Guide to Building a HTPC, Workstation and Server - Page 23 - AVS Forum
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post #661 of 19153 Old 01-06-2008, 02:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gdavis40 View Post

Phenom is now only $190, it's hard to pass it over.

Where is it $190 ?

Newegg.com
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post #662 of 19153 Old 01-06-2008, 08:14 PM
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thank you
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post #663 of 19153 Old 01-07-2008, 02:32 AM
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In the Low End II (budget microATX) system, I have a question about the GA-73PVM-S2H system board... would the built-in graphics be adequate for SD-DVD playback? (I'm going to have to build my HD-HTPC system slowly/bit-by-bit, and it will probably be a while before I can afford any HD drives.) Also, my first HTPC had an Asus P4PE with a P4 2.4GHz processor. Any chance that processor (and that RAM) could be used (temporarily) with this motherboard?

P.S. Thanks to renethx for this phenomenal guide! A Herculean task and an invaluable reference - we all owe you a tremendous debt of gratitude!
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post #664 of 19153 Old 01-07-2008, 02:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gdavis40 View Post

Phenom is now only $190, it's hard to pass it over.

Where is it $190 ?

Actually it's pretty easy to pass over. Because the Phenom stinks, lol. And no I'm not "hating" on or needlessly bashing AMD--it's the truth.

The mid-level Phenom (not sure if it's a slower one that's 190 or what but it doesn't matter) is slower at nearly all appications than a stock-clock E6600. Only a handful of apps/situations where four cores are utilised does it outrun it, and that's not by much.

And who runs a E6xxx at stock clock? In fact who runs any Core2 at stock clock? A C2D E6750 is around the same price as the $190 Phenom and it will dust it all over the place (again except quad-core optimised stuff). And then you put like 5mins into a light OC on the C2D and the Phenom can forget about it.

Now you might say, "hey no fair why not OC the Phenom as well".... Well they don't OC so well, whereas Core2s OC well enough that a child could do it and get a decent speed boost from stock. From what I've read and heard any even half-decent OCs on Phenoms, the people are considered "lucky".

An $80 Core2-based Pentium E (Pentium Dual Core) can OC with nearly no effort to 3Ghz+, which will likely run circles around the low-end Phenom.

If you say "hey I don't want to OC though", Phenom is still at a loss as again the similarly priced E6750 will put the Phenom to shame at most things.

And don't even bother comparing any Phenom to even the lowest C2Q because it's over before it started (though yes the Q6600 is a little more money). Four cores the Phenom may be but it doesn't really mean much considering all it is is four A64 cores with newer fabrication--the same A64 which doesn't hold a candle to the Core2.

For an HTPC where four cores are seldome required (and not really desireable from the extra heat/power in most cases) the Phenom is definitely one to pass over, trust me.
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post #665 of 19153 Old 01-07-2008, 03:01 AM
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A question about video cards...
In the "My Picks" section of the Nvidia graphics cards, the GIGABYTE GeForce 8500 GT GV-NX85T256H says "passive cooling" but it doesn't say that it takes up two slots. Pictures of it sure make it look like it would, though, and that would be a bad thing for me. Newegg has the ASUS EN8500GT SILENT/HTP/512M for $73; it's also passively cooled but it looks like it would not take up two slots. Any big disadvantage to this card relative to the Gigabyte card?
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post #666 of 19153 Old 01-07-2008, 06:29 AM
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When using the ATI Radeon HD2600, as I understand it, the CPU is not terribly important. So, if I was to assemble a PC consisting of a VIA Epia SN with 1Ghz CPU, would it do as a Mediacenter? I don't want to watch TV or do any recording with it. It is just watching videofiles/listening to MP3. Playing HD content (720p/1080p) must be possible.

What I want is a silent solution. The Epia SN 1Ghz is passively cooled and the Club3D HD2600 is also available as a passively cooled option. The only thing making some noise would be the hard drive, but I think a small Samsung HDD (160Gb) would be enough. I have my media files stored on a NAS somewhere else in the house.

Next question is then obviously which mediacenter to use? Windows XP MCD or Linux Mediacenter?
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post #667 of 19153 Old 01-07-2008, 08:15 AM
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Hi experts...

