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post #91 of 15951 Old 01-06-2011, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by assassin View Post

The very first sentence reads........

Assassin's Simple/Beginner HTPC Buying Guide
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post #92 of 15951 Old 01-06-2011, 09:19 AM
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That is actually the title of the thread. I actually can't believe this thread is degrading at such a fast rate.
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post #93 of 15951 Old 01-06-2011, 09:26 AM
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Thanks for the guide, it was exactly what I was looking for!!

I bought the CPU, Asus Mobo, power supply, and Case you suggested... The memory I paid $5 more for the G.Skill Ripsaw 1600Mhz version (even though you need to OC the base clock/CPU to get it to run at that speed), already had a hard drive, and paid about $5 more for a different version wireless PCI card.

The case is a little cheapy for $70, the front access panel door was missing one of the hinges when I received it, I MacGyvered it so it works OK, might just leave it open all the time. Also, from the layout, it seems like only 1 of your hard drives, the one next to the 120mm side fan gets any decent type of ventilation, might remove some metal in a few places to get some better airflow.

The loudest fan in the case is definitely the stock Intel CPU fan, though from my couch the refrigerator in the kitchen makes more noise than the HTPC as a whole, though I still may pick up an aftermarket CPU cooler if I can find a cheapy one that's quieter (its not $60 worth it, maybe $25 worth it)

All in all I'm pretty happy, installed Win 7, drivers, hooked up the HDMI and optical audio out to my HDTV, ran full screen hulu, netflix, youtube, no problems, they all run great.

Thanks again for the guide!
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post #94 of 15951 Old 01-06-2011, 09:45 AM
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Frankgg,

I do not have an ASUS MB so I don't know the details. You may be able to use the BIOS or included software to adjust the temp at which the CPU goes to "high". The high speed of the stock fan is quite loud. Whenever you build a system, you should stress test it while monitoring the temps of the cpu. This rules out an unacceptable cpu/cooler contact. If your temp range is acceptable at the new lower speed you have just created a quieter pc.
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post #95 of 15951 Old 01-06-2011, 10:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by PDXscreen View Post

That is actually the title of the thread. I actually can't believe this thread is degrading at such a fast rate.

There are always a few trolls lurking. No sweat. Let's keep it going....
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post #96 of 15951 Old 01-06-2011, 10:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onslaughtx View Post

I have my eyes set out for this:
Video Card (OPT): Sapphire Radeon HD 6850 775MHZ 1GB 4.0GHZ GDDR5 2XDVI DisplayPort HDMI PCI-E $198

Not sure if I should add it..I may want to game...but I see myself playing somewhat old school games like cs:source, tf2, l4d, and kf! Whats your opinion assassin?

If you want to play older games you can always start with the integrated GPU to see what it can do and buy a video card later.

From what I have read though I wouldn't be expecting too much performance as far as gaming is concerned.

You can always get the HTPC part of it up and running and then try to game on it. If it suffices then great. If not then you can add a card later.
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post #97 of 15951 Old 01-06-2011, 10:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frankgg View Post

Thanks for the guide, it was exactly what I was looking for!!

I bought the CPU, Asus Mobo, power supply, and Case you suggested... The memory I paid $5 more for the G.Skill Ripsaw 1600Mhz version (even though you need to OC the base clock/CPU to get it to run at that speed), already had a hard drive, and paid about $5 more for a different version wireless PCI card.

The case is a little cheapy for $70, the front access panel door was missing one of the hinges when I received it, I MacGyvered it so it works OK, might just leave it open all the time. Also, from the layout, it seems like only 1 of your hard drives, the one next to the 120mm side fan gets any decent type of ventilation, might remove some metal in a few places to get some better airflow.

The loudest fan in the case is definitely the stock Intel CPU fan, though from my couch the refrigerator in the kitchen makes more noise than the HTPC as a whole, though I still may pick up an aftermarket CPU cooler if I can find a cheapy one that's quieter (its not $60 worth it, maybe $25 worth it)

All in all I'm pretty happy, installed Win 7, drivers, hooked up the HDMI and optical audio out to my HDTV, ran full screen hulu, netflix, youtube, no problems, they all run great.

