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Topic # 67708 7-Sep-2010 13:00
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Hi all,

Want your thoughts and views please?

I have an older Athlon shuttle SN41G2 (I think) XPC small form factor computer, running XP, with 1Gb memory.

I want to use this with my lounge Plasma TV.  VGA won't work nicely as the cable is too big to fit in the wall, and the PC input is on the side of my TV, which means the VGA cable will look bad.  I have 2 hdmi cables in the wall, so one of these could be fine, or could feed it into the receiver etc.

The onboard graphics don't have hdmi, so I was thinking of installing an hdmi card like this:

http://www.elive.co.nz/sapphire-hd3450-512mb-agp-video-p2374.php

Has anyone used anything like this ok.  It's AGP to HDMI essentially, not sure if that's a goer or not.
Video only, but that's ok.  $95.

Next would be a PCI sat card for TV.  Definitely no freeview HD on this machine!  I hear good things about Hauppauge cards so that would be the go.  $125.

It's running DDR400 ram at the moment.  It has two motherboard slots but each has a 512mb stick. 
The board can take 2 Gb so I'd want 2x 1Gb DDR400/PC3200 sticks.   $160.

That's an upgrade of say $400 all up.  Assuming the custom powersupply can handle these extra cards.

Thing is.  Is this the best way to use this money?!  I'm wondering what sort of build I could do for new for this, in a standard box (say Antec NSK2480B) I'd get away from the small form factor restrictions.

How cheap can you do a HTPC really do you think?
Is the above approach throwing good money after old tech?

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  Reply # 377549 7-Sep-2010 15:07
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Question, are you in a area that can get Freeview|HD? I would say if not then although you are right you are throwing good money after bad will still keep you going for awhile.
On the other hand if you are in a area that can get Freeview|HD and just don't think it is worth worrying about then I will say that you will be kicking yourself in a months time.

Edit: Also just confirming the current card does not have DVI out either? DVI can be used to feed HDMI so you do not have to get a HDMI card.







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 # 377563 7-Sep-2010 15:34
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$400 is half a thousand dollars. i'd say build htpc




Swype on iOS is detrimental to accurate typing. Apologies in advance.




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  Reply # 377565 7-Sep-2010 15:36
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Cheers Nety,

If I skip over the memory, I'm only talking $95 to upgrade the video output.
I just checked and there's not a lot in it with old school AGP to DVI cards being similar in price to AGP HDMI. I don't know much about the model numbers of those older cards, but don't think any are much good compared to moder stuff.

Might get memory off trademe a bit cheaper if I can find someone with older DDR400 ram but all AGP HDMI cards and Hauppauge Sat tuner cards seem to be new on there.

I AM in a freeview HD zone! But was considering covering that with a standalone JC Matthews freeview box to ensure that part of it is wife freindly initially.



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  Reply # 377566 7-Sep-2010 15:38
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Wild stab in the dark at new build costs:

Case
$235 Antec NSK2480B. Includes fan and PSU

Motherboard
$200 Asus M4A785G HTPC/RC 

CPU
$170
AMD Athlon X4 Quad Core 630 2MB 2.8GHz CPU, or
AMD Phenom II X2 555 Dual Core AM3 Black Edition

RAM
$90 2Gb Kingston ValueRAM 2GB DDR3 

Hard Drive
$120 Western Digital 1TB 64MB 3.5 SATA2 HDD - Greenpower

DVD type Drive
$170 Samsung Blu Ray Combo DRV Blu-ray and DVD-RW

TV Tuners
$150 Hauppauge HVR2200 

$107 Hauppauge WinTV Nova S

$150 Windows 7

TOTAL
$1,392 2 Gb With Sat Tuner

$1,285 2 Gb Without Sat Tuner

$1,482 4 Gb With Sat Tuner

$1,375 4 Gb Without Sat Tuner





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  Reply # 377569 7-Sep-2010 15:40
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joker97: $400 is half a thousand dollars. i'd say build htpc

So get some nutz you reckon?!

