Prebuilt HTPC: Assasin vs. Puget vs. Mac Mini - Page 3 - AVS Forum
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post #61 of 75 Old 06-20-2014, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by shnxx View Post
Hi everyone.

I'm the OP.
I don't want to waste time building a PC.
I don't want to look for parts and worry about what fits and whether this one part is a good deal or not.
I don't shop at IKEA unless it's built and I don't work on my cars.
I call a handyman when something is broken.


Maybe I'm lazy but I like to spend my leisure time the way I want to, doing things I like and avoiding things I don't like (building parts according to instructions and troubleshooting).

The reason I didn't want to just buy a Dell is because I thought dimensions and certain features of a product like assassin or Puget might be better suited for HTPC.

I like the idea of returning the item and asking for replacement if the thing breaks for whatever reason.

Assassin is a for profit company and I expect them to have overhead costs and salaries and dividends for the owners.
The fact that they charge more than the sum of parts if I assembled them is of absolutely no concern to me.
You don't sound like a DIY guy. Buy the Assassin.

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post #62 of 75 Old 06-20-2014, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by JVoth View Post
I've done a ton of research about HTPC's over the past month or so since I haven't been real deep in the computer world in about 10 years and a lot of the hardware has changed. I have, however, been heavily involved in the home theater world (speakers, pre amps, projectors, dedicated rooms, you name it, I've been all about it). I've found that both of these worlds have enthusiasts that have ridiculously strong opinions about their respective hobbies, as if each person the enthusiast advises is spending someone else's money besides their own. It seems the HTPC guys get way more passionate about their setups and their beliefs than the home theater guys do. In the home theater world, it's all about the biggest power amps and the most subwoofers that you can stick in 20 x 12 room. All of it is WAY overkill. People are willing to pay several hundred or thousand dollars for a little more performance. Same thing for computers. Yes, 9 subs if tuned correctly are better than 2 subs. However, no one, that I have seen in the theater threads, will say to someone with 9 subs in their room that they are stupid and only really need 4 subs. Yes, a newer chipset on a motherboard will be better than an older one, but you obviously aren't concerned with chipsets, AMD or Intel, GForce or Radeon. Sounds like you just want it to work. No one gets pissed off when a guy wanting a nice theater room calls Dennis Erskine or BigmouthinDC to build it for them. That seems to happen here quite a bit. I'm not sure I understand why.

To answer your question, if you don't care about getting a chipset on a motherboard that is slightly newer than the "current" chipset (in quotes because no computer is current, EVER), or a video card that can handle frame rates that you'll never watch, and you want to save some cash, and you don't want to DIY the whole thing, then just buy a Dell or HP or whatever. Now, you will have to download and install a media player like Windows Media Center or whatever. But Assassin has guides to help you with all that. You obviously don't mind doing research or you wouldn't be on this thread asking questions. Now, if you don't feel like doing any set up or any of that, then by all means buy the Assassin. The other thing, if you are trying to set up some elaborate multi-room media server, then you'll need something besides a Dell from Best Buy. But, I have a hard time believing that the Dell from BB can't play blu-rays and music in a single room.
Well said. Nice grounded viewpoint.

I'm guilty of the passion thing myself. Since this is somewhat of a hobby for me I probably care about a lot of the little stuff a normal person wouldn't.

Just about any PC can play back video files at 1080p, even older ones with a $50 GPU card to add HDMI can do it.

It's not about just that though, it's about the total solution. How well does it fit? Is it quiet? Does it look good? Is it reliable? Is the performance optimal for the desired user experience (SSD!), does it have all the features you need, does it have expand ability for features you might want or need in future, can you easily set up a remote, how well is the software configured, does the total package work as expected or is there bugs?

For someone that's pc literate or has the passion a full DIY option usually better, and for someone like the OP a full turn key custom solution is usually best. Different folks. Different priorities.

I still feel like the DIY guys enjoy a superior user experience because obtaining such is founded on understanding and good set up and there's an inherent knowledge building and learning curve that's developed more advanced for the DIY and this pays dividends later on.

There's occasionally posts here where someone wealthy who wants HTPC buys a high end Asassin for big money and then has a plethora of posts looking for help using it, or some complaints about it. In the end it always seems like nothing is wrong with the unit or Assassin work, it's often the user. There is still the same learning curve to learn to use it if you buy or you build it. The different is that DIY helps you understand how it works.
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post #63 of 75 Old 06-20-2014, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post
There's occasionally posts here where someone wealthy who wants HTPC buys a high end Asassin for big money and then has a plethora of posts looking for help using it, or some complaints about it. In the end it always seems like nothing is wrong with the unit or Assassin work, it's often the user. There is still the same learning curve to learn to use it if you buy or you build it. The different is that DIY helps you understand how it works.
That's what I've been trying to say. Just buying an assassin pc isn't going to turn you into some pc wizard. If you don't know what you're doing, you're going to be just as stumped as someone who bought a pc from any other store. If you're not willing to put any time into troubleshooting, you're better off with a Roku or cable DVR.
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post #64 of 75 Old 06-20-2014, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by shortcut3d View Post
I used 3 2011 BTO Mac Mini's as HTPCs for a while. The build quality, form factor, aesthetics, and power are hard to match. I ended up running in Windows 7 most of the time for WMC and MB. What actually drew me away from the Mac Mini was the desire to have whole home DVR with centralized storage. This is a Cable Labs issue with copy once premium channels which were regularly used in my house hold. I ended up moving to Ceton Echo extenders (what a mistake). That was the end of the HTPC for DVR as my wife put a stop to it. Now using Tivo Roamio Pro and Minis. The Mac Minis were sold off (great resale value not to be overlooked) and funded Intel NUCs for XBMC and Synology NAS. If I knew the Mac Mini IR worked with with XBMC (does do squat in WMC), then they would still be around. Today I use an i5 NUC, Synology NAS DS1813+, and Plex with Plexconnect for AppleTV 3s. The servers are in the garage and the wife doesn't know their there. Plexconnect works well enough for anyone that comes over even with no exposure to Plex or Apple TV.
That is one limitation, the built IR works great if you stick with OSX, but despite the Mac Mini being a nice little Windows 7 machine I don't think the IR will work in Windows. I was experimenting with running Win7 on my main living room Mini a month or so ago, and I had to plug in a USB WMC remote receiver. I'm guessing they just don't have drivers for it, though I spent very little time researching it and just used the USB receiver. That experiment was short lived though because for various reasons I preferred just sticking with OSX on that box.

