First HTPC - Want to use an Antec Fusion case. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 56 Old 11-21-2006, 01:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, I now think it's time for me to jump into the HTPC arena, since my Digital Media Streamer experiment worked horribly. I couldn't even get the Dlink DSM-520 to even stream HD TS files without the audio stuttering. It was connected via wired ethernet.

I don't care about recording TV, I only am concerned with playback of movies, mostly downloaded HD movies at this point, and of course being able to use the machine to surf the internet, and be able to play a few 3d games.

I would only need 1 250mb Hard drive, since I will be streaming video from my other main PC via wired ethernet.

I'd like to stay at around 1K or less.

Can anyone suggest the components I would need?

1. Mobo (the case calls for a Micro ATX mobo)
2. Video Card
3. Sound card that outputs toslink optical
4. 250 GB HD
5. Ethernet card (is this sometimes integrated on the mobo?)
6. Memory (I would assume 2gb, just not sure of which kind)
7. Processor
8. Anything else I left out....
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post #2 of 56 Old 11-21-2006, 01:34 PM
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You would want a video capture card. I would look into Hauppage for analog and if you want HD, then a card for that as well.
Video Card - Go with something that is fanless to reduce noise. I have had good performance from both my Nvidia and ATI cards. Just ensure that you have at least 128mb of memory.
You may think that you only want 250gb of Hard Drive space, but buying big now helps protect and preserve for the future. Also think about how you will back up your data.
Just a few thoughts to get U going ....

FIRELUV
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post #3 of 56 Old 11-21-2006, 01:49 PM - Thread Starter
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I don't think I need a video capture or HD card. I have an HD DVR for that. The HD cards only receive OTA HD to record. I'm talking about playing back downloaded HD movies and HD TV shows on my Home Theatre TV.

Any specific recomendations on video cards? Ideally, i'd like one that outputs DVI and/or component video, although my tv can take an analog PC input. There are so many options for all these parts, i'm just trying to narrow down what I need.

Also, what kind of IR receiver can I use that I can use my Harmony 880 remote to control the computer to do basic functions such as pull up Power DVD and open a file to play?
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post #4 of 56 Old 11-21-2006, 03:12 PM
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I'm building a similar PC, although going to cost a little more as I'm looking for a lot more out of my HTPC, however...

In terms of video cards, I know there are a lot of silent 7600 GS cards around, made by pretty much all video card nvidia manufacturers, and with 256 or 512MB (I'm getting the 256) you can get the power your looking for. A lot of people will probably recommend something more powerful, but this fits in that nice price range of 120-150$ (little more up here in Canada, but I'd imagine thats what it is in US).

You can probably get away with a good AM2 or 939 socket motherboard paired with a AMD 64 X2 3800+ or 4200+. They are a lot cheaper now, and should be able to do what you are asking. The motherboard that comes to mind for me is the Asus M2NPV-VM. You could even use the onboard video (has both DVI, VGA, and Component (via included addon)) as its a Nvidia 6150 which is decent for HT use and then if you want upgrade to PCI-E video card.

Memory - take your pick - corsair, kingston, crucial - a lot of other people will recommend different brands, but any of those three will do well, just match the type to what you are willing to spend and the slots on your motherboard.

Sound - The Chaintech AV710 is great for simple optical out -> can be had for ~20$ and just works.

That should get you started a little...
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post #5 of 56 Old 11-21-2006, 05:22 PM
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All good recommendations by Equilibria.
Here is what I would use to build system for your needs:

1. Open Box: ASUS M2NPV-VM Socket AM2 - $44.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...2E16813131014R

2. AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ Windsor - $142.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819103732

2. Video Card - you definitely won't be able to play any decent games using the onboard GeForce 6150. It will play up to 720 HD videos without any issues. Geforce 7600GT is your best bet for your needs. If you didn't care about gaming 7300GT would fit the bill.
Open Box: XFX PVT73GUGD3 GeForce 7600GT 256MB - $129
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...2E16814150182R
+
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835118001

3. Chaintech AV710 - $21.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16829120103


4. Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3320620AS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822148140


5. Ethernet card - on board
6. CORSAIR ValueSelect 1GB (2 x 512MB) - $104.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820145526

7. AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ Windsor - $142.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819103732


8. IR receiver - USB-UIRT IR Blaster

I built a similar HTPC recently and it performs great.

