Geekzone: technology news, blogs, forums
Guest
Welcome Guest.
You haven't logged in yet. If you don't have an account you can register now.




57 posts

Master Geek


Topic # 24841 4-Aug-2008 21:06
Send private message

I'm about to make my first foray into the world of HTPCs, and was hoping for a bit of advice before I handover the cash...

The most demanding thing I plan on doing with it is recording one FreeviewHD channel while watching another recorded HD video / DVD.  No fancy games.  Will use Vista Media Center and/or Media Portal (I know that VMC wont work with FreeviewHD).

I've read a lot of the posts on this website and others, so I'm pretty sure my proposed system (see details in my signature below) is pretty close to being 'right', but I still have a few questions I haven't found answers to:

(1) HDDs: one or two?
* When recording TV while also playing back a video I'm thinking I would get better system performance by dedicating one HDD to recording and one to storage/playback (rather than having one HDD that does everything).
* However I've seen no one recommending this... is that because the performance benefit is negligible?
(note: I'm not thinking RAID here, just two drives)

(2) CPU: fast dual-core or slow quad-core?
* The fastest dual-core CPUs are about the same price as the slowest quad-cores...
* Which am I best to go with? (I guess this boils down to a question of how effectively Vista Media Center / Media Portal use multiple cores)

(3) Software: Media Portal (MP) / Vista Media Center (VMC)
* I understand many people have problems with MP and the analogue side of Hauppauge HVR-2200 TV tuners; if I only use the digital part of the HVR-2200, is MP quite stable/reliable/well-behaved?
* I may well tinker with both VMC and MP until I settle on a favourite - is there any issue with having both installed on the same PC?

(4) Remote control: Microsoft MCE remote + iMon IR receiver + VMC/MP
* I'm planning on getting a Microsoft MCE remote and a case with a built-in iMon IR receiver, and I'd prefer not to use the IR receiver that comes with the MCE remote if possible (less clutter)
* Will the MCE remote be *fully* functional with the iMon IR receiver in VMC? in MP?

(5) Anything else about my proposed system that concerns you???
* I had considered a silent version of the graphics card, but was scared off by many reviews reporting overheating, and it taking up two of my scarce expansion slots
* Also considered USB wireless to free up a PCI slot, but after past issues with USB network devices, decided to stick with PCI.

Thanks in advance for your advice, and apologies if these questions have already been addressed in other threads.

View this topic in a long page with up to 500 replies per page Create new topic
 1 | 2


57 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 154121 4-Aug-2008 21:12
Send private message

Hmmm... for some reason my signature didn't show (anyone know what I did wrong?)

Anyways, here it is:
Proposed system: Antec Fusion V2 case | Asustek P5K-VM | Intel E8400 3Ghz | 2Gb RAM | Seagate Barracuda 1Tb SATA HDD | ASUS NVIDIA GeForce Extreme N8600GT HTDP 256MB | Hauppauge HVR-2200 | Asus 20x SATA Lightscribe DVD | Netgear PCI Wireless Adaptor | Vista Home Premium

6294 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 377

Moderator
Trusted
Subscriber

  Reply # 154141 4-Aug-2008 22:23
Send private message

HTPCnewbie: Hmmm... for some reason my signature didn't show (anyone know what I did wrong?)


Did you tick the checkbox under the reply box that says "include your profile signature in the post" ?

 
 
 
 


994 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 29


  Reply # 154436 5-Aug-2008 19:42
Send private message

Looks good, this is the rig Im about to knock together (case is on backorder for a month Yell)

HTPC rig

Going for the P5Q mobo as it supports PCI-E 2.
Dual core over quad core as they run alot cooler and just dont need a quad for an htpc
Going for the fanless 9600GT as the case Im getting has tonnes of room and cooling potential
Will eventually get more HDDs and maybe do a RAID, but just the one to start with

Since I already have the tuner and OS its a smidge over $2K (the case is expensive I know)




HTPC: Silverstone Crown CW02 case | Asus P5Q-L main board | Intel Dual core E8400 3.0GHz CPU | Thermalright Ultra120-Extreme Passive CPU Cooler | Blackgold BTG3540 TV Tuner & Hauppauge PVR-150 MCE Edition | Asus EN9600GT-Silent Passive GPU | 4GB Supertalent DDR2 800 RAM | 5+TB HDD space | LiteOn DH-401S BD/DVD/CD reader | Corsair HX-520w PSU | 1 single Noctua Silent Case fan | Logitech diNovo Bluetooth Media Desktop | Logitech Harmony 785 Universal Remote | Logitech Wireless Rumblepad 2 | Windows 7 Media Center, MediaBrowser & Arcsoft Total Media Theatre

2548 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 88


  Reply # 154745 6-Aug-2008 19:58
Send private message

is that video card an overkill?




