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Assassin's Simple/Beginner HTPC Buying Guide - Page 3

post #61 of 15909
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by k2lounge View Post
not all of us have fancy AVR's that do HD audio
FWIW neither does mine (Denon AVR3806). But I like having the option.

The i3 is pretty good on power consumption and temperature too.
post #62 of 15909
Quote:
Originally Posted by bonscott87 View Post

No kidding. Pay twice as much for half as good. There is no hassle in building your own unless the person doesn't know how and doesn't want to learn.

You are right about twice as much, for building your own alright.

Just 2 weeks ago:

HP Pavilion p6610f Desktop PC

* AMD Athlon™ II 635 Quad-Core Processor (2.9GHz)
* 4GB installed memory
* 750GB hard drive
* SuperMulti DVD Burner with LightScribe Technology
* Wireless LAN 802.11 b/g/n
* High Definition Audio with up to 7.1 surround sound capabilities
* 15-in-1 memory card reader
* Includes HP USB keyboard and optical mouse
* Dimensions: 6.97" (W) x 16.85" (L/D) x 15.32" (H)
* Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium 64-bit
* 1 year warranty

All for less than $400. $300 if you throw in an old PC.

ATI Radeon HD 4200 integrated graphics. If your TV takes VGA, you are all set. If not, a 5450 would run you $20. A 5550 will set you back $50 or so.
post #63 of 15909
I believe the previous poster was talking about regular price PCs available every day. There are certainly exceptions and good deals to be had if you look hard enough. If you don't feel like building your own and find a good deal on a PC there should be nothing stopping you from going for it. Building a PC is not for everybody. There was a blu ray Zino HD available for $299 over black Friday. That is a great deal and includes everything you need to get started.

Unfortunately, big brands routinely use the lowest cost acceptable components. (Try overclocking a Dell) Their components would be roughly equivalent to my $300 build on my previous post. Building your own system can get you a longer lasting quieter cooler unit without all the bloatware. For HTPCs specifically, you can build around an appropriate case which has some nice asthetic advantages. Ultimately, it is up to you, the consumer.
post #64 of 15909
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PDXscreen View Post

I believe the previous poster was talking about regular price PCs available every day. There are certainly exceptions and good deals to be had if you look hard enough. If you don't feel like building your own and find a good deal on a PC there should be nothing stopping you from going for it. Building a PC is not for everybody. There was a blu ray Zino HD available for $299 over black Friday. That is a great deal and includes everything you need to get started.

Unfortunately, big brands routinely use the lowest cost acceptable components. (Try overclocking a Dell) Their components would be roughly equivalent to my $300 build on my previous post. Building your own system can get you a longer lasting quieter cooler unit without all the bloatware. For HTPCs specifically, you can build around an appropriate case which has some nice asthetic advantages. Ultimately, it is up to you, the consumer.

Great post.
post #65 of 15909
The big brands does not always use cheap components. At least not in my HP. Even if you build your own, it is not unusual to cheap out on one or two components. There is simply no need to overclock an HTPC.

Dell, HP, Lenovo, Acer, etc have much bigger buying power than us small fries and they can negotiate price more efficiently. Just about at any given point in time, if you put together a new system buying components yourself (like put together a shopping list from newegg), I can always find a cheaper, pre-build alternative as long as you are not dead set on a case.

If anyone need a "Simple/Beginner HTPC" that can play Blu-ray. Just buy the cheapest PC you can find. Throw in a 5450 and BR-ROM (if necessary) for less than $60 and you are set.
post #66 of 15909
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pixelation View Post

The big brands does not always use cheap components. At least not in my HP. Even if you build your own, it is not unusual to cheap out on one or two components. There is simply no need to overclock an HTPC.

Dell, HP, Lenovo, Acer, etc have much bigger buying power than us small fries and they can negotiate price more efficiently. Just about at any given point in time, if you put together a new system buying components yourself (like put together a shopping list from newegg), I can always find a cheaper, pre-build alternative as long as you are not dead set on a case.

If anyone need a "Simple/Beginner HTPC" that can play Blu-ray. Just buy the cheapest PC you can find. Throw in a 5450 and BR-ROM (if necessary) for less than $60 and you are set.

You obviously missed the whole point of this thread.

Edit: I guarantee your hp uses cheap parts. Why wouldn't they if they are trying to maximize their profit margin?
post #67 of 15909
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

You obviously missed the whole point of this thread.

The very first sentence reads........

Quote:


My guide to building a HTPC
post #68 of 15909
Thanks assassin for making this.

Will the new CPUs announced by Intel today make much of a difference? Should we be looking at those? Thanks!
post #69 of 15909
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AussieAdam View Post

Thanks assassin for making this.

