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25 posts

Geek


Topic # 26012 9-Sep-2008 15:31
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Hi all. Last weekend we have bought a new samsung 46inch LCD tv. Its very nice, i have to say Also bought a Zinwell HD decoder for the freeview channels to view in HD.

http://www.samsung.com/nz/consumer/detail/detail.do?group=television&type=television&subtype=lcdtv&model_cd=LA46A650A1RXRD&pid=nz_home_producttext1_LA46A650


Also i recently found out that i have a UHF antenna. As i get the Maori and Prime channels on my TV. Still trying to figure out how to make Zinwell work, so i can get the HD channels on my TV.

My current setup so far.
1. Samsung LCD TV 46inch.
2. Zinwell HD decoder (connected thru HDMI to my TV), but still in the process of getting it to work :(
3. Sony dvd/vcr combo. (connected thru component and composite and RF connection to my TV currently)


My Requirements:
The PC is going to be used for watch mostly watch movies, TV channels and xbox gaming. 
I would also like to able to record the stuff coming on TV with good quality!!!
I would prefer it to be quiet and able to control some functions with a remote control.
Also Futureproof the HTPC for atleast the next 5 years :)


Here is rough idea i have so far.

Case with PSU - $283 (looks pretty cool. stole from another post :)
http://c1com.co.nz/shop/step1.php?number=13775

Asus M2A-VM HDMI Motherboard, Socket AM2, 2000MHz FSB - $120
http://ascent.co.nz/productspecification.aspx?ItemID=356489

Intel Pentium Dual-Core E2220 CPU, 2.40GHz, 800MHz FSB - $170 ( Not sure if this CPU is good enough)
http://www.ascent.co.nz/productspecification.aspx?ItemID=363235

Hauppauge WinTV HVR 1700 TV Tuner, Internal - $100
http://www.tastech.co.nz/details/251351.htm

HDD - 1TB HD - $217
http://pconlineshop.co.nz/pcshop/pro...ducts_id=28299

Memory - 2 x 2GB - $100
http://pconlineshop.co.nz/pcshop/pro...ducts_id=35448

Wireless Keyboard and Mouse - $212
http://www.qmb.co.nz/p.aspx?107690

Approx Total - $1200.00 (My max budget is $1500. Less $$ is better :)

Not sure about the TV tuner. Do i need a really expensive tuner to record in very good quality or just any tuner is good enough?
Do i have get a windows VISTA? i personally dont like it, as its a power hog and not hugely different from XP. But if its better, i will get it.

Please advise if you have better options or comments to make the PC build cheaper with my requirements.

Thanks all in advance.
Groovy

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  Reply # 163340 9-Sep-2008 16:58
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Initial reactions would be that you've chosen an intel socket 775 cpu to go on an AMD socket AM2 board. Simply doesn't work. Swap the processor for an AMD 5200 2.6ghz (not 2.7ghz version, it has less cache), i think thats about the same price.

Vista isn't necessary for a HTPC, some like it though things like hardware acceleration still work just fine in XP. Also it takes up $200 of your budget.

You picked 4gb of ram. Excessive for a HTPC, stick with 2gb. You can only utilise about 3.25gb in XP due to 32bit and windows restrictions.

I'd swap the HVR-1700 for the HVR-2200. You get a second tuner meaning you can watch one and record another.

You've gone excessive on the keyboard and mouse, i'd get something much much cheaper. It's almost your second most expensive component, which is just wrong.

You haven't included a graphics card for hardware accelerated video decoding. Get an Nvidia 8500GT at least or perhaps an 8600GT if you need more power for games or something.

You have listed parts from 4 different stores, i suggest buying it all from one store with a good reputation, otherwise you'll regret it if a part turns out faulty and theres issues with returning it. I suggest reading the first post of this thread for which retailers provide good service. Personally i recommend asking Computerlounge to do a price match on a store like C1 or do you a deal of some sort. If you want other opinions on them then check the last couple of pages of that thread.

