HTPC is dead... long live the HTPC! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 10-03-2012, 09:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi AVSF,

I haven't posted in a very long time because, well, everything has been working well! wink.gif Unfortunately, tonight my HTPC (Affectionately called Deimos II, specs below) died tonight. It has been literally the only computer in my house except for my work laptop for years now. I built it in 2006, and it has been the longest lived computer I've ever owned. :tear: The ASUS M2N-SLI Deluxe finally gave up the ghost after:
3 processors
4 Video cards
5 tuner cards
6 operating systems
2 power supplies
at least 8 different hard drive configurations
and remarkably, only one set of RAM.

I don't want to give up on HTPC. I've spent so long learning how to tweak the software, etc. I love absolute quality (as many of you do too, of course) and I've learned so much from you all.

Now that I'm older, I have a home of my own, and am pretty financially stable compared to the post-college apocalypse when I built Deimos II, I want to do this the right way this time.

Money is always an object, but it's no longer an obstacle. I'd like to build a separate home server to handle file storage, backup, and many other 24/7 things, and rebuild my HTPC for a true HTPC & gaming role. It needs to be:
1. Quiet as possible when not in use.
2. Be able to sleep when not in use.
3. Offload background processes like usenet downloads, etc to the server I'll be building.
4. Use that server for nearly all media (Movies, Music) storage easily.
5. Be reasonably quiet when watching media.
6. Not sound like a Cessna on takeoff when gaming.
7. Fit in my fantastic, full-size case from SilverStone, which is pretty much the only thing I'll be keeping from the old system. (It's a full-ATX, desktop style case that looks like a high end power amp)

What are the community's thoughts on building a proper gaming HTPC? Any comments on this new system idea, or the server? Thanks very much!


[ Deimos II old specs ]
ASUS M2N-SLi Deluxe (AM2+ socket)
Corsair 2GB DDR2 (original RAM)
Some cheap @$$ 4GB DDR2 from NewEgg
2x Kingston 128GB SSDs (OS Drive)
4x Western Digital 500GB Caviar HDDs (1.4TB RAID5)
ATI Radeon HD 6870
Some ATSC tuners I forget about
Lite-ON BluRay drive

[ New Home Server Specs ]
More serious motherboard- Tyan?
Mid-level Xeon?
Lots of RAM - ECC?
Tuners in here or in HTPC? CableCARD?
Load VMWare EXSi as a hypervisor? Load servers as VMs? Use a Linux OS for main OS and hypervisor?
Thoughts?

[ New Gaming HTPC Specs ]
More Serious motherboard?
Intel/AMD?
Keep my current GPU (HD6870) until new gen comes out?
Silent or near silent fans/PSU/CPU Cooler?
Keep my Blu-Ray drive

[ Current Home Theater environment ]
Pioneer Elite 50" Plasma (DVI>HDMI for main display)
Pioneer Elite AVR (HDMI from HTPC for digital LPCM audio, HDMI to second monitor)
Klipsch reference series 5.1 (Connected to AVR of course)
Verizon FiOS

Pioneer lover: Elite TV and AVR | HTPC Masochist | Bit-perfect Audiophile | Networking Guru |
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post #2 of 7 Old 10-04-2012, 08:18 PM
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How much do you want to throw at this thing? Either the new A10 AMD or an intel i3 processor won't require a graphics card. Inexpensive motherboards can be had for either. There are a load of build threads on here for advice...
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post #3 of 7 Old 10-04-2012, 09:03 PM
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Keep the 6870 and go with this one:
Quote:
[ New Gaming HTPC Specs ]
More Serious motherboard?
Intel/AMD?
Keep my current GPU (HD6870) until new gen comes out?
Silent or near silent fans/PSU/CPU Cooler?
Keep my Blu-Ray drive

Depending on the $$ you want to spend:

- Intel CPU. Either i3 2120 or i5 3570K...anything in between or on the outside of is a compromise in terms of "value"
- 1155 motherboard.....take your pic. Make sure it has at LEAST one SATA6 channel. And if you're going with the 3570K MB, then make sure its a Z77 chipset
- 120GB SSD. Take your pick. Crucial, Mushkin, Corsair, Intel, etc etc (this drive will go into your SATA6 channel...make sure of it)
- sweet HTPC case, peripherals, etc etc....

Good to go.

In terms of LFE, size does matter!
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post #4 of 7 Old 10-04-2012, 11:20 PM
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For the server have you tried looking at a NAS from either Synology for QNAP.

I personally has a DS411 and run NZBGET, Sickbeard, Couchpotato all on this small NAS. With 4 x 2TB drives running raid 5 it gives myself ample storage, there are bigger options if you have the money. The NAS can also do all your backup needs.
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post #5 of 7 Old 10-05-2012, 05:48 AM
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Cetrian,

I don't have any advice, but I do want to offer my condolences frown.gif. I too am running an HTPC with an Asus M2N-SLI Deluxe motherboard that I built in 2007, and like you it has seen many upgrades. I mainly got it for the onboard firewire, which I use to record TV from my cable box using SageTV. Sure, there are much better options now, but 5-6 years ago it this mobo couldn't be beat for a solid HTPC. This thing has just been rock solid 24/7 for 5.5 years for me.

I have given some thought about what I would do if my HTPC dies; after all, it is the longest running computer I've ever had; I can't help but think it's on borrowed time. However, I'm not really sure what the optimum solution is right now for recording and all that other stuff you want to do. I'll be keeping an eye on this thread, and maybe I'll be prepared when my mobo's time is up.
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post #6 of 7 Old 10-09-2012, 01:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Weeber24 - empathy is always welcome smile.gif Many more years on your M2N-SLI Dlx I hope. Looks like I will be having to buy a used one to get the data off my RAID5 frown.gif

Thanks for all the other responses too. I decided on something that the community may find unconventional, but I'd like to share, in case others are in my position:

Since this machine was gaming oriented, and price was not a factor, but noise and heat are:
I went with a Z77 chipset board (Went nuts on an ASUS Sabertooth Z77, but could have gotten away with less. I wanted the longer warranty and better build quality)
Truthfully, after much anal research, the 115x socket is the best for HTPC's right now (yes, better than A10, buy a discrete card and suck it up if you're going to game at all) - Z77 the only way to go for future proofing (Ivy Bridge/22nm(
I also went with an i7 3770k. I know this may seem crazy to HTPC builders, but I have the room in my full sized Silverstone case (highly reccomended for your sanity) And the STooth Z77 spins all the many fans down to nothing when not needed. It's actually not that loud at all. I have more work to do to get it softer, but at idle she is putting out +32dB. I know I can get this in the 20s with some fanspeed work.

I just reused my existing AMD 6870 GPU, since it's more than enough for most games. It's actually the loudest component - and i hope to spin that sucker down with more time tweaking.

The performance is unreal, and total TDW is about 60% of the old setup. I think this is a win all around and would highly reccomend an Intel Ivy bridge build at this stage. (i5 for super low power and integrated GPU for small applications)

I'll update the OP tomorrow.

Pioneer lover: Elite TV and AVR | HTPC Masochist | Bit-perfect Audiophile | Networking Guru |
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post #7 of 7 Old 10-09-2012, 10:49 AM
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Server wise I would suggest going with a decent specced out server hardware and run ESXi. The flexibility this offers is tremendous.
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