Guide to Building a HTPC, Workstation and Server - Page 322 - AVS | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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Home Theater Computers > Guide to Building a HTPC, Workstation and Server
renethx's Avatar renethx 07:41 AM 08-19-2009
OK, AFAIK, there is no ATX case supporting dual 10.5" cards and with height less than 8". SilverStone Grandia GD02 meets your conditons, but it is a mATX case and there may be a heat problem in dual graphics mode.

H8nXTC's Avatar H8nXTC 10:42 AM 08-19-2009
Will the Thermaltake DH 102 or DH 202 work, both under 8" high?

http://www.thermaltakeusa.com/Produc...C=1319&ID=1878
Looks like they'll fit to me.
matrixwolves's Avatar matrixwolves 10:47 AM 08-19-2009
So as i understand it, if i want to buy a motherboard, i can't find one that does 7.1 audio and video all on one hdmi cord to my onkyo receiver? I have to run hdmi cabling seperate for video to tv and a hdmi cable to receiver for audio to get surround sound? I am putting together a wishlist as im tired of my cable bill and want to have a home setup.

What i have in basement: Large flat screen connected to my onkyo avr, xbo360, a 2.40 gigahertz AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core with Gigabyte M59SLI-S5, 3 gb of ram, GeForce 7900 GS, Windows Vista Home Premium Service Pack 2, with a hitachi tb drive and a wd passport external 500gb drive, connected to xbox360.

What i want to do: Watch hd content via my mkv files and streaming content like hulu, and other internet streaming content of the like in the living room upstairs and the bedroom upstairs as well as the basement.

Figured i could keep the setup downstairs and built a htpc for the upstairs.

Edit: Do i have to get a video card to have the surround sound audio via hdmi, that way the hdmi video is running off of the graphics card?

I can't run wire so is this feasible for good quality playback wirelessly?
Also what would you recommend i upgrade on the machine downstairs?

Sorry im really excited about my new project and am shoring up my doubts.
mbordas's Avatar mbordas 11:54 AM 08-19-2009
I'd like a recommendation for the most inexpensive motherboard with hdmi/dvi for an htpc. Optical sp/dif would be nice too.
gunbunnysoulja's Avatar gunbunnysoulja 12:01 PM 08-19-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbordas View Post

I'd like a recommendation for the most inexpensive motherboard with hdmi/dvi for an htpc. Optical sp/dif would be nice too.

Open Box: ASUS M4A78 Plus AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard
gunbunnysoulja's Avatar gunbunnysoulja 12:04 PM 08-19-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by H8nXTC View Post

Will the Thermaltake DH 102 or DH 202 work, both under 8" high?

http://www.thermaltakeusa.com/Produc...C=1319&ID=1878
Looks like they'll fit to me.

Thanks for the reply. The 202 looks nice, although a little over budget. I may consider it. I like the internal layout.
H8nXTC's Avatar H8nXTC 12:08 PM 08-19-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by gunbunnysoulja View Post

Thanks for the reply. The 202 looks nice, although a little over budget. I may consider it. I like the internal layout.

That's my preferred HTPC case, you can find it for $250 on Amazon.com.
mbordas's Avatar mbordas 12:13 PM 08-19-2009
Quote:

Thanks, I should have specified I'm looking for an LGA 775 socket type.
SSragtop's Avatar SSragtop 03:19 PM 08-19-2009
Can somebody help an old man out? I'm a child of the 60's and not very computer savy. I am looking to set up an HTPC for our front projector. Our daughter left this computer when she moved out. She wanted a laptop, so we bought her one and kept this desktop. It is a Dell XPS420 with a core 2 quad 9400, 8 gig ram, 1 tb hard drive, ATI 4650 video card and a blu ray burner. I have purchased Total Media Theater 3 and anydvd hd. I have downloaded MyMovies, Media Browser and virtual clone drive. I can rip dvds to iso. But now I am lost. I have been reading on this forum for a couple of days but most of it is over my head. Can someone give me directions on setting up this software or point me to a guide where I can read up on it. Like I said, I'm not very computer literate, so I will need someone to hold my hand and walk me through it.

Thanks, CJ
gunbunnysoulja's Avatar gunbunnysoulja 03:31 PM 08-19-2009
Renethx,

Do you know if the Fusion Max ATX will fit 2 extended length gfx cards if the HDD bay is removed?

Thanks!
gunbunnysoulja's Avatar gunbunnysoulja 03:58 PM 08-19-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbordas View Post

I'd like a recommendation for the most inexpensive motherboard with hdmi/dvi for an htpc. Optical sp/dif would be nice too.