138 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 163347 9-Sep-2008 17:35
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eXDee: I'd swap the HVR-1700 for the HVR-2200. You get a second tuner meaning you can watch one and record another.


Definitely get the HVR2200, and also add with all the money you will save on the RAM & keyboard and mouse a Microsoft MCE USB2 remote which will control all the Meda Center functions plus power your TV on/off and chnage the volume on your TV or amp with it's programmable buttons (unless you want/have the budget for a flash Universal Remote that can also control DVD, amp etc). Note all digital TV cards are equal quality as they simply tune into the frequency and record the data as-is to disk, however the HVR2200 is the cheapest way to get two tuners and hence be able to record as many TVNZ & Mediaworks channels as you want at once.

groovy:
Asus M2A-VM HDMI Motherboard, Socket AM2, 2000MHz FSB - $120
http://ascent.co.nz/productspecification.aspx?ItemID=356489

Another option for the motherboard is to hunt down an Intel DG45ID. Have search on Pricespy for BOXDG45ID, or have a look at this thread for equivalents. Then you can keep the Intel proccessor (which is generally better), maybe a get a 7200 for a little bit more which is much better than what you have picked out.

If you want to save mony you could get a smaller hard drive, a 640GB is half the price and hence better $/GB. And the aforementioned kb/mouse and RAM savings.

groovy:
Do i have get a windows VISTA? i personally dont like it, as its a power hog and not hugely different from XP. But if its better, i will get it.
http://ascent.co.nz/productspecification.aspx?ItemID=356489

As noted you do not need Vista however you will have to buy either a Vista or XP license (unless you have a spare one) to run MediaPortal or GB-PVR, the only decent options currently for a FreeviewHD PVR. I personally use Vista but as eXDee noted XP works, at least for some around here.

Otherwise looks good, i don't think you have to spend any more than your budget simply juggle some stuff around. Although a DVDRW drive for $40 is worthwhile, hardly breaks the budget and you could utilise the Media Center for everything except BluRay (bit more complicated/expensive through a computer currently) that way.



25 posts

Geek


  Reply # 163374 9-Sep-2008 21:02
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eXDee: Initial reactions would be that you've chosen an intel socket 775 cpu to go on an AMD socket AM2 board. Simply doesn't work. Swap the processor for an AMD 5200 2.6ghz (not 2.7ghz version, it has less cache), i think thats about the same price.

Vista isn't necessary for a HTPC, some like it though things like hardware acceleration still work just fine in XP. Also it takes up $200 of your budget.

You picked 4gb of ram. Excessive for a HTPC, stick with 2gb. You can only utilise about 3.25gb in XP due to 32bit and windows restrictions.

I'd swap the HVR-1700 for the HVR-2200. You get a second tuner meaning you can watch one and record another.

You've gone excessive on the keyboard and mouse, i'd get something much much cheaper. It's almost your second most expensive component, which is just wrong.

You haven't included a graphics card for hardware accelerated video decoding. Get an Nvidia 8500GT at least or perhaps an 8600GT if you need more power for games or something.

You have listed parts from 4 different stores, i suggest buying it all from one store with a good reputation, otherwise you'll regret it if a part turns out faulty and theres issues with returning it. I suggest reading the first post of this thread for which retailers provide good service. Personally i recommend asking Computerlounge to do a price match on a store like C1 or do you a deal of some sort. If you want other opinions on them then check the last couple of pages of that thread.


Sorry my bad for mixing up the Intel and AMD. I looked for the HVR-2200 and its about $179. Its very expensive. Are you guys sure? 
Can i make use of the Zinwell decoder to receive the channels and output to LCD tv in HDMI format and record from TV to some cheap TV tuner. Would this work?
The reason i picked that Keyboard and mouse is because they are BLUETOOTH. Because when i use my LCD tv as a PC monitor i will sitting about 5 meters or so away from the LCD. And if i get the normal wirless keyboard and Mouse, i dont think they will work that far. 
Isn't that the case?
I havent included any Video card, as the motherboard has a build-in video card with HDMI or DVI output. Wouldnt be that really good output?? ( and also save money of videocard :) )
I guess buying from one good store is better like C1shopping in Auckland is a good cheap place.

