Apr 8, 2008
I've finally decided to follow through with my budget HTPC build, but need some advice. In a post a few months back, someone mentioned that the AMD X2 5050e + 780G mobo was the best combo. Please let me know if that has changed. I'm mostly going to use the system to play ripped 1080P movies and DVDs. At the moment, I have an older receiver that only accepts 5.1 via analog cables. However, within the next year or two I am planning on upgrading my sound system to 7.1 via HDMI. Optimally, I would like the PC to have both of these as output options.

CPU: AMD X2 5050e
Mobo/graphics/sound: ASUS M3A78-EM
Memory: 4GB Corsair DDR2 800
HDD: 1TB WD Caviar Green
Case: Lian Li PC-C39

Please let me know if you would change any of the components. I already purchased the memory and hard drive, so those cannot be swapped.

I also have a few questions/concerns:
1. I have a 5-year-old 200W Dell PSU from a desktop I could recycle, but will this have enough juice to power my system?
2. I would be equally happy with the Lian Li PC-C37 case (and it's much cheaper), but am heartbroken that it does not have a built-in IR receiver. I really don't want a USB IR receiver sitting on top of the case as I think it looks cluttered. Is there any way to build an IR receiver into the PC-C37?
3. Finally, I have some concerns about the mobo/CPU combo being able to output 7.1 through the HDMI port. I read the following at a great HTPC forum:

You could use the onboard graphics (HD 3200) but with some limitations.

HD 3200 with an AM2 processor (such as Athlon X2 5050e): good for progressive contents, poor for interlaced contents; stereo only LPCM.
HD 3200 with an AM2+/AM3 processor (such as Athlon X2 7750): good for both progressive and interlaced contents; stereo only LPCM.
HD 4550 with an AM2/AM2+/AM3 processor: good for both progressive and interlaced contents; supports multichannel LPCM.
If you can wait a little bit longer, the 785G boards are coming out (Aug-Sep, I think) and they add 7.1 LPCM via HDMI.

You could also explore the Nvidia chipset boards: 8200/8300 for AMD, 9300/9400 for Intel. They do 7.1 LPCM, but you should read up on how successful people have been getting 7.1 to work before committing to a chipset change.

For the case, do not compromise. If you want built in IR, then get it. You'll be happier much longer than if you saved a few bucks. The case will probably last you through a couple builds, maybe shop around for a better deal than newegg?