Anyone ever wish they did their HTPC right the first time? (or better?) - Page 2 - AVS Forum
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post #31 of 335 Old 08-02-2014, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post
You make some great points, but I don't think it's about "MOAR POWER". I think people are reading my signature and just misinterpreting some of what I am trying to say. Or perhaps they just know my personality and are making assumptions.

The main thing I was asking in the opening post was what is it about HTPC that makes it like a red headed step child to a lot of people? It seems like there is a strong prevalence in this forum to cheap out, or cry about dollars, or quickly make compromises- and there is an abnormally strong tendency to be conservative or appreciate moderation even if it means slow and low performance come for a ride too.

I saw one dude spend $300 on a microphone to measure his subs and speakers and then only $200 on a laptop, then realized it was only a netbook and he needed a real laptop with windows ($350)... LOL! Ended up costing him $550.

I saw another not to be named poster talk about energy efficiency and choose a weak ass CPU because of misplaced concerns of heat and energy consumption and when I clicked the link in his signature I looked as his system and the dude was posting about running a 4th 20amp circuit to his AV closet for another amp for his subs. He had like two full closets full of stuff sucking juice... and I just lol-ed.

This happens all the time. Because it's computer related or HTPC people treat it differently. They are quick to make a compromise or give up performance, and they are pinching every penny worry about a difference of $20. I saw another guy spend $2500 on his TV stand then cry about $40 difference in price from a nice HTPC case to a rather crappier one. WTF? Some of the compromises people make around here on stuff they would never do if they were buying a TV or speakers or sub woofers, or a projector or screen.

It seems like to me that the cost of HTPC and PC components is really pennies on the dollar compared to the rest of the average home theater system on this website. This is after all AVS, so it's not like there's a ton of walmart $99 special home theater systems on here. The folks around here (even the less affluent ones) tend to have nicer stuff and a general appreciation for audio and video performance. The cost of a HTPC compared to a display, or AVR, or speakers, or subs is really small. It's less than what people spend on TV stands or racks, or even interconnect cables for their components. Then think about how much you spend on media! $100+ a month for cable and internet. plus rentals. Plus movies or tv box sets you buy. It's way more than HTPC, even a rather premium one is going to cost you.

And HTPC last for a while, especially if you spec it right and make it nice. A $500-$750 HTPC has potentially many years of viability. I'd think any i3 or higher or equivalent powered AMD build should suffice for an excess of 3 years so cost broken down per year is so small compared to a cable bill, or any other part of your system. The viability and longevity of an HTPC only increases with better performance parts. Spending that $20 extra on the Samsung PRO SSD and that $40 extra on that core i5 quad core instead doesn't mean lower reliability or problems either. I know what you are saying and I agree 100% about the needing a good plan part, and if you piece something together on a whim it's less ideal and more problematic. I agree. But that's user error, it's nothing wrong with the hardware. Choosing a faster SSD for $20 doesn't make your HTPC less reliable or more problematic. Actually the Sammy Pro has a 10 year warranty is reasonably expected to be more reliable. Spending $40 on that i5 CPU doesn't lead to more problems either, it just means your HTPC is faster and more powerful and should last you longer before it loses it's viability as a proper solution. It's not burning any more juice playing a video either, not enough to be of any consequence to anyone, including even the most excessively brain damaged tree huggers. It's so insignificant compared to other areas of your home, lifestyle, or even home theater system. But no one looks at those areas, it all about the HTPC like it's the single point source in your house for excessive energy consumption. Lol. Just turn your AC up a couple degrees, or upgrade your fridge to something more efficient. My wife blow drying her hair for 5 minutes burns way more energy than my HTPC. That extra 5 minutes in a hot shower with an electric water heater ? It's just weird to me how people are so misinformed about energy and HTPC in relation to other parts of their lives yet seemingly everyone has some obsession about HTPC and energy and treats it differently than stuff like it's of way more and paramount importance.

