HTPC n00b needs advice (be gental) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 12-07-2006, 08:00 PM - Thread Starter
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I have been reading, and reading, and reading but the more I look the more confused i become. Basically i am looking for some advice on components i need to be looking for. I WILL NOT be playing games on this machine. Basically i will only be using this to play DVD on my Westinghouse LVM-37w3 and ripping the DVD i own. I realize a HTPC is probably overkill for only that but it might be used for something different in the future (not playing games though as I am not a huge PC gamer).

I am not going to overclock anything or mess with it or tweak it. I just want to put the components together.

A few of the things i am looking for is this thing to be pretty quiet. The more the better. I also want it to look good.

I like this case. And the HD and DVD drive are pretty trivial to pick out.

I am really struggling with motherboard and CPU. Do i go AMD or Intel Core 2 Duo?? Which is the better bang for the buck?? Which will give me a quieter HTPC?? For AMD CPU motherboard combo i was looking at this CPU and this motherboard . For Intel i would looking at this CPU and this motherboard. I think i would rather go with the AMD setup as the board has a little more goodies on it, but some professional input would be nice.

What is a good GPU to go for?? I have seen a lot of people recommend a 7600gt. my westy does 1080p on the DVI input or the VGA (assuming DVI would be better because it is all digital). But i would like it to be future proofed so i can shove a HD-DVD/Blue-ray drive in there at some point.

I also need input on the power supply and i am not even sure were to start and what wattage i should shot for.

If you guys would be so kind as to give a HTPC n00b some input it would be greatly appreciated!!!

Thanks
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post #2 of 17 Old 12-08-2006, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prostuff1
I am really struggling with motherboard and CPU. Do i go AMD or Intel Core 2 Duo?? Which is the better bang for the buck?? Which will give me a quieter HTPC?? For AMD CPU motherboard combo i was looking at this CPU and this motherboard . For Intel i would looking at this CPU and this motherboard. I think i would rather go with the AMD setup as the board has a little more goodies on it, but some professional input would be nice.
That Epox motherboard has a chipset fan. I have a asus 6150 based board that does 1920x1080 but I never tried rendering 1080p HDTV. Silent PC Review has lot's of good information -- as does this forum. If it were me I'd stick with an amd cpu for a lower end system, and an intel core2 at the higher end. Consider an 6150/x2 solution, cost and power -- it may do everything you need.
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post #3 of 17 Old 12-08-2006, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prostuff1
What is a good GPU to go for?? I have seen a lot of people recommend a 7600gt. my westy does 1080p on the DVI input or the VGA (assuming DVI would be better because it is all digital). But i would like it to be future proofed so i can shove a HD-DVD/Blue-ray drive in there at some point.
The graphics card is easily going to be the noisiest part of the system. You could get a fanless 7600GT card. However, it lacks HDCP, so if you want to do Blu-Ray or HD-DVD you'll have to upgrade that later.
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post #4 of 17 Old 12-08-2006, 11:52 AM
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I am afraid to voice my opinion on the CPU thing, but here goes: go with the AMD. It gives you more performance for your dollar than the E6300. This topic came up on another thread (with the exact two CPUs you are speaking of) and while the E6300 is slightly higher performing than the X2 3800+, the X2 3800+ gives you more performance with price adjusted.

The AM2 motherboard you chose is overkill. You would be fine with a cheaper one.

For the power supply, don't choose it on wattage alone. Look for something >500 watts, then look at the reviews. They will tell you more than the wattage could ever tell you.

By the way, you misspelled the word, "gentle". Sorry about pointing that out, but it just looked funny.

Health insurance inevitably leads to poor quality, inefficiency, inflated costs for health care, and rationing.
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post #5 of 17 Old 12-08-2006, 12:02 PM
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Free advice is usually worth what you paid for it but here goes. Go with AMD, get a 6150 board. Use the onboard video for a while and then maybe later you will want to add a video card like a 7600GT, but get some experience first and save some money. But don't go cheap on the power supply. I like MSI motherboards (K8NGM2-FID or the new K9NGM2-FID) but there are some others that are good also. I like Seasonic power supplies S12 series, but again there are other good ones as well. There are many case options you just need to see which one will fit your hardware. Search the internet. Check out nMedia cases for low cost & good looks, but they won't work for everyone because some of the models run small in size and they are made kind of cheap. Mine has held up well so far though. Good luck!

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post #6 of 17 Old 12-08-2006, 12:05 PM
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The Corsair HX520W is a good PS suggestion. Very quiet.

