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Topic # 21507 29-Apr-2008 13:46
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Hi

I'm building a new desktop from scratch, so will be buying all new components.

It will be hooked up to the following devices

Samsung 46" HD lCD TV 1920x1080 (1080P) via HDMI (LA46N81BX)
Dell 24" LCD (1920x1200) via either DVI or HDMI
NAD 2 channel Amplifier via RCA cable for sound
UHF Roof aerial for freeview

I want to play games, and watch terrestial freeview HD.
The computer will be left on all the time so would prefer it to be reasonably quiet (but doesn't have to be silent)
Dual tuners is a bonus, but not necessary.
I don't have/want to pay for sky tv.
I don't have a budget, will pay what ever things cost.
It must be user friendly so my girlfriend can use it, and HAS TO BE STABLE SO I DON'T HAVE TO RESET IT ALL THE TIME.
I have a zinwell arriving via redemption, but will probably sell it if the htpc works well.

I'm also currently confused about whether i should go for the 780G motherboard or not.




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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  Reply # 127046 29-Apr-2008 13:49
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I would prefer to buy components that arn't TOP of the range, as it makes more financial sense.

Eg if going AMD CPU I'd probably choose the 4600+ as it seems to be better value per mhz compared with the 5200-6400 speed CPUs.  Thank you for your help.




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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  Reply # 127060 29-Apr-2008 14:32
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If you want an HTPC you're best to have it dedicated to that job rather than using it as a desktop as well. What if somone wants to watch TV while you're playing a game or surfing the web. An HTPC should be treated like a STB, doing otherwise will have a serious impact on WAF! Just my 2cents worth.





 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 127067 29-Apr-2008 15:09
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Ahanix D5 Case  ~$430
Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L  ~$179
Intel Core 2 Duo E4600 (stock cooler)  ~$204
Corsair 520HX PSU  ~$170
Samsung 501LJ 500GB HDD  ~$160
Pioneer DVR-212 DVD drive  ~$68
Corsair XMS2 DHX 2x2GB DDR2-800 RAM  ~$175
Gigabyte 8600GT (silent version)  ~$180
Hauppauge DVR2200 DVB-T Dual TV Tuner (Dual is a must have thing) ~$145

So all up that's about $1650 for a decent basic game box and HTPC. If you want to play more of the latest games i'd be heading up in the world with the CPU, Mobo, and Graphics card. Plus, on top of all that a better CPU cooler will be on the cards if you plan on playing more games than not and want it to be a bit quieter.

You could easily get a cheaper case and less RAM and survive quite happily, but i'm all for getting more than you need than less and finding out later down the track you need more. Oh, and a nice looking case that fits in with the rest of your gear well. (I have the Silverstone LC16M and whilst it's fantastic i get annoyed with the buttons on the front which are completely useless for me... The Ahanix is my dream case)

Sound cards - If you're just using medium level speakers and amp then the onboard sound will be fine, if you're picky then the sky is the limit really. If you have a 5.1 system of speakers then i'd prbably say to get a dedicated sound card to help get the best out of it.

Effectively what you need IMHO for good 1080 playback is:
- Dual Core CPU over 2GHz
- At least 2GB RAM
- An Nvidia 8600 or newer graphics card (for hardware decoding) I've heard so many stories of troubles with the ATI catalyst drivers i'm just going to stay away from them for the time being)
- Cyberlink PowerDVD h.264 codec

This plus a good DVB-T TV tuner card will play back 1080 content from your PC happily and also play the HD content we have broadcast to our TV's over the airwaves.

AMD vs Intel - I'm not even going to start down that road, but suffice it to say that it would seem Intel have a slight advantage at the moment so that's why i have their gear above. I love my AMD gear though and it performs admirably so don't be afraid to go there.

On the topic of the 780G mobos, i have one, and sure it's great but i still need to use my 8600GT to play ALL of my 1080 content i have. And quite frankly i don't really mind, the 8600GT i have is a silent version so doesn't add to the noise of the fans at all. So really, the 780G isn't a must have thing, there are other options out there, like the P45 from intel when it makes its debut later this year.

Also, the 780G's are m-ATX so only have two PCI slots, a PCI-e 16x and a PCI-e 1x and trust me, you can't use both PCI slots and the PCI-e 16x if your gfx card has a larger cooler on it, it just isn't safe (i think i borked a PCI card by trying to squeeze it in there). So that limits you to one PCI slot to be safe.  So assuming you have a PCI-e 1x DVB-T card and an Analogue TV card (for Prime) then you're out of luck for a sound card etc etc. Small size has a price to pay. Unfortunately all of this being said, more and more full ATX boards are being built with only 2 PCI and more PCI-e 1x slots so be aware of what you buy and what you can fit in there.

And a final note, you'll never have the best experience by trying to make one machine do two things, you might be better off splitting into two machines, an HTPC and a gaming machine. Not sure how that works into your system though.

