dont watch any free to air, or record free to air, even though i can)

i do watch all my downloaded tv straight through my samsung tv, which is wired to my pc (i could do it wirelessly, but wireless is s***)
08:14pm 10/08/12 Permalink
mission
Brisbane, Queensland
8594 posts
I bought a WD TV Live thingo recently, it does the job really well. ~$130
08:52pm 10/08/12 Permalink
SwissCM
Gold Coast, Queensland
170 posts
You can get a media PC for pretty cheap. You don't need a discreet video card if you're not playing video games, any decent on-board video and modern CPU will be able to decode high-bitrate 1080p videos just fine.

As for the SSD stuff, by god, avoid OCZ. Their failure rates are absurdly high and for good reason. Not only is their firmware buggy as hell but the actual flash chips they use are of low quality too.

Basically, you get what you pay for. The only good thing OCZ SSDs do is drive down the market price of more reliable SSD brands. Intel is the recommended and most expensive option but as mentioned, Crucial is good too. I have a couple of Corsair Force 3 drives that work great (Corsair SSDs had some issues initially too, but they were sorted pretty quickly and Corsair has a good returns policy).
12:24am 12/08/12 Permalink
SwissCM
Gold Coast, Queensland
171 posts
I might also add that these keyboards are awesome for media center use.
http://i.imgur.com/jZZJ6.jpg
They're a bit big and are useless for gaming, but they make typing a lot easier than using an OSK and a remote and have a built in trackball, negating the need for a mouse.
12:43am 12/08/12 Permalink
DecayingCorpse
Brisbane, Queensland
2065 posts
hi dpr

go something with ion chipset, like this, this, this, or this. i've got something similar to the little black box and its great. not much in the way of storage expansion tho...
12:46am 12/08/12 Permalink
ctd
UK
10027 posts
I have a vertex 2 SSD and I have never had a problem with it (had it since starcraft 2 was released). saying that I don't really give a s*** what brand you buy.
05:37am 12/08/12 Permalink
Obes
Brisbane, Queensland
9778 posts
My last mobo was an Asus, it will be the last Asus mobo I buy.

It needs to have wake from PCIE enabled or it boots up everytime saying overclocking failed (even when not overclocking).
That was the "official" Asus solution to the bug.
12:42pm 12/08/12 Permalink
konstie
Melbourne, Victoria
2005 posts
04:16pm 12/08/12 Permalink
deeper
Brisbane, Queensland
4103 posts
Cheers everyone for the suggestions so far. He seems set on getting an actual PC - I suppose because he doesn't have one to use currently and our old place had an actual media PC with a few drives whacked into it (as well as two NAS units).

As an update, the case has been ordered and this is what he decided on:
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=25_1290_608&products_id=20105

Silverstone Grandia GD08

The rest is still undecided at this stage but will let yas know!
05:35pm 12/08/12 Permalink
SwissCM
Gold Coast, Queensland
172 posts
that's massive and in my opinion a bit too big for home use. i prefer using this - rechargeable and easy to type with.


I have one of those as well. It's... okay. Typing with it is a lot slower and the trackpad is terrible. Not being able to turn off "tap to click" makes it nigh-unusable.

The laser pointer is fun though. My cats love it.
05:17am 13/08/12 Permalink
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05:17am 13/08/12 Permalink
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