Thanks again for the guide!

You're welcome. The case isn't perfect but also isn't bad for $60-$70. HTPC cases are pretty expensive as I am sure you found in your search.

The stock CPU fan is pretty decent. As I said before it is isn't the best but is good enough since its free, imo.
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post #98 of 15951 Old 01-06-2011, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by globaldonkey View Post

I agree. The 24p thing is definitely for the purists. I may be one

To be honest, the 24p thing may or may not effect you. My understanding is that if your HDTV isn't 24p native then you won't see the issue. Mine for example will accept a 24p input but displays at 60p, thus I don't see the issue. And even if you do have a 24p set you may not see the issues, depends how sensitive your eyes are to it.

Quote:


Yes HDTV is one of the functions I am interested in. In Australia, it is 1080i / MPEG 2. Good to hear positive experience with the US HDTV. Is that using H.264 or MPEG 2? Clearly MPEG 2 decoding is going to be easier on the GPU.

OTA is MPEG2 in the US. I'll honestly say though as I think about it, not sure I've actually run into any 1080i content outside of OTA. Any Blurays I rip are 1080p of course and regular DVDs are going to be mostly 480p.

Quote:


There are some posts out there that suggest there might be some problems with HDTV on the Core i3. Again, just trying to sort the wheat from the chaff.

I'm sure there are problems with it, just as there are problems using an ATI stand alone card (just see all the threads complaining about the latest ATI drivers messing up this or that). So I guess they all have issues, it's just if those specific issues are a problem for you is the question.

FYI that I changed my FFDShow codec to use DXVA and I encounter the weird pixelization banding which may be what you have heard about. Go back to just plain old FFDShow and all is well. I'm no expert on this issue but my understanding is that DXVA uses DirecTX to render in software while regular FFDShow uses the CPU to do rendering. If so the i3 CPU is more then capable of doing the rendering on it's own.

Scott
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post #99 of 15951 Old 01-06-2011, 11:29 AM
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Funny, my most recent HTPC build with stuff I picked up at Black Friday almost reads like the guide. Great minds think alike (or just do a lot of research and a lot of build and know the good stuff) . I think it's funny how it's even the same RAM & wireless adapter .

Here's what I ended up with and my random thoughts:

Antec MicroFusion Remote 350 uATX Case (got this for only $55 after rebate!)
Intel Core i3-540 CPU
ASUS P7H55-M/CSM LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1333 Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-4GBNQ
Kingston SSDNow V100 SV100S2N/64GZ 2.5" 64GB Solid State Drive (SSD)
ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner
Rosewill RNX-N250PC PCI Wireless B/G/n Adapter

The CPU/Motherboard/RAM was part of a great combo deal made even better by Black Friday pricing. The combo also included a 1TB Seagate drive but I am using that in an enclosure as a backup drive for my WHS. I keep my media on a WHS so the SSD was perfect (and very much on-sale) for making the HTPC more like an appliance (quick to turn on and off). SSDs are addicting and make it so easy just to shutdown or sleep the HTPC since it comes right back on. With 64GB it has enough room for Window 7, the very few applications and to cache TV recordings until they are archived to the WHS (nightly). It doesn't hurt that I got it via a killer sale.

My experience with the case wasn't great. The LCD came broken but Antec was very quick (within days) to get me a new one. I found managing the wiring in the case very difficult and the DVD burner interfered with the memory and power on the board making it even more difficult. I really like the look of this case and how it looks very much like a DVR/DVD player combo. I very much like that it comes with a built-in IR receiver. The little remote that comes with it works well enough. It's simple (two clicks) to get it to use a WMC remote instead. Brilliant.

Now that it's together though it works very well. Lowest WEI score is 4.8 for graphics. Best scores are for the CPU and SSD, both 6.9. Everything flies. My main HTPC is jealous. I am in the process of setting up the metadata for the movies in W7MC. Next step will be to get MPC-HC working with my MKV files. After that I can hook it up to our flat panel TV.

My main HTPC uses a nMediaPC 1000B case. It was my 2nd HTPC build. I love this case quite a bit. I think the nMediaPC cases are the best bang for the buck. However, the little LCD module that you can buy separately is horrible. It's very difficult to see except straight on. The LCD module in the Antec case is much better.