Need some expert advice, I am new into HTPC (tot not new in PC assembly and such)

I have the intention to have the either of the following.

Option 1.
1. Intel 6550
2. ATI 3850 or 3870 (Powercolor with Zerotherm cooling) --> HDMI to AV
3. P5E-VM - SPDIF (Optical/Coaxial) --> AV

Option 2.
1. Intel 6550
2. ATI 3850 or 3870 --> HDMI to AV
3. Gigabyte GA-P35-DS4 - SPDIF (Optical/Coaxial) --> AV

Just wonder if do we really need to have DTS connect or DD feature in the on-board audio to have DTS/DD played over my AV (Denon AVR-2807 in this case)

Cost wise .. I think more effective with Gigabyte if run discreet. If not discreet graphic, P5E-VM is good I think.

Please advice.
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post #668 of 19153 Old 01-07-2008, 08:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

There are too many posts about overscan problem with NVIDIA cards. Search this forum with keywords overscan and NVIDIA. I would buy both NVIDIA and ATI cards, test them and sell the one that I don't like.

OK, did some searching and it seems that with 8800 cards and the current drivers you have two mutually exclusive choices:
1) Overscan correction
2) HDCP support

Doh!

See http://nvidia.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/n...i=&p_topview=1 for details.

-John
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post #669 of 19153 Old 01-07-2008, 09:19 AM
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In the next month I am going to be upgrading (well, actually starting from scratch) my 2+ year old HTPC. I have copies of both XP Pro and Vista Ultimate, so spending money on an OS will be about the only thing I don't have to do to "upgrade". I haven't decided on the exact hardware that I will be using, but it will be similar to one of the "high-end" configurations listed in this thread. I'll be playing back DVD's (regular, HD and blueray) and capturing and playing SD and HD TV using hardware TV capture cards.

Any reason not to move to Vista at this point? Are there any clear advantages of Vista vs. XP or vice versa?

thanks,
Murray
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post #670 of 19153 Old 01-07-2008, 09:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donny Bahama View Post

In the Low End II (budget microATX) system, I have a question about the GA-73PVM-S2H system board... would the built-in graphics be adequate for SD-DVD playback? (I'm going to have to build my HD-HTPC system slowly/bit-by-bit, and it will probably be a while before I can afford any HD drives.) Also, my first HTPC had an Asus P4PE with a P4 2.4GHz processor. Any chance that processor (and that RAM) could be used (temporarily) with this motherboard?

Playback performance by onboard video (GeForce 7100) + E2200 2.2GHz:

- SD DVD / 720p H.264 files: Excellent.
- 1080p H.264 files: Good to occasional stuttering depending on a file.
- BD / HD DVD (by PowerDVD or Digital Theater): Lots of stuttering. Overclocking can't fix it.

XFX 8500 GT + E2200 2.2GHz is just excellent for every HD material.

Asus P4PE and your P4 2.4GHz processor is Socket 478. The current socket is LG775. So you can't use your P4 processor.

BTW I am right now more inclined to eVGA 112-CK-NF77-A1 than GIGABYTE GA-73PVM-S2H because of a cheaper price, better oc, better features.
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post #671 of 19153 Old 01-07-2008, 09:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donny Bahama View Post

A question about video cards...
In the "My Picks" section of the Nvidia graphics cards, the GIGABYTE GeForce 8500 GT GV-NX85T256H says "passive cooling" but it doesn't say that it takes up two slots. Pictures of it sure make it look like it would, though, and that would be a bad thing for me. Newegg has the ASUS EN8500GT SILENT/HTP/512M for $73; it's also passively cooled but it looks like it would not take up two slots. Any big disadvantage to this card relative to the Gigabyte card?

GV-NX85T256H is a one-slot card, but the heatsink may touch the adjacent card. ASUS EN8500GT SILENT/HTP/512M is also a one-slot card. A bigger memory size may imply better gaming performance, but does not affect video playback performance.
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post #672 of 19153 Old 01-07-2008, 10:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Philippens View Post

When using the ATI Radeon HD2600, as I understand it, the CPU is not terribly important. So, if I was to assemble a PC consisting of a VIA Epia SN with 1Ghz CPU, would it do as a Mediacenter?

