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post #19171 of 19197 Old 08-07-2014, 08:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bretski View Post
Would the 4690K idle at around the same wattage?

There was a chart that I saw posted on the MediaBrowser forums that references transcoding tests on an array of CPUs:
http://mediabrowser.tv/community/ind...s/#entry117930

That's what I was basing my choice of the i-5 4590 upon. If the idle power consumption of the 4690K will be the same, I'd spend the extra money to have peak processing power in reserve.

Thanks again for the help, I really appreciate it!
This is an old topic discussed numerous times. For example, this article on the Core i3-2100T Sandy Bridge processor.

I created that table and posted it here in this forum. As you can imagine from the table easily, the idle power consumption is almost identical throughout all the desktop Haswell processors, irrespective of the number of cores or normal/T/S versions. 4690K is no exception.
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post #19172 of 19197 Old 08-13-2014, 07:14 AM
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Thanks to all who have provided input for this great thread! I am now thinking of doing my second gen. HTPC. Use is almost exclusively for live TV and recording (DVR substitute), viewing Internet videos from Amazon Instant Video or YouTube. Output is HDMI to a very good sound system and soon a 4K TV I expect (now a Sony XBR6) No gaming anticipated. Current system is Core i3 with Intel HD graphics 2000, SSD 60 gb OS drive, 2 TB Green Drive, Asrock H67M MB. I am not looking to do this on the cheap side, focus is on best PQ and sound, but above all reliability, so full size case I guess. I am thinking maybe dual HDD drives for the content as the files change daily (record,view, delete, record etc.) and it takes a lifetime to do a backup. Suggestions?
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post #19173 of 19197 Old 08-13-2014, 11:32 AM - Thread Starter
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I am now writing the latest buyer's guide, that includes four categories:

- Standard systems
- Performance systems
- High Performance systems
- Ultra High Performance systems

These 'Performance' systems are literally performance systems for video files stored locally without DRM (e.g. ripped DVD/BD, TV recordings without DRM, torrent video files). But when it comes to DRM contents (such as 'Copy Once'-flagged TV contents and Internet streaming), any system is pretty much the same in PQ because there is no room to change the video playback pipeline. E.g. for live TV, you have to use WMC (Microsoft's own video decoder and renderer).

As for 4K, the basic requirements would be:

1. HDMI 2.0 support (the current HDMI 1.4 supports up to 4K @30Hz 4:4:4 RGB/YCbCr and 4K @60Hz 4:2:0 YCbCr; HDMI 2.0 supports 4K @60Hz 4:4:4 RGB/YCbCr)
2. HDCP 2.2 support (perhaps required to play back UHD Blu-ray and 4K Internet streaming)
3. H.265 hardware decoder

None of the current graphics cards support them. When such cards are available, you just can add one of them to your current system. Integrated GPU supporting them will be available only in Q2 2015 (Intel Skylake). For live HD TV and Internet HD video streaming, you'd better leave upscaling to the 4k display (because of better upscaling algorithm). So any of the current (e.g "Standard") system should be good.
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post #19174 of 19197 Old 08-13-2014, 11:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post
I am now writing the latest buyer's guide, that includes four categories:

- Standard systems
- Performance systems
- High Performance systems
- Ultra High Performance systems

These 'Performance' systems are literally performance systems for video files stored locally without DRM (e.g. ripped DVD/BD, TV recordings without DRM, torrent video files). But when it comes to DRM contents (such as 'Copy Once'-flagged TV contents and Internet streaming), any system is pretty much the same in PQ because there is no room to change the video playback pipeline. E.g. for live TV, you have to use WMC (Microsoft's own video decoder and renderer).

As for 4K, the basic requirements would be:

1. HDMI 2.0 support (the current HDMI 1.4 supports up to 4K @30Hz 4:4:4 RGB/YCbCr and 4K @60Hz 4:2:0 YCbCr; HDMI 2.0 supports 4K @60Hz 4:4:4 RGB/YCbCr)
2. HDCP 2.2 support (perhaps required to play back UHD Blu-ray and 4K Internet streaming)
3. H.265 hardware decoder

