Building 2 new HTPCs!! Advise needed. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 06-06-2012, 12:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey everyone,

I am building my first 2 htpcs.

I want to use one for mostly my personal computing and the actual ripping function and converting to mkvs. This is where I might go with an 8-core AMD. I read that the CPU controls ripping time.

I would then build another unit for actual hookup to my projector using an Ivy Bridge setup from Assassin’s guide with at least HD3000. I would run squeezebox for my basement music room and other stuff as the power usage is lower with Intel.

Does this sound right? I would just share a folder with the basement HTPC and the personal use PC and transfer the movies over the router to the basement HTPC hard drive/external hard drives for playing/archiving.

Thanks for any help.

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post #2 of 25 Old 06-06-2012, 12:16 PM
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Ripping is not CPU intensive, encoding is.
If all you want to do is make 1:1 copies (whether entire disc or just main movie), CPU speed is not going to make much of a difference.
Optical drive read speed will affect it more.
The faster the drive, the faster the CPU can access the disc.
If you plan on compressing the file then the CPU speed will make a difference.
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post #3 of 25 Old 06-06-2012, 12:27 PM
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Well, before you go off with that 8 core AMD, I suggest you read Hardware Secrets' AMD FX-8150 vs. Core i5-2500K and Core i7-2600K CPU Review

Hardware Secrets summarized their test results as follows:

"We can summarize the AMD FX-8150 in one word: “disappointment.” We expected much more from this eight-core CPU based on the highly anticipated “Bulldozer” architecture.

The FX-8150 was faster than the Core i5-2500K in only a few situations, and the performance difference was not so high as to justify the higher price you will have to pay to bring this new AMD processor home. So, unless you are a die-hard AMD fanboy, we think it is hard to recommend this CPU. The Core i5-2500K is cheaper and provides a higher overall performance, and is the CPU we recommend for the user looking for the best price/performance ratio is the USD 200 - USD 220 price range. And if you really want performance, you can pay a little more and get the Core i7-2600K."


Plus the new Ivy Bridge i5-3450 is more powerful than the i5-2500k, and Micro Center sells that for $149 while the FX-8150 is $199 (the 2500K is $169).
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post #4 of 25 Old 06-06-2012, 12:28 PM - Thread Starter
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I am under the impression that MKVs are basically 1:1 copies with no loss of quality but significantly less in size. Encoding is needed so the 8-core would be better for like Handbrake....

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post #5 of 25 Old 06-06-2012, 12:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

Well, before you go off with that 8 core AMD, I suggest you read Hardware Secrets' AMD FX-8150 vs. Core i5-2500K and Core i7-2600K CPU Review
Hardware Secrets summarized their test results as follows:
"We can summarize the AMD FX-8150 in one word: “disappointment.” We expected much
more from this eight-core CPU based on the highly anticipated “Bulldozer”
architecture.
The FX-8150 was faster than the Core i5-2500K in only a few situations, and the
performance difference was not so high as to justify the higher price you will
have to pay to bring this new AMD processor home. So, unless you are a die-hard
AMD fanboy, we think it is hard to recommend this CPU. The Core i5-2500K is
cheaper and provides a higher overall performance, and is the CPU we recommend
for the user looking for the best price/performance ratio is the USD 200 - USD
220 price range. And if you really want performance, you can pay a little more
and get the Core i7-2600K."

Plus the new Ivy Bridge 15-3450 is more powerful than the i5-2500k, and Micro Center sells that for $149 while the FX-8150 is $199 (the 2500K is $169).

Wow, good read!! Thanks.

Now more decisions to make.

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post #6 of 25 Old 06-06-2012, 12:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colleycol View Post

I am under the impression that MKVs are basically 1:1 copies with no loss of quality but significantly less in size. Encoding is needed so the 8-core would be better for like Handbrake....

MKV is simply the container. What is inside the container is up to you.
You can rip discs in native folder format (the best in my opinion), MKV or ISO.
All three formats will allow you to keep the entire disc, or rip out the main movie file without menus, special features etc.
You can apply compression in either case, whether full disc or main title across any of the three formats.
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post #7 of 25 Old 06-06-2012, 12:55 PM
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your average bluray disc is somewhere between 20-50 gigabytes. By making an mkv file you save all the space that would be taken up by menus, making of documentaries, trailers, behind the scenes stuff, and the audio tracks and subtitles you do not intend to keep.

my old C2D can create one of those in an hour or less. to compress/encode an mkv of a move takes me 24 hours or more, so I never do it. thats where you'd want a powerful pc, to do that compression.