The C2D (E6300 especially when OC'd) is probably better than the AMD AM2 X2 CPUs in terms of performance per $$$ and performance per watt. However, the C2D motherboards tend to have less legacy connections (IDE ports & PCI slots) than the AMD AM2 boards. That can make a C2D significantly more expensive if you have a lot of hardware from an other PC you want to reuse.
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post #7 of 17 Old 12-08-2006, 12:42 PM
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if you plan or want to do hd dvd or Blu-ray dvd then here is a good link for specs needed:

http://www.nzone.com/object/nzone_pvhd_build.html

here's a full checklist: http://download.nvidia.com/downloads...ing_a_HDPC.pdf

here's a quote for CPU specs:

Quote:
CPU Recommendations
CPU Family Recommended Minimum
Pentium 4 (Presscott) N/R 541 (3.2G) or higher
Pentium D 8xx series (Smithfield) N/R 840 (3.2G) or higher
Pentium D 9xx series (Presler) 945 (3.4G) or higher 930 (3.0G) or higher
Pentium EE series 955 (3.4G) or higher Any
Pentium M (Dothan) N/R 755 (2.0G) or higher
Core Duo (Yonah) T2xxx series T2500 (2G) or higher T2400 (1.83G) or higher
Core 2 Duo (Conroe) Exxxx & Xxxxx
series
E6300 (1.8G) or higher Any
Turion 64 X2 series TL-60 or higher TL-50 or higher
Athlon 64 X2 series 4200+ (2.2G) or higher 3800+ (2.0G) or higher
Athlon 64 FX series FX-60 (2.0G) or higher Any
Most MPEG-2 and VC-1 encoded titles will play on the ‘Minimum’ CPU configuration, however some H.264 titles are particularly difficult
to play and may require the ‘Recommended’ CPU configuration.
Then don't forget about a video card that supports HDCP.

- Josh
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post #8 of 17 Old 12-10-2006, 09:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks much for the input and suggestions. Some advice is better then none, and with that advice I have come up with a couple different setups. They really are the same except for the cases.

If you could please give input on these cases that would be great!!

The cases that I am looking at are:
1. Thermaltake Mozart Sx VC7001SNS. I like it because of the low profile look, and it comes with some software and remote. Weather the remote or software is any good is not really a concern. I have a harmony that i would like to use anyway. And software is a personal choice.
2. SILVERSTONE LASCALA SST-LC11S-M. I like this one again because of the remote. I think this one comes with a riser card that has AGP so i will have to buy a different one to work with a PCIx16 card when i get a video card for the machine. This case also comes with a built in 300W power supply. will this be enough to start out with?? Should I replace it right away?? If it is to loud i will probably replace it right away, but if not i will deal with it and get a better one when i get the video card.
3. Antec FUSION Silver Aluminum. I like this case because this case offers a little more room. It looks like i don't have to mess with any riser cards or anything with this one. It also looks like it will hold quite a few different HDD and stuff. This one comes with a power supply that is 430W. Again i will replace if need be but if i can get by with it for a little while it is less money to spend right off the bat.
4. LIAN LI PC-V800A. This looks like a nice big case. I kinda wish it was shorter and did not have the floppy drive but I can get past that. It is kinda open with all the holes and i am kinda worried about noise but then again i should not need many fans.

The Motherboard:
The motherboard I have chosen for any of the cases is the ABIT NF-M2 nView Socket AM2 NVIDIA GeForce 6150 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard. This board gets me DVI output without having to buy a separate video card for now. It also has a digital optical out so if i want I can pass 5.1 to a surround sound system when i get it. It seems like a pretty good board.

The CPU:
So that means I am going with an AMD CPU. Probably will go with the AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ Windsor. It is nice and cheap and should do just fine for my needs. The only question i have is: There is one that is labeled AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+(65W) Windsor. What is the difference between the one i choose and the 65W one?? If that one runs cooler and will help keep my HTPC quieter is it worth paying more for??

The Power Supply:
The power supply i am looking at for the two cases that don't include one is the THERMALTAKE TR2 500W Power Supply. It has gotten good reviews and it seems to be a nice power supply from what i have read.

The CPU Cooling Heatsink and Fan:
And last but not least i picked out the Dynatron A48G 2 Ball CPU Cooler. I really did not know what to go with here. I know it needs to be pretty low profile and silent and this seemed to fit the bill. If anyone has a better suggestion please feel free to tell me.

For HDD i am not really concerned but I believe that Seagate are the quietest running drives. If I am wrong or anyone has input on good drives to look for please make a suggestion!!

The DVD drive, and RAM i won't have a trouble picking out. Those are pretty straight forward.

Thanks for the earlier input and please keep the comments coming
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post #9 of 17 Old 12-11-2006, 04:17 AM
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I'd suggest you start reading some of the reviews/articles at www.silentpcreview.com. Some of the components you've picked out aren't as quiet as you might think since most websites idea of quiet isn't actually silent.
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post #10 of 17 Old 12-11-2006, 08:03 AM
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The 65W Energy Efficient version is the same as 89W performance-wise and runs cooler.
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post #11 of 17 Old 12-11-2006, 08:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stereodude
I'd suggest you start reading some of the reviews/articles at www.silentpcreview.com. Some of the components you've picked out aren't as quiet as you might think since most websites idea of quiet isn't actually silent.
OK, thanks for the link and I will be reading all the stuff i can over there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx
The 65W Energy Efficient version is the same as 89W performance-wise and runs cooler.
That is what i figured. So is it worth the extra money to get the lower watt?? I would think so seeing as the whole point is to keep the HTPC quiet.
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post #12 of 17 Old 12-11-2006, 04:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prostuff1
That is what i figured. So is it worth the extra money to get the lower watt?? I would think so seeing as the whole point is to keep the HTPC quiet.
There isn't any cost difference on the 4200+ between the two, and it isn't very much on the 3800+ (~$7).