None of the current graphics cards support them. When such cards are available, you just can add one of them to your current system. Integrated GPU supporting them will be available only in Q2 2015 (Intel Skylake). For live HD TV and Internet HD video streaming, you'd better leave upscaling to the 4k display (because of better upscaling algorithm). So any of the current (e.g "Standard") system should be good.
Such a document will be a worthy addition to this forum and I for one look forward to seeing it. As for DRM content, those of us moving up will be most unlikely unable to transfer our HDD's or their content to the new HTPC's correct? If no, we all need to be careful in this area, maybe run old and new setups parallel for a while.
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post #19175 of 19197 Old 08-13-2014, 11:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sgbroimp View Post
As for DRM content, those of us moving up will be most unlikely unable to transfer our HDD's or their content to the new HTPC's correct? If no, we all need to be careful in this area, maybe run old and new setups parallel for a while.
Yup, you can't move TV recordings with DRM to another PC. You can play them only in the system where recording was done or in an extender connected to the system.
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post #19176 of 19197 Old 08-13-2014, 09:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post
Integrated GPU supporting them will be available only in Q2 2015 (Intel Skylake).
I think you're too optimist.

In Q2 2015 Broadwell will come out, with no fixed function HW for H.265.

Intel is saying - right now - that Skylake will follow immediately after Broadwell, but this has never happened before - to release two generations so close to each other.

Expect Skylake at least in 2016.

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post #19177 of 19197 Old 08-13-2014, 11:05 PM - Thread Starter
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I am not sure about this point. I just followed common rumors. Some of the latest rumors:

- fudzilla: Desktop Broadwell LGA is Socket 1150 (2014/7/31)

- VR-Zone (2014/07/13). English translation (by Google):

Quote:
Replace H81 H110 latest third quarter, Intel Skylake-S platform chip information and specifications confirmed

Intel 100 series motherboards confirm the second quarter of 2015 debut, and now one step closer to the information out.

2015 second quarter for Intel, it may quite busy, because in addition to Broadwell processor, while there will be Skylake platform will debut.

Intel Broadwell processors will start shipping from the third quarter of 2014, beginning with Y series will be based, as for other types of products, at least until the second quarter of 2015. Products which use desktop processors will provide Broadwell in the series can be overclocked, non-overclocked series and commercial markets Skylake-S platform and with a 100 series processors.

Intel can now confirm that in 2015 will be fully imported 100 series chip.



Commercial market segments, Q170 and Q150 and Q87 will be replaced Q85, there, Q170 support vPro and SIPP, while the Q150 supports only SIPP; B85 SMB section will be replaced by B150; finally in the consumer market segment, Z170 will replace Z97 , Z87, H170 is replaced by H97 and H87. Above the wafer will be completed in the second quarter of 2015 to replace the old products.

Lowest order, also accounted for the largest motherboard factory shipments H81 chip is to be replaced by H110 wait until the third quarter of 2015.



The most outstanding feature of this generation products should be SSIC full name SuperSpeed ​​USB Inter-Chip's. SSIC specification has confirmed a year, but it is by MIPI Alliance (Mobile Industry Processor Interface Alliance) and USB 3.0 Promoter Group jointly developed, USB-IF has been submitted as an open standard, belongs to the wafer to wafer USB interconnect specification.



More important part is, SSIC combination of M-PHY high bandwidth and low power performance outside the MIPI Alliance, along with SuperSpeed ​​USB performance.

The rest did not change much, the message from the point of view already know, Intel will not let H110 has a port SATA Express functions; addition, in H110, B150 and Q150 part does not support Intel RST, but fortunately only for PCIe Storage section .

On the other hand, PCIe bandwidth are different. H170 and Q170 chip can provide the maximum 20 Lanes of the PCIe GEN 3, but others such as H170 maximum can go to 16, Q150 was 10, B150 will have 8 Lanes, but inside the most miserable or H110, because it is only 6 Lanes of the PCIe Gen 2 only.

In the I / O SKU part of it has not changed much, but Skylake-S platform has confirmed will be transferred to DDR4 memory, but also close to several generations, including Broadwell use the built-in voltage regulator module FIVR (Full Integrated Voltage Regulator) abandon .

I believe Intel will be held in September in San Francisco announced Skylake platform, and perhaps also a little mention 10nm manufacturing process Cannonlake platform.

- VR-Zone (2014/6/28)

- CPU World: More details on Skylake processors (2014/6/26):

Quote:
To communicate with the PCH, the "H" and "S" CPUs will come with DMI 3.0 interface, that will feature higher transfer data rates than current DMI 2.0, up to 8 GT/s.

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post #19178 of 19197 Old 08-14-2014, 03:51 AM
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Broadwell will probably be out Q2 2015 and even about that I'm not 100% sure.