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  Reply # 377578 7-Sep-2010 16:02
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or to save some dollars you could buy Acer's revo 36xx + usb dvb-t tuner. a friend of mine has it working overseas. cheap and does the job of multimedia box. and it's under $400 US ($550 NZ)




helping others at evgenyk.nz


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  Reply # 377652 7-Sep-2010 19:59
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have a look at mythtv it supports freeviewHD and freview satellite it's a media server, music, video and pictures
watch your media/TV  on any other computer in the house, web management epg
supported by xbmc

if your going HD you'll need penalty of storage space
and nvida card for mythtv to use the GPU for HD decoding

http://www.mythtv.org/detail/mythtv

http://mythbuntu.org/ ubuntu mythtv distribution

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  Reply # 377668 7-Sep-2010 20:28
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Jaxson:
joker97: $400 is half a thousand dollars. i'd say build htpc

So get some nutz you reckon?!


well i'm saying you're spending $250 on junk (old old gen graphics card, old old gen ram) ... it's entirely up to you :(




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  Reply # 377778 8-Sep-2010 09:51
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Jaxson: Wild stab in the dark at new build costs:

Case
$235 Antec NSK2480B. Includes fan and PSU
Nety - Yeah seems like a good case

Motherboard
$200 Asus M4A785G HTPC/RC 
Nety - On the upper end. Make sure you do some research as to whether you will in fact benefit from the HD audio. It depends a lot on what software you use to play back blu rays (more on this later). If not you could save a bit here.

CPU
$170
AMD Athlon X4 Quad Core 630 2MB 2.8GHz CPU, or
AMD Phenom II X2 555 Dual Core AM3 Black Edition
Nety - Both these IMHO are overkill. In a media centre you want to keep heat to a minimum and on top of that you do not need much processing power, the video card does most of that. Look at low power low speed X2's I have a 240 which is more then enough for HTPC needs.

RAM
$90 2Gb Kingston ValueRAM 2GB DDR3 
Nety - I would go for 4GB. Not a lot more and makes a difference with W7.

Hard Drive
$120 Western Digital 1TB 64MB 3.5 SATA2 HDD - Greenpower
Nety - A few people here have had issues with the performance of "green" drives. Especially if you are going for a single drive solution I would get a mid performance drive. You could consider using your existing drive for the OS and the large drive for storage but still go mid end.

DVD type Drive
$170 Samsung Blu Ray Combo DRV Blu-ray and DVD-RW
Nety - You can get Blu ray drives for less and I think they are all much of a muchness. Just get the cheapest known brand you can find.

TV Tuners
$150 Hauppauge HVR2200 
Nety- Have one of these and can recommend it.

$107 Hauppauge WinTV Nova S
Nety- Why? Other then SBS I don't think there is anything worth getting a SAT card for. Could drop this to save some money.

$150 Windows 7
Nety- Sorry but you need to spend a bit more on software. Windows 7 does not support playback of blu ray movies so you need something for that. TMT or Cyberlink have options for Blu ray playback. Personally I think TMT is better with very good integration into WMC 7
Also Slysoft is well worth the investment and means you can play Blu rays and DVD's from any region.








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 # 377797 8-Sep-2010 10:47
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Hey thanks for the huge specific feedback, much appreciated.

I'm off to have a think.  Totally agree with spending less on the old junk.

Sat card is for the 1.8m Cband dish in the back yard.  (League and F1 coverage).
Contemplating dropping this but fundamentally I refuse to pay for SKY whilst they are the only pay TV operator in NZ.

Also sat card would get me up and running on the old machine, which would not take freeview HD at all.

Those little computers, like the Zino I think it is etc, look ok if you get windows 7 bundled with it etc.
Lots to think about!

Thanks all.

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  Reply # 377859 8-Sep-2010 13:26
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That video card had a 64bit memory interface,
I'm not sure it will be quite big enough for 1080i content.