Yes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Philippens View Post

Next question is then obviously which mediacenter to use? Windows XP MCD or Linux Mediacenter?

I don't know much about Linux. I would say, go with Vista!
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post #673 of 19153 Old 01-07-2008, 10:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lorddraco View Post

Need some expert advice, I am new into HTPC (tot not new in PC assembly and such)

I have the intention to have the either of the following.

Option 1.
1. Intel 6550
2. ATI 3850 or 3870 (Powercolor with Zerotherm cooling) --> HDMI to AV
3. P5E-VM - SPDIF (Optical/Coaxial) --> AV

Option 2.
1. Intel 6550
2. ATI 3850 or 3870 --> HDMI to AV
3. Gigabyte GA-P35-DS4 - SPDIF (Optical/Coaxial) --> AV

Just wonder if do we really need to have DTS connect or DD feature in the on-board audio to have DTS/DD played over my AV (Denon AVR-2807 in this case)

Cost wise .. I think more effective with Gigabyte if run discreet. If not discreet graphic, P5E-VM is good I think.

Please advice.

IMO choosing P5E-VM HDMI (btw coaxial only) makes sense only when you try to get lossless 7.1 audio over HDMI. ATI card has its own HDMI audio controller and you don't need onboard audio at all (unless you use analog audio).

"DTS connect" is a real-time DTS encoder. It can be used for example to encode surround sounds in games to DTS and send it over S/PDIF to speakers. If you don't need features DS4 offers (DTS connect, IEEE 1394, extra SATA ports, RAID etc.), then

GA-P35-DS3L + HD 2600 XT

is a better deal.
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post #674 of 19153 Old 01-07-2008, 10:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MurrayW View Post

Any reason not to move to Vista at this point? Are there any clear advantages of Vista vs. XP or vice versa?

Personally I don't see any reason for not moving to Vista. I have been using Vista for a couple of months and it's excellent.
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post #675 of 19153 Old 01-07-2008, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

IMO choosing P5E-VM HDMI (btw coaxial only) makes sense only when you try to get lossless 7.1 audio over HDMI. ATI card has its own HDMI audio controller and you don't need onboard audio at all (unless you use analog audio).

"DTS connect" is a real-time DTS encoder. It can be used for example to encode surround sounds in games to DTS and send it over S/PDIF to speakers. If you don't need features DS4 offers (DTS connect, IEEE 1394, extra SATA ports, RAID etc.), then

GA-P35-DS3L + HD 2600 XT

is a better deal.

Just to add, I only have 5.1 setup due to living room dept constraint using MA RS6, RSLCR and B2 (rear)

So .... I think I will take away P5E-VM as option as I am not keen on buying onboad graphic solution. Unless I choose Antec Fusion as casing.

For the DTS Connect thingy .. this is the most confusing part for me. For graphics, it is definitely either a 3850 or 3870 (betweeen two only around SGD 50 to 80 bucks (i.e. around 20 to 30 pound) difference. Will choose the one with DTS (i preferred Asus brand in most of the time) if I played movie thru this HTPC and required this DTS connect in order to play the DTS feature properly thru my AV to the speaker. If, with or without, I could allow the DTS/DD signal over the spdif, then I potentially could either choose the Asus P5K-Pro or the one you had recommends.

MB feature that I might use.

16x PCIe
Onboard Audio SPDIF
RAID - Maybe (If I choose to RAID 1 the disk)

Feature that most or rarely use
1394.

Thanks.
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post #676 of 19153 Old 01-07-2008, 10:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

IMO choosing P5E-VM HDMI (btw coaxial only) makes sense only when you try to get lossless 7.1 audio over HDMI.

I don't necessarily disagree, but it's not just lossless 7.1, it's the only way to get lossless 5.1 as well.

I do not speak officially in any sense for
Intel Corp., Technology Manufacturing Group
but I do work there.
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post #677 of 19153 Old 01-07-2008, 11:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by archibael View Post

I don't necessarily disagree, but it's not just lossless 7.1, it's the only way to get lossless 5.1 as well.

bitstream?? sorry.. even more confuse.

