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mOCHU
  • 57 months ago

Need help building a 4K HTPC.

Max Budget: 600$

Location: US

Use: HTPC. Need to be able to display 4K content on my HDCP 2.2 compliant 4K TV with HDMI 2.0. No gaming

Operating System Required: Yes

No gaming capabilities necessary. Only looking to stream media content onto the TV. Would like to stream 4K content from Netflix, Amazon Prime, Youtube etc. I am also assuming that this build would handle 4K passive 3D. Am also looking for the build to be as silent as possible.

Edit: I would need a 7.1 audio out as well. I am assuming I would be taking the audio straight out of the HTPC right? Newbie here. Some help understanding a basic layout would be appreciated as well..

Comments

  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

Type Item Price
CPU Intel Core i3-4370 3.8GHz Dual-Core Processor $158.76 @ SuperBiiz
CPU Cooler Corsair H55 57.0 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler $65.68 @ Newegg
Motherboard Asus H81I-PLUS Mini ITX LGA1150 Motherboard $83.20 @ SuperBiiz
Memory Kingston HyperX Fury Black 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory $24.84 @ SuperBiiz
Storage Samsung 850 EVO-Series 250GB 2.5" Solid State Drive $97.99 @ OutletPC
Case Cooler Master Elite 110 Mini ITX Tower Case $42.69 @ SuperBiiz
Power Supply EVGA SuperNOVA GS 550W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply $76.62 @ Mac Mall
Case Fan Cooler Master Blade Master 40.8 CFM 80mm Fan $10.82 @ OutletPC
Case Fan Cooler Master Blade Master 40.8 CFM 80mm Fan $10.82 @ OutletPC
Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts
Total $571.42
Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-09-18 18:38 EDT-0400
  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

hey man.. thanks for the build.. but i got a couple of questions..

does the motherboard have a hdmi 2.0 out? the site says "Supports HDMI with max. resolution 4096 x 2304 @ 24 Hz / 2560 x 1600 @ 60 Hz" - that sounds like hdmi 1.4 to me..

also.. do i need a 250 GB SSD? Would I be having anything other than the OS and basic applications on the device itself? Can I safely downgrade to a much smaller/cheaper SSD?

  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

Ahh.. I didn't see the HDMI 2.0 requirement... As for the SSD, I think it is always nice to have extra space, but if you don't feel like you need 250 Gb, you could def drop to 120/128 Gb.

As for HDMI 2.0, I'm not sure if any Mobos support that, so you would have to get a dedicated graphics card. How does this look?

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

Type Item Price
CPU Intel Pentium G3258 3.2GHz Dual-Core Processor $71.98 @ Newegg
CPU Cooler Corsair H55 57.0 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler $59.99 @ Newegg
Motherboard MSI H81I Mini ITX LGA1150 Motherboard $68.97 @ Directron
Memory Kingston HyperX Fury Black 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory $24.84 @ SuperBiiz
Storage Sandisk SSD PLUS 120GB 2.5" Solid State Drive $48.97 @ B&H
Video Card Gigabyte GeForce GTX 950 2GB OC Edition Video Card $172.99 @ SuperBiiz
Case Cooler Master Elite 110 Mini ITX Tower Case $42.69 @ SuperBiiz
Power Supply EVGA SuperNOVA GS 550W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply $76.62 @ Mac Mall
Case Fan Cooler Master Blade Master 40.8 CFM 80mm Fan $10.82 @ OutletPC
Case Fan Cooler Master Blade Master 40.8 CFM 80mm Fan $10.82 @ OutletPC
Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts
Total $595.56
Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-09-18 18:56 EDT-0400
  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

This looks really nice. I was researching a bit concurrently as well and I have a few more questions in response to this build again though...

  1. Do I need a liquid cooler here in the build currently? What else would you suggest as an alternative air cooler for this price? I am sure something like a Noctua U12S - even if it is more silent, will not necessarily fit into the case.

  2. I have an old Corsair Force 3 SSD that I plan to repurpose for this HTPC. What would you put the extra 50$ into?

  3. How does this build compare in terms of usability etc. to the NVIDIA Shield device?

  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point
  1. I'm not sure about air coolers since the case is so small. The CPU doesn't output much heat, even when OCed, so you should be able to turn down the fan speed on the radiator without the processor getting too hot.

  2. I would put it into RAM in order to get 8 GB.

  3. This build gives you a ton of flexibility regarding what you can do with it. You can install any OS you want and you can do anything with it that you can a normal computer. With the shield, you are limited to what Nvidia lets you do with it. Also, with the GTX 950, you would be able to game on it, albeit, not necessarily at high details, but it would outperform the shield. The advantage of a shield is that it is an all in one package that doesn't require any fussing about with it.

  • 57 months ago
  • 0 points

It is also 400$ cheaper :D

  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

I am really not clear on whether any GPU or motherboard actually supports the protected content portion of HDCP 2.2.....

Source: https://forums.geforce.com/default/topic/845270/geforce-900-series/gpus-with-hdcp-2-2-support/

The "industry" such as it is, thinks that UHD is sexy, and they want to make sure no one can use it....

