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post #1 of 21 Old 07-09-2007, 08:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Here is a list of the components I plan to order:

*Asus P5N32-E SLI Plus Motherboard
*Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 Dual Core Processor
*eVGA GeForce 8800 GTS Video Card
*Kingston HyperX 4GB PC2-6400 DDR2 DIMM Memory Kit
*Samsung SHS182M/BEBN Dual Layer DVD±RW Writer
*WD Caviar SE16 250GB Hard Drive x2
*WD Caviar SE16 500GB Hard Drive x4
*Corsair CMPSU-520HX 520W Power Supply
*ThermalTake Bach Media Lab Silver HTPC Case
*Windows Vista Ultimate (64-bit)
*Windows XP Professional (32-bit)


I would like to use this computer for a variety of things:
*Playing/Ripping/Burning/Cataloging CDs and DVDs
*Viewing/Organizing photographs
*HD video storage and editing (we are getting an HD camera)
*Work (MS Office)
*Some games: I primarily use Xbox360 for gaming, but will still play a few games (such as Sims II) on the PC
*Theoritically, I would love to use it as a PVR. But until it's possible to capture HD content from a satelite receiver, I'll just use the DirectTV DVR.


I plan on putting Windows XP Pro on one of the 250GB HDs, and Vista Ultimate (64-bit) on the other. I'm considering using RAID 0 for the 4 500GB HDs. This is my first time doing this. I've never even opened up a PC before. I've purchased two books on the subject. The first, which I'm reading now, is Upgrading and Repairing PCs (17th Edition). The other, which should arrive soon, is Building the Perfect PC. I don't want to get in over my head, but hopefully with the knowledge I get from these books and the help I get from the fine folks on these forums, I'll be able to pull this off. Here are my questions so far:

1) How does my parts list look? Am I leaving anything out? Are all the parts compatable? Is my power supply big enough? Would you recommend any changes (for value, performance, or ease of use)?

2) Would you recommend using RAID for the Hard Drives? I've been considering a lot of different arrangements. My first thought is to use RAID 0 to turn the four 500 GB drives into two 1 TB drives. One could back up the other, or I could get external drives for backup.

3) My motherboard has Optical (S/PDIF), so I assume I can output full 7.1 surround sound to my home theatre receiver. Is this right? Would the sound be significantly better if I got a dedicated sound card?

4) I'm a little confused about the graphics card. I thought NVidia made Geforce graphics cards. However, when browsing through PriceGrabber, I notice there are multiple manufacturers (eVGA, XFX, PNY, BFG, ECS) all making Geforce graphics cards. So I assume that these companies make the video cards, but they get the chipsets from Nvidia. But what else is there to a graphics card? What makes one manufacturer's 8800 GTS different from another?

5) Besides screwdrivers, are there any other tools I will need?



I appreciate the help!
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post #2 of 21 Old 07-09-2007, 08:28 AM
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Will all 6 hard drives be in the one case? My HTPC case had heat issues once I got over 3 drives so I finaly was forced to use external hard drive bays.
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post #3 of 21 Old 07-09-2007, 08:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhawkmike View Post

Here is a list of the components I plan to order:

*Asus P5N32-E SLI Plus Motherboard
*Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 Dual Core Processor
*eVGA GeForce 8800 GTS Video Card
*Kingston HyperX 4GB PC2-6400 DDR2 DIMM Memory Kit
*WD Caviar SE16 250GB Hard Drive x2
*WD Caviar SE16 500GB Hard Drive x4
*Corsair CMPSU-520HX 520W Power Supply
*ThermalTake Bach Media Lab Silver HTPC Case
*Windows Vista Ultimate (64-bit)
*Windows XP Professional (32-bit)

I plan on putting Windows XP Pro on one of the 250GB HDs, and Vista Ultimate (64-bit) on the other. I'm considering using RAID 0 for the 4 500GB HDs. This is my first time doing this. I've never even opened up a PC before. I've purchased two books on the subject. The first, which I'm reading now, is Upgrading and Repairing PCs (17th Edition). The other, which should arrive soon, is Building the Perfect PC. I don't want to get in over my head, but hopefully with the knowledge I get from these books and the help I get from the fine folks on these forums, I'll be able to pull this off. Here are my questions so far:

1) How does my parts list look? Am I leaving anything out? Are all the parts compatable? Is my power supply big enough? Would you recommend any changes (for value, performance, or ease of use)?

