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217 posts

Master Geek
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Topic # 31087 4-Mar-2009 09:32
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Ok I know this has been asked and answered a thousand times (I've read the posts).

Still not 100% clear on what's the best option right now for Freeview|HD in NZ. Talking purely HTPC here - no gaming etc.

WinTV-HVR-2200 MC seems to be one of the better turners (twin hybrid tuner). Though can't receive full EPG over DVB-T.

I've spent the last 4 days researching what's best to getfor mobo/video/cpu to get.

Goals pretty straight forward and common:

    * No Gaming
    * Quiet / Low power usage
    * Record at least two channels (two MUX's) at once while being able to play back previous recording.
    * No playback issues with Freeview|HD, bluray, dvd's etc.

I've spent hours pouring over HQV tests, performance tests, power usage comparisons etc.

99% of people here on Geekzone are recommending the Nvidia 9400GT (preferably fanless).

Anybody successfuly using nvidia 9300/9400 integrated video chipset?
(Only seen 1 post from MrWestie stating it seems to be working? http://www.geekzone.co.nz/forums.asp?ForumId=83&TopicId=30287)
Anyone else? How does it compare to 9500GT? Enough performance to enable all the same post processing?

This seems to be the only board in NZ... (GRRRR)
http://www.playtech.co.nz/product.php?action=showdetail&id=6656
Seems ok - except I'd really like SPDIF out. Would like sound over HDMI which is going direct to TV and an SPDIF cable to receiver and 5.1 speaker setup. So only option is an SPDIF bracket using mobo SPDIF header. Can't find them anywhere in NZ.

The ATI 4550's still a no go? (Seem to be very few in the country?!?)

And lastly really struggling to find a good 9500GT. Preferrably silent and with HDMI (preferably native) and SPDIF passthrough.
Asus EN9400GT SILENT/HTP/512M (no HDMI, need separate adaptor. Doesn't seem to have SPDIF passthrough?!)
Palit 9400GT Super 512MB silent (no HDMI, need separate adaptor. Heard has SPDIF passthrough but no cable)

Any video card mobo or igp setup anyone can recommend?

What are you guys using? DVI/HDMI adaptors? HELP HELP HELP!

Got a Panasonic TH-58PY700AZ

Thanks in advance.

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  Reply # 199126 4-Mar-2009 09:52
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cshaun:
WinTV-HVR-2200 MC seems to be one of the better turners (twin hybrid tuner). Though can't receive full EPG over DVB-T.


EPG or lack of EPG has nothing to do with the type of tuner card. This is a software issue and no Windows TV software supports MHEG5. MythTV does but has poor Freeview|HD support.

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Ultimate Geek

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  Reply # 199129 4-Mar-2009 10:01
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A couple of things:

1.  If you only want SPDIF audio, just take it straight off the motherboard.  I can't see any reason to feed it into HDMI, and then feed it out of your TV and back to your amp again.  Feed the SPDIF to your amp, and run two channel back to your TV from the amp if you really want it, although if your using 5.1 you really should just turn off the TV sound altogether.

2.  HDMI to DVI adaptors - there is no difference in picture quality between DVI and HDMI.  Once you get over the fact the you don't get to use a HDMI to HDMI cable, everything else remains the same.  You can also buy some nice clean DVI-HDMI cables from PBTech and other places for under $20, that way you don't have to use an "adaptor".  I think theres still an invisible perception out there that if its not HDMI all the way it isn't as good.

Nvidia cards:

Running on Windows 7, using Media Center, tested with both Freeview HD, and Sky Sport HD, stock default drivers.

XFX Onboard NVidia 8200 @ 1280x720p - no perceivable frame loss.
XFX 8500GT Passive @ 1920 x 1080p - no perceivable fram loss
Palit 9400 GT @ 1920x1080p - no perceivable frame loss

I haven't tested the newer onboard solutions yet, but based on past experience they should go just fine.  There are some driver, software, setup caveats attached however... For example the 8200 really struggled using Vista, however they are fine on Windows 7.  Windows 7 has made some big gains in efficiency here. 

Unless you really want to make more heat, and use a bit more power there is really no point in going to the 9500, or anything above.


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Master Geek


  Reply # 199136 4-Mar-2009 10:18
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sbiddle:
cshaun:
WinTV-HVR-2200 MC seems to be one of the better turners (twin hybrid tuner). Though can't receive full EPG over DVB-T.


EPG or lack of EPG has nothing to do with the type of tuner card. This is a software issue and no Windows TV software supports MHEG5. MythTV does but has poor Freeview|HD support.


