Ready to build my first HTPC...input on my hardware choice please. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 08-16-2007, 07:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, I am building my first HTPC.
I am looking to purchase within the next week or so and would like input on my choices. My main use for the pc will be for watching movies and videos (probably 95% of the use). Other things may include picture slideshows, music, and video games.

Any input on my choices will be appreciated.
The prices listed are just mostly from New EggI have not really shopped around yet. So if a better price is out there from a reputable dealer then please let me know.

I know there is a lot of talk here about noise levels here. I don't know if the components I chose here are best for this. It is not a huge issue with me as I have a commercial beverage cooler about 15 feet away from my viewing area (always have about 25-35 different beer choices on stock .) It is quite noisy but once the movie is rolling I can't hear iteven in quieter scenesI must have just learned to tune it outso a little noise from a pc wont kill me.

Anyway, here is what I have come up with so far (many choices from the renethx sticky). Are any of these choices overkill? Or just bad choices?

Thanks for any input.

CASE - Silverstone Crown Series CW02B-MXR Black Aluminum ATX Media Center / HTPC Case - $399.99 @newegg 3 business day shipping $19.09

Motherboard - ASUS P5B Premium Vista Edition LGA 775 Intel P965 Express ATX Intel Motherboard $218.99 @newegg free shipping

CPU - Intel Core 2 DUO E6600 2.4ghz Socket 775 Model BX80557E6600 $229.90 @newegg free shipping

Video Card - MSI NX8600GTS Diamond Plus Geforce 8600GTS 256MB 128 bit GDDR3 PCI-E HDCP Ready $159.99 (144.99 after mail in rebate) @newegg $5.84 shipping (For some reason I had trouble finding the 8600GTS with HDMIany better suggestions then what I chose?)

Sound Card - Help

PSU - In the sticky renethx recommends a 520W PSU. Is this enough with my choices so far and the possibility of a half a dozen hard drives?

HDD - Samsung Spinpoint-t.probably about 4 500 gig drives.

RAM - So many choices2 gig of something

Video capture card - ?? Not that important to me at the moment but definitely for future use.

DVD Drive - I will probably skip this as I will most likely by a PS3 for Blue Ray and all my standard def. DVD's will be on the hard drives.

OS - I am thinking XP at the moment.

Software (DVD jukebox) - ??

Viewing screen - Sony KDL-52XBR4 $3379.07 after tax (Sony employee discount)

Any others I may have missed here? Fans? CPU cooling? Mouse/KeyboardI am assuming all normal HTPC functions should be able to be done with the remote control?? I know the Silverstone comes with a remote but will that be able to handle everything like AV receiver and DVD Player (PS3)I assume not. I have a Harmony 890 remote and am thinking of upgrading to the 1000 for these purposes.

Another thing...are there any FAQ's for threads about tweaking XP for an HTPC? Especially for fastest boot time?

Thanks again for any input.
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post #2 of 15 Old 08-17-2007, 02:21 AM - Thread Starter
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post #3 of 15 Old 08-17-2007, 03:58 AM
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As far a power, the Corsair HX520 power supply recommended will be very adequate, and that's what I bought for my unit. Each extra HD only adds about 10-12 watts to the power load so they aren't that big of a factor. I'm not sure about your mb choice, isn't the 965 chipset more of a gamer product. I think one of the Gigabit P35 mb's might be a better choice for HTPC if you are using separate graphics. I'm personally hoping that the upcoming G35 mb's will suit my needs with integrated graphics.

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post #4 of 15 Old 08-17-2007, 04:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BenSanford View Post

As far a power, the Corsair HX520 power supply recommended will be very adequate, and that's what I bought for my unit. Each extra HD only adds about 10-12 watts to the power load so they aren't that big of a factor. I'm not sure about your mb choice, isn't the 965 chipset more of a gamer product. I think one of the Gigabit P35 mb's might be a better choice for HTPC if you are using separate graphics. I'm personally hoping that the upcoming G35 mb's will suit my needs with integrated graphics.

Ben

Good to know about the power supply...WTH are the 1000W ones I've seen out there for?

As far as the MB/CPU...I just took these from the recommended list in the hardware sticky...so I will have to look into it.
The G35 you mention...I recall seeing someone else talk about that. When is it supposed to come out?
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post #5 of 15 Old 08-17-2007, 05:12 AM
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That MB might have been the recommendation 6 months ago. Read all the way through the motherboard recommendations, and there is some later information.