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post #6 of 56 Old 11-22-2006, 07:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Excellent suggestions. Thank you.

Can you tell me a little more about the IR receiver - USB-UIRT IR Blaster? How exactly does it work? Does it work by interfacing with the OS? Does it fit inside the case nicely?

Don't I need a CPU fan? Which one?

On the ASUS M2NPV-VM mobo, I see that it has an 'PCI Express x16' and 'PCI Express x1' slots. What devices are these for? Can I use the CHAINTECH AV-710 soundcard in the PCI Express x16 slot? I only ask because I would like to have the ability to upgrade the video and add a tuner card in the future. If I already have a standard PCI slot being taken up by the soundcard, then that only leaves one standard PCI slot left, which would be for the video.

Any suggestions for a decent DVD + rw drive?

Lastly, should I use MCE 2005 or XP as my OS?
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post #7 of 56 Old 11-22-2006, 10:41 AM
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I have the Antec Fusion case and have a major disappointment with it. It appears the front panel is not grounded. This means whenever I touch the panel with the slightest amount of static electricity (IE to change DVD'S) the entire machine turns off. I fixed this by running a grounding wire from the front panel to the main portion of the case but seriously, a $200 case shouldn't be like this.
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post #8 of 56 Old 11-22-2006, 01:43 PM
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just a word of caution regarding the 320gb 7200.10 seagate drives: I have read numerous complaints that they are louder then previous models, and there are no acoustic management settings to quiet down the seeks. I resorted to western digital drives, as hard drive noise drives me nuts, especially the seeks. See silentpcreview.com, and you can read the storage section of the forum for more info. I have a 7200.9 300gb ide seagate and it is quiet, but the sata models are reported to be louder. I'm happy with my sata 250gb WD caviar se 16 as it is quiet even without rubber cord suspended.

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Photo Gallery - I'll finish it eventually
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post #9 of 56 Old 11-24-2006, 08:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Is it possible to add an ir receiver unit to the inside of the Antec Fusion case so that I can control it with my Harmony 880? Which one and where would it go?

How about the wireless keyboard/mouse? What do I do with the plug-in usb receiver? Just put it out to the side on it's stand? Any way to conceal that on the inside? I'm trying to keep the case look as much like an AV component as possible without things sticking out of the front USB ports.

Thanks again for any input.
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post #10 of 56 Old 11-26-2006, 07:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snootch View Post

All good recommendations by Equilibria.
Here is what I would use to build system for your needs:

1. Open Box: ASUS M2NPV-VM Socket AM2 - $44.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...2E16813131014R

2. AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ Windsor - $142.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819103732

2. Video Card - you definitely won't be able to play any decent games using the onboard GeForce 6150. It will play up to 720 HD videos without any issues. Geforce 7600GT is your best bet for your needs. If you didn't care about gaming 7300GT would fit the bill.
Open Box: XFX PVT73GUGD3 GeForce 7600GT 256MB - $129
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...2E16814150182R
+
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835118001

3. Chaintech AV710 - $21.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16829120103


4. Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3320620AS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822148140


5. Ethernet card - on board
6. CORSAIR ValueSelect 1GB (2 x 512MB) - $104.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820145526

7. AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ Windsor - $142.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819103732


8. IR receiver - USB-UIRT IR Blaster

I built a similar HTPC recently and it performs great.


Which CPU fan is that red one you have?

Which IR receiver do you use?

Thanks..
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post #11 of 56 Old 11-26-2006, 11:37 PM
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The CPU cooler shown is a ZALMAN CNPS7700-CU modified with white Nexus Silent fan
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835118115

I use Microsoft remote and IR receiver mounted externally.
The receiver sits on top of the Dish STB and is barely noticeable from the sitting position. As far as mounting it inside the case. It's possible but would require removing the VFD and fabricating a custom shelf that would hold the receiver behind that small VFD window.

Ralph P.
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post #12 of 56 Old 11-27-2006, 12:36 AM
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The USB IR Receiver is going to depend on what software you plan on using to drive all this. I think others here assumed you were using MCE.

