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post #1 of 19 Old 12-13-2012, 10:40 AM - Thread Starter
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I am planning on using this 50% OTR PVR, 25% Netflix/Prime, 15% music, 10% gaming.

Hardware
Case: Lian-Li PC-C60A
PSU: PC Power& Cooling Silencer MKIII 600W
Mobo: Asrock Z77 OC Formula
RAM: G.Skill Ares 16gb dual channel
CPU: Intel i7-3770k
Heatsink: Zalman CNPS9500A
GPU: Gigabyte 7950 3Gb
OS Drive: Intel 520 240gb
Storage Drive: Seagate 3TB
OS: Windows 7 64 pro
HID: Logitech Bluetooth Kbd/Mouse; Harmony One; Xbox Controller
Tuners: 2 Silicondust HD Homeruns
Server: yep - 18TB

It should be a decent upgrade over my old HTPC. On my old one I was running Windows MCE but I am thinking now is as good of a time to branch out and try something new.

Software
XBMC Frodo
Media Portal
MCEbuddy
Netflix
Amazon Prime
Hulu
Steam

Am I forgetting anything or does this look pretty good?
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post #2 of 19 Old 12-13-2012, 11:04 AM
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Drop your PSU to a 400 or 500 watt is the first obvious thing you should do.

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post #3 of 19 Old 12-13-2012, 11:06 AM
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Second thing would be swap from the Sanforce based intel SSD to a 256GB variant with improved performance and track record for the controller like a Samsung 840/840pro, or VERTEX4. Both drives should have a good boost in performance over the Intel. In the case of the VERTEX4 it also has a 5 year warranty and sometimes sells cheaper.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/595?vs=628

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post #4 of 19 Old 12-13-2012, 11:12 AM
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Third would be consider a 3570k over the 3770k cpu because for your intended use it's much more appropriate. Your not going to notice any benefit in PQ. And you would need DUAL video cards and higher than a single 7950 to notice any difference in gaming performance.

Save your cash.

(NOTE I OWN BOTH AN i5 and i7 and both are overkill for a HTPC)

If your near microcenter you can get a 3570k for $169 (great deal) and get another $40 off an Asrock Motherboard.

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post #5 of 19 Old 12-13-2012, 11:17 AM
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4th thing I would do is abandon the overpriced ASRock Z77 OC Formula in favor of a basic 3/4 PRO/EXTREME Asrock Z77 saving another $100.

Unless your going for an overclock world record or running multi GPU's it's way overkill and overpriced.

If you wanted to go for a strong overclock you would get a Sandy 2600k i7 instead as it overclocks better than the IVY 3770k and costs less.

I doubt you will do either so get the cheaper Asrock board and 3570k I reccomended- save $200. You can still overclock the 3570k on that cheaper board to a 3770k level performance with $200 in your pocket.

But I would run it stock because it will be cooler and quieter and use less energy and be more reliable as the 3570k is still more than you need.

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post #6 of 19 Old 12-13-2012, 11:21 AM
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What RAM are you looking at ??

Link ?

You could step up to a faster speed (1866/2200/2800) if you wanted with the cost your saving on the board/CPU

I would do the microcenter deal on the 3570k + Asrock Z77 of you choice with $40 off. You should be looking around $50-$100 after discount on the board. (normally $90-140)

THen consider the Trident X Gskill with your saved cash. MKIII is a nice PSU but I would get the smaller size. or a Rosewill 80+ gold or another Seasonic Variant like the MKIII (ANTEC NEO 400watt)

A 7950 is not a power hog. Your build needs less than 400 watts.

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post #7 of 19 Old 12-13-2012, 11:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Cool thanks for the advice Mfusic.

Any thoughts on the software side?

What is the "Ultimate HTPC" software combination. Money is not really a consideration. Let's assume I have $1000 to spend on software if it's required.

AnyDVD HD lifetime for $150

other thoughts?
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post #8 of 19 Old 12-13-2012, 11:27 AM
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Well... I did not mean to sound harsh. I reads that way when I just re-read it. Sorry about that. I meant to be helpful.

Your original build was fine and good. I just think my suggestions might save you some cash without any sacrifice in performance.

As far as software, Are you talking about windows 7 ultimate??

yeah that is a waste of money.

Get x64 home premium or x64 W7 PRO. Both under $99

I would not bother with AnyDVD at all. What do you need that for ?

I don't use it.

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post #9 of 19 Old 12-13-2012, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by binarysoldier View Post

thanks for the advice Mfusick.

Any thoughts on the software side?
other thoughts?

Spend the really small cost on Assassin guides. The ease of set up and walk through on setting up software is invaluable IMO.

It's this part that is the hardest to get it right- and it is this part most make mistakes. Your experience and happiness will be greatly maximized and you will squeeze every drop of value from your investment if you do the software set up properly.

It's near impossible for a rookie to get it right without hours of trial and error and learning curve IMO.

it's a really small and really good investment.

http://assassinhtpcblog.com/

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post #10 of 19 Old 12-13-2012, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
What RAM are you looking at ??
G.SKILL Ares Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) Desktop Memory Model F3-1866C10D-16GAB
Quote:
Link ?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231560
Quote:
I did not mean to sound harsh
lol - I'm ok


x64 W7 PRO
Quote:
I would not bother with AnyDVD at all. What do you need that for ?
For easier Blu-Ray playback

As far as what I mean about "Ultimate HTPC" I mean is there a software set that seems to be definitively better than others, regardless of price?