For Skylake...

Listening to such rumors, we should already have Broadwell in our hands

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post #19179 of 19197 Old 08-14-2014, 06:26 AM
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Yup, you can't move TV recordings with DRM to another PC. You can play them only in the system where recording was done or in an extender connected to the system.
BUT, am I right that if you set up 2 identical drives and record to both simultaneously (if WMC allows that), then you can read the DRM files from the second drive if the first one dies?
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post #19180 of 19197 Old 08-14-2014, 08:42 AM
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BUT, am I right that if you set up 2 identical drives and record to both simultaneously (if WMC allows that), then you can read the DRM files from the second drive if the first one dies?
You can make as many copies of the files as you want and move the files to a different PC. But you can only play those files on the PC they were originally recorded on. Note that if you reinstall the OS or make certain major hardware changes to that PC (replacing the CPU, for example), you will no longer be able to play previously recorded DRM files on that PC.
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post #19181 of 19197 Old 08-14-2014, 08:47 AM
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You can make as many copies of the files as you want and move the files to a different PC. But you can only play those files on the PC they were originally recorded on. Note that if you reinstall the OS or make certain major hardware changes to that PC (replacing the CPU, for example), you will no longer be able to play previously recorded DRM files on that PC.

Interesting.Are you sure? I just had my Win7 freshy reinstalled at the recommendation of my cable tuner manufacturer. All my files are fine. Last year I had the mother board blow and replaced. Most files were ok, but some were lost.
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post #19182 of 19197 Old 08-14-2014, 08:53 AM
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Interesting.Are you sure? I just had my Win7 freshy reinstalled at the recommendation of my cable tuner manufacturer. All my files are fine. Last year I had the mother board blow and replaced. Most files were ok, but some were lost.
Reinstalling the OS should definitely disable playback of any Windows Media Center recordings that have DRM that were recorded prior to reinstalling the OS. Regarding hardware changes, it's a bit less clear exactly what combinations of changes break the DRM as I've seen some people report that changing a secondary hard drive broke the DRM while some people have gotten away with relatively major hardware changes not breaking the DRM.

Keep in mind that only some channels may actually have DRM - this depends on your cable TV provider. As an example, Verizon FIOS only puts DRM on premium channels such as HBO while all other channels do not have DRM. This most likely explains your "most files were ok, but some were lost" experience.
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post #19183 of 19197 Old 08-14-2014, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by gsr View Post
Reinstalling the OS should definitely disable playback of any Windows Media Center recordings that have DRM that were recorded prior to reinstalling the OS. Regarding hardware changes, it's a bit less clear exactly what combinations of changes break the DRM as I've seen some people report that changing a secondary hard drive broke the DRM while some people have gotten away with relatively major hardware changes not breaking the DRM.

Keep in mind that only some channels may actually have DRM - this depends on your cable TV provider. As an example, Verizon FIOS only puts DRM on premium channels such as HBO while all other channels do not have DRM. This most likely explains your "most files were ok, but some were lost" experience.
That makes sense. I do not purchase any of these channels so probably I record mostly copy freely stuff, just occasionally copy once material. But the question originally was can I record simultaneously to two hard drives in the same chassis and get playback from either in case of a failure of one drive?
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post #19184 of 19197 Old 08-14-2014, 09:24 AM
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That makes sense. I do not purchase any of these channels so probably I record mostly copy freely stuff, just occasionally copy once material. But the question originally was can I record simultaneously to two hard drives in the same chassis and get playback from either in case of a failure of one drive?
Sorry I forgot to answer that part of your question. WMC doesn't support recording to 2 drives at the same time, so you would need to pursue other options that will mirror what's happening on one drive. Some forms of RAID will mirror data to additional drives. The data gets presented to the user as a single drive, so that may or may not be exactly what you're looking for. There are various levels of RAID - some are for high performance, some are for data integrity, some are more of a mix. There are hardware and software flavors of RAID. It's probably best to get into more detail in a separate thread - I believe there are already a few threads that discuss it here in the Home Theater Computers forum.
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post #19185 of 19197 Old 08-14-2014, 09:30 AM
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Sorry I forgot to answer that part of your question. WMC doesn't support recording to 2 drives at the same time, so you would need to pursue other options that will mirror what's happening on one drive. Some forms of RAID will mirror data to additional drives. The data gets presented to the user as a single drive, so that may or may not be exactly what you're looking for. There are various levels of RAID - some are for high performance, some are for data integrity, some are more of a mix. There are hardware and software flavors of RAID. It's probably best to get into more detail in a separate thread - I believe there are already a few threads that discuss it here in the Home Theater Computers forum.
Many thanks. That will probably be over my head but I will have a look. All I want is not to have to do daily back ups that can take forever. I figured a second drive would do that, but I guess it is not that simple.
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post #19186 of 19197 Old 08-14-2014, 10:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Perhaps you would want RAID 1 (mirroring). Any of the Intel H87/Z87/Q87/H97/Z97 chipsets supports RAID 0/1/5/10 (the cheaper chipsets H81/B85 don't support them). Setting up RAID 1 is pretty easy from a Windows GUI (Intel Rapid Storage Technology). Even if you already have a HDD with data, you can add a blank HDD and set up RAID 1 without loosing data (the existing date will be duplicated in the new HDD). If one of them fails, another still works.

