HTPC Encoding Server Combo Build - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 01-24-2012, 12:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Approximate Purchase Date: Next Couple of Months

Budget Range: to $1,100 Before Rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: (HTPC; Encoding; Server to other TVs)

Parts Not Required: (None) **Include Power Supply Make & Model If Re-using**

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: (Newegg, Amazon, Tiger Direct)

Country: (USA)

Parts Preferences: by brand or type (HTPC Case for setting next to TV)

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe

Monitor Resolution: (1920x1080, 1920x1200)

Additional Comments: (Would like any advice on if I am going overkill. I want something I can run W7 64bit, Mediabrowser, XBMC, Makemkv, Handbrake, PowerDVD, 3D playback. I want to also backup other computers on the network. For media I want to use this as the main encoding machine.)

Parts:
Motherboard:
ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813157271
CPU:
Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 3000 BX80623I52500K
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819115072
PSU:
CORSAIR Gaming Series GS600 600W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC High Performance Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817139023
Memory:
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBRL
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820231314
Case:
nMEDIAPC Black Aluminum / Acrylic / Steel HTPC 6000B ATX Media Center / HTPC Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811204037

Blu ray:
LG Black 12X BD-R 2X BD-RE 16X DVD+R 12X DVD-RAM 10X BD-ROM 4MB Cache SATA 12X Super Multi Blue with 3D Playback & M-DISC Support WH12LS39 LightScribe Support - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16827136241
Storage:
Western Digital Caviar Green WD20EARX 2TB 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822136891
OS:
Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
OS Drive:
Western Digital Caviar Blue WD3200AAKX 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822136770
or
Crucial M4 CT064M4SSD2 2.5" 64GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820148441

Can anyone help me with the above build?

My main overall purpose is storage, but I need a PC that can encode well also. I also have need of a HTPC or media streaming device with a better User Interface than WD TV Live that I am currently using. (It plays mkvs and other formats well, but getting to the media is hard. Kids/wife want CoverArt like on my laptop with Mediabrowser.) I would make this the main house server, but would also like it to function as the before mentioned HTPC.

Am I overkill on the components?
If I add more storage in the future, will the case produce too much heat?
Will I benefit from the SSD or should I go with just a small HDD for the OS?
I have a 3d TV that I use, so it would be nice to be able to use that function, but I have a PS3 and 3D Bluray player, so no biggie there.
Should I build a cheaper server and go after another media streamer or try to modify the WD TV Live for movie sheets?

Thanks for any help in advance.
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post #2 of 19 Old 01-24-2012, 01:42 PM
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Ivy Bridge+Z77 is coming in April.
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post #3 of 19 Old 01-26-2012, 06:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

Ivy Bridge+Z77 is coming in April.

Will that be less expensive?

Am I better off with a server and something like popcorn hour or dune? I like Media Browser, but it starts to get expensive to put an HTPC at each TV. Especially with hard drive costs.
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post #4 of 19 Old 01-26-2012, 08:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigmix View Post

but it starts to get expensive to put an HTPC at each TV. Especially with hard drive costs.

Why not get Media Center Extenders for additional TV's? They are cheap, under $100 on ebay, or xbox 360 $150 on sale.

Also, if cost is an issue, go with AMD, processors and motherboards are cheaper.

I just built a quad core PC for under $100 using AMD Pehnom II X4 ($50 microcenter), ECS motherboard ($20 AR newegg), 8Gb of DDR3 RAM, G. Skill ($20 shell schocker in december on newegg), and reused a bunch of components from the PC it replaced.

Our HTPC that serves 5 TV's cost $300 before the tuner. Tuner was the most expensive part in that build.

We don't use media browser, but rather use YAMM to get movie information and posters that show up in Media Center (including extenders)

The whole system to connect 5 TV's to Verizon FIOS cost us a little under $1000.

6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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post #5 of 19 Old 01-26-2012, 08:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post

Why not get Media Center Extenders for additional TV's? They are cheap, under $100 on ebay, or xbox 360 $150 on sale.

Because they can't play crap for media and the OP doesn't seem to be interested in TV.

Quote:


Our HTPC that serves 5 TV's cost $300 before the tuner. Tuner was the most expensive part in that build.

But it doesn't serve media to those 5 TVs, or if it does you had to convert all your media into wtv or something and lose lossless audio and chapters in the process.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do, see movies the way they were meant to be seen
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post #6 of 19 Old 01-26-2012, 10:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigmix View Post

it starts to get expensive to put an HTPC at each TV. Especially with hard drive costs.

If you have a central server for storing your media, you don't even need a hard disk in each remote HTPC, but could simply use instead a solid state drive that can regularly be had for under $75 these days (sometimes less than $60) and will give you near-instant boot-ups and better performance.
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post #7 of 19 Old 01-30-2012, 09:04 AM - Thread Starter
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I would love to build a cheap server. The problem I run into is all I have used is laptops. I have not bought a desktop since 2001. I doubt there is much I can scavenge off an old Dell.

My concern with the cheaper processors and motherboards are encoding. I have read somewhere that encoding a bluray down to 6 gb loses alot of quality under weaker processors. Any truth to that?

If I can get an 3d htpc and a server for $1000 then I would be very happy.
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post #8 of 19 Old 01-30-2012, 09:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post

Because they can't play crap for media and the OP doesn't seem to be interested in TV.



But it doesn't serve media to those 5 TVs, or if it does you had to convert all your media into wtv or something and lose lossless audio and chapters in the process.

It serves media to all those TV's just fine.

And if you can tell a difference between a compressed and raw 1080p on a 19" or 24" TV then the Air Force should strap you to the spy done instead of the high rez cameras they use.