2) Would you recommend using RAID for the Hard Drives? I've been considering a lot of different arrangements. My first thought is to use RAID 0 to turn the four 500 GB drives into two 1 TB drives. One could back up the other, or I could get external drives for backup.

3) My motherboard has Optical (S/PDIF), so I assume I can output full 7.1 surround sound to my home theatre receiver. Is this right? Would the sound be significantly better if I got a dedicated sound card?

4) I'm a little confused about the graphics card. I thought NVidia made Geforce graphics cards. However, when browsing through PriceGrabber, I notice there are multiple manufacturers (eVGA, XFX, PNY, BFG, ECS) all making Geforce graphics cards. So I assume that these companies make the video cards, but they get the chipsets from Nvidia. But what else is there to a graphics card? What makes one manufacturer's 8800 GTS different from another?

5) Besides screwdrivers, are there any other tools I will need?



I appreciate the help!

You've never mentioned the purpose of this PC.

Is this HTPC or a game rig? Makes all the difference, you know.

If it is not a gaming machine you don't need 8800GTS, there are cheaper and better alternatives.

Now, some answers:

1) looks good, although expensive, but it's your money and you know better what to do with them. You know, overclocked E4300 will do 2.7Ghz with no sweat and costs just around $100.

2) I personally hate RAIDs in general, but RAID 0 is the worst possible RAID you can do. Go with RAID 1 if you wanna do RAID.

3) S/PDIFs are created equal, so onboard audio is fine.

4) Yes, different manufacturers use nvidia chipsets.

5) No.

One thing you did not mention is heatsink and fan for the CPU. This is VERY important for the HTPC. I recommend Zalman HSFs and Arctic Silver 5 as a thermal paste. For a small investment you will get a quiet and cool computer.

Good luck.

Good time to buy computers and computer parts: NEVER
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post #4 of 21 Old 07-09-2007, 08:35 AM
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RAID 0 is not wise. If one drive goes bad, you lose the data on two of them. There are other ways of making two drives appear as one. The only reason to go with RAID 0 is for maximum read performance and that is just not an issue for most people (graphics designers, yes, most everyone else, no).

Also, you are correct, nVidia manufacturers graphics CHIPS - other companies make the full cards, though many/most of them leverage nVidia's reference board design, so there is often near-zero difference.

Screwdrivers (at least one which is magnetic), needlenose pliers (just in case), flashlight, that's about it.

Of course, you didn't say how you will be using this box - without that, we can't give you much advice about the configuration. Given that you put it in the HTPC forum, I will make a leap of faith and say this is for an HTPC. If so, that may be too much memory, the wrong graphics card, and you are missing tuner cards and a DVD burner.

Cheers,
Bill
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post #5 of 21 Old 07-09-2007, 08:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dinoroger View Post

Will all 6 hard drives be in the one case? My HTPC case had heat issues once I got over 3 drives so I finaly was forced to use external hard drive bays.

Good point dinoroger.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Billped View Post

Given that you put it in the HTPC forum, I will make a leap of faith and say this is for an HTPC. If so, that may be too much memory, the wrong graphics card, and you are missing tuner cards and a DVD burner.

Quite a few of my HTPCs live very happy life w/o DVD burner.

4GB is for his Vista 64 (not sure why one would want this, but it is me, again).

HTPC can live w/o tuners, just for movies/music. But of course tuners, especially HD tuners, enhance the experience.

On the other hand, if it is a real HTPC, today one cannot ignore hi-def movie formats so HD DVD or Blu Ray DVD (or both) drives are suggested.

