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post #1 of 25 Old 07-09-2014, 01:18 PM - Thread Starter
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First HTPC build component questions

Sorry, complete HTPC novice here with a few questions!

I have a 3 year old, top of the shelf PC game rig that is just sitting collecting dust and I am getting back into home theaters, so I thought it would be good to re-purpose this rig for a forklift home theater upgrade, with a HTPC running XBMC. I am somewhat technically savvy, so I am not to scared with installing and playing around with XBMC (knowing myself, it will always be a constant state of tweaking).

Current Specs:
Intel Core i7 3.4GHz 2600k (sandybridge)
Asus Sabertooth P67 motherboard
16GB RAM
Nvidia 1.5GB GTX 570
Windows 7

I am sure it has the horsepower to be a great HTPC, but I was thinking of upgrading my video card to one that is HDMI 1.4 compatible for 3d and lossless bitstreaming, as the 570 (from my research) is incapable of doing either of those. So I was going to throw in an Nvidia 2GB GTX 760 ti. Again, from my research, it looks like this card will do what I am looking for?? Or is there another direction I should go?

I have just upgraded my 9 year old Denon 3805 for a Denon X4000 that I will use as my new receiver, that I will connect the HTPC via HDMI from the video card, and just ordered a BenQ W1080ST 1080 3d projector.

All of my movies are on one 4GB external USB 3.0 drive that I will hook into the HTPC, and about 80% of all my movies are .mkv with .mov/.mp4/.avi rounding out the rest. I am correct that XBMC will play all these files? or will I need to download all the XBMC "addons" that I hear about?

Thanks for some direction in advance.

Last edited by simplemind355; 07-09-2014 at 02:13 PM.
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post #2 of 25 Old 07-09-2014, 01:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simplemind355 View Post
I was thinking of upgrading my video card to one that is HDMI 1.4 compatible for 3d and lossless bitstreaming, as the 570 (from my research) is incapable of doing either of those
The GTX 570 will already take care of both, no need to upgrade

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Originally Posted by simplemind355 View Post
All of my movies are on one 4GB external USB 3.0 drive that I will hook into the HTPC, and about 80% of all my movies are .mkv with .mov/.mp4/.avi rounding out the rest. I am correct that XBMC will play all these files? or will I need to download all the XBMC "addons" that I hear about?
XBMC will play all of those out of the box as well as nearly every other format imaginable including audio files also.

Most addons are just for streaming instead of opening a browser, typing some url, clicking play, clicking fullscreen, etc. Like the daily show, colbert report, hgtv, sportsdevil, southpark, etc. None are necessary if you just want to play your own content

On the subject of 3D, you'll need something other than XBMC. It can playback SBS and TB but without h/w acceleration at the moment. For your rig, that's no sweat, but if you want to play 3D iso (with MVC) or MVC mkv files then you'll need PDVD. I have PDVD13 set up as an optional player in XBMC. Easy to do, and it only plays what you invoke it to play by pressing the context menu and choose "play using"

PDVD and TMT are both good options for 3D, but I found pdvd easier to "find" -- occasionally new BD-ROM drives will bundle PDVD as well
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post #3 of 25 Old 07-09-2014, 01:48 PM
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2600k also has enough internal iGPU to do perfectly fine without a GPU card as well. Does your mobo have HDMI on it ?

I have a 2600K in my flexraid server and it's still formidable. It's actually faster than my 3570k in my HTPC. That's about equal to a top end k series i5 on the newest chipset, so the CPU is up to the task. Since it does 3D and has decent iGPU (HD2000 is ok I guess) you should be fine without a GPU card unless you want to game or do something more advanced graphics wise.

16GB is also overkill.

I like your machine. I like it a lot.

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post #4 of 25 Old 07-09-2014, 02:07 PM
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I'm not sure about the P67 motherboard and HDMI 1.4
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post #5 of 25 Old 07-09-2014, 02:16 PM
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either way that machine can do HTPC rather well... if a raspi can run XBMC I am pretty a sure a few generations old i7 should handle it fine

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post #6 of 25 Old 07-09-2014, 02:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simplemind355 View Post
I am sure it has the horsepower to be a great HTPC, but I was thinking of upgrading my video card to one that is HDMI 1.4 compatible for 3d and lossless bitstreaming
Read
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post #7 of 25 Old 07-09-2014, 02:41 PM
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The CPU can do both though... might as well just swap the mobo for a smaller one like M atx or ITX on Z68 or Z77 IMO vs buy a GPU card.