So what is it about PC or HTPC and in this forum that has such a prevalence for moderation and compromise, and an inherent universal tendency to pinch every penny so tight? It seems like the same folks crying over seemingly little money differences in parts or a build options goes off full tilt in another forum on speakers, or subs, or displays or amps. It's like mismatched. It's something funny about this forum that's been this way for a while where compromise and moderation is appreciated and that leads to a culture that promotes that. I feel like sometime people who are not naturally like that get bad advice here because of this. I know it happened to me when I first joined. I even jumped on the bandwagon and called people out for using a quad core saying "it's not needed". I've learned the error of my ways.
tl;dr "Why doesn't everyone want to build an HTPC like mine?!?"

I've already answered your question. People skimp on HTPCs because they aren't enthusiasts like you are. Period. They don't care about the HTPC being a PC it is simply a means to and end for them. Assembling a PC with higher specs serves no purpose to them. People have different priorities. That is a fundamental concept that you seem utterly unwilling or unable to accept.

That and I think your premise is flawed from the beginning anyway as the prevalence of the phenomenon you're describing is greatly exaggerated. Yes, it exists, but you make it sound like every poster on here is trying to build a $200 HTPC when in reality, it's the good old bell-curve and those people are on one extreme, you of course are on the other, but the vast majority of people are in the middle, building moderately equipped HTPC's.

Finally, it isn't that difficult for someone vaguely familiar with PCs to assemble a moderately priced system to do typical HTPC tasks. You're going to get more questions about people trying to build a budget HTPC because the nature of doing a budget build on anything os going to prompt more questions.

As far as your assertion that a Pro SSD or Core i5 doesn't make your PC any less reliable or more problematic, may be true, but spending that extra money doesn't necessarily make your purpose-built HTPC any better or more capable either, given the finite list of requirements, for a properly planned build. Why should I be concerned if buying those upgraded parts would make my PC worse if spending that extra money isn't necessarily going to make it better?

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post #32 of 335 Old 08-02-2014, 12:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Aryn Ravenlocke View Post
This thread speaks to exactly why I've been putzing about the HTPC forums for the past month. I'm trying to make sure that the machine I end up with (whether I build or purchase off the shelf) is able to do the things I need it to do the first time. I want to leave a little wiggle-room for increased performance demands, but I don't want to overshoot the mark so much that I am using a .50 caliber Desert Eagle when a lady's clutch .22 Beretta would have done everything just as nicely.

I now know I am best off making my HTPC and my server separate machines, something I originally was not going to do in order to save money on the second machine (which it turns out can be rather inexpensive). I now know that, despite many claims to the contrary, that those i3 PCs I was looking at really aren't going to handle everything I need them to. Coming here, I have actually found many places where I was clearly over-spending (like investing in a high-end vid-card), meanwhile, I have found a few places where I would be wise to invest a bit more.

The "final" server PC is being acquired in less than three weeks. Hopeffully by then I'll have learned even more and can really refine what specs I actually should be shooting for the first time around.
Start a thread with a good accurate title and build advice and let everyone hammer it out. You'll get many different opinions, yours it all that counts but I find it useful to read what other people have to say... it makes me think about things I might not have thought about.

Having built like 20 HTPC's the little things are the things that matter most, like does your motherboard have a fan speed controller and enough headers to control all the appropriate case fans... does the case have USB3.0 on the front? If so, you'll want a mobo with that header too. Do you want to use an IR device built in to the front of the case? Is so.. need that header. Otherwise.. USB to IR adapter works great. Does the PSU fit the case well? Some smaller cases are tight, certain PSU is better than others. Did you remember to buy the extra small cables you might need incase the motherboard model you choose does not come with them? Aftermarket cooler or stock? If aftermarket make sure it comes with thermal paste. Worth upgrading that for $5 ? How about screws to hold drives and stuff? Got enough ? Does motherboard have enough SATA ports? There is a lot of little things to consider that some of the veterans might point out good tid bits to you when they see your thread and build list.