Good time to buy computers and computer parts: NEVER
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post #6 of 21 Old 07-09-2007, 09:09 AM
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Don't bother with RAID. You aren't going to have any performance bottlenecks at your disks. If you want to back up, look into a real backup solution. RAID is not a backup, in any configuration.

Don't get an 8800. It doesn't do hardware acceleration of video, and this is an HTPC. Get an 8500 or 8600 instead.

Ram is cheap right now, but 4GB is a huge waste. Nothing will use that much memory. Stick with 2GB. Also, if you intend to use XP 32 bit, you aren't even going to be able to address the entire 4GB.

Don't get an E6700. Wait 2 more weeks until the July 22nd price drop, where Intel will be rolling out the new line. the E6750 replaces the E6700, is faster (2.6ghz and 1333 FSB), and cheaper ($183 projected price).

If you use optical S/PDIF out on the motherboard, it will be unprocessed. You need to connect it to a receiver which is capable of decoding whatever signal you're giving it. Because of this, the choice of onboard sound vs a dedicated soundcard does not matter -- all you are doing is passing along the digital stream without processing it at all, and it is entirely up to your receiver to decode and pass the signal on to your speakers. Invest in a good receiver.
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post #7 of 21 Old 07-09-2007, 09:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billped View Post

Of course, you didn't say how you will be using this box - without that, we can't give you much advice about the configuration. Given that you put it in the HTPC forum, I will make a leap of faith and say this is for an HTPC. If so, that may be too much memory, the wrong graphics card, and you are missing tuner cards and a DVD burner.

Thanks, I knew I left something out. I edited my original post to include the DVD burner and what I intend to use the machine for:

*Playing/Ripping/Burning/Cataloging CDs and DVDs
*Viewing/Organizing photographs
*HD video storage and editing (we are getting an HD camera)
*Work (MS Office)
*Some games: I primarily use Xbox360 for gaming, but will still play a few games (such as Sims II) on the PC
*Theoritically, I would love to use it as a PVR. But until it's possible to capture HD content from a satelite receiver, I'll just use the DirectTV DVR.

Quote:
If it is not a gaming machine you don't need 8800GTS, there are cheaper and better alternatives

I didn't mention this originally, but I would like to be able to edit HD video. My understand is that this can be quite taxing on a system. Would a good graphics card help for this?

Quote:
One thing you did not mention is heatsink and fan for the CPU. This is VERY important for the HTPC. I recommend Zalman HSFs and Arctic Silver 5 as a thermal paste. For a small investment you will get a quiet and cool computer.

Thanks, I will look into this. I assumed that these things would be included with processor, case, power supply..etc, but I maybe not. Or maybe these things are included, but they just aren't sufficient?

Quote:
On the other hand, if it is a real HTPC, today one cannot ignore hi-def movie formats so HD DVD or Blu Ray DVD (or both) drives are suggested.

This is something I will get at some point, but I think I'll wait prices to drop and for the format war to play itself out. I'll probably get a PS3 sooner or later so I'll be able to watch BR with that. I would like to burn Hi-def discs in the future, but right now the media is too expensive.

Quote:
4GB is for his Vista 64 (not sure why one would want this, but it is me, again).

Do you mean Vista 64, or Vista in general? I'm open to suggestions on this. I know a lot of people have run into problems with Vista, but if all my components are new, wouldn't they be compatable with Vista? I plan to install XP first since that's the OS I'm familiar with, and then add Vista a couple of weeks down the road. Assuming Vista is on a different HD, could it cause any problems to my system when running XP?
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post #8 of 21 Old 07-09-2007, 09:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garrettmoore View Post

Don't bother with RAID. You aren't going to have any performance bottlenecks at your disks. If you want to back up, look into a real backup solution. RAID is not a backup, in any configuration.

Don't get an 8800. It doesn't do hardware acceleration of video, and this is an HTPC. Get an 8500 or 8600 instead.

Ram is cheap right now, but 4GB is a huge waste. Nothing will use that much memory. Stick with 2GB. Also, if you intend to use XP 32 bit, you aren't even going to be able to address the entire 4GB.

