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Author Topic: HTPC  (Read 8575 times)

sidemon

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HTPC
« on: April 04, 2010, 05:25:42 AM »

Guys,

I've looked around for quite a while now and haven't been able to find what i need.
One place will say a mid range HTPC setup will be looking at 700 and another will say use whats sitting in the basement.

I want an affordable HTPC, just for storing and playing 720/1080p video files, no ripping/encoding as i can do that on my other pc's.

It needs to be able to passthrough DTS to my HD audio amp. And also passthrough True HD Audio. Will also in the future add a blueray drive.

For the build the parts I need guidance on will be,

CPU
MOBO
RAM
GFX?
Sound Card?
Recommended power supply Wattage.

Im looking for these parts to be as cheap as possible.
But i dont want to gimp it, no stuttering.
So i want the best value for my money.

Regards
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blafrisch

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Re: HTPC
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2010, 07:58:24 AM »

Get the cheapest motherboard with good reviews, a 16x PCI-E slot, and at least one 1x PCI-E or PCI slot that accepts Intel CPUs.
Get a Intel Celeron E3300 as they are cheap, the fan is damn near silent, and they are plenty fast for a HTPC
2GB of RAM of any brand should be enough.
An AMD Radeon HD 4350 is more than enough graphics wise. Make sure it has an HDMI port and no fan
Someone else will have to chime in about sound. I use a Creative XFi based card in my HTPC though.
Anything 300W or higher would work. I'd recommend an efficient one like an Antec Earthwatts though.

Spend the money on a decent case to.  I like my Antec HTPC case a lot.
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sidemon

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Re: HTPC
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2010, 08:36:32 AM »

Thanks, that does help.

And on the audio front, my amp has HDMI audio input/video. I think the 4350 does audio over its HDMI, so that would sought me out for audio too?

And ye case is #1, been looking at the antec fusion in black.


Regards
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YucA

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Re: HTPC
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2010, 12:46:18 PM »

Why not just purchase something like an Acer Revo.

Super-low energy consumption, tiny footprint, decodes HD just fine, and you can run Boxee or XBMC with no issues.  Need more space?  Add an external HDD caddy or whatever floats your boat.

I'm running Boxee on my old shuttle XPC that has a gig of ram, AMD XP2000+ cpu, and a POS video card.  No issues playing back any movies.

BAMF, done. on the cheap.
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sidemon

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Re: HTPC
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2010, 08:46:30 PM »

OK thanks YucA I'll take that into consideration.

It would be nice to keep the price as low as possible, but doing a little more research into the audio side I start to worry.
I will want full access to Dolby True HD, DTS Master audio and the like.
From what I can see there isn't anything able to do this at the moment, and to do this will cost a lot when it is available.
I'm starting to think maybe getting a popcornhour c-200 maybe would be better?? and patching it up to a NAS or something?


Kind regards
 
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bliq

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Re: HTPC
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2010, 09:27:58 PM »

I just built myself an HTPC.  For starters, I wanted something small.  My setup is about the size of a shoebox and nearly silent.  Went with mini-itx motherboard with s775 and nvidia9300 chipset (essentially ION).  I found that celeron 430 is fine for bluray playback but it's not enough to playback hidef H264/quicktime, nor Hulu HD.  I moved up to a E3300 and I consider that to be the absolute minimum.  CPU is still at about 80% on each core when playing a 720P quicktime MKV file.  about 60% playing hulu HD clip.

I was tempted to try out the dual core atom but given the problems with the celeron, I'm glad I went to a full on 775 chip.  and some reviews noted the E3300's low actual power consumption (as opposed to its rated 65W TDP).

I used 2GB of generic RAM, a full sized bluray combo in an Apex MI-008 case.  Note there's not much clearance for a PSU in this case, so I ended up buying a Silverstone NT007 HSF.  the stock HSF for E3300 should probably fit though.  And I have an Antec Veris basic which gives me remote turn on, and basic DVD controls on a small remote control.

The motherboard I used was called zotac 9300-ITX Wifi meaning it had an 802.11G on the motherboard.  it's actually a daughter card but it doesn't use up a slot.  I could add a PCI-E graphics card if I want but I don't have a need. 

Make a note that ATI cards can only play 2ch audio over HDMI while Nividia can play 8ch audio.  Or maybe I have that reversed.  I don't care but you might want to research that issue.

by buying used/****ing, I kept the total build under $300.
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YucA

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Re: HTPC
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2010, 10:28:52 AM »

bliq - sounds like a nice little system!!

Speaking of Zotac - saw this deal and thought of this thread...

"SuperBiiz has the Zotac MAG HD-ND01 nVidia ION Mini Barebone System for $300 - $30 off with coupon code DONUT30 [Exp 4/11] = $270 with free shipping."

http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=MB-HD-ND01&c=CJ
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Melancholinpolly

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Re: HTPC
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2010, 04:55:50 PM »

i have to caution about the revo. I have an R1600 (single core atom with the ION) and upgraded to 2 gigs of ram. I'm running XBMC off win7 and have a very rough time playing 720p video (mkv etc). it gets very juttery and the CPU stays consistantly at 100%. which makes no sense since it should be using the ION chipset to decode. I'm going to try installing the linux version and see how the VDPAU works.
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urgannagru

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Re: HTPC
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2010, 08:24:31 PM »

I'm going to try installing the linux version and see how the VDPAU works.
From what I've read, that is key. The linux XBMC (when properly configured) used with the Revo will run much quicker.

Honestly if it were me building this HTPC, I wouldn't get an Ion or Atom, it would be just as cheap, if not cheaper, to get a full fledged micro-atx. The main difference is that a micro-atx would use more electricity (though there wouldn't be enough of a difference to make a dent on your electric bill). Actually if it were me, I would use a full server tower and full-sized ATX, since that's what I did for mine (there is tons of space for hard drives, and believe it or not the thing runs silently).
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njbrad

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Re: HTPC
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2010, 05:59:09 PM »

I was going through my favorites today and came across this "new" article on Mini-itx.com

http://www.mini-itx.com/projects/xbmc-ion/

It must be HTPC season.  :roll:
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