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134 posts

Master Geek
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Topic # 25528 24-Aug-2008 17:28
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Hi All,

I'm looking into building a full HTPC system. It won't be used for anything else bar watching TV, streaming media from a local server and providing PVR functionality.

Why:
We recently installed a UHF aerial, cancelled our sky subscription and went Freeview DVB-T. Loving it - but hating the lack of control, slow MHEG-5 listings and sub-par chinese built interface (Not dissing the eXtra terrerstrial's picture quality at all.. :))

What:
I want a pretty interface. I central one stop shop for my media needs (except blu-ray), inclusive of our TV watching. I want PVR-like functionality. That being timeshifting, ad-skipping (nice to have) and recording functionality.

It needs to look like an A/V component, not a PC - and should be quiet.

Current Equipment:
Sony 46" X Series.
eXtra Terrestrial DVB-T receiver via HDMI.
Sony PS3 via HDMI, this currently serves our media streaming (via my DLNA server) and blu-ray needs - and does it well!
XBox 360, first gen via Component.
Logtiech harmony 525 remote control.

Proposed Equipment:
  1. Antec Veris Fusion v2 M-ATX Home Theatre Case, 430W PSU, Silver
  2. Asus P5KPL-CM Motherboard, Socket 775, 1066MHz FSB, 2xDIMM DDR2, PCIe-16, 2xPCI, 1xPCIe-1, 8xUSB2, Audio, Video, M-ATX
  3. Intel Core 2 Duo E6850 3.0 GHz, 1333MHz FSB, Socket 775, Retail pack with fan
  4. Kingston HyperX 2GB 1066MHz DDR2 DIMM (Kit of 2) Non-ECC CL5 (5-5-5-15)
  5. Hauppauge WinTV HVR 2200 TV Tuner, FM Radio, Internal, PCIe
  6. Asus EN8600GT SILENT/HTDP/512M Video Card, GeForce 8600 GT, 512MB, DDR3, PCIe-16, TV out, DVI, HDTV
This comes to $1,248.09 from Ascent. I'm sure I could get it cheaper elsewhere, but I just wanted to get a starting point and equipment list to begin with.

I will probably run Media Portal or GBPVR based on the discussions I've seen around here.

Questions:
Is this too grunty? Could I spend way less and still get something that does the job well?

Also - I notice my suggested case doesn't come with any IR equipment. Does the HVR 2200 come with this? How is this usually dealt with?

Thanks in advance all!!

--
Craig.

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2655 posts

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  Reply # 159375 24-Aug-2008 19:07
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My 2c - No advantage of 8600GT over 8500GT for HTPC.  However if you later decide to play some games the 8600GT is a lot better for only a small increase in price.

The OEM HVR2200 does not come with an IR receiver or IR remote.

Does your home theatre case come with an IR port. (Mine did)




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 # 159388 24-Aug-2008 20:06
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E6850 = No way. e8400 is much faster and about the same price, and newer.
I'd get a better motherboard than that.
Bad ram choice. You won't notice the difference compared to 800mhz, and you can get a crucial XMS2 2gb kit for $90ish.
8500GT might be another idea if you want to drop the cost a bit, it'll still work fine.

Thats a very fast setup, i'd say its overkill. If you want to go intel an e7200 might be a more suitable choice, though AMD might be a better idea if you want even cheaper.

722 posts

Ultimate Geek


  Reply # 159403 24-Aug-2008 21:09
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My HTPC uses an Intel E4600 CPU which has a useage of between 30-60% for Mediaportal FreeviewHD using an Asus EN8500GT graphics card & PowerDVD(7) -trial pack- with hardware acceleration enabled. It works perfectly, unless you want to transcode when a record is happeningUndecided

My remote is an MCE remote for Mediaportal functionality & a universal remote for macros ie. turning on/off AV/HTPC/TV. If your Harmony remote has enough learning buttons you could use it for MP functioanlity, as well.




