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post #1 of 198 Old 09-18-2006, 01:25 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm starting my new HTPC build; it's been about 5 years since the last one. The display will be a 46" LCD, probably the new Sharp LC-46D62U.

My goals are:

Blu-Ray/HD-DVD Playback (eventually), DVD Playback/Recording, music, web surfing, in near silence (no overclocking). I hate noisy computers. This machine will not be used as a DVR or for watching live TV; I have a HD TiVo for that. I will use it to extract programs from the TiVo to recordable media.

Components ordered so far:

Motherboard: Intel DG965OT (BOXDG965OTMKR)

Rationale: Recent chipset, HD audio with full 7.1 and an HD Audio header may allow eventual integration with an HDMI video card. Gigabit Ethernet. High quality capacitors, decent warranty, MicroATX form factor (a plus for me). I've had pretty good luck with the quality of Intel desktop boards in the past.

Homepage: http://support.intel.com/support/mot...sktop/dg965ot/
Documentation: ftp://download.intel.com/design/moth...D5601201US.pdf

The Asus P5B-VM was a close call here.

--

Processor: Intel E6400 Core 2 Duo

Rationale: Price/performance; Qualified by nvidia for Blu-Ray/HD-DVD decoding tasks. Power consumption is not so bad that it can't be cooled quietly.

--

Memory: 1GB (2x512) Kingston ValueRAM DDR2-533 (KVR533D2N4K2/1G)

Rationale: I started looking at DDR2-800 and was annoyed by the price and compatibility issues; the Intel board requires 1.8 volt memory. Then I discovered that the faster RAM is only around 1% faster while 80-100% more expensive. I will not be overclocking so this was an easy choice for me.

--

Chassis: Antec NSK2400 Media PC Case

Rationale: I hate most media PC cases. I'm sure I'll hate this one too, but it has a few things going for it - namely that it is a solid foundation for a quiet PC, and it doesn't look horrible. It's also cheap.

--

Video Card: XFX GF7950GT PVT71JYHE9

Rationale: Upper midrange card with Purevideo HD, HDCP, and still passively cooled -- no noise! On the minus side, no HDMI.

--

Hard Drive: Samsung HD300LJ 300GB SATA2

Rationale: I have a few of these laying around. They're quiet and inexpensive.

--

PSU: Seasonic S12-380

Rationale: I have one on the shelf. It may not quite be enough for this system, but I think it will suffice. This is a very quiet PSU with excellent efficiency and active PFC. The efficiency will help keep the computer cool with less fan noise.

-----

Still to go: I'll use the Intel box HSF and bundled Antec cooling fans to get started, but I'll be replacing them soon. The parts above are either on hand or on order. I'll keep this thread updated as the build progresses.
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post #2 of 198 Old 09-18-2006, 01:41 PM
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I think that's a great setup.

I don't even think the lack of HDMI is a bid deal.


current HDMI cards only provide SPDIF pass through, if you want real hi-def audio, you'll have to use the analog outs anyway, and DVI is just as capable for video and HDMI 1.1.

Only suggestion is go with 2GB of memory. Vista loves memory.

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post #3 of 198 Old 09-18-2006, 01:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Good point, sotti, and I do plan to add another 1 GB of memory later.

So far I am very unimpressed with Vista. The machine I tried it on felt several generations older when I installed RC1! (And it had 2G of RAM!)

I went back to MCE.

I don't know for sure if the digital audio header on this board can handle high-bandwidth (HDMI 1.3) audio, but I think it can. I wonder if future video cards may be able to connect to it. I couldn't find much info with google -- other than a pinout.
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post #4 of 198 Old 09-18-2006, 02:12 PM
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Maybe things have changed, but the last Intel motherboard I bought had zero chance of over clocking - it was completely locked out.

Failure is not an option. It comes bundled with every Microsoft product
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post #5 of 198 Old 09-18-2006, 02:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkaiser View Post

Maybe things have changed, but the last Intel motherboard I bought had zero chance of over clocking - it was completely locked out.

That's just fine with me. I haven't overclocked a system in years. I've been known to underclock systems to achieve silence and/or lower power consumption, but that won't be needed here.
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post #6 of 198 Old 09-18-2006, 02:53 PM - Thread Starter
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I was thinking of using a Thermalright XP-120 CPU heatsink, but it doesn't look like it will clear the northbridge heatsink. I also can't find one in stock anywhere.

Now I am considering the XP-90C, but I'm not sure that will fit either.
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post #7 of 198 Old 09-18-2006, 03:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bicster View Post

I was thinking of using a Thermalright XP-120 CPU heatsink, but it doesn't look like it will clear the northbridge heatsink. I also can't find one in stock anywhere.

Now I am considering the XP-90C, but I'm not sure that will fit either.