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post #8 of 25 Old 07-09-2014, 03:03 PM
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OPs rig already had 570
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post #9 of 25 Old 07-09-2014, 03:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Optical S/PDIF out port(s) at back panel is all the Sabertooth p67 has. Bummer I know.

I would rather throw a new video card in it than do a mobo swap. I might still do a little BF4 from time to time with the new setup

I know this rig is complete overkill for a HTPC, but it is literally sitting around collecting dust, I have not even hit the power button on it for 5 months. So I might as well get some use out of it with my new theater.
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post #10 of 25 Old 07-09-2014, 03:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post
The GTX 570 will already take care of both, no need to upgrade
Oh really? from my brief research, the 570 is not HDMI 1.4 compatible, so therefore, will not pass lossless audio. I would be happy if I did not have to upgrade, but I have no issue if I need/want to throw that 760 in it.
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post #11 of 25 Old 07-09-2014, 03:23 PM
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The GTX 570 will not bitstream HD audio.
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post #12 of 25 Old 07-09-2014, 03:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simplemind355 View Post
Oh really? from my brief research, the 570 is not HDMI 1.4 compatible, so therefore, will not pass lossless audio. I would be happy if I did not have to upgrade, but I have no issue if I need/want to throw that 760 in it.
Nope, your research was right, I was wrong

I thought nvidia supported HD audio bitstreaming since GTX 4XX and later*

For some bizarre reason, they left off hd-audio support on their high end models (470/480/570/580) while the 460/560 and lower end had it

Looks like 760 would do the trick. I have a 660 myself, and I'm pretty happy with it's performance compared to idle power consumption. If I were looking again in the current day I might end up in AMDs corner
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post #13 of 25 Old 07-09-2014, 03:52 PM - Thread Starter
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For some bizarre reason, they left off hd-audio support on their high end models (470/480/570/580) while the 460/560 and lower end had it
Go figure! ehh, oh well, it's video card upgrade time... drat!
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post #14 of 25 Old 07-09-2014, 04:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Hmm, might get the 750 instead for a "greener" option as I would not mind shaving a few watts here and there if I can.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-024-_-Product

This will work for what I am trying to achieve with the HTPC, correct?

Last edited by simplemind355; 07-09-2014 at 04:11 PM.
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post #15 of 25 Old 07-09-2014, 04:36 PM
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How about a 265x? Not a Radeon fan ? Better for MadVR

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post #16 of 25 Old 07-09-2014, 04:57 PM - Thread Starter
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How about a 265x? Not a Radeon fan ? Better for MadVR
Not a hater of Radeon at all. In fact, I know very little about AMD's offerings. I have just always had Nvidia, so I am just leaning towards what I am more familiar with.

What would be the comparable Radeon offering? that 265x series? and what is MadVR?
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post #17 of 25 Old 07-09-2014, 05:09 PM
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MadVR is an advanced video render... it can provide higher PQ, especially when converting resolutions like you may typically do on HTPC. It's very GPU demanding so you need a pretty robust GPU card for best results.

265X is about 20% more powerful than the 750ti offering for about $25 cheaper, and AMD does MadVR a little better because of how they handle OPEN CL.

Nvidia does not need PSU power (PCI express slot is enough) and so the 750ti is more energy efficient (but weaker and more expensive). Both are a good choice IMO, depending on your priorities or brand preferences. You can still get decent results with a 750ti in MadVR, although for top of the line performance you want to step up to something like a 280X or 290X.

265X would be a card that competes with 750ti in many ways.

Check this out: **** So you've built your HTPC-NOW WHAT IS NEXT ?? How to get the "ULTIMATE" picture and sound quality from your HTPC !!!! (MADVR? SVP? XBMC? Mediabrowser? Jriver? )
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post #18 of 25 Old 07-09-2014, 05:23 PM
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I know it is only 1GB, but i love my GT730 GDDR5. No it's not to green, but i love the performance and price. They come in 1 and 2GB models.