Last edited by renethx; 08-14-2014 at 01:35 PM.
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post #19187 of 19197 Old 08-14-2014, 10:27 AM
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Perhaps you would want RAID 1 (mirroring). Any of the Intel H87/Z87/Q87/H97/Z97 chipsets supports RAID 0/1/5/10 (the cheaper chipsets H81/B85 don't support them). Setting up RAID 1 is pretty easy from a Windows GUI (Intel Rapid Storage Technology). Even if you already have a HDD with data, you can add another blank HDD and set up RAID 1. If one of them fails, another still works.
That sounds good. Wonder if my existing material could be ghosted over to the second drive right at the beginning so I have the desired redundancy for all the (non DRM) material at least. My MB is Asrock H67M, Intel HD Graphics 2000, that much I know. Imagine it supports RAID1, right?
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post #19188 of 19197 Old 08-14-2014, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
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That sounds good. Wonder if my existing material could be ghosted over to the second drive right at the beginning so I have the desired redundancy for all the (non DRM) material at least. My MB is Asrock H67M, Intel HD Graphics 2000, that much I know. Imagine it supports RAID1, right?
Yes. Install Intel Rapid Storage Technology driver (the current version is 13.1.0.1058). Change the storage mode from AHCI to RAID (Win7: a registry hack, reboot, change to RAID mode in BIOS, save and restart, Win8: choose Safe Boot, reboot, change to RAID mode in BIOS, save and restart; RAID driver will be installed automatically) and construct RAID 1. Existing data won't be lost, they are just mirrored in a new drive.

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post #19189 of 19197 Old 08-14-2014, 12:31 PM
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Yes. Install Intel Rapid Storage Technology driver (the current version is 13.1.0.1058). Change the storage mode from AHCI to RAID (Win7: a registry hack, reboot, change to RAID mode in BIOS, save and restart, Win8: choose Safe Boot, reboot, change to RAID mode in BIOS, save and restart; RAID driver will be installed automatically) and construct RAID 1. Existing data won't be lost, they are just mirrored in a new drive.
I am Win 7 Home Prem (on my C Drive, an SSD.) About same process, maybe? I am still going to direct WMC to record to the F drive (current HDD) after RAID set up right?
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post #19190 of 19197 Old 08-14-2014, 12:42 PM - Thread Starter
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I am Win 7 Home Prem (on my C Drive, an SSD.) About same process, maybe? I am still going to direct WMC to record to the F drive (current HDD) after RAID set up right?
Yes (google for the proper registry hack), and yes (Windows sees the RAID array as a single drive). But I haven't tested DRM recordings in this process. You may not be able to play back them any longer (there is very little possibility of this, I guess).

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post #19191 of 19197 Old 08-16-2014, 11:17 AM
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Intel 82579V is used in dozens of the latest Intel chipset desktop/server motherboards, including all the motherboards of the server section of my guide. However you will encounter a trouble in installing a driver for this device under WHS 2011 (an error message that the device is not found). Here is a simple workaround.