Don't get an E6700. Wait 2 more weeks until the July 22nd price drop, where Intel will be rolling out the new line. the E6750 replaces the E6700, is faster (2.6ghz and 1333 FSB), and cheaper ($183 projected price).

If you use optical S/PDIF out on the motherboard, it will be unprocessed. You need to connect it to a receiver which is capable of decoding whatever signal you're giving it. Because of this, the choice of onboard sound vs a dedicated soundcard does not matter -- all you are doing is passing along the digital stream without processing it at all, and it is entirely up to your receiver to decode and pass the signal on to your speakers. Invest in a good receiver.

Good suggestions. I'll take a look at those video cards you mentioned. I was planning on waiting until Jully 22 for the price drop, but I didn't realize Intel was releasing a new chip to replace the E6700. Thanks.

It sounds like everyone agrees that 4 GB is too much RAM. Besides for wasting money, are there any other negatives to having more RAM than you need?
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post #9 of 21 Old 07-09-2007, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by jhawkmike View Post

Good suggestions. I'll take a look at those video cards you mentioned. I was planning on waiting until Jully 22 for the price drop, but I didn't realize Intel was releasing a new chip to replace the E6700. Thanks.

It sounds like everyone agrees that 4 GB is too much RAM. Besides for wasting money, are there any other negatives to having more RAM than you need?

You may even want to get a cheaper CPU and overclock, instead of paying for the 6750. There are other 6x50 CPUs being released to replace the current 6x00 lineup.


As for ram, you are using a 32 bit operating system (or dual booting with one, anyways). The largest value you can express with 32 bits is 2^32 = 4294967296 = 4GiB. This means the most memory you can possibly access with 32 bits is 4GiB.

You also need a page file (as many programs won't run without one, and disabling it, despite what some people will tell you, is idiotic). The page file consumes some of this addressable memory space. Therefore realistically you'll only be able to use anywhere from 2.5GiB - 3GiB of your 4GiB of memory; the rest is going to do absolutely nothing.

With a 64 bit OS, you'll be able to use it all, but keep in mind that the only applications that will use that much memory are image and video editing. If you're going to be editing massive amounts of raw video footage, then 4GiB may be a sensible amount of memory to get. No games currently even use 2GiB, and no other applications come close. You say you'll be playing The Sims as your typical game, so you do not need to be worried about that.


Also, no, a good graphics card will not help at all with video editing. The only things you need for that are fast harddrives, lots of memory, and a fast CPU.


As for Vista -- it doesn't matter what your components are. It is still a relatively new OS, and a lot of vendors are slow to get drivers out at all, let alone good drivers. 64 bit also has a horrible rate of adoption still compared to 32 bit, and you may have serious issues finding 64 bit drivers for a lot of things (such as printers). Research driver availability for all of your components before you buy anything.
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post #10 of 21 Old 07-09-2007, 09:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhawkmike View Post




I didn't mention this originally, but I would like to be able to edit HD video. My understand is that this can be quite taxing on a system. Would a good graphics card help for this?

Not 8800GTS. It is for gamers, and gamers only.

Quote:


Thanks, I will look into this. I assumed that these things would be included with processor, case, power supply..etc, but I maybe not. Or maybe these things are included, but they just aren't sufficient?

Intel OEM HSF will be included, but it will be noisy and insufficient, especially for the hot and, God willing, overclocked system.

Quote:


This is something I will get at some point, but I think I'll wait prices to drop and for the format war to play itself out. I'll probably get a PS3 sooner or later so I'll be able to watch BR with that. I would like to burn Hi-def discs in the future, but right now the media is too expensive.

You don't need to burn hi-def discs. You might just wanna watch hi-def movies. The end of the format war is not coming anytime soon. As of prices dropping, yeah, the longer you wait, the lower prices for the comp parts are, that's why it is NEVER a good time to buy them



Quote:


Do you mean Vista 64, or Vista in general? I'm open to suggestions on this. I know a lot of people have run into problems with Vista, but if all my components are new, wouldn't they be compatable with Vista? I plan to install XP first since that's the OS I'm familiar with, and then add Vista a couple of weeks down the road. Assuming Vista is on a different HD, could it cause any problems to my system when running XP?

