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Guide to Building a HTPC, Workstation and Server - Page 617

post #18481 of 19097
Hi, I have a PC that I built with the specs at the end of this message. These days I use it just to store media and not as a HTPC. Below are the symptoms:

1. Once in a while, when I use Picasa or Chrome, the screen becomes blank.
2. There is no video (the backlight seems to be on).
3. The PC runs fine otherwise, ie, I can access it over the network (see folders over the network etc.)
4. I updated the ATI Catalyst drivers, but it didn't help.
5. The monitor is connected to an Acer monitor via HDMI.

Any ideas what's going on. Below are the specs.

Motherboard: GA-MA78GM-US2H
RAM: PNQ 2x2GB DDR2 800
Processor : AMD Athlon II X4 620

Thanks.
post #18482 of 19097
Do most folks build an htpc and then connect to a network share to watch videos? thats my intent, and I have a whs 2011 server.

Or load movies onto the htpc itself and then stream from htpc to various DUNE, popcorn hour, and wd devices.

Seems like the first solution with network share is the easiest to navigate to me.

thanks in advance to you erudite scholars here. any pros vs cons?
post #18483 of 19097
Quote:
Originally Posted by amcdoc View Post

Do most folks build an htpc and then connect to a network share to watch videos? thats my intent, and I have a whs 2011 server.

Or load movies onto the htpc itself and then stream from htpc to various DUNE, popcorn hour, and wd devices.

Seems like the first solution with network share is the easiest to navigate to me.

thanks in advance to you erudite scholars here. any pros vs cons?

I connect my HTPC to WHS V1 via mediabrowser and everything streams seamlessly...the pro to me is that using WHS i can set up other devices to use the content on WHS...plus WHS seems better at expanding if you need to add storage...the con might be set up for some people but i had no issues and i'm not a tech guru
post #18484 of 19097
Quote:
Originally Posted by amcdoc View Post

Do most folks build an htpc and then connect to a network share to watch videos? thats my intent, and I have a whs 2011 server.

Or load movies onto the htpc itself and then stream from htpc to various DUNE, popcorn hour, and wd devices.

Seems like the first solution with network share is the easiest to navigate to me.

thanks in advance to you erudite scholars here. any pros vs cons?

Well if your HTPC has videos on it and you're streaming them to other devices, then your HTPC kinda becomes a server. I like to keep them separate because they're designed for different things and thus have different hardware configurations and priorities:

File Server
- Use as little power as possible
- 24/7 use
- Cheap as possible
- Lots of SATA ports for loads of storage space
- Good cooling since it's in a cupboard and not tended to often
- Linux or Windows Server for stability

HTPC
- Use as little power as possible
- As quiet as possible
- Higher-end components
- Separate GPU for custom refresh rates and high quality hardware deinterlacing.
- 1 SATA port for OS SSD for fast wake/sleep/application launching/etc.
- 1 SATA port for a timeshifting/recording HDD
- BD-RE drive
- Should look nice
- Windows 7 for application support and DXVA2

I think you have to make more compromises if you combine the two, although it is certainly possible.

At some point in the future I plan to move my tuner card(s) to my server also and run MediaPortal TV-Server on it, then have several HTPC clients connecting to it. That way there'd be a central repository for timeshifts and recordings and multiple machines capable of watching TV without each one having a tuner card. They would all only require a 40 GB SSD with no HDD required.
post #18485 of 19097
I already bought the new motherboard - Asus P8H67-M EVO to replace the z68.

Now the doubt is the cpu celeron 530 or pentium 620? It worth it 20 euros more? No 3D, only for 1080p/720p mkv and bluray movies playback.

Thanks
post #18486 of 19097
Do you have a separate GPU? If so, the G530 is plenty. If not, I'm not sure if either of those can handle 1080i with DXVA2...they probably can but maybe not with high quality MadVR.
post #18487 of 19097
Quote:
Originally Posted by DragonQ View Post

Do you have a separate GPU? If so, the G530 is plenty. If not, I'm not sure if either of those can handle 1080i with DXVA2...they probably can but maybe not with high quality MadVR.

I don't have separate GPU.. Thinking in future maybe put one, but to be honest I don't care MadVR I use XBMC and thats ok for me.. When XBMC allow MadVR without external player I prefer buy a GPU.
post #18488 of 19097
In that case, the Celeron should be fine. The only differences between the two are that the Pentium is more expensive, runs at 2.6 GHz instead of 2.4 GHz, and has 3 MiB of L3 cache instead of 2 MiB. Wikipedia says something about 3D video, which is uncited.