Didn't Vista get MHEG-5 support in the October WMC TV Pack Update? No idea if it's working, just heard that it had been included.

http://www.impala.org/news/impala-delights-mheg-5-inclusion-windows-media-center-tv-pack-update

I'm still personally waiting for a decent dual-core Ion platform (Intel dual-core Atom + nVidia 9400) to become available. The tiny form-factor and power usage would make a great little HTPC box.



217 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 199142 4-Mar-2009 10:42
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Thanks very much for the replys!

Great re EPG over MHEG-5 - sounded like you'd never get that working on a windows platform.

Well I was thinking I'd like the flexibility to play sound directly to the TV and to the receiver.  Sound over the HDMI to TV would be ideal (can leave receiver off if not required). TV speakers really not that bad... Assuming you'd just switch playback devices in Vista to do it. Anyway thought I may as well leave the option there...

Thought about it and don't want to game. So lowest power/heat that does a perfect job (no skipping, best quality possible).

Does anybody know if the Asus 9400GT silent has a spdif pass-through connector? And can play sound through a DVI-HDMI cable or converter?

I know DVI supposed to equal HDMI and basically be the same signal just different connectors BUT occasionally I've read people saying they've had issues with detecting the display resolution, refresh rate etc. Basically just not working perfectly... This true or not?!

Should I just not worry and use DVI to HDMI?

Consensus is the 9300 IGP on the XFX won't be stuttery? I've read one post on here saying it's ok, and there a post on gpforums from someone saying it is stuttery. Just don't have full confidence it will do the job.

Another question... if you connect spdif to receiver and then to tv - will the TV receive the signal if receiver off?


Thanks so much for the help guys - this stuff making me feel borderline suicidal! So frustrating...

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  Reply # 199150 4-Mar-2009 11:08
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cshaun:
Well I was thinking I'd like the flexibility to play sound directly to the TV and to the receiver.  Sound over the HDMI to TV would be ideal (can leave receiver off if not required). TV speakers really not that bad... Assuming you'd just switch playback devices in Vista to do it. Anyway thought I may as well leave the option there...


This is what I am doing and works fine. However you have to be able to get SPDIF out from two sources at the same time. Was using the internal SPDIF header on my soundcard to go to the passthough on the sound card and also the external SPDIF plug to go to the amp.

cshaun:
Does anybody know if the Asus 9400GT silent has a spdif pass-through connector? And can play sound through a DVI-HDMI cable or converter?


Sorry cannot confirm. Most likely it does but without seeing one you can't be sure. Maybe ask the supplier?

cshaun:
I know DVI supposed to equal HDMI and basically be the same signal just different connectors BUT occasionally I've read people saying they've had issues with detecting the display resolution, refresh rate etc. Basically just not working perfectly... This true or not?!

Should I just not worry and use DVI to HDMI?


I think these issues are caused by the TV rather then the PC. If the TV does not supply the correct  info back to the PC on what signal's it can handle then you are going to have problems. My setup does not have any issues but then my TV is true 720p rather then a lot that fudge the resolution.

I would just go for it. Worst case as long as you keep all the packing you could exchange for something else.

cshaun:
Another question... if you connect spdif to receiver and then to tv - will the TV receive the signal if receiver off?


Not on any receiver I have seen.







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



217 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 199154 4-Mar-2009 11:25
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Thanks Nety! Helps a bit.

Going to do a bit more research on gpu/mobo. Really can't spend to much time on it though.
Any more advice anyone could provide much appreciated. Don't think this would be a problem at all if in the states... plenty of options - it's really just NZ having such a small selection of products.

Already got these (got them 3 months ago!):
Western Digital Caviar GP 1TB
MS Wireless 7000 keyboard/mouse
SILVERSTONE LASCALA SST-LC16MR Black Aluminum/Steel ATX Desktop Case with Card Reader
WinTV-HVR-2200 MC
Remote - Logitech Harmony One

Wharfedale 5.1 Diamond 9 series speakers + Pioneer 518 receiver
And like mentioned in OP Panasonic TH-58PY700AZ - native 1920x1080.


These are what I've basically nailed dow in the last few days - would like to order today.
CPU - Intel Dual Core processor E5200 2.5GHz 2Mb LGA775 65W *** or E7200 ?
CPU Cooler - Xigmatek HDT-S963
2x 80mm fan replacements for silverstone? Noctua 80mm NF-R8
1x 92mm fan replacement for S963? Noctua 92mm NF-B9
Ram - Kingston Hyper X 4GB 800MHz DDR2 Non-ECC Low-Latency CL4 (4-4-4-12) DIMM (Kit of 2) KHX6400D2LLK2/4G
DVD Drive - DVDROM Liteon
PSU - Corsair VX-450W



Think I'm pretty happy with all that so far... Just the gpu/mobo!