My HTPC front end set up
Integration for whole home ATSC, CableCARD, FM radio, Blu-Ray, HD-DVD, DVD, VHS control & capture, video games, and archived & streaming media playback
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post #8 of 25 Old 06-06-2012, 01:07 PM
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If I were you, I'd get a low-cost, small form-factor, low-noise build for hooking up to the projector.

I'm thinking uATX or mITX mobo, G530 or G620 CPU (i3 if you want to playback 3D), small case, SSD, silent fans & CPU cooler.

No need for a graphics card, ODD, HDD or anything - unless you're using this for live TV as well, then a HDD to record shows.

 

And for the "server" PC, you can go all out, nice processor, fast ODD, SSD for the OS, 6+ HDD for storage, etc...

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post #9 of 25 Old 06-06-2012, 02:46 PM
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The video on the blu-ray is already compressed. I would leave it in it's native format and just rip it into an MKV container.

 

 

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post #10 of 25 Old 06-06-2012, 03:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StardogChampion View Post

The video on the blu-ray is already compressed. I would leave it in it's native format and just rip it into an MKV container.

And native form leaves it at full size only in a mkv container correct? (20-30Gb)

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post #11 of 25 Old 06-06-2012, 03:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevBel View Post

If I were you, I'd get a low-cost, small form-factor, low-noise build for hooking up to the projector.
I'm thinking uATX or mITX mobo, G530 or G620 CPU (i3 if you want to playback 3D), small case, SSD, silent fans & CPU cooler.
No need for a graphics card, ODD, HDD or anything - unless you're using this for live TV as well, then a HDD to record shows.

And for the "server" PC, you can go all out, nice processor, fast ODD, SSD for the OS, 6+ HDD for storage, etc...

If the server PC has all the HDD, is just sharing the folder with the projector HTPC fast enough to transfer data? I am trying to stay way from a NAS solution just want two computer that can read each others hard drives.

I have a N-router and can go wired into the router and each HTPC if needed. N wireless is probably not fast enough.

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post #12 of 25 Old 06-06-2012, 04:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colleycol View Post

And native form leaves it at full size only in a mkv container correct? (20-30Gb)

No, no, no, NO!
Incorrect information!

Native format for a Blu-Ray is Folder format i.e. BDMV & CERTIFICATE. These are the two folders you would see if you look at a Blu-Ray movie disc folder structure.
BDMV is the only folder needed for playback.

ISO is used as a container that wraps the BDMV & CERTIFICATE folders inside it, kinda like a cover. It was initially used as a workaround since software players wouldn't play BDMV folders ripped to the hard drive. Lastly MKV; it also, is a container, a highly versatile container and very popular with users since it is free (cost and hassles).

You can rip the main movie from a disc without the menus & special features in any of the three formats.
In addition you can apply compression and reduce the size of the file, no matter which format you choose.
It is possible to have a Compressed or Uncompressed Main Movie video track in BDMV or ISO or MKV format.

One reason to keep the folder format or ISO is to keep multiple audio tracks, subtitles etc. It works flawlessly since you are not changing any information from the original file. MKV can do multiple audio tracks and subtitles too but sometimes users have encountered problems with subtitles.

It is also possible to have a Compressed or Uncompressed version of the entire disc, as is, in BDMV or ISO format. However, if you do decide to rip any disc intact in its entirety, your only choice is BDMV or ISO.
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post #13 of 25 Old 06-06-2012, 04:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colleycol View Post

If the server PC has all the HDD, is just sharing the folder with the projector HTPC fast enough to transfer data? I am trying to stay way from a NAS solution just want two computer that can read each others hard drives.
Yes sharing the folder is all you should need to do if you're using WMC or XBMC as the front end on your HTPC. Other software, such as Plex and MediaPortal, operate in a client/server configuration and you typically install the server part on the PC that contains the media.
Quote:
Originally Posted by colleycol View Post

I have a N-router and can go wired into the router and each HTPC if needed. N wireless is probably not fast enough.
Wired is always preferable for a number of reasons including speed. Wireless is susceptible to interference from other surrounding networks and devices, and the signal strength diminishes through walls and floors. If you can go wired then do that. Wireless should be ok if you're just streaming to one device, but will start to suffer in you begin streaming 1080p to multiple devices simultaneously.

