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Vorbis

176 posts

Master Geek


#20200 16-Mar-2008 17:08
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Yep, I've googled 'til my eyes hurt. I want a box that will mainly be used for watching freeview via a DVB-S card, and playing back dvd's from hard-drive.
I'd like opinions on the minimum cpu and graphics card that will do this smoothly. Intel or Amd, I'm not fussed.

Cheers.

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browned
636 posts

Ultimate Geek


  #117159 17-Mar-2008 15:51
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Vorbis: Yep, I've googled 'til my eyes hurt. I want a box that will mainly be used for watching freeview via a DVB-S card, and playing back dvd's from hard-drive.
I'd like opinions on the minimum cpu and graphics card that will do this smoothly. Intel or Amd, I'm not fussed.

Cheers.


My current system which is getting Freeview (HD) DVB-T with no problems.

AMD s939 X2 3800+
Nvidia 7600GT 256mb
2GB DDR 400 Ram
74GB Raptor Hard Drive for System
250GB Hard Drive for recorded TV
Nova-T-USB2 TV Tuner (DVB-T) - Will move to my NovaT500 dual tuner when freeview is live or Prime is no longer of interest.
PVR500 TV Tuner (Analogue)

This PC can record multiple channels at once or watch and record, or record and play music/videos in the UK with their MPEG2 freeview system so that should mimic NZ DVB-S quite nicely.


Cheers
DB

 
 
 

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Vorbis

176 posts

Master Geek


  #117201 17-Mar-2008 18:28
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Thanks mate.

Is the 7600 card pretty quiet?

itey
471 posts

Ultimate Geek


  #117219 17-Mar-2008 20:05
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depends which brand you get, the more expensive brands generally have better quality fans, or in some cases, no fan - just a good heatsink.



browned
636 posts

Ultimate Geek


  #117237 17-Mar-2008 20:53
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Vorbis: Thanks mate.

Is the 7600 card pretty quiet?


Mine is dead quite. MSI 7600GT Diamond plus 256mb with HDMI. + Zalman ZNF100 Passive cooler. Max temp watching TV is about 57 degree.

Cheers
DB

guttedgeek
19 posts

Geek


  #117242 17-Mar-2008 21:15
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P4 2.8Ghz (HT), 1GB RAM, Geforce FX5200 128MB, 120GB HDD, Nova-S DVB-S card.  Can record 2 x programs sim. and play back DVDs/h.264 video via 802.11G.  Very few issues (except that we can't watch things as quickly as we can fill up the small HDD ;)


Satch
1985 posts

Uber Geek


  #117313 18-Mar-2008 12:57
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I went for an Intel E8400 for my HTPC.  Probably complete overkill, but I was prepared to spend a few extra dollars (and I'm only talking a few) to get something which is completely future proof.  Well largely future proof anyway...

In terms of video card, I got a Leadtek PX8500 GT.  It has a passive cooling system (a heat sink and no fan), and an HDMI output.  It also has onboard h.264 hardware decoding.

Some further things for you to consider.

CYaBro
4152 posts

Uber Geek

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  #117331 18-Mar-2008 14:37
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I've built a few HTPCs for customers using the new AMD low power CPU - BE2350.
It runs at 2.1GHz and is dual core but runs on a TDP of only 45W so keeps the HTPC quiet and cool.



askelon
805 posts

Ultimate Geek

ID Verified

  #117335 18-Mar-2008 15:16
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Im running the following spec machine and its running perfectly:

AMD Athlon64 3200+ (with a Golden Orb heatsink - very quiet)
1GB RAM
ASUS nForce based SLI motherboard (cant remember which anymore!)
nVidia GeForceFX 8400GS (with Passive Heatsink)
320GB Seagate HDD
ASUS P7131SE Hybrid DVB-T Tuner (the analog side doesnt work with MP)
Hauppuage PVR150 (Backup for recording / Prime)
Thermaltake Mozart Case with some no-name but oh so quiet Power Supply (the stock one was noisy as hell)

Im running MediaPortal and its all running perfectly.  I originally had a GeForceFX 7600GT in the machine but it tended to have artifacts / breaking up while using freeview channels - the 8400GS has none of these problems so far! Running the Aerial off the one that came with the card (its a little 30cm high one a little like a wireless AP aerial).  My EPG is all handled via revens brilliant xmltvnz program. I have it all setup to hibernate rather than go into standby - it hasnt missed a beat in a long, long time!