I see most people using XBMC w/Mediaportal as a DVR backend. I am thinking of going this way. Is there a better solution, does not have to be freeware. I demoed Jriver but I feel like I need to invest some serious time to get a slick interface like XBMC has right out the box. I have a reasonable knowledge of computers and am not afraid to put in the money or the work if the payoff is worth it in the end. OK When I had the popcorn hour A-110 it was a bit too much work. Windows MCE is adequate but there were some things I didnt care much for.
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post #11 of 19 Old 12-13-2012, 11:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Spend the really small cost on Assassin guides. The ease of set up and walk through on setting up software is invaluable IMO.

I just watched the first video that Assassin has up on their site and it looks like he is just running Windows MCE with MyMovies and a skin. Nothing too fancy there.

I would say I am at or past the level where this would be beneficial to me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Eb1gvGRs08I#!

- This sounds like I'm being a dick but my old HTPC was basically already set up that way. All of my movies, music, and pictures are on a server with fanart/metadata ready to go.
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post #12 of 19 Old 12-13-2012, 11:48 AM
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I think both XBMC and MEDIABROWSER are a good choice. Assassin has walk through guides for setting both up perfectly. As well a Jriver which would be the 3rd option and good for audiophiles and audio people.

You can bitsteam HD audio with alll of them.

For software I like:

MAKEMKV
MediaCenterMaster
VLC sometimes (it's simple)

You can buy a software solution for playing blurays but you mentioned you had a server so why not use MAKEMKV for free ???? It's way slicker IMO once you get it up and running.

Browsing the album art and metadata with a slick interface is half the fun of HPTC. Why spend $150 on a bluray software program when you can buy a blu ray hardware standalone player for half that ???

personally I don't want to suffer the menu system or get off the couch to change a disc thus I love my HTPC and media server.

I don't think I have enough experience with software for bluray playback to make an intelligent comment or recommendation. I differ in philosophy on that issue. Perhaps someone else can help you out more on that one.

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post #13 of 19 Old 12-13-2012, 11:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by binarysoldier View Post

I just watched the first video that Assassin has up on their site and it looks like he is just running Windows MCE with MyMovies and a skin. Nothing too fancy there.
I would say I am at or past the level where this would be beneficial to me.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Eb1gvGRs08I#!
- This sounds like I'm being a dick but my old HTPC was basically already set up that way. All of my movies, music, and pictures are on a server with fanart/metadata ready to go.


If your set up and running now- and steaming HD audio, and have codec configured properly it might be true.

At my level (I am not a beginner) I still find some value so you might have to make your own call on that one.

A real beginner it is a must have. I did not realize your so advanced.

I think most people just push mediabrowser or XBMC as far as they can in search of the ultimate software solution. I don't think there is a better option.

The XBMC or MEDIABROWSER FORUMS are good place to find tricks and stuff... plugins and what nots.

Do you have HD audio now?
Do you playback ISO ?
Do you copy and play from HDD? Or do you play from the actual disc ?

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post #14 of 19 Old 12-13-2012, 11:56 AM
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You sound like you can find your way on the software.

Nothing short of a software guide is going to help you further IMO. I don't know how to post a "ultimate software solution" for you.

Most of what I do is things I pick up here and there. You would probably have to ask specific questions with specific titles to get cutting edge advanced answers and information.

many of us have done this already- and amassed the knowledge on small part at a time but just throwing it out there seems impossible unless your asking something specific.

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post #15 of 19 Old 12-13-2012, 12:29 PM - Thread Starter
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I dont rip Blurays to the server much - My server is chock full of DVD rips, in excess of 1500 DVDs and space is getting to be a premium. It is only a 18TB or so and I have some home movies and stuff on there too. I have a fairly very large collection of BDs, around 300. Assuming 30 gb per rip that is going to be another 9 TB. I dont have that many free bays in my server to add 3 more HDDs right now.

As to my experience this will be my 2nd full-fledged HTPC but I also own or have owned a Popcorn Hour A-110, Boxee Box, an old Asus ion based pc and a few others. I am in a good position that almost all of my media has correct tags and also cover art, fanart and the like.

I'm not trying to say I know everything about everything and apologies if I came off that way.

I'm just a little bored with Windows MCE and was wondering what's out there.
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post #16 of 19 Old 12-13-2012, 12:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Do you have HD audio now?
Yep - Onkyo 818
Quote:
Do you playback ISO ?
some, most of my rips are TS
Quote:
Do you copy and play from HDD?
Sometimes but not much. Usually I will stream Netflix or Prime, Watch DVR'ed shows, stream from the server
Quote:
Or do you play from the actual disc ?
BDs mostly. I would rip a movie I like to watch a lot like Avengers or another good demo BD
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post #17 of 19 Old 12-13-2012, 03:46 PM
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If you are going to be playing back Blu-ray from the disc AnyDVD HD is a must have IMO and without it HTPC wouldn't have been where it is now.
If you use its speed menus feature along with XBMC Frodo, it automatically finds the main movie track for you, even when fake playlists are present, no trailers/warnings to sit through.
I haven't found anything else that does this correctly, XBMC/VLC/MPC/MakeMKV or similar have no clue which track is correct in these cases.

As for ultimate HTPC software, I haven't found anything that I think is perfect for everything yet.
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post #18 of 19 Old 12-13-2012, 03:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the response.
I have never used AnyDVD before but
I think it would be a huge improvement.
I HATE unskippable previews and the like.
I didnt really think there was an "Ultimate setup" software wise but it never hurts to ask.
Like I said before, I know what I know but that is not everything.
I just do not want to miss out on the "big thing" and settle for something.
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post #19 of 19 Old 12-13-2012, 04:20 PM
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The only main downside is its expensive (They usually have a 20% off each month making it $120ish) but its worth it if you are going to be playing back the actual disc, there is no standalone player can play back discs from any region and get you straight to the movie in a few seconds.
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