Someone else mentioned the lack of HD audio support in XBMC for OSX, I was not sure if that was still the case, but I get 5.1 sound, DTS, etc and I am not an audiophile, it sounds fantastic to me.
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post #65 of 75 Old 06-20-2014, 10:34 AM
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Yeah, I believe there's still no surround sound in Mac OS X, in any application.
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post #66 of 75 Old 06-20-2014, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by StinDaWg View Post
That's what I've been trying to say. Just buying an assassin pc isn't going to turn you into some pc wizard. If you don't know what you're doing, you're going to be just as stumped as someone who bought a pc from any other store. If you're not willing to put any time into troubleshooting, you're better off with a Roku or cable DVR.
Ha! Yeah HTPC's aren't for people that don't want to put in some kind of effort into learning about PC's and software, at least, a little. But you don't need to know everything a hardcore HTPC guy wants to know or thinks you need to know. You said earlier that buying $400 worth of parts for $1200 is not something you could ever recommend. I THINK that was you anyways. But we all buy something that makes other people absurd amounts of money. I think what you were saying was that people shouldn't spend that kind of money on something that has a pretty good learning curve whether it's "turnkey" or DIY. These aren't Kaleidascape. They are a long way from it. I think that made sense. If not, it's because I'm drunk.

Last edited by JVoth; 06-21-2014 at 08:11 AM. Reason: I was hammered when I typed this the first time.
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post #67 of 75 Old 06-20-2014, 08:49 PM
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Everyone here should be drunk IMO lol...

It would be more fun

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post #68 of 75 Old 06-21-2014, 08:30 AM
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Everyone here should be drunk IMO lol...

It would be more fun
If someone believes putting PCs together for people makes "absurd amounts of money" then they are definitely drunk

 

 

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post #69 of 75 Old 06-21-2014, 05:55 PM
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If someone believes putting PCs together for people makes "absurd amounts of money" then they are definitely drunk


That's Michael Dell.

I WIN!
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post #70 of 75 Old 06-21-2014, 07:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, since I said in the first paragraph on my posts that it "depends on your tastes" you're clearly just being argumentative at this point.

Personally, I think all of those except the Mac mini and Dell Zino cases are ugly (I hate all this plastic) and I would never put them under my TV. But, that doesn't mean someone else would or that even someone would put a tower next to theirs. It's their choice.

The point's been made.

Wow these look great!
Ok I guess these are gonna cost less and won't require me building.
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post #71 of 75 Old 06-21-2014, 07:03 PM - Thread Starter
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That's Michael Dell.



I WIN!

Haha he isn't making much per PC though.
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post #72 of 75 Old 06-23-2014, 07:01 AM
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Haha he isn't making much per PC though.
I bet this stat is available some place .

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post #73 of 75 Old 06-23-2014, 08:24 AM
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That's Michael Dell.

I WIN!
Well, except he's not putting any PCs together. His minions do that.

 

 

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post #74 of 75 Old 06-23-2014, 08:31 AM
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Well, except he's not putting any PCs together. His minions do that.
I guess you need some minions...

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post #75 of 75 Old 06-24-2014, 02:57 PM
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That's what I've been trying to say. Just buying an assassin pc isn't going to turn you into some pc wizard. If you don't know what you're doing, you're going to be just as stumped as someone who bought a pc from any other store. If you're not willing to put any time into troubleshooting, you're better off with a Roku or cable DVR.
Yeah, this is my main issue with wanting a turnkey HTPC: there's no such thing. Even a pre-built, completely set up XBMC box from Assassin is still going to require a decent amount of computer knowledge and futzing about to get the library set up and get new media ripped, and then using it for any amount of time is going to require a bit of troubleshooting now and then. It's just not at the level of user-friendliness you'd expect from a standalone appliance like a Roku or Amazon Fire, which is precisely why those exist in the first place.

Now, getting one because you don't want to spend the time setting it up? I can get that, if someone has more money than time it's a useful service and I've certainly spent money in the past to just make a problem or annoyance go away, even if I probably could have done it myself. I respect that. But if someone's getting it all set up for them because dealing with computers frightens or annoys them and they don't know how to tinker, I'm not sure I would recommend an HTPC in the first place, pre-configured or not. That's a bit like buying a manual car and then having it delivered to your house because you don't know how to drive stick. Great, you got it home in one piece, but what now?
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