Guide to Building a HTPC, Workstation and Server - Page 235 - AVS Forum
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post #7021 of 19149 Old 03-26-2009, 02:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hurleyjj View Post

If I get a HDD that isn't the same size, then RAID will only recognize each HDD by the size of the smaller HDD, right? What if the other HDD is a different brand and has a better seek/write/read/latency time, such as would be the case with the RE3 or Velociraptor if I added it? Even in RAID, it would still perform better than the other HDD, right? And the two combined would still be seen in Windows as a single HDD and the "c" drive, right?

I read this article some time ago: Can Heterogeneous RAID Arrays Work? : Homogenous Vs. Heterogeneous RAID.

Our conclusion based on our benchmark results is straightforward: The RAID array using different hard drives worked properly and offered performance that was comparable, but its performance was clearly behind that of a RAID array based on identical hard drives - all using the same system and RAID controller.
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post #7022 of 19149 Old 03-26-2009, 02:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

I read this article some time ago: Can Heterogeneous RAID Arrays Work? : Homogenous Vs. Heterogeneous RAID.

Our conclusion based on our benchmark results is straightforward: The RAID array using different hard drives worked properly and offered performance that was comparable, but its performance was clearly behind that of a RAID array based on identical hard drives - all using the same system and RAID controller.

Yeah, I read that, too, right after I posted last time.

I think I will not do RAID, or at least not right now. But I would like to replace the HDD in the new computer with a faster HDD (like an RE or Velociraptor). The problem I can see is that this new PC will have everything installed on the HDD right out of the box or installed upon first boot.

If I take the original HDD out and use it as a secondary HDD (as is my plan), I will encounter many issues. I will have to figure out how to get Windows Vista on the new hdd with the given discs Gateway provides and hope everything goes smoothly and then search and find drivers for everything.

I realize getting updated drivers for things like the video card is already something I was planning on, but I've never enjoyed all the other tasks.

It reminds me of the times in years past when I've formatted a computer of mine and re-installed everything and it takes the better part of a day to get everything back up and running. But those were on self-built PC's and not ones pre-made by a major manufacturer.

Do I have a legitimate concern with replacing the original HDD in a brand new pre-made PC like the one I'm getting tomorrow? Maybe my mind just isn't thinking properly at this minute.

Xbox 360 Elite - 66 HD-DVD titles [pics]
PS3 80gb - 78 Blu-ray titles [pics]
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post #7023 of 19149 Old 03-26-2009, 03:52 PM
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I think I have spec'ed out the HTPC that I want to build and was hoping I could get some final advice before placing the order. It's shaping up to be a mix between the low and mid range AMD/AMD recommendations:

CPU: AMD Athlon X2 5050e
CPU Cooling: Stock
Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-MA78GM-US2H
Memory: A-DATA 4GB (2 x 2GB) SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
Graphics: SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 4670 GDDR4 512MB
Hard Drive: 1TB WD
Optical: LG GGC-H20L BD Drive
PSU: Corsair CMPSU-400CX 400W
Case: Antec Fusion Remote Black microATX

The computer will be hooked up to a Samsung LN46A750 that I would like to be able to take full advantage of, so picture quality is definitely a main concern. I imagine that I will mostly be using the HTPC for watching SD/HD/BD movies, streaming movies from Netflix, and playing music. I might also use it to watch ripped movies from various sources and encode some myself, but encoding/ripping speed won't be a huge priority since I can leave it to work while at work or asleep. At some point I will probably get a HD antenna and video capture card, but that's not going to be in this first order. I do have a couple of questions:

1. Would it be better to go with the Intel processor and motherboard as far as performance and future-proofing the computer goes? I'm not sure if it is worth the extra $50-60 or if upgrading will even be that necessary in the near future, but I figured I would ask.

2. Does the Athlon/motherboard support 1066 RAM and would it be worthwhile in the system? I would imagine that 4GB is sufficient, or is that really overkill vs 2GB?