I have two of the i3-540 CPUs in different builds and the stock heatsink fan is really loud -- louder than any AMD stock heatsink fan I've used.

The future of HTPC is very exciting with the AMD Zacate (aka Fusion) products coming out. I envision very small settops thank use < 30W doing what my machines now that have 350W/380W PSUs can do. When Llano comes out it will be even better.

 

 

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post #100 of 15951 Old 01-06-2011, 05:24 PM - Thread Starter
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To everyone that has sent me a PM --- You are welcome!

Glad that this thread is helping some of you make the leap to HTPC.

Enjoy!
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post #101 of 15951 Old 01-06-2011, 06:39 PM
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Many concert disks are 1080i.

"The purpose of diplomacy is to prolong a crisis." Spock, Mark of Gideon, TOS
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post #102 of 15951 Old 01-07-2011, 05:20 AM
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This is probably a dumb question but I was using powerdvd and wmc7 and could play my DVD rips from wm7. I uninstalled powerdvd and installed tmt5 now i can't get wmc7 to play the dvdrips. I can play the .iso bluray rips. I believe it is because if of the .ifo and .bup not having associations with tmt5. Can someone point me in the right direction? I want to be able to use mediabrowser in wm7 and launch the dvd rips again. Thanks

Edit the DVD rips are original format
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post #103 of 15951 Old 01-07-2011, 05:42 AM
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Jimbo,
one thing you might try is to remove and re-install Media Center and then re-install TMT5...

Go to;
Control Panel -> Programs -> Programs and Features -> Turn Windows Features on or off.

Turn off the media features. Reboot. Then follow the same procedure to turn them back on.

You will have to re-run the Windows Media Center Setup, etc.

Then, re-install TMT5.
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post #104 of 15951 Old 01-07-2011, 10:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tehowell
Jimbo,
one thing you might try is to remove and re-install Media Center and then re-install TMT5...

Go to;
Control Panel -> Programs -> Programs and Features -> Turn Windows Features on or off.

Turn off the media features. Reboot. Then follow the same procedure to turn them back on.

You will have to re-run the Windows Media Center Setup, etc.

Then, re-install TMT5.
Thanks.
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post #105 of 15951 Old 01-07-2011, 07:35 PM
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Assassin,

I feel that if I had any computer building experience that I would be so well equipped to build my own HTPC given all your information. The problem is I don't. Can I still build it or am I better off trying to find a pre-built one with specs that are similar to yours? And if building is truly more cost effective, how much would a pre-built system like yours run me?

Are you in the market for building one for someone?

If not, is there a pre-built HTPC that you would recommend for someone who has no computer building experience?
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post #106 of 15951 Old 01-07-2011, 08:02 PM
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Hey Assassin, thank's for this guide. I was trying to build a HTPC with old parts I had lying around and I was getting nowhere, slow machine, video problems etc. Got an I3 with a new Asus P7H55 and 4G of ram for around 280$. Man this thing flies !! This guide saved me a lot of research and money. Thank you.
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post #107 of 15951 Old 01-07-2011, 08:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zackevin View Post

Assassin,

I feel that if I had any computer building experience that I would be so well equipped to build my own HTPC given all your information. The problem is I don't. Can I still build it or am I better off trying to find a pre-built one with specs that are similar to yours? And if building is truly more cost effective, how much would a pre-built system like yours run me?

Are you in the market for building one for someone?

If not, is there a pre-built HTPC that you would recommend for someone who has no computer building experience?

My opinion is that you get much better and higher quality parts when you build your own.

One option is to locate a local computer shop in town to see if they would build the HTPC for you for a fee (and some shops won't do this at all). You could then order all the parts that you want and take them to the shop and have them build it for you. I think this route would likely be more expensive than a prebuilt HTPC/PC. I am talking about specialized computer stores here --- not big box store like Best (worst) Buy.

Which brings me to pre-built PC and pre-built HTPCs....

First the pre-built HTPCs. These are going to cost you a pretty penny and it appears that anything with HTPC in the title is treated like a luxury item (meaning they really jack the price up). You'll likely pay at least a few hundred more than what you would spend if you built it yourself using the same parts.

