Need help for a new HTPC - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 10-28-2006, 06:49 PM - Thread Starter
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I want to build a new HTPC - mine is 3 years old now and it is more than time to build a new one (and I finally have some money to put into it).

Unfortunately a lot is confusing to me now - and I am thinking you guys can help me (if you can not then probably nobody can ;) ).

My HTPC is used for storing music - watching and recording TV - watching movie and playing video game. It is connected to a SONY HS20 PJ.

Here is what I am looking for:

- case - probably a sylverstone lascala one. This is an easy decision - no issue there.

- CPU - dual 2 core (e6600) - I have a D2C laptop (Del M90) and it is almost impossible to max out the cpu - so I am thinking this will be great.

- Motherboard - that is the very hard part - it seems no good MB are available yet - I am not impressed with the intel chipset (not enough connectivity) and it is exepnsive. I want 10 USB2 - at least 8 SATA (6 for HD) and 2 for DVD drives - I want at least one eSATA port as well - I want a 7.1 sound output (I would like to avoid buying a soundcard - not required for Vista MCE) and digital audio output.
I though NVidia will come out with some good chipset for D2C but it does not seem to be the case yet - should I wait more?

- HD - at least 4 (500GB Minimum) HD - noise has not be an issue before but if I can get some silent one at a decent price I would consider them.

- Video card - a top of the line directX9 card - this is why I thought now would be a good time to build the new HTPC. Since DirectX 10 will be out very soon - the current top of the line should be more affordable. I am OK to pay 300$ for it. I want an ATI one as well (better image quality) with an HDMI output - a Dual DVI as well. Of course it needs to be HDCP compliant.

So as you can see - I have a feel for what I want - but I dont know what specific hardware to buy - in particular a good motherboard has been impossible to find so far. Should I wait more to get the new Nvidia based mobo?

Please help me figure out what are the best HW options for me today.

Thank you,

Frederic

Always looking for a better home theater system...
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post #2 of 10 Old 10-29-2006, 12:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Any help with the motherboard question in particular?
Once I got that one figured out the rest will follow.

Please advise,

F

Always looking for a better home theater system...
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post #3 of 10 Old 10-29-2006, 08:58 PM
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Why do you need 10 USB on the motherboard? Just get a hub or hubs that will add the number of USB ports that you need. Or a PCI card that provides additional ports.
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post #4 of 10 Old 10-30-2006, 11:04 AM
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10 USB2.0 implies either Intel P965/G965 with southbridge ICH8/ICH8R or NVIDIA nForce 590 SLI (C19SLIX16 + MCP55). Among the motherboards with these chipsets, only one board meets the criteria: 8 x SATA and 1 x eSATA:

ABIT AB9 Pro

that comes with 10 x USB2.0, 9 x SATA, 1 x eSATA, 7.1 HD audio and optical S/PDIF in/out. The board got positive reviews at various hardware review sites. Please look at the sticky thread "Core 2 Duo (Conroe & Merom) Motherboard List - With a Short Guide to Chipsets" and in particular the attached spreadsheet for details.

The new NVIDIA chipsets are nForce 650I/680I SLI (will be released in December). The northbridge is the new C55. This is basically for gamers and I don't think it's particularily better than Intel chipset for HTPC.

If you use an SATA PCI (or PCI-E) controller for additional storage (around $20), you can choose several other boards, for example, ASUS P5B-E, P5B Deluxe. You should also consider AMD Athlon 64 boards. You won't see any difference between C2D and Athlon 64 for normal HTPC usage.
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post #5 of 10 Old 10-30-2006, 11:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frederic
...........
- Motherboard - that is the very hard part - it seems no good MB are available yet - I am not impressed with the intel chipset (not enough connectivity) and it is exepnsive. I want 10 USB2 - at least 8 SATA (6 for HD) and 2 for DVD drives - I want at least one eSATA port as well - I want a 7.1 sound output (I would like to avoid buying a soundcard - not required for Vista MCE) and digital audio output.
I though NVidia will come out with some good chipset for D2C but it does not seem to be the case yet - should I wait more?
Here's a good running list of mobo's supported by the new intel chips:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=710828

Quote:
- HD - at least 4 (500GB Minimum) HD - noise has not be an issue before but if I can get some silent one at a decent price I would consider them.
Segate or samsung seem to be the best choice.

Quote:
- Video card - a top of the line directX9 card - this is why I thought now would be a good time to build the new HTPC. Since DirectX 10 will be out very soon - the current top of the line should be more affordable. I am OK to pay 300$ for it. I want an ATI one as well (better image quality) with an HDMI output - a Dual DVI as well. Of course it needs to be HDCP compliant.
What makes you think ATI has better image quality? Also you won't find a video card that has HDMI and dual DVI. It'll either be HDMI and DVI, or HDMI and VGA, or Dual dVI.

Here's a running list of HDCP supported video cards:
http://www.hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1071342

Quote:
So as you can see - I have a feel for what I want - but I dont know what specific hardware to buy - in particular a good motherboard has been impossible to find so far. Should I wait more to get the new Nvidia based mobo?
I think what your looking for in a mobo is a ways away still but I could be wrong, but specifically on the intel side, things like that tend to go extremely slow.


- Josh
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post #6 of 10 Old 10-30-2006, 11:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you so much for your responses.

I will look into the ABIT AB9 Pro and into the different HDCP video cards.

Does anyone knows when I could expect motherboards with the new NVidia chipset? I am just looking for a rough estimate.

PS: the USB2 ports are for all sorts of gadgets - in particular for gaming - I usually have 5 or 6 pluged in at any time - so I thought 10 would be great - but 8 would be fine too. I so much wish the wireless USB standard would be ready by now ;) - that would really clean up my room... But I think it will only be ready by the end of 2007 or early 2008 - so I am not going to wait for it.

Always looking for a better home theater system...
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post #7 of 10 Old 10-31-2006, 01:17 AM
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More NVIDIA nForce 600 Series Details Revealed (Daily Tech):

NVIDIA is set to release its upcoming nForce 600 series of chipsets in the first half of November.

DFI's Q3, Q4 Desktop Products:

DFI LANPARTY UT NF680I SLI-T2R/G, December 2006. This borad has 8 SATA ports (6 from nForce 680I and 2 from SiI3132) but no eSATA.
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post #8 of 10 Old 10-31-2006, 03:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frederic
PS: the USB2 ports are for all sorts of gadgets - in particular for gaming - I usually have 5 or 6 pluged in at any time - so I thought 10 would be great - but 8 would be fine too. I so much wish the wireless USB standard would be ready by now ;) - that would really clean up my room... But I think it will only be ready by the end of 2007 or early 2008 - so I am not going to wait for it.
You can connect over a hundred USB devices if you get a hub. So you'll be unnecessarily restricting your choice of motherboards if you require 10 USB2.0 on the motherboard itself.
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post #9 of 10 Old 10-31-2006, 05:57 AM
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Even if the condition 10 x USB2.0 is removed, ABIT AB9 Pro is the only C2D board that comes with (at least) 8 SATA and 1 eSATA.
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post #10 of 10 Old 10-31-2006, 09:04 PM - Thread Starter
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I have looked at the ABIT AB9 Pro - it is very much what I was looking for.
Thank you very much for pointing it out to me.

Since the new NVidia are coming out in the next few days with their new chipset - I will wait a little bit to see how they turn out. But otherwise I think I just found my next mobo.

Thank you,

F

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