Only 64-bit OS can address 4GB of RAM you intend to put into your HTPC.
32-bit OS can use 3GB with some tricks, but there is no point whatsoever having over 2GB RAM on the 32-bit OS.

As of Vista vs XP, I am extremely biased and my opinion differs from many members of this forum. I don't see one single feature of Vista which would make me want to switch from my XP machines. Please no flames folks. I respect other choices. Hell, I even have some friends among Vista users.

Good time to buy computers and computer parts: NEVER
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post #11 of 21 Old 07-09-2007, 10:03 AM - Thread Starter
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I just like how shiny everthing looks. Isn't that enough?
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post #12 of 21 Old 07-09-2007, 10:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhawkmike View Post

I just like how shiny everthing looks. Isn't that enough?

No.

You can put XP in Vista clothes if you wish.

And OS X still looks shinier than Vista.

But like I said, to each their own. Do whatever you feel like doing. Let's not turn this thread to yet another XP vs. Vista battlefield.

Good time to buy computers and computer parts: NEVER
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post #13 of 21 Old 07-09-2007, 12:39 PM - Thread Starter
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I didn't realize it was such a contentious issue. I don't have any opinion on the matter myself because I've never tried Vista (save for 5 minutes at Sam's Club). I just want to try it out, but am wondering if there is a downside to having two operating systems on the same PC.
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post #14 of 21 Old 07-09-2007, 02:43 PM
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Some comments.

Asus P5N32-E SLI Plus Motherboard: Choosing this board is somewhat pointless. This is an ultimate gaming board featuring triple PCIe x16 slots supporting SLI that you will never use. Moreover the 680i chipset consumes lots of power (20 to 30W more than P965/P35 chipset). Choose a decent P35 board instead (abit IP35/IP35 Pro or GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3R/DS3P/DQ6) that runs much cooler.

Buy E6750. It's the same speed as E6700, but costs only $183.

DDR2-800, 2 x 1GB is enough.

GeForce 8800 GTS is overkill. It's ultimately for 3D games. Choose GeForce 8500/8600 instead.

WD 250GB x 2 for XP and Vista: One disc with two partitions is enough for dual boot. First install XP, then Vista (MS kb919529).

WD 500GB x 4 with RAID 0: First you'd better choose Samsung HD501LJ that is quieter than WD5000AAKS at idle. Add another 500GB drive and set up RAID 5 for fault tolerance. It is effective against disc failure, but you may still lose data with other causes. So you will need a good backup strategy anyway. And you need a different case having 6 HDD bays (e.g. SilverStone LC17).

Heat issue. Perhaps 2 x 92mm front fan (for cooling 6 hard drives) + 2 x 80 mm rear fan (in case of LC17) is enough. Higher temperature means higher hard disc failure rate. Choose good (and quiet) fans. BTW the operating power dissipation of HD501LJ is 7.1W/11.1W at idle/seek, so 6 x HD501LJ is 42.6W/66.6W. That's not terribly bad, imo.

Buy the Belkin PC service tool kit or a similar item. That includes all tools you will ever need.

Visit Hardware Guide to HD HTPC for component selection
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post #15 of 21 Old 07-09-2007, 02:57 PM
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A lot of good suggestions so far, overall, yes this machine is overkill for your purposes (Sims won't be THAT intensive

I'll mention some things you may not have received suggestions on.

Not expecting a quiet pc with all those drives, are you? Since you are mentioning htpc purposes. You can buy enclosures to hold all your disks, or even set up a cheap server (preferably in another room) with gigabit network.

Look at 8500/8600 if they come with passive cooling, or the upcoming HD2600 from ATI. That is superior on HD playback, and if you get Pro/Xt version it will probably be enough for your purposes regarding gaming. Note that you can get passive cooling. (no fan)

Spend some money on either a very low noise fan for your cpu (20 db or less), alternatively a massive heatsink. Should cost anywhere from 25-60, not much with your budget.