Take a look at the SI-120 and SI-128 from thermalright...better then the XP-120 IMO. clear underneath as oppose to the XP-120 design

Also with the passive cooled XFX 7950GT, you better plan on having some air flow in the case else its going to heat up the inside a lot. I run a ASUS silent 7600GT that looks a lot like the cooling system of the XFX 7950GT and inside my case got hot and I ended up having to add a silenX fan just to cool the vid card...kind of defeted the purpose of the fanless vid card . Also with the way the heat pipes and top passive coolling used make sure it will fit in the case height wise. My ASUS just barely fit my Ahanix D4 case. It actually touched the top of a Sileverstone LC20 case. LC 20 have about 6 inches of height clearance and the D4 has about 6.5-7 inches..

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post #9 of 198 Old 09-18-2006, 04:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Apparently I didn't order the Intel board soon enough, and sold out before it could be shipped. I'm not very surprised.

sthapit, does the SI-128 fit the Intel board and the Antec case? I was worried it may be too high. I'd love to know how much clearance the fan has on top ... thanks!
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post #10 of 198 Old 09-18-2006, 05:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bicster View Post

Good point, sotti, and I do plan to add another 1 GB of memory later.

So far I am very unimpressed with Vista. The machine I tried it on felt several generations older when I installed RC1! (And it had 2G of RAM!)

I went back to MCE.

I don't know for sure if the digital audio header on this board can handle high-bandwidth (HDMI 1.3) audio, but I think it can. I wonder if future video cards may be able to connect to it. I couldn't find much info with google -- other than a pinout.

I'm 99% sure the HD-Audio header is analog only, which means an HDMI video card would need to do a DAC step to the header ADC to the HDMI cable, then DAC step on the reciever, so analog out would still be preferable for overall quality.

then again, I could be wrong about that. and HDMI 1.1 is perfectly capable of carring full 8 channel 24b/96k PCM. So it's not like you'll need HDMI 1.3

I think we'll see video cards mid year, next year that have HDMI 8 channel audio on card.

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post #11 of 198 Old 09-18-2006, 07:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sotti View Post

I'm 99% sure the HD-Audio header is analog only, which means an HDMI video card would need to do a DAC step to the header ADC to the HDMI cable, then DAC step on the reciever, so analog out would still be preferable for overall quality.

then again, I could be wrong about that. and HDMI 1.1 is perfectly capable of carring full 8 channel 24b/96k PCM. So it's not like you'll need HDMI 1.3

I think we'll see video cards mid year, next year that have HDMI 8 channel audio on card.

The HD Audio header is a fully digital connection. The pinout is in the Intel motherboard spec. It is not S/PDIF either. Definitely PCM, but I don't know what the bandwidth is or how many channels it can support. I'll have to investigate more.

I have the HDMI 1.3 spec but not earlier specs. If anyone has a PDF of HDMI 1.1 or 1.2, please send me a PM. Thanks!
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post #12 of 198 Old 09-18-2006, 07:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, I did some research. The HD Audio Link is a bidirectional, multi-channel PCM digital audio and command bus. It allows peripherals to sit between the codecs and the audio controller. In fact it is the same bus that the motherboard hd audio codec is attached to, so in theory this is exactly the sort of thing we need to patch into an HDMI video card.

See page 51 of this tech journal article:

http://www.intel.com/technology/itj/...ol09_iss01.pdf

What puzzles me is that it uses a 48-kHz sync pulse, but it is obviously able to handle sample rates higher than 48 kHz and a tremendous amount of bandwidth. I'm missing part of the picture ... but it's late and I am running on a sleep deficit
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post #13 of 198 Old 09-19-2006, 08:11 AM - Thread Starter
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I am thinking about using a Silverstone NT01 v2.0 heatsink with the Antec NSK2400. This thing can be installed in any orientation, so it looks like it can be used without its own fan, in a side airflow configuration. It will be installed right next to the 120mm case fans.



The price is not bad either, about $35

Update: I ordered one of these. Hopefully it will work out
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post #14 of 198 Old 09-19-2006, 12:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Oh, the joys of building custom machines! It looks like the XFX GF7950GT video card will not fit in the Antec NSK2400 case. I just got the video card (will have the case in a few hours) and it's a lot taller than I thought it was.
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post #15 of 198 Old 09-19-2006, 02:20 PM
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that sucks. the case is pretty small, yes. even the MSI Geforce 7600GT takes up two whole slots and just makes it.
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post #16 of 198 Old 09-19-2006, 02:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sthapit View Post

that sucks. the case is pretty small, yes. even the MSI Geforce 7600GT takes up two whole slots and just makes it.


