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85 posts

Master Geek


# 48884 17-Nov-2009 10:23
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basically im looking for a small quiet efficient computer to run windows 7 media center as a headless server (not plugged into anything but power and network) but it has to be able to do x264 decoding and also needs to be faster than say 1.8ghz dual core so it can decode freeview hd. I will connect to it with a media extender.


I just want something (formfactorwise) like this http://www.playtech.co.nz/upload/200809031025221.jpg


that would sit on my tv cabinet perfectly make hardly any noise, it's tiny and wouldnt have any heat issues.... but it doesn't have x264 decoding and an atom 1.6 probably isn't fast enough to decode freeview (by around 200mhz on each core)


Can anyone make any recommendations?

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95 posts

Master Geek


  # 273768 17-Nov-2009 10:28
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http://news.softpedia.com/news/Zotac-Expands-ION-Series-Boards-with-New-ION-ITX-F-Series-122978.shtml

I saw the above and thought of building an HTPC from it. The PCIeslot means that you can plug in a good gfx card. I had a quick look on pricespy.co.nz but it doesn't seem to be available in NZ yet.



85 posts

Master Geek


  # 273770 17-Nov-2009 10:42
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Cheers for your reply thats exactly what I need. One question is what speed atom processor do you think I should be looking at just for decoding freeview hd?

 
 
 
 


2260 posts

Uber Geek

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  # 273773 17-Nov-2009 10:49
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You'll probably want the N330 Atom if you went the Zotec way, also look on Computer lounge for the 775 socket one:
http://www.computerlounge.co.nz/components/componentview.asp?partid=9822

$249 and add in a E6800 or E7200 and you'd have a wicked decoding PC :)

The F series above isn't quite out here yet :( we've still got the E series here:
http://www.computerlounge.co.nz/components/componentview.asp?partid=10271
Without the PCIe, @ 349, still a good price though :)

and completely silent




I have moved across the ditch.  Now residing in Melbourne as a VOIP/Video Technical Trainer/Engineer. 

95 posts

Master Geek


  # 273786 17-Nov-2009 11:03
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The F series has the Atom 330, that is a dual core atom running at 1.6GHz, this means that because of hyperthreading it can run 4 logical threads.

I have an HP Mini 1004tu, it is a great little netbook that runs on the single core atom. It is quite quick but not really good. The dual core atom paired with a fanless gfx card should do what you want. Probs one of the low end ATI 5000 series cards

81 posts

Master Geek


  # 273791 17-Nov-2009 11:10
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I don't understand why you need it to do x264 decoding if it's going to be headless? How are you going to watch freeviewHD on it without a monitor / TV?

If you're worried about just recording freeview HD to disc, you don't need any grunt at all to do that.

-Matt

95 posts

Master Geek


  # 273793 17-Nov-2009 11:14
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http://www.tigerdirect.co.nz/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=131_134&products_id=20950 here is a good fanless gfx card to pair with this PC



85 posts

Master Geek


  # 273797 17-Nov-2009 11:17
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vinnieg: You'll probably want the N330 Atom if you went the Zotec way, also look on Computer lounge for the 775 socket one:
http://www.computerlounge.co.nz/components/componentview.asp?partid=9822

$249 and add in a E6800 or E7200 and you'd have a wicked decoding PC :)

The F series above isn't quite out here yet :( we've still got the E series here:
http://www.computerlounge.co.nz/components/componentview.asp?partid=10271
Without the PCIe, @ 349, still a good price though :)

and completely silent



Cheers for all this really appreciate the help guys.

That is perfect, i even have an old intel core 2 duo 2ghz and 2gig of 800mhz ddr2 lying around to put inside it. Will I be able to run that cpu silently or would I need an atom for that?


Couple more things to sort out,


How well do you guys think the onboard geforce 9300 will perform in conjunction with the intel core 2 duo 2ghz for decoding freeview?


What is the best USB Freeview decoder?





 
 
 
 


481 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 273820 17-Nov-2009 11:45
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jamesla: basically im looking for a small quiet efficient computer to run windows 7 media center as a headless server (not plugged into anything but power and network) but it has to be able to do x264 decoding and also needs to be faster than say 1.8ghz dual core so it can decode freeview hd. I will connect to it with a media extender.

If I understand the proposed setup correctly, the media extender will need to do all of the decoding (so it will have to be one which can handle H.264, AC3 and HE-AAC) and the PC doesn't have to be capable of H.264 decoding.

241 posts

Master Geek


  # 273826 17-Nov-2009 11:48
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I would have thought that the onboard graphics would have been fine for decoding in itself. Certainly my seperate 8600GT does it okay so if the onboard 9300 is similar to a discrete card then it will be fine. Using something like Win 7 Mediacenter that offloads the H.264 decoding to the graphics side of things should mean you don't need a serious CPU at all. Obviously I am not familiar with this motherboard so please correct me if I am wrong.

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  # 273827 17-Nov-2009 11:48
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mattyboy2: I don't understand why you need it to do x264 decoding if it's going to be headless? How are you going to watch freeviewHD on it without a monitor / TV?

If you're worried about just recording freeview HD to disc, you don't need any grunt at all to do that.

-Matt





Haha yeah, although you can stream the freeview to the extenders, but in that case, i thought say a 360 would do most of the recording grunt anyway? with the backend just streaming the freeview down but not actually decoding it 




I have moved across the ditch.  Now residing in Melbourne as a VOIP/Video Technical Trainer/Engineer. 

241 posts

Master Geek


  # 273828 17-Nov-2009 11:54
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Sorry missed the extender bit - Deev8 is correct, the extender should do the decoding so no real need for this type of board at all I would have thought.

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  # 273829 17-Nov-2009 11:57
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Mattv: I would have thought that the onboard graphics would have been fine for decoding in itself. Certainly my seperate 8600GT does it okay so if the onboard 9300 is similar to a discrete card then it will be fine. Using something like Win 7 Mediacenter that offloads the H.264 decoding to the graphics side of things should mean you don't need a serious CPU at all. Obviously I am not familiar with this motherboard so please correct me if I am wrong.



Yeah the onboard graphics will be fine :) as Nvidia have good drivers for good HD content, slack gaming.  I'm going to be using onboard, just waiting on the supplier to get back to me on a price




I have moved across the ditch.  Now residing in Melbourne as a VOIP/Video Technical Trainer/Engineer. 



85 posts

Master Geek


  # 273842 17-Nov-2009 12:38
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Mattv: Sorry missed the extender bit - Deev8 is correct, the extender should do the decoding so no real need for this type of board at all I would have thought.


are you sure about that? I was under the impression the computer with the tv card did the decoding and then streamed the content to the media extender?

2862 posts

Uber Geek


  # 273960 17-Nov-2009 17:11
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decoding is done by the computer connected to the display.
recording freeview tv to disk or streaming to another pc doesn't require any decoding and is not very cpu intensive.




HTPC / Home automation (home assistant) enthusiast.


100 posts

Master Geek


  # 273984 17-Nov-2009 18:37
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James

In support of Matty and kiwijunglist... Analog signals get 'encoded' by the TV card into MPEG2 or similar so requie some work but the digital signals just get dumped to disk by the TV Server process as digital data... still compressed as H.264. At that point nothing clever has had to be done.

Whatever is playing them back however needs to decode the H.264 so you may have more issues with your media extender if that doesn't support H.264. PS3 does but lots of the older ones don't.

Cheers

David

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