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471 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 39


Topic # 57697 22-Feb-2010 13:15 Send private message

Hi Folks,

I'm currently considering putting together an HTPC. The primary goal here is to replace our Sony HDD Recorder with something that is less horrid to program. It will also be replacing a Tvix box that I have to play media files off our NAS server.

It will be used for recording/playback of Freeview DVB-T from its internal hard drive and playback of other media content I have stored on our NAS. It won't be used for live Freeview as the TV it connects to already has an integrated tuner. At some stage in the future I will probably add a Blu-ray Disc drive. My other consideration is power consumption, which I want to try and keep fairly low.

I like the idea of using onboard video as it means I can use a fairly small case. It also means I have room for additional tuners if required. In terms of budget, ideally I want to keep it under $1k. Within that I would like to leave enough to get a WDTV Live box for our other TV.

Reading through various threads on here, I have come up with the following configuration. I would appreciate any input from you guys:

ASUS M4A785TD-M Evo
785G chipset, HD4200 onboard, 128MB sideport memory

AMD Athlon II X2 250 3.0GHz
65W model, would like a 45W but I can't seem to find any from the major online stores

Hauppauge WinTV Nova T 500 HD
Seems to be the winner with 2x digital tuners. No immediate need for a satellite tuner. Does anyone know if the OEM kit comes with the IR sensor for the remote? I don't really need the remote, since I have a nice Logitech one.

2GB DDR3 RAM
2GB or 4GB - no biggie, but if I can get away with 2GB I will!

Case
I have an Inwin BK-623 which I will probably use. Its not an HTPC case but it will look OK

OS - Win7 Pro
32/64bit. How is driver/software support for 64bit?

Software
I'm prepared to experiment here, will probably start with Media Portal. I do have programming skills, so hacking things together to get EPG data and so forth is well within my grasp.

Any thoughts?

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2048 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 118

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  Reply # 301005 22-Feb-2010 14:14 Send private message

The HVR2250 tuner also from Hauppauge is possibly a better bet.  Is a PCIe card - the nova t 500 is PCI.

And yes MediaPortal/GBPVR for software.  But remember with these you may need additional video and audio codec to ge the video/sound going although with 1.4.7 version of GBPVR it does support the native W7 codecs.  Not sure if MP does the same. 




Previously known as psycik

NextPVR Based HTPC:

Gigabyte AMD A8 Brix --> Samsung LA46A650D via HDMI, SiliconDust HDHomeRun Dual DVB-T Tuner, NextPVR, Plex Plugin 
Clients:
Popcorn Hour A-100, 1xATV2, 1xATV3, Roku3
Windows 7 Ultimate Host (Plex Server)
3x2TB, 1x3TB, 1x4TB + 1x1.5TB using DriveBender, VMWare Workstation 10 with 1xW7, 2xW2k3 1xUbuntu 11.10 Desktop, 1xWHS2011, Plex, Crashplan, NextPVR channel for Plex

UnblockUS - Unblock your freedom

2578 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 3

Mod Emeritus
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  Reply # 301009 22-Feb-2010 14:30 Send private message

Kraven: [snip]
ASUS M4A785TD-M Evo
785G chipset, HD4200 onboard, 128MB sideport memory


My HTPC has a 785G chipset as per my sig. I used it for a short time after taking a 8500GT dedicated video card out to sell. Although it did handle Freeveiw|HD and Bluray I would say it was only "just". Particulary with bluray I noticed that it dropped occational frames compaired to the 8500GT. Certainly it was bad news if anything else happened on the HTPC like a recording starting.

Kraven:
AMD Athlon II X2 250 3.0GHz
65W model, would like a 45W but I can't seem to find any from the major online stores


I use a 240 and find it more then enough.

However for both of the above have you considered going Intel i3? I have not looked into it a great deal but have heard promising sounds.


Kraven:
2GB DDR3 RAM
2GB or 4GB - no biggie, but if I can get away with 2GB I will!


For the cost of a 4GB kit I would go for 4 rather then two. Especially if you go down the intergrated graphics route (you need to allocate 512mb for memory for the video card to get reasonable video playback)

Kraven:
OS - Win7 Pro
32/64bit. How is driver/software support for 64bit?


Depends on how much ram you get. If 4GB go for 64bit otherwise 32bit. There are really no issues anymore driver/software wise.

Kraven:
Software
I'm prepared to experiment here, will probably start with Media Portal. I do have programming skills, so hacking things together to get EPG data and so forth is well within my grasp.

Any thoughts?