3. Will the 400w Corsair provide enough power using a discrete graphics card, or do I need to go with the 450w?

4. My biggest question is in regards to audio. My living room sound setup is 2 channel stereo: pair of Zaph TMM tower speakers powered by a Cambridge Audio 540R v2 receiver. I don't have any plans to add additional speakers for surround sound and am happy with the 2 channel setup I have. That being said, I would like to maximize the audio quality of my existing system with the HTPC. The receiver doesn't support HDMI audio so I can run either analog or digital/optical out of the computer. As far as quality goes, would it be worthwhile to install a soundcard over the on board audio? In either case, any opinions on going with analog vs digital? I definitely want the best sound I can get and don't have a problem with purchasing a soundcard if need be.

Thank you very much for your help and a huge thanks to renethx for putting together the guide.
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post #7024 of 19149 Old 03-26-2009, 04:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

Are you sure that you can get GA-MA790FX-DS5 (discontinued a long time ago)? The SAPPHIRE card gets loud over 60 C.

I have the board already. I just upgraded my other computer and had this lying around.
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post #7025 of 19149 Old 03-26-2009, 08:07 PM
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Renethx,

I've been told the best solution for audio is using the Asus HDAV 1.3. While it certainly isn't cheap, I'm willing to be a bit spendy on this aspect of the HTPC since it will also be my main music rig and thus will have my best speakers and electronics attached. Do you advise using this card?
Thanks again,

Chris
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post #7026 of 19149 Old 03-26-2009, 10:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabrosa View Post

1. Would it be better to go with the Intel processor and motherboard as far as performance and future-proofing the computer goes? I'm not sure if it is worth the extra $50-60 or if upgrading will even be that necessary in the near future, but I figured I would ask.

2. Does the Athlon/motherboard support 1066 RAM and would it be worthwhile in the system? I would imagine that 4GB is sufficient, or is that really overkill vs 2GB?

3. Will the 400w Corsair provide enough power using a discrete graphics card, or do I need to go with the 450w?

4. My biggest question is in regards to audio. My living room sound setup is 2 channel stereo: pair of Zaph TMM tower speakers powered by a Cambridge Audio 540R v2 receiver. I don't have any plans to add additional speakers for surround sound and am happy with the 2 channel setup I have. That being said, I would like to maximize the audio quality of my existing system with the HTPC. The receiver doesn't support HDMI audio so I can run either analog or digital/optical out of the computer. As far as quality goes, would it be worthwhile to install a soundcard over the on board audio? In either case, any opinions on going with analog vs digital? I definitely want the best sound I can get and don't have a problem with purchasing a soundcard if need be.

1. No.
2. Yes, but no. Buy 4GB as the price difference is so small.
3. 400W is enough.
4. Currently the best analog sound card is ASUS Xonar HDAV 1.3 Deluxe and perhaps Xonar Essence STX (stereo only). (Surround sounds may be future-proof?) They should give better sounds than S/PDIF.
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post #7027 of 19149 Old 03-26-2009, 10:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxvla View Post

Renethx,

I've been told the best solution for audio is using the Asus HDAV 1.3. While it certainly isn't cheap, I'm willing to be a bit spendy on this aspect of the HTPC since it will also be my main music rig and thus will have my best speakers and electronics attached. Do you advise using this card?

If you use analog output, yes, Xonar HDAV 1.3 Deluxe is a good choice. If you use S/PDIF or HDMI, then onboard S/PDIF or Radeon HD 4xxx should be enough (unless you want HD audio bitstreams).
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post #7028 of 19149 Old 03-27-2009, 01:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hurleyjj View Post

... Do I have a legitimate concern with replacing the original HDD in a brand new pre-made PC like the one I'm getting tomorrow? Maybe my mind just isn't thinking properly at this minute.

There are many products that will let you easily image the original drive and simply restore that image to a new one -- or if they're both mounted in the system simply copy the old to the new (resizing the partitions as you go).