Please let me know what you guys think about it now? Also please suggest any changes to any of the hardware as im not really particular to get one thing. (Except the case which looks good :) 
Thanks again.

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  Reply # 163391 9-Sep-2008 22:44
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The 2nd tuner gives you a lot more freedom, and as mentioned a second tuner combined with mediaportal, means you could record every channel by TVNZ and every channel by Mediaworks all at once, theoretically.
Not sure what store you're looking at but the HVR-2200 is not $180. I got mine for $130 i think a month ago, but recent demand + exchange rate has pushed this up to $140 ish.

Yes you could use your zinwell with a standard definition svideo input into the HTPC and record in low quality, though savings aren't much, you'd want a mpeg encoder on the card which is i think a minimum of $80, and you loose the benefit of recording in HD and two channels.

Wireless KB/Mice have improved a lot in the last couple of years for range, but i see where you're coming from. I think a decent one should be able to handle 5m but i cant confirm.

For pretty much any high definition video (freeview HD, blu-ray, some video download services), which you'll want with a 46 inch TV, a graphics card supporting h264 decoding is a must for a smooth picture since the graphics card does the hard work. There are motherboards that in theory support this with the onboard video, but in practice they are hard to setup and lag and stutter. The one you selected doesn't have this capability.
Standard definition looks bad enough on a 32" let alone a 46"!

Regarding CPU's, AMD seems to run very cool (mine runs at 14'C idle when not in the cabinet!) and the user 'bloom' who is quite knowledgeable regretted using a low end intel on his HTPC because he beleives the AMD's have better multimedia instructions on them. And i wouldn't say that's a bias opinion since i think hes running an overclocked intel chip on his main PC.

Again i plug computerlounge. What can i say? I'm genuinely happy with the after sales service i was given (a free replacement for the tuner card that I broke), and i probably won't go somewhere else any time soon. And no i'm not getting paid in any way to say this, and neither are these people.

438 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 72


  Reply # 163414 10-Sep-2008 00:13
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Like others have said before me:
  • Get the HVR-2200.  You wont regret it.  You may even move your Zinwell decoder elsewhere as a result ;-)
  • BIG thumbs up for Computer Lounge.  Bought the HVR-2200 and case from there (also the Antec Fusion V2 in black).  Prices are competitive and they know their stuff.  When I went in to buy the HVR-2200 they asked what I was going to run it on to make sure I wasn't expecting Windows MCE to handle Freeview HD.  They clearly want repeat custom rather than having an "any sale now" attitude.

As mentioned above.  I too have the Antec Fusion V2 case in black.  Overall I love it.  The only criticism I would give it is that the LEDs can be a little too bright.  I ended up disabling the HD activity LED (by unplugging from the motherboard) after TheWife™ complained about it and confirmed what I thought of it.  Plan to buy a new entertainment cabinet at somepoint to hide everything anyway.  Other than that its great.  Very quiet, easy to work with and looks the biz.  Has a very high WAF value too.

I use a Windows MCE remote and have the IR receiver that comes with it.  I found the inbuilt Antec receiver a bit of a pain and endup disabling it and using the MCE receiver.  It's more a case of being lazy with it and MediaPortal.  You can programme it all and I was slowly getting there but ended up taking the easy route (which is suggested in a few forums on the Internet).  If TheWife™ "comes to the party" I'll be getting a Logitech One remote for birthday or christmas and I might revisit it all then.

When you get your kit together: Enjoy and persevere. 

370 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 3


  Reply # 163528 10-Sep-2008 16:44
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Good spotting the wireless keyboards usually have only 1.5 - 2.5m range.
However, this is what I would like to have, instead of the Bluetooth keyboard + mouse, when sitting on the couch.
Looks pretty slick, I would say...