I recommend using LAV Filters in DXVA2 Native mode when using EVR.
post #18489 of 19097
Quote:
Originally Posted by DragonQ View Post

Well if your HTPC has videos on it and you're streaming them to other devices, then your HTPC kinda becomes a server. I like to keep them separate because they're designed for different things and thus have different hardware configurations and priorities:

File Server
- Use as little power as possible
- 24/7 use
- Cheap as possible
- Lots of SATA ports for loads of storage space
- Good cooling since it's in a cupboard and not tended to often
- Linux or Windows Server for stability

HTPC
- Use as little power as possible
- As quiet as possible
- Higher-end components
- Separate GPU for custom refresh rates and high quality hardware deinterlacing.
- 1 SATA port for OS SSD for fast wake/sleep/application launching/etc.
- 1 SATA port for a timeshifting/recording HDD
- BD-RE drive
- Should look nice
- Windows 7 for application support and DXVA2

I think you have to make more compromises if you combine the two, although it is certainly possible.

At some point in the future I plan to move my tuner card(s) to my server also and run MediaPortal TV-Server on it, then have several HTPC clients connecting to it. That way there'd be a central repository for timeshifts and recordings and multiple machines capable of watching TV without each one having a tuner card. They would all only require a 40 GB SSD with no HDD required.

Thank you for this excellent summary.
post #18490 of 19097
Quote:
Originally Posted by ricabullah View Post

Then, let's say my current system is future-proof until 2013.
Thanks rene!

I guess, future-proof => 4-5 years. Whatever system you build should last for about 4-5 years, then its time for upgrade.

I have a BOXDG45FC based system I built about 3 years back and still going strong... I am eager to upgrade to the $35/- Raspberry Pi from here...

I also have a "work horse" fileserver+video processor using a Phenom IIX4, which I do plan to upgrade sometime in the next couple of years, unfortunately a couple of my drives died at the time of the thai floods (I am in the US) and I am still under water waiting for the HDD prices to get back to normal...
I still managed to get 3x$80/2TB drives, and now have RAID5 on the system.
that drive is still running at $100-120 online currently.

G
post #18491 of 19097
Hello Rene

First thanks for your great efforts in testing, I really appreciate your in-depth hints!

Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

Llano APU dethroned the golden combination of Core i3-2105+Z68+DDR3-2133. (DDR3-2133 is only available as 2 x 4GB or higher kit, that is pretty expensive compared with DDR3-1600 2 x 2GB, no need of overclocking, DXVA2 compatible AMD GPUs was implemented in LAV Video Decoder etc.)

Could you please clarify, what you mean by dethroned? The AMD combo has a technical advantage over the Intel one, or both are technically equivalent, but the AMD is available for less money?

At the moment I think about purchasing a pre-built device as I do not have enough experience with low-noise cases and setups. Would you recommend the Zotac ZBOX-ID82 or the ZBOX-ID80? The former one has HD Graphics 3000 and i3 2330M the latter one GeForce GT 520M and Atom D2700. I want to see BD-ISOs and DVD-ISOs mostly but also use the Web with this HTPC with the most demanding task probably HD-Youtube-Streams.

As I like to see foreign movies with subtitles, perfect subtitles are important (that's where the Dreambox is failing, even if movies are converted to MKV). Is there something to care for, e.g. only a certain HTPC-software does this right?

Two sidenotes, that might also influence the hardware choice:
- Is it possible to attach an external DVB-S2 tuner to these devices? It might replace my Dreambox 800 then.
- Is the gaming performance different between the solutions? (Very low priority, just for clarification; it's clear both are poor gaming PCs)

Would it be possible to build something perfomance-wise like the Zotacs for about the same price? I don't care for the small size, but would maybe go this way for lower noise with big fans, e.g. in a SilverStone Grandia. Does anybody know, if those Zotac boxes are noisy?

Thanks in advance for any insight!
post #18492 of 19097
I am already using g530.
The pc works really well, but in xbmc I get a little disappointed. The menus are a little slow, some lag... There are any way to put it working better?
EDIT
Solution is turn on real fullscreen, instead of windowed mode, but still not smooth as i3.

