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423 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 8


  Reply # 508399 18-Aug-2011 10:27
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Yes, It's a Sandy Bridge motherboard and CPU, the GPU is integrated onto the CPU.

The integrated GPU is just fine for video playback and has onboard H.264 decoding, etc. It's not really powerful enough for most games though.

Also, you should note that Sandy Bridge graphics can't output 23.976Hz precisely, if that's important for you. It handles 24Hz fine, and I think there's a patch to allow it to do 23.98Hz.

Finally, I can't seem to access the BIOS over HDMI (works fine over VGA) but I think that's just because my TV won't accept the BIOS resolution over HDMI.

206 posts

Master Geek
+1 received by user: 1


  Reply # 508435 18-Aug-2011 11:29
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michaelt:
steadysteve:
You can get a cheap Intel H61 motherboard for under $100, and a Pentium G620 CPU for about $100 as well. DDR3 RAM is also pretty cheap. The Sandy Bridge integrated graphics (even on the bottom of the barrel G620) are more than sufficient for 1080p H.264 and the CPU performance will blow the P4 out of the water. It'll also use one quarter the power.


michael, did you go any further with this?


Yes.

Bought an MSI H61M-E33 motherboard, Pentium G620 CPU, a 2TB HD and 4GB of second-hand DDR3. Using an old case and my existing TV tuners with it. The hardware seems to work fine (except for one of the TV tuners), and video playback over HDMI seems flawless. The connected TV is only 1366*768 though, not 1080p, although 1080p should work fine as well.

Still having a bit of trouble with Mediaportal, but I think that's due to one of my TV tuners not locking properly.


I dont have any experience in building a pc nor an htpc but this thread is really interesting.  i'm close to buying those nettops (Acer Revos etc.) and put XBMC but I'm more inclined to build this.  which online stores did you bought your parts. 

Thanks in advance 

16 posts

Geek


  Reply # 508439 18-Aug-2011 11:31
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don't do it.....HTPC too unreliable and fiddly for old people. A get an appliance like a Tivo. Simple.

423 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 8


  Reply # 508457 18-Aug-2011 11:41
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alvin: I dont have any experience in building a pc nor an htpc but this thread is really interesting.  i'm close to buying those nettops (Acer Revos etc.) and put XBMC but I'm more inclined to build this.  which online stores did you bought your parts. 

Thanks in advance 


I bought pretty much every part from a different store, so I'm not sure that helps you.

If you're buying a PC solely for media playback, I'd actually suggest getting an AMD E-350 motherboard instead. Something like this: http://www.computerlounge.co.nz/components/componentview.asp?partid=15112&ref=pricespy

The CPU performance won't be anywhere near the Sandy Bridge system, but the GPU performance will be close. It can also handle 23.976Hz video without problems and uses very little power. It's also fanless, but you'll probably want to use a case fan. Finally, it's mini-ITX, so you can get a smaller case.

geoffw: don't do it.....HTPC too unreliable and fiddly for old people. A get an appliance like a Tivo. Simple.


He is right about that. It takes a long time to set everything up properly, and even then things can go wrong. 

75 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 508492 18-Aug-2011 12:12
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geoffw: don't do it.....HTPC too unreliable and fiddly for old people. A get an appliance like a Tivo. Simple.


well i'm not getting any younger (or prettier) but surely with the right software, once your HTPC system is set up i can't believe it's any harder than say basic PC operation?

368 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 1


  Reply # 508502 18-Aug-2011 12:22
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Agree - the whole point of an HTPC is that it is a simple interface to multimedia as a whole. All this is done through a remote control with up, down, left, right and select.

What could be simpler?




My HTPC - Case Antec Fusion Remote, MOBO Intel DH67BLB3, CPU Intel Core i5-2400S 2.5 GHz, RAM 8GB  DDR3 1333, HDD 120Gig Corsair Force Series 3 SSD system | WD Caviar Black 2TB data, Tuners Black Gold BGT3595 dual DVB-S/S2, dual DVB-T, Video nVIDIA GeForce GT 520, 1024MB, Sound Intel® High Definition Audio (onboard), OS Windows 7 x64

75 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 508523 18-Aug-2011 12:45
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blur, i like your thinking

michaelt:
If you're buying a PC solely for media playback, I'd actually suggest getting an AMD E-350 motherboard instead. Something like this: http://www.computerlounge.co.nz/components/componentview.asp?partid=15112&ref=pricespy

The CPU performance won't be anywhere near the Sandy Bridge system, but the GPU performance will be close. It can also handle 23.976Hz video without problems and uses very little power. It's also fanless, but you'll probably want to use a case fan. Finally, it's mini-ITX, so you can get a smaller case.


that is a sweet combo - is the CPU integral with the board?