Doesnt Gigabyte with SPDIF (I.e. the few board mention with 889A) does not do lossless 7.1 or 5.1?? I tot both board use same chip for audio
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post #678 of 19153 Old 01-07-2008, 11:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Some folks in this forum are pushing quad-core processors (actually Q6600) as a base of HTPC, like this thread Core 2 Quad Q6600 - The ultimate solution for HD decoding. I have to agree to some extent for several reasons. Quad-core is just powerful and elegant in realtime decoding. Even the "stinky" Phenom 9500 2.2 GHz beats easily the very fast Core 2 Duo E6850 3.0GHz and even Q6600 2.4GHz.


(Graphics card used is GeForce 8800 GTX. The source is here.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ES_Revenge View Post

Actually it's pretty easy to pass over. Because the Phenom stinks, lol. And no I'm not "hating" on or needlessly bashing AMD--it's the truth.

The mid-level Phenom (not sure if it's a slower one that's 190 or what but it doesn't matter) is slower at nearly all appications than a stock-clock E6600. Only a handful of apps/situations where four cores are utilised does it outrun it, and that's not by much.

And who runs a E6xxx at stock clock? In fact who runs any Core2 at stock clock? A C2D E6750 is around the same price as the $190 Phenom and it will dust it all over the place (again except quad-core optimised stuff). And then you put like 5mins into a light OC on the C2D and the Phenom can forget about it.

Now you might say, "hey no fair why not OC the Phenom as well".... Well they don't OC so well, whereas Core2s OC well enough that a child could do it and get a decent speed boost from stock. From what I've read and heard any even half-decent OCs on Phenoms, the people are considered "lucky".

An $80 Core2-based Pentium E (Pentium Dual Core) can OC with nearly no effort to 3Ghz+, which will likely run circles around the low-end Phenom.

If you say "hey I don't want to OC though", Phenom is still at a loss as again the similarly priced E6750 will put the Phenom to shame at most things.

And don't even bother comparing any Phenom to even the lowest C2Q because it's over before it started (though yes the Q6600 is a little more money). Four cores the Phenom may be but it doesn't really mean much considering all it is is four A64 cores with newer fabrication--the same A64 which doesn't hold a candle to the Core2.

For an HTPC where four cores are seldome required (and not really desireable from the extra heat/power in most cases) the Phenom is definitely one to pass over, trust me.


LL
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post #679 of 19153 Old 01-07-2008, 11:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lorddraco View Post

bitstream?? sorry.. even more confuse.

Nope. LPCM.

Quote:


Doesnt Gigabyte with SPDIF (I.e. the few board mention with 889A) does not do lossless 7.1 or 5.1??

No SPDIF solution does lossless 7.1 or 5.1.

Quote:


I tot both board use same chip for audio

Not over HDMI. Currently, the only solutions for lossless >2 channel audio are the Chrontel 7315 and the SiI 1390/1392 (which is on the aforementioned Asus P5E-VM). If that Gigabyte board you speak of uses them, it's possible it is a lossless solution. Someone out there is sure to correct me if I'm wrong (and I encourage it), but no other HDMI solution out there currently provides more than 2-channel lossless or multichannel lossy.

I do not speak officially in any sense for
Intel Corp., Technology Manufacturing Group
but I do work there.
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post #680 of 19153 Old 01-07-2008, 11:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lorddraco View Post

bitstream?? sorry.. even more confuse.

Doesnt Gigabyte with SPDIF (I.e. the few board mention with 889A) does not do lossless 7.1 or 5.1?? I tot both board use same chip for audio

so this means that you can get DD+ and DTS TrueHD via this motherboard? I thought there weren't any mobo or sound cards that allowed this atm. I am very curious about this since I'm looking to play BD/HD media via my future pc build.
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post #681 of 19153 Old 01-07-2008, 11:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by archibael View Post

Nope. LPCM.



No SPDIF solution does lossless 7.1 or 5.1.



