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post #1 of 45 Old 03-09-2013, 09:45 AM - Thread Starter
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In my quest to build or buy my first HTPC, I cam across this.......
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=83-256-261&SortField=0&SummaryType=0&Pagesize=10&PurchaseMark=&SelectedRating=-1&VideoOnlyMark=False&VendorMark=&IsFeedbackTab=true&Page=2#scrollFullInfo

Remember, it will be used only for movie storage/playing and occasionally web surfing. It will be stored in a room behind my TV wall so sound is not an issue. I will be upgrading the HD as well as the memory. I know I'll have to add a video card for HDMI out. Will I also get sound?

What do you all think?
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post #2 of 45 Old 03-09-2013, 09:57 AM
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You would be wasting your money, in my opinion.
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post #3 of 45 Old 03-09-2013, 10:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by macks View Post

You would be wasting your money, in my opinion.
I'm new to this so could you explain why?
Windows 7 alone costs more than this unit.
I've used a PS3 for the last 2 years. I just hate being limited to playing 4gb files.
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post #4 of 45 Old 03-09-2013, 12:14 PM
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Well for one, this is really underpowered and outdated hardware, circa 2004. Yeah it's cheap, until you upgrade the hdd, ram and adding a video card (as you mentioned)... and considering the age, this will somewhat limit your choices for ram and video card. Also, there's zero future proofing with this choice either. Better to spend a little more and have something you could grow with as your needs might change.

It seems you're really interested in saving money on the OS, but if you really only want it for movie storage/playback and occasional web surfing, then linux (free) with xbmc would handle those duties fantastically and you could focus your money on up to date hardware. Or if you're absolutely set on Windows, there are still better cost efficient options.

If you're really not sure what you need, then maybe posting a detailed list of needed functionality and what budget range you're looking at and the more experience users here would be happy to help with suggestions. Also there are many budget built threads on here if you have a look around, also consider reading through this thread http://www.avsforum.com/t/1302559/assassins-simple-beginner-htpc-buying-guide for a better idea of what's available.
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post #5 of 45 Old 03-09-2013, 01:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by boournz View Post

Well for one, this is really underpowered and outdated hardware, circa 2004. Yeah it's cheap, until you upgrade the hdd, ram and adding a video card (as you mentioned)... and considering the age, this will somewhat limit your choices for ram and video card. Also, there's zero future proofing with this choice either. Better to spend a little more and have something you could grow with as your needs might change.

It seems you're really interested in saving money on the OS, but if you really only want it for movie storage/playback and occasional web surfing, then linux (free) with xbmc would handle those duties fantastically and you could focus your money on up to date hardware. Or if you're absolutely set on Windows, there are still better cost efficient options.

If you're really not sure what you need, then maybe posting a detailed list of needed functionality and what budget range you're looking at and the more experience users here would be happy to help with suggestions. Also there are many budget built threads on here if you have a look around, also consider reading through this thread http://www.avsforum.com/t/1302559/assassins-simple-beginner-htpc-buying-guide for a better idea of what's available.

Thank you SO much for your honest opinion.

Here's what I'd like my HTPC to do.....

Play and store larger files aka bluray rips with ease. Footprint is not a problem since it will be stored in a closet.
Run Windows 7. I have a copy.
4 GB RAM
Wireless keyboard and mouse pad aka all in one.
HDMI and Optical Audio output
Ethernet. No wireless. Will be hardwired and networked with my home computers.

Thanks again for all of your patience!

BTW....been studying up on XMBC and man, looks fun!!!
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post #6 of 45 Old 03-10-2013, 08:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Any ideas of parts and components?
Value priced please!
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post #7 of 45 Old 03-14-2013, 04:42 AM - Thread Starter
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No comments on a build?
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post #8 of 45 Old 03-14-2013, 04:59 AM
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post #9 of 45 Old 03-14-2013, 10:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by macks View Post

http://aaawave.com/p-16657-arctic-dpaco-mc11401-gb-mc001-n-barebone-pc-entertainment-center.aspx

Doesn't get much cheaper than this.

