MysticalJet HTPC Build Thread - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 48 Old 01-26-2012, 05:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey Everyone,

As a sub project to my home theater build, I am beginning the journey of building my HTPC and thought I'd share so I can get some feedback and ideas.

My needs/wants: Overall goal is to have the HTPC control most everything in the theater. The theater is 90% plus movies/gaming. Basically the brains of the room. At a basic level, I want it to control all my media - which would be almost all blu-ray. Do not need 3D at this point, but would build it to have just in case I upgrade in the future. The computer would have access to Cat5 connection for internet and for home networking, so WIFI not necessary. Needs to handle scaling to go from 16:9 to 2.4. I will have a separate NAS/DAS system to store the media files.

Here is my initial component list. Please give feedback!!!

CPU: Intel Core i3-2100 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 2000 BX80623I32100

Motherboard: Intel BOXDH67BLB3 LGA 1155 Intel H67 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

Case: nMEDIAPC Black Aluminum / Acrylic / Steel HTPC 5000B Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case

PSU: SeaSonic M12II 520 Bronze 520W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS 12V v2.91 SLI Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply

Memory: G.SKILL NS 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-4GBNS

SSD: Crucial M4 CT064M4SSD2 2.5" 64GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

Optical Drive: SAMSUNG Black Blu-ray Combo SATA Model SH-B123L/RSBP LightScribe Support

Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM

 

Graphics Card: PNY Nvidia GT430 Graphics Card

 

Cost for above: $657

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post #2 of 48 Old 01-26-2012, 05:26 PM
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Looks good to me. Only thing I would change myself would be brand preference, but that is just a personal thing.

You seem to have the idea down. Your hardware choice is solid.

It should prove to be a solid HTPC.

Why that motherboard?

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post #3 of 48 Old 01-26-2012, 05:51 PM
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The PSU is probably overkill. At 520w you'll get pretty poor efficiency even if it is 80+ Bronze. But I understand the choice if you're set on a modular unit as they are tough to find in reasonable wattages.
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post #4 of 48 Old 01-26-2012, 06:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

Looks good to me. Only thing I would change myself would be brand preference, but that is just a personal thing.

You seem to have the idea down. Your hardware choice is solid.

It should prove to be a solid HTPC.

Why that motherboard?

Really to keep cost down. H67 provides what I need and seems to have all the output and internal connections i need - any other suggestions in that price range?
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post #5 of 48 Old 01-26-2012, 06:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh3693 View Post

The PSU is probably overkill. At 520w you'll get pretty poor efficiency even if it is 80+ Bronze. But I understand the choice if you're set on a modular unit as they are tough to find in reasonable wattages.

I would agree...

Check out either the Seasonic 430W Fanless unit or the Kingwin 500W Fanless Platinum Plus power supply...

Both are very efficient and modular...but cost some $$$ too.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817151097

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817121083

At Gold and Platinum efficiency ratings, these units are in the 80's even at 10-15% usage.
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post #6 of 48 Old 01-26-2012, 06:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh3693 View Post

The PSU is probably overkill. At 520w you'll get pretty poor efficiency even if it is 80+ Bronze. But I understand the choice if you're set on a modular unit as they are tough to find in reasonable wattages.

Yeah - would really like modular and can't seem to find anything a bit less wattage - especially for the price
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post #7 of 48 Old 01-26-2012, 07:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticalJet View Post

Really to keep cost down. H67 provides what I need and seems to have all the output and internal connections i need - any other suggestions in that price range?

I recently bought four Z68 boards this month. Two Asus, one ASrock, and one ECS.

The ECS was $29 after rebate.

The Asrock $65

One Asus was $114 and the other $269.

Actually I was impressed and would recommend any of them based on good experiences.

67 is just one step older than Z68 and I am not sure any of the improved features of Z68 would benefit you - so assuming it's cheaper to go with the older 67 I see no problems.

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post #8 of 48 Old 01-26-2012, 08:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

I recently bought four Z68 boards this month. Two Asus, one ASrock, and one ECS.

The ECS was $29 after rebate.

The Asrock $65

One Asus was $114 and the other $269.

Actually I was impressed and would recommend any of them based on good experiences.

67 is just one step older than Z68 and I am not sure any of the improved features of Z68 would benefit you - so assuming it's cheaper to go with the older 67 I see no problems.

I've seen the ECS and Asrock but have had no experience with them so was leery about the quality. No issues on your part? I'll take a look and see.
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post #9 of 48 Old 01-26-2012, 08:20 PM
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Asrock is actually a spin off of Asus and has a very good reputation for building quality boards for great prices. I'm currently using an Asrock board in my HTPC and could not be happier.

By the way, I checked out your home theater build in your sig and you have my compliments sir. Very nicely done!
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post #10 of 48 Old 01-27-2012, 04:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh3693 View Post

Asrock is actually a spin off of Asus and has a very good reputation for building quality boards for great prices. I'm currently using an Asrock board in my HTPC and could not be happier.