Stardog was the first one to teach me about the fit of a PSU with a certain case I was using once, I remember that after that single quick comment he made how really grateful I was he took the time to make it. The PSU I was originally going to use would not have fit. Saved me a lot of trouble with a 5 second single sentence post.

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"Too much is almost enough. Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."
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post #33 of 335 Old 08-02-2014, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by ajhieb View Post
You're going to get more questions about people trying to build a budget HTPC because the nature of doing a budget build on anything os going to prompt more questions.
This. Most people who are new to HTPCs aren't going to have the confidence to build a higher spec'ed rig or know what they would possibly do with it anyway. Graphics card for MadVR? What's that? More processor to transcode? What for? Etc. It makes sense that more of the people posting and looking for guidance are in the more entry level / budget build category. That doesn't mean that everyone else is obsessed with saving every penny they can also. I just don't see the mentality Mfusick is referring to of people who are willing to spend money liberally on everything else under the sun but "cheap out" on their HTPC. From what I've seen people who are most budget driven on their HTPC are either new to it so naturally cautious for that reason, or just budget conscious in general (but no more so re: their HTPC than anything else).
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post #34 of 335 Old 08-02-2014, 12:52 PM
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I had a 530 watt Rosewill power supply, 8GB (2 x 4) DDR3 1866 RAM, LG/Hitachi USB BD-ROM drive (that will only be attached when needed since I will continue to rip on my desktop system), and 4TB worth of HDDs just lying around, so I did what any reasonable person would do and used them for a new HTPC build In fact, I just ordered the parts today.

I went with a 128GB SSD boot drive, an i5-4690K, an Asus Z97 M-Plus MB, a Silverstone GD09 Black case, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit, and a Logitech K400 keyboard/mouse (in addition to my iPhone apps).

What's wrong with overkill? This thing will be faster than my desktop (i5-4440 with Z87 MB).
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post #35 of 335 Old 08-02-2014, 12:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Nice rig !

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"Too much is almost enough. Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."
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post #36 of 335 Old 08-02-2014, 01:03 PM
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What's wrong with overkill? This thing will be faster than my desktop (i5-4440 with Z87 MB).
If you want overkill, nothing is wrong with it.

For others, overkill is just a word that tries to put a positive spin on wasted time/resources/money/etc. For those, there is something very, very wrong with overkill.

Neither person is wrong; but only in regards to that individual, and that individual alone. They are not right in regards to anyone else's build. Only person doing said build is. Someone who loves overkill trying to say anyone and everyone else should build their rig to overkill is just as wrong as someone who doesn't want/need/desire overkill saying no one should build their rig to overkill.

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post #37 of 335 Old 08-02-2014, 01:22 PM
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My cars are a 2009 Challenger R/T and a 2013 Mustang GT (both 6 speed manuals). There's no such thing as too fast when it come to cars and computers, but then again I don't go too crazy with my money.
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post #38 of 335 Old 08-02-2014, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Slosh View Post
My cars are a 2009 Challenger R/T and a 2013 Mustang GT (both 6 speed manuals). There's no such thing as too fast when it come to cars and computers, but then again I don't go too crazy with my money.
So explain why would a soccer mom who needs to move 4 kids back and forth, and will never drive over 65mph, listen to your advice? What you said is the exact problem I was describing.

So yes, for others, there is such a thing as too fast. In terms of both cars and computers. Don't put your words in other people's mouths and try to say your way is the only way.

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post #39 of 335 Old 08-02-2014, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post
I think people are reading my signature and just misinterpreting some of what I am trying to say.
no, there really isn't any way to misinterpret what you're saying. You're awfully clear with what you write in your sig.
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post #40 of 335 Old 08-02-2014, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by staknhalo View Post
So explain why would a soccer mom who needs to move 4 kids back and forth, and will never drive over 65mph, listen to your advice? What you said is the exact problem I was describing.

So yes, for others, there is such a thing as too fast. In terms of both cars and computers. Don't put your words in other people's mouths and try to say your way is the only way.
I didn't give anyone advice. I merely stated what I have.
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post #41 of 335 Old 08-02-2014, 04:22 PM
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I didn't give anyone advice. I merely stated what I have.
No, this is what you said:

"There's no such thing as too fast when it come to cars and computers"

You did not "merely state what (you) have".