423 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 8


  Reply # 508534 18-Aug-2011 12:58
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steadysteve: that is a sweet combo - is the CPU integral with the board?



Yes, it is, but the performance isn't anywhere near the Pentium G620. The E-350 is commonly used in 11.6" netbooks.

That said though, it's more than sufficient for media playback. I only went with the Sandy Bridge setup because I want to record lots of channels at once, run bittorrent and jdownloader overnight, use Skype, etc.

From a graphics standpoint, I think they're pretty similar (except for the 23.976Hz support on the AMD), but I'm not entirely sure.

If all you want is media playback though, you might really be better off going with a set top box.

Also, if you play a lot of low-resolution content on a HD display, I'd recommend getting a decent video card and using madVR. You won't see much difference with content that's already a decent resolution, but it'll do a much better upscaling job on low-resolution xvid files and the like. In this case a second-hand PC with a new video card might be a better choice, although power consumption will be significantly higher.

206 posts

Master Geek
+1 received by user: 1


  Reply # 508551 18-Aug-2011 13:26
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michaelt:
alvin: I dont have any experience in building a pc nor an htpc but this thread is really interesting.  i'm close to buying those nettops (Acer Revos etc.) and put XBMC but I'm more inclined to build this.  which online stores did you bought your parts. 

Thanks in advance 


I bought pretty much every part from a different store, so I'm not sure that helps you.

If you're buying a PC solely for media playback, I'd actually suggest getting an AMD E-350 motherboard instead. Something like this: http://www.computerlounge.co.nz/components/componentview.asp?partid=15112&ref=pricespy

The CPU performance won't be anywhere near the Sandy Bridge system, but the GPU performance will be close. It can also handle 23.976Hz video without problems and uses very little power. It's also fanless, but you'll probably want to use a case fan. Finally, it's mini-ITX, so you can get a smaller case.

geoffw: don't do it.....HTPC too unreliable and fiddly for old people. A get an appliance like a Tivo. Simple.


He is right about that. It takes a long time to set everything up properly, and even then things can go wrong. 


Thanks michael!  I'm also interested on recording TV shows/RWC games.  I'm not too old nor too young so I think I will be alright fiddling things.. :) 

75 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 509285 20-Aug-2011 08:41
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OK, so it would make sense to get a gruntier system - the whole silent thing is very attractive though!

966 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 175

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  Reply # 509316 20-Aug-2011 12:27
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http://www.computerlounge.co.nz/components/componentview.asp?partid=15112&ref=pricespy

that board does not have HDMI. pointless for HD content. and if you are not going play HD content there are cheaper options on ATOM230.




helping others at dev.icqz.net

423 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 8


  Reply # 509323 20-Aug-2011 12:48
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Yeah, kobiak is right about that.

Not sure how I missed that.

Here's a slightly more expensive alternative that does have HDMI: http://www.computerlounge.co.nz/components/componentview.asp?partid=14416&ref=pricespy

CL also has a 5% online discount and free shipping, so it's a bit less than it looks.

Personally, I still chose the Sandy Bridge Pentium G620 option though.

966 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 175

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  Reply # 509375 20-Aug-2011 15:41
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maybe some one can advise on mini-itx case with at lease two spaces for 3.5 HDD and which does not cost a fortune? maybe some Chinese online shop?




helping others at dev.icqz.net

423 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 8


  Reply # 509385 20-Aug-2011 16:44
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Personally I use an Inwin BK-623. It's a micro-ATX case, but is barely larger than most mini ITX cases (those that have full-height expansion slots anyway). Can be bought with a 300W SFX PSU for ~$100. Has a 5.25" external bay, 3.5" external bay and 3.5" internal bay.

It has some internal airflow guides designed for Core 2 Duo stock heatsinks, but works with my Sandy Bridge system anyway.

75 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 509403 20-Aug-2011 17:53
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michael thanks for that - nice find. i was getting a bit alarmed at the prices of specific HTPC cases

looks like that one works as tower or desktop?


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