Holy heck!
That is awesome. Thanks!

If you could link me to the memory and a 500GB HD that will work with this, I'll shut up.
LOL.
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post #10 of 45 Old 03-14-2013, 11:08 AM
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Here's the tech specs from the Arctic page

Memory is SO-DIMM DDR3 (laptop memory), look for DDR3 1333, here's options from Newegg
On the left side column, under capacity I would go with a 2GB, 4GB (2 x 2GB) or 8GB (2 x 4GB) which is the max it can take. Make sure it's DDR3 1066 or 1333, higher speeds like 1600, 1866, etc won't work. The Arctic page also says some Corsair memory won't work with this system. 2 or 4 GB should be fine.

For HDD, it takes 2.5" laptop drives or an SSD, SATA connection, the specs don't give any further details. There's lots of options depending on your preference of capacity and price.
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post #11 of 45 Old 03-14-2013, 11:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macks View Post

http://aaawave.com/p-16657-arctic-dpaco-mc11401-gb-mc001-n-barebone-pc-entertainment-center.aspx

Doesn't get much cheaper than this.

Wow, thanks for that. I was looking for an OpenELEC barebones unit. The OE folks had a link to the Arctic website where all the different options were out of stock. Not only is this the one that I wanted, but it is $30 cheaper and ships for free. I have one on the way.

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post #12 of 45 Old 03-14-2013, 11:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Just ordered mine!
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post #13 of 45 Old 03-14-2013, 11:36 AM
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I wish you luck with Atom. It may not be up to task for you.

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post #14 of 45 Old 03-14-2013, 12:22 PM - Thread Starter
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I wish you luck with Atom. It may not be up to task for you.
Why not?
All I really need it for is for playing movies. That's it.
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post #15 of 45 Old 03-14-2013, 12:25 PM
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Depending on the movies.. It sometimes cannot keep up with Blu-ray rips.

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post #16 of 45 Old 03-14-2013, 04:59 PM - Thread Starter
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post #17 of 45 Old 03-14-2013, 08:16 PM
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It'll be fine. It has a Radeon 5430 too, whihc will take care of business with hardware acceleration.

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post #18 of 45 Old 03-15-2013, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by fitbrit View Post

It'll be fine. It has a Radeon 5430 too, whihc will take care of business with hardware acceleration.

I posted this for the op since he was talking about using Windows 7. I don't know if hardware acceleration with Radeon has made much headway with OpenElec, anyone know?
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post #19 of 45 Old 03-15-2013, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Justin Murphy View Post

Here's the HD I'm gonna get........
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822236240
And the memory.......
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820313294

Please post back with results, I'm curious to know how it works with streaming blu ray. I would also like to know how noisy it is, although I know your planning to store it in a closet.


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post #20 of 45 Old 03-15-2013, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by oman321 View Post

Please post back with results, I'm curious to know how it works with streaming blu ray. I would also like to know how noisy it is, although I know your planning to store it in a closet.

There are no fans so I would imagine the only noise is from the HDD. Please let me know if I'm wrong though.
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post #21 of 45 Old 03-15-2013, 08:07 AM
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Cool, didn't realize that if it is the case. So throwing an ssd in there would keep it silent nice!! Looking for a simple low cost solution for a bedroom and living room setup. Although Assassin posted that sweet Thin ITX build, I bet it's a bit costlier though.

Thanks macks.


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post #22 of 45 Old 03-15-2013, 08:53 AM
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At 500G of storage, I think that you will run out of room very quickly. Once you have several drives, you are going to have to consider some kind of RAID or drive pooling options. If you get a larger drive initally, you are at least putting this off for several months (or a year or two).

I have 4 x 3TB (12TB total) and I am practically out of room already. I have the 4 drives stored in the HTPC, but I am soon going to have to build a proper server.