And it is your "no such thing as too fast" comment to which staknhalo responded.

And I agree with him. There IS such a thing as "too fast" when it comes to people who just don't care.

And when I went looking for a car for a new driver, "too fast" was on my mind.
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post #42 of 335 Old 08-02-2014, 05:21 PM
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Know your audience.

Three simple words that will make you as a member of society much more useful to those around you. It doesn't matter if you're writing a speech, coding a new program, working on a car for a friend, or giving advice about anything... Whatever it is that you're trying to share with the rest of the world, you should keep them in mind, not you.

As it pertains to here, most people coming to these forums are seeking advice/guidance. And in the case of these forums, your audience isn't necessarily the people participating in the discussion. Look at the page views on some of these threads. In some cases thousands of people are reading but not necessarily responding. So even if your are having a specific discussion about a given topic, it's important to remember that this is a public forum and by virtue of that, your discussion isn't private. There are likely hundreds of people reading what you say and not all of them are going to read 75 pages of a thread to make sure they get everything in the right context. Personally, I think if you want to actually help people it is important to qualify your statements so they can stand on their own and not need 75 pages of context in order to frame them properly.

I try to avoid saying things like "YYZ motherboard is the best choice," and instead would qualify it with "I think YYZ is the best choice for your application because..." That serves multiple purposes. 1) random visitor reading the thread doesn't get the idea that YYZ is what he should get because someone said it was "the best choice" when in reality it might not suit their needs very well. 2) I usually try to back up my opinions/advice with factual material. I think knowing YYZ is the better choice for you is good information, but I think knowing why is just as important. 3) "I think" makes it clear that I'm stating an opinion and not some universally agreed upon maxim.

Sure, not everyone is going to qualify everything they say in that manner, and we're all guilty of making the occasional blanket statement even if it isn't always accurate. But I think its important to at least make the effort to give good advice for those reading and not just those that are involved in the discussion. Personally I don't think there is any room for hyperbole when giving advice. Anytime you make a statement about what works, what doesn't, what is good or what is bad, it can be considered advice. It may not be intended as such, but if you remember your audience, you'll find those sort of statements can easily be taken as such.

And let's not forget, this is the A/V Science forum.
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post #43 of 335 Old 08-02-2014, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post
Having built like 20 HTPC's the little things are the things that matter most, like does your motherboard have a fan speed controller and enough headers to control all the appropriate case fans... does the case have USB3.0 on the front? If so, you'll want a mobo with that header too. Do you want to use an IR device built in to the front of the case? Is so.. need that header. Otherwise.. USB to IR adapter works great. Does the PSU fit the case well? Some smaller cases are tight, certain PSU is better than others. Did you remember to buy the extra small cables you might need incase the motherboard model you choose does not come with them? Aftermarket cooler or stock? If aftermarket make sure it comes with thermal paste. Worth upgrading that for $5 ? How about screws to hold drives and stuff? Got enough ? Does motherboard have enough SATA ports? There is a lot of little things to consider that some of the veterans might point out good tid bits to you when they see your thread and build list.
Extra fan headers, USB3 ports and things of that nature aren't necessarily going to be an issue because you've pinched pennies, and if they are an issue it won't necessarily be resolved by overbuying or overspending.

Those are all details that should be taken care of by a well planned build. Planning is the key to building a system that keeps you happy. Throwing money at ever more expensive parts will not.

Sure some new feature could come around the corner at any minute. You may or may not be interested in that feature but allowing for "headroom" is no guarantee that said feature will work on your system even if it is something you want.

I suspect some people on here are constantly upgrading their equipment not because their are new features they want/need, but simply because there are new features available and for those people, no amount of headroom will keep them happy with their current equipment.

In your case, I suspect that you're suffering from both problems... a lack of planning, and an insatiable desire to buy more toys.