Perhaps my vision is not as sharp as yours, but I can't tell the difference on a 24" TV. Even on the 42" TV the difference is negligible. Heck, 90% of the HD signal from the TV providers is either 720p or 1080i (FIOS).

6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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post #9 of 19 Old 01-30-2012, 12:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post

It serves media to all those TV's just fine.

And if you can tell a difference between a compressed and raw 1080p on a 19" or 24" TV then the Air Force should strap you to the spy done instead of the high rez cameras they use.

Perhaps my vision is not as sharp as yours, but I can't tell the difference on a 24" TV. Even on the 42" TV the difference is negligible. Heck, 90% of the HD signal from the TV providers is either 720p or 1080i (FIOS).

I'm not going to compress what I watch in my HT (on my 110" wide 1080p scope setup) so it can be streamed by crippled extenders to other TVs.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do, see movies the way they were meant to be seen
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post #10 of 19 Old 01-30-2012, 05:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post


I'm not going to compress what I watch in my HT (on my 110" wide 1080p scope setup) so it can be streamed by crippled extenders to other TVs.

Are you storing full 32gb blurays? How many tbs are you using?
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post #11 of 19 Old 01-30-2012, 06:00 PM
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Yes I am. And I've got about 3.3TB of of Blu-rays (and 2.4TB of DVDs) on an ~12TB unRAID.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do, see movies the way they were meant to be seen
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post #12 of 19 Old 01-30-2012, 07:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes I am. And I've got about 3.3TB of of Blu-rays (and 2.4TB of DVDs) on an ~12TB unRAID.

Wow, you must have a rackmount system?

Were you using Sage? If so, what did you replace it with?

And thanks for the help.
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post #13 of 19 Old 01-30-2012, 07:27 PM
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You can also use a tower case such as Antec 900 (with three 5-in-3 cages) to store 15 HDDs (15 x 2TB = 30TB ~ 667BD ISO, 15 x 3TB = 45TB ~1000 BD ISO), or even Antec 1200 for 20 HDDs.
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post #14 of 19 Old 01-30-2012, 08:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigmix View Post

I would love to build a cheap server. The problem I run into is all I have used is laptops. I have not bought a desktop since 2001. I doubt there is much I can scavenge off an old Dell.

My concern with the cheaper processors and motherboards are encoding. I have read somewhere that encoding a bluray down to 6 gb loses alot of quality under weaker processors. Any truth to that?

If I can get an 3d htpc and a server for $1000 then I would be very happy.

And rightfully so. The processor, however, has no influence on quality. That is determined by the software and codec you use. What the processor does influence is the time taken to encode. And in that respect, the more cores the better. Sandy Bridge (and the Intel HD graphics) also allows the use of Quick Sync for even faster encoding.
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post #15 of 19 Old 01-31-2012, 04:34 AM
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That looks like a good build to me. If you will be doing encoding, you do want to stick with the i5. As noted, not for quality as that is dependent on the amount of the compression and not the CPU, but rather for speed of the encoding.

Ivy Bridge is a few months away. If you can wait, you might be better off holding off a bit. Ivy itself isn't a huge improvement over Sandy, but it will be slightly faster for slightly less power and heat and will have slightly better integrated graphics. Ceton also announced an extender which might be very good and cheap and a release date and full feature set might be known by then. Lastly, hard drive prices are starting to go back down. Hopefully in a few months they might not be at rip off levels anymore.
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post #16 of 19 Old 01-31-2012, 09:09 AM
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If your serious about encoding I definitely recommend an i7. hyper threading is great for encoding x264.
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post #17 of 19 Old 01-31-2012, 01:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by olyteddy View Post

And rightfully so. The processor, however, has no influence on quality. That is determined by the software and codec you use. What the processor does influence is the time taken to encode. And in that respect, the more cores the better. Sandy Bridge (and the Intel HD graphics) also allows the use of Quick Sync for even faster encoding.

So, I am only looking at a time difference? Then maybe a less expensive processor, motherboard, and a case like a Antec 900 to hold several hdds, like renethx said? That could be a good server? Initially I will be ripping my collection, then I just add as they come in. Should be fine.

Save a couple hundred for a HTPC at the display.

Is that the consensus?
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post #18 of 19 Old 01-31-2012, 02:06 PM
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Are you ripping or shrinking them down to a different size? Ripping only takes under an hour. Depends on your blu ray drives read speed. Transcoding takes hours depending on the cpu. It could take anywhere from 4-24 hours. It largely dependent on the settings you choose as well.

Higher quality settings take longer. That said if dropping the system down a little gets you an htpc as well then go for it. As for encoding your really going to want at least a quad. Or they are going to take quite a while.
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post #19 of 19 Old 01-31-2012, 02:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigmix View Post

Wow, you must have a rackmount system?

Right now I've just got an old tower case (the case was actually featured in a MaximumPC build way back in the day) with 10 5.25" bays, I've got it populated with 2, 5-in-3 hot swap cages, though I'm only using 7 drives right now, 2x 3TB and 5x 2TB.

Though I am debating at about rearranging to a rack setup at some point with something like a Norco 3216 or something. I'm currently running a Supermicro X7SPA (6 SATA) and an 8-port Supermicro card so I've "only" got 14 ports. But with unRAID's drive mix-n-match functionality I really don't see that being an issue, my system is only half populated and if necessary I could already double the capacity without even adding more drives (just replacing them all with 4TB drives).

Quote:


Were you using Sage? If so, what did you replace it with?

I'm still using it, there's really nothing out there that can replace it. I have a small hope for Ceton's offering but I doubt it will work with satellite and I will not switch to cable with it's horrible reliability, customer support and paltry HD offerings.

At the moment I think I'm slightly more optimistic about whatever Sage/Google have up their sleeves than anything else.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do, see movies the way they were meant to be seen
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