This may also help muddy the waters. I am more confused now than before I started reading :-(

http://www.anandtech.com/show/9152/futureproofing-htpcs-for-the-4k-era-hdmi-hdcp-and-hevc

  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for posting the links and related info. The first forum link in particular was really helpful. But it does indicate that the 950, 960, 980 Ti and Titan X all support HDMI 2.0 _ HDCP 2.2. As far as display outputs from motherboards are concerned, I have still be unable to find any that have HDMI 2.0+HDCP 2.2 support. Also took a look at the Intel NUCs and even the newest Broadwell based NUCs only support HDMI 1.4a. But, Skylake based NUCs are apparently on the horizon and I am interested to see if any of them come with HDMI 2.0 + HDCP 2.2 support out of the box.

From a computing capability perspective required for 4K streaming, most of my research seems to point towards the direction that even a Nexus 9 is capable of rendering 4K content relatively well. For reference, i7-2600k and GTX 680 (separately that is) handle 4K video content at 60 fps perfectly well.

And finally, I keep coming back to this.. the question I am trying to answer now is - why not just buy the Nvidia Shield. 1. It costs far lesser than any HTPC I can put together myself (which would mean the cheapest CPU+ GTX 950 at this point) 2. It has HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 support 3. It also says it supports 4:4:4 chroma sub-samplint and 10 bit bandwidth over HDMI. I am however yet to validate if this is possible at 60 fps. This (potential) limitation applies to the HTPC setup as well and from my research seems to come down to the cable being used 4. My purpose is restricted to browsing and streaming content from the internet and playing video content from a local drive. Seeing as I can install a VLC app to play 4K videos from a USB device, there seems to be no reason why this wont fit my requirements 5. Memory seems to be a bottleneck in Shield - but that is not really a huge concern I think as I really do not intend to do ANY gaming on it. 6. Has support for both AC3 and EAC3

The advantages offered by spending roughly 300$ more on a HTPC just seems very minimal for my use cases at this point..

Edit: In fact, the TV itself provides most of these capabilities. Unfortunately the Vizio 4K that I have does not support VP9 encoding used in Youtube 4K videos. I wonder if a driver update would fix that. In which case, I do not even see the need for having a separate streaming device in the end.

  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

You have done far more research than me for your use case! There is no specific reason to have an htpc over a shield other than wireless access via Logitech keyboard.....worth $400 to you? I wish the raspberry pi's could do what you want, that seems a good solution too...

  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

in case you were interested, i discovered that support for bluetooth mice and keyboard has been added to the shield. And the pi doesn't have any mobos or gfx cards that go with it that offers hdmi 2.0 and hdcp 2.2 .. so.. thats where im at right now..

  • 54 months ago
  • 1 point

How did this go? I am in the same boat.

I am also looking for 4K streaming with the option to stream Netflix, Amazon and a couple of others. But also to play up local content from the Harddrive, like tv series and movies. So I would need Windows 10 on it.

Let me know if and what you ended up buying please :)

  • 54 months ago
  • 1 point

I've decided to wait for at least a year. I think I made a longer post about this on the same thread elsewhere. But you just cannot make a capable system that can handle the latest AAA games in 4K with max settings right now (without any stuttering issues and such). So yea.. waiting for Pascal to come around (and other techs to mature a bit)

  • 54 months ago
  • 1 point

Do you have a system already built? If so why not upgrade that and then get something like a windows pc stick or whatever its called and then use it simply as a stream link and make your computer a server. Its quite easy and you would get all that you want if you add something like a bluetooth wireless dongle for any bluetooth devices.

Heres a part list I put together for you, idk if its what your looking for but its something that im pretty sure could meet all the requirements for you. http://pcpartpicker.com/p/DkFYvK

Again with the whole streaming thing, you should look into that, maybe just get a small little itx box and put the steam os on it or something else like that?

  • 54 months ago
  • 1 point

Streaming was not as important a requirement as the others.

And yes.. I did in fact end up upgrading my current build (put in a GTX 970 for now to meet recommended specs of Oculus Rift) while postponing my 4K build for another year..

As far as 4K capable streaming devices (and some light gaming if necessary) go, the best choice right now would be the Nvidia Shield device. My roommate ended up getting one of those for his 4K TV anyway.. so I am not concerned about that part right now as well..

For full fledged 4K gaming at max refresh rates and all that, I've just decided the technology simply does not exist right now (for you to make things work without any compromises).. which is why I am waiting on the next gen of gpus to come out some time next year.. I am also waiting on DX12, Mantle and Vulcan frameworks to mature to see how they change things in the gaming space.. Another stated interest of mine in the build I tried to put together was NVMe based drives - which remains an emerging area and concerns still remain about PCIe lane shortages and such with these devices.. And finally, the monitor technology (adaptive refresh rate and more affordable IPS and VA panels) is changing at a remarkable pace as well and I expect those things to settle down (similar to the state we were in until about 18 months ago) a bit in the next 12-18 months by the time I am ready for my postponed build to come to fruition

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