Just about any pre-built PC can act as a HTPC provided that it has a HDMI out (you can do it with other connections but this is the easiest for this discussion) or you can accomplish establishing a HDMI out if you add a video card. Of course adding a video card requires you to open the case and actually add it and then tinker with the settings. However, you are likely to get less quality parts, noisier hard drives, noisier fans, less flexibility, etc.

Here is a somewhat recent thread discussing the above 2 options...
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...ight=pre+built

In the end it is up to you. I would piece out a system and see what someone would charge you to put it together.

And I am always available to be hired --- depending on where you live.
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post #108 of 15951 Old 01-07-2011, 08:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moe4111 View Post

Hey Assassin, thank's for this guide. I was trying to build a HTPC with old parts I had lying around and I was getting nowhere, slow machine, video problems etc. Got an I3 with a new Asus P7H55 and 4G of ram for around 280$. Man this thing flies !! This guide saved me a lot of research and money. Thank you.

My pleasure. Happy to help.
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post #109 of 15951 Old 01-07-2011, 08:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zackevin View Post

Assassin,

I feel that if I had any computer building experience that I would be so well equipped to build my own HTPC given all your information. The problem is I don't. Can I still build it or am I better off trying to find a pre-built one with specs that are similar to yours? And if building is truly more cost effective, how much would a pre-built system like yours run me?

Are you in the market for building one for someone?

If not, is there a pre-built HTPC that you would recommend for someone who has no computer building experience?

Places like NCIX (ncix.com) in Canada have good pricing, and will build/test a system (from an online order that includes all the parts) for $50. Perhaps there is an online reseller in your area with the same service? Or perhaps you can get a company like NCIX to build it for you and then ship it?
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post #110 of 15951 Old 01-08-2011, 04:49 AM
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In regards to the Sandy Bridge, the WSJ reported from CES this week that movie makers are happy about the chip because it allegedly will allow them to stream 1080p content and the chip will not allow people to "steal" the content. Not sure if that's entirely true and as with all technology, people will figure out ways around it.

In regards to everybody wanting a significantly cheaper option, you need to ask yourself why you want to build the HTPC. Keep your eyes peeled on newegg, pricewatch, microcenter, and a multitude of other sites. You'll be able to build it for ~$600. Or as a previous poster found, a "name brand" PC for a great deal that also had most or all of the components Assasin and thousands of other users have built. But if you're going to seriously get all the benefits of the HTPC, then you need to just pony up $600 and build one like he pointed out. If all you want to do is stream Netflix and connect to your PC for music or something, then use your PS3 or Xbox or buy a $200 media player. Sony has a Blu-ray integrated with Google TV that's a nice option too.

Ultimately, if you don't care about HD a/v, you can probably just make some modifications to your current PC like more memory and maybe bigger HDD and you can use your media player to stream the standard dvds you can put on your HDD.

Assassin, your info was awesome. I had everything on my newegg order and then decided for the time being I'm going to do exactly what I stated above. For now, I can't download much 1080p content anyways, so I'm waiting on the HTPC build. But I have forwarded myself this link so I can refer to it later this year for the build. U da man!
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post #111 of 15951 Old 01-08-2011, 04:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IanS View Post

Places like NCIX (ncix.com) in Canada have good pricing, and will build/test a system (from an online order that includes all the parts) for $50. Perhaps there is an online reseller in your area with the same service? Or perhaps you can get a company like NCIX to build it for you and then ship it?

Thanks. Looking into NCIX. For a novice like me, the website is a little intimidating but I'm figuring it out.

Quote:


And I am always available to be hired --- depending on where you live.

Assassin. I live in NJ.

We will probably go the PC route. The Gateway SX series looks good and it's smaller than typical tower. I found a user who recommended it on the other thread that you listed. With the same i3 processor that you recommended, it sounds pretty good. The other option was the Dell 560s but there are some problems there.

Thanks again.
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post #112 of 15951 Old 01-08-2011, 05:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zackevin View Post

We will probably go the PC route. The Gateway SX series looks good and it's smaller than typical tower. I found a user who recommended it on the other thread that you listed. With the same i3 processor that you recommended, it sounds pretty good. The other option was the Dell 560s but there are some problems there.