Download the latest driver from the Intel Download Center > Ethernet Components > Ethernet Controllers > Intel 82579 Gigabit Ethernet Controller > Network Adapter Driver for Windows Server 2008 R2: PROWinx64.exe for non-Itanium (obviously ). The current version is 16.3. Unzip PROWinx64.exe (by 7-Zip for example) to a folder, say, PRO_v16.3. Open the file

PRO_v16.3\\PRO1000\\Winx64\\NDIS62\\e1c62x64.inf

with Notepad. At the beginning of the file, you will see

Code:
[Manufacturer] %Intel% = Intel, NTamd64.6.1, NTamd64.6.1.1 [ControlFlags] ExcludeFromSelect = \\ PCI\\VEN_8086&DEV_1502,\\ PCI\\VEN_8086&DEV_1503 [Intel] [Intel.NTamd64.6.1.1] ; DisplayName Section DeviceID ; ----------- ------- -------- %E1502NC.DeviceDesc% = E1502.6.1.1, PCI\\VEN_8086&DEV_1502 %E1502NC.DeviceDesc% = E1502.6.1.1, PCI\\VEN_8086&DEV_1502&SUBSYS_00011179 %E1503NC.DeviceDesc% = E1503.6.1.1, PCI\\VEN_8086&DEV_1503 %E1503NC.DeviceDesc% = E1503.6.1.1, PCI\\VEN_8086&DEV_1503&SUBSYS_00011179 [Intel.NTamd64.6.1] ; DisplayName Section DeviceID ; ----------- ------- -------- %E1502NC.DeviceDesc% = E1502, PCI\\VEN_8086&DEV_1502 %E1502NC.DeviceDesc% = E1502, PCI\\VEN_8086&DEV_1502&SUBSYS_00011179
Short explanation:

- NTamd64.6.1.1 = WINDOWS 7 for 64-bit EXTENDED PLATFORMS
- NTamd64.6.1 = WINDOWS Server 2008 R2 for 64-bit EXTENDED PLATFORMS (We are concerned with this, WHS 2011 is a variant of WINDOWS Server 2008 R2.)
- E1502 = Intel(R) 82579LM Gigabit Network Connection
- E1503 = Intel(R) 82579V Gigabit Network Connection (We are concerned with this.)

Apparently [Intel.NTamd64.6.1] lacks entries for E1503, while the section [E1503] actually exists in the file (meaning 82579V works with Windows Server 2008 R2), that's the cause of the error message. (I don't know why Intel wants to prohibit us from using 82579V with Windows Server 2008 R2, maybe another marketing matter?) So add two E1503 lines there so that:

Code:
[Intel.NTamd64.6.1] ; DisplayName Section DeviceID ; ----------- ------- -------- %E1502NC.DeviceDesc% = E1502, PCI\\VEN_8086&DEV_1502 %E1502NC.DeviceDesc% = E1502, PCI\\VEN_8086&DEV_1502&SUBSYS_00011179 %E1503NC.DeviceDesc% = E1503, PCI\\VEN_8086&DEV_1503 %E1503NC.DeviceDesc% = E1503, PCI\\VEN_8086&DEV_1503&SUBSYS_00011179
Save the file and close it. Copy the folder PRO_v16.3 to a USB memory and insert it to the WHS 2011 system. Now you can install the driver by the usual method. (That is, go to Control Panel > Hardware > Devices and Printers > Device Manager > Other devices > Ethernet controller. Right click it and click "Update driver software", click "Browse my computer for driver software", then enter "G:\\PRO_v16.3\\PRO1000\\Winx64\\NDIS62\\" in the Browse... field, where G: is the driver letter for the USB memory that depends on each system. Click the "Next" button. Installation of the driver will begin.)
I am currently building and configuring a new WHS 2011 server, using an ASRock Z97 Extreme 4. This board uses an integrated Intel NIC, the I218-V. During the installation process, I got hung-up on the networking driver.

For anyone else who tries to install WHS 2011 with this NIC, here are the relevant file edits:
Download the latest Win7 64 drivers from Intel, and extract the .exe using 7zip.
Open with Notepad:
\\PRO1000\\Winx64\NDIS62\\e1d62x64.inf

From the [Intel.NTamd64.6.1.1] section, copy the following lines:
%E15A1NC.DeviceDesc% = E15A1.6.1.1, PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_15A1
%E15A1NC.DeviceDesc% = E15A1.6.1.1, PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_15A1&SUBSYS_00008086

Paste them to the end of the [Intel.NTamd64.6.1] section.

Hey Intel: Huge thumbs-down for making this so difficult.

ReneTHX: Big thank you for your post quoted above, which led me in the right direction.

Last edited by bretski; 08-16-2014 at 11:34 AM. Reason: typo
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post #19192 of 19197 Old 08-17-2014, 05:09 AM
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Looking at a Norco 4224 and wanted to verify rack sizing. Is the main body of the Norco actually the standard ~17" to fit in a regular rack?