Not over HDMI. Currently, the only solutions for lossless >2 channel audio are the Chrontel 7315 and the SiI 1390/1392 (which is on the aforementioned Asus P5E-VM). If that Gigabyte board you speak of uses them, it's possible it is a lossless solution. Someone out there is sure to correct me if I'm wrong (and I encourage it), but no other HDMI solution out there currently provides more than 2-channel lossless or multichannel lossy.

understand. Unless I do play BD or HD-DVD and wanted lossless 5.1 or 7.1, I do need to have HDMI solution (future ATI perhaps....or nVidia or whatever) else .. no lossless.

Thanks .. I got it clear. I think I will take the latter cause most likely no BD or HD-DVD for me now (Singapore not easy to find BD or HD-DVD stuff) DVD still more common. I do play some games.. so a good graphic is impt for me I guess. unless I remove the games requirement that P5E-VM will be a good choice.
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post #682 of 19153 Old 01-07-2008, 11:40 AM - Thread Starter
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lorddraco

Blu-ray Disc titles must include one of the three audio schemes DD, DTS and LPCM as the primary soundtrack and BD players are required to support them. PowerDVD, for example, if the user chooses, just passes DTS bitstream to the onboard S/PDIF transmitter. So no decoding / encoding process is involved and "DTS Connect" plays no role here.

What eveybody is eagerly anticipating is the PC's capability of passing Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA bitstreams over HDMI 1.3. These codecs are lossless, while DD and DTS is lossy.
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post #683 of 19153 Old 01-07-2008, 12:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lorddraco View Post

MB feature that I might use.

16x PCIe
Onboard Audio SPDIF
RAID - Maybe (If I choose to RAID 1 the disk)

Feature that most or rarely use
1394.

Then

GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3R with Radeon HD 3850/3870

is a good choice. I am not sure about the latest ASUS boards, but the initial ASUS P35 boards were plagued by extremely high power consumption (a bad circuitry design) and SATA/RAID problems.
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post #684 of 19153 Old 01-07-2008, 04:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lorddraco View Post

I do play some games.. so a good graphic is impt for me I guess. unless I remove the games requirement that P5E-VM will be a good choice.

P5E-VM HDMI can use either a discrete graphics card (PCIe x16) or the integrated. it overclocks like a champ too (they did 540 FSB with an E6850!)

sounds like a great little mobo to me
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post #685 of 19153 Old 01-07-2008, 05:38 PM
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I have followed this thread for quite some time. I have referenced it many times because of the great unfinished masterpiece produced by Renethx. Great work!!

But now, I am at a crossroads with my HTPC and could really use some sound advice. Here is the deal..

I just built a HTPC using with

Coolmaster case (5 -3.5" HDD's 10K WD Raptor for the C drive and 4 Seagate 750 GB 7200 data disks)
Maximus Formula MB with E6750 dual core
8600 GT video card
Omega HT Claro audio card
4 GB dual channel ram
LG HD Combo drive
MCE 2005 OS
4 TB Ready NV+ NAS on my LAN

I have decided to archive all my Blu ray & HD DVD disks, DVD's, Photos and itunes (24,450 songs) to hard drives.
I use IMGBURN to create ISO's and PowerDVD Ultra for HD playback.

That is all well in good....I have all the itunes, regular DVD's and photos on the Ready NV+. I wanted to test everything out before final archival of HD DVD's and found that if I put the ISO's on the Ready NV+....I get lockup sometimes during playing of the HD DISKS. Not so when I play them directly from a drive in the HTPC.

So now I'm thinking that I want to build a large array to hold the HD and here is where I really need the help.

I have looked at unraid and raid cards....I don't have much experience with either, but I am leary of the unraid.

Renethx...I looked at your diagrams about the directly attached array and I think that might work well. I need a solution that will hold 200+ HD disks and be very fast. I don't want to spend this to get a lazy system that can't keep up.

So....How do I build a 16 HDD system? I sort of understand using the rocket 2340 SATA card. But what type of a MB do I need? How much ram? What OS will allow me to address more than 2 TB (I understand that the 2005 XP MCE will only address a max of 2 TB.....is this correct?)

How do I connect the Direct attached storage to my HTPC? Do I need an external SATA II card (all of my internal SATA's are currently used)? Can I then just connect the HTPC and the SATA Array with a SATA cable (8740??)

