Please critique my new HTPC build - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 12-06-2007, 11:46 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm looking to replace my three year old HTPC, which was built with then two or three year old parts. I'll be using my Vizio 42" LCD and just the TV speakers for now, although that could change in the future. I do not have any plans to add BluRay/HDDVD functionality right now, but again I may wish to do so in the future. I'll be using a power supply, heatsink/fan, hard drive, and Hauppage SD tuner card that I already have.

Anyway, I'd appreciate your thoughts and suggestions.

Case: Silverstone LC17
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ Brisbane
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-M61P-S3
RAM: Crucial Ballistix 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
HD tuner: Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-1600 1101WB
Video card: XFX PVT86JUAHG GeForce 8500GT
DVD drive: Sony NEC Optiarc Black IDE DVD-ROM

Edit 1:
Case: Silverstone LC17
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ Brisbane Black Edition
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-M61P-S3
RAM: Crucial Ballistix 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
HD tuner: Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-1600 1101WB
Video card: XFX PVT86JUAHG GeForce 8500GT
DVD drive: Sony NEC Optiarc Black IDE DVD-ROM

Edit 2:
Case: Silverstone LC17
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ Brisbane Black Edition
CPU Cooler: ZEROtherm BTF90 92mm Silent UFO CPU Cooler
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-M61P-S3
RAM: Crucial Ballistix 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
HD tuner: Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-1600 1101WB
Video card: XFX PVT86JUAHG GeForce 8500GT
DVD drive: Sony NEC Optiarc Black IDE DVD-ROM
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post #2 of 18 Old 12-06-2007, 01:09 PM
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Okay, just so you know -

You can't record say HD and watch a SD show with hybrid cards. You can watch either and flip between them but you can only record ONE.

If you want true Tivo type function you need a VBox 164 or one of the other single slot dual tuner cards. The caveat is that you have to use Coax/RF inputs into the 164, I am not sure about the others.

That is somewhat important because if you have Digital Cable that's not an issue, but if you have Direct TV or Dish Network, umm you can't use S-Video out, not at least with the Vbox card.

The rest is fine, but make sure you have enough cooling.

I think you have future proofed your system and only need a Blu Ray drive and it should run on that system without any problems.

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post #3 of 18 Old 12-07-2007, 03:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply, I really appreciate it. With regard to the tuner cards, I plan to use my existing SD card to handle all of my SD recording, and the new HD card to do HD recording. Are you saying that I can't record SD on the HD card as well? (i.e. record two SD programs at once, one on the SD card and one on the HD card) I'd be open to looking into the VBox instead of the Hauppage that I'm considering now, but I'm not sure I understand what you mean.

If it's of any importance, I only have basic cable (no cable box) and don't plan on changing it any time soon. All of my HD content is local channel HD signals that are rebroadcast on my Comcast cable. I could alternatively use an antenna and get the same HD channels.
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post #4 of 18 Old 12-08-2007, 06:43 AM - Thread Starter
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post #5 of 18 Old 12-11-2007, 09:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Anyone?
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post #6 of 18 Old 12-11-2007, 09:44 AM
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Pretty decent system. If you haven't placed the purchase in yet, I would recommend going for something just a little higher than the 4400+. I have the 4800+ and while its fine for playing and recording HD, I can't help but notice that its constantly hovering at 50-60% utilization. For myself at least, I wish I gone for a 5000+ or just a little higher. Also make sure to get the brisbanes because they run so cool. My 4800+ runs at high 20's to low 30's C. Enough to cool it passively.

I have the hauppauge 1600 as well along with the Fusion 5 Gold for HD tuners. I don't do any SD recordings. The 1600 is a great card, even comes with an hardware mpeg encoder. But I notice that typically it doesn't recieve as strong signals as the fusion card does.

Are you planning on overclocking?
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post #7 of 18 Old 12-11-2007, 12:56 PM
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I am 95% sure the 1600 is one of the cards I have and it can record both HD and SD at the same time as two separate tuners are on the card.

http://www.hauppauge.com/pages/produ...a_hvr1600.html

Are you using Windows XP Media Center Edition or Vista? If so, you can add WinTV-HVR-1600 as either the primary or as the second TV tuner. The Microsoft Media Center application supports up to two TV tuners, so you can watch one TV channel while recording another! And WinTV-HVR-1600 has Windows Vista Premium certification.

