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15 posts

Geek


# 40493 29-Aug-2009 20:22
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Just hoping for some insight with these parts for my first HD HTPC Smile

MOBO: ECS A780GM-A 780G $111.38
RAM: 2GB DDR2-800 $36.45
CPU: AMD Athlon X2 5050e 2.60GHz $129.99
HDD: Western Digital 1.5TB $208.44

Also whats the best tuner to go for picture quality wise the hvr2200 or the nova t 500? or any other recommendations.

Would 4GB of ram be better? Do any tuners come with a ir blaster (for my sky decoder)?

What I plan to do is use this for watching/recording freeview and sky (with an old PVR-150 that was given to me) and in the future blu-ray movies and possibly 720/1080p mkv files.

Im trying to keep the price under $900 (but can go a little higher if needed) including a case and psu so any help with cost cutting would be greatly appreciated. Does anyone have a recommendation for a case?


Thanks in advance for any advice.

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Uber Geek
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  # 251618 29-Aug-2009 20:43
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Looking at that, you will need a graphics card to decode Freeview HD



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Geek


  # 251624 29-Aug-2009 20:56
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So the 780G on board is not going to cut it for decoding Freeview?

 
 
 
 


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Ultimate Geek
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  # 251627 29-Aug-2009 21:03
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Hi,

While your motherboard has a 780g chipset, you'll struggle getting it work 100% with freeview, i'd recommend a low end Nvidia graphic card foe less hassles.

Id go with the NOVA t500 as the hrv's dual analoge tuners are kinda pointless now prime is on freeview.

 



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Geek


  # 251628 29-Aug-2009 21:15
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Ok, thanks for that advice.

Would a Gigabyte GA-EP31-DS3L + Intel E5200 2.50GHz + GeForce 8400 GS + 2GB ram be any good?

Or does anyone have a setup they would recommend (capable of Freeview HD and 1080p content playback) then as there is no point sticking with that setup if the 780G is useless for Freeview.

Does the Nova t 500 come with a ir blaster, remote and receiver? (like older hauppage tuners did)

Has anyone had expericence with the Silverstone SST-LC16M? If so are they a good case?

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  # 251637 29-Aug-2009 22:44
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Personally. Mine is in a basic $80 dollar case in a cubbard. Nvidia 8500 (around $100 or less) for video and a cheap as 2Ghz core 2 duo. When I had Freeview I used a HD500 and this setup worked fantastically using Mediaportal.

Now I have Sky HDi and have overclocked the CPU to 3Ghz (with stock cooler) but I still use this box for downloaded X.264 720p and 1080p with no issues plus I upscale DVD etc using FFDshow without breaking to much of a sweat.

Unless you are worried about seeing the box, dont go spending dollars on it. I spent the biggest amount on a quiet power supply, cos apart from that the CPU fan this is the only other fan in my rig so its pretty quiet. For this one I used a Nexus PSU although I have  Corsair in my main rig which is even quieter.

I have 4GB Ram but its not really used, I reckon you could get away with 2Gb and maybe a small HDD for the OS and a seperate drive for Media\recording etc. And make sure whatever MB you get has an SPDIF out on it for seround sound output to an amp.




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My thoughts are my own and are in no way representative of my employer.




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Geek


  # 251645 30-Aug-2009 00:11
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Could I get away with this psu - Corsair 450w vx series psu ultra-quiet? for both low noise and being enough to power the rig.

So an Intel E5200 2.50GHz would be strong enough paired with a Geforce 8500GT 256MB to watch Freeview HD and 1080p x.264 files?

geekiegeek what is the HD500 tuner?

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Master Geek


  # 251677 30-Aug-2009 09:40
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Marsman

450w PSU should be fine as you don't need to run grunty processors. As has been said, having H.264 decryption on the GPU is the most important thing... preferably NVidia as the ATI drivers seem a little flakey with it still.

In terms of memory, 2GB is fine if you are running Mediaportal. Others can comment on W7MC or GBPVR.

Purely for FreeviewHD, the NovaT500 as a good start. Easy to configure and the combination of it's dual tuners and MediaPortals ability to read multiplex channels mean you never seem to run out of tuners. It comes with a basic remote and receiver but not an IR Blaster.

I would re-inforce geekiegeeks comments about two drives. The smaller drive should have OS, Paging, Apps and Timeshifting with the larger drive allocated for Recorded TV. With a dual tuner you can have a fair bit of data writing to the disks when two channels are being recorded (or even the period where two recordings overlap) and minimising other disk traffic (eg timeshift) seems to help.. probably more to do with head movement than raw throughput but still ....

As a general comment... it is well worth the effort so good luck!

Cheers



 
 
 
 




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Geek


  # 251711 30-Aug-2009 11:59
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I was planning on using Mediaportal so it's good to know 2GB is fine.
Which OS Windows 7, XP pro or Vista would be the best to go for?
Does anyone have a recommendation about an IR blaster? As controlling the sky box is a definite requirement.

