This is my first build and I originally wanted a HTPC, but figured I needed a main family computer too, so I combined them. I am hoping to make this a DVR, but have not committed to the Ceton card yet, b/c I wanted to make sure this would work first! As well as being hooked up to our tv, I would like to be able to do Quicken or work on our family photos while the rest of the family is watching tv (on a separate monitor).
My son helped a little with this build and my husband helped me troubleshoot (now he wants to build one!).
I finished it in February and was testing out Ubuntu and Linux Mint. The build was a lttle bit of a roller coaster ride. Overall I would say the build went ok, but it might just be that way because it's basically done.
So, now I'll tell you why I chose the parts and what I think of them so far (not much use of them yet).
CPU - was going to go with an i3, but the neighborhood computer guy thought it might be a little underpowered, so I went with the i5. Was about to pick up a 4570, but found out that there was a Micro Center nearby that had the 4670k on sale for the same price, so I grabbed that instead, to maybe oc. The fan is not real loud at idle. Guess it's doing ok, cause everything works!
Motherboard - same computer guy recommended ASUS, so with my case I needed a micro atx, so had it narrowed down to Z87 Plus, H 87 Pro and the Gryphon. Decided I didn't need to spend $40 more for the Gryphon, so that left the Z and H. Thought somebody might try to oc and for basically the same price as the H, why not. Then while at Micro Center, they had an open box one, so BONUS! This motherboard was overall pretty easy to work with, I might have liked the connector (for power, reset and stuff) that was offered on another board, but now that it's hooked up and working not a real issue. I can't seem to get the ATX PS disconnected, but don't know if that's the PS or motherboard. Good board so far, had everything I needed.
Memory - there was $10 off at Micro Center with motherboard or PS, so I thought that was cheaper than I had been seeing online. I was originally going to go with 1333 (8gb), but someone suggested something faster. It showed up in the UEFI right away, so that was great.
Storage - wanted room for family pictures, home videos, music and potentially our DVR. Found this right away, good price, then it came on sale with a MIR (bonus again). Have not used them yet, but they both showed up in the UEFI.
Case - wanted a case that would look good in our living room and not be real big. It also needed a 5.25" bay so I could replace our existing Blu Ray and have just one box (besides maybe receiver for speakers). I also liked the fact that this had a card reader for my pictures. I read the reviews on Newegg, but since I hadn't built a pc before I didn't totally understand them, till I started the build. I really like the look of the case (still a little big, but being the first build was nervous to go smaller). The front card reader I didn't know where to plug it in at, but found out with help from people on here (haven't tried it, but the light is on). The blu ray player lines up good, but there is a little bend in the cover (don't know if I did that or came like that). The cable for the usb's motherboard headers was really long, and there was a USB male cable for the front of the case and it did not come with a converter to plug it into the USB headers on the motherboard (think it was supposed to go out of the case and plug in the back). I just left it unplugged, so I lost a USB on the front (not a big deal), but still kind of useless. If I add the Ceton tuner I may buy a converter to make the 3rd USB useful. It was hard to get everything to fit once the sata's were plugged in and the cable management on the case was non existent. I used one of the trays for a 3.5" to house some of the cables. Fans are 3 pin and not REAL loud, but I might go with some quieter ones, just because I want it to be silent. Well made case, I think, but it was expensive.
update I found a usb convert or for a $1 at a local computer store and used that to plug in the front usb, it also gives me a USB port inside the case.
Power supply - I think I went a little overboard on the PS, but if I add a graphics card and the Ceton tuner, I don't think it's too much power. Glad I went with the modular, it was a little more expensive, but there wouldn't have been much room. Corsair was in a combo of memory I was originally going to get, and it was 80+ so that was good. It's turned my pc on, and it wasn't loud at idle either.
Blu ray - I wanted to have a one box setup, so I can get rid of the blu ray player. For a little more I decided on the burner too. Could have got it for less, but I got it from Micro Center, so I knew I would have it in time for the build. I've only messed with it briefly and it worked so far and lined up great with the case.
Ceton cable tuner - I want to get this to have DVR capabilities, but not sure about the price, so haven't pulled the trigger yet.
About the build itself: I put together the build outside the case and it worked (not plugged into case, just used the screwdriver to turn it on, started right up! I thought I was home free, but then found out I was wrong. Putting all the cables and trying to make it neat was kind of hard with the case. I tried plugging my case fans (3pins) into the ps and then with another part of the cable plug it into the motherboard, but that didn't work (wouldn't start). Thought I had broke something during the install, so I took it all apart and started again and tested it outside the case (with the case power) and without the case fans plugged in and it worked. Then time to put it all back together, again! Like I said kind of a roller coaster, but every time I hear the beep when I turn it on is a GREAT feeling of pride. It might be a little much for just a HTPC, but we didn't have a main pc, so this should handle everything we throw at it and last us for a while. Like I said my husband wants to build one now, so we might try a media server and make a little space in this case.
I've been trying out different types of Linux, so I don't think I'm going to use a Windows OS.
Update ordered Snow Leopard, so I'm going to try a hackintosh and dual boot with Linux Mint. These prices are total (shipping and taxes included),