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


4025 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 1076

Trusted

  Reply # 154764 6-Aug-2008 20:56
Send private message

1) Two imo, one small one for timeshift, large one for recording. i plan on using an older one for the timeshift, since constantly reading/writing to the drive will kill it after a decent amount of time, though someone could probably correct me on this.
2) Fast dual core i reckon, you're sweet with a mid range one for a dedicated HTPC.
3) Mediaportal. From just testing analogue with my HVR-2200 an hour ago, it scanned fine, played them fine, not sure about stability because i only watched about 1min of each channel.
4) I asked this too, and when i didnt really get a assuring response i decided to save $100 on the case and go for the non IR version.
5) System looks good, e8400 is pretty powerful for a HTPC, that would usually be in a high end desktop machine, eg for gaming or intensive tasks. With decoding offloaded to the GPU you dont need a hugely powerful processor. Make sure you get the silent 8600GT. If you want to save money the 8500GT works fine. Also for wireless the CNET cwp-854 is a very good wifi card, it has an external antenna, and many people say they get very good range with it. Its only $30 too.

@Asmodeus:Overkill much? if thats for a dedicated HTPC with no gaming etc then you must have money to burn. An 8600GT is easily enough for video decoding.



57 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 154771 6-Aug-2008 21:27
Send private message

eXDee,

Thanks for responding to all my questions!

1) HDDs: Good point, I hadn't thought about the impact of timeshifting on the HDD...

2) CPU: What would you consider sufficient?  You have to drop down to a E7200 to save a decent amount of $$$.  Do you think that would be sufficient?  I don't want the system to be sluggish while recording in the background.

5) Other: Do you have the silent 8600GT?  I've read a few negative reviews on the internet about them (overheating), plus I've also read that the non-silent 8600GT's fan is reasonably quiet.  Since the Antec case is not the most roomy, I'm a little concerned about overheating (and using up 2 expansion slots).

Also, any thoughts on Asmodeus's comments about the P5Q?  Should I be worried about getting PCI-E 2 (???)


2548 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 88


  Reply # 154790 6-Aug-2008 22:09
Send private message

If you have that much ram why not timeshift onto a ram drive? then no need for an extra HDD.




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




57 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 154795 6-Aug-2008 22:21
Send private message

kiwijunglist: If you have that much ram why not timeshift onto a ram drive? then no need for an extra HDD.


Brilliant idea!  But how big would the ram drive need to be if I am watching a 2hr movie?

Other [similar] option would be to use a USB Memory stick as the timeshifting drive - I just got given a 1Gb one the other day...  Is it possible to set the recording drive different to the timeshifting drive?

Is 2Gb really overkill for a HTPC?

2548 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 88


  Reply # 154800 6-Aug-2008 22:34
Send private message

yes, timeshift and recording can be on seperate drivers.

i can't remember how much data per minute of movie
but why would you want to leave the TV watching a 2 hr movie, then timeshift backwards 2 hrs to the start.
i don't think you need more than 15 minutes of timeshifting

the usb drive is a good idea too.




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


2548 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 88


  Reply # 154803 6-Aug-2008 22:39
Send private message

My main piece of advice would be.

Don't be dead set on achieving hardware acceleration,
it's a pain in the azz to get going
and just when you think you have it right,
something goes wrong!

you will definitely spend a lot of time trying to set things up,
but i guess with your powerful cpu you should be ok

Does the silverstone case have a built in IR receiver
because you want an IR receiver that is still active when in S3 sleep.

Silverstone LC16-M has built in IR and i am thankful because
you can use the remote to turn it back on when its snoozing.
I have heard there are some problems with some external IR
receivers not receiving power while in S3 Sleep, however i do not
know the details.




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


4025 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 1076

Trusted

  Reply # 154804 6-Aug-2008 22:40
Send private message

About timeshifting + hard drives, im not 100% sure what impact it has on the drive, but to me it makes sense that if its constantly reading/writing then the life is going to be shortened.

I'm running an AMD 5400, this is lower than an e7200. Quite a few are running similar processors, even a 4800 would probably be okay. Boot time is 25 seconds to desktop without using hibernate or standby for me. If you dont want to go this low an e7200 is easily enough
If its a dedicated HTPC not much will be using it; h264 will be decoded on the graphics card, the hvr-2200 has an mpeg2 encoder onboard for analogue, for Freeview HD its direct dump of the stream to the hard drive pretty much when recording, so no usage there either.

I have a silent 8500gt which is the lowest card to support full h264 decoding, but handles it perfectly fine for what ive tested with the samples. Many others have reported theirs going just fine too. 8600 silent might get a fair bit hotter perhaps, not sure.

You shouldn't worry about PCI-E 2.0 with a dedicated HTPC. Its just more bandwidth, which only matters for high end gaming cards pretty much, which even then won't max out PCI-E 1.0 bandwidth. Performance difference isnt huge in gaming, and so in a h264 is negligible. However i have the P5Q Pro in my main gaming rig, and its a pretty sweet motherboard for overclocking etc.