What do you think? And it is cheaper, too.

the only disadvantage I see: the keyboard you selected offers the "Bluetooth hub" function as well.
Do you plan to use other Bluetooth devices?




mobo Intel DH55PJ, RAM: 4GB RAM, Nova-T 500 HD + Avermedia Trinity tuner card, Geforce 520 video, 120GB SSD Sandisk + 640 WD + 1000SG, Win7 Home Prem 64-bit, Media Portal 1.15.0; BTC 9019URF Cordless Keyboard, Panasonic 55" (HDMI cable), HTPC Case Silverstone Grandia GD05B.


84 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 163652 11-Sep-2008 00:41
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nzkc: I use a Windows MCE remote and have the IR receiver that comes with it.  I found the inbuilt Antec receiver a bit of a pain and endup disabling it and using the MCE receiver.  It's more a case of being lazy with it and MediaPortal.  You can programme it all and I was slowly getting there but ended up taking the easy route (which is suggested in a few forums on the Internet).  If TheWife™ "comes to the party" I'll be getting a Logitech One remote for birthday or christmas and I might revisit it all then.

When you get your kit together: Enjoy and persevere. 

Out of interest, how did you disable the Antec reciever? As I understand, its not as simple as one would think it would be.

438 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 72


  Reply # 163720 11-Sep-2008 10:37
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There's an option in the iMon software.  It doesn't say disable IR receiver...it's worded something like "ignore IR receiver".  Means the same thing really.  Im at work...so that wording isn't 100% guaranteed...but I'm sure you'll find it. Wink

I had updated the iMon software to the latest version too.  I'm not sure if that option only appears with that version or if it was available with the software on the CD.  But if you wanted to update the software anyway, here's the link: http://www.soundgraph.com/Eng_/Supports/DownloadList.aspx?topMenu=4&subMenu=1&leftMenu=1

You can get download a version from the Antec site, but I believe this is more recent.  It is the same iMon product.  I guess Antec just license it from SoundGraph.  What I did find is that the updated software put an annoying "icon" on the screen.  Not in the system tray...looked like it was on the desktop but you could move it around.  Found an option to disable that and show it in the system tray instead (much cleaner).

If you struggle with configuring the software above I can provide details of my set up (once I'm back at home).



25 posts

Geek


  Reply # 163798 11-Sep-2008 15:45
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aucklander: Good spotting the wireless keyboards usually have only 1.5 - 2.5m range.
However, this is what I would like to have, instead of the Bluetooth keyboard + mouse, when sitting on the couch.
Looks pretty slick, I would say...

What do you think? And it is cheaper, too.

the only disadvantage I see: the keyboard you selected offers the "Bluetooth hub" function as well.
Do you plan to use other Bluetooth devices?

Hi Aucklander. Even that is a bit expensive for my budget. If you want a bluetooth one, check out the one below, its not too much more pricey, but its very compact and nice.

But i think i will stick with this one, which has 10m range according to the website. and its cheap :)
Thanks.



25 posts

Geek


  Reply # 163805 11-Sep-2008 16:28
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Did some research and here is the modified list of Hardware components after the awesome feedback. 


Here's the specs:

Please advise on the motherboard if a cheaper or better or intel, as i dont know much about them. I just chose gigabyte as its the branded company i know. Also gigabyte is the mobo in my current computer.

(As suggested by Ultimate geek. Thanks :) )

I have no idea which is a good Ram nowadays. I currently have kington but its expensive. Please advise!!!


2 x TV tuners as you guys suggested - Thanks

Video Card Gigabyte 8500GT
As you suggested. Thanks.



DVD Writer Liteon 20X

Universal Remote Logitech Harmony 525
just wondering if this remote can control, my 46inh Samsung LCD, sony dvd/vcr combo. Also what can it control in HTPC????


Software, Mediaportal, Vista.

Well i still need lot more feedback if you dont mind :) As i have never build a whole computer by myself, but liked to do this one.