GIGABYTE GA-73PVM-S2H LGA 775 NVIDIA GeForce 7100 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
renethx's Avatar renethx 05:17 PM 08-19-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by H8nXTC View Post

Will the Thermaltake DH 102 or DH 202 work, both under 8" high?

http://www.thermaltakeusa.com/Produc...C=1319&ID=1878
Looks like they'll fit to me.

HDD's block longer graphics cards. You can attach only one HDD?


LL
renethx's Avatar renethx 05:51 PM 08-19-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by matrixwolves View Post

So as i understand it, if i want to buy a motherboard, i can't find one that does 7.1 audio and video all on one hdmi cord to my onkyo receiver?

There are several mbs. Check the charts on page 85.
renethx's Avatar renethx 05:55 PM 08-19-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbordas View Post

I'd like a recommendation for the most inexpensive motherboard with hdmi/dvi for an htpc. Optical sp/dif would be nice too.

Do you mean integrated graphics? What's your video playback requirement? IGP in most low-end mb does not support hardware decode acceleration for HD contents.
renethx's Avatar renethx 06:21 PM 08-19-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by gunbunnysoulja View Post

Renethx,

Do you know if the Fusion Max ATX will fit 2 extended length gfx cards if the HDD bay is removed?

Thanks!

Yes, two long graphics cards fit (the case is designed that way).
gunbunnysoulja's Avatar gunbunnysoulja 06:27 PM 08-19-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

Yes, two long graphics cards fit (the case is designed that way).

Thanks for the reply! I was hoping for something different from my mATX fusion, but it seems like the Fusion ATX is best suited for my needs.

Appreciate the help!!!
me23's Avatar me23 07:07 PM 08-19-2009
Was going to build htpc for the bedroom.
Using low end intel/nvidia specs below from page 85 but changed to antec fusion black because I think it looks better. Will this be quiet enough for a bedroom when it is idle and not in use?

CPU: Pentium Dual-Core E5200 2.50GHz LGA775
CPU Cooler: Stock cooler
Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-E7AUM-DS2H LGA775 GeForce 9400
Memory: A-DATA ADQVE1A16K DDR2-800 2 x 1GB Kit
Graphics Card: GeForce 9400 (integrated in the chipset
HDD: Western Digital WD6400AAKS 640GB SATA 3.0Gbps
PSU: 80 PLUS 350W ATX PSU (included in the case)
Case: Antec Fusion Remote Black
renethx's Avatar renethx 07:19 PM 08-19-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by me23 View Post

Was going to build htpc for the bedroom.
Using low end intel/nvidia specs below from page 85 but changed to antec fusion black because I think it looks better. Will this be quiet enough for a bedroom when it is idle and not in use?

CPU: Pentium Dual-Core E5200 2.50GHz LGA775
CPU Cooler: Stock cooler
Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-E7AUM-DS2H LGA775 GeForce 9400
Memory: A-DATA ADQVE1A16K DDR2-800 2 x 1GB Kit
Graphics Card: GeForce 9400 (integrated in the chipset
HDD: Western Digital WD6400AAKS 640GB SATA 3.0Gbps
PSU: 80 PLUS 350W ATX PSU (included in the case)
Case: Antec Fusion Remote Black

Then you have to buy a PSU. Yes, the system is quiet if you choose a quiet PSU.
Marc_G's Avatar Marc_G 07:29 PM 08-19-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by SSragtop View Post

Can somebody help an old man out? I'm a child of the 60's and not very computer savy. I am looking to set up an HTPC for our front projector. Our daughter left this computer when she moved out. She wanted a laptop, so we bought her one and kept this desktop. It is a Dell XPS420 with a core 2 quad 9400, 8 gig ram, 1 tb hard drive, ATI 4650 video card and a blu ray burner. I have purchased Total Media Theater 3 and anydvd hd. I have downloaded MyMovies, Media Browser and virtual clone drive. I can rip dvds to iso. But now I am lost. I have been reading on this forum for a couple of days but most of it is over my head. Can someone give me directions on setting up this software or point me to a guide where I can read up on it. Like I said, I'm not very computer literate, so I will need someone to hold my hand and walk me through it.

Thanks, CJ

This thread gets mostly hardware responses. I suggest going to the Media Browser forum. But you are on the right track; for someone "not too savy" you've done well so far.

What I do is open the ISO in virtual clone drive and point my bluray player at it (I happen to use PowerDVD because it came with my drive), or more often, I rip the movie/episodes out of the disks with MakeMKV and let that tool create standalone MKV files which Media Browser can play just fine, if you add:
Haali Media Splitter (required for playing .mkv files)
Some AV codecs such as FFDShow

Go to the media browser forum and you'll get plenty of help there:
http://www.mediabrowser.tv/forum

Welcome to the club.