By the way, I checked out your home theater build in your sig and you have my compliments sir. Very nicely done!

Thanks I appreciate the compliments. It's getting there and I need to take better pictures with a better camera.
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post #11 of 48 Old 01-27-2012, 06:44 AM
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FWIW, I have the nMediaPC 1000b (same interior as 5000b but different facia) with an Antec EA-380D and there's plenty of room to neatly stash any extra cables in a dead space right behind the PSU. I wouldn't get too hung up on modular for this particular case.

>The theater is 90% plus movies/gaming

What kind of gaming? The HD2000 IGP is not very capable for gaming.

>Needs to handle scaling to go from 16:9 to 2.4.

I think this needs a little more looking into -- anyone have experience here with this requirement and the Intel drivers/IGP? Is this going to work?

 

 

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post #12 of 48 Old 01-27-2012, 02:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StardogChampion View Post

FWIW, I have the nMediaPC 1000b (same interior as 5000b but different facia) with an Antec EA-380D and there's plenty of room to neatly stash any extra cables in a dead space right behind the PSU. I wouldn't get too hung up on modular for this particular case.

>The theater is 90% plus movies/gaming

What kind of gaming? The HD2000 IGP is not very capable for gaming.

>Needs to handle scaling to go from 16:9 to 2.4.

I think this needs a little more looking into -- anyone have experience here with this requirement and the Intel drivers/IGP? Is this going to work?

Thanks for the info on the case. I may look at a non-modular then.

I should have clarified. By gaming I meant PS3/XBOX360 - which the HTPC really has no impact.

I was under the impression that the media player (like XBMC) can scale the image. This may be a moot point if I upgrade my projector to one that does it either digitally or optically.
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post #13 of 48 Old 01-27-2012, 03:12 PM
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I just bought a Rosewill Lightning 1000Watt Modular.

It's great. Very happy with the modular.

This replaced an OCZ 850watt.

big difference and upgrade.

I would suggest that once you get a modular - your hooked.

So many options for wire management and easier to build with

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post #14 of 48 Old 01-27-2012, 03:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticalJet View Post

Yeah - would really like modular and can't seem to find anything a bit less wattage - especially for the price

If you're dead set on modular, then the PC Power & Cooling Silencer Mk III 400, which is actually made by Seasonic, for PCP&C, which is actually part of OCZ (confusing isn't it). You want the Mk III, NOT the Mk II.

But personally, I'd suggest scrapping the modular and just getting a Seasonic S12ii 380. A 520w unit will never get into its optimum efficiency range with the system you're building. It's just too big.
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post #15 of 48 Old 01-27-2012, 03:57 PM
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If you're dead set on modular, then the PC Power & Cooling Silencer Mk III 400, which is actually made by Seasonic, for PCP&C, which is actually part of OCZ (confusing isn't it). You want the Mk III, NOT the Mk II.

But personally, I'd suggest scrapping the modular and just getting a Seasonic S12ii 380. A 520w unit will never get into its optimum efficiency range with the system you're building. It's just too big.

It's funny that brands of most power supply's are built by another company.




This is a good read:


http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/...urer,2913.html

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post #16 of 48 Old 02-02-2012, 05:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Finally decided to buy the components earlier this week. Everything listed in the first thread was ordered but I opted for the Seasonic S12ii 380 for the power supply.

Here is my stuff ....



Now you know what I'll be doing this weekend.

Total Cost $636 and a free mouse ...LOL
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post #17 of 48 Old 02-02-2012, 06:18 PM
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I have that case too and it's great...! Blends right in with my other components and lots of room inside.

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post #18 of 48 Old 02-02-2012, 06:37 PM - Thread Starter
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I have that case too and it's great...! Blends right in with my other components and lots of room inside.

Glad to hear. Actually the reason I went for this was the size and the fact it looks like the other components.
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post #19 of 48 Old 02-08-2012, 05:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Well built the HTPC over this last weekend and installed Win7 OS. Got it all up and running and so far works great. So the physical build is done. Here is some photos.

Motherboard and CPU/Fan installed.


Motherboard and PSU installed into case.


The rear inputs.


Getting all the wires connected.


Everything connected and the SSD attached with Velcro. The case does not fit 2.5" drives without an adapter, so velcro was the solution.


The final result in the rack.


Now - the fun part - installing all the software needed to rip and play. So WMC, XBMC, MPC-HC? - oh my.

Any recommendations here?
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post #20 of 48 Old 02-08-2012, 06:53 PM
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Looks great!

Nice theater btw !!

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post #21 of 48 Old 02-12-2012, 05:49 PM
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Looks great!

Nice theater btw !!

Are you currently building a new theater?

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post #22 of 48 Old 02-12-2012, 06:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Are you currently building a new theater?