Will the new CPUs announced by Intel today make much of a difference? Should we be looking at those? Thanks!

1. If you can wait 3-4+ months till the second quarter motherboards arrive (the current offering is quite anemic)

or

2. If you absolutely must have a built in 3D graphics processor (you can always add a 3D capable card with the current offering of Clarkdale CPUs)

or

3. If you absolutely must have HDMI 1.4

Otherwise any performance gains will again be overkill. The current i3 is already overkill for 1080p and most other utilities other than gaming.
post #70 of 15909
Has the new processor lineup fixed the 24p issue at all?
post #71 of 15909
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AussieAdam View Post

Has the new processor lineup fixed the 24p issue at all?

According to the recent anandtech review: No.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4083/t...-2100-tested/7
post #72 of 15909
This info is very timely as I have been searching for component information regarding an HTPC build.

My other dilemma is I've never built a computer. Is there a particular guide or resource I could be directed to that would help with piecing of all these parts together?

Sorry, I guess I put the "noo" in "noob."

Appreciate it.
post #73 of 15909
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dpmb View Post

This info is very timely as I have been searching for component information regarding an HTPC build.

My other dilemma is I've never built a computer. Is there a particular guide or resource I could be directed to that would help with piecing of all these parts together?

Sorry, I guess I put the "noo" in "noob."

Appreciate it.

Honestly I would probably start with watching a few youtube videos to see if it is for you.

I can honestly say that it is intimidating at first. After you build your first one I bet you could build a second one in about 1/10th of the time with what you will learn. I think that I could build a HTPC now with familiar parts in about 15 minutes --- I think my first computer build about 8 years ago took be about 2 hours.

You should do it. Its a LOT of fun and something you can take pride in.

Here are a few youtube videos to get you started that are decent....

Part 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CStOC0hET8

Part 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3buj5...eature=channel

Edit: Part 2 at the 1:30 mark is likely the part that gives most people problems. If you think you can handle that then you can definitely handle building a HTPC.
post #74 of 15909
Can the Core i3 handle 1080i H.264? Does it it use vector adaptive de-interlacing? I have a lot of home movies recorded in 1080i / H.264 that always present problems on iGPU's. Seriously interested in the Core i3 because of its low power consumption, but not at the cost of smooth 1080i / H.264 playback.
post #75 of 15909
Would you suggest using a Intel Core i3-540 3.06GHz LGA 1156 73W Dual-Core Desktop Processor" that i could get for $99, and why would you no use a 2tb green caviar western digital? Just wondering. I am definitely using the rest of your suggestions. Great Build!
post #76 of 15909
correction....why dont you use the Intel Core i3-550 Clarkdale 3.2GHz 4MB L3 Cache LGA 1156 73W Dual-Core Desktop Processor BX80616I3550
post #77 of 15909
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by globaldonkey View Post

Can the Core i3 handle 1080i H.264? Does it it use vector adaptive de-interlacing? I have a lot of home movies recorded in 1080i / H.264 that always present problems on iGPU's. Seriously interested in the Core i3 because of its low power consumption, but not at the cost of smooth 1080i / H.264 playback.

Of course. I watch h.264 and MKV all the time.

Here is a quick google result: http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/gra...-performance/6

I don't know about the vector adaptive interlacing.
post #78 of 15909
I know there are frequent posts regarding the 24p issues and Intel's gpu. I maintain that it is not an issue. I could be wrong but I do not notice any "dropped frames" in playback on my 92" projector setup. I also have not heard any complaints from i3 users on dropped frames. Much has been made regarding this issue but as far as I can tell from real world use in my system, it is irrelevant.

The i3 for $99 would do very well in the home theater.

You can run any hard disk you want. It is not neccessary to have a 10K rpm drive to play media files. The WD is at a good price point. It is energy efficient and gets fairly good reviews for reliability.
post #79 of 15909
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zsienkiewicz149 View Post

correction....why dont you use the Intel Core i3-550 Clarkdale 3.2GHz 4MB L3 Cache LGA 1156 73W Dual-Core Desktop Processor BX80616I3550

Sure. You can use either.

Just make sure they are Clarkdale to have the integrated HD GPU.

Both are great but as stated multiple times both are complete overkill for a HTPC as far as CPU performance goes. You will likely be below 5% CPU usage for most 1080p videos.

I would go with whichever one was cheaper.
post #80 of 15909
Quote:
Originally Posted by pixelation View Post

The big brands does not always use cheap components. At least not in my HP. Even if you build your own, it is not unusual to cheap out on one or two components. There is simply no need to overclock an HTPC.

