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Topic # 25763 1-Sep-2008 02:27
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Hi Guys I've been thinking about building my HTPC for few months now and i finally going to go for it, as you guys already went through it your feedback is appreciated and it'll help me a great deal before i start ordering the parts:

MOBO
M3A78-T features the AMD 790GX graphics integrated chipset

Rams
8GB (4x2GB) 800MHz DDR2 Non-ECC Low-Latency CL4

Hard drive
Primary: 1TB Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000
Secondary: 1TB Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000

Optical Drive:
LG GGW-H20L Blu-ray Writer Review
LG GSA-H55L DVD-Writer

TV Tuner
two:  ATI TV Wonder™ HD 650 Combo PCI Express

Speaker System:
I am going to use this system in my living room (3m x 5m) and I am not planning to use a receiver, is there a good wireless surround speaker system that I can hook strait to my HTPC?

Case:

I would like to go with liquid cooled case; however, i never owned one any recommendation for a roomy simple liquied cooled case?

Many thanks for your help on this,
TH


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  Reply # 161128 1-Sep-2008 04:56
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First question - why do you think you need 8GB RAM? 2GB is plenty for most things and 4GB is more than enough.

Why do you want an ATI tuner card? IMHO there is no reason not to get a Hauppauge HVR2200. They are quite simply the best card available. You also do realise after reading GZ that a ATI video card will choke with interlaced H.264 content on Freeview|HD? Something like a NVidia 8500GT or greater is recommended.

What OS and software are you planning to use?




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Geek


  Reply # 161129 1-Sep-2008 06:07
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Thanks for your feedback Sbiddle, i agree with you 8Gig of rams is going overboard most likely i'll go with 4Gig.
As far as for the TV tuner i had no idea ATI have issues (thanks for the headsup).
OS: Windows vista Home Premium SP1 64bit


Thanks again for you feedback and help,
TH

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 161131 1-Sep-2008 06:42
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Tarek: Thanks for your feedback Sbiddle, i agree with you 8Gig of rams is going overboard most likely i'll go with 4Gig.
As far as for the TV tuner i had no idea ATI have issues (thanks for the headsup).
OS: Windows vista Home Premium SP1 64bit


Thanks again for you feedback and help,
TH



I don't think there are any issues with those TV Tuners (I have never heard of them before), but with ATi graphics cards.

It is however unecessary to buy 2 TV Tuners when a single HVR2200 will be better and cheaper.

Along with the RAM, why such a flash motherboard? Also what CPU were you thinking of?

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  Reply # 161132 1-Sep-2008 06:43
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The first thing you really need to answer is what you plan on using the system for.

Is the ATI650 even available in NZ? It only supports analogue TV (doesn't do DVB-T for Freeview|HD). It's essentially worthless if you live in NZ.

Secondly it's not the TV card that has the issue with H.264 content it's the onboard video card. If you are wanting to use Freeview|HD you will need an NVidia card that handles H.264 content properly.

Thirdly what software are you planning on using? What exactly do you want to do with your HTPC?



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  Reply # 161136 1-Sep-2008 07:36
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The machine will be used for:
- Regular every day use (web surfing, email, MS office use, mp3… etc.)
- TV (including recording from different channels)
* I don’t use any paid satellite service, just the regular free satellite channels (Hot bird, Niles Sat… etc.)
- DVD
- Media Storage

Processor: AMD Phenom 9850 BLACK EDITION 2.5GHz Socket AM2+ 125W Quad-Core Processor Model
HD985ZXAGHBOX - Retail

Speaker: Logitech Z-5500 505 Watts 5.1 Speaker - Retail

Again i can't thank you guys enough for your input and help!

Regards,
TH

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  Reply # 161143 1-Sep-2008 08:24
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So no gaming?

If you are not going to use it for gaming then I would suggest ramping down the spec's a bit.

Media centre PC's don't need a lot of power in fact you want to go with slightly slower kit that will not generate so much heat. Heat means faster or more fans, fans mean noise.







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 # 161146 1-Sep-2008 08:33
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I might play games on it every now and then (once a month), but it won't be primarily used for games.

TH

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  Reply # 161149 1-Sep-2008 08:50
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I take it you are not talking Crysis type games? ie. highly end graphics?

I would suggest getting a GF 8600GT rather then a 8500GT video card as the 8500 GT will not handle games.

CPU go for a duel core rather then quad as quad will generate more heat and you just dont need quad for what you are doing.







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 # 161160 1-Sep-2008 09:15
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Thanks for your feedback nety, please correct me if i am wrong! By just adding one extra GF 8600 graphics card, Hybrid CrossFireX on the ASUS M3A78-T will link the VGA card with the onboard GPU and deliver a bettere graphical outputs I'll still be connecting my LCD to the HTPC via the MOBO HDMI port and not the GF 8600 ?

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  Reply # 161166 1-Sep-2008 09:19
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Tarek: Thanks for your feedback nety, please correct me if i am wrong! By just adding one extra GF 8600 graphics card, Hybrid CrossFireX on the ASUS M3A78-T will link the VGA card with the onboard GPU and deliver a bettere graphical outputs I'll still be connecting my LCD to the HTPC via the MOBO HDMI port and not the GF 8600 ?