Finally, do I need to upgrade the 2005 MCE on my new HTPC to address more than 2 TB?

I hope I haven't asked too many questions....but I've got to get this figured out and this seems to be the best place to do that.....

Thanks for the help
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post #686 of 19153 Old 01-07-2008, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by renethx View Post

Some folks in this forum are pushing quad-core processors (actually Q6600) as a base of HTPC, like this thread Core 2 Quad Q6600 - The ultimate solution for HD decoding. I have to agree to some extent for several reasons. Quad-core is just powerful and elegant in realtime decoding. Even the "stinky" Phenom 9500 2.2 GHz beats the very fast Core 2 Duo E6850 3.0GHz (not to mention E6750, and even Q6600) easily.

Yeah I guess you have a good point there. However the 8800GTX doesn't accelerate HD right? (I'm not sure but I thought the 8800s didn't have acceleration?) So the chart is for CPU decode alone. There's something to be said for letting the videocard take some of the load off the CPU. Plus again quad core and an 8800GTX aren't exacly power conscious.

I suppose for gaming you can't really get better than the 8800 right now so if you really need one you need one and you're probably building that with a quad core CPU anyway.

On the other hand you'll also have a lot of people buying 8600s and HD2600s and building generally lower-power consuming machines who probably don't need quad core processing anyway. I guess it all depends on your needs. Someone that was doing encoding with their HTPC would definitely want to get a quad core CPU. And truth be told four cores is a better move for the future as more and more applications will start to take advantage of it.

The Phenom 9500 does indeed outperform the E6850 at HD as you've shown, but as I said it's only a few things here and there (that utilise four cores) that it does. And it's not like the E6850 is struggling to decode that HD either. It's possible it doesn't even need to upclock out of the 6x SpeedStep to perform that task. (I'm sure Tom's ran the CPUs with EIST disabled but I'm just thinking with it enabled it probably won't need to upclock if it's the HD video is the only thing running).

It does have it's few benefits (the Phenom I mean) it's just that I wouldn't build a new system with one. That's only one test--look at most of the rest of the tests and the Phenom doesn't look so hot. Personally I'd only recommend it if you had AMD already and your motherboard could just swap in the Phenom in place of an older A64 x2--in that case it would probably be a very easy and worthwhile upgrade.
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post #687 of 19153 Old 01-07-2008, 08:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mohuska View Post

So....How do I build a 16 HDD system? I sort of understand using the rocket 2340 SATA card. But what type of a MB do I need? How much ram? What OS will allow me to address more than 2 TB (I understand that the 2005 XP MCE will only address a max of 2 TB.....is this correct?)

How do I connect the Direct attached storage to my HTPC? Do I need an external SATA II card (all of my internal SATA's are currently used)? Can I then just connect the HTPC and the SATA Array with a SATA cable (8740??)

Finally, do I need to upgrade the 2005 MCE on my new HTPC to address more than 2 TB?

I hope I haven't asked too many questions....but I've got to get this figured out and this seems to be the best place to do that.....

Thanks for the help

You already have a good mb and enough RAM. What you need are:

- 16-port SATA RAID controller card. E.g., HighPoint RocketRAID 2340, PROMISE SuperTrack EX16350 (HW XOR and RAID 6). Insert the card to the second PCIe x16 slot of the Maximus Formula board.
- Internal SATA to External Multilane Dual Port PCI Bracket x 2
- HighPoint IB-1M InfiniBand SFF-8470 to InfiniBand SFF-8470 1 meter cable x 4. 2m, 3m, 5m cables are also available here.
- External SATA enclosures with SFF-8470 ports for 16 HDDs. For example, you can use four Addonics MST4ML-B Mini Storage Towers. You can also find several enclosures here.
- Windows Vista, Home Premium or Ultimate, perhaps 64-bit edition.