Its the height thats the probm not the dual slot it may take up,

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post #17 of 198 Old 09-19-2006, 03:34 PM - Thread Starter
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I have an extreme mod in mind. Keep tuned
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post #18 of 198 Old 09-19-2006, 11:41 PM
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Pictures from my build in case anyone's interested in a similar setup.

http://www.writely.com/View.aspx?doc...386bv_11vbtnn8
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post #19 of 198 Old 09-20-2006, 06:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sthapit View Post

Pictures from my build in case anyone's interested in a similar setup.

http://www.writely.com/View.aspx?doc...386bv_11vbtnn8

Very nice!
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post #20 of 198 Old 09-20-2006, 07:57 AM
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Bicster: How's your mod coming along?
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post #21 of 198 Old 09-20-2006, 08:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sthapit View Post

Bicster: How's your mod coming along?

I didn't pick up the case from UPS until about 8PM last night. My wife is flying to Florida this morning, so I'll have the next few evenings to try to break stuff.
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post #22 of 198 Old 09-20-2006, 12:14 PM - Thread Starter
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The DG965OT mobo arrived a few moments ago. I didn't realize this board supported Dolby Digital Live ... bonus! The latching SATA cables are also a nice touch. Now if only I could go home and play, instead of working for the next few hours. Torture!
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post #23 of 198 Old 09-20-2006, 01:04 PM
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Bicster,

I like your idea for the Silverstone heatsink - I'm interested to see how it works out.

Here's a link to my NSK2400 build -

http://forums.silentpcreview.com/vie...945&highlight=

DE

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post #24 of 198 Old 09-20-2006, 01:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Bicster,

I like your idea for the Silverstone heatsink - I'm interested to see how it works out.

Here's a link to my NSK2400 build -

http://forums.silentpcreview.com/vie...945&highlight=

DE

Funny we're both on the same forums. I've seen your thread before; I remember the drive suspension you came up with. Nice work! I like the black bezel. I wish Antec gave us some more options.

Today I ordered a pair of Nexus 120mm fans and some rubber fan isolators. I'm building the machine tonight with the retail HSF and the Antec Tri-Cool fans... I'll post some temps once I get the silverstone and nexus stuff installed, probably the weekend of the 30th.

I'd like to compare the Silverstone to the Thermalright SI-128 heatsink sthapit is using - I considered using that one but the fins are so close together! It seemed like it might not work as well. There is a lot of guesswork in this hobby.
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post #25 of 198 Old 09-20-2006, 07:30 PM - Thread Starter
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The computer works. The XFX video card looks ridiculous in the NSK2400, it sticks up about 3/4" above where the lid should be...

The DG965OT motherboard shipped with a very old BIOS (0816), so I upgraded it. MCE was a bit of a pain to install because I had to go find an old floppy drive to load the ICH8 AHCI (SATA) driver. The driver DVD that came with the board didn't work either; it has a weird manufacturing defect and is seriously off-balance. The DVD drive feels like it's going to break into pieces when I try to use that disc.

This is the first machine I've built in a while that feels as fast as I think it should. Aside from the video card not fitting, I am quite happy so far. I'll address that issue tomorrow.
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post #26 of 198 Old 09-20-2006, 07:52 PM
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post some pics when you figure out a way to put the cover on i'm very curious.

Also, are you having any problems with a soft boot? The motherboard makes 3 long beeps when I try to restart the computer and shuts off (But only when I do "Start -> Turn Off Computer -> Restart". When I turn it off, and turn it on using the power switch it starts fine.
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post #27 of 198 Old 09-20-2006, 07:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sthapit View Post

post some pics when you figure out a way to put the cover on i'm very curious.

Also, are you having any problems with a soft boot? The motherboard makes 3 long beeps when I try to restart the computer and shuts off (But only when I do "Start -> Turn Off Computer -> Restart". When I turn it off, and turn it on using the power switch it starts fine.

I've not encountered that problem! Are you running MCE? Do you have any missing drivers according to device manager?
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post #28 of 198 Old 09-20-2006, 08:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bicster View Post

I've not encountered that problem! Are you running MCE? Do you have any missing drivers according to device manager?

Yes, I'm running MCE and I've installed all the latest drivers for all devices. It does the beep thing before it even starts windows (right after it turns on the power) - I'm thinking it's the memory... But the thing is it runs perfectly with a hard boot and since I hardly every restart it's not a big problem, but it's still annoying.
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post #29 of 198 Old 09-20-2006, 08:07 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm too lazy to look that up right now, but the beep codes are all detailed in the manual.
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post #30 of 198 Old 09-22-2006, 04:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, finally all the parts are here. I got a chance to snap a few quick pics. I still need to tidy up the cables and modify the lid so I can close the damn case.

Top view:



Silverstone NT01 v2.0 is a perfect fit for this application. CPU temps dropped ~ 10 degrees celsius over stock Intel HSF! Right now idle is 36C with one Nexus @ 1100rpm and the other @ 600rpm.



The XFX problem:

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