HTPC - What is it that I need?

Hello, my buddy that lives in San Diego is looking at building his own PC and he wants to set it up as a HT/Audio System through his PC - He currently have a Yamaha A2070 DSP AVR that powers Klipsch Forte - his Xbox is wired into his router and his video display is a 65" 1080p DLP - He was wondering what would be a budget route for him to build a PC for purely music and movies - any suggestions? Your help would be greatly appreciated - Thanks!

ATI used to make a PCI card called an ALL IN WONDER... or all in one. Audio and video. There are others. If a audio video card outputs via HDMI, and possesses 1080p & 24/192 audio, you/he should be set, save for the hardware & software needed to play the discs and HDMI cable. needed to hook up to the receiver.

There are PCI cards which use coax & TOS for audio, and component video outs too.... if HDMI isn't an option. Nvidea, ATI, etc. Depending on the card being used the PC can be a TIVO too.

I'd suggest lots of disc storage space too. as video eats it up quickly.
By budget, just how much is he planning to spend?
I'm sure he's aware of for hardware resources.

He'll find most of what he needs there or he can just buy a Dell HTPC for around a $1000 or less and add what ever he wants to it.

He has a wide choice of BD-ROM drives from the likes of Sony,Pioneer and a few others.

I would suggest he pick up an ASUS XONAR HDAV1.3 DELUXE 7.1 AUDIO VIDEO ENHANCEMENT CARD PCIE HDMI V1.3A DVI. This will take care of his Hi Def video and audio needs. has them at a reasonable price.

It will allow him 7.1 audio through HDMI and also analog outputs if his receiver or processor doesn't have the new codecs.

A Quad core processor isn't essential, but I would suggest it over dual core if he can swing it.

Tell him don't skimp on the video card. Nvidia based are some of the best IMHO. Get an 8800 series GT card or better for top performance per dollar. The Zotac is very good and cheaper than the competitors.

As Jim states there are several tuner cards out there as well..if he wants to add cable or OTA digital channels.

He has many choices. I would just buy a HTPC bare bones and add the hardware that he wants to it. This seems to be one of the cheapest routes compared to building one from the ground up.

Tell him to get a blue tooth keyboard and mouse as well. This way he can control everything from his lounge chair.

He can go to and get all of his cables or accessories.
Thanks to both of you for your response - I forwarded the message on to him, he is fully aware of and he lives dangerly close to Fry's. I sold him my old AVR (Yamaha) and it does not have any of the new codes unfortunately, but it is still a strong performer. What I will have him do is give me his "wish list" for his PC build-up and post it on here to see what area he would need to improve on - He is aware of the video card and is looking at liquid cooling system instead of fans. Once again, thanks! This will give him a great start on things....
As long as he uses a source that can output the new format, like the HDAV soundcard and his Yamaha has analog inputs for his speakers..he can enjoy the newest codecs without the need of a newer processor. Best of luck to him..he's in for a treat!!
Okay gang, Here is what he is pursuing:

"Ok, well here's what I would like to have eventually.

As far as the pc stuff, I want to run a wicked fast processor. The fastest I can find without overclocking. I have yet to settle on that as I'm overly happy with my Athelon but I could go either way. I'm also looking to run gig's for memory both in the storage and RAM area's. I want huge amounts of RAM because I personally that's the first thing that gets outdated with a system. Everything else is pretty basic, DVD, CD-R drive.....probably three drives in total. As you stated in the forum I'm definitely leaning towards liquid cooled as well. The other part I'm looking at is video cards. I'm looking to link two of them together. Reason for this is my current pc which is pushing 10 years old now is struggling in the video department. This sucks for two reasons. Some of the games of course and the massive pics and graphics I do for the stickers and such. My old dog pc here is pre-PCI which means I am extremely limited in cards.

My basic theory is to go crazy and build a $3000-4000 system that will last me 10+ years. If I can make one last with minimum updates for that period of time I'm extremely happy. I want wicked fast speed but it has to remain functional of course. Like my pc's like I do my cars! :)

As far as tying in everything else. I would love to be able to have a multi-media system setup. I would love to be able to stream video or run a pic through my DLP but still use my 22" LCD pc screen. I would also like my Xbox 360 and iPhone thrown in the mix. The biggest thing I would like is to have my 6000 mp3's available to play on my home theater system.

As you know my major pain right now is my pc being three rooms and 30' away from my theater setup. And being in an apartment limits me to direct links and connections.

I guess really what I want is something new, sweet and high tech. I have the pc building thing down pretty good. I just want to incorporate everything else I have with that. I wouldn't mind spending a little bit more money to have some piece of new technology to add to my system if you get my drift."
I would advocate putting the most money into the hard drive space and video card(s). Then allocate money for the processor and memory. And get a case that's going to be expandable enough to add additional drives as they come.

Expecting to get 10+ years out of a computer is a little, well, optimistic. I'd shoot more for a time horizon of 4 years, and invest at most $2000 rather than $3-4K. Things are rapidly changing for both computers and home theater, and so naturally their integration is still a rapidly moving target.

Just my 2 cents.

My buddy just called me and just figured out that he is able to use his XBOX as a "converter" - He did not realized that the xbox can communicate with his PC, by doing so, he is able to play his video/audio on his PC through his XBOX which is connected to his Yamaha anhd DLP - He is simply blown away and at this time he is speechless! He is now reconsidering the Mega PC approach.... Thanks for all of your responses!

Get the Wednesday & Thursday paper... Grab a reasonable hunk of dough... and heaed out early This Thursday evening to a local BB or CC and get on line there. When they start passing out the tickets for pc stuff, laptops, towers, network drives, etc. take 'em, as much if not all of the adv goods will be first come first served. Without the ticket (s) even when the doors open, they'll be sold out!

If you change your mind give the ticket away or sell it to another shopper.

A friend of mine last year went to get a laptop ADV'd for $399.95, and was on line at 5 AM till the doors opened... and didn't have a ticket for the deal he wanted... Luckily, another shopper had changed their minds and sold him theirs for $20, so he could get his PC.

I'd think either networking drives, or laptops for Friday. Supposedly this year great laptops fully featured, no slouches are going to be under $599. Good ones for even less.

....Just a thought.
Since my buddy figure out the XBOX avenue, now he is asking me if there any aux hard drive so he can burn all of his dvd's on to it? IF so, any recommendation for him.... Thanks
Iomega now has some refurbished USB & firewire drives on sale at their web site.

500GB for 70.00 for ex.

As good as that is, the network drive is more recommended, yet their x2 drive isn't on sale and still is 300.00 for 1TB.

Again, check out for more deals... they're already lining up around here at BB & CC.... and it's two days out!