The 1000w power supplies are aimed at the extreme gamers who are overclocking quad core processors, and are using the high end graphics cards - neither ones are needed for HTPC. The biggest power users in pc's are the graphic cards and the CPU.

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post #6 of 15 Old 08-17-2007, 06:19 AM
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I like to support AMD CPU's- don't want Intel to become another Microsoft . Nothing against the C2D 6600's of the world- apparently great CPU's, but I'd go with an X2 6000+ for less money. Use a recommended AMD board, preferable an Nforce 4xx/5xx series board.
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post #7 of 15 Old 08-17-2007, 06:24 AM
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My one concern would be the noise level.

The stock CPU HS/fan are good but generate some noise. You might consider replacing it with something a bit more quiet.

The video card also has a fan and can add to the noise level. You can get a passively cool 8600GT that will be quieter. If the card has DVI only it will work fine with a DVI->HDMI cable.
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post #8 of 15 Old 08-17-2007, 07:09 AM
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What is the benifit of using an add in video card for an HTPC? Wounldnt any integrated one do just fine?


Also about the AMD 6000+ is that CPU really compairable to a C2D?

I'm also building a new HTPC and i'm really really dont care for AMD but this mother board has me seriously considering them:

http://www.newegg.com/product/produc...82E16813128056
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post #9 of 15 Old 08-17-2007, 07:28 AM
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Sounds like are building something similar to what im building here:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=890342

Ive already made all these purchases.

I would 2nd the P65 Mobo commment, might consider an E6750 for the 1333FSB over the 6700, since i got my 6750 for cheaper than 229. For 100 more you can get the same case I got which has a touchscreen, if thats your bag. With the gigabyte mobo, no audio card is needed. at least not for me to get 8 analog outs to my pre/pro.
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post #10 of 15 Old 08-17-2007, 07:47 AM
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What you can do to control noise in the case is to use a fan controller like the hardcano. It will give you for temp probes and 4 fan plugins. You set the alarm temp and it will change the speed of the fans based on the temp of the of the probe. I have 1 input fan and 2 exit fans plus the exit fan on the power supply and you can barely hear the pc. I just used the cheap lighted fans and they only put out 25db of noise running at full throttle. The only time you will run into noise issues is if you use some of the high output fans. They usually produce more like 55db so they are pretty loud. If you want a lot of choices of different fans go to http://www.xoxide.com .

On the cpu front deciding on what is more important how much you spend or the speed. Amd is going to cost $100 less than intel but the intel core 2 duos are faster and intel is getting better overclocking speeds right now. The only way you need that much speed is if you are going to be running HD movies from your hard drive.

You were talking about getting 4 hard drives or more make to read the manual on that mother board. Two of your sata ports were black. I have heard of some sata motherboards not letting you use two of the sata ports if you are using the ide cable for disc drives. So if you start running out of room and go to add a 5th drive and you can't...... that might be why.

I would run sli. I just built my new pc with 2 cheap 512mb cards and it rocks. I am pulling some serious fps. I got 2 of the zogis 512mb 7300 gt for $150 for both. I more than a gig of video memory and it was cheap. I can upgrade later if I want to as well.

You have a good pc there but I would definitely run SLI.
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post #11 of 15 Old 08-17-2007, 08:10 AM
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From the HQV numbers I've seen, a graphics card is going to give you better DVD video quality than a 690G. The best HQV numbers I've seen for integrated is the Nvidia 6150, which were far closer to the video cards but still not quite there. In theory I guess integrated graphics can match video cards for video quality, but I haven't seen any tests that indicate they actually do.

A 6000+ is going to be in line with lower clocked C2D processors, but it's going to run hotter. The Brisbane 5000+ seems to run more in line with C2D temps, but its performance is again going to be more in line with lower clocked Intel models. With a video card that can provide hardware accel on the most demanding HD formats, from what I've seen the 5000+ is a more than adequate processor at stock speeds for all HD disks.