Remember that RAID is not backup. You may lose all the data instantly. Yeah, you have original discs, but considering the amount of time to rip and convert a disc to ISO (I guess it takes more than 4 hours), you may want to keep it simple stupid (KISS). I mean you just keep 20 images in each 1TB drive and that's it (no RAID). You can use the above configuration for non-RAID, but there is a cheaper way. What you need are:

- 4-port eSATA controller card supporting port multiplier. E.g., Addonics ADSA3GPX8-4E (PCIe x8, SiI3124), HighPoint RocketRAID 2314 (PCIe x4, 88SX7042), NORCO NORCO-4629 (PCIe x4/x8, SiI3124). That costs less than $200.
- External port multiplier enclosures for 16 HDDs. E.g., Addonics MST5X1PM-B mini storage tower x 4. Norco also have a 12 HDD port multiplier enclosure.

An alternative is

- AMS DS-2350S eSATA 5 bay SATA Enclosure (equipped with SiI4726 SATA to 5-Port SATA Device SteelVine Storage Processor) x 4 (20 HDDs). Each box comes with a SiI3132-based 2-port eSATA PCIe x1 host controller. Insert two of the cards to the two PCIe x1 slots of the mb and connect the four enclosures to the four eSATA ports. You can't use ICH9R's SATA ports because of a compatibility problem.

The last configuration may be the cheapest and simplest.
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post #688 of 19153 Old 01-08-2008, 12:17 AM
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Thanks for taking the time to put this guide together. Based largely on your recommendations, I just ordered the components for my first HTPC from Newegg:

CPU: Core 2 Duo E6750
CPU Cooler: ZEROtherm BTF90
Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS4
Memory: OCZ Reaper Edition DDR2-800 2 x 2GB Kit
Graphics Card: eVGA 8800GT 512MB
HDD: Samsung SpinPoint T166 500GB HD501LJ 500GB SATA
PSU: Corsair 750TX
Case: Lian Li PC-C32B
WiFi: D-Link DWA-556 802.11n PCI-e
Optical Drive: LG GGC-H20L Blu-Ray/HD-DVD
Sound Card: Asus Xonar D2X 7.1ch PCI-e
Operating System: MS Vista 64-Bit Home Premium

Your guide made hardware selection much easier; now I just need to figure out the software ...
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post #689 of 19153 Old 01-08-2008, 04:05 AM - Thread Starter
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now I just need to figure out the software ...

I announced "Software Guide" but I haven't decided even the contents yet. A possibe table of contents is

- Operating System and Front End
- Play/Rip/Burn DVD, BD, HD DVD
- Play/Rip/Burn CD
- Play/Record TV (OTA (NTSC, ATSC)/analog cable/unencrypted QAM)
- Listen to Radio (FM/Internet)
- Play/Store/Organize Video Files
- Play/Store/Organize Audio Files
- View/Store/Organize Pictures
- Browse Internet
- HTPC Gaming

Each chapter should include:

- A brief explanation of each function
- List of a couple of popular applications.
- A brief practical guide to each applications.

Well, writing down TOC is easy, but writing substantial contents is not so easy. Even updating hardware part is not easy because new hardware (video cards, motherboards, CPUs etc.) is released every couple of months. Eventually I will write software part, but finish writing, say, three months later at best.
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post #690 of 19153 Old 01-08-2008, 12:46 PM
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Renethx... Thanks for the great help. I am leaning to just installing a non-raid configuration and having 20 separate drives. I will only be installing about 20 HD ISO files on each one and my computer rips Blu ray to ISO in 45-60 minutes. So that isn't too bad.

If I go the separate drive route, then I believe I don't need to upgrade the OS... do I? I tried the OS upgrade from Windows XP to Vista when it first came out and my machine ran so terrible that I wiped the drive and installed a fresh copy of XP.... so I don't want to go through with that again.

I know a lot of people believe in redundancy, but it seems that unless you go with a huge enclosure with all your drives in it...You lose at least 1 entire drive per enclosure for just the redundancy. So with 4 separate enclosures, I would have 20% of the drives committed to redundancy as opposed to 1 enclosure with say 16 drives (that would be 6% committed to redundancy). I believe I would also have to change the OS to handle more than 2 TB partitions if I go to a RAID configuration.

So unless there is a viable alternative, it appears that I am "stuck" with having separate designated drives.

Thanks again
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