Silverstone LC14 HTPC Case/Intel E4600 CPU/GA-EP35-DS3 MOBO/Asus EN9500GT graphics/2GB RAM/total 2TB HDD space/HVR-2200 & 2X 150MCE tuner cards/LG GGC-H20L BD Drive/MCE2005/Mediaportal/TVServer 1.1.0Final/LG 55"3D LED-TV/Denon AVR-1803 receiver/X1 projector

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 159444 24-Aug-2008 23:49
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1gkar: My HTPC uses an Intel E4600 CPU which has a useage of between 30-60% for Mediaportal FreeviewHD using an Asus EN8500GT graphics card & PowerDVD(7) -trial pack- with hardware acceleration enabled. It works perfectly, unless you want to transcode when a record is happeningUndecided

My remote is an MCE remote for Mediaportal functionality & a universal remote for macros ie. turning on/off AV/HTPC/TV. If your Harmony remote has enough learning buttons you could use it for MP functioanlity, as well.


I'm getting 30-60% cpu useage with mediaportal freeviewHD with hardware acceleration turned off, im wondering if you hardware acceleration may not be working correctly.




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


84 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 159459 25-Aug-2008 07:42
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Great choice of case as I own one also. Just be aware though, the built in IR reciever only works well with MCE remotes. You can get it to work using other remotes, but the fustration factor is high and I dont recommend it. With an MCE remote and the very customisable iMON software that comes with the case, you can control just about any software package.

So add an MCE remote to you're list.

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  Reply # 159463 25-Aug-2008 08:16
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FreddyK: Great choice of case as I own one also. Just be aware though, the built in IR reciever only works well with MCE remotes. You can get it to work using other remotes, but the fustration factor is high and I dont recommend it. With an MCE remote and the very customisable iMON software that comes with the case, you can control just about any software package.

So add an MCE remote to you're list.


The logitech can pretend to be a MCE remote...







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

609 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 159481 25-Aug-2008 09:45
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Cadriel: Hi All,

Proposed Equipment:
Antec Veris Fusion v2 M-ATX Home Theatre Case, 430W PSU, Silver
Asus P5KPL-CM Motherboard, Socket 775, 1066MHz FSB, 2xDIMM DDR2, PCIe-16, 2xPCI, 1xPCIe-1, 8xUSB2, Audio, Video, M-ATX
Intel Core 2 Duo E6850 3.0 GHz, 1333MHz FSB, Socket 775, Retail pack with fan
Kingston HyperX 2GB 1066MHz DDR2 DIMM (Kit of 2) Non-ECC CL5 (5-5-5-15)
Hauppauge WinTV HVR 2200 TV Tuner, FM Radio, Internal, PCIe
Asus EN8600GT SILENT/HTDP/512M Video Card, GeForce 8600 GT, 512MB, DDR3, PCIe-16, TV out, DVI, HDTVIs this too grunty?

Could I spend way less and still get something that does the job well?
--
Craig.


Way to grunty and with a matx case you are asking for heat and noise problems.

I have a Athlon X2 3800 (2 x 2Ghz). DDR-400 ram. Used have a 7600GT which worked well. But now have a 8600GT.

I would suggest a
CPU 2x1.83Ghz (or better if going to play games) as it will do the job on
RAM 2GB DDR2-667

Where you want to spend money is the power supply, motherboard, and case. Most media center cases are small or very tight when everything is installed. e.g. That video card being silent adds a lot of length to it and it didn't fit into my Silverstonetek GD01 case without a new heatsink (Zalman silent VNF100 which is not rated to cool the 8600 series but it does).

My point is I think if you are running a silent video card you will need a ATX case, a large CPU cooler, and excellent ventilation.

cheers
db



134 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 159648 25-Aug-2008 17:52
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Hi all,

Thanks for your responses so far! I'll look into modifying my proposed setup and post when I've got more to go on. I think i'll move to a full ATX case, slightly slower generic ram, 8500GT and some form of aftermarket cooling.

--
Craig.