2gb of ram is pretty normal for any vista machine, for it to run nice and smooth. I wouldnt think <1gb would be enough for a timeshift though. I might just use my old 160gb sata or even an 80gb IDE. My system isnt fully working so i dont know details about timeshift locations etc.



57 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 154806 6-Aug-2008 23:06
Send private message

I have a silent 8500gt which is the lowest card to support full h264 decoding, but handles it perfectly fine for what ive tested with the samples. Many others have reported theirs going just fine too. 8600 silent might get a fair bit hotter perhaps, not sure.


Do you have the mATX Antec Fusion case like I'm planning on getting?  or a larger ATX case with better airflow?

4025 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 1076

Trusted

  Reply # 154813 6-Aug-2008 23:48
Send private message

Mines a large ATX case with a matx board in it. 2 80mm at the front and 2 at the back, so i suppose good airflow. Graphics cards can handle upwards of 80'C, silent should be okay unless you have very little airflow.

994 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 29


  Reply # 154958 7-Aug-2008 14:27
Send private message

@Asmodeus:Overkill much? if thats for a dedicated HTPC with no gaming etc then you must have money to burn. An 8600GT is easily enough for video decoding.


Im one of "those guys" that wants to use it as an htpc AND a lounge gaming console. Def overkill for a dedicated htpc but I want to be able to play my car racing games, flight sim X, GTA and, of course, COD4 & Crysis.

The case is over 1/4 of the total too....

can you tell Im not married lol? Wink




HTPC: Silverstone Crown CW02 case | Asus P5Q-L main board | Intel Dual core E8400 3.0GHz CPU | Thermalright Ultra120-Extreme Passive CPU Cooler | Blackgold BTG3540 TV Tuner & Hauppauge PVR-150 MCE Edition | Asus EN9600GT-Silent Passive GPU | 4GB Supertalent DDR2 800 RAM | 5+TB HDD space | LiteOn DH-401S BD/DVD/CD reader | Corsair HX-520w PSU | 1 single Noctua Silent Case fan | Logitech diNovo Bluetooth Media Desktop | Logitech Harmony 785 Universal Remote | Logitech Wireless Rumblepad 2 | Windows 7 Media Center, MediaBrowser & Arcsoft Total Media Theatre

214 posts

Master Geek

Trusted

  Reply # 154966 7-Aug-2008 14:57
Send private message

@HTPCnewbie: Your signature won't show until you have 10 posts under your belt... some sort of anti spam thing IIRC :)

David




------------------------------------------------------
David Elsbury
Freelance Lighting, Sound and AV Technician
"Technician like ninja... live in shadow, move in silence"


 1 | 2
View this topic in a long page with up to 500 replies per page Create new topic



Twitter »

Follow us to receive Twitter updates when new discussions are posted in our forums:



Follow us to receive Twitter updates when news items and blogs are posted in our frontpage:



Follow us to receive Twitter updates when tech item prices are listed in our price comparison site:





News »

UFB connections pass 460,000
Posted 11-Dec-2017 11:26


The Warehouse Group to adopt IBM Cloud to support digital transformation
Posted 11-Dec-2017 11:22


Dimension Data peeks into digital business 2018
Posted 11-Dec-2017 10:55


2018 Cyber Security Predictions
Posted 7-Dec-2017 14:55


Global Govtech Accelerator to drive public sector innovation in Wellington
Posted 7-Dec-2017 11:21


Stuff Pix media strategy a new direction
Posted 7-Dec-2017 09:37


Digital transformation is dead
Posted 7-Dec-2017 09:31


Fake news and cyber security
Posted 7-Dec-2017 09:27


Dimension Data New Zealand strengthens cybersecurity practice
Posted 5-Dec-2017 20:27


Epson NZ launches new Expression Premium Photo range
Posted 5-Dec-2017 20:26


Eventbrite and Twickets launch integration partnership in Australia and New Zealand
Posted 5-Dec-2017 20:23


New Fujifilm macro lens lands in New Zealand
Posted 5-Dec-2017 20:16


Cyber security not being taken seriously enough
Posted 5-Dec-2017 20:13


Sony commences Android 8.0 Oreo rollout in New Zealand
Posted 5-Dec-2017 20:08


Revera partners with Nyriad to deliver blockchain pilot to NZ Government
Posted 5-Dec-2017 20:01



Geekzone Live »

Try automatic live updates from Geekzone directly in your browser, without refreshing the page, with Geekzone Live now.



Are you subscribed to our RSS feed? You can download the latest headlines and summaries from our stories directly to your computer or smartphone by using a feed reader.

Alternatively, you can receive a daily email with Geekzone updates.