Prior to the Freeview setup I was running the same machine but with Mediaportal running in the standalone setup (wasnt using the TV Server). 

Btw the 8400GS blows for games!

Noise wise you can hear the CPU fan kick in when starting the comp that thats about it - the only other nosies you ever hear are from the HDD.  Hell the TV's whine makes more noise :). 

joepenman
45 posts

Geek


  #117336 18-Mar-2008 15:22
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Keep an eye out for AMD's new 780G Chipset (Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H AMD 780G MicroATX) @ $146NZD

With today's introduction of its new 780G chipset, AMD is finally enabling users to build an HTPC or multimedia computer for HDTV, HD-DVD or Blu-ray playback that doesn't require an add-in graphics card. (AMD already included HDCP support and an HDMI interface in its predecessor chipset, the 690G.) The northbridge chip of the new 780G chipset also features an integrated Radeon HD3200 graphics unit that can decode any current high-definition video codec. As a result, CPU load is decreased to such a degree that even a humble AMD Sempron 3200+ is sufficient for HD video playback. Also, while Intel's chipsets get more power-hungry with every generation, AMD's newest design was designed with the goal of reducing power consumption.


Here is the full review @ Toms Hardware: http://www.tomshardware.com/2008/03/04/amd_780g_chipset/index.html

-joe

guttedgeek
19 posts

Geek


  #117338 18-Mar-2008 15:34
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Are there any advantages to using a video card with HDMI as opposed to D-Sub/VGA?

Satch
1985 posts

Uber Geek


  #117340 18-Mar-2008 15:40
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guttedgeek: Are there any advantages to using a video card with HDMI as opposed to D-Sub/VGA?


HDMI (and DVI) is/can be HDCP compliant.  VGA is not/cannot be.

guttedgeek
19 posts

Geek


  #117342 18-Mar-2008 16:13
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Satch:HDMI (and DVI) is/can be HDCP compliant.  VGA is not/cannot be.


Excellent answer/point which I'd completely forgotten about.  I'm not even sure if my Sammy LCD is HDCP compliant (I hope it is given its brand new) but I don't care too much about the PC.  By the time I catchup to Blueray, the MediaPortal box would have earned its living and be enjoying a lovely retirement by the beach ;)

Vorbis

176 posts

Master Geek


  #117355 18-Mar-2008 17:47
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Thanks for those comments, I've gone with a gigabyte 8500GT (looks passively cooled) and I'll stick my E8200 into the new mATX board. With any luck I can source a case....Btw CyaBro, the technisat works great...no hiccups at all.



password1
64 posts

Master Geek


  #117518 19-Mar-2008 13:30
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Mine appears very mimimalist - 2.4P4, 1Gb Ram, 160Gb HDD, ATi 6200, PlayTV + Nova S cards, XP Pro and Media Portal. Connected to a CRT via S-video to composite cables. All packed into a noisy Compaq D510 SFF desktop I got from work.
Has no problems with DVB-S recording/watching or DVD playback.

Satch
1985 posts

Uber Geek


  #117532 19-Mar-2008 14:02
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guttedgeek:
Satch:HDMI (and DVI) is/can be?HDCP compliant.? VGA is not/cannot be.


Excellent answer/point which I'd completely forgotten about.? I'm not even sure if my Sammy LCD is HDCP compliant (I hope it is given its brand new) but I don't care too much about the PC.? By the time I catchup to Blueray, the MediaPortal box would have earned its living and be enjoying a lovely retirement by the beach ;)


AnyDVD HD and your problems go away...

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