Cheap HTPC

So, I was looking to build a good PC for myself, but the "Family" HTPC is really slow. Can't watch Youtube at full screen and forget about trying to watch Netflix. Sure, you might say "what about your ISP?" But even movies saved on that PC glitch. It's an older Ahlon 64 (when they first came out with 64 bit cpus. I think socket 1175 or something?) And it's 3gigs of DDR will date itself enough!

This is all we do with it: Surf the web, watch Youtube and Netflix, stream movies over the network, and watch some that are saved on it. Oh, yeah, and when we want to be really nostalgic, we watch one of those round plastic disc thingys. I think they were called DVDs?

So, I'd like to spend as little as possible. I saw some really cheap processors like the AMD Sempron 3850 Quad core 1.3ghz APU. It's $40 from Tiger Direct. I also saw a single core AMD Sempron 145 for $30. And they have the A6-5400k for $50. Would it be worth it to get the better $50 CPU over the cheaper $30 one for my purposes?


So, do I really need an APU? I currently have a GeForce GT210 in my HTPC. I had it in another HTPC (that took a dump) but ran well. (Actually, even though it was almost the same system [AMD Athlon 64, 2gigs DDR, XP where now it's running Windows 7] it ran better. Still glitched on movies, but Youtube worked fine. Maybe the "new" box can't handle Windows 7?)

I wouldn't mind having onboard video as long as it has HDMI. I was thinking on 4gigs RAM. And form factor won't matter. I already have a case. That being said, I have the HDD, and PS too. I might have to buy a DVD drive, since the current one is IDE!


So can anyone point me in the direction of a decent CPU, MOBO, RAM for under $150?



GT210 is pretty damn crappy.  I'd toss it and get some thing better.


And for storage get a cheap laptop hdd.

Yeah you definitely shouldn't have to gone to 7, you don't need to for movies anyway. You could actually put ubuntu on there and run everything just fine. I think it's a mixture of win7 on it and the fact that the hard drive is probably fragmented like crazy! When you put ubuntu in it'll delete everything on the hard drive and it should run like it did when it was younger. i looked up the parts and they seem fine for everything apart from netfilx, but unless your netflix movies were in a lower than 1080p resolution they probably wouldn't have ever ran great. You could upgrade you Hard Drive for better local performance.


If you do want to upgrade though, you will probably have to get a new case as you won't be able to buy anything that'll fit in the case unless it isn't a special form factor (which HTPCs aren't usually).

Ok, first of all, THANK YOU!! for replying so quick. 

Second, I wish I would've known about PCPartpicker sooner! That looks like an awesome website. I'll have to look more into it.


Yeah, I was thinking of the Ubuntu route. The only reason I went with 7 was the "Homegroup" option. It just seems to be so easy for everyone in the house. I may try going back to XP and set up some shares. See how that works. If not, I wonder if Ubuntu would run well on it? I've had problems in the past with the newer versions of Ubuntu not working so well do to all of the eye candy requiring graphics. Before anyone says anything, I'm talking about older PCs not being able to run a lot of graphics (ie: GT210!)  My best graphics card right now is a GeForce GT240! Which "GeForce experience" says I can't play Black Mesa due to the card!



Wait, someone told me that they can't run Ubuntu due to Netflix not working on it. Is this true?


Again, many many thanks.

If you install the correct addons, I don't see why netflix wouldn't work.  I've only very slightly dabbled around in ubuntu, but it worked great on my 10 year old laptop.

Hmm, well i've never used netflix as I am in New Zeleand haha, is it an in browser thing? Or do you download a program for it? I guess it might not work with Ubunutu, I don't know why it would but ALL linux distros have problems with things in some form or another. XP does have the option to see other networks though doesn't it? Or is it just not as easy as in 7?


Also you could just replace the cpu and graphics card on the actual original HTPC itself. What's your HDD spes? Do you know if it's SATA and 7200rpm?

So put XP back on it, and still too slow. So replaced it with an Xbox 360 but lacks the functionality of a computer. not to mention, to really get anything done, I need to use the Xbox remote, controller, and a keyboard. So looks like I'mma build me another computer!


Thanks everyone!


Oh, and if PCPartpicker is slow, I'm using up the bandwith playing with it!

Oh, one more thing, back in the day it was better to get two 512mb RAM sticks instead of 1gig. Does that still hold true? Would I be better off getting 2 @ 2gigs instead of 1 @ 4gigs?

For the most common platforms, such as FM2+, AM3+, and LGA1150, this also applies.  These sockets can take advantage of dual channel RAM(aka two sticks) for faster performance.  The performance difference is small, though.

Ok, so I replaced the video card with an XFX GF8500GT that I had in this computer before. I swapped this for the G210 due to the 8500 not having an HDMI. So I ran the VGA and a 3.5mm audio cable. Still too slow. (why did I do this? I had my wisdom teeth out last Friday and I am going stir crazy!)


So just bought a new set up.


I settled on the AMD A6-6400k (a little faster and the same price as the 5400K)

Gigabyte GA-F2A55M-HD2

Crucial Ballistix sport 4gig

$163 after taxes. Good enough for me.


Again, thank you!

Yeah... that's the ticket ...I concur

I recently built a similar system & it worked flawlessly 

If you can ... post some picts & leave some thoughts

Don't get that motherboard, it's only FM2 socket. Get something similarly priced but that is FM2+ so the door is open for future upgrades.

Just for reference, here's the HTPC I just recently built:

Spent a little more on a nice case and SSD because I wanted it to look good and match the surround sound receiver and I wanted it to be fast. Also - crappy Canadian Currently running Sabayon-Linux, but haven't yet been able to get netflix to work. 

Ok, got it up and running. Had to swap HDDs. The first one I put in there was a 500gb I got from a homeless person. (don't ask....)

To my surprise, well, it didn't work so well. It kept freezing and doing weird things. So I replaced that with a 200gb that I had lying around. 

So far so good. Been installing updates for the past couple of nights. Will take a picture and post it when I get a chance. Not too much to see. Kind of like popping the hood on a stock Civic. Ya know? 

Ok, up and running, but there is a problem. The resolution is set to the highest, (1920x1080) and it srill won't cover the whole screen. There is a black border all around. I'm gonna do some research, but does anybody know about this? Usually I just set the res higher and it goes away. But not with this set up.


BTW, this mobo is FM2+.

I know how to get Netflix for you on Ubuntu. Just look up how to on Nixie pixel on YouTube. That's how I did it

Show me a pic. I will be glad to help