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521 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 82647 3-May-2011 19:30 Send private message

Hey guys,

I'm looking to build a new HTPC to replace my lackluster TiVo box and have a few questions that I haven't easily been able to find answers to.

- I notice lots of posts in here about decoding DVB-S protected Sky transmissions and was wondering how well this worked. How complex is this to set up? Is it reliable? Will it work with Sky HD? I assume I would need to add Multiroom to our current subscription (we already have MySky HDi with an extra original MySky, I am not familiar with the plan, is it possible to add a third Multiroom?). Am I limited to a single program at once or can I record multiple shows? and the best card to do this with?

- How good is Windows 7 Media Center verses some alternatives such as Myth TV? My requirements are almost soley focused on the TV portion of these software packages. It would be nice to be able to schedule shows to record remotely via my iPhone and be able to transfer recorded shows to my NAS.

- I'm guessing an Atom/Ion combo would be underpowered for this task. Would a Core i5 in a Micro-ATX case be very loud?

Cheers :) 









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158 posts

Master Geek
+1 received by user: 9


  Reply # 464989 3-May-2011 19:54 Send private message

Hey there,

I dont have a lot of info for you regarding your first couple of questions as my HTPC isn't really geared for TV to the extent you're after. In terms of your processor question though, I'd personally go higher than an atom yes, but I'd suggest that an i3 would more than suffice; my machine has an older C2D E7400 in it and plays blu ray beautifully (admittedly it also contains a fanless video card that takes on most of that workload), and has no trouble recording 3 simultaneous DVB-S streams (the 3 'limit' is more to do with me using windows media center which wants 1 tuner per active channel.. apparently media portal and whatnot are happy with one tuner per transponder and so could potentially do more.. but my setup is based around 7MC :) )

As for noise, I managed to get away with running my machine with no CPU fan. It's a little pricy and quite large (a great case though, as usual for Antec imho) but I'm using an 'Antec Fusion Remote Black' case (http://www.ascent.co.nz/productspecification.aspx?ItemID=379763), which has 2x 120mm intake fans at this side, conveniently blowing right across the CPU :) The stock Antec fans have adjustable speed, i just run them on low to keep the noise down, they aren't bad. You can go quieter though if you spring for something like a Scythe slipstream fan instead but I haven't found the need. Anyway, coupling that with a 'Scythe Ninja Mini' on the CPU (http://www.ascent.co.nz/productspecification.aspx?ItemID=387325) [minus the fan] has worked great for me. Note that it's the Ninja MINI, the normal ninja will not fit iirc!

One other tip, and I kinda wish I'd gone down this path myself, the Antec NSK2480B is almost the same case as above but minus the HTPC features like volume knob and front LCD, which to be honest I never use anyway. But it is around $150 cheaper *and* comes with a power supply (not the greatest but it is a decent Antec one.. not 'OEM junk'!) You can check that one out here: http://www.ascent.co.nz/productspecification.aspx?ItemID=370164

Hope that helps a little anyway, cheers :)



521 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 54

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  Reply # 465065 3-May-2011 23:11 Send private message

Thanks for your reply and input! I'm still a few months away from being able to afford building the thing yet so any input is appreciated.

The case I'm currently looking at is an Antec ISK 310-150, (Mini-ITX not Micro-ATX as I stated before) mainly because it looks quite attractive, small and would get the job done. Any specific disadvantages with this? I've only built one computer before and am new to cooling. http://www.ascent.co.nz/productspecification.aspx?ItemID=391754.

You're probably right that I could get away with a less powerful i3. The only things this computer will be used for is TV recording/playback, encoding/streaming content for other devices (currently using a 2.66GHz Core 2 Duo E8200 for this, has no problems live transcoding 2 720p .mkv files) and playing back the media collection I have sitting on my NAS.









919 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 14


  Reply # 465602 5-May-2011 09:23 Send private message

You definitely don't need anything more than an i3 for an HTPC (get the Sandybridge).

As far as that case goes, it has a custom built PSU that looks like it would only fit that case. You may want to check the availability and price of replacements in case it blows. Also, 80mm fans are not quiet in my experience. You can replace the standard ones with more expensive "quiet" ones though.

It only takes 2.5"" drives so hopefully that is not an issue for you (in terms of cost and storage capability). It also only takes slimline optical which costs twice what a normal one costs.

I think there are possibly better low-profile cases out there but ANTEC is a good brand.

I recently made a friend an HTPC using a Lian Li Muse (http://www.computerlounge.co.nz/components/componentview.asp?partid=7811) but they aint cheap... They do however take standard optical drives, 2x 3.5"" HDDs and an ATX PSU so the extra expense in buying the better case is cancelled out by that.

Here's the build incase you're interested. It's almost silent and looks mean. I just chucked a fan mate on the case fans to keep them quiet, cost like $10. No TV on this one as he has a MySky but there is a spare PCI-E 1x slot and USB ports, etc



43 posts

Geek


  Reply # 466161 6-May-2011 12:44 Send private message

As an alternative to consider, have a look at this from Lian Li:
http://www.ascent.co.nz/productspecification.aspx?ItemID=372063

It looks right at home amongst AV gear, but has some really nice features like support for regular sized PSUs.

I got one recently as a replacement for a Shuttle All in One box. The Shuttle was smaller, but when the power supply blew, there were no replacement parts available.
Sadly, the retailer I purchased it from had a back log of other owners in the same position, all waiting for the Shuttle proprietary PSU replacements..

I now have a Shuttle doorstop. (offers anyone?)
 

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