If you are getting Windows 7 give that a try first. It takes very little effort to get setup and supports Freeview|HD out of the box so no screwing around with codecs etc.
Plus it looks great.







Media centre PC - Case Silverstone LC16M with 2 X 80mm AcoustiFan DustPROOF, MOBO Gigabyte MA785GT-UD3H, CPU AMD X2 240 under volted, RAM 4 Gig DDR3 1033, HDD 120Gig System/512Gig data, Tuners 2 X Hauppauge HVR-3000, 1 X HVR-2200, Video Palit GT 220, Sound Realtek 886A HD (onboard), Optical LiteOn DH-401S Blue-ray using TotalMedia Theatre Power Corsair VX Series, 450W ATX PSU OS Windows 7 x64

494 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 9


  Reply # 301036 22-Feb-2010 15:41 Send private message

http://ascent.co.nz/productspecification.aspx?ItemID=384463

Athlon II 253 45w.

2GB Ram is fine with Win7 x64 if all it is doing is Media Center.




Home Server: Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3, AMD FX-6100, 16GB RAM, 17TB, UPS, 2 x HP P410/256 8 Ports SAS/SATA, 3 x Norco SS-500,  ESXi 5.5u1, WHS 2011 (16TB HDD), W2K12 for Unifi.
Media Center: Silverstone GD01, AMD A6-3600, Asus F1A75-M PRO, 8GB G.Skill Ripjaws-X 1866, 120GB Samsung EVO Pro + 750GB WD7500BPK HDD, APC UPS, DVB-T AVerTV TwinStar HD, HD Homerun, Blu-ray player, Windows 8.1 with MCE, MediaBrowser3, Freeview HD, LG 55LA6230.
Kids Media Center: Gigabyte Brix 3227, 120GB mSATA SSD, 4GB Ram, HD Homerun, Windows 8.1 with MCE, MediaBrowser3, Sony KDL40W4000 iDTV.
Main PC: Intel C2Q 2.5Ghz, 8GB RAM, NVidia GTX760, 90GB OCZ Agility 3, 750GB WD7500BPK HDD, 2 x 24" Panasonic LCD TV, Blu-ray drive, Windows 8.1 with MCE, Mediabrowser3, HD Homerun.
House: 100/50 UFB, ONT to Router in Garage, Router to 16p switch and voice line, 16 x CAT6 Ethernet ports in house. Unifi Wifi.

874 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 21

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  Reply # 301085 22-Feb-2010 17:30 Send private message

According to the release notes, the latest release candidate of MediaPortal 1.1.0 now supports the W7, DivX and Media Player Classic (home cinema) h.264 codecs. Note that I haven't tried them myself...

81 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 301096 22-Feb-2010 17:56 Send private message

Kraven: Hi Folks,

 It won't be used for live Freeview as the TV it connects to already has an integrated tuner.



Don't knock the ability to live pause/rewind. I watch all my TV through my PC.

I vote Win7 64 (driver support is fine) and Windows 7 Media Center. Very easy to get going, although AFAIK you still need to hack to get an 8 day EPG.

-Matt



471 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 39


  Reply # 301124 22-Feb-2010 18:24 Send private message

Thanks for all the replies!

davidcole: The HVR2250 tuner also from Hauppauge is possibly a better bet.  Is a PCIe card - the nova t 500 is PCI.


The issue here is that most micro-ATX boards come with a lack of usable PCIe slots and I don't really have a need for analogue input... is there any other advantage to this card over the Nova T 500?

Nety: However for both of the above have you considered going Intel i3? I have not looked into it a great deal but have heard promising sounds.


I did consider the Intel route, and actually prefer Intel over AMD, but the board and CPU offerings from AMD look a lot better, in terms of bang for buck.

mattyboy2: Don't knock the ability to live pause/rewind. I watch all my TV through my PC.


We actually watch very little live TV so it isn't really a requirement.

2048 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 118

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  Reply # 301156 22-Feb-2010 19:04 Send private message

Kraven: Thanks for all the replies!

davidcole: The HVR2250 tuner also from Hauppauge is possibly a better bet.  Is a PCIe card - the nova t 500 is PCI.


The issue here is that most micro-ATX boards come with a lack of usable PCIe slots and I don't really have a need for analogue input... is there any other advantage to this card over the Nova T 500?



