or Connect
AVS › AVS Forum › Video Components › Home Theater Computers › Assassin's Simple/Beginner HTPC Buying Guide
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Assassin's Simple/Beginner HTPC Buying Guide - Page 9

post #241 of 15901
Thread Starter 
Added pictures and my own explanations to the first page. I will add additional pictures if anybody has any...
post #242 of 15901
First, I would like to add my thanks and appreciation to everyone hear for this awesome thread! I'm getting ready to build my first HTPC and this information has been invaluable!

I have a couple of months until I'm going to ditch my current satellite service, so I'm not in a huge rush to get this thing built. That said, I'm anxious to get started. This looks like fun!

I'm leaning towards getting the GD05B case mentioned earlier in this thread. I don't mind skimping on components a little, but I want to make sure I get a quality case. My reasoning being that if I get a good case, this is one component that should last me through many, many upgrades.

The price on the i3 processor appears to be pretty standard. With the new Sandy Bridge coming out, does anyone think that the price on the Clarkdale will come down significantly in the next month or two? I'm trying to decide if it's worth it to wait, or if I should just pull the trigger now.
post #243 of 15901
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by g33k View Post

First, I would like to add my thanks and appreciation to everyone hear for this awesome thread! I'm getting ready to build my first HTPC and this information has been invaluable!

I have a couple of months until I'm going to ditch my current satellite service, so I'm not in a huge rush to get this thing built. That said, I'm anxious to get started. This looks like fun!

I'm leaning towards getting the GD05B case mentioned earlier in this thread. I don't mind skimping on components a little, but I want to make sure I get a quality case. My reasoning being that if I get a good case, this is one component that should last me through many, many upgrades.

The price on the i3 processor appears to be pretty standard. With the new Sandy Bridge coming out, does anyone think that the price on the Clarkdale will come down significantly in the next month or two? I'm trying to decide if it's worth it to wait, or if I should just pull the trigger now.

Glad you are enjoying the thread!

I wouldn't expect the current generation of i3/i5/i7 processors to significantly decrease in price. Intel does a pretty good job of making sure that their current processors are competitively priced. I think you would get a better deal looking out for sales in the next 2 months and buying your hardware piece by piece as you find them on sale.

Or just buy everything now and start enjoying you HTPC.
post #244 of 15901
Thread Starter 
FYI there is a new version of mediabrowser that has been released in the past few days that is supposedly MUCH faster and snappier.

Here are more details...
http://community.mediabrowser.tv/per...3-0---released
post #245 of 15901
Quote:
Originally Posted by g33k View Post

The price on the i3 processor appears to be pretty standard. With the new Sandy Bridge coming out, does anyone think that the price on the Clarkdale will come down significantly in the next month or two? I'm trying to decide if it's worth it to wait, or if I should just pull the trigger now.

That usually doesn't happen. It may go down some in the first 6 months but actually it may go *up* as supplies will start to dry up and demand will still be there.

It's not like you're going to see a $50 i3 Clarkdale anytime soon. Maybe when the next gen comes out after Sandy will that happen.
post #246 of 15901
Assassin, will this PSU be enough for the following HTPC build? I can get it for half the price it is listed for:

http://www.scan.co.uk/products/330w-...-eff-120mm-fan

HTPC:

i3 540
Gigabyte GA-H55M-UD2H Intel H55 Express 1156
Corsair Memory XMS3 4GB DDR3 1600 MHz CAS 9 XMP Dual Channel Desktop
1TB Samsung HD103SJ Spinpoint F3, SATA 3Gb/s, 7200rpm, 32MB Cache, 8.9 ms, NCQ, OEM
Sony AD-5260S-0B 24x DVD-SM Internal SATA Drive / Black
Silverstone Grandia GD04B, Black, HTPC/Desktop, Micro ATX, w/o PSU

You think you could give me advice on improving the HTPC or do you think I chose the parts wisely? I was thinking of building a Sandy Bridge based HTPC but the parts are so costly, especially CPU.