On motherboard I choose iGPU and after I have "iGPU Memory" and it is 64mb. Should I change it?

EDIT2
Bluray disc playback is bad with only g530...
Is cheap but i3 is much better...
post #18493 of 19097
Are you using DXVA2? I find it hard to believe that the G530 can't handle BD playback.
post #18494 of 19097
Quote:
Originally Posted by DragonQ View Post

Well if your HTPC has videos on it and you're streaming them to other devices, then your HTPC kinda becomes a server. I like to keep them separate because they're designed for different things and thus have different hardware configurations and priorities:

File Server
- Use as little power as possible
- 24/7 use
- Cheap as possible
- Lots of SATA ports for loads of storage space
- Good cooling since it's in a cupboard and not tended to often
- Linux or Windows Server for stability

HTPC
- Use as little power as possible
- As quiet as possible
- Higher-end components
- Separate GPU for custom refresh rates and high quality hardware deinterlacing.
- 1 SATA port for OS SSD for fast wake/sleep/application launching/etc.
- 1 SATA port for a timeshifting/recording HDD
- BD-RE drive
- Should look nice
- Windows 7 for application support and DXVA2

I think you have to make more compromises if you combine the two, although it is certainly possible.

At some point in the future I plan to move my tuner card(s) to my server also and run MediaPortal TV-Server on it, then have several HTPC clients connecting to it. That way there'd be a central repository for timeshifts and recordings and multiple machines capable of watching TV without each one having a tuner card. They would all only require a 40 GB SSD with no HDD required.

Hi to all,

I'm really glad that I finally found some great topic about HTPC, but unfortunately I found it after you guys wrote a zillion posts about this subject, and I don't have so much time to read it all.

I'm in dilemma what to do, build one system for HTPC and NAS, or do that in two separate systems...the problem is that two systems need a pretty much more space than one system.

In the quoted post, you said that your plan is to put mediaportal on NAS side (if I understood you well), so the only OS for NAS is windows (right)?
My plan was to put FreeNAS as OS, and Win on HTPC, but I really like your idea to put tuner on server and watch tv on any other device.
post #18495 of 19097
Quote:
Originally Posted by biker972 View Post

Hi to all,

I'm really glad that I finally found some great topic about HTPC, but unfortunately I found it after you guys wrote a zillion posts about this subject, and I don't have so much time to read it all.

I'm in dilemma what to do, build one system for HTPC and NAS, or do that in two separate systems...the problem is that two systems need a pretty much more space than one system.

In the quoted post, you said that your plan is to put mediaportal on NAS side (if I understood you well), so the only OS for NAS is windows (right)?
My plan was to put FreeNAS as OS, and Win on HTPC, but I really like your idea to put tuner on server and watch tv on any other device.

Passing on knowledge gained from these boards:

The I3-2105 Sandybridge has the horsepower to not only do your HTPC tasks, but also control (IE) 4X2 TB drives for storage. Grow into it as your needs and wallet allow. You can leave this running 7/24 as it's power draw is rather low.

If you have an older computer sitting around, add it as a NAS somewhere else in the house, hard wired.
post #18496 of 19097
Quote:
Originally Posted by biker972 View Post

In the quoted post, you said that your plan is to put mediaportal on NAS side (if I understood you well), so the only OS for NAS is windows (right)?
My plan was to put FreeNAS as OS, and Win on HTPC, but I really like your idea to put tuner on server and watch tv on any other device.

Correct. Having a MediaPortal server-only machine has advantages but it also has disadvantages. Like you say, it restricts your file server to Windows OSes (I'm assuming MediaPortal TV-Server works on Windows Server 8, I don't know this for sure). It also means your HTPCs will be a bit slower changing channels (according to my limited testing).

My file server right now is Amahi, which is based on Fedora 14. Pretty damn stable but Fedora 14 isn't even supported any more (no security updates) and I'm getting impatient waiting for a new Amahi release. I'm more familiar with Windows though and there's nothing Amahi does that I can't do on Windows Server 8 anyway.
post #18497 of 19097
Thanks guys, I thought that it will be the better solution to split it into two machines.
My idea was to have a realn NAS for time machine backup, torrent client, mirror hdds etc.