I would get the lower wattage part. In fact, I did get the 65W 4200+ X2. :D
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post #13 of 17 Old 12-11-2006, 10:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prostuff1
For HDD i am not really concerned but I believe that Seagate are the quietest running drives. If I am wrong or anyone has input on good drives to look for please make a suggestion!!
The older Seagate HD drives did have a good reputation for being quiet. But the newer Barracuda 7200.10 series are reported to be louder than their predecessors, especially during seeks. The new 400 GB Seagate I have is definitely louder than my 250GB WD drive.
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post #14 of 17 Old 12-16-2006, 11:50 AM
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Someone posted:
------
The cases that I am looking at are:
1. Thermaltake Mozart Sx VC7001SNS. I like it because of the low profile look, and it comes with some software and remote. Weather the remote or software is any good is not really a concern. I have a harmony that i would like to use anyway. And software is a personal choice.
....
The Motherboard:
The motherboard I have chosen for any of the cases is the ABIT NF-M2 nView Socket AM2 NVIDIA GeForce 6150 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard. This board gets me DVI output without having to buy a separate video card for now. It also has a digital optical out so if i want I can pass 5.1 to a surround sound system when i get it. It seems like a pretty good board.

Do you know if this configuration works? I would really like to get these components, but I am concerned that the Mozart Sx VC7001SNS will not work with this board because of alignment issues with the PCI-e card (it needs to be on the 6th slot for ATX, but no specific requirements for the this card, which is a microATX).
--------------------
Thanks
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post #15 of 17 Old 12-16-2006, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prostuff1
The cases that I am looking at are:
Thermaltake Mozart Sx VC7001SNS. I like it because of the low profile look, and it comes with some software and remote. Weather the remote or software is any good is not really a concern. I have a harmony that i would like to use anyway. And software is a personal choice.
...

The Motherboard:
The motherboard I have chosen for any of the cases is the ABIT NF-M2 nView Socket AM2 NVIDIA GeForce 6150 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard[/url]. This board gets me DVI output without having to buy a separate video card for now. It also has a digital optical out so if i want I can pass 5.1 to a surround sound system when i get it. It seems like a pretty good board.

The CPU:
So that means I am going with an AMD CPU. Probably will go with the AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ Windsor[/url]. It is nice and cheap and should do just fine for my needs. The only question i have is: There is one that is labeled AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+(65W) Windsor. What is the difference between the one i choose and the 65W one?? If that one runs cooler and will help keep my HTPC quieter is it worth paying more for??



The CPU Cooling Heatsink and Fan:
And last but not least i picked out the Dynatron A48G 2 Ball CPU Cooler[/url]. I really did not know what to go with here. I know it needs to be pretty low profile and silent and this seemed to fit the bill. If anyone has a better suggestion please feel free to tell me.


Thanks for the earlier input and please keep the comments coming
--------------------------------------------------
Prostuff1,

Do you know if this configuration works? I would really like to get these components, but I am concerned that the Mozart Sx VC7001SNS will not work with this board because of alignment issues with the PCI-e card (it needs to be on the 6th slot for ATX, but no specific requirements for the this card, which is a microATX, yet if the PCI extension card does not align right it will be really a show stopper).
That issue ruled out for me using the LC11, which I would otherwise like better than the Mozart.

I really think that the combination you proposed would be a great match, but I am concerned about getting all these things and realize later that they don't fit together.

Thanks

ricardot
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post #16 of 17 Old 12-16-2006, 06:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blue_z
The older Seagate HD drives did have a good reputation for being quiet. But the newer Barracuda 7200.10 series are reported to be louder than their predecessors, especially during seeks. The new 400 GB Seagate I have is definitely louder than my 250GB WD drive.
I have 1 7200.10 and quite a few 7200.9's. I didn't find any big differences between them in noise.
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post #17 of 17 Old 12-16-2006, 09:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ricardot
--------------------------------------------------
Prostuff1,

Do you know if this configuration works? I would really like to get these components, but I am concerned that the Mozart Sx VC7001SNS will not work with this board because of alignment issues with the PCI-e card (it needs to be on the 6th slot for ATX, but no specific requirements for the this card, which is a microATX, yet if the PCI extension card does not align right it will be really a show stopper).
That issue ruled out for me using the LC11, which I would otherwise like better than the Mozart.

I really think that the combination you proposed would be a great match, but I am concerned about getting all these things and realize later that they don't fit together.

Thanks

ricardot

Unfortunately you are asking the wrong person. I have not bought any of these parts yet and probably won't be for a little bit. Hopefully someone smarter and more knowledgeable with this stuff can help.
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