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post #44 of 335 Old 08-02-2014, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post
I know when I first joined this forum I fell victim. I followed the trend that was saying all you need for HTPC is a celeron

So what is your story? If you could change something about your first HTPC purchasing what would you change?
What advice would you give someone or wish someone gave you when you started out?
Built a bunch of HTPCs now, and never regretted building with a celeron. They always did exactly what I built them for

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post
Having built like 20 HTPC's the little things are the things that matter most, like does your motherboard have a fan speed controller and enough headers to control all the appropriate case fans... does the case have USB3.0 on the front? If so, you'll want a mobo with that header too. Do you want to use an IR device built in to the front of the case?
You always tend to overstress the fan controller bit in my opinion. This is because it's of little importance to me. Popular cases like lian li and nmediapc include fans that you can simply wire to your psu. My thermaltake tower is the largest collection of fans I've ever had in any build, and it came with psu fan connections. Most mobo fan headers aren't PWM anyway, so I fail to see any benefit to finding a mobo with a bunch of fan headers. Unless your doing some super tower build there aren't going to be that many fans needed

I find myself never using USB3 ever, with the exception of my rMBP

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aryn Ravenlocke View Post
This thread speaks to exactly why I've been putzing about the HTPC forums for the past month. I'm trying to make sure that the machine I end up with (whether I build or purchase off the shelf) is able to do the things I need it to do the first time. I want to leave a little wiggle-room for increased performance demands, but I don't want to overshoot the mark so much that I am using a .50 caliber Desert Eagle when a lady's clutch .22 Beretta would have done everything just as nicely.

I now know I am best off making my HTPC and my server separate machines, something I originally was not going to do in order to save money on the second machine (which it turns out can be rather inexpensive). I now know that, despite many claims to the contrary, that those i3 PCs I was looking at really aren't going to handle everything I need them to. Coming here, I have actually found many places where I was clearly over-spending (like investing in a high-end vid-card), meanwhile, I have found a few places where I would be wise to invest a bit more.
Why do you "know" you are best off making your HTPC and server separate machines? i3 will transcode all day long no sweat, just depends on how many simultaneous transcodes you want at a time

To me this gets right to the heart of what I consider wrong with the opposite end of the spectrum

This forum was what I'd consider the best I've found thanks largely in part to highly knowledgable, high value posters who truly know the answer to "can this build do this?"

In a lot of other forums, I see a lot more people who don't actually know the answers to that answering the questions with hand-wave responses like "might as well just get an i7." There are a lot of those type of answers polluting this forum recently

In almost all cases, if you *think* you need an i7 or xeon then you most likely *don't* need it. You know if you need it. Also, let's not pretend an extra $60+ for an i7 over and i5 doesn't add up along with someone *advising* you to also spring for an 850 pro, ddr3-2400 ram, z9X mobo, etc. You'll end up with a miscellaneous extra $150 or so spent. For someone coming in thinking that a $100 firetv was going to hit the mark, advising in this direction just pushes more people out of the community since they think the entry cost is too high for a single htpc. What's worse is all that advise tackles a strange subset of usage - what if you want to transcode (and not build a separate server) or run svp or madvr. There's a lot of people like myself who think 24p looks good all on it's own and their tv can handle it just fine. SVP tackles a strange scenario where people use a poor tv display with an overpriced cpu to manufacturer 60 frames from 24 since their tv can't handle 24 properly
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post #45 of 335 Old 08-02-2014, 06:03 PM
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This seems to happen every 3 months

The op either suffers from amnesia or just continually enjoys testing the waters, but it always comes about

"It seems like everyone is focused on high end servers these days"
"The low end was taken over by roku"
"Nobody wants to just build a low end HTPC anymore"
"Everybody seems to be interested in madvr or other high end video processing these days"

"etc"
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post #46 of 335 Old 08-02-2014, 06:11 PM
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There's also a crowd here that really only focus on making a whole home DVR

I half-fit that crowd at first because my goals were
  • Do everything media center
  • Whole home dvr (part of that media center)
  • Retro and PC games (part of media center)

They were those goals in that order, so when the whole home DVR portion requires WMC for HBO, Cinemax, etc. I just ignored those stations. I've reached a point now that the dvr goal is the lowest priority. We never use it. I switched to OTA to save money.