I will continue to read posts in this topic, because I'm a newbie for HTPC, so I need to learn a lot
post #18498 of 19097
Hi guys,

Is the Crucial SSD: CT064M4SSD2

... still one of the "go-to" drives for our HTPCs? I bought one last fall based on the recommendation here, and it was great until today. Now I'm getting crashes every hour or so. If I let it reboot, the reboot fails. If I power cycle the computer, it reboots OK and runs for an hour or two. Then fails again.

I've tried reseating the SATA and power cable connections. No joy. Random crashes continue.

Does this seem like a failing SSD or could I be barking up the wrong tree?

Marc


HTPC: W7 RTM x32 - HTPC (and x64-Desktop) Athlon X2 Kuma 2.7 GHz Gigabyte MA78GPM-UD2H Sapphire 5670 HDMI to Panasonic 50" Plasma TOSlink to Onkyo SR603B (DTS/DD only)
post #18499 of 19097
I have decided I like many other drives better than the crucial.

If you search around you can even get a bigger ssd for the price you paid for that one
post #18500 of 19097
In a fit of panic I ran out to Fry's and bought a Patriot PyroSE 64GB drive. It's been up and running about 90 minutes. We'll see if it fixes the problem. I suspect the Crucial SSD might be dying largely based on the symptoms and my "most recent change is usually the problem" bias. Will report back.

Marc
post #18501 of 19097
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marc_G View Post

Hi guys,

Is the Crucial SSD: CT064M4SSD2

... still one of the "go-to" drives for our HTPCs? I bought one last fall based on the recommendation here, and it was great until today. Now I'm getting crashes every hour or so. If I let it reboot, the reboot fails. If I power cycle the computer, it reboots OK and runs for an hour or two. Then fails again.

I've tried reseating the SATA and power cable connections. No joy. Random crashes continue.

What firmware version does your M4 have? If it's older than 0309, a firmware update is likely to fix the problem:

Crucial Offers Firmware Update For Crucial m4 SSD BSOD

The timing of when you've started to have problems sounds like it could be about right.
post #18502 of 19097
I've got these components that I'd like to use for a second room front-end:

Q6600
Asus P5K-E
4GB RAM
8800GT

What I'd like to do is replace the 8800GT with a [preferably] low-profile Nvidia card that has HDMI-out. 2 questions:

1. Would a decent, current low-profile Nvidia card with HDMI-out surpass the 8800GT in gaming capability as well?
2. My motherboard supports current low-profile Nvidia card w/HDMI-out, yes?

Thanks!
post #18503 of 19097
Quote:
Originally Posted by gsr View Post

What firmware version does your M4 have? If it's older than 0309, a firmware update is likely to fix the problem:

Crucial Offers Firmware Update For Crucial m4 SSD BSOD

The timing of when you've started to have problems sounds like it could be about right.

WOW!!

I bet that's it!

I'll find a way to update the drive (looks like there's some issues) and give it a whirl. Meanwhile the Pyro drive has been holding steady. I bet this was it!

THANK YOU!!
post #18504 of 19097
I will probably update the thing tonight; currently it's inactive since I swapped out and installed the Pyro drive.

How many other HTPC folks got burned by this? I can't believe such a horrible firmware bug/feature got through QC. Shocking.
post #18505 of 19097
I have an M4 in my laptop but the firmware update procedure is easy so there were no problems.
post #18506 of 19097
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marc_G View Post

I will probably update the thing tonight; currently it's inactive since I swapped out and installed the Pyro drive.

How many other HTPC folks got burned by this? I can't believe such a horrible firmware bug/feature got through QC. Shocking.

I had same issue. Seems that Crucial M4's die at about 5000 hours without the newest firmware fix. I also agree about the shock of it getting through quality control.

Simple issue with simple fix the crucial fanboys will argue but reality is that Crucial must not have tested beyond 5000 hours before release. Putting to market a drive that dies at around 5000 hours of use is not my idea of quality control.

I love the argument too that supposedly they responded the same day with the fix as the problem was "discovered ". Some suggest Crucial being a top tier "pro" company for such outstanding response.

That's totally a fanboy mentality. The reality is they discovered the issue prior to firmware release and had time to develop it. They were probably holding of release of the firmware and still working on it when problem became known as public knowledge . At this point they released what they had been developing.


It's not a huge problem and as a PC enthusiast I understand this stuff happens and why. Kudos to crucial for fixing it too.