483 posts

Ultimate Geek

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  Reply # 199159 4-Mar-2009 11:43
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DVI-HDMI Works - you'll always find someone who manages to make it not work - but thats the same with anything.

Assuming your TV supports native 1080p - which it looks like it does it will be fine.

If you are going to run Windows 7 incl Media Center - then try out the onboard 9300 chipset.  My guess is it will work.  If it doesn't, then simply get a Palit 9400GT.  The Asus equiv is OK except its fat, and steals slots.

As another suggestion setup your Harmony One to always turn on your amp, and just use that for the sound.  Then you won't be messing around with whats on, whats got control of the volume, etc etc etc.  Your system gets simpler, and will always sound better.  TV's only ever sound good when there's nothing else around...









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Master Geek
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  Reply # 199162 4-Mar-2009 11:53
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RustyGonad: DVI-HDMI Works - you'll always find someone who manages to make it not work - but thats the same with anything.

Assuming your TV supports native 1080p - which it looks like it does it will be fine.

If you are going to run Windows 7 incl Media Center - then try out the onboard 9300 chipset.  My guess is it will work.  If it doesn't, then simply get a Palit 9400GT.  The Asus equiv is OK except its fat, and steals slots.

As another suggestion setup your Harmony One to always turn on your amp, and just use that for the sound.  Then you won't be messing around with whats on, whats got control of the volume, etc etc etc.  Your system gets simpler, and will always sound better.  TV's only ever sound good when there's nothing else around...


No SPDIF out from the XFX 9300 board. Need an SPDIF bracket to use the header, which looks workable. Just might take a while getting one stock wise. $20. So not a huge issue.

Agree can use the receiver all the time. Just would be nice to have the option of using the TV. Should be able to get the remote to do whatever I want with a bit of scripting and screwing around that side of things - making it easy to flick between which sound system and what it's controlling etc. Not 100% sure about that but assume I'd be able to sort something out there eventually...

Why is Windows 7 required for the 9300? Just less of a resource hog than Vista?

Any of this matter re HDMI?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDMI
Different versions...  Or you guys think any DVI/HDMI good enough and not issue.

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Ultimate Geek

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  Reply # 199167 4-Mar-2009 12:34
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When you setup the Harmony you just tell it to use the reciever to play everything, it takes care of the rest... Works good, I use the virtually the same setup...

Windows 7 is more efficient, it has a native h.264 codec, which may help with this.  It also has a native set of NVidia drivers which work well out of the box.

For example, the 8200 chipset struggles using Vista Media Center (playing h.264) ie you get frame dropouts, but with 7 it works well. 

The other reasons is that you can't play h.264 on Vista Media Center without a lot of tweaking...

I haven't looked into it in great detail, but my guess is that the Windows 7 OS is more efficient at processing h.264 natively, than through the old third party methods ie using the PowerDVD codec.  They've certainly changed some stuff in the way the access the codec resources.  Fact is Microsoft has a more efficient path to the resources they require than say the third party guys.

I can't comment on any of the other solutions ie GBPVR, Media Portal etc that is the performance of the onboard chipsets may vary greatly with these solutions, as they tend to use third party codecs etc.



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  Reply # 199250 4-Mar-2009 17:32
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KracsNZ:
sbiddle:
cshaun:
WinTV-HVR-2200 MC seems to be one of the better turners (twin hybrid tuner). Though can't receive full EPG over DVB-T.


EPG or lack of EPG has nothing to do with the type of tuner card. This is a software issue and no Windows TV software supports MHEG5. MythTV does but has poor Freeview|HD support.


Didn't Vista get MHEG-5 support in the October WMC TV Pack Update? No idea if it's working, just heard that it had been included.


Yes and No. VMC TV Pack  and WIndows7 have "MHEG5" support. But Nn it does not give you an EPG and unless Microsoft decide to impliment MHEG5 fully (which isn't planned for at present) never will do.

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  Reply # 199434 5-Mar-2009 17:07
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You can get one of the Asus M3N motherboards as they have GeForce 8300 onboard which supposedly does hardware H264 decoding so will play most 1080p content just fine, plus it has HDMI output with (apparently) combined AC3 on the cable. So you don't need an extra videocard and you don't need an extra optical cable for the audio either. There's also an ATI chipset equivalent (709 or somesuch) onboard chipset.

The M3N board has VGA, DVI and HDMI out, as well as optical/coaxial SPDIF depending on model, so you can take your pick.