I like Boot-It NG, but it's a bit "geeky". Acronis is perhaps a bit easier for you. DriveImage XML is an excellent free utility. Etc.

It's basically a very simple process to replace a drive as long as you have the right "tools" to copy the OS.
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post #7029 of 19149 Old 03-27-2009, 08:50 AM
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Gary, what happens when you use images to/from a drive that is software raided?
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post #7030 of 19149 Old 03-27-2009, 09:57 AM
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My question is:

Using the AMD/AMD reference system (GA-MA78GM-S2HP with SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 4550 DDR3 512MB) will I be able to have audio on both the on board optical S/PDIF out connector and throught HDMI on the 4550 at the same time?

Great HTPC guide, great thread!
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post #7031 of 19149 Old 03-27-2009, 10:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdmarzec View Post

My question is:

Using the AMD/AMD reference system (GA-MA78GM-S2HP with SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 4550 DDR3 512MB) will I be able to have audio on both the on board optical S/PDIF out connector and throught HDMI on the 4550 at the same time?

Great HTPC guide, great thread!

No, only one at a time.
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post #7032 of 19149 Old 03-27-2009, 11:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

No, only one at a time.

what is the procedure for switching between the two?

Do any of the recommended systems support this?
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post #7033 of 19149 Old 03-27-2009, 11:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdmarzec View Post

what is the procedure for switching between the two?

Selecting the default sound playback device in the Sound dialog box.
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post #7034 of 19149 Old 03-27-2009, 12:55 PM
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What's the best way to add s/pdif audio out with a motherboard that doesn't have it already? I have an Intel DQ35JO which has just basic audio. I'd like either optical or coaxial digital output to my Yamaha receiver (which can do DTS or DD decoding). Any suggestions? The Xonar seems like overkill but if it's the right way to go then I don't mind paying a bit for it.
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post #7035 of 19149 Old 03-27-2009, 01:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HuskerChad View Post

What's the best way to add s/pdif audio out with a motherboard that doesn't have it already? I have an Intel DQ35JO which has just basic audio. I'd like either optical or coaxial digital output to my Yamaha receiver (which can do DTS or DD decoding). Any suggestions? The Xonar seems like overkill but if it's the right way to go then I don't mind paying a bit for it.

Xonar is overkill. You can buy a cheap sound card with S/PDIF out < $50 (for example, Diamond XS71 XtremeSound having coaxial in and out).
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post #7036 of 19149 Old 03-27-2009, 01:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

Xonar is overkill. You can buy a cheap sound card with S/PDIF out < $50 (for example, Diamond XS71 XtremeSound having coaxial in and out).

Thanks for the quick response.
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post #7037 of 19149 Old 03-27-2009, 04:54 PM
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When outputting 24hz from my radeon 4850 I notice a slight stutter when moving the mouse. Is there anyway to remedy this? My display is a 72hz Pioneer 5010.

Making the most out of what I got.
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post #7038 of 19149 Old 03-27-2009, 09:06 PM
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Hi Renethx

At the moment I'm running two displays (IGP to HDTV and 3450 to 19" monitor) and I'm swithing between the two using hot keys created in CCC. I'm only using one dispay at a time, disabling the other that is not in use.

I'm looking at upgrading to the 4670 and plan on running both displays off this card (HDMI to HDTV and DVI to monitor).

Can I use hot keys to switch between the displays disabling which one I'm not using or does it only work with IGP+video card?

Thanks
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post #7039 of 19149 Old 03-27-2009, 10:53 PM
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Hey Guys, I am truly a newbee in every since of the word. I built my first pc from this thread its been great. I have a very stupid newbee question. I finished building everything and cut on the power and it cpu states put in boot media disc or reboot and put in boot media disk. What is that disck? Is it the graphic card disc, wd hd disc, motherboard disc or blue ray player disc? I am confused. I tried putting in all the cards and cutting system off and then on w/ each of the desk but nothing. I also put in xp disc

thanks for the help

newbee confused.
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post #7040 of 19149 Old 03-27-2009, 11:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nozzey View Post

Hi Renethx

At the moment I'm running two displays (IGP to HDTV and 3450 to 19" monitor) and I'm swithing between the two using hot keys created in CCC. I'm only using one dispay at a time, disabling the other that is not in use.