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post #14 of 25 Old 06-06-2012, 07:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow, ok!

Thanks everyone for the help, I think I got it! biggrin.gif

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post #15 of 25 Old 06-06-2012, 07:23 PM
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Sweet!

Post your parts list, we love to dissect a parts list ;)

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post #16 of 25 Old 06-07-2012, 01:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevBel View Post

Sweet!
Post your parts list, we love to dissect a parts list wink.gif

Ok here is what I am thinking. Advice is always welcomed!!

HTPC/Personal Computer #1 (mainly ripping/internet/no gaming)
AMD FX-8120 8-core
ASUS M5A88-M AM3+
Kingston HyperX Blu 8GB (2 x 4GB)
Lite-On Bluray reader
nMEDIAPC Black Aluminum / Acrylic / Steel HTPC 6000B ATX Media Center / HTPC Case
Rosewill Green Series RG430-S12 430W


HTPC #2 (strictly Bluray and HD playback, Netflix, etc…)

Ivy Bridge i5-3570 CPU
ASRock H77 Pro4-M Motherboard
G.SKILL Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600
OCZ Agility 3 AGT3-25SAT3-60G 2.5" 60GB SATA II
Rosewill Green Series RG430-S12 430W

Server Rack for hard drive storage
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=4173135&CatId=4273

Both would be Win7 and I would follow Assassin's guides

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post #17 of 25 Old 06-07-2012, 02:39 PM
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Both seem overkill for their intended duty.
A Dual-Core would suffice for ripping, an AMD Quad-Core would be just fine.
Invest your money in faster BD drives, storage etc. More importantly if this server will run 24/7, look for low-power components and high efficiency PSUs.

Since you are building two systems, I would suggest you order components from the same series & socket.
These will be helpful down the line if you need to troubleshoot.
Having the same socket CPU and board can allow you to pinpoint your problem by transferring the problematic part in the working system for diagnosis.

It will also be helpful when building your new systems. Since the new components are essentially 'untested', you will need to troubleshoot if your brand new system doesn't boot up. Trying to troubleshoot a system with all unknown variables will drive you nuts.
In such instances, having a second set of board & CPU will be a godsend.

Also, save money and buy an additional PSU & a cheap video card.
I cannot tell you how convenient and helpful a spare working PSU and video card can be during troubleshooting.
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post #18 of 25 Old 06-07-2012, 07:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by hirent View Post

Both seem overkill for their intended duty.
A Dual-Core would suffice for ripping, an AMD Quad-Core would be just fine.

I am very worried about not being future proof.

I am reading things about HD2000 having stuttering problems and people had to get separate video cards. I want as simple a system as possible.

More research...

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post #19 of 25 Old 06-07-2012, 08:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colleycol View Post

I am very worried about not being future proof.
I am reading things about HD2000 having stuttering problems and people had to get separate video cards. I want as simple a system as possible.
More research...

Where do you read these things?

Please please please link me to where you are reading this.

I, and many others, use the HD2000/3000/4000 without any issues at all.

So does this guy/reviewer: http://dvr.about.com/od/capturetvwithacomputer/a/Assassins-Elite-Htpc-Three-Months-In.htm
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post #20 of 25 Old 06-07-2012, 08:07 PM
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BTW the most "future proof" you can get right now is to get an Ivy Bridge CPU and a discrete card.

Or better yet choose the Ivy Bridge and try out the integrated GPU. Then add a card later when something comes out that the iGPU can't do.
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post #21 of 25 Old 06-07-2012, 08:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colleycol View Post

I am very worried about not being future proof.
These days buying a processor that's far too big doesn't "future proof" you. Your system will become obsolete because of changes in technology long before it becomes underpowered. The most likely thing you'd ever need in the future for an HTPC or gaming machine is a new video card. For a general purpose desktop you won't even need that.

As the Hardware Secrets article I provided you reflects, that 8 core AMD cpu is overpriced and underpowered, and it's also way overheated. It won't do anything, and won't "futureproof" you, any more or any better than a much cheaper i5-3400 will do, and the 3400 will use less power and generate far less heat while doing it.

Ok, so you're concerned about "futureproofing." Please explain in what respect you think either of those processors alleviate that concern or will in any respect extend the life of your system.