Marc
dbone1026's Avatar dbone1026 07:35 PM 08-19-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marc_G View Post

This thread gets mostly hardware responses. I suggest going to the Media Browser forum. But you are on the right track; for someone "not too savy" you've done well so far.

What I do is open the ISO in virtual clone drive and point my bluray player at it (I happen to use PowerDVD because it came with my drive), or more often, I rip the movie/episodes out of the disks with MakeMKV and let that tool create standalone MKV files which Media Browser can play just fine, if you add:
Haali Media Splitter (required for playing .mkv files)
Some AV codecs such as FFDShow

Go to the media browser forum and you'll get plenty of help there:
http://www.mediabrowser.tv/forum

Welcome to the club.

Marc

I completely agree with Marc. Go with MKVs (using MakeMKV) or ts/m2ts (using Clown_BD, actually just tested out the latest version and it works great - http://www.mediasmartserver.net/2009...0-65-released/)
SSragtop's Avatar SSragtop 08:58 PM 08-19-2009
Thanks guys. I've been playing around all evening. I ripped a couple of dvds and a couple of blu rays and they seem to be working correctly with MyMovies and TMT3. I also downloaded Clown_BD. I'll experiment with it tomorrow
mbordas's Avatar mbordas 08:52 AM 08-20-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

Do you mean integrated graphics? What's your video playback requirement? IGP in most low-end mb does not support hardware decode acceleration for HD contents.

I currently have a Fatal1ty F190-HD with an avermedia M780 tuner and use it to run Windows Media Center to watch both HD and analog TV, and to watch ripped dvds and .mkvs. It works fine for this and I don't even have it overclocked.

I want to duplicate this setup, just at the lowest possible price. Most motherboards it seems have VGA output rather than HDMI, though I did find the XFX MG-63MI-7159 that has both HDMI and SPDIF out.
mbordas's Avatar mbordas 08:55 AM 08-20-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbordas View Post

I currently have a Fatal1ty F190-HD with an avermedia M780 tuner and use it to run Windows Media Center to watch both HD and analog TV, and to watch ripped dvds and .mkvs. It works fine for this and I don't even have it overclocked.

I want to duplicate this setup, just at the lowest possible price. Most motherboards it seems have VGA output rather than HDMI, though I did find the XFX MG-63MI-7159 that has both HDMI and SPDIF out.

The Biostar TF7150U-M7 also seems to have the features I'm looking for in an htpc setup.
mbordas's Avatar mbordas 09:02 AM 08-20-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbordas View Post

The Biostar TF7150U-M7 also seems to have the features I'm looking for in an htpc setup.

Or the ECS GF7100PVT-M3. Sorry for the multiple messages, but once I started looking I found a couple of these around $60. It would help me and perhaps others if you could give me your opinion of these low-end boards for use as a WMC set top box.

And also let me know what you think about the M780 as an ATSC/QAM tuner, and if you think there are better alternatives. Thanks.
Postmoderndesign's Avatar Postmoderndesign 11:45 AM 08-20-2009
Quote:

I added the ATI Realtek HDMI driver and the lpcm AVR is showing icons for 5 or 7 speakers but I am still just getting stereo when using the 2 channel version of Power DVD that came with the Blu-ray drive or when using Media Player Classic Home Cinema. I am testing the setup with Blade Runner Blu-ray which is 5.1 and makes good use of the surround speakers. I am using the HDMI cable and have not plugged in to the motherboard the multiple channel audio cables.

The Realtek HDMI Output Properties dialogue box does not look the same as the one in your example. Mine says that it supports 8 channel and 16 an 24 bit depth. But HDCP is not supported. It also list 32 to 192kz and DTS audio and Dolby Digital. I do not have the check boxes.

It could be that I have not selected the correct audio track in the movie but I suspect I may need to buy a license or an upgrade for Power DVD.

Can you tell me my alternatives for getting correct audio? I know this has been gone over but I do not get it yet.

Case Antec Fusion Remote Max ATX
MB GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P P45 775 R 1
VGA HIS H467QSS1GP HD4670 1GB RT 1
PSU ENERMAX|EPR525AWT 525W RT 1
CPU INTEL|C2D E7400 2.8G 775 RT 1
MEM 2GX2|A-DATA ADQVE1B16K R 1
HD 640G|WD 7K 16M WD6400AAKS % 1
BLU BURN &HD ROM LG|GGW-H20L RT 1
CPU COOL|XIGMATEK HDT-SD964 R
HDHR TV Tuner
Logitech DiNovo Edge Keyboard
Lenovo 4422-HB6 monitor
Panasonic TH-58PZ700U Plasma
Yamaha HTR-6060 AVR
Windows 7RC
renethx's Avatar renethx 12:15 PM 08-20-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbordas View Post

I currently have a Fatal1ty F190-HD with an avermedia M780 tuner and use it to run Windows Media Center to watch both HD and analog TV, and to watch ripped dvds and .mkvs. It works fine for this and I don't even have it overclocked.

