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507 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 34872 30-May-2009 23:52
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Hey guys,

Total noob at HTPC stuff.  Looking for your basic HTPC setup.

Id like to:

-receive freeview(i have both a UHF and a non used sky dish on my roof)
-record freeview
-play HD files
-serve as a main network server/media centre for all other household PCs.


Im guessing i need probably some sort of dual-core to do the processing.  Its right next to the home network setup so that part will be no probs. 2GB ram will be sufficient?
Couple of terabytes of HD space should be plenty to start off.

What i really want to know is what graphics card i will need to go with, how do i run my HDMI cable from this to my TV(will be next to this), and roughly what budget should i look to spend?

Cheers in advance.

Ross




 


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4169 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 220050 31-May-2009 09:41
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There's lots happening here so I'll see if I can give you some anwers.

Dual core fine, but i wouldn't go silly with it unless you want the machine to do dual duty.  Dual Core is good cos it means something can be done in behind and doesn't affect the UI.

Since you have an unused dish, I'd recommend that you use it.  Freeview (DVB-s) is a much simpler beast than DVB-T.  Much easier on hardware, codecs and your nerves.  Looks at something like a Hauppauge HVR3000 (the 4000 is just as good, but no real benefit, you don't need the DVB-S2).

This gives you a DVB-T tuner to play with, but your mainstay will be the DVB-S.

Onec that is going you can look at the hardware needed for DVB-T.  I bought an Nvidia 8600GT with HDMI speciallically for purpose of DVB-T.  It's fine, no probs with BluRay or anything on DVB-T.  Supposedly the 9500GT is a similar spec.  If you can get the built in HDMI then I'd recommend it.  And if you can get a motherboard with SPDIF output on the back plane then you cn feed an amp as well (I use the ASUS M2V) - has spdif headers for the graphics card, and Digital Coax onthe back plan for the amp.

later once your testing of DVB-T is done, you can look at an HVR2200 (if you have pci-e) or a Nova t 500 (PCI).   Both of these cards will give dual dvb-t capability.

2 gb of ram is fine as wll, I run this with pagefile turned off.
2 drives are find as well, just for partitioning/storage etc.  And if nothing else I'd recommend acronis or something similar for system partition backups.  There are a number of things you can do to hose your config, and being able to roll back the system to just before you screwed it, is a real bonus and stops you tearing your hair out.

My specs/system are in my signature.




Previously known as psycik

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  Reply # 220057 31-May-2009 10:27
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What media centre software are you looking at running?

If Windows 7 then setting up DVB-T is even easier then DVB-S and both are simple in basic form. You do need to setup a EPG source for DVB-T as only now - next comes over the feed. However it is not that difficult to setup and if you get a HVR-2200 you can setup DVB-T and DVB-S with DVB-S giving you the epg data.

If the media centre is going to be sitting where you are sitting then make sure you budget some money for making it quiet. A aftermarket CPU heatsink that can run passively is well worth it. Also make sure that both the motherboard and video card are passive.

As for Videocard read this thread. Is getting a little out of date now but will give you a idea of the minimum required http://www.geekzone.co.nz/forums.asp?ForumId=83&TopicId=30390

Just remember with everything in a Mediacentre faster is not always better. You want hardware that will do the job but not generate a lot of heat so a Nvidia 9500GT is all you need anything above that will tend to generate more heat that you then have to get out of the case = more noise.
CPU go duel core but go for something that runs cool rather then runs fast. I am running a old AMD X2 3000 and can watch/record Freeview|HD as well as Blurays no problem.







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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Ultimate Geek


  Reply # 222064 5-Jun-2009 17:31
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Most things have been covered, as usual, by the excellent responses. I will add, seeing as how you have already stated you want to watch HD (movies), I really would recommend taking the DVB-T route. If you haven't seen FreeviewHD, then it doesn't take long to become ubuqitious in your home theatre scene. For that, you will need a PCI-E motherboard. Nothing top-of-the-line, as you won't be extending it's capabilities.

The tuner card that seems to have the least issues is the Hauppauge HVR-2200. Others will work, but I know these are an excellent choice. 2GB RAM is ample: I run XPMCE. As for (HT)PC case; that is what will determine your end-line budget, you could spend over $1000 if you want. I would recommend looking at Silverstone. They were one of the first true HTPC cases & have builds for most budgets. Personally, I think VFDs (the little displays on front of the case) aren't worth it -that's just my personal opinion.