Buying the most powerful cpu you could afford was a useful way to "future proof" 10 or 15 years ago when software advances used to routinely obsolete hardware. But hardware advances have far far outstripped software demands for many years. That just isn't a real concern any more. Technology is going to obsolete most systems for most people every 5 years or so. Buying far too much cpu today isn't going to alter that timeline.

BTW, I have i5-2500k and i5-3570K regular desktop systems and those are really nice (indeed excessive) cpus that will do anything. They're incredibly powerful. But I use an i3-2100 for my htpc and it will do anything asked of it as well (and I've never experienced "stuttering"; I don't know where people come up with this stuff.) Oh, and also, I bought the K chips because with Micro Center's regular "$50 off a motherboard" bundle deal on those cpus, it was cheaper for me to buy the Ks than it was to buy any of the lower powered i5. If not for that would have bought the i5-2400 and 3400.
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post #22 of 25 Old 06-07-2012, 08:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

These days buying a processor that's far too big doesn't "future proof" you. Your system will become obsolete because of changes in technology long before it becomes underpowered. The most likely thing you'd ever need in the future for an HTPC or gaming machine is a new video card. For a general purpose desktop you won't even need that.
As the Hardware Secrets article I provided you reflects, that 8 core AMD cpu is overpriced and underpowered, and it's also way overheated. It won't do anything, and won't "futureproof" you, any more or any better than a much cheaper i5-3400 will do, and the 3400 will use less power and generate far less heat while doing it.
Ok, so you're concerned about "futureproofing." Please explain in what respect you think either of those processors alleviate that concern or will in any respect extend the life of your system.
Buying the most powerful cpu you could afford was a useful way to "future proof" 10 or 15 years ago when software advances used to routinely obsolete hardware. But hardware advances have far far outstripped software demands for many years. That just isn't a real concern any more. Technology is going to obsolete most systems for most people every 5 years or so. Buying far too much cpu today isn't going to alter that timeline.

+1. Very good points as usual.

And also +1 on the A8 being hot. I am extremely disappointed in how hot the A8 runs even at idle with an aftermarket CPU fan and hope AMD improves this for Trinity.
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post #23 of 25 Old 06-08-2012, 04:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colleycol View Post

I am very worried about not being future proof.
I am reading things about HD2000 having stuttering problems and people had to get separate video cards. I want as simple a system as possible.
More research...

As others have stated above, I call BS.
The HD graphics are more than capable of decoding HD video, I have the first iteration of Intel HD graphics in my notebook, a ULV Core i5 and it doesn't have any problem with HD video

The problems arise from the fact that some users have not set up their systems properly i.e. software configuration.
If you plan on using a commercial player like TMT, the setup is automatically done: simply install Windows, drivers & TMT and you are done. Mucking around with other drivers, codecs, filters can screw up playback if people don't know what they are doing.

About Future-proof: (personally), I don't believe in the concept of 'future-proof'. There is no such thing, the only thing to worry about is whether the system can run my applications. I still have a Socket 478 Pentium 4 CPU with an AGP card that can play 720p HD Blu-Ray. I no longer use it but it is still capable of a lot of things.

Just buy what you need for now, save your money for storage. Making uncompressed copies will eat up space real fast.
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post #24 of 25 Old 06-08-2012, 05:28 AM
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+1 that Intel's offerings are just better than AMDs right now. And this is from a long-time AMD fan. My last Intel PC was a Pentium 3 back in 2000. I was AMD for the rest of the decade. Last year, I finally went with an i3-2100t system. I originally intended to use it in a Windows Home Server, but changed it to my main HTPC instead. It functions great.

I agree with others that you have too much processor and RAM for the intended functions. Especially for your #2. I would go with a lower-power processor, less RAM, an SSD for boot (as you have), and a laptop mechanical drive for storage, if needed. That will reduce your power, heat and, especially, the noise. Put the money that you save in the bank for your next HTPC upgrade that you will want in 12-18 months wink.gif.

Yes, your first HTPC inevitably leads to another, and another, and a media server, and another HTPC, etc smile.gif
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post #25 of 25 Old 06-08-2012, 12:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys!

I think its the feeling of always wanting the cutting edge of technology that I am fighting. "Faster, higher is better"

I have been thoroughly educated and I will post the new build.

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