What gets under my skin is when people still claim crucial is somehow superior in reliability to say a Sandforce controller. Seems like most crucial owners like to beat up on the Sandforce drives as being unreliable when in reality it's not true.

Example: I have 12 Sandforce based OCZ SSDs and none of them had ever had issue. My oldest vertex 2 is over two years old. I own one 64gb Crucial M4 and had to update the firmware. It's only drive I ever had any problem with.

I know I swim against the current but I dislike the Crucial M4 and view it as a decidedly cheap SSD. I am convinced there's better alternatives in marketplace for same cost or lower. Specifically, there is drives that cost less, benchmark better, and don't have need for buggy firmware fixes.

To me it's cheap; not inexpensive. There are inexpensive drives that are not cheap in the same class. The reason why people buy this drive do much is because it's cheap. Because so many recent buyers tend to fanboy their own purchase decision - that is why it has the following that it does.
post #18507 of 19097
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

Simple issue with simple fix the crucial fanboys will argue but reality is that Crucial must not have tested beyond 5000 hours before release. Putting to market a drive that dies at around 5000 hours of use is not my idea of quality control.

The only way they could have discovered this problem before release would have been to have the testing cycle last at least 209 days with some test systems running 24/7 as they would have discovered the failure during day 209 (and my understanding is that only some drives exhibit the problem, so they would probably need a relatively large sample of systems running 24/7). I don't know how long companies test things like SSD's prior to release, but I'd be a bit surprised if it's more than 6 months. But there's no argument that it's a pretty major (and inconvenient) flaw. Fortunately the fix is easy.

I've got 2 (soon to be 3) systems with 128GB M4's and I've been happy with them so far, but my only other reference for SSD's is another system that has an Intel 320 Series that I've also been happy with.
post #18508 of 19097
Quote:
Originally Posted by gsr View Post

The only way they could have discovered this problem before release would have been to have the testing cycle last at least 209 days with some test systems running 24/7 as they would have discovered the failure during day 209 (and my understanding is that only some drives exhibit the problem, so they would probably need a relatively large sample of systems running 24/7). I don't know how long companies test things like SSD's prior to release, but I'd be a bit surprised if it's more than 6 months. But there's no argument that it's a pretty major (and inconvenient) flaw. Fortunately the fix is easy.

I've got 2 (soon to be 3) systems with 128GB M4's and I've been happy with them so far, but my only other reference for SSD's is another system that has an Intel 320 Series that I've also been happy with.

Your probably right about all this. I agree.
post #18509 of 19097
Again, a huge shout out to GSR and others here for providing me with the info to fix the Crucial M4 SSD.

I applied the patch tonight, using the windows 7 utility version. It proceeded uneventfully and the system has been running well for 3 hours. I'm going to assume problem solved for now. You guys rock!

Since I had ran out and bough a new SSD, I now have an extra. It's a Pyro SE by Patriot. 60GB. I will probably install that on my desktop PC which currently has just regular mechanical hard drives. I'm actually not sure if I've got a SATA port open on it for the thing. Will have to check.

I'm pretty annoyed at Crucial, and a bit annoyed at myself for spending $$ on another SSD before thoroughly researching the problem. But I was in a bit of panic mode since I wouldn't have had time to go out to Frys anytime soon if not yesterday. And having my HTPC non-op is not a good recipe for harmony with the wife.

Oh well. Looks like a happy ending so far!

Marc
post #18510 of 19097
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marc_G View Post

Again, a huge shout out to GSR and others here for providing me with the info to fix the Crucial M4 SSD.

I applied the patch tonight, using the windows 7 utility version. It proceeded uneventfully and the system has been running well for 3 hours. I'm going to assume problem solved for now. You guys rock!

Since I had ran out and bough a new SSD, I now have an extra. It's a Pyro SE by Patriot. 60GB. I will probably install that on my desktop PC which currently has just regular mechanical hard drives. I'm actually not sure if I've got a SATA port open on it for the thing. Will have to check.

I'm pretty annoyed at Crucial, and a bit annoyed at myself for spending $$ on another SSD before thoroughly researching the problem. But I was in a bit of panic mode since I wouldn't have had time to go out to Frys anytime soon if not yesterday. And having my HTPC non-op is not a good recipe for harmony with the wife.

Oh well. Looks like a happy ending so far!

Marc

Glad you have a happy ending!

You might like that other PC with an SSD in it too
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