Trust me, you are going to run out of room, so maybe going with a 2TB or 3TB might be an option to go with from the start...
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post #23 of 45 Old 03-15-2013, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by SDM123 View Post

At 500G of storage, I think that you will run out of room very quickly. Once you have several drives, you are going to have to consider some kind of RAID or drive pooling options. If you get a larger drive initally, you are at least putting this off for several months (or a year or two).

I have 4 x 3TB (12TB total) and I am practically out of room already. I have the 4 drives stored in the HTPC, but I am soon going to have to build a proper server.

Trust me, you are going to run out of room, so maybe going with a 2TB or 3TB might be an option to go with from the start...

There are USB ports in the back for an external hdd. Internally this thing only supports 2.5" drives. I would have suggested a cheap ssd and an external drive to start with and then get a NAS/file server later.
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post #24 of 45 Old 03-15-2013, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by macks View Post

There are USB ports in the back for an external hdd. Internally this thing only supports 2.5" drives. I would have suggested a cheap ssd and an external drive to start with and then get a NAS/file server later.

I'm not even going to put a drive in mine. I'm just going to use a spare USB 4GB stick plugged in to it for the OpenELEC OS. Got a UPS shipping confirmation with estimated delivery for Thursday.

I've got all my .MKV files stored on an unraid box so I just need this machine to be the content streamer. No fan, no moving parts at all, should work perfectly for my needs for a total out of pocket cost of $135 for the unit, 4GB of RAM and USB stick. If OpenELEC doesn't get the job done I can always snag a windows license and run jRiver MC as I do on my main PC.

I'll hopefully have everything in hand and will be able to get it up and running by this time next week and will report back.

PSN ID: Seldom_Seen
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post #25 of 45 Old 03-24-2013, 12:30 PM
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So how have you made out?


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post #26 of 45 Old 03-24-2013, 11:40 PM
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Well, there are a few kinks to work out yet, but all in all, I'm super happy with the unit.

I am new to both Linux and XBMC. My need for high WAF value in electronics is extreme. If my wife won't use it, can't use it or finds it frustrating to learn how to use etc, then it might as well be just for me and not my whole family of 4.

My Dune player, while very nice, just wasn't working. Audio sync issues with .mkv rips, never played nicely with my 4x4 HDMI matrix and a pain for my wife.

So, along comes this unit at less than half of what I paid for the Dune and closer to 70% less than they're selling the Dune for now and it seems like it is just going to work nicely.

Now, at this point I haven't played hours of high bitrate movies to see if heat or anything else causes problem. I also have not introduced it to the matrix just yet. But, it plays all my .mkv files with the exception of those with DTS-HD-MA. From what I have read, it seems a simple muxing task to decode those movies to lossless FLAC audio. I'll play around with that this week.

I have begun work on a GUI for my iRule control devices. It responds to WOL command and boots right into XBMC from a USB stick holding the openELEC OS in about 25 seconds. IRule's XBMC IP commands work well to control it as well. The menus are fairly snappy. Sometimes when scrolling through my movie lists it hangs on loading the large background images or the smaller disc cover image. This could be for a variety of reasons not necessarily hardware, but it is not too much of a concern. Once I figured out that struggling to enable NFS shares and went with SMB shares it found my movies on my unRaid server and imported them in one go for the most part. A few movies had file names that were too arcane for the movie scraper to figure out, but that is more user error on my part.

My main complaint, and maybe someone has an easy solution that I'm missing is that the Arctic case has a space for a slim DVD drive and the faceplate that is meant to be attached to an installed drive (which I don't plan on doing) won't stay attached to the case. There is nothing for it to clip to or screw to and it doesn't snap in place, so it just falls off. I am not hell bent on aesthetics, but if for no other reason than to keep extra dust out, I'd like to attach it permanently.

The wife likes the look of it and agreed to let me buy another one. The price went up $10 at aaawave.com, so with another 4GB of memory and a small USB flash drive the 2nd one cost me $145. If the matrix doesn't work then we can put 1 in the family room and one in the living room on their own and the Dune can move back to the theater.