When DVR is your top goal and you don't have a lot of ripped dvds/blurays and don't feel comfortable setting up something like sickrage, then your outlook is different entirely. You probably aren't interested in transcoding or madvr at all if you spend a majority of your time watching copy one cable in wmc
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post #47 of 335 Old 08-02-2014, 06:23 PM
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The primary reason I dislike overbuild and hate to see people do it is the pace of technology

There are a large bunch who seem to think overbuild will future proof them. A Q9400 vs E8400 was overbuild back in core2. Neither processor was future proof, and the Q accomplished so little. Many people I knew at work also had some fascination with filling their motherboard to maximum capacity with XP x64 on their core 2 q8400 builds. Back in the FSB days that didn't get you anywhere unless you wanted a ram cache (which they weren't using) and it certainly didn't give you more fps in games (which is all they really wanted)

In my opinion you get more from an upgrade later on (after Intel makes an upgrade) then taking the highest end of a current chipset
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post #48 of 335 Old 08-02-2014, 06:45 PM - Thread Starter
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4 posts in a row darkslayer.... You ok ?

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post #49 of 335 Old 08-02-2014, 08:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adam1991 View Post
No, this is what you said:

"There's no such thing as too fast when it come to cars and computers"

You did not "merely state what (you) have".

And it is your "no such thing as too fast" comment to which staknhalo responded.

And I agree with him. There IS such a thing as "too fast" when it comes to people who just don't care.

And when I went looking for a car for a new driver, "too fast" was on my mind.
No need to be pedantic. I didn't feel the need to write IMO. In the context of the conversation I thought it was implied that I was expressing what works for me.

This is a stupid thing to argue over.
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post #50 of 335 Old 08-02-2014, 08:39 PM
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No need to be pedantic. I didn't feel the need to write IMO. In the context of the conversation I thought it was implied that I was expressing what works for me.

This is a stupid thing to argue over.
Nope, wouldn't change a thing. My HTPC is for exactly what it is meant for, playing audio, movies and live TV to my TVs. Your HTPC should notbe transcoding and streaming content to other devices. That is the whole point of a server. There's no reason to buy an i7 for those reasons. It's a waste of money for me and no point to it. I have two boxes that use AMD X4 CPUs that I picked up for like $75 dollars and they run WMC and XBMC as smooth as butter.

I did my HTCPs right the first time. It's does everything I ask it to do.
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post #51 of 335 Old 08-03-2014, 12:34 AM
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After a little more though @Mfusick , you're right.. the car analogy I gave wasn't perfect.

A better analogy would have been to a car enthusiast buying cheap tools to work on his car. For most people building an HTPC, that's all it is... a tool. It is a means to an end. They just want to watch their media, and the HTPC is a tool that allows them to do that.

Speaking of tools...

How many tools have you bought at Harbor Freight? You know that stuff is junk, right? The hand tools will break prematurely and the power tools will fall apart. For just a little bit more money, you could have bought a better air compressor or a better nail gun from a more reputable source. Something that would be useful for decades to come instead of just the latest project you're working on.
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RAID protection is only for failed drives. That's it. It's no replacement for a proper backup.
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post #52 of 335 Old 08-03-2014, 02:12 AM
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How many tools have you overbought, though? I mean, come on--when you just KNOW that you'll be using that British left-handed right angle slot headed screwdriver exactly one time for one project, you go to Harbor Freight up the road. No need to overbuy on that one.

And, how many Snap-On tools do you absolutely know, for a fact, will be obsolete in two-three years and will fail like a hard drive? None. In fact, one might argue that buying hard drives is *exactly* like buying Harbor Freight tools...