FOR THE ORIGINAL POSTER:
The P35 is a newer motherboard. The e6600 has essentially been replaced at the same price by the e6750. An 8600GTS will easily be the loudest part in the system and somewhat defeats the purpose of buying an expensive Corsair power suppy which gets some of it's regard due to being quiet. The 8600GTS needs to use a DVI to HDMI adapter, which means the cable will not carry audio. It's possible you might want to add two 80mm intake fans to the case. Almost all the parts you listed are overkill for your uses, but considering you're thinking about upgrading from a Harmony 890 to 1000, which adds no functions, then I'm completely confused by that question. Personally I think that SXRD is a far better display choice for watching video, especially in low-light, but if you don't like SSE I can completely understand that.

The above reply is incorrect on a number of points. You simply do not need that much CPU for your uses period, "HD movies from your hard drive" is not going to increase general system requirements. SLI is an absolutely horrible idea for your uses.
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post #12 of 15 Old 08-17-2007, 08:45 AM
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Just out of curiosity why is SLI a bad idea?

I know for a fact that running hd movies from your hard drive does require more. Think about it.... Thats like saying running a video game 1600x1280 doesn't require more than running at 1024x768. Running a hd movie from your hard drive absolutely requires more than running a standard movie from your hard drive. You are having to move 4x as much data. My uncle has a htpc that he had been playing movies off of for a long time. He got a hd movie and his computer could not keep up. It would play but get pixelated and jump alot. Once he upgraded his cpu, and video card it was fine.
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post #13 of 15 Old 08-17-2007, 09:14 AM
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One GPU can deliver video content to a TV. There's no reason to have a second GPU running. The only real advantage of a 2nd GPU is for games, so for 1080p video on a TV a second GPU producing heat is counterproductive.

Running from the hard disk or from the disk you basically need the same setup. With a video card that can accelerate HD video playback, you never need that fast of a processor anyway. The only place where you're going to need that fast of a processor is if you're running the highest bitrate HD movies from software, meaning you're using integrated graphics or the video card cannot accelerate the format. For all his listed uses and that card, again there's no reason to suggest that he would need even half what an e6600 can do.
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post #14 of 15 Old 08-17-2007, 11:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies.

I will probably go with the Corsair HX520 PSU

I will also look into the fanless 8600GT...do you lose anything quality wise when converting from DVI to HDMI?
I am a little confused about the audio part of this though. HDMI carries both audio and video. If I get a GPU with HDMI will it carry both to my tv? Don't I want to send the audio to my receiver though? I am a little unsure how you hook all of this up???

@hughesne....that is a pretty nice case....however, is there any real use for the 7 inch touchscreen? What would you ever do with it when everything can be done with a remote?

alluringreality, you mentioned the newer E6750 mobo but also say this is overkill. I am not that concerned about a few extras dollars but if it is totally unnecessary then I wont blow the cash. What would you recommend for my needs...and yes, one that I forgot will be HD video from the HDD. Also, AMD is not out of the question...actually every pc I ever built I used AMD...don't know what made me look at the Intel this time. As far as the Harmony remote upgrade....I just thought TS remote would be cool...this may or may not happen.

Thanks again for the input everyone...please keep it coming...I don't want to have any regrets after I buy all this stuff :-)
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post #15 of 15 Old 08-17-2007, 12:22 PM
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DVI and HDMI are both digital signals, there's no conversion or quality loss. The only real reservation would be if you demanded audio on the HDMI cable, but because of the Sony TV and that you're using a receiver it's not any issue. You can just connect the video to an HDMI input on the TV and then use SPDIF or analog to your receiver. Because you're mainly watching DVDs, you can probably get by using SPDIF from the motherboard to the receiver. Later if you ever go HD, then you might want to consider a different solution at that time.

The only thing about the fanless 8600GT models is that only the Asus has HDCP. All the 8600GTS models have HDCP. At this time it's not an issue for you, but if you ever plan on upgrading to playback HD disks then you might as well buy a card with HDCP.

For your uses the SLI motherboard is a complete waste, and CPU is simply unnecessary. I have an e6600 so I can't say not to buy an e6750, but even if you don't mind the overkill you'll probably notice absolutely no difference if you spend $50 less and get an e6550. If I went with a less powerful CPU, that would still easily fill all your listed uses, I'd go with the AMD 5000+ Brisbane which is another $50 cheaper. The e6550 or e6750 work on a P35 motherboard, but I'm not sure which AMD motherboard chips don't have onboard graphics. DVDs are so easy to playback that honestly my years old laptop with integrated video is more than enough CPU to do do that, so basically all you have to do is choose how much you want to spend then choose whatever CPU is current and choose a motherboard that it works on.
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