I will verify tonight if I get a chance.
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post #8 of 18 Old 12-11-2007, 01:22 PM
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Get the fastest processer you can afford.
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post #9 of 18 Old 12-11-2007, 01:27 PM
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Drop the gfx card, pick up a G35 mobo and get the fastest cpu you can.
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post #10 of 18 Old 12-12-2007, 07:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orangecream View Post

Pretty decent system. If you haven't placed the purchase in yet, I would recommend going for something just a little higher than the 4400+. I have the 4800+ and while its fine for playing and recording HD, I can't help but notice that its constantly hovering at 50-60% utilization. For myself at least, I wish I gone for a 5000+ or just a little higher. Also make sure to get the brisbanes because they run so cool. My 4800+ runs at high 20's to low 30's C. Enough to cool it passively.

I have the hauppauge 1600 as well along with the Fusion 5 Gold for HD tuners. I don't do any SD recordings. The 1600 is a great card, even comes with an hardware mpeg encoder. But I notice that typically it doesn't recieve as strong signals as the fusion card does.

Are you planning on overclocking?

Thanks for the suggestion on the processor. I changed to a 5000+ Brisbane Black Edition. I'm planning to do some moderate overclocking, but not at the expense of noise if I need to crank my heatsink fan. I'm glad to hear that you like the 1600.

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Originally Posted by numzie View Post

Drop the gfx card, pick up a G35 mobo and get the fastest cpu you can.

I'm a little hesitant to go with an mATX mobo, and as far as I know G35 is only available in mATX right now. Is there really a significant performance increase between a standalone 8500GT and an IGP from a G35 board?
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post #11 of 18 Old 12-12-2007, 02:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Actually... now I'm considering whether I really should switch to a G35 board and Intel CPU. It would cost me about the same amount for a G35 board and 4400 Core 2 Duo as it would for an AMD mobo, 5000+ Black Edition and 8500GT. Any thoughts?
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post #12 of 18 Old 12-12-2007, 05:58 PM
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If you want 7.1 sound and video over HDMI get a G35 mobo
If you want 5.1 sound and video over HDMI get an ATi HD video card
If you want low wattage get your aforementioned stuff
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post #13 of 18 Old 12-13-2007, 08:06 AM - Thread Starter
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One important piece of information that I left out is that I'll be running WinXP Pro. As I understand it, the Intel graphics/G35 chipset does not allow BD/HD-DVD under XP, only Vista. That's pretty much a deal breaker for me.

I don't think that my budget will allow for an Intel mobo, reasonable C2D, and a standalone GPU. I'm open to suggestions though.
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post #14 of 18 Old 12-13-2007, 09:27 AM
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If your going to use the LC17 case, make sure that the front of your DVD drive is flat. I bought this case and a couple of ASUS drives. It turns out that the drawers on the ASUS drives are not flat. They have a slight decorative profile. In a regular PC it doesn't matter. However, on the LC17 case, those nice looking aluminum covers stick to the drawer of you DVD drive with double faced tape. If the front of the DVD isn't flat, the aluminum piece won't be flush with the case. Makes it look terrible.
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post #15 of 18 Old 12-13-2007, 04:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saladFingers View Post

If your going to use the LC17 case, make sure that the front of your DVD drive is flat. I bought this case and a couple of ASUS drives. It turns out that the drawers on the ASUS drives are not flat. They have a slight decorative profile. In a regular PC it doesn't matter. However, on the LC17 case, those nice looking aluminum covers stick to the drawer of you DVD drive with double faced tape. If the front of the DVD isn't flat, the aluminum piece won't be flush with the case. Makes it look terrible.

Good thing you pointed that out. Thanks for saving me the trouble of replacing my drive.
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post #16 of 18 Old 12-14-2007, 05:54 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm going to pull the trigger this afternoon. Any last suggestions?
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post #17 of 18 Old 12-14-2007, 07:38 AM
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I just noticed you added the black edition which is I run and it is great however be aware that it does not come with a fan and heat sink. I ordered a ninja so no big deal but would suck to have to sit and wait on that to put things together.
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post #18 of 18 Old 12-14-2007, 07:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hukt View Post

I just noticed you added the black edition which is I run and it is great however be aware that it does not come with a fan and heat sink. I ordered a ninja so no big deal but would suck to have to sit and wait on that to put things together.

Good catch. I actually added a Zerotherm 92mm cooler but I neglected to add it to my original post. I was hoping to use an old Zalman cooler that I have sitting around (CNPS7000?) but unfortunately it isn't compatible with AM2.
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