If you use MCE, then you just need a MCE Compatible "beanbag" which is a USB external IR Receiver with ports for 2 IR Blasters (to remotely control a Set Top Box)

The easiest way to get such an IR BeanBag is to buy a combination BeanBag and MCE Remote from some place like NewEgg and then just toss the remote in a drawer. Will run you like $30 for both.

I have the model 1039 MCE Remote that came with an IR Beanbag and I dont use the remote at all. I added it to my Harmony 880 like your asking. Just choose something like Computer for Type, Microsoft for Manufacturer and then 1039 in the model search. (the 1039 or other apropriate code is on the back of the remote)


If you plan on using some other software, then this solution may or may not work.

Some higher end HTPC Cases will come with a MCE compatible USB UIRT that is masked behind the same plastic as the VFD display. Then they have either a cable you loop out the back of the case into a USB Port or an Internal 4/5 pin connector for direct connection to a USB Header.


PS: The Microsoft beanbags come on a 10 foot USB cable leash, so you can either hide the HTPC and just expose the IR Peice, or you can mask the USB Beanbag somewhere else in your setup such that it isnt noticeable but is still functional.

PPS: PCIe x16 is purely for Video Cards, PCIe x1 is a direct replacement for PCI, but there are still a ton more PCI devices than PCIe ones.

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post #13 of 56 Old 11-27-2006, 08:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks again for the responses.

I see that there are the Microsoft MCE IR receiver/remote combos as well as the USB-UIRT generic receiver.

I know that you can do a lot more with the USB-UIRT, but what exactly can you do with the Microsoft IR receiver? Can it only control the built-in functions in MCE, or can it be tweaked to control and open apps like WinDVD, PowerDVD? I'm assuming it can be used to open up WMP and play files. Can you use Girder software with the Microsoft IR receiver?

Are there any cheap alternatives to the USB-UIRT, since I really only need a receiver and not a transmitter?
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post #14 of 56 Old 11-27-2006, 09:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snootch View Post

As far as mounting it inside the case. It's possible but would require removing the VFD and fabricating a custom shelf that would hold the receiver behind that small VFD window.

On the Antec website, it states that the Fusion case "Includes space for user-mounted IR Receiver.", which I would assume is by the VFD. Is this not true?
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post #15 of 56 Old 11-27-2006, 10:55 AM
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Only wanted to add one thing about IR receiver placement. If the receiver is thin enough to fit underneath the case, that is the perfect place for it. Place it about 3" from the front edge and no one will ever lknow it's there. If not, then you can do like me and position them upside down on the bottom of the shelf the HTPC is on. All of mine are black and blend perfectly into the shadows of the black shelf. Depending on the height of the shelf, you might even be able to position them further back to be even more obscure. I also secured the wiring to the bottom of the shelf to clean up the looks of things.

BT

Just remember, to the MPAA "We're all guilty until..............."
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post #16 of 56 Old 11-27-2006, 11:29 AM
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Antec website is incorrect. I have removed the VFD module and indeed there is a space. However, there is no space for placing the receiver anywhere other than directly where the VFD itself is. The plastic window has a large plastic black painted rectangle and only the centre of which is transparent exposing the small 16x2 VFD display.
You can use Girder with Microsoft MCE IR receiver to control any application on your PC. I have it setup to control winamp using MCE remote. Works great.
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post #17 of 56 Old 12-18-2006, 11:55 AM
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Just a quick note. I am seeing the same problem that stryguy is having. When I touch the front panel the PC resets. Once I touched it when it was shutdown (power supply was 'on') and the system starts to boot.

Antec says they have never heard of it and I thought I was nuts until I saw the post from stryguy. I need to figure out how i am going to ground the front panel.

Other than that, its a very nice case.
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post #18 of 56 Old 01-10-2007, 02:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KTF View Post

Just a quick note. I am seeing the same problem that stryguy is having. When I touch the front panel the PC resets. Once I touched it when it was shutdown (power supply was 'on') and the system starts to boot.

Antec says they have never heard of it and I thought I was nuts until I saw the post from stryguy. I need to figure out how i am going to ground the front panel.

Other than that, its a very nice case.