I want to duplicate this setup, just at the lowest possible price. Most motherboards it seems have VGA output rather than HDMI, though I did find the XFX MG-63MI-7159 that has both HDMI and SPDIF out.

I still own that abit F190-HD mb, and two GeForce 7150 mbs (abit, EVGA). As you know, the latter supports only single-channel memory controller, playing back high bitrate H.264 1080p is often choppy without a very fast processor ~3.0GHz. Upscaling SD contents is unattractive. The article

Home Theatre PC Motherboard Shootout

summarizes video playback performance of three similar older chipsets, Intel G35, GeForce 7100, and AMD 690G (none of them supports HA for H.264 VLD, none of them passes the HD deinterlacing test).

Currently the best low-cost IGP is AMD 780G/785G chipset (although HDMI audio is basically equivalent to S/PDIF).

- Athlon II X2 240 2.8GHz, $60
- A cheap AMD 780G mb, ~$60.
MordredKLB's Avatar MordredKLB 11:20 AM 08-21-2009
renethx, first of all, thanks for the excellent guide, although yesterday I was pretty sure of my components, but today I'm not

I had a few questions for you though, apologies if this has been answered recently, it's a long thread and hard to search. Basically after doing research on Anandtech and elsewhere, I was under the impression that onboard video/audio on most midrange MOBOs was pretty much good enough for Blu-Ray playback, without needing a video/audio card. I see that for pretty much every setup you still recommend a video card though. Is that mainly to reduce processor load, or is there an extra benefit? I understand SD scaling won't necessarily be as good but I can live with that as I have dedicated DVD players in my rack already. I'm also not planning on using this very much for games, mainly for BD/x264 and storing my audio collection. Would I be okay without a video card?

I understand I need an audio card to bitstream HD codecs, but is there really any other need? While bitstreaming would be nice to make the receiver light, LPCM is fine as it's what I've got now with the PS3. The PAP stuff didn't make a whole lot of sense to me either Is there significant loss in quality without it, or do most people just skip the audio card altogether?
price3's Avatar price3 01:47 PM 08-21-2009
What software do most people use to play Blu-rays on HTPC? I am kind of sad to spend several hundred dollars on this system to be hindered by software. I am trying to use the free power dvd that came with my LG drive but no audio is output over HDMI from Blu. Is there no low cost or open source solution for this yet? Retail versions cost as much as a stand alone player.
hbomber202020's Avatar hbomber202020 02:16 PM 08-21-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by price3 View Post

What software do most people use to play Blu-rays on HTPC? I am kind of sad to spend several hundred dollars on this system to be hindered by software. I am trying to use the free power dvd that came with my LG drive but no audio is output over HDMI from Blu. Is there no low cost or open source solution for this yet? Retail versions cost as much as a stand alone player.

I use PowerDVD as well that came with my LG drive, I'm happy with it.
Alot of people use mpc-hc, tmt3, pwdvd.

I'm like you, I don't want to spend more money for software.

I'm not sure what you mean about no audio is output over hdmi, because that's false.

You can look into mpc-hc(media player classic-home cinema) it is free

I personally like pdvd better.
JonEQuest's Avatar JonEQuest 02:50 PM 08-21-2009
I am good at making stuff and hardware hacks but I am stumped on what to do for a HTPC. After a week of reading I am even more confused. I would like a system recommendation based on my needs..... PLEASE.

*I have tons of backed up movies, home movies, .ISO, .avi etc., music, etc. on a 1tb usb drive.
*I have satellite (DirecTV DVR) with a sata plug, don't know if I can off load a favorite movie to save HD space or not, but it is no deal breaker if I can't.
*I need full 1080p smooth playback for my 58" Samsung FP-T5884

I basicly want something to allow me (or my wife) to use a remote to browse my files on hard drives in or outside the unit via usb or over a wired network, and play them from a nice GUI. I want to be somewhat future proof and don't own any BluRay discs yet but will likely add a Blu Ray burner/player to this box. Other things I would like to be able to do is browse the web occasionally from my sofa and playback stuff from Netflix, Hulu, etc. I don't play games so that type of power won't be needed. This will sit in a closed built in cabinet and be controlled with either a wireless remote or I will add an IR reciever outside the cabinet. The remote will need to work my DTV sat too so I may need a Harmony I guess. Noise is not too much of an issue for me since it will be in a large closed vented cabinet. I would pay a bit extra for a nice display on the front of the HTPC but is is also not a total necessity.


I tried to figure it out myself but there are SOOOO many opinions and have the posts I read are quoting older hardware or they have needs possibly beyond mine. Please Help!!

John
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