So far the updated build looks like this:

MOBO: ECS A780GM-A 780G
RAM: 2GB DDR2-800
CPU: AMD Athlon X2 5050e 2.60GHz
HDD: 160GB for OS, Paging, Timeshifting, etc
between 500GB - 1TB for recordings
GPU: my old 8600GT 512MB
Tuner: NOVA T 500
PSU: Corsair 450w

Does it look strong enough for Freeview HD, 1080p mkv and blu-ray?

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  # 251715 30-Aug-2009 12:36
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marsman: I was planning on using Mediaportal so it's good to know 2GB is fine.
Which OS Windows 7, XP pro or Vista would be the best to go for?
Does anyone have a recommendation about an IR blaster? As controlling the sky box is a definite requirement.

So far the updated build looks like this:

MOBO: ECS A780GM-A 780G
RAM: 2GB DDR2-800
CPU: AMD Athlon X2 5050e 2.60GHz
HDD: 160GB for OS, Paging, Timeshifting, etc
between 500GB - 1TB for recordings
GPU: my old 8600GT 512MB
Tuner: NOVA T 500
PSU: Corsair 450w

Does it look strong enough for Freeview HD, 1080p mkv and blu-ray?


Just be aware that MediaPortal is not supported for Windows 7 at the moment.  And you can't use the windows H264 codec in MP to get video working.  I have got MP going, after a fashion, on our Windows 7 desktop (MP 1.1.0A AMDx2 7750, 9600GT) but the MP GUI seems to respond very slowly.  My main HTPC (specs in sig block below) runs VistaHP and handles MP well with only occasional wakeup problems that I believe are caused by Hauppauge drivers.
Could I suggest you get Vista with the free upgrade option for Windows 7.  Especially since the retail price has been reduced at the moment.




Areas of Geek interest: Home Theatre, HTPC, Android Tablets & Phones, iProducts.

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Ultimate Geek
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  # 251717 30-Aug-2009 12:42
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marsman: I was planning on using Mediaportal so it's good to know 2GB is fine.
Which OS Windows 7, XP pro or Vista would be the best to go for?
Does anyone have a recommendation about an IR blaster? As controlling the sky box is a definite requirement.

So far the updated build looks like this:

MOBO: ECS A780GM-A 780G
RAM: 2GB DDR2-800
CPU: AMD Athlon X2 5050e 2.60GHz
HDD: 160GB for OS, Paging, Timeshifting, etc
between 500GB - 1TB for recordings
GPU: my old 8600GT 512MB
Tuner: NOVA T 500
PSU: Corsair 450w

Does it look strong enough for Freeview HD, 1080p mkv and blu-ray?


Looks good, 2gb is enough for Windows 7. I switched from Vista/Mediaportal to Windows 7 media center and I have looked back.

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Ultimate Geek
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  # 251727 30-Aug-2009 13:20
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marsman: So the 780G on board is not going to cut it for decoding Freeview?


The onboard video on my (Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-US2H) 780g Vista-based HTPC does just fine decoding Freeview|HD, although I know that some people have experianced problems. I get the impression that some of those problems have been resolved by installing up-to-date releases of ATI Catalyst.

Avoiding a discrete video card is certainly a money saver, but importantly for most HTPCs it reduces power consumption and heat generation too - and that should mean a quieter PC.

82 posts

Master Geek


  # 251741 30-Aug-2009 14:34
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Spec looks fine.

In terms of OS... I've got Mediaportal running on both XP and Vista and there seems to be little difference... apart from more stuff to download with XP as it doesn't have the .Net Framework already loaded. Vista seems to have a lot of stuff you have to turn off or it gets annoying so if you already have an XP licence... go with that. Otherwise... go with Dingbat's suggestion so you have Vista for now and W7 for later.

In



15 posts

Geek


  # 251742 30-Aug-2009 14:37
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I guess for now I would better off sticking with Vista and MediaPortal, then look at updating to Windows 7 later on with that free upgrade option which sounds like a good option to have.

The final thing I'm stuck on is needing an ir blaster would a Hauppauge Media Centre Remote Control like this http://www.nzoczone.com/product_info.php?products_id=33420 be good for my sky box?

Turns out I can fit a case near the TV so Yay, no need for the expensive HTPC case.

722 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 252028 31-Aug-2009 18:49
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If you are going with Mediaportal you will either have to upspec your GPU to around 9400GT minimum, or use an older version of Mediaportal -v1.0 final as the latest- because of their modifications to how 1080i is rendered. With an 8*** series Nvidia card, it will cause major stuttering. I am stuck with v1.0RC4 until I upgrade my hardware, which won't be anytime soon. But I'm not concerned as it is a brilliant front-end once you get it & the plugins configured, which can be rather daunting in some areas, due to very minimal documentation.

Hope I didn't put you off Wink

Regarding the IR blaster, there are a number of posts about hardware further back, either here, or in the DVB forum. Just do a search.

One final caveat: make sure the longer GPU will fit in your preferred case.




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


  # 252063 31-Aug-2009 21:31
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So far nothings put me off. Thanks for the info about the GPU I guess I'll stick to v1.0 then and upgrade the GPU if/when I need to.

Ok I'll search through the old posts about the blaster.

As for the case I don't think I'll need to worry about space (it's a full size tower).

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