You've probably figured this out already but if not.... I took a small wire and attached it to a screw in the case kind of in front of the motherboard. The other end I attached to a screw that mounted the CD Flap cover. Not sure if CD Flap Cover is the right term but basically the cd bezzel built into the case that flips down when you eject the CD. You'll see a screw on each side of this flip cover (from the inside) and apparently goes all the way into the panel. The moment I did everything was fine. Be careful with the wire that it doesn't get in the way of the cd flap.

Like I said, probably you already worked out a solution but if not here is one or if there are any other users out there stumped as to what's going on.
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post #19 of 56 Old 01-11-2007, 05:13 AM
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I can also confirm the Fusion's lack of grounding on the front bezel.

C Snyder
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post #20 of 56 Old 01-11-2007, 06:55 AM
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Just a note.

I use the NSK2400 (Fusion without the VFD display). I have seen none of the fron grounding problems that you guys are describing with the Fusion and I have been dealing with a LOT of static since I received some new furniture for my theater room.

Acribb -

I haven't been able to find any AM2 mATX MBs that have more than 2 PCI slots (except Via based and we really don't want to go there). Pretty much all of them have 2 PCI, 1 PCI-e 1x and 1 PCI-e 16x. Since there are also no PCI-e 1x sound cards, then you are going to HAVE to use a PCI slot for the Chaintech sound card you are wanting. You should be okay though with the slots you have since you're not planning on any tuner cards yet. If you do decide to in the future though, there are some PCI-e tuners out and coming out that will allow you to use the 1x PCI-e slot.

Also, Buy.com currently has the XFX 7600GS Silent for $69.99 with free shipping. I have one and it works fine for the few games we play (Sims 2 & TW Golf 2006).

BT

Just remember, to the MPAA "We're all guilty until..............."
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post #21 of 56 Old 01-11-2007, 07:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bjterry62 View Post

Just a note.

I use the NSK2400 (Fusion without the VFD display). I have seen none of the fron grounding problems that you guys are describing with the Fusion and I have been dealing with a LOT of static since I received some new furniture for my theater room.

I have the 2400 as well. I have had a few shutdowns that I think are static/grounding shutdowns but not under normal operating conditions.

I had a few shutdowns happen when I was building the PC. If I had the PC running with the top off and I put the top back on without shutting down first, when the metal top touched the case the PC would sometimes shutdown.

With the top securely attached, I have never had any random/weird shutdown issues with the NSK2400.


rf
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post #22 of 56 Old 01-11-2007, 08:19 AM
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The 2400 shouldn't have the grounding problems since the front bezel is still
plastic. The Fusion bezel is aluminum and appears isolated electrically from
the rest of the chassis causing the static problems.

C Snyder
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post #23 of 56 Old 01-11-2007, 09:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigsnyder View Post

The 2400 shouldn't have the grounding problems since the front bezel is still
plastic. The Fusion bezel is aluminum and appears isolated electrically from
the rest of the chassis causing the static problems.

C Snyder

Strange, is it solid aluminum or thin sheeting over plastic? I would expect the latter, because if it was solid, it would be grounded.

BTW, I'm seriously thinking of painting my front bezel black. I saw a post in some forum where a guy did it and it looked pretty nice. If I decide to, I will post some shots of it. Has anyone here tried this?

BT

Just remember, to the MPAA "We're all guilty until..............."
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post #24 of 56 Old 01-11-2007, 10:33 AM
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It's winter (at least in the northern hemisphere!), and the air is dry. Static electricity is much worse in the winter. You are probably shocking from the front panel over to the USB shell, which travels to the MB and causes a reset.
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post #25 of 56 Old 01-11-2007, 12:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bjterry62 View Post

I haven't been able to find any AM2 mATX MBs that have more than 2 PCI slots (except Via based and we really don't want to go there). Pretty much all of them have 2 PCI, 1 PCI-e 1x and 1 PCI-e 16x. Since there are also no PCI-e 1x sound cards, then you are going to HAVE to use a PCI slot for the Chaintech sound card you are wanting

How about using the abit NF-M2 nView MB (AM2, mATX), which is supposed to have pretty darn good sound coming out of its onboard toslink optical out, so you no longer need the PCI sound card?