Sorry I know what Hybrid crossfirex does but have not ever delt with it directly. I would have thought that it would only work with an ATI card but will need someone who knows about it to confirm.







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 # 161175 1-Sep-2008 09:37
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So basically going for ATI Radeon HD 3600 Series would be a mistake instead of the 8600 GT? the more i read about HTPC the worse it gets  

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  Reply # 161192 1-Sep-2008 09:57
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I think the key would be to check the forums at www.xpmediacentre.com.au and here, to see what other people are putting in their boxes.  The specs for a media centre PC don't need to be that high because generally you want to get hardware that does the processing, instead of having the motherboard/cpu/ram doing it.  IE you want a tv tuner that can do hardware decoding etc, you want a graphics card that can handle HD....these things aren't expensive, and it means you don't have to shell out for a very expensive motherboard and cpu.  The best thing would be to get a motherboard with as much expansion as possible - the more pci slots the better as you may want to add tuners down the track.  Go for a quality stick of 2GB DDR RAM, and put the rest of your money into hard drives.  The quieter the better, samsung spinpoint drives are good for silence. 

So put the bulk of your money into storage and outputting video (cyberlink powerdvd hd or the like).  an nvidia 8600gt is plenty for what you want to do.  get yourself a liteon bdrom drive for $175ish if you want blu-ray, it's perfectly fine. 

basically bigger is not better with a htpc setup.  you can do things on a tight budget and still get outstanding performance.

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  Reply # 161322 1-Sep-2008 16:46
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Tarek: So basically going for ATI Radeon HD 3600 Series would be a mistake instead of the 8600 GT? the more i read about HTPC the worse it gets  

Well that's because you seem to be going about it the wrong way, your specs are overboard.

You need to knock it down to a more sane system. I suggest forgetting about onboard video - go for an 8600GT and get a cheaper motherboard - the one you suggested only came out a month ago and doesn't even seem to be in NZ yet. The Black Edition 125w phenoms cause problems on some boards, so i would steer clear just to be safe, even the ones that say they are compatible get things like super hot capacitors that reviewers had melting plastic the board was sitting on.
Heres a suggestion to think about:
Intel e7300 CPU
Asus P5Q Motherboard
2gb Corsair XMS2 RAM
Nvidia 8600GT - Silent if needed
HVR-2200 for dual tuner Freeview HD
Microsoft MCE Remote

Even that's high end for a mediacentre, you could drop it to a cheap AMD 5200, and an 8500GT instead which is what i'm using.



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Geek


  Reply # 161398 1-Sep-2008 21:36
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Thanks guys for being patient with me here, I reconfigured my setup based on your feedback:

Case:  Zalman HD160XT Plus
MOBO:  Gigabyte  GA-EP43-DS3R
CPU: Core™ 2 Duo E8400    Freq:3GHz L2 Cashe:6MB
Rams:  Corsair 2GB DDR2 800Mhz
Graphic Card: NVidia 8600GT
Audio Card: Onboard    Realtek ALC888 codec (High Definition Audio - 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel)
TV Tuner: Hauppauge HVR2200
Hard drive:
- Primary: Western Digital VelociRaptor WD3000GLFS 300GB 10000 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
- Secondary: Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb
Optical Drive: Pioneer Black Blu-Ray Combo SATA Model BDC-202BK - OEM
OS: Windows vista Home Premium SP1 32bit
Fax Modem: ENCORE ENF656-ESW-NDPR 56Kbps Fax Modem - Retail
Speaker System: Logitech Z-5500 505 Watts 5.1 Speaker
Remote Control: Harmony® 670 Advanced Universal Remote (I already own it, will it work?)

I think this motherboard can host all the hardware. 

do you guys think this setup is decent enough and all the different parts work togather fine?

Again the machine will be used for:
- Regular every day use (web surfing, email, MS office use, mp3… etc.)
- TV vewing - Free atellite channels (Hot bird, Niles Sat… etc.)
- Ability to record different programs on different channels
- Playing DVD
- Media Storage
- Occasional gaming

Thanks,
TH

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  Reply # 161401 1-Sep-2008 22:06
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What kind of gaming do you expect to be doing (any games in particular?). If you plan on playing fairly recent games i'd swap the 8600GT for a 9600GT.

The 10000rpm velociraptor hard drive isn't exactly all that quiet, interesting choice for a HTPC considering most people don't even put them in their gaming PCs due to the high cost and earlier fail rate.

The e8400 is a pretty high end processor, by choosing this i'm expecting you plan on doing some pretty serious gaming or something. Most video decoding will be done by the graphics card remember.

You mention Satellite TV - The HVR-2200 is a DVB-T card for tuning into Freeview HD. The satellite service is only standard definition. If you want to tune in satellite you need a tuner card for that too, perhaps if you want Freeview HD and satellite you should get two HVR-4000 or 3000 which can switch between DVB-T and DVB-S, and two of them means that you can record one and watch another.
Remember that Freeview HD won't work with Vista Mediacentre - you need to use software like Mediaportal or GB-PVR.

Your TV remote will work providing you have an IR receiver.

Also - a Fax/modem? Pretty wierd choice there...

Lastly, this seems to be a build for a computer which will also be used as a desktop PC for normal use? You mention MS office - using this on the TV to me seems a bit odd.

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