I'm super impressed with what this unit can do at this point. I'll have some more follow up as I tinker a bit more. I'll confirm I can remux DTS-MA and have it work, I'll watch an entire movie or 2 and look for issues and I'll try to get it in my matrix and see if it will play nicely (all 4 TVs on the matrix are 1080P 120Hz but only 1 is connected through an AVR which was a problem for the Dune in that it would just lock up if connected, my PS3 has no issue).

Hope this is of help to others in my boat.

PSN ID: Seldom_Seen
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post #27 of 45 Old 03-25-2013, 06:01 AM
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Thanks for the update SeldomSeen31,

If I were to describe my WAF situation it would be pretty darn near to being identical to yours.

I wonder if an additional 4gb of memory would give a significant improvement in performance. Wonder if it's worth your time to check that out before setting up the newer rig.

Thanks for the feedback, this unit is very tempting.


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post #28 of 45 Old 03-25-2013, 06:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oman321 View Post

Thanks for the update SeldomSeen31,

If I were to describe my WAF situation it would be pretty darn near to being identical to yours.

I wonder if an additional 4gb of memory would give a significant improvement in performance. Wonder if it's worth your time to check that out before setting up the newer rig.

Thanks for the feedback, this unit is very tempting.

I have not done significant testing as mentioned above, but I never saw memory being used in a significant manner when video was playing. I can't imagine 8GB would make any difference over 4 for my install. If I had to guess about why sometimes the background images don't populate immediately would be due to the USB stick the OS is running on. I'm just not willing to drop another $80-$100 for an SSD when it works fine from a $5 USB flash drive.

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post #29 of 45 Old 03-25-2013, 07:29 AM
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Great thanks, that makes total sense.

I'm really interested in this unit because right now I have a WHS2011 with all my media which I easily access with a number of devices, but also want something that will integrate live tv as well with one of the silicon dust prime tuners.

Thing is that I refuse to get multiple DVR's for cable tv, so I would I need a client that is silent (important for WAF in living room and bedroom) and is robust enough to get the job done with either the current HDHR3 Prime or the upcoming 4 tuner model. I know XMBC has made headway with getting live tv to work but I wasn't certain if that was the case with the openelec version. I came across a post from Dark Slayer that mentions he got it to work with a couple of W7/openelec machines, so I am hopeful.

I've started to drop hints to the finance committee so we shall see where that gets me. Thing is that I probably have to pick up the Prime first so that she could realize the benefit of that on the laptop and her ipad and I can work on getting dedicated clients for the needed areas.

Thanks again, I look forward to hearing about testing results.


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post #30 of 45 Old 03-25-2013, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by oman321 View Post

Great thanks, that makes total sense.

I'm really interested in this unit because right now I have a WHS2011 with all my media which I easily access with a number of devices, but also want something that will integrate live tv as well with one of the silicon dust prime tuners.

Thing is that I refuse to get multiple DVR's for cable tv, so I would I need a client that is silent (important for WAF in living room and bedroom) and is robust enough to get the job done with either the current HDHR3 Prime or the upcoming 4 tuner model. I know XMBC has made headway with getting live tv to work but I wasn't certain if that was the case with the openelec version. I came across a post from Dark Slayer that mentions he got it to work with a couple of W7/openelec machines, so I am hopeful.

I've started to drop hints to the finance committee so we shall see where that gets me. Thing is that I probably have to pick up the Prime first so that she could realize the benefit of that on the laptop and her ipad and I can work on getting dedicated clients for the needed areas.

Thanks again, I look forward to hearing about testing results.

Before you go too far you should look at what your cable company allows you to do with recorded content. My provider is all copy once and basically limits my content to the box it is recorded on. The installers in my area are too stupid to be able to work with people on setting this up in a sane manner. Be ready to take many trips to your local dispatch office. I ended up buying an antenna and told the wife to get used to Netflix and OTA.
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