I'm looking at upgrading to the 4670 and plan on running both displays off this card (HDMI to HDTV and DVI to monitor).

Can I use hot keys to switch between the displays disabling which one I'm not using or does it only work with IGP+video card?

Thanks

Disable IGP (the default BIOS setting; if a discrete card is inserted, IGP is disabled) and use the discrete card by setting profiles just like IGP as before, or you can mix IGP and the dGPU (e.g. dGPU to HDTV and IGP to the monitor).
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post #7041 of 19149 Old 03-27-2009, 11:46 PM
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Hey guys can u tell me if this a xp-disc problem or something else. I put in the xp disc and it started loading the drivers and then i got an error message that read 996 of INF file /I336/txtsetup.sip is invalid. the xp disc is a copy from a friend.
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post #7042 of 19149 Old 03-28-2009, 12:27 AM
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Hi all,

Thanks to the great guide of Renethx, I have put together two different systems, one Intel/Nvidia and one AMD/ATI. My goals are video first and audio second. I tried to build each system to be silent and cool as possible.

The primary focus of this HTPC is:

Blu-ray playback via stored ISOs
SD playback of DVD TV shows
HD recordings from an HD Homerun

Priority of my video requests are:
Stutter free 24p
Great deinterlacing for SD and HD
Post-processing options in case I decide to use them

Here are the two systems for review. Thank you for your recommendations and suggestions.

Intel/Nvidia
1 x Intel Core 2 Duo E7400
1 x Scythe Mini Ninja with Scythe Kama Flex 80MM 1500RPM GPU fan
1 x Gigabyte GA-E7AUM GF9400
2 x A-DATA ADQVE1A16K 2GB 2X1GB PC2-6400 DDR2-800
1 x Antec NSK2480 with 2x Scythe S-FLEX SFF21D 120MM 800RPM case fans
1 x Enermax EMD525AWT MODU82+ 525W
2 x Western Digital Caviar SE16 640GB
1 x LG CH08-LS10 Black BLU-RAY 8X Reader

AMD/ATI
1 x AMD Phenom II X3 710
1 x Noctua NH-U12P
1 x Gigabyte MA790X-UD4P ATX AM3 AMD790X
2 x A-DATA ADQVE1A16K 2GB 2X1GB PC2-6400 DDR2-800
1 x Sapphire Ultimate Radeon HD 4670 512MB GDDR3 Passive Video Card
1 x Silverstone Grandia GD01B
1 x Enermax EMD525AWT MODU82+ 525W
2 x Western Digital Caviar SE16 640GB
1 x LG CH08-LS10 Black BLU-RAY 8X Reader
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post #7043 of 19149 Old 03-28-2009, 09:06 AM
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Hi

I have installed a CRT PJ at home and I need a HTPC. The resolution I'll use is 1080i/96 and 1080p/24. I need help to see if I can use the hardware I have or I need to buy new components

My computer is a Semprom 3.0Ghz + ATI 4850 and I'd use a DVI-I to RGBHV cable.

I don't know if this hardware is enough for this purpose or not. I have also a Q6600 as a server that I could use (now I have an ATI 1600pro and an ATI 4850 I could swap) for both porposes, server and HTPC. I don't know if it can be more a problem than a solution or it can be perfect.


Thanks in advance

Best regards
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post #7044 of 19149 Old 03-28-2009, 09:45 AM
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Well, my Moneaul 972/BluRay Player seems to be an Ongoing Problem.