No, buying tools for the garage is a little different than setting up a computer.
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post #53 of 335 Old 08-03-2014, 04:18 AM
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The rabbit hole of metaphors is almost always unavoidable

Conversation always gets muddled by either trying to prove or disprove the metaphor rather than the subject itself
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post #54 of 335 Old 08-03-2014, 05:16 AM
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Originally Posted by ajhieb View Post
After a little more though @Mfusick , you're right.. the car analogy I gave wasn't perfect.

A better analogy would have been to a car enthusiast buying cheap tools to work on his car. For most people building an HTPC, that's all it is... a tool. It is a means to an end. They just want to watch their media, and the HTPC is a tool that allows them to do that.

Speaking of tools...

How many tools have you bought at Harbor Freight? You know that stuff is junk, right? The hand tools will break prematurely and the power tools will fall apart. For just a little bit more money, you could have bought a better air compressor or a better nail gun from a more reputable source. Something that would be useful for decades to come instead of just the latest project you're working on.
I buy from Harbor Freight quite a bit, actually. I've found over the years that the vast majority of the jobs I've performed on cars or around the house tend to require the use of a particular tool that will only get used once in a blue moon. For those cases it makes no sense to buy expensive name brand tools that will get used once or twice and then gather dust and take up space. HB tools are throwaways that do the job when you need them. I do buy quality tools when I know I'll get a lot of use out of them because I want something that will last. OTOH, I've gotten to where I've replaced most of my expensive sockets with impact sockets from HB. They'll take a beating and last forever. They're also 6-sided and have a better grip than most 12-sided sockets. I used to buy Craftsman hand tools for their lifetime warranty. I've had quite a few of them fail and break over the years. I've never had a HB impact socket fail.

First priority is to buy the right tool for the job. If that job needs to be repeated multiple times, you get better tools that will last.

When it comes to HTPCs, people are going to buy what they want and spend what they can afford. Everyone has their own expectations and desires for what they want their HTPC to do so they all have different requirements. One set or parameters doesn't fit all when it comes to HTPCs. Personally, I never take recommendations posted in threads unless it's a specific hardware thread from someone I trust that actually has experience in this area, like renethx or assassin. Otherwise, it's mostly personal preference based on the fact that someone bought a particular brand and likes it for no other reason than they bought it so it must be good. No offense to mfusick, but I don't generally take his recommendations as gospel because I know he has expectations that go way beyond what a normal person wants or needs.
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post #55 of 335 Old 08-03-2014, 05:43 AM - Thread Starter
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After a little more though @Mfusick , you're right.. the car analogy I gave wasn't perfect.

A better analogy would have been to a car enthusiast buying cheap tools to work on his car. For most people building an HTPC, that's all it is... a tool. It is a means to an end. They just want to watch their media, and the HTPC is a tool that allows them to do that.

Speaking of tools...

How many tools have you bought at Harbor Freight? You know that stuff is junk, right? The hand tools will break prematurely and the power tools will fall apart. For just a little bit more money, you could have bought a better air compressor or a better nail gun from a more reputable source. Something that would be useful for decades to come instead of just the latest project you're working on.
Haha.... So true. Harbor Freight is great on price and terrible on quality; ok actually it's hit or miss but you point is understood. I'm not sure it help you though.... Every time I cheap out at harbor freight and end up trashing or breaking a tool I wish I had bought the better one, often end up doing so and have much the same regret. The low price attracts you, and for good reason, but in the long rum there's a lot of reasons why you should have done more diligence and did it right. Long term it's a better solution.

But I've bought harbor freight tools, and I've bought a lot of good tools to replace them but I also have some that are going strong. I make the same mistakes with power tools as I do with htpcs it seems. At least I'm learning.

The one area I seem to be doing ok is hard drives; my strategy to buy cheap mainstream consumer drives seems to have (be) working well. It's been more than couple years and I've yet to replace a failed drive. Best run I've ever had actually.