I run my system using DVI>HDMI for video & SPDif (coax) for audio. Never had any real issues. One thing that seems to have appeared recently, I use Mediaportal as a front-end. This is excellent software. However, with the recent update to version 1.0.1 & 1.0.2, it seems the devs have altered how 1080i broadcast HDTV is played back. It would seem those running lower spec video cards (like my Asus EN8500GT) need to upgrade to prevent signifgicant stuttering of the 1080i video. This is still in debate over at MP forums. Still, if you are looking, it pay to keep this in mind when purchasing a video card.

What Nety said about heat inside a cramped HTPC case couldn't be truer. Unless you have super-sensitive hearing, silent is great; but costly. Near silent is much more achieveable & affordable.

Welcome to the ad-hov world of HTPCs. A little bit of this & a little of that. But the results are easily worth the effort: well, most times Wink




Silverstone LC14 HTPC Case/Intel E4600 CPU/GA-EP35-DS3 MOBO/Asus EN9500GT graphics/2GB RAM/total 2TB HDD space/HVR-2200 & 2X 150MCE tuner cards/LG GGC-H20L BD Drive/MCE2005/Mediaportal/TVServer 1.1.0Final/LG 55"3D LED-TV/Denon AVR-1803 receiver/X1 projector

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Geek


  Reply # 222616 8-Jun-2009 10:58
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If the Media Centre is not beside the TV what is the best way to stream it to the TV?

At the moment I use a Mediagate to pick up the AVIs off my server in a store room but am looking for another (maybe same) solution for another room.

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  Reply # 222619 8-Jun-2009 11:01
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Best way I know of is a xbox 360. Will give you a full Mediacentre like front end even including streaming live TV from the media centre.







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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Geek


  Reply # 222620 8-Jun-2009 11:12
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I was thinking of renting one to see how it goes since I don't have one

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Geek


  Reply # 222938 9-Jun-2009 08:18
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At the moment I use a mediagate to pick up files on a file server (windows XP) with the file server just sharing directories. For the Xbox 360 as a MCG do I need to run media centre something(??) on the server or will it see the directory shares?

241 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 222957 9-Jun-2009 08:47
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Best setup is Windows 7 (Release Candidate) Mediacenter with XBOX360(s). This will easlly do the DVB-T and pretty much everything else. The only thing you would need to check on is your other HD video files (check out www.thegreenbutton.com for more info) and it won't do ripped DVD's or Bluray's without some tweaking or recoding. The 360 is a little noisy too but if you can put it in a cabinet or something its not too bad. It may mean your main box does not need to be so quite either ( I know mine isn't)

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 223736 10-Jun-2009 20:35
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IMHO -



For HTPC i like XP + Mediaportal

HVR2200 great tuner for Freeview HD + Analog for PrimeTV

Forget the sattelite dish as it's low quality compared with Freeview HD

2GB DDR800 Ram is sufficent for XP. 4GB if you wanna run vista/windows7

CPU - I have an X2 4200+ it's ok, but you may want faster (dont go any slower!!!). Intel equivalent is fine.

Video - I would recommend ATI HD4670 based on what i have read. This is also a good card if you decide to go for Windows 7

HDD - if you have an old 7200rpm HDD use it for your system install (HTPC wont access HDD much, XP only needs 15gb) and spend the money on a 1.5TB 5400rpm green drive for your media. Media HDD doesn't need to be 7200rpm.

Plan for your HTPC to use a wired ethernet connection to the router
Don't waste money on a VFD/LCD for the system case
The imon remote control that comes with silverstone is very good because it has heaps of buttons and its easy to setup for mediaportal.  however the silverstone VFDs tend to have crappy drivers.  Also remember that the silverstone cases IR receiver is only compatible with MCE remote and iPAD remote, it will not work with any other remotes unless those remotes emulate the MCE/iPAD
If you want to build ultimate setup you should also consider USB-UIRT
Lots of people recommend MCE remote with blaster kit, since its so common lots of media applications support it.




HTPC: Intel i3-2100 / 12GB RAM / AMD HD7750 / 480 GB SSD / 58TB Storage / MediaPortal / MadVR / Win10
AVR: Pioneer Elite SC-LX87 220W 9.2 Ch AVR
Speakers: Wharfedale Jade 7 Fronts / Jade 2c Center / Jade 5 Rears
Subs: iNuke 3000dsp 3000W proamp with 4x 15" JBL Sealed Subs
Display: Samsung 60" UA60H6400 LCD TV
Accessories: Gefen HDMI Detective with splitter


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