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7 posts

Wannabe Geek

#28769 11-Dec-2008 11:09
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Hi all

Need some help.  i am new to the HTPC game, have just got myself a nice pioneer plasma and want to play some Hd material on it.  The HTPC i am planning will be small....probably built around a mATX case.  I am not planning on playing games on it but will need to decode x264 720 and 1080 material from mkv etc.  Wont be recodring of tv dont need tv card.  Any thoughts on the minimum necessary to do that.  Can i go with integreated graphics or do i need a seperate card.  What are peoples experience.
Any system specs would be great.

Cheers in advance 


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162 posts

Master Geek

  #183480 11-Dec-2008 11:37
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I'd recommend getting a video card capable of h.264 hardware decoding. I purchased an MSI 8500GT Silent off Trademe for $50 not so long ago and in conjunction with the Cyberlink PowerDVD Codecs it just works. Not sure about the integrated graphics. From reading around the forums there still appear to be a lot of issues with the various intergrated solutions. I went for the 8500GT because it was pretty cheap and is known to work. If you go for a card with hardware decoding then the rest of your system specs become less important.

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Uber Geek


  #183598 11-Dec-2008 17:59
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The 780g has being pretty good at playing recently downloaded things. older things I have had some weird artifacting, but when asking on some other places I was told that older things may be encoded with too many "things" in them for the hardware to keep up with, but software has limiteless ram to do the stuff in so will decode ok. Thats not a problem since the "scene" is sticking with profiles that will play on things like the popcorn hour now rather then choosing their own settings.

So yeah, 780g motherboard, cheap dualcore AM2 and a gig of cheap ram and it should play anything recent that you chuck at it.



103 posts

Master Geek

  #183655 11-Dec-2008 23:28
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I think if you're chasing quietness/efficiency/looks, then that's also quite a big add to the price (probably more than a discrete v integrated graphics card). I haven't built mine yet, so I can't entirely recommend it, but have all of the following (except the case)

Silverstone LC16 Silver HTPC case with card reader, remote & VFD $362
Athlon X2 5200 2.8GHz
Gigabyte MA770-DS3 AM2+
Corsair TWIN2X2048-6400C4 2 x 1GB DDR2-8 (MOBO, CPU & RAM $366.99)
Hauppauge WinTV HVR2200 PCI-E  $149.01
ASUS nVidia Geforce Extreme N9400GT Silent/HTP/512M $104.74
Western Digital 1TB Caviar GP SATAII 7200RPM 16MB Cache $235.13
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium OEM 32BIT DVD English $195.00
Corsair 450W VX Series PSU $109.01
Microsoft Optical Wireless Desktop 700 (mouse & Keboard) $45 (after cashback)

So about $1600 all up, from two suppliers. Mine's a big case and an ATX Mobo, which is probably less help to you. I'm not too short on space, and the ageing stereo it's teaming up with is pretty big.

In terms of savings, could have just gone with a non-HTPC case (probably at least $200 off right there, and it would probably come with a power supply, so another $110 saved), slightly cheaper RAM, MOBO, CPU, maybe anotehr hundred). The Nova tuner card is a bit cheaper. Could have picked up a 8400/8500GT for $40 saving. And the 1TB drive is possibly overkill, so maybe save another hundred there.

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