Also here is another one of my post which i also need some help. 
Because if i cant get TV3 and C4, which would really suck, which means i cant record and view from this HTPC.


Thanks a lot again.

438 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 72


  Reply # 163806 11-Sep-2008 16:45
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You'll have a problem squeezing that motherboard into the case.

The Antec case only takes mATX (micro ATX...or is it mini ATX?) motherboards.

You could try these from Gigabyte:

Based those on the 780G chipset your original motherboard has.  No other reason.


370 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 3


  Reply # 163808 11-Sep-2008 16:55
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I see only one HDD. I believe the recommandation is to have the timeshifting done on a separate phisical drive, if possible. It is not manadatory, but it is said to improve performance / hdd life / noise levels.

You innitially listed 2x2GB RAM, which I believe is big enough to allow you to create virtual drive (let's say 1.5 - 2GB) and run timeshifting there. But now I see only 2GB ram, so the timeshifting is done on HDD? I tried the virtual drive on my machine, but I have only 2GB of RAM so I did not let it run permamently. But I used it for a couple of hours, for testing, and it worked just fine. Any opinions from others regarding timeshifting on RAM, using virtual drive? Does it create problems with sleep / wake cycles?

I also recomended the Adesso RF keyboard with touchpad ($150), for being cheaper than your initial allowance of $212 for wireless keyboard+mouse.

if you decide to get a video card (which is on the list), a good chipset (as the 780 is supposed to be) will not be required, as all the video processing is between video card and CPU, right? i am thinking: you may find a cheaper mobo, without on-board hdmi and good on-board video processor? I got this mobo as it was supposed to work just fine, but nVidia was required, after all...

Good luck!




mobo Intel DH55PJ, RAM: 4GB RAM, Nova-T 500 HD + Avermedia Trinity tuner card, Geforce 520 video, 120GB SSD Sandisk + 640 WD + 1000SG, Win7 Home Prem 64-bit, Media Portal 1.15.0; BTC 9019URF Cordless Keyboard, Panasonic 55" (HDMI cable), HTPC Case Silverstone Grandia GD05B.




25 posts

Geek


  Reply # 163811 11-Sep-2008 17:00
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nzkc: You'll have a problem squeezing that motherboard into the case.

The Antec case only takes mATX (micro ATX...or is it mini ATX?) motherboards.

You could try these from Gigabyte:

Based those on the 780G chipset your original motherboard has.  No other reason.


Thanks NZKC. I might go with the below motherboard, only because its cheaper.  Unless their is something else wrong with it :)



98 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 163816 11-Sep-2008 17:16
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I had a the same budget of $1500 as you and this is what I purchased:

Antec Fusion Black V2
Thermaltake Blue Orb II (Quiet CPU Cooler)
Gigabyte GA-EG45M-DS2H mATX motherboard (with integrated graphics and HDMI)
Intel Core 2 Quad 6600
2GB DDR800 RAM
Samsung 640GB HDD
Hauppauge WinTV-NovaT 500HD PCI Dual Tuner for FrewView
LG GCC-H20L Bluray, HD-DVD, DVD Writer



25 posts

Geek


  Reply # 163819 11-Sep-2008 17:40
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MrAlan: I had a the same budget of $1500 as you and this is what I purchased:

Antec Fusion Black V2
Thermaltake Blue Orb II (Quiet CPU Cooler)
Gigabyte GA-EG45M-DS2H mATX motherboard (with integrated graphics and HDMI)
Intel Core 2 Quad 6600
2GB DDR800 RAM
Samsung 640GB HDD
Hauppauge WinTV-NovaT 500HD PCI Dual Tuner for FrewView
LG GCC-H20L Bluray, HD-DVD, DVD Writer

Cool. So hows the HTPC? Is it worth it? Just wondering what the Antec Fusion LCD display show?? i mean does it show what songs playing, or what source is selected and so on. 

Did it take very long? As i have never built before, just wondering approx how long would it take to get it up and running?
Thanks.

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