Dell, HP, Lenovo, Acer, etc have much bigger buying power than us small fries and they can negotiate price more efficiently. Just about at any given point in time, if you put together a new system buying components yourself (like put together a shopping list from newegg), I can always find a cheaper, pre-build alternative as long as you are not dead set on a case.

If anyone need a "Simple/Beginner HTPC" that can play Blu-ray. Just buy the cheapest PC you can find. Throw in a 5450 and BR-ROM (if necessary) for less than $60 and you are set.

To clarify, I am not advocating overclocking a HTPC. Overclocking and overvolting(or undervolting for that matter) do however provide a measure of how much overhead you have to push your pc. The big brands do not provide this. Take a look at the power supply. It will be lightweight and disposable.
post #81 of 15909
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zsienkiewicz149 View Post

why would you no use a 2tb green caviar western digital? Just wondering. I am definitely using the rest of your suggestions. Great Build!

The WD Greens are great HTPC drives too.

The 2TB WD Green uses 4 platters.

The 2TB Samsung uses 3 platters.

The result is that the Samsung drives are faster. In fact most people would equate their speed to a WD Blue drive for HTPC uses.

The 2TB Samsung is also routinely $80 where the WD Green runs about $90.

All reasons to go with the Samsung, imo.

But again, both are great drives. I currently have 2 WD Greens but would buy the Samsung if I had the choice today --- the 2TB Samsung wasn't available when I built my HTPC.
post #82 of 15909
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PDXscreen View Post

To clarify, I am not advocating overclocking a HTPC. Overclocking and overvolting(or undervolting for that matter) do however provide a measure of how much overhead you have to push your pc. The big brands do not provide this. Take a look at the power supply. It will be lightweight and disposable.

I had a friend that bought a HP computer because of a "great deal".

He wanted to upgrade the video card because the one that came with it sucked and they wanted a ton of money to upgrade the card in the factory.

He ended up buying a new card but also had to replace the PSU because it wasn't powerful enough to power the new video card. In the end the "great deal" he got ended up costing him more than a custom build if he did it himself. He also was of course left with a heaping pile of other inferior parts.

No thanks.
post #83 of 15909
Quote:
Originally Posted by cp59 View Post

As an idea for a sample build to add to this post.. how about a budget HTPC? The processor price is killing my budget. I'm looking for a motherboard around 100 and a processer in the 50-60 range. I'm an AMD fan, but will do Intel. The processor you have is listed as 114 now, and that's what's killing me.

Thanks!

Budget build:

BioStar Eco i2 barebone: $130
(http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16856115034)

Intel i3-540 with IGP: $115
2 GB Kingston valueRAM: $25
500GB Caviar Blue HDD: $50
Lite-On Bluray player: $50
MS Windows 7 OS: $100

TOTAL: $470

That's pretty good with a system as powerful as the i3-540, including the OS and Bluray!
post #84 of 15909
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by IanS View Post

Budget build:

BioStar Eco i2 barebone: $130
(http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16856115034)

Intel i3-540 with IGP: $115
2 GB Kingston valueRAM: $25
500GB Caviar Blue HDD: $50
Lite-On Bluray player: $50
MS Windows 7 OS: $100

TOTAL: $470

That's pretty good with a system as powerful as the i3-540, including the OS and Bluray!

Sure. I never said my recs were the cheapest.

I was going for a good balance of what I view as quality, reliability and performance. If you want these features then it will not always be the cheapest.
post #85 of 15909
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PDXscreen View Post

I know there are frequent posts regarding the 24p issues and Intel's gpu. I maintain that it is not an issue. I could be wrong but I do not notice any "dropped frames" in playback on my 92" projector setup. I also have not heard any complaints from i3 users on dropped frames. Much has been made regarding this issue but as far as I can tell from real world use in my system, it is irrelevant.

Totally agree. I have built about 5 i3 HTPCs for various people and haven't told any of them about the 24p issue to see if they would notice.

No complaints.

You get 1 uber-quick shudder every 40 seconds or so and most of the time it isn't even noticeable.
post #86 of 15909
Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Of course. I watch h.264 and MKV all the time.

Here is a quick google result: http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/gra...-performance/6

I don't know about the vector adaptive interlacing.

Yeah it was the i part I was critically interested in. Interlaced content. It is the de-interlacing that usually taxes GPU's heavily. There seems to be a few downsides to the i3 from what I can find so far:

1. No 23.976 fps support
2. A few reports on several forums (including this one) that it does not play well with with MPC-HC or ffdshow codecs, particularly with DXVA enabled. Even the link you provided seems to indicate the same.
3. A few reports that it has trouble with 1080i content. Hence my question.
post #87 of 15909
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by globaldonkey View Post

Yeah it was the i part I was critically interested in. Interlaced content. It is the de-interlacing that usually taxes GPU's heavily. There seems to be a few downsides to the i3 from what I can find so far:

1. No 23.976 fps support
2. A few reports on several forums (including this one) that it does not play well with with MPC-HC or ffdshow codecs, particularly with DXVA enabled. Even the link you provided seems to indicate the same.
3. A few reports that it has trouble with 1080i content. Hence my question.