I bought the Moneaul 972 case and a GIGABYTE GA-MA790FXT-UD5P Motherboard, with an LG GGC-H20L BluRay player.

When I got it, I found that the Player would not fit in the case, with the MoBo installed. (My DVD Burner had fit just fine with an IDE Ribbon Cable and Molex Power Connector).

So I purchased a Lite On Model DH-4O1S-58 BluRay player because it was supposed to have a 20mm smaller footprint.

No Such Luck. While there is a TINY bit more room, it seems to be the same size as my LG BluRay.

MOST BluRay Players I have found seem to have a Larger Footprint than a standard CDROM/DVD-RAM unit.

Does anyone know of ANY model BluRay Player that has a Standard Sized CD/DVD Player footprint?

Or does anyone make a 90 degree Low Profile Adapter that may fit int he space between the Drive/MoBo?

**EDIT** I have found 90 degree SATA Cables that will work, but are there any 90 Degree converters for the POWER to the Drive?

The Biggest problem Seems to be that the SATA COnnectors at the back of the BR player sit in the EXACT same spot as the 20pin Power Connector on the Mobo. So it's not like they can even sit on top of the MoBo.

There's just NO room there.

Would I be better off finding a drive with a smaller footprint, or a MoBo with a Smaller footprint?

If the MoBo would be my best choice, what is a good AM3 mobo that I can get that's comparable to the GIGABYTE GA-MA790FXT-UD5P ?
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post #7045 of 19149 Old 03-28-2009, 10:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nfmmalice View Post

Well, my Moneaul 972/BluRay Player seems to be an Ongoing Problem.

I bought the Moneaul 972 case and a GIGABYTE GA-MA790FXT-UD5P Motherboard, with an LG GGC-H20L BluRay player.

When I got it, I found that the Player would not fit in the case, with the MoBo installed. (My DVD Burner had fit just fine with an IDE Ribbon Cable and Molex Power Connector).

So I purchased a Lite On Model DH-4O1S-58 BluRay player because it was supposed to have a 20mm smaller footprint.

No Such Luck. While there is a TINY bit more room, it seems to be the same size as my LG BluRay.

MOST BluRay Players I have found seem to have a Larger Footprint than a standard CDROM/DVD-RAM unit.

Does anyone know of ANY model BluRay Player that has a Standard Sized CD/DVD Player footprint?

Or does anyone make a 90 degree Low Profile Adapter that may fit int he space between the Drive/MoBo?

**EDIT** I have found 90 degree SATA Cables that will work, but are there any 90 Degree converters for the POWER to the Drive?

The Biggest problem Seems to be that the SATA COnnectors at the back of the BR player sit in the EXACT same spot as the 20pin Power Connector on the Mobo. So it's not like they can even sit on top of the MoBo.

There's just NO room there.

Would I be better off finding a drive with a smaller footprint, or a MoBo with a Smaller footprint?

If the MoBo would be my best choice, what is a good AM3 mobo that I can get that's comparable to the GIGABYTE GA-MA790FXT-UD5P ?

Angled SATA power cable

GIGABYTE GA-MA790FXT-UD5P: 244mm wide (standard ATX)
GIGABYTE GA-MA790XT-UD4P: 233mm wide, a cut-back version of the above
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post #7046 of 19149 Old 03-28-2009, 10:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabuk View Post

Hi all,

Thanks to the great guide of Renethx, I have put together two different systems, one Intel/Nvidia and one AMD/ATI. My goals are video first and audio second. I tried to build each system to be silent and cool as possible.

The primary focus of this HTPC is:

• Blu-ray playback via stored ISOs
• SD playback of DVD TV shows
• HD recordings from an HD Homerun

Priority of my video requests are:
• Stutter free 24p
• Great deinterlacing for SD and HD
• Post-processing options in case I decide to use them

Here are the two systems for review. Thank you for your recommendations and suggestions.

