I just spent two days reading this whole
I really want to take the plunge into a HTPC and our needs aren't too great so I think this board would work out well for us.First the needs
*) Basically just time shifting of television.
*) The ability to burn recorded shows to DVD (DVD compliant DVDs, not
*) A good channel guide and easy setting of record timers.
*) The ability to play commercial standard definition DVDs.
We actually have a Polaroid DRM-2100G stand alone DVR and it's worked very well for us, though it has some quirks:
*) The darn clock likes to wander so we have to reset it often. (auto setting via time signal doesn't work as the signal isn't transmitted on our cable system)
*) Discs burnt on it are burnt at 4x speed with no way to update the write strategies or increase the burn speed. Not a big issue - using good quality TY discs it has always made playable discs, but they don't error scan well so I usually re-burn them on the PC to get the best quality (and hopefully most scratch tolerant / longest lasting copy) I can. Also, though the hard drive can be easily replaced / upgraded in these units the burner is not easily upgraded so when it fails it can't be easily repaired
*) Discs burnt on it use the DVD_VR format which is not a compliant format and it causes fast forward and rewind issues on many (most) stand alone DVD players. (there is some software to fix such discs but it doesn't work on the Polaroid discs)
*) The tuner is mono only (unbelievable
in this day and age, huh?!)
*) The tuner has a lower volume, not a big deal but it is annoying.
All in all we just love it though! The ability to set record timers for your favorite shows and then not have to worry about changing tapes and stuff is just awesome! It's left us wanting a little more though . . . the channel listing and easier recording setup is what we want the most, second we would like the ability to burn shows to a compliant DVD format.
Sounds like we're needing an HTPC, doesn't it?! Our current A/V equipment and projected upcoming needs
*) A 27 Toshiba CRT standard definition TV. It just has the RCA A/V hookups (yellow/red/white) and an SVHS video input.
*) We may upgrade to a 37 to 40 plasma screen in the next year or so and we would like the HTPC to work with it.
*) We don't have any immediate plans to go to BluRay DVD.
*) Expanded basic cable (68 channels) that are delivered via unencrypted analog (and according to our cable company they don't have any immediate plans to cease the analog basic, even after Feb of '09).
That's about it, not too demanding.What I'm thinking as far as hardware
*) This motherboard (duh!) (I know a newer version is out but it doesn't have SVHS output)
*) 2 gb of the proper ram (1.8v, dual channel, etc.)
*) A 5000+ Black Edition cpu with a Ninja mini cooler, hopefully over clocked to 3 ghz. Probably overkill, but it seems that BR needs a 3 ghz processor to work and this is the most cost effective way to get to 3 ghz? BR is not a priority right now, but in the future it might be so I thought it might be nice to be prepared for it if we change our mind. If a lesser processor that was significantly cheaper that would handle our TV and SD DVD needs is available though I may go for it and upgrade the processor later if we go to BR.
*) An Antec 2480 case.
*) Probably a 500 gb hard drive - either ide or sata . . . I don't really have a preference though I'm just used to ide (the older I get the more set in my ways I get!) - any real pros/cons between the two? (cables being smaller and round and thusly not affecting air flow in the case is the one that comes to mind)
*) One big single drive OK, or should I install a smaller one just for the Operating system and software and keep the big one for data?
*) An BenQ 1640 DVD burner - I just have a spare one. I would move to a sata drive if there were a compelling reason to do so.
*) Two Hauppauge PVR-150s - we'd like to be able to watch/record one program while recording another. In fact we may want three tuners (seems like they always put the good stuff on at the same time!). I think you can only run two 150s, so a third USB tuner may be needed. We'll start with two PVR-150s and expand if needed (we know we will like the two 150s since both can record as being able to record just one tuner has been an issue a few times with the Polaroid)
*) The Hauppauge remote and ir sensor.
*) Wired LAN connection to our router.
*) Haven't decided on keyboard and mouse, but probably will try to get by on standard items - could go to a wireless set if needed though.SoftwareUndecided -> any and all inputs are welcomed!!!
*) I'd REALLY
like to try MythTV which would require Linux of some flavor. Is anyone running MythTV or Linux on this motherboard?
*) Barring Linux, I do have a spare copy of Windows Vista Home Premium OEM on hand. My son upgraded his machine last fall and bought it but he had trouble with drivers for both the motherboard and peripherals (he didn't build a whole new machine) so he went back to Windows XP Professional.
*) If I have to go to Vista I'll probably try GB-PVR, if we're not happy with it then we'll probably try BeyondTV (With BeyondMedia and DVD burning plugins).
*) GB-PVR and BeyondTV aren't our only preferences though, if anyone is running any of the other PVR software packages with this board I'd love to hear how things are working for you!
*) If needed, I would buy a copy of Windows XP (but it seems this board is quite happy with Vista?)
There we go, am I on the right track for a fairly trouble free build?