Sounds like you have a pretty specific need. I think that your best bet would probably be a more powerful discrete video card.

No idea which one you need though.

For me my HTPC plays everything I can throw at it with ease. Never had to mess with the 1080i h.264 files though (that I know of, anyway).
post #88 of 15909
Quote:
Originally Posted by globaldonkey View Post

Yeah it was the i part I was critically interested in. Interlaced content. It is the de-interlacing that usually taxes GPU's heavily. There seems to be a few downsides to the i3 from what I can find so far:

1. No 23.976 fps support
2. A few reports on several forums (including this one) that it does not play well with with MPC-HC or ffdshow codecs, particularly with DXVA enabled. Even the link you provided seems to indicate the same.
3. A few reports that it has trouble with 1080i content. Hence my question.

1) This is only an issue for very few people. From what I've read it's only an issue for those with 24p native sets and have sensitive eyes. I've never seen this issue once on my 1080p Plasma. Smooth as silk.

2) I use ffdshow and have no issues. Also have tried MPC-HC and no issues although I don't like it's interface so I stick with WMC. Perhaps specific uses have problems, I must not use it like that.

3) Don't know where the 1080i thing comes from. I watch 1080i all the time...it's called OTA HD programming like NBC or CBS. No issues at all.

But maybe for your very specific needs these are issues.
post #89 of 15909
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenEyez View Post

Intel has issues with open source decoders like ffdshow DXVA, the MPC-HC ones and XBMC, especially VC-1 playback. Also, no 24p playback.
A HD5xxx series card or a Nvidia GT430 (which also supports 3D Blu Ray with HDMI 1.4) are a better solution IMO.

Case: Nmedia HTPC-5000B Desktop Media Centre Case mATX Black $69.99
Motherboard: ASUS P7H55-M Pro mATX H55 LGA1156 $97.99
CPU: Intel Core i3 540 Dual Core Processor Clarkdale LGA1156 $109.99
RAM: G.SKILL F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL Ripjaws PC3-12800 4GB 2X2GB DDR3-1600 CL9-9-9-24 Core i5 1.5V Memory Kit $45.99
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB SATA3 6GB/S 7200RPM 64MB Cache 3.5IN Dual Proc $84.99
Power Supply: Corsair Builder Series CMPSU-500CX 500W ATX Power Supply Active PFC 120MM Fan $69.99
Disk Drive: Samsung SH-S243D/BEBE 24X Black DVD Writer SATA $15.99
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Edition 64BIT DVD OEM $99.99

- A S S A S S I N B U I L D ver1.01 - (minor changes due to availability of items)
*PC-Assembly $50.00

Total: $728.05 taxes in.

I have my eyes set out for this:
Video Card (OPT): Sapphire Radeon HD 6850 775MHZ 1GB 4.0GHZ GDDR5 2XDVI DisplayPort HDMI PCI-E $198

Not sure if I should add it..I may want to game...but I see myself playing somewhat old school games like cs:source, tf2, l4d, and kf! Whats your opinion assassin?
post #90 of 15909
Thanks assassin and bonscott87.

I'm genuinely interested in the i3 because of its low cost and power consumption, but I've been burnt with Intel iGPU's in the past (had to put a dedicated GPU in) and just trying to sort out fact from fiction. Lot of different stories out there.

I agree. The 24p thing is definitely for the purists. I may be one

Yes HDTV is one of the functions I am interested in. In Australia, it is 1080i / MPEG 2. Good to hear positive experience with the US HDTV. Is that using H.264 or MPEG 2? Clearly MPEG 2 decoding is going to be easier on the GPU.

The other requirement is to play files from my Sony HD Handycam, which uses 1080i / h.264.

I have in the past found both HDTV (1080i / h.264 or MPEG 2) and 1080i / h.264 media files to be the most demanding, mostly because of the de-interlacing demand. 1080p is rarely the problem child on any reasonably modern iGPU.

There are some posts out there that suggest there might be some problems with HDTV on the Core i3. Again, just trying to sort the wheat from the chaff.

Found this good overall comparison of GPU's. It's HD de-interlacing I'm talking about. VA is the ATI / AMD version of it.

http://www.missingremote.com/guide/b...deo-processing
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