I'm located in the UK BTW so there are many HTPC cases that are unavailable for me.
post #247 of 15901
This is a great post - what is a compatible PC off the rack say from Dell?
post #248 of 15901
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vegeta View Post
Assassin, will this PSU be enough for the following HTPC build? I can get it for half the price it is listed for:

http://www.scan.co.uk/products/330w-...-eff-120mm-fan

HTPC:

i3 540
Gigabyte GA-H55M-UD2H Intel H55 Express 1156
Corsair Memory XMS3 4GB DDR3 1600 MHz CAS 9 XMP Dual Channel Desktop
1TB Samsung HD103SJ Spinpoint F3, SATA 3Gb/s, 7200rpm, 32MB Cache, 8.9 ms, NCQ, OEM
Sony AD-5260S-0B 24x DVD-SM Internal SATA Drive / Black
Silverstone Grandia GD04B, Black, HTPC/Desktop, Micro ATX, w/o PSU

You think you could give me advice on improving the HTPC or do you think I chose the parts wisely? I was thinking of building a Sandy Bridge based HTPC but the parts are so costly, especially CPU.

I'm located in the UK BTW so there are many HTPC cases that are unavailable for me.
I think the HTPC build looks solid.

And yes, that PSU is more than enough --- especially if you aren't planning on adding another video card to game or play 3D movies.

One thing you might want to change is the get a bigger HD (2TB instead of 1TB) and choose 5400RPM instead of 7200RPM for decreased noise and heat.
post #249 of 15901
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Contsi View Post
This is a great post - what is a compatible PC off the rack say from Dell?
IMO this is apples and oranges.

I think the major manufacturers like Dell and HP use inferior products.

Let's put it this way. Let's say Dell and HP both have a PC with an i3, 4GB RAM, 1TB hard drive, etc. How do you increase your profit margin?

You go with some of the lowest quality, cheapest components that you can find to increase your margin.

I'm not saying that Dell/HP have the worst components --- but the definitely don't use the best.
post #250 of 15901
Does anybody have any ideas on recording live TV? I have Directv which it seems from what I have read and investigated that I can't record from Directv. I do have an Over-the-air antenna which I could use to record Super Bowls and other sporting events on my HTPC. Does anybody have any suggestions on what type of card to buy or whether you can successfully record HD from Directv?
post #251 of 15901
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BradGinter View Post
Does anybody have any ideas on recording live TV? I have Directv which it seems from what I have read and investigated that I can't record from Directv. I do have an Over-the-air antenna which I could use to record Super Bowls and other sporting events on my HTPC. Does anybody have any suggestions on what type of card to buy or whether you can successfully record HD from Directv?
Understudy:

Here is a thread discussing a few options:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...hlight=directv

As far as recording OTA HD signals this is one of the more popular options...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16815327005


Here is another option...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16815116036


Recording Diretv directly to your HTPC is going to be a PITA.
post #252 of 15901
I record from my DirecTV HD box using the Hauppauge HD-PVR. Actually I have two of them (H21 and H23 models). Works great. The newer DirecTV boxes like these have an ethernet port and you can change the channel using a web service that runs on them. Very reliable - been doing it this way for a few months.

However I run Linux so can't say how it works under Windows.
post #253 of 15901
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by djb61230 View Post

I record from my DirecTV HD box using the Hauppauge HD-PVR. Actually I have two of them (H21 and H23 models). Works great. The newer DirecTV boxes like these have an ethernet port and you can change the channel using a web service that runs on them. Very reliable - been doing it this way for a few months.

However I run Linux so can't say how it works under Windows.

There you go!

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...SID=AVS%20Atma

post #254 of 15901
Can you go into more detail on the web service that changes the channels? What is this used for? Remote recording? Also, do you need software to add to this? How is it connected? Do you connect this between your display source and your directv box? I go through a Denon receiver so it would actually be between my directv box and the Denon Receiver. The Denon HDMI out goes to the television.
post #255 of 15901
The DirecTV box has the web service running and you just change the channel with the following URL:

http://LOCAL_IP:PORT/tv/tune?major=CHANNEL_NUMBER

LOCAL_IP is the IP address of the DirecTV box. You connect it to your network via an ethernet cable and it will be assigned an IP assuming you have a router or another computer that is handing out local addresses. In my case my router handles DHCP requests and gives it one.

PORT is I believe 8080. I'm not at home right now to check for sure.

CHANNEL_NUMBER is the channel you want to tune. Like 202 for CNN.

So on my network it would look something like:

http://192.168.2.112:8080/tv/tune?major=202

I have Java code that runs to actually change the channel but you could put that in your browser to actually change it. The web service returns some text stating success or failure.

My setup is DirecTV box connected to the network, component cables from the DirecTV box to the HD-PVR to capture video, an optical audio cable (TOSLINK) from the direcTV box to the HD-PVR to capture audio. The HD-PVR connect to my computer via USB.