I only see it's size listed as 19", but that must include the wings on the front that go over the rack pillars. Thanks.
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post #19193 of 19197 Old 08-17-2014, 06:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JaremyP View Post
Looking at a Norco 4224 and wanted to verify rack sizing. Is the main body of the Norco actually the standard ~17" to fit in a regular rack?

I only see it's size listed as 19", but that must include the wings on the front that go over the rack pillars. Thanks.
Yes, they'll fit in a standard 19" rack. You need to order the correct rack rail kit, which is essentially a pair of full extension drawer slides to rack mount it.
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post #19194 of 19197 Old 08-17-2014, 07:36 PM
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Yes, they'll fit in a standard 19" rack. You need to order the correct rack rail kit, which is essentially a pair of full extension drawer slides to rack mount it.
This looks like the kit that comes up comes up most often.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-004-_-Product

Also, does the 4224 have any limitation on gpu size? The case and layout looks like there is plenty of room for a large gpu, but I'm not finding a spec listed for it. I would be using a full size 290x or 780 ti type card. My system would be my storage, player, and gaming machine in one.
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post #19195 of 19197 Old 08-18-2014, 04:44 AM
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This looks like the kit that comes up comes up most often.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-004-_-Product
Norco has their own kits, and I'd suggest using them to make sure the overall width is correct and that the mounting points are compatible. According to their page for the 4224, the RL-26 is the correct rail option for that case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JaremyP View Post
Also, does the 4224 have any limitation on gpu size? The case and layout looks like there is plenty of room for a large gpu, but I'm not finding a spec listed for it. I would be using a full size 290x or 780 ti type card. My system would be my storage, player, and gaming machine in one.
For length, width, or height? The only real limitation you're going to run into with these cases would be height and it's not easy for me to open mine up and get you a measurement. You could try contacting Norco and there are also a few Norco threads in the Home Theater Computers forum where you might be able to get an answer.
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post #19196 of 19197 Old Today, 06:24 AM
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Renethx: Just donated to your guides.....

Could use some help. I am having some major issues with current HTPC which is a few years old. Rather than work through those, I am going to build fresh. It's a good time to update hardware so I am looking for current suggestions on equipment. I currently use a micro atx board with HD4000 graphics, PowerDVD 12 and MPC-HC.

I mostly play movies and tv shows with the mkv container often with fairly high bit rates and file sizes. No gaming.

Quality of image is very important to me as I switch between Panasonic 65" plasma and Sony HW 50ES projector but I don't want to spend days configuring things and have flakey issues constantly. This is used by my family so I need/want it to be fairly stable.

Occasionally, I might play a 3D movie. I am not currently using a HTPC front end as I have not found anything that works well for us. I have a Flexraid server with simple shares on it and we click on the mkv we want to play.
The server runs Windows 7, Plex, CouchPotato and Sabnzb.

Upgrade: Intel H97 micro atx? What CPU?
Video card? Use integrated Intel at whatever latest gen or discrete? If discrete, which GPU and recommended models?

Thanks for any help!!!!
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post #19197 of 19197 Old Today, 06:24 AM
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Renethx: Just donated to your guides.....

Could use some help. I am having some major issues with current HTPC which is a few years old. Rather than work through those, I am going to build fresh. It's a good time to update hardware so I am looking for current suggestions on equipment. I currently use a micro atx board with HD4000 graphics, PowerDVD 12 and MPC-HC.

I mostly play movies and tv shows with the mkv container often with fairly high bit rates and file sizes. No gaming.

Quality of image is very important to me as I switch between Panasonic 65" plasma and Sony HW 50ES projector but I don't want to spend days configuring things and have flakey issues constantly. This is used by my family so I need/want it to be fairly stable.

Occasionally, I might play a 3D movie. I am not currently using a HTPC front end as I have not found anything that works well for us. I have a Flexraid server with simple shares on it and we click on the mkv we want to play.
The server runs Windows 7, Plex, CouchPotato and Sabnzb. I mostly use Plex to transcode and stream to the kids iPads.

Upgrade: Intel H97 micro atx? What CPU?
Video card? Use integrated Intel at whatever latest gen or discrete? If discrete, which GPU and recommended models?

Thanks for any help!!!!

Last edited by Mike Walsh; Today at 11:05 AM.
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