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60 posts

Master Geek


Topic # 22129 17-May-2008 14:43

Well,

After waiting, having courier packages stolen, blood, sweat and tears I am giving up on the dream of an ideal HTPC. I'm just not willing to pour any more money into it.

I wasn't sure whether to put this in the forsale forum or not, so please move it if I'm in the wrong.

Anyway, I am selling off what I have. This system is VERY quiet if you have the right drive.

Specifications (and images)
  • Case: Silverstone LC17
    • http://ascent.co.nz/productspecification.aspx?ItemID=342596
    • This case has two 80mm fans that are basically silent!
  • PSU: Corsair VX450
    • http://ascent.co.nz/productspecification.aspx?ItemID=360519
    • Again, this PSU is close to silent, I can't hear it at 1m
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H
    • 780g chipset, 12 USB, HDMI, DVI and VGA
  • CPU: 4600+ X2 dual core
  • RAM: 1gb
  • Lite On DVD DL writer
  • Tuner: Hauppauge Nova T-500 PCI (dual tuner, with remote)
Everything (except the tuner which is 2 days old) is about 2-3 weeks old. I will be able to give receipts for everything.

Initially, I am seeking offers via this thread or PM. Total cost for me was around $725.

I can link to TradeMe feedback (200+ trades, 100% positive) so you know I am not dodgy, or you can pick up and pay cash.

Edit: I am pretty sure all this needs to go is a dedicated graphics card, but as staded above, I'm not willing to sink any more money into this project.

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  Reply # 131480 17-May-2008 17:43
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Errr.... from the look there thats a HTPC ready to go. The 780G does hardware acceleration. You're so close. (though it has some problems, not sure?)

Anyway, this will be moved to the selling forum. Sweet build.
I would consider buying maybe, how much are you looking at?



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Master Geek


  Reply # 131482 17-May-2008 17:52

Yes, the 780g has hardware accell but it deson't handle TV3 very well, much like many other ATI chipsets.

I've tried MediaPortal and DVB Viewer, neither of them gave satisfactory results, and I am not sure what needs to be tuned. I've been testing both the CoreAVC and PowerDVD codecs.

I've hoping for around $575, given that it's essentially brand new and all receipts will be provided.

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 131483 17-May-2008 17:55
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rixth: Everything (except the tuner which is 2 days old) is about 2-3 weeks old.t.


Are you saying that you spent 2 days trying to get everything working perfectly!!? Or did you have some other tuner before that?  If a h.264 capable video card is all you need I'm, sure you can get an 8500GT <$100, which is nothing compared to what you'll lose selling 2nd hand. Having said that if my assumption was correct regarding the 2 days effort you've put in then maybe selling is the right option for you. Even 2-3 weeks is pretty short to get everything bedded down and running perfectly and that's for someone who's had a fair amount of experience.

In short:
Don't give up
...Or do.




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  Reply # 131484 17-May-2008 17:57
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Some have had success with the 780g by getting the latest full catalyst package. Try this. Try beta drivers etc.
Even at only 2 weeks old you will loose a lot of money compared to what you paid for it.



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Master Geek


  Reply # 131487 17-May-2008 18:03

I know I was dreaming when I thought 'I'll jsut drop the tuner in, and everything will work 100%', but I didn't think it would be as bad as it is.

I have blocks on C4, TV3 freezes after a few minutes (or doesn't display at all), TV1 and 2 are okay most of the time (some blocks).

Essentially I guess you could say, I had the box built (sans tuner) for 3 weeks, and felt very dissapointed that it didn't work (although of course I suspected it wouldn't), nor could I get it to.

I have run out of options (that I know of), I'm not sure what settings to modify anymore.

eXDee, I'll get the beta package later tonight, I'm using 8.4 right now.



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Master Geek


  Reply # 131490 17-May-2008 18:12

As for getting an nvidia card, I would much prefer one with HDMI. The current motherboard can do video and audio via HDMI.

I have a 38" Panasonic plasma that has two HDMI inputs (AV1 and AV2), if there is no audio signal going down the HDMI cable (IE. if I use a DVI->HDMI adapter), can I just use the red & white composite cables plugged into the audio in for AV1 or 2? I know this will differ TV to TV, but generally, can you do this?

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  Reply # 131494 17-May-2008 18:24
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Which area are you in?
Ie do you actually get reception that is good enough to have freeview (ie there might be signal problems as well casuing the issues.)




CPU: Intel 3770k| RAM: F3-2400C10D-16GTX G.Skill Trident X |MB:  Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H-WB | GFX: GV-N660OC-2GD gv-n660oc-2gd GeForce GTX 660 | Monitor: Qnix 27" 2560x1440

 

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Master Geek


  Reply # 131499 17-May-2008 18:32

Wellington CBD with line of sight to Mt Kaukau. However, I am using the antenna output from the wall, which is split up from one ariel between all apartments in the building. Is there any way I can check signal strength?

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  Reply # 131535 17-May-2008 22:46
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Why HDMI out? You can just use an adaptor. 2x DVI is always best, it gives you most options. Both ports can be wither VGA RGB, DVI-D or HDMI.

It sounds like you might have a singal issue, I've just upgraded my UHF setup. 91 Element High Gain antenna, quad shield coax and a mast head amp. And I'm in Auckland city where I'm supposed to get excellent coverage! I do have a hill just behnd me though. Just finised the setup today and I'm fianlly getty pretty much error free DVB-T, I have still had a few glitches on TV3 tonight.

@rixth: Do you have a Dish? I'd recommend getting a DVB-S card too, again more $$$ though, but it will give you a very reliable setup with minimal effort.