Almost complete. the physical Build is done, but its all the bells and whistles I'm working on ... like the HTPC

Thanks fore the compliment.
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post #23 of 48 Old 02-20-2012, 06:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Having some real bad issues with jitter, choppy, blocking playback for some MKV rips.

The issue is more of a problem with XBMC than 7MCE. Actually 7MCE plays back video the best of them all. I have come to the conclusion (right or wrong?) that the problem is with the HD chipset (Intel Drivers?) not playing nice with the XBMC decoders (notice the same issue with ffdshow).

LAV filters seem to work fine although not perfect.

I really want to use XBMC with the latest HD Audio patch and it's internal player (I've tried MPC-HC and still get some choppy playback - even with LAV filters). I like the flexibility XBMC offers with the CIH set-up.

I've even gone so far as to go back to XBMC DSPlayer build, but I cannot get some MKV to even start-up playback - Dark Knight, Cloverfield as an example) - I think this has to do with the video codec used VC-1 maybe?

I'm at wits end and am seriously thinking of installing a video card at this point. Want to know what video card would work best for my system (Specs in the original post - PSU is 380 watts). Do not need gaming! All I really want is smooth HD MKV playback regardless of the codec with the ability to do 3D (If I decide to convert in the future). Would like to keep it below $70 if possible.

Thanks.
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post #24 of 48 Old 02-20-2012, 07:14 AM
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I have WMC+MB+LAV and XBMC installed on 3 HTPCs. 1 uses NVidia GT430 and 2 use the Intel iGPU. I don't have any choppiness. You should be able to have WMC+MB+LAV and XBMC peacefully coexist on your HTPC without any issues. I would start looking at other causes for your problem.
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post #25 of 48 Old 02-20-2012, 08:10 AM
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I use driverwizard to auto update my drivers.

It usually finds stuff I don't even check or think about.

It's super easy. Forgot where I got it... but it works great.

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post #26 of 48 Old 02-20-2012, 08:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

I have WMC+MB+LAV and XBMC installed on 3 HTPCs. 1 uses NVidia GT430 and 2 use the Intel iGPU. I don't have any choppiness. You should be able to have WMC+MB+LAV and XBMC peacefully coexist on your HTPC without any issues. I would start looking at other causes for your problem.


Thanks this would be great. Some movies are particularly worse than others. Dark Knight, Iron Man, some others give real choppiness and blocking. some areas turn green. I've scoured the internet and many threads. There are so many opinions/suggestions it just gets overwhelming. I think I've tried many of them. adjested all the settings I possibly could in XBMC - no help. I've uninstalled and reinstalled XBMC several times with several different versions. Let me know if you come up with anything - very much appreciated.
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post #27 of 48 Old 02-20-2012, 08:52 AM - Thread Starter
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I use driverwizard to auto update my drivers.

It usually finds stuff I don't even check or think about.

It's super easy. Forgot where I got it... but it works great.

e-mail sent! Thanks
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post #28 of 48 Old 02-20-2012, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticalJet View Post

Having some real bad issues with jitter, choppy, blocking playback for some MKV rips.

The issue is more of a problem with XBMC than 7MCE. Actually 7MCE plays back video the best of them all. I have come to the conclusion (right or wrong?) that the problem is with the HD chipset (Intel Drivers?) not playing nice with the XBMC decoders (notice the same issue with ffdshow).

LAV filters seem to work fine although not perfect.

I really want to use XBMC with the latest HD Audio patch and it's internal player (I've tried MPC-HC and still get some choppy playback - even with LAV filters). I like the flexibility XBMC offers with the CIH set-up.

I've even gone so far as to go back to XBMC DSPlayer build, but I cannot get some MKV to even start-up playback - Dark Knight, Cloverfield as an example) - I think this has to do with the video codec used VC-1 maybe?

I'm at wits end and am seriously thinking of installing a video card at this point. Want to know what video card would work best for my system (Specs in the original post - PSU is 380 watts). Do not need gaming! All I really want is smooth HD MKV playback regardless of the codec with the ability to do 3D (If I decide to convert in the future). Would like to keep it below $70 if possible.

Thanks.

Looking at your build, I noticed you don't have a spinning HDD so I assume you're playing over your network? If so you maybe a victim of windows 7 network throttling. A very quick and simple registry edit may fix your issues. A quick google search for "disable windows network throttling" should give turn up detailed instructions.

Edit: link!
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post #29 of 48 Old 02-20-2012, 10:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Looking at your build, I noticed you don't have a spinning HDD so I assume you're playing over your network? If so you maybe a victim of windows 7 network throttling. A very quick and simple registry edit may fix your issues. A quick google search for "disable windows network throttling" should give turn up detailed instructions.

Edit: link!

No network per say. I am playing via esata with a DAS system (JBOD set-up). only one 2TB drive right now. The SSD is for the operating system and software. The DAS is strictly for media storage.
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post #30 of 48 Old 02-20-2012, 03:06 PM
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e-mail sent! Thanks

it got bounced back to me

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