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47 posts

Geek


Topic # 60490 26-Apr-2010 23:36
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I'm about to build my first HTPC and thought I'd get some tips first before buying all the components.

Requirements:

Play back all sorts of media
TV Tuner & PVR (freeview with epg)
HDMI - Video and Audio through one cable
DVD (and be able to copy my dvds onto the hard drive)
Minimal gaming... I've got the PS3 for that already (and for blu-ray)

I'd love to run this as a Mythbuntu setup, but from all the searching I've done I can't seem to find a motherboard that will play well with Linux also support both Audio and Video through the HDMI cable. I might just use windows 7 for ease of setup and hardware compatibility. Perhaps later I'll add on a video card that is better supported by Linux and experiment with that.

Components:

Case: Silverstone Grandia GD04B
Power supply: Corsair VX450W  (just added one of these to my current rig and like how quiet it is)
Motherboard: GA-MA785GM-US2H (from what I can tell, does both video and audio on the HDMI output)
CPU: AMD Athlon II X2 240 2.8GHz (Should be enough for anything I'm running on it)
CPU Cooler: Scythe Big Shuriken (fits the case and the optical drive)
Hard drive: Western Digital Caviar Green 1TB 64mb cache (have heard good things)
TV Tuner: Hauppauge HVR-2200 (have heard it's the best for Freeview)
DVD Drive: Not sure yet
Remote: Not sure yet
Mouse/Keyboard: Logitech Mediaboard Pro for PS3 (for both my PS3 and the HTPC)
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

Am I forgetting anything? Will this setup work well for the listed requirements?

Thanks!

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481 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 324603 29-Apr-2010 11:03
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It looks like that build should meet your requirements. You may want to consider a second disk so that TV recordings aren't on the same drive as the OS. If you might be recording multiple HD streams simultaneously, and watching a previously recorded HD stream at the same time the disk throughput is quite high and it provides some marginal help to put the OS on a different disk.

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 324650 29-Apr-2010 12:22
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+1 for separate drives.

I have my OS on a 320GB 2.5" drive (sooo quiet), and a separate 500gb 3.5" drive for recording tv which is enough unless you're a major hoarder. MCE buddy is a good idea too as it will convert your wtv files into x.264 automatically saving you tonnes of space. I also have 3x 1.5TB HDDs in there for my media collection.

Also, will your onboard graphics be enough for freeview HD decoding and your "minimal gaming"? Probably but worth checking twice. You can always add in a passively cooled graphics card if needed.




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

622 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 41


  Reply # 324850 29-Apr-2010 17:24
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ryanja: I'm about to build my first HTPC and thought I'd get some tips first before buying all the components.

Requirements:

Play back all sorts of media
TV Tuner & PVR (freeview with epg)
HDMI - Video and Audio through one cable
DVD (and be able to copy my dvds onto the hard drive)
Minimal gaming... I've got the PS3 for that already (and for blu-ray)

I'd love to run this as a Mythbuntu setup, but from all the searching I've done I can't seem to find a motherboard that will play well with Linux also support both Audio and Video through the HDMI cable. I might just use windows 7 for ease of setup and hardware compatibility. Perhaps later I'll add on a video card that is better supported by Linux and experiment with that.

Components:

Case: Silverstone Grandia GD04B
Power supply: Corsair VX450W  (just added one of these to my current rig and like how quiet it is)
Motherboard: GA-MA785GM-US2H (from what I can tell, does both video and audio on the HDMI output)
CPU: AMD Athlon II X2 240 2.8GHz (Should be enough for anything I'm running on it)
CPU Cooler: Scythe Big Shuriken (fits the case and the optical drive)
Hard drive: Western Digital Caviar Green 1TB 64mb cache (have heard good things)
TV Tuner: Hauppauge HVR-2200 (have heard it's the best for Freeview)
DVD Drive: Not sure yet
Remote: Not sure yet
Mouse/Keyboard: Logitech Mediaboard Pro for PS3 (for both my PS3 and the HTPC)
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

Am I forgetting anything? Will this setup work well for the listed requirements?