I would suggest you consider again building your own. Basically once you get the parts, it's just putting things in the box, using screws generally provided, connecting lots of cables which just takes a bit of time, sticking the Windows 7 DVD into the drive, and following the prompts to install the OS. You will quickly learn what's necessary to do, and will also be in a better position to upgrade/modify your system as your needs change (and they will). I'm sure you could likely find someone on this forum in the NJ area to help if you have problems.

You'll likely want to add storage later to anything you might buy from a PC builder, etc. Paying their prices to add storage when initially buying a system is NOT cost effective. Adding hardware is often an issue with standard PC's. They don't usually have much extra power or space for extra HD's, and cooling while likely fine for their initial build but might be limited if you need to add anything. It will likely still work, but more heat will result in fans running louder, etc. because the system wasn't initially designed with all of your future needs considered.

Again, building you own is rewarding and a great learning experience.

Ben
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post #113 of 15951 Old 01-08-2011, 06:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muckster View Post

Assassin, your info was awesome. I had everything on my newegg order and then decided for the time being I'm going to do exactly what I stated above. For now, I can't download much 1080p content anyways, so I'm waiting on the HTPC build. But I have forwarded myself this link so I can refer to it later this year for the build. U da man!

You are welcome! Thanks for your contribution and opinion as well.

Just saw that this thread is already over 5000 views! Glad some of you are making the jump to HTPC!
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post #114 of 15951 Old 01-08-2011, 07:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zackevin View Post

Thanks. Looking into NCIX. For a novice like me, the website is a little intimidating but I'm figuring it out.



Assassin. I live in NJ.

We will probably go the PC route. The Gateway SX series looks good and it's smaller than typical tower. I found a user who recommended it on the other thread that you listed. With the same i3 processor that you recommended, it sounds pretty good. The other option was the Dell 560s but there are some problems there.

Thanks again.

Zack im building pretty much the same HTPC as the one assassin has listed parts wise. Parts get here tuesday. if you want i can just document how it all goes together with pictures so you can see how simple it is. Then just do it yourself.

PSN- Velillen
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post #115 of 15951 Old 01-08-2011, 07:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by velillen View Post

Zack im building pretty much the same HTPC as the one assassin has listed parts wise. Parts get here tuesday. if you want i can just document how it all goes together with pictures so you can see how simple it is. Then just do it yourself.

That would be awesome. I would put it on the front page of this thread if its ok with you.
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post #116 of 15951 Old 01-08-2011, 08:07 AM
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Sure ill go ahead and take plenty of pictures. probably just toss em up on a photobucket or something and send you the link. Or if im feeling ambitious (doubt it) ill go ahead and write it up.

More or less the same build as you...in fact i think other than the HDD's and blu ray drive it is.

PSN- Velillen
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post #117 of 15951 Old 01-08-2011, 08:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by velillen View Post

if you want i can just document how it all goes together with pictures so you can see how simple it is.

velillen, what about documenting the unboxing and assembly on video? Is it an option?
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post #118 of 15951 Old 01-08-2011, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by tehowell View Post

velillen, what about documenting the unboxing and assembly on video? Is it an option?

jebus you people are demanding! I will have to see. I have an old camera that doesnt do video very well. i think i have a webcam somewhere but ive never used that before.

Pictures are easiest but i guess if people really want video i could try to do one Oo.

i think this thread needs a new title....Assassin's Simple/Beginner HTPC Buying and Building Guide

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post #119 of 15951 Old 01-08-2011, 08:34 AM
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jebus you people are demanding!

Hi velillen, I'm not pushing for it, just asking a question. For me, video editing is just another (expensive) hobby. I use the Adobe Production Studio SW for PC. I do plan to produce a How-To video for someone wanting to build a first system - similar to the one you're recommending - to follow. But my current system, though aged (like me) is still working fine. So I probably won't get to it for a while.
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post #120 of 15951 Old 01-08-2011, 08:40 AM
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i was just teasing. Ill probably try to do both thee pictures and video if i can. Really its a short build so shouldnt take long at all to make a video and toss it on youtube or something.

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