For CPU, you could also consider the new Brisbanes from AMD. Very good price/performance ratio.

Optical out will send out anything on DVD today to your receiver, but it cannot send out the future formats from BluRay or HDDVD. -> back to ATI 2600 series, all that goes through HDMI anyways (HDCP is a must of course)
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post #16 of 21 Old 07-09-2007, 03:01 PM
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Get a OC 8600GTS over an 8800GTS IMO
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post #17 of 21 Old 07-09-2007, 07:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

Some comments.

Asus P5N32-E SLI Plus Motherboard: Choosing this board is somewhat pointless. This is an ultimate gaming board featuring triple PCIe x16 slots supporting SLI that you will never use. Moreover the 680i chipset consumes lots of power (20 to 30W more than P965/P35 chipset). Choose a decent P35 board instead (abit IP35/IP35 Pro or GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3R/DS3P/DQ6) that runs much cooler.

Buy E6750. It's the same speed as E6700, but costs only $183.

DDR2-800, 2 x 1GB is enough.

GeForce 8800 GTS is overkill. It's ultimately for 3D games. Choose GeForce 8500/8600 instead.

WD 250GB x 2 for XP and Vista: One disc with two partitions is enough for dual boot. First install XP, then Vista (MS kb919529).

WD 500GB x 4 with RAID 0: First you'd better choose Samsung HD501LJ that is quieter than WD5000AAKS at idle. Add another 500GB drive and set up RAID 5 for fault tolerance. It is effective against disc failure, but you may still lose data with other causes. So you will need a good backup strategy anyway. And you need a different case having 6 HDD bays (e.g. SilverStone LC17).

Heat issue. Perhaps 2 x 92mm front fan (for cooling 6 hard drives) + 2 x 80 mm rear fan (in case of LC17) is enough. Higher temperature means higher hard disc failure rate. Choose good (and quiet) fans. BTW the operating power dissipation of HD501LJ is 7.1W/11.1W at idle/seek, so 6 x HD501LJ is 42.6W/66.6W. That's not terribly bad, imo.

Buy the Belkin PC service tool kit or a similar item. That includes all tools you will ever need.

Visit Hardware Guide to HD HTPC for component selection


renethx makes several good points.
I do NLE as a passionate hobby, but I am a pc tech by trade.

First thing is raid. Theres nothing wrong with using raid, it can simply be intimidating to some. It is easier to design a system with a non raided OS disk, but realize that the requirements for a video editing system are different than an HTPC.

Your choice of HDD sizes is good from a cost/benefit approach.
The most costly in terms of lost space is a raid 01 or 10 approach (zero-one or one-zero, not raid ten). This is referred to as a stripe of mirrors, or a mirror of stripes. Raid 0 results in max performance with no loss of space for redundancy, where raid 1 results in a 50 percent hit to drive space. This requires an even number of disks.

Raid 5 involves the loss of 1 drive for overall space, but combines many of the benefits of 01 or 10. Raid 5 can be configured with at least 3 drives.

This being said, its hard to recommend 1 universal setup because of the 2 things you're looking to do.

With the money you save downgrading your video card, (and by going with a non sli motherboard) I would recommend you go with 1 250gb drive as your OS drive, and 5, 500gb drives in a raid 5 configuration for 2TB storage/working.

If you are going to be doing quite a bit of editing and willing to go with external storage for backup at some point, I would recommend 1 250 for the OS, 2 250 in raid 0 as your scratch disk, and 3 750s in raid 5 as your working drive/storage.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Video - Simply put, 8600 line would be good. GTS isn't necessary.

OS - Theres no getting away from Vista, you might as well learn it early.


All these comments relate to building a video editing PC with media center double duty. I will commend you on your selection of high end components because you realize the commitment of designing a system for these tasks. That being said, you can probably trim the budget on the MB, Proc, etc and free up cash for a good CPU cooler, a nice case and better fans.