I'm currently planning a system around an Antec NSK2400 case, and I want a low-power processor (currently planning on Athlon 64 X2 3800+ (Energy Efficient 65W)), and after a lot of research, I came down to two possible motherboards - the abit NF-M2, and the ASUS M2NPV-VM. The better sound on the abit MB is giving it the edge in my book right now.

Just throwing this option out there... I'm certainly not an expert in HTPC (yet), so take that into consideration. Maybe some experts can help reinforce the abit as a good option, or tell us why the ASUS is a better bet.

ND
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post #26 of 56 Old 01-12-2007, 07:24 AM
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You might want to check the thread "Bicster's new HTPC build" that talks about a Antec NSK2400 HTCP build. The fusion is a more expensive variant of the NSK2400.
I must say that my NSK2400 + Intel DG965OT + Silverstone NT01 cooler looks very cleanly built and performs great!
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post #27 of 56 Old 01-12-2007, 09:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StanF View Post

It's winter (at least in the northern hemisphere!), and the air is dry. Static electricity is much worse in the winter. You are probably shocking from the front panel over to the USB shell, which travels to the MB and causes a reset.

I've been having this same problem as well, but with me when it happens it would repeatedly do it. I actually ended up replacing my motherboard not realising what was happening. When it would happen, I never could get my mother board to come back from it. I even took the whole thing apart and put it back together with no luck getting it to start working right. And it did start when I went to eject a DVD from the drive. This pisses me off. Antec should of been able to prevent this. I'm currently am waiting for my motherboard to come back from Intel. Before I put it back together, I'm going to have to ground that thing.

HD ON THE BRAIN!!
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post #28 of 56 Old 01-12-2007, 04:49 PM
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Acribb, as you've noticed, there are a lot of choices for building an HTPC with a Fusion case. I built my HTPC using the antec NSK2400. I thought about the fusion case, but in the end, couldn't justify the increased price for what is essentially a prettier front fascia. I have had previous cases with VFDs and find them to be useless. Unless you have the eyes of an eagle, or are sitting pretty close to the case, the VFD is unreadable.

I built my HTPC using the Intel D965GOT motherboard and 6300 C2D CPU. The intel motherboard is great because it is stable, and has built-in optical output and does Dolby Digital Live. It also has integrated Gigabit ethernet, and video if you want to use it. It has a passive heatsink on the northbridge so it is silent. I also use the stock Intel HSF for the CPU. Initially I decided to use the stock HSF temporarily while I figure out what aftermarket one to use, but found it so quiet that I decided against an aftermarket heatsink.

If your media is stored on another computer, then you don't need a big and fast hard drive. I have a Samsung Spinpoint because it was cheap and it rated pretty highly on SilentPCReview. You can get a passively-cooled Nvidia 7600Gt I believe, which should fit in the case. Someone tried a 7950 passive cooled card, but wouldn't fit unless you modify the case.

As for IR receivers, the USB-UIRT is a bit expensive, but has the most flexibility. One advantage is that it can wake the computer from sleep, PROVIDED that the USB port is powered when sleeping. Unfortunately, the Intel motherboard doesn't. I am sure you could do some wiring and provide the USB-UIRT with +5V constant power, and it might work. Getting computers to S3 and back is problematic, especially trying to wake using USB devices. IRMan used to be another IR receiver, but it uses the serial port, which is pretty rare these days. I don't even know if it is sold anymore.

Charles
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post #29 of 56 Old 01-12-2007, 06:47 PM
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I just finished(tonight) building my Fusion with ABIT NF-M2. So far I would recomend it. Yes it's more expensive than the nsk2400 - but it looks cool. I have experienced any grounding/reset problems.

My system
antec fusion
abit nf-m2
amd x2 3800 65w
1 gb ram
seagate 400g SATA
ati wonder 650 tuner


It's a pretty basic system. I decided to run the onboard video and the sound card both seem adequete, but I will probably add a video card in the future.
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post #30 of 56 Old 01-13-2007, 10:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tschank View Post

I just finished(tonight) building my Fusion with ABIT NF-M2.
My system
antec fusion
abit nf-m2
amd x2 3800 65w
1 gb ram
seagate 400g SATA
ati wonder 650 tuner

tschank,

Sounds very similar to my plans. What brand/model of RAM did you go with? And what are you using to cool the CPU?

Thanks,
ND
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