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  Reply # 159728 25-Aug-2008 22:02
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i have a zalman hd160 case and have used it with both the onboard 6150 GPU and with a nvidia 8400GS passive cooled card.  The heat (mb/cpu/psu) was lower in the case with the 8400 card -avg 39-40deg - than when using the onboard gpu - avg 41-42deg.  This card is pretty similar to the 8500 sizewise/heatwise I believe.

I have an athlon 3500+ with the CNSP9500 cpu cooler which is made to be both silent, and to fit the hd160 case (well the case is made to take the cooler).

the new intel chips should be generating a bit less heat and using a bit less power than the athlon that I have i think.

the zalman case definately looks like an AV component as it is a perfect match sizewise to my onkyo amp as can be seen below:





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  Reply # 159739 25-Aug-2008 22:40
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Heres some suggestions to think about:
CPU: Intel e7300
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3
RAM: Corsair XMS2 TWIN 2X1GB DDR2 800
Graphics: Asus EN8500GT SILENT MAGIC 512MB
Tuner: HVR-2200

AMD is actually a cheaper option and sufficient for a mediacentre, however since you seem to want quite a powerful system i stuck with intel.

180 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 159870 26-Aug-2008 13:26
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There you go Craig, ask a simple question here about your build and you have to go back to the drawing board because everyone (including me) wants you to build your HTPC some other way. Smile

I also went with the Antec Fusion V2 Silver. I'm please with the case but had to pull the power feed on the bright white power led (around the power button). Just a bit too harsh in my theatre.

I went with the latest Intel DG45ID motherboard - Advantage is HDMI and 7.1 sound via the integrated GPU so no extra video card required. Expansion slot layout is good and only needed to slot in the HVR-2200. Works great for me with DVB Viewer (less than 2.5% cpu use with freeview). I also run a Blu-ray drive and that works fine also on this board.

My Antec case also came with a built in IR reciever in the VFD. As stated above works with MCE remote codes quite well. Simply plug the supplied VFD cable into an internal USB header and it's all there. I do find it a bit direction sensitive compared to the MS USB reciever and I have a bit of trouble with my MCE keyboard if it's not directly pointing at it.

Good luck with the build.



134 posts

Master Geek
+1 received by user: 5


  Reply # 159889 26-Aug-2008 14:14
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Haha - plenty of opinion's is what I'm after.

I like the idea of having a motherboard that takes care of my sound and graphics requirements without the additional need for a graphics card.

Also - I really like the look and form factor of the Antec Fusion V2, which means I need to be looking at mATX motherboards.

I guess my only real problem now is knowing what fits appropriately. I used to work as a system builder (many years ago now) and have always built my own machines, but as far as I can see - HTPC's are in a league of their own. Plus - I haven't built for a good 2 years now.

Is the G35 chipset onboard video good? Are there any issues with hardware H264 acceleration?

Also - eXDee, thanks for your advice. I'll definately be going with the e7300 and HVR 2200.

Anyway. As per my previous comments, I'll post a more revised setup once I've had time to do some more research.

Oh - I've been reviewing MediaPortal on one of my current machines (minus TV) and wow, what a cool app. Especially with the Indigo theme.

Thanks all!

--
Craig.

180 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 159896 26-Aug-2008 14:32
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Cadriel:

Is the G35 chipset onboard video good? Are there any issues with hardware H264 acceleration?



The board I use is the new G45 chipset and has good potential to solve some advanced problems such as protected audio video pathing so that we can get full blown HD sound like Dolby TrueHD via HTPC. There are still some issues with 24p playback but it's looking good that future drivers and software updates will solve these problems.

The hardware accel is fine with this chipset if you set the Intel software up correctly. See my other post for the DG45ID.

722 posts

Ultimate Geek


  Reply # 159939 26-Aug-2008 17:21
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kiwijunglist:
1gkar: My HTPC uses an Intel E4600 CPU which has a useage of between 30-60% for Mediaportal FreeviewHD using an Asus EN8500GT graphics card & PowerDVD(7) -trial pack- with hardware acceleration enabled. It works perfectly, unless you want to transcode when a record is happeningUndecided

My remote is an MCE remote for Mediaportal functionality & a universal remote for macros ie. turning on/off AV/HTPC/TV. If your Harmony remote has enough learning buttons you could use it for MP functioanlity, as well.