The HD-PVR writes to a file on the computer - an AVCHD mpeg4 I think.

Like I mentioned, this is on Linux. The code to do the recording is mine - I have been working on a "home media system" for the last year. I'm hoping to release the code (Free Software GPLv3) in the next week or two. I'll announce it around here when I do....I definitely need testers since I don't have cable and most people do. The DirecTV people are covered though :-)
post #256 of 15901
Without the code, is there a way to just tell the device to start recording? I thought you could do this through Windows Media Center?
post #257 of 15901
Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Of course. If you want to a smaller HTPC I have just the parts for that as well.

(snip)

You can do this for as low as $383. I think I may add this on to the front page as well.

So it looks like going this route (miniATX) would save approx $50-60 compared the the microATX build I was considering. Anyone care to comment on pro/con of mini vs micro?

In my case, the only things I can really see adding down the road might be a dedicated video card and/or a tuner card. If I wanted to add a tuner, there are always external options like HDHomerun, so that's not a big deal.

Would a graphics card still fit in that Antec ISK case? Looks like there is one expansion slot on the miniATX board, but what about height? Would the included PSU need to be upgraded for a graphics card?

Other downsides to the smaller case - noise? Anything else?
post #258 of 15901
Sorry don't know Windows Media Center details as I have never run it. But certainly the HD-PVR would be supported. With the knowledge that the box can be channel changed via a command, perhaps Windows Media Center can be configured to run such a command? I would expect it since anyone who wanted to record from a cable set-top-box has to do something similar. But like I said, I'm ignorant on how WMC is setup.
post #259 of 15901
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtrage View Post
I installed 3 HDDs. I was able to get my 1st further in than you did. Mine did not not extend over the mb. Were you able to screw all 4 screws in? I'll see if I can get pics later.
Yeah i think it was just that particular hard drive. its got to be at least 6 years old to be honest. If i pushed it all the way in no screws could line up. I didnt try either of my other two drives there though. And it wasnt a real big issue as just plug the power in and ide cable in before slidding the "bay" into place and problem solved.

QUOTE=assassin;19826532]Thanks for the pictures! I'll add them to the front page under my building guide. [/quote]

yeah thanks for rewording everything as well I had way more pictures but its actually pretty easy to simplify it down to only 5 or 6 steps. Sorry for the poor pictures too....built it after a 12 hour day so wasnt to...picture taking friendly.




Quote:
Completely agree. The case has it flaws but is still the best "HTPC" case for the money, imo. There are better cases out there but most cost about twice as much.
O dont get me wrong i do like the case. Works wonderfully and matches my Onkyo receiver perfectly. Sticks out a bit more but meh no biggie! Heres a picture of the setup. Pardon the messyness of it all. but you can see it next to the receiver so it does blend in pretty well IMO






Quote:
Most motherboards I have worked with only come with 2 sata cables. I know this is true for gigabyte and ASUS. If you need extra just be sure to purchase them.
i know my ASUS A8N-premium i got back in 2006 had tons of cables included. Not sure if it was cause it was a "premium" model or not. The gigabyte mobo (a p35) from ~2007/2008ish also came with like 4 or 5 sata and a couple other cables. Nothing against this mobo just more a heads up for people to make sure they know what is included and to plan accordingly




And man media center master doing ~250 movies sure does take a long time
post #260 of 15901
So do you have to use the network or can you just tell the PVR device to start recording what is on the Directv box at the time and then stop it when you are done?
post #261 of 15901
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bswiz View Post
So it looks like going this route (miniATX) would save approx $50-60 compared the the microATX build I was considering. Anyone care to comment on pro/con of mini vs micro?

In my case, the only things I can really see adding down the road might be a dedicated video card and/or a tuner card. If I wanted to add a tuner, there are always external options like HDHomerun, so that's not a big deal.

Would a graphics card still fit in that Antec ISK case? Looks like there is one expansion slot on the miniATX board, but what about height? Would the included PSU need to be upgraded for a graphics card?

Other downsides to the smaller case - noise? Anything else?
Oh, if you size doesn't matter then I would go with the larger micro-ATX over the smaller mini-ITX. The micro gives you a lot more expansion options (as you stated above).
post #262 of 15901
Quote:
Originally Posted by BradGinter View Post

So do you have to use the network or can you just tell the PVR device to start recording what is on the Directv box at the time and then stop it when you are done?

