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Topic # 54009 15-Dec-2009 10:06
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Hi all,

I'm investigating the HTPC avenue and would just like to draw from your knowledge on what's possible at the mo please.  Much thanks in advance.

This would be replacing the PS3 so I'd like to know if these things are possible yet:

·          Full HD video 1080p with hardware acceleration via the onboard motherboard graphics? (Not requiring additional graphics card)

·          And carrying on from the above, are there any boards with built in Nvidia HD graphics instead of ATI? 

·          Support for passing Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio over hdmi (From DVDs and TV3 DVB-T freeview etc)

·          Suport for Bluray Playback in Windows 7 Media Player

·          Support for internal decoding of HD audio within Windows 7 Media Player and outputing this as LPCM over hdmi. 

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  Reply # 282580 15-Dec-2009 10:39
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Think you will be disappointed, I'm told by a friend there is nothing like the PS3 for Blueray. Not even his top-of-the-line Sony Blueray player.




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  Reply # 282587 15-Dec-2009 10:53
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Have a look at the NVIDIA ION boards, such as the Zotac range:


http://nicegear.co.nz/components/zotac-ion-intel-atom-n330-miniitx-motherboard/


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  Reply # 282601 15-Dec-2009 11:10
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Full HD video 1080p - Yes. Nvidia 9300 and ATI HD 3200 and up will do that.

And carrying on from the above, are there any boards with built in Nvidia HD graphics - Yes but not many in NZ at the moment.

Support for passing Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio over hdmi - hmmm not 100% but think you require a Asus Xonar or Auzentech HomeThreatre HD sound card for this.

Suport for Bluray Playback in Windows 7 Media Player - Requires Cyberlink PowerDVD 9 or the other one Arcsoft Total Home Threatre something.

Support for internal decoding of HD audio within Windows 7 Media Player and outputing this as LPCM - Requires above sound cards and Cyberlink PowerDVD or ATI HD 5xxx series video card for LPCM.





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  Reply # 282621 15-Dec-2009 11:36
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Thanks all, especially Browned for that reply. So answer is basically yes, if you're prepared to go shopping for the right parts.

Win7 has really caught my eye with native NZ freeview support so think this might be a goer to integrate Bluray, terrestrial and satellite all in the one machine. Cheers all.

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  Reply # 282628 15-Dec-2009 11:50
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+1 for the Nvidia Zotac board

I have a completely silent and I mean completely silent HPTC. Only occasionally does the drive pipe up and that's a fluid bearing western digital greenpower, so it's quiet as anyway

If you are going for a HTPC, get a passive based board, the Zotac Ion N330 with no fan works well :) and has a 90w DC brick with no fan. I had a previous N330 with fan, but opted to get the Zotac due to no fan. Since Quiet scenes in movies would really get on my nerves with a fan spinning.

Liteon do a blu-ray reader for about 100-150 i think, that'd be fine for your setup. Freeview and win 7 work great on the board too. I can record a freeview program off the HD demo channel, watch TV3 and stream to both my PCs and both my PS3s in the house :). I didn't think such a tiny board could handle it especially only drawing round 45w with my 1.5TB HDD installed




I have moved across the ditch.  Now residing in Melbourne as a VOIP/Video Technical Trainer/Engineer. 



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  Reply # 282640 15-Dec-2009 12:12
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Thanks Vinnieg, but opens so many more questions sorry!

Does your case / zontac board allow for onboard tuner cards (doesn't look like it from pics) or have you had to go to external usb tuners? (I'd want a twin tuner for DVB-T and a single sat tuner too).

And what case did you go with, like does it have optical drive in it as well etc?

Do these Zotac boards have the CPU included?

Looks like you wouldn't get 7.1 HD audio out of this though, as there's no scope for an extra audio card? (I'd love it if there was a software plug in for Win7 MC to software decode HD audio to LPCM, output via onboard HDMI)

I like the idea of the external brick power supply. In fact anything that makes this puppy look less like a computer is all good.

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  Reply # 282676 15-Dec-2009 13:15
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no, unfortunately not, but I got a 5-pin USB header and installed the USB reciever inside the case and just drilled an aerial hole for it. So it works fine :)

I went a cheapo Aywun A1-8989B with a 150w itx PSU, but removed the PSU since I had the brick.
It didn't come with a blu-ray, but you could easily install a 5.25" one

The Zotac boards have an ATom dual core chipset in it, which you'd think was slow, but is actually very good at Win7 MCE, no slow downs at all :) since hte graphics card does all the decoding

Total cost would be:
A1-8989B $85
Zotac $375
1.5TB GP HDD $175
Pinnacle 73e tuner $86
5-wire to USB internal header $10
Win7(family pack split into 3) $76
2x 1GB Corsair XMS2 DDR2 $100
$907

If you wanted to add a blu-ray $120 = $1027
I'm skipping hte optical drive since I've got my Ps3 for bluray and adding in a couple of extra 1.5TB HDDs

So my total is:
3x 1.5TB HDDs $1257 with 4.5TB of HDD space :) which I'm happy with at the moment
In such a small package and saving on power vs my old PC




I have moved across the ditch.  Now residing in Melbourne as a VOIP/Video Technical Trainer/Engineer. 

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