I'm getting 30-60% cpu useage with mediaportal freeviewHD with hardware acceleration turned off, im wondering if you hardware acceleration may not be working correctly.
Could have something to do with the trial version having expired? Or even HA not being functional in the trial version, as I think it has always operated around this %. I'm against being forced to pay for an entire media package when all I want is the codec(s). If they supplied an option for codec purchase I would buy it like I did with the Purevideo codec.

Works well for me, at present.




Silverstone LC14 HTPC Case/Intel E4600 CPU/GA-EP35-DS3 MOBO/Asus EN9500GT graphics/2GB RAM/total 2TB HDD space/HVR-2200 & 2X 150MCE tuner cards/LG GGC-H20L BD Drive/MCE2005/Mediaportal/TVServer 1.1.0Final/LG 55"3D LED-TV/Denon AVR-1803 receiver/X1 projector



134 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 160449 28-Aug-2008 13:47
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Hi All,

I've decided to go with an ATX mobo and case, along with an nVidia card instead of onboard. I've had lots of experience with the nVidia's, so feel comfortable with them - thats my only reason for going down that path. The ATX decision is purely for expandability down the track, and additional cooling options should I need them.

So - after further consideration of comments and my requirements, this is what I've come up with.

Case and PSU:
Silverstone SST-LC16M ATX Home Theatre Case, Black, with VFD & Remote Control and card reader
Corsair 520HX, 520W ATX PSU, Active PFC, SLI Ready, Black, Retail

Motherboard, memory and CPU:
Asus P5Q Motherboard, Socket 775, 1600MHz FSB, 4xDIMM DDR2, PCIe-16, 3xPCI, 2xPCIe-1, 12xUSB2, Firewire, Audio, ATA, RAID, ATX
Intel Core 2 Duo E7300 2.66 GHz, 800MHz FSB, Socket 775, Retail pack with fan
Corsair XMS2, TWIN2X2048-6400, 2x1GB, DDR2-800, PC2-6400, CL5, DIMM

Addon Cards:
Hauppauge WinTV HVR 2200 TV Tuner, FM Radio, Internal, PCIe
Asus Extreme EN8500GT Silent Video Card, GeForce 8500 GT, 512MB, DDR2, PCIe-16, TV out, DVI, HDTV

Drives & Other:
Seagate Barracuda ST31000340AS Hard Disk Drive, 1000GB, 7200rpm, 32768KB Cache, SATA-2
AcoustiFan DustPROOF AFDP-8025B, Case Fan, 80mm, Black
Pioneer DVR-213LS DVD Writer, DVD 20R/16W/8RW, CD 40R/40W/32RW, Internal, SATA, Black, Retail, Nero, LightScribe

The PSU i'll probably downgrade to a lower wattage as 520 is way too much, I just couldn't find a corsair with lower wattage on the site i'm composing this on. I'll also probably go for a smaller hard drive, as the 1TB drive is quite expensive.

I'm hoping to stay under the $1500.00 mark, preferably lower. This current setup is closer to the $1800.00 mark on ascent at the moment.

I have a couple of questions I'm hoping some of you can answer for me:

1/
I live the case, but am worried about space. I notice on ascent they warn you about specific types of DVD drives and graphics cards. Does anyone know if the dvd drive and 8500GT i've selected above will cause issues with the case or not?

2/
Does the IR port on this case allow me to 1) power on from an off state or sleep state, and 2) will my harmony work okay with it?

3/
I notice all the nvidia cards come with HDTV ready flag, but what does this mean? Does it have HDMI out? Shouldn't this be my preferred method of delivery for sound and video to my TV?

4/
Although the motherboard is super duper - I  think I might be able to save some cost here as it's propbably overspec'd for my needs. Any recommendations on chipsets based on my CPU choice? This has probably been the hardest choice for me thus far as I'm not up to play with the latest chipset's available.


Thanks everyone!!

--
Craig.

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