The biggest thing is realizing you will probably not be able to use a media center designed case with all these hotplates. A case with fans over the HDD bay is necessary.

I'm happy to demo, unless you look like you simply intend to "case the joint", in which case I will introduce you to my all-steel Equipment Defense System...
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post #18 of 21 Old 07-10-2007, 03:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you everyone... this has been very helpful. Here is my revised shopping list:

*Intel Core Duo E6750 ($183)
*GigaByte GA-P35-DS3R Motherboard ($137)
*eVGA GeForce 8600GTS Video Card ($205)
*Crucial Ballistix 2GB PC2-8500 DDR2 DIMM ($142)
*Samsung SpinPoint T166 HD501LJ 500GB Hard Drive x5 ($550)
*Drobo ($511)
*Samsung SH-S183L/BEBN Dual Layer DVD±RW Writer ($45)
*Mitsumi 7-in-1 Media Drive with floppy ($20)
*Corsair CMPSU-520HX 520W Power Supply ($100)
*Silverstone LC17-S Case ($130)
*Belkin Tool Kit ($38)
*Windows XP Pro ($200)

Total Cost with shipping=$2261

I'll partition the system HD to prepare for adding Vista a couple months down the road. Since this is my first time doing this, I think it would be smarter to just get everything up and running with XP first.

After tomes mentioned it, I researched external enclosures and came across the Drobo. It sounds incredible. CNET loves it. Does anyone here have one?

I haven't addressed additional heatsinks or fans, so I'll still need to look into that. Since I'm not stuffing the case full of HDs, will the fans included with the devices suffice?

Does anyone know if the video card I listed has HDMI? I know it supports HDCP, but how will I get sound on protected content?

One thing I failed to mention in my OP is the general setup of my home theatre. I'm moving into my new home this weekend and I haven't even purchased the A/V receiver or speakers yet, so I still have a lot of flexibility. But my current plan is this: My HDTV will be mounted on the wall in the living room. On the other side of this wall will be my office. In here, I'll keep my HTPC and all my other A/V equipment on a component rack. The HTPC will connect both to my A/V receiver and to a monitor and speakers in my office. I would like to have to have 2 wireless KB/mouse sets; one for the office, and one for the living room. This is possible, right?

Quote:


Visit Hardware Guide to HD HTPC for component selection

Wow, that's quite a thread! I'll have to read through that before I start making orders.
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post #19 of 21 Old 07-10-2007, 03:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhawkmike View Post

Thank you everyone... this has been very helpful. Here is my revised shopping list:

*Intel Core Duo E6750 ($183)
*GigaByte GA-P35-DS3R Motherboard ($137)
*eVGA GeForce 8600GTS Video Card ($205)
*Crucial Ballistix 2GB PC2-8500 DDR2 DIMM ($142)
*Samsung SpinPoint T166 HD501LJ 500GB Hard Drive x5 ($550)
*Drobo ($511)
*Samsung SH-S183L/BEBN Dual Layer DVD±RW Writer ($45)
*Mitsumi 7-in-1 Media Drive with floppy ($20)
*Corsair CMPSU-520HX 520W Power Supply ($100)
*Silverstone LC17-S Case ($130)
*Belkin Tool Kit ($38)
*Windows XP Pro ($200)

Total Cost with shipping=$2261

that's a solid system there. very similar to what i'm putting together for nearly the same use as you - HTPC, video editing, online gaming in my case. I'm going for the quad core Q6600. if you think you might use premiere or vegas for video editing you might like to know that those apps do use all four cores.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jhawkmike View Post

I'll partition the system HD to prepare for adding Vista a couple months down the road. Since this is my first time doing this, I think it would be smarter to just get everything up and running with XP first.

very good idea to focus on XP first given this is your first round of this sort of thing

Quote:
Originally Posted by jhawkmike View Post

After tomes mentioned it, I researched external enclosures and came across the Drobo. It sounds incredible. CNET loves it. Does anyone here have one?

not too familiar with it myself, but I'm curious what others will say about this

This guy over at dpreview.com (photography forum) talks about hot swapping, backup strategies in this thread. I can't vouch for it, but if you read the rest of the thread they talk about the Drobo too (I think).