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  Reply # 127142 29-Apr-2008 19:09
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Get one of these soundcards and you will be happy.  I got one earlier this year for my 2 channel set uo and have been satisfied since.

http://www.audiocubes2.com/category/Computer+Accessories/product/Onkyo_SE-90PCI_PCI_Digital_Audio_Board.html



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  Reply # 127707 1-May-2008 20:39
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Hi

I just wrote a really long reply, but the computer timed out GRRGRGRRRRR!!!!

mcraenz

Yup i decided to go with your advice, and will just have a dedicated HTPC

Disrespective

Thanks for your in depth reply. $1650 is more than i thought would be necessary to spend.
My brother is offering me this combo

AMD X2 4200+ CPU $92.66+GST
WD HDD 750GB $199.65+GST
Gigabyte motherboard $125.43+GST       (EDIT: Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H 780G)
Adata 2gb ddr2-800 $55.37+GST
Enermax 535W speed control PSU: $88.87 incl gst
Silverstone LC16-M (R memory card reader model): $385.00 incl gst.

All for $750, which sounds like a reasonable deal.

Then i'll need to add
Hauppauge DVR2200 DVB-T Dual TV Tuner
And a WiFi card.

If I go with this setup I will save a bit of money, the gear is only a few weeks old.

Can you envisage any problems with the above setup?


CHEERS

EDIT: Motherboard is Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H 780G




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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  Reply # 127712 1-May-2008 20:59
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Yes theres an problem.
The CPU isn't fast enough to software decode 1080i and you haven't included a graphics card.

Not a bad deal on hardware i guess...

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  Reply # 127733 1-May-2008 22:20
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Why do you want a wifi card?
Sending freeview over wireless is not going to work at all well.

and as said you need to budget about $100 for a GFX card - trying to do it in software is not going to work too well.




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

 

Want to be with an awesome ISP? Want $20 credit too? Use this link to sign up to BigPipe.




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  Reply # 127746 1-May-2008 22:58
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eXDee

are you sayting that the MB will be able to hardware decode 1080P, but you need to software decode 1080i?
If I swapped the CPU to a faster CPU would that be enough?

mentalinc

The wifi card is so the HTPC can access the internet for things like TVGuide.  And also so I can send / receive files from my desktop computer.  I dont plan to send freeview over wifi.




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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  Reply # 127747 1-May-2008 23:02
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^ is my brother. My old htpc is going to him. The motherboard is a 780g which is fine for 1080p. You can pair that with a very low end cpu and it is still fine. What is in it now, is overkill.

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  Reply # 127771 2-May-2008 06:34
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eXDee: Yes theres an problem.
The CPU isn't fast enough to software decode 1080i and you haven't included a graphics card.

Not a bad deal on hardware i guess...


I have a AMD X2 3800+ and it can decode 1080p (let alone 1080i which it eats for breakfast) in software and be ok. CPU usage is getting up there but is not causing slowdowns.

Of course all he needs to do is get something like a GF 8500GT which is a little over a $100 and that will take the load of the CPU anyway.







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 # 127772 2-May-2008 06:36
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kiwijunglist: mentalinc

The wifi card is so the HTPC can access the internet for things like TVGuide. And also so I can send / receive files from my desktop computer. I dont plan to send freeview over wifi.


I would still go hard wired if at all possible. Copying a 2+ gig file over wifi is not a fun thing to do...







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 # 127846 2-May-2008 11:11
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Nety:Of course all he needs to do is get something like a GF 8500GT which is a little over a $100 and that will take the load of the CPU anyway.


http://techreport.com/articles.x/14261/9

Onboard HD3200 takes care of nearly everything witht he motherboard he got. You can pair a very low end cpu with the 780g chipset and still get great 1080p performance. We have been playing 1080p on his new 46" and it looks smooth as silk, and drops no frames.

Your 3800+ could be dropping frames. Check statistics when playing in MPC. Unless your video card is really doing all the work.

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  Reply # 127870 2-May-2008 12:03
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Psilan: http://techreport.com/articles.x/14261/9

Onboard HD3200 takes care of nearly everything witht he motherboard he got. You can pair a very low end cpu with the 780g chipset and still get great 1080p performance. We have been playing 1080p on his new 46" and it looks smooth as silk, and drops no frames.

Your 3800+ could be dropping frames. Check statistics when playing in MPC. Unless your video card is really doing all the work.


I am now running a GF 8500GT so is not a problem for me anyway. I did have a 7800GT which if it was dropping any frames I could not notice it. However this was general 720 and 1080p videos so it may have been a different story if I had run the test video for freeview. My old MCP was a P4 with a 6600GT.. that was a whole different ball game.







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 # 127873 2-May-2008 12:16
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kiwijunglist: eXDee

are you sayting that the MB will be able to hardware decode 1080P, but you need to software decode 1080i?
If I swapped the CPU to a faster CPU would that be enough?

You only specified Gigabyte motherboard. The edit now makes much more sense.
You'll be fine with the motherboard hardware decoding.



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  Reply # 130263 12-May-2008 15:27
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It's all hooked up and running now =)  1920x1080 looks great on my TV.

I have the HVR2200 on backorder, wont arrive till the 16th.  But i've been reading there maybe some problems with the HVR2200 doing analog TV?  Would i be better with the Nova 500?

PS: I thought I'd run mediaportal with visa os.




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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