Intel/Nvidia
1 x Intel Core 2 Duo E7400
1 x Scythe Mini Ninja with Scythe Kama Flex 80MM 1500RPM GPU fan
1 x Gigabyte GA-E7AUM GF9400
2 x A-DATA ADQVE1A16K 2GB 2X1GB PC2-6400 DDR2-800
1 x Antec NSK2480 with 2x Scythe S-FLEX SFF21D 120MM 800RPM case fans
1 x Enermax EMD525AWT MODU82+ 525W
2 x Western Digital Caviar SE16 640GB
1 x LG CH08-LS10 Black BLU-RAY 8X Reader

AMD/ATI
1 x AMD Phenom II X3 710
1 x Noctua NH-U12P
1 x Gigabyte MA790X-UD4P ATX AM3 AMD790X
2 x A-DATA ADQVE1A16K 2GB 2X1GB PC2-6400 DDR2-800
1 x Sapphire Ultimate Radeon HD 4670 512MB GDDR3 Passive Video Card
1 x Silverstone Grandia GD01B
1 x Enermax EMD525AWT MODU82+ 525W
2 x Western Digital Caviar SE16 640GB
1 x LG CH08-LS10 Black BLU-RAY 8X Reader

Either system is OK. I prefer the latter because of slightly better post-processing and much better HDMI audio (that may not be your concern), and perhaps I would choose Sapphire GDDR4 active-cooling card. NH-U12P does not fit GD01. You could save money if you go with the mATX AMD/AMD mid-range system.
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post #7047 of 19149 Old 03-28-2009, 11:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pepehid View Post

Hi

I have installed a CRT PJ at home and I need a HTPC. The resolution I'll use is 1080i/96 and 1080p/24. I need help to see if I can use the hardware I have or I need to buy new components

My computer is a Semprom 3.0Ghz + ATI 4850 and I'd use a DVI-I to RGBHV cable.

I don't know if this hardware is enough for this purpose or not. I have also a Q6600 as a server that I could use (now I have an ATI 1600pro and an ATI 4850 I could swap) for both porposes, server and HTPC. I don't know if it can be more a problem than a solution or it can be perfect.

You can use Sempron and 4850 (though imo the former [single-core?] is too weak and the latter is overkill [consumes unnecessarily too much power at idle/video playback]). Q6600 is good, but maybe overkill. ATI 1600 Pro is too old and should be avoided (in general).
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post #7048 of 19149 Old 03-28-2009, 01:08 PM
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I'm finally going to start assembling my system.
I'm not sure which direction the optional HD fan and the fan that mounts to the bottom should blow on the Zalman HD160 Plus. I'm guessing intake would make the most sense, but there is no mention in the directions or on Zalman's site. Anyone know for sure?

Also, top vent open or closed?

Thanks, Will

Hey, what's with the weird title on my post? That's either an adult toy description or the newest gamer fan model, LOL
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post #7049 of 19149 Old 03-28-2009, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by renethx View Post

Either system is OK. I prefer the latter because of slightly better post-processing .

Can you elaborate a little more? What would be noticed? Picture quality?

If the only thing being run on a HTPC is Blu-ray and SD DVDs, what is the advantages of upgrading the CPUs from the budget systems to the high end systems you have listed? Again, does it affect picture quality?

Also, which system on pg 85 starts to meet or exceed the quality of a PS3 for Blu-ray playback?
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post #7050 of 19149 Old 03-28-2009, 11:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Mitten View Post

Can you elaborate a little more? What would be noticed? Picture quality?

If the only thing being run on a HTPC is Blu-ray and SD DVDs, what is the advantages of upgrading the CPUs from the budget systems to the high end systems you have listed? Again, does it affect picture quality?

Also, which system on pg 85 starts to meet or exceed the quality of a PS3 for Blu-ray playback?

Yes, PQ. CPUs in the mid-range systems are good in particular if you don't use GPU's decoding/post-processing capability (i.e. if you rely on a software solution). The high-end and premium systems are overkill for video playback.
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