Thanks!


If your going to use Linux then you will want an Nvidia video card, ATI support under Linux is arse.

I've heard murmors over on the XBMC forums that Intel intergrated graphics are now supported and work fine but havent had the time to fully investigate this. So you might be better off get a i3 instead of an AMD cpu.



47 posts

Geek


Reply # 325421 30-Apr-2010 19:52
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Asmodeus: +1 for separate drives.

I have my OS on a 320GB 2.5" drive (sooo quiet), and a separate 500gb 3.5" drive for recording tv which is enough unless you're a major hoarder. MCE buddy is a good idea too as it will convert your wtv files into x.264 automatically saving you tonnes of space. I also have 3x 1.5TB HDDs in there for my media collection.

Also, will your onboard graphics be enough for freeview HD decoding and your "minimal gaming"? Probably but worth checking twice. You can always add in a passively cooled graphics card if needed.


I'd already considered getting a second drive just for the OS. Not just for sound reasons, but so that I could easily swap out the drive that has just the media. I'll probably start with 1tb for media and add another later if I need it.

How do I figure out if the onboard graphics is enough to decode freeview?



47 posts

Geek


  Reply # 325422 30-Apr-2010 19:54
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PANiCnz:

If your going to use Linux then you will want an Nvidia video card, ATI support under Linux is arse.

I've heard murmors over on the XBMC forums that Intel intergrated graphics are now supported and work fine but havent had the time to fully investigate this. So you might be better off get a i3 instead of an AMD cpu.


I've heard that Nvidia is laggin in the audio department, and not many cards support audio through HDMI. I'll have a look at the i3 boards instead to see if there is one there that will do what I need. I'd prefer AMD, but am not too hung up on it and will switch if I can find a board that works better for me.

Ryan

622 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 325515 1-May-2010 09:34
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I've heard that Nvidia is laggin in the audio department, and not many cards support audio through HDMI.

Ryan


You heard wrong. Both Nvidia intergrated chipsets and their discrete graphics cards have no issues with audio over HDMI. I've got an ASUS board with the 9300 chipset and it does audio fine.

All of the 9X00 series video cards (not chipsets) required a seperate cable to be run internally connecting the soundcard/chip to the video card, but this has since been fixed with the 2X0 and 3X0 series.

The only possible audio downside is that the Nvidia cards only support 7.1 LPCM and don't do true bitstreaming like the ATI cards. However it should be noted that the ATI intergrated chipsets dont support bitstreaming and only do 2.1 channels.

481 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 5


  Reply # 325529 1-May-2010 10:45
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ryanja: How do I figure out if the onboard graphics is enough to decode freeview?

My HTPC is based on the Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-US2H motherboard, and its onboard graphics handle Freeview|HD decoding just fine. Although I don't have any direct evidence, I suspect that means the more recent GA-MA785GM-US2H will be capable as well.

Of course you do need a H.264 codec that supports hardware acceleration. If you are using Windows 7 for the HTPC the native H.264 codec will do that.



47 posts

Geek


  Reply # 331735 19-May-2010 08:17
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Thanks to everyone who helped me spec out my new HTPC. I ended up with a system that was very similar to what I speced to begin with. I added on an Nvidia Geforce 240 for better graphics and Linux compatibility and upped the processor to a 250.

I've put the system together and installed Windows 7. Only a few problems so far:

1. The sound on the Nvidia (through HDMI) seems to cut out a lot. It also seems to have a delay when sending the sound to when the amplifier realizes that it should be playing something. Might be an issued with the amp, so I'll look into that.

2. Freeview reception isn't too good. Only get around 8 channels and there's a fair bit of choppiness. Is there anything I can do except from get a better antenna or shift my house to somewhere with a better view of Kaukau?

Thanks!

722 posts

Ultimate Geek


  Reply # 331949 19-May-2010 18:11
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All the best with your build. Regarding the query on your possible receptions issues: you may be better sending that part across to the DVB forum, more people with knowledge on installation will sight it there.




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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