I'm putting a PC together with one of these in it at the moment, so may have a report soon. Getting rid of components in an HTPC strikes me as a "Good Thing" as long as it still works well.



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Master Geek
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Reply # 199608 6-Mar-2009 13:32
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I'd really like to know of the XFX 9300 board works flawlessly cause I've now basically spent very close to double that route. Probably consumes bit more power too...

FINALLY pulled the trigger on everything. Things just kept getting more and more expensive... Ordered all the following today.

Mobo - Asus P5Q Pro (Green)
Video - Asus EN9500GT MAGIC/DI/512M
Ram - Kingston Hyper X 4GB 800MHz DDR2 Non-ECC Low-Latency CL4 (4-4-4-12) DIMM (Kit of 2)
DVD - Lite-On SATA 20X Dual DVDRW(Black)+ 1 x Beige Panel
CPU - BX80571E5300 Intel Pentium Dual Core Processor 2.60 Ghz LGA775 2M Cache 800FSB #E5300
CPU Cooler - Xigmatek HDT-S963
VGA Cooler - HR-03GT
2x 80mm fan replacements? Noctua 80mm NF-R8
1x 92mm fan replacement for S963? Noctua 92mm NF-B9
PSU - Corsair VX-450W

HDMI Cable - RapalloAV™ HDMI CABLE (BD) BLACK DIAMOND RANGE 1.3b   1.5M
SPDIF Coax cable - RapalloAV ECONOMY COAXIAL & SUB BASS CABLES - 24k GOLD - Long Runs. 2M
Sub cable - RapalloAV Economy Gold Subwoofer Cables 5M

Pretty much solves all the 'issues' I had originally - but thowing a lot more money at it. Overkill... but at least I hope it'll work flawlessly. Only downside bit more costly and possibly slightly more power draw / heat.


Took so long decided couple of items were sold out and and to change... e.g. E5200 -> E5300

Fingers crossed it all fits and works. Checked as best I could.

Spent ~$2150 on the HTPC in the end. Should be the quietest computer I've ever owned.

I can breathe it's finally all ordered!

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  Reply # 199615 6-Mar-2009 14:00
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What case are you using? I looked at the HR-03GT but apart from the problem that it is not supported on my video card it also was not going to fit in the case. It sticks up 129mm from the bottom of the GPU chip. Even though on my card the GPU is low down on the card it still was two high for the case.

Your CPU cooler at 134mm may have the same problem. All depends how big... oh.. just read back and see you have the same case as I do. I would suggest stopping the order on the two heat sinks until you can confirm if they will fit.







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

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  Reply # 199616 6-Mar-2009 14:12
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Just so you know I finished up getting the Scythe Ninja Mini Heatpipe CPU cooler which does fit in the case and I have found I can run without a fan (just using case fans).

GPU I did not have any luck with. The only coolers I found that were not too high were too long. I am just sticking with the passive heatsink that came with the XFX 8500GT I have. It does run very hot at around 80 deg but from what I have read on the NVidia site anything up to 100 deg is ok Surprised







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



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Master Geek
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Reply # 199629 6-Mar-2009 15:07
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Oh Crap... now you tell me Yell Doh!

Too late, that order arrived a couple hours ago...

Yeah was looking at the "Minja" originally. And was pretty set with it. But this one seems a fair amount better.

http://www.frostytech.com/articleview.cfm?articleid=2209&page=5
http://www.frostytech.com/articleview.cfm?articleid=2134&page=5

Reviewed the 964 which seems worse even though it's newer - but 964 seemed about the same as the Nija Mini.
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article818-page1.html


So performance better, quieter, few nice features like the rubber isolations mounting of the fan. Don't really like Scythe's wire thing. (Have the Infinity for my desktop).

Oh this seemed easier to install. Though I don't think you could get anything worse than the Infinity.


Best I could work out before purchasing it was going to be a very close call. 4mm. Will just have to see if it fits :-| I really do wish there were decent specifications from the manufacturers that could help with this stuff...



Yeah I'm not sure about the Thermalright VGA cooler. Says "Okay*" with a disclaimer for the 9500GT... So may not fit on the card anyway.
Don't have the card yet - so can't really tell if it will work or not. But 129mm sounds a bit scary...

Card I'm getting has a fan, so that's why I wanted it... think it's going to be to loud. Grr there are 1 or two other options but again can't confirm they fit. This may turn out to be an expensive waste of time.



Any pro's / con's regarding Vista 64bit vs 32bit by the way? Other than the recognised ram? (Running 64bit on my desktop for last 2 years without problem - but obvioulsy slightly different with tuners and freeview).

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