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post #56 of 335 Old 08-03-2014, 08:10 AM
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Interesting posts on this topic including the ones about cars. I confess that I really gave up on car repairs when I sold my old MGA countless years ago. Anyone who had to deal with Lucas electrical systems in British cars will know well what I dealt with. Anyway back to HTPCs. I've been building PCs for a number of years as a hobby but it was only last year when I did a couple of HTPC builds for me and family members. I watch lots of cable only channels so a Verizon cable card was a necessity. I don't need to set up a server or transcode anything so the planning was quite simple. The parts selection was rather easy and cost was not really an impediment for me though I certainly wasn't going to spend $1K on parts for an HTPC.

I ended up going with an i3 Ivy Bridge CPU and onboard HD graphics, 4MB RAM, a nice Seasonic 360G PSU, LG Blu Ray OD, all inside a Lian Li PC Q-27B fanless case. I put the OS on a Samsung 120GB EVO drive and have a WD 500GB HDD for DVR storage (I don't keep shows forever, usually watch it and delete it). I needed WiFi so everything is on a Gigabyte H77N WiFi mITX MoBo. It streams Amazon Prime, Netflix, and all the Internet channels that I watch just fine; no dropouts at all. I don't have lots of viewing conflicts so the Hauppage 2650 dual channel USB cable card tuner was exactly what I needed. System cost about $600 with Win7 license. Verizon FIOS DVR box rental is $21/month for the smallest storage model and my cable card rental is $5/month so it's going to take a while to break even on this.
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post #57 of 335 Old 08-03-2014, 09:23 AM
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Personally, I never take recommendations posted in threads unless it's a specific hardware thread from someone I trust that actually has experience in this area, like renethx or assassin. Otherwise, it's mostly personal preference based on the fact that someone bought a particular brand and likes it for no other reason than they bought it so it must be good. No offense to mfusick, but I don't generally take his recommendations as gospel because I know he has expectations that go way beyond what a normal person wants or needs.
renethx's Guide to Building a HD HTPC thread is (was?) awesome. That thread was extremely informative and he gave multiple options from low end to high end in various form factors utilizing different platforms. The best thing about it is he gives a small chart and a summary of how the different solutions handle HTPC-related tasks. That's the guide I used when I started building and even now, I use the concepts learned from the guide when building new HTPCs (of course, adapted for current hardware and software, and my specific requirements).
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post #58 of 335 Old 08-03-2014, 10:07 AM
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Here is a viable question for you fanatics... Is it worth it to encode to x264 (or perhaps HEVC as I've seen this on the new nightly build of handbrake) prior to transcoding (or streaming for that matter) or should one just leave the BD rip as is and allow Mediabrowser3 to transcode a full rip? I have not noticed a difference in quality from the full bitrate movie and the encoded movie (which is usually 1/4 the bitrate) with a 5Mbps transcode (I am limited to Comcast's 25Mbps download and 5-6Mbps upload ATM).

What's everyone's opinion?

Theater set-up:  

AVR:  Pioneer VSX-820

Speakers:  5.1 consists of four NHT Classic Two bookshelf and an NHT TwoC center

Sub:  PSA-XV15

HTPC - ridiculously over-the-top, home-built gaming PC that I tinker with daily!

OTA antenna:  Winegard HD7698P

HDTV:  Sharp LC-60SQ15U

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post #59 of 335 Old 08-03-2014, 10:38 AM
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Don't transcode anything. Leave it as is, otherwise, what's the point of having Blu-Ray in the first place? I rip Blu-Rays to mkv files with the original bitrates and HD audio intact.
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post #60 of 335 Old 08-03-2014, 10:58 AM - Thread Starter
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renethx's Guide to Building a HD HTPC thread is (was?) awesome. That thread was extremely informative and he gave multiple options from low end to high end in various form factors utilizing different platforms. The best thing about it is he gives a small chart and a summary of how the different solutions handle HTPC-related tasks. That's the guide I used when I started building and even now, I use the concepts learned from the guide when building new HTPCs (of course, adapted for current hardware and software, and my specific requirements).
Supposedly he is going to do an updated 2014 version ... That would be cool.

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