http://www.geforce.com/hardware/desk...product-images

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-344-_-Product

pecifications

Mfr Part Number: ZT-71106-10L
Chipset: NVIDIA GeForce GT 730
Core Clock: 902 MHz
Video Memory: 1GB DDR3
Memory Clock: 1800 MHz
Memory Interface: 64-bit
Bus: PCI Express 2.0 x16 (x8 lanes)
CUDA Cores: 384
RAMDAC: 400MHz
Max Resolution: 2560 x 1600, Support 3x Display Monitors
Connectors: VGA, DVI-D Dual Link, HDMI
Thermal: Fanless
Dimensions (WxH): 5.740 x 4.376 inch / 145.79 x 111.15 mm
This Video Card Supports:
Microsoft Windows 8/ 7/ Vista(x86/x64)
NVIDIA Adaptive Vertical Sync Technology
NVIDIA Surround Technology
NVIDIA Unified Architecture
NVIDIA PhysX Technology
NVIDIA CUDA Technology
Hardware Video Decode Acceleration
Blu-ray 3D Ready
HDMI xvYCC Color & DeepColor Technologies
Lossless Audio Bitstream Capable
HDCP - High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection
Microsoft DirectX 12 and OpenGL 4.4
300W Power Supply Recommended
Low Profile Design
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post #19 of 25 Old 07-09-2014, 08:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post
MadVR is an advanced video render... it can provide higher PQ, especially when converting resolutions like you may typically do on HTPC. It's very GPU demanding so you need a pretty robust GPU card for best results.

265X is about 20% more powerful than the 750ti offering for about $25 cheaper, and AMD does MadVR a little better because of how they handle OPEN CL.

Nvidia does not need PSU power (PCI express slot is enough) and so the 750ti is more energy efficient (but weaker and more expensive). Both are a good choice IMO, depending on your priorities or brand preferences. You can still get decent results with a 750ti in MadVR, although for top of the line performance you want to step up to something like a 280X or 290X.

265X would be a card that competes with 750ti in many ways
Hmm, something to consider I suppose. What about this card:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814202090

I am familiar with Sapphire, but have never owned a component.
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post #20 of 25 Old 07-09-2014, 08:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Any thoughts on Windows 7 vs. upgrading to 8?
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post #21 of 25 Old 07-09-2014, 09:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simplemind355 View Post
All of my movies are on one 4GB external USB 3.0 drive that I will hook into the HTPC, and about 80% of all my movies are .mkv with .mov/.mp4/.avi rounding out the rest. I am correct that XBMC will play all these files? or will I need to download all the XBMC "addons" that I hear about?
Are 3D MKVs ripped from BR 3D without re-encoding? Then you will need Stereoscopic Player. Otherwise (i.e. 3D formats are SBS, TAB), XBMC internal player is OK (and HDMI 1.4a is irrelevant in this case).

Quote:
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Any thoughts on Windows 7 vs. upgrading to 8?
Win7 is good enough. If you want to spend a little bit of money, upgrade to 8, you will see numerous (minor) improvements. You can ignore useless tiles by using StartIsBack ($3).

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post #22 of 25 Old 07-09-2014, 09:38 PM
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AMD does MadVR a little better because of how they handle OPEN CL.
Not "a little better" but "twice better".

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post #23 of 25 Old 07-09-2014, 09:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simplemind355 View Post
Any thoughts on Windows 7 vs. upgrading to 8?
I enjoy Windows 8, and I'm sure I'm in the minority. Don't upgrade unless you have a reason to. Windows 8 is Windows 7 with tiles. I wouldn't want it for an HTPC.

AVR: Marantz 7008 Phono: Pro-Ject Debut III Speakers: BW CMC2 + 2xCM9 + Energy 2xCB-10 (rear)
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post #24 of 25 Old 07-09-2014, 10:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Are 3D MKVs ripped from BR 3D without re-encoding? Then you will need Stereoscopic Player. Otherwise (i.e. 3D formats are SBS, TAB), XBMC internal player is OK (and HDMI 1.4a is irrelevant in this case).
I don't have any 3d .mkv's as of yet, but will download a few to see how it works on the new setup. I may end up just grabbing an internal BD player for the HTPC to play the occasional 3d blu-rays that I would pick up on Amazon.
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post #25 of 25 Old 07-10-2014, 01:53 PM - Thread Starter
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I went with this card instead. I had a $20 credit from Newegg, so that combined with the $20 rebate (it's 2014 people, who does this anymore?) I got it for $150.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814130967

I know the power draw is considerably more than that 750 ti, but I will live with it. Now I will blow away my 128gb SSD boot drive and do a fresh install of Win7 and XBMC. Now just waiting for the card, HDMI cables & projector to be dropped off from the chocolate Santa.
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Denon AVR-X4000
Polk RTi 7.1
BenQ W1080ST projector
custom game/HTPC running XBMC (gotham)
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