I'd go for an nvidia card anyway - less driver trouble, especialy with interlacing - which will be a majority if you are watching freeview HD.



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  Reply # 377883 8-Sep-2010 14:18
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Are the ATI cards still not sorted for interlacing?

It's all getting a bit silly though, in that I'm talking a suitable card for an older computer, so I don't want to spend huge dollars on something that's not going to be capable of HD anyway.

Other option is straight DVI card, but in the older AGP world it doesn't appear to be that much cheaper anyway.

There is this?:
http://www.pctronix.co.nz/product_info.php?cPath=4_67&products_id=22932

The joys of trying to do something solid, but on a tiny budget...

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  Reply # 377910 8-Sep-2010 15:35
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kobiak: or to save some dollars you could buy Acer's revo 36xx + usb dvb-t tuner. a friend of mine has it working overseas. cheap and does the job of multimedia box. and it's under $400 US ($550 NZ)


What he said!

Seriously if you want value for money and a HTPC that will play anything you throw at it the Acer Revo 36XX series with ION are perfect! The ION process will offload all the HD processing so the Atom isn't important. On the XBMC forum they do recommend doubling the memory but that shouldn't cost more than $100ish.

Its a hell of a lot smaller than the Antec case and more than powerful enough. You can even get a VESA mount of the Acer so it mounts to the back of the TV!!

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  Reply # 379663 14-Sep-2010 13:46
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Just to add my experience. I am running a smaller compact case machine with a Sempron 3000 CPU (socket 939 I think) 1G and XP. The board only has AGP so I bought a Sapphire HD2400XT AGP card so I could watch FreeviewHD.

I record shows using a Hauppauge Nova-T 500 (dual tuners) and gbpvr. That of course doesn't cause the machine any problems and recording two HD shows simultaneously also doesn't cause problems.

Playing back HD content also seems to work okay using GPBVR - the drivers support the acceleration on the GPU and when playing back TV3, the CPU is running at about 20%. This is over HDMI to a 56" TV.

You say you are in a FreeviewHD area - based on my own experiences you could do it on the machine you have now assuming you could stuff a larger drive in there.

Of course you don't state what CPU is in the Shuttle and the only data I could find is it could be an Athlon 2400XP?

Just another data point.




System One: Popcorn Hour A200,  PS3 SuperSlim, NPVR and Plex Server running on Gigabyte Brix (Windows 10 Pro), Sony BDP-S390 BD player, Pioneer AVR, Raspberry Pi running Kodi and Plex, Panasonic 60" 3D plasma, Google Chromecast

System Two: Popcorn Hour A200 ,  Oppo BDP-80 BluRay Player with hardware mode to be region free, Vivitek HD1080P 1080P DLP projector with 100" screen. Harman Kardon HK AVR 254 7.1 receiver, Samsung 4K player, Google Chromecast

 


My Google+ page 

 

 

 

https://plus.google.com/+laurencechiu

 

 




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  Reply # 379694 14-Sep-2010 14:53
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Thanks, appreciate the feedback.

I went with a cheap a$$ AGP DVI card off trademe for $30 initially.
An older Geforce 5200 fanless unit.

Not going anywhere near freeview HD on this machine.
Yes it's an Athlon, the max CPU allowed on the board.

It's 1GB running XP. Quite a bit to jump to 2GB (2x1GB strips), though at least you can actually still buy the DDR400/PC3200 ram.

Drive, well it's IDE so you can still get it, but man it's expensive and small sized compared to modern SATA.
Have decided not to through good money into old tech.
Will install a PCI sat tuner card (so I can take this to any new htpc build) and run GB-PVR on it for that.
Will probably go with a JC Matthew standalone freeview HD recorder in the meantime too. They can be had very cheaply on occasion.


Actually if anyone has 2x 1Gb DDR400/PC3200 ram modules they don't want, or a hauppauge Nova S PCI card they no longer need, let me know.  Cheers.

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