Sure. But usually when you have a HTPC PVR you want to be able to change the channel without the user having to do it manually. Also the HD-PVR has a built-in IR transceiver, so the directv box could be controlled using that. I would expect that to be the "default" way that WMC would control it. Under Linux the IR transceiver until fairly recently wasn't supported - hence why I do use the network.

You also have to realize in my world I have all the TV tuners in one place in the basement. And at each TV I have a PC that is just a motherboard/video card and a small hard drive in a nice case. All recordings, videos and live tv come over the network. So 5 TVs in the home but only 2 directv boxes needed because we watch very little live tv. That saves at least $15 a month just in box leasing.

But my use is fairly advanced and outside the norm for sure...the only reason I piped up here in this thread because I didn't want anyone to think they couldn't have a directv based HTPC system in their home that they didn't get from directv.
post #263 of 15901
Can anyone recommend a comparable AMD system? Specifically a CPU that would be on par with an i3?

Edit: If I paired something like this CPU:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819103688

with a dedicated video card like this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814121397

Would it be comparable to an i3?
post #264 of 15901
Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

I think the major manufacturers like Dell and HP use inferior products.

Let's put it this way. Let's say Dell and HP both have a PC with an i3, 4GB RAM, 1TB hard drive, etc. How do you increase your profit margin?

You go with some of the lowest quality, cheapest components that you can find to increase your margin.

I'm not saying that Dell/HP have the worst components --- but the definitely don't use the best.

Not only that, but the fact that they have crap like proprietary mobos etc, specified and built just for them which you catch hell trying to find an aftermarket mobo to fit in its place when it dies. Or you have to pay the ridiculously inflated hardware pricing to get it from the OEM.

If your PC is anything other than a notebook/laptop, build it yourself. Read a book, watch videos, whatever you have to do, but build it yourself.
post #265 of 15901
Thanks assassin and everyone else for the info on the paste. I won't be overclocking - looks like the recommended i3 and heatsink will be just fine for my needs.

Thanks again for this thread. Love the photos that are being posted!
post #266 of 15901
So everything is working great other than one thing....

DTS-MA audio doesnt seem to want to play. Mediabrowser/7MC jst gives an error syaing it cant play that type of file. Mind you its just a h.264 in mkv with DTS-MA audio. Itll play normal DTS and DTS-ES with h.264 just fine.

Any ideas why it does this?
post #267 of 15901
I have a quick question : A coworker said that when he built a HTPC a few years ago, his USB ports would shut off when the computer went into standby mode. Therefore, he was not able to revive his HTPC with a remote once it went into standby, he would have to physically push the on button to get it out of standby mode. Is this still an issue with today's motherboards, do the USB ports stay on even during standby? Thanks.
post #268 of 15901
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by velillen View Post

So everything is working great other than one thing....

DTS-MA audio doesnt seem to want to play. Mediabrowser/7MC jst gives an error syaing it cant play that type of file. Mind you its just a h.264 in mkv with DTS-MA audio. Itll play normal DTS and DTS-ES with h.264 just fine.

Any ideas why it does this?

Not sure. I have had a few mkvs that have given me problems.
post #269 of 15901
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by galewskj View Post

I have a quick question : A coworker said that when he built a HTPC a few years ago, his USB ports would shut off when the computer went into standby mode. Therefore, he was not able to revive his HTPC with a remote once it went into standby, he would have to physically push the on button to get it out of standby mode. Is this still an issue with today's motherboards, do the USB ports stay on even during standby? Thanks.

Nope. I go weeks to months without having to touch the case buttons.

Not an issue.
post #270 of 15901
Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Not sure. I have had a few mkvs that have given me problems.

hmm odd. its literally only files with DTS-MA audio. DTS,AC3, and DTS-Es/EX all work just fine. Thankfully only have a couple movies i left in DTS-MA.

Quote:


I have a quick question : A coworker said that when he built a HTPC a few years ago, his USB ports would shut off when the computer went into standby mode. Therefore, he was not able to revive his HTPC with a remote once it went into standby, he would have to physically push the on button to get it out of standby mode. Is this still an issue with today's motherboards, do the USB ports stay on even during standby? Thanks.

Not an issue at all. You can turn it off into standby and turn it back on. I love it since it stays in the media center window the whole time.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Home Theater Computers
AVS › AVS Forum › Video Components › Home Theater Computers › Assassin's Simple/Beginner HTPC Buying Guide