Nope just giving you another option.  The only advantage with the 2250 is the analogue for if you want to record sky decoder etc which until the weekend I was going with a PVR500 (not to be confused with the nova t 500)




Previously known as psycik

NextPVR Based HTPC:

Gigabyte AMD A8 Brix --> Samsung LA46A650D via HDMI, SiliconDust HDHomeRun Dual DVB-T Tuner, NextPVR, Plex Plugin 
Clients:
Popcorn Hour A-100, 1xATV2, 1xATV3, Roku3
Windows 7 Ultimate Host (Plex Server)
3x2TB, 1x3TB, 1x4TB + 1x1.5TB using DriveBender, VMWare Workstation 10 with 1xW7, 2xW2k3 1xUbuntu 11.10 Desktop, 1xWHS2011, Plex, Crashplan, NextPVR channel for Plex

UnblockUS - Unblock your freedom

3616 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 891

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  Reply # 301292 23-Feb-2010 00:15 Send private message

I went a different route, opting for bang for buck performance. I got the AMD 550BE and unlocked it from a dual to a tri core. It can be unlocked to a quad however my 4th core was defective.
Yes this increases heat however im using an old opteron 939 cooler which has heatpipes and does a great job of keeping it cool. Dual 80mm fans sit direct behind it exhausting plenty of air.

70 posts

Master Geek
+1 received by user: 13


  Reply # 301570 23-Feb-2010 16:45 Send private message

ASUS M4A785TD-M Evo
785G chipset, HD4200 onboard, 128MB sideport memory


It runs about $25 more, but the MSI 785GM-E65 has much lower idle power consumption (10-15w less). This may or may not be worth the extra expenditure to you, but if the computer is going to be on 24/7 it may be something to consider.

2211 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 26


  Reply # 302429 26-Feb-2010 11:29 Send private message

make sure your case / mobo / tv card combo can take an addon video card if needed. All of the integrated gfx are fairly borderline for 1080i HDTV, you will probably be ok, but you should just keep in mind the possibility of needing a discrete video card in the future.




HTPC - Intel i3-2100 / 12GB DDR3 / GA-Z77X-UD5H / HD4670 1GB / HVR2200 / 750GB + 4 x 3TB / Win 7 x64 / MediaPortal 1.5
PC - Intel e8500 / 8GB DDR2 / HD5830 1GB / Win7 x64



471 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 39


  Reply # 302433 26-Feb-2010 11:41 Send private message

kiwijunglist: make sure your case / mobo / tv card combo can take an addon video card if needed. All of the integrated gfx are fairly borderline for 1080i HDTV, you will probably be ok, but you should just keep in mind the possibility of needing a discrete video card in the future.


Yeah, that's the road I'm considering at the moment, simply because a dedicated, offboard, graphics card gives way more grunt. This is an increased cost, but hopefully it will mean less frustrations at the other end!

Will keep everyone updated on progress...

395 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 3


  Reply # 302460 26-Feb-2010 13:13 Send private message

MSI motherboards dont exactly have a repuation for quality, the sideport memory on the ASUS board will be beneficial.

480 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 4


  Reply # 302518 26-Feb-2010 16:36 Send private message

Kraven: Yeah, that's the road I'm considering at the moment, simply because a dedicated, offboard, graphics card gives way more grunt. This is an increased cost, but hopefully it will mean less frustrations at the other end!

That's reasonable enough if you might want more grunt than necessary for viewing Freeview|HD broadcasts, but 780G onboard graphics (on a Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-US2H motherboard) have been more than adequate for me. But I only use the PC for recording and watching Freeview|HD broadcasts and downloaded video.

2211 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 26


  Reply # 302519 26-Feb-2010 16:37 Send private message

you have to remember that the onboard GPU is also heavily influenced by the HT speed of the CPU.




HTPC - Intel i3-2100 / 12GB DDR3 / GA-Z77X-UD5H / HD4670 1GB / HVR2200 / 750GB + 4 x 3TB / Win 7 x64 / MediaPortal 1.5
PC - Intel e8500 / 8GB DDR2 / HD5830 1GB / Win7 x64



471 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 39


  Reply # 307646 16-Mar-2010 06:53 Send private message

I got all the bits together last night. In the end I went with a configuration completely different from anything mentioned above:

Intel i3-530 CPU
Intel DH55TC Motherboard (mATX board with 1x PCI and 2x PCIe slots)
4GB DDR3
Hauppauge HVR-2200

Basically I had the whole thing up and running and watching TV in around an hour using W7 Media Centre - including the time taken to assemble the hardware! Pretty amazed with how easy W7 makes everything.

I haven't had the time to have a really good play, so will report back sometime over the weekend when I have a bit more time.

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