I came across this thread at overclocker forums and was very interested in the performance they are getting with the matrix raid you get with the intel chipsets. I'm hoping to figure out if there's a way to get that performance coupled with the backup features of hot swapping. Not sure if it's possible or practical.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jhawkmike View Post

I haven't addressed additional heatsinks or fans, so I'll still need to look into that. Since I'm not stuffing the case full of HDs, will the fans included with the devices suffice?

check out the Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme. It's air cooling, and from what I read is fairly quiet. Water cooling is the other option - crazy things like the Reserator from Zalman, but unnecessary if you are not going to overclock. Actually, I wonder if it might be useful if you're going to store this in a cabinet or closet with poor airflow?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jhawkmike View Post

I would like to have to have 2 wireless KB/mouse sets; one for the office, and one for the living room. This is possible, right?

check out the Logitech Dinovo Edge . My wife and I love it. the touchpad took some getting used to for me. I still use a regular mouse when I do some things.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jhawkmike View Post

Wow, that's quite a thread! I'll have to read through that before I start making orders.

I have read that thread a lot. I'm not quite ready for the exam, but I learned a lot from it
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post #20 of 21 Old 07-10-2007, 11:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhawkmike View Post

Thank you everyone... this has been very helpful. Here is my revised shopping list:

*Intel Core Duo E6750 ($183)
*GigaByte GA-P35-DS3R Motherboard ($137)
*eVGA GeForce 8600GTS Video Card ($205)
*Crucial Ballistix 2GB PC2-8500 DDR2 DIMM ($142)
*Samsung SpinPoint T166 HD501LJ 500GB Hard Drive x5 ($550)
*Drobo ($511)
*Samsung SH-S183L/BEBN Dual Layer DVD±RW Writer ($45)
*Mitsumi 7-in-1 Media Drive with floppy ($20)
*Corsair CMPSU-520HX 520W Power Supply ($100)
*Silverstone LC17-S Case ($130)
*Belkin Tool Kit ($38)
*Windows XP Pro ($200)

Total Cost with shipping=$2261

I'll partition the system HD to prepare for adding Vista a couple months down the road. Since this is my first time doing this, I think it would be smarter to just get everything up and running with XP first.

After tomes mentioned it, I researched external enclosures and came across the Drobo. It sounds incredible. CNET loves it. Does anyone here have one?

I haven't addressed additional heatsinks or fans, so I'll still need to look into that. Since I'm not stuffing the case full of HDs, will the fans included with the devices suffice?

Does anyone know if the video card I listed has HDMI? I know it supports HDCP, but how will I get sound on protected content?

Are you going with RAID 0? If you are thinking of RAID 5, you need another drive for OS. In either case you'd better partition the OS drive (using something like PartitionMagic) before installing XP whether or not you use the second partition right now (just to avoid troubles in moving data later). Don't forget install RAID driver right at the beginning of OS installation by pressing F6.

Two 92mm front fans (optional) blowing directly on HDDs is a must!

You'd better buy a retail CPU heatsink. I am not sure if a 120mm side flow HS fits LC17 (the case height is only 170mm). Noctua NH-U9 is OK.

Your card does not have HDMI. You need to use onboard S/PDIF or analog audio outs. If you want absolute quietness, a fanless card is recommended (ASUS or GIGABYTE). 8600 GT or 8500 GT may be enough depending on how powerful 3D engine you need.
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post #21 of 21 Old 11-28-2007, 10:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks again for the help everyone. The PC has been up and running for a couple of months. The biggest problem I ran into was that the Gigabyte motherboards that NewEgg was sending me kept getting damaged during shipping. The 3rd one arrived intact.

I ended up going with Vista (32-bit), and still haven't decided on a mass storage solution yet.
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