I think part of the prolem is that this stuff is realativey new technology, at least this specific combination of it, ie DVB-T+ H.264+ HE-AAC+Codecs+hardwareDecoding+Applicaiton support etc etc. Things are still being ironed out in general.

But like I say, if you are gonna lay out anymore cash maybe a DVB-S setup might be the way to go if you want everything to just work.




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  Reply # 131543 18-May-2008 00:11
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rixth: Wellington CBD with line of sight to Mt Kaukau. However, I am using the antenna output from the wall, which is split up from one ariel between all apartments in the building. Is there any way I can check signal strength?


If one aerial is split between more than 4 - 6 TV outlets signal strength may well be an issue.  We are a lot closer to Kaukau & in line of sight.  With two 4-way splitters in series reception was a struggle at times (new high gain UHF antenna).  Reduced that to a 2-way then 4-way (neither powered), shortened some leads (new quad core) and are now getting adequate signal strength for DVB-T.  Analogue UHF not the best, but that is not surprising with two splitters in series.


WRT software.  You have a Nova T500 - presumably you got PowerCinema with it.  If you are running Vista, you may get HW acceleration working as per my separate post (http://www.geekzone.co.nz/forums.asp?ForumId=83&TopicId=22139).  May be worth a try?

If you are not running Vista, that may be part of the problem as XP does not support EVR.


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  Reply # 131576 18-May-2008 11:57
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Could I suggest a couple of things before you throw the baby out with the bathwater;

Borrow or get a indoor uhf aerial and connect it directly to your HTPC. That may allow you to troubleshoot the signal strength/quality side of things.  Or borrow/'trial' a digital terrestrial set top box with your current aerial connection.

HDMI nvidia cards are available.  I have one installed in my HTPC (I also wanted a one cable solution).  I set the system up and had it working with MoBo graphics initially (HDMI onboard) then added the videocard later to reduce CPU load.  I had interference between graphics and tuner cards because of proximity on microATX board but that was fixed with a shield.

My AMD 64x2 5200 with 2 gigs of memory only just coped before I added the videocard.  Have you checked the graphs in the windows system monitor while everything is running to check CPU and memory use?  If you are running vista one gig of mem may be a bit light.

Think months not minutes when planning to get your HTPC 'perfected'.

But in the end your topic title really says it all.  It would be nice if HTPCs were at the level of consumer electronics where you plug it in and it just works.  We can dream about it, but at the moment its still 'geeky' and after all that's where forums like these are invaluable.  Buy a STB if you want to avoid the heart-ache, but even then if your signal strength isn't up to it, you won't be any better off (and a bit poorer).




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



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Master Geek


  Reply # 131582 18-May-2008 12:35

mcraenz, I just like the idea of a single cable solution.

I may go to DSE, and get reamed on one of their 'amplified UHF antennas', then just take it back if I say no noticeable signal quality increase.

When watching TV3, CPU use is around 30%.

I'm going to give Vista a whirl, as I have nothing to loose here. I know I may be a little light on RAM but it'll be an interesting test anyway.

If I turn Aero off, is EVR still useable?

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  Reply # 131585 18-May-2008 13:50
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Dingbatt: HDMI nvidia cards are available.  I have one installed in my HTPC (I also wanted a one cable solution).  I set the system up and had it working with MoBo graphics initially (HDMI onboard) then added the videocard later to reduce CPU load.  I had interference between graphics and tuner cards because of proximity on microATX board but that was fixed with a shield.


As I have said in other threads you do not need to get a video card with HDMI out to get a card that will send picture and HDMI to your TV. Infact all you do is finish up spending more on the card then you need to. However not all do this so do check it out first . My one only mentioned it on the box.

I have a XFX PV-T86J-UAH3 GF8500GT which has two DVI out's. There is a jumper on the card (J7) which you just connect SPDIF to and it passes out via the DVI plug. All you need to make sure is that you get a DVI to HDMI cable. Cheap as chips on Trademe. Something like http://www.trademe.co.nz/Electronics-photography/TVs/Cables-aerials/auction-155092308.htm would do it.







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


  Reply # 131605 18-May-2008 15:53

Okay, I have some results.

Codecs: Cyberlink h.264 (from Powercinema, not PowerDVD) & Monogram AAC 0.9.5

Using VMR9:
  TV1 and 2 work great.
  TV 3 plays without blocks (sometiems get blocks if I timeshift) but it seems a little jerky for my liking
  C4, TVNZ6, TVNZ7, Maori Channel work great
  CPU usage on TV3: 65-75%

Using EVR:
  TV1 and 2 work great.
  TV 3 still has some blocks if I timeshift, but plays much more smoothly
  C4, TVNZ6, TVNZ7, Maori Channel do not work, I get that sickly green color with blocks
  When I have some of the Mediaportal interface up (whe the TV in playing small in the corner), it flickers black.
  CPU usage on TV3: 10-20%

I obiously want to get EVR working, because it is less intensive and 3 works better. What can I try next?

I can't wait until CSI tonight (don't like the show, but it'll be the next HD show on I think).

http://www.dse.co.nz/cgi-bin/dse.storefront/en/product/L2105 I bought one of those, and it made a BIG difference (basically let me receive TV3).

 

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  Reply # 131609 18-May-2008 16:21
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I'd be 99.999% certain that your issues with EVR are related to your ATI chipset.

H.264 acceleration using any ATI card/chipset that supports H.264 acceleration simply does not work well using EVR under Vista.
This is an issue I spent weeks testing and trying to solve with various ATI cards and drivers and gave up because it's almost certainly an issue with the Catalyst drivers. Numerous other people on here have also reported the same issues trying to get Freeview working on ATI cards. Nvidia cards (8500 or higher) work great.



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