Guide to Building a HTPC, Workstation and Server - Page 611 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #18301 of 19539 Old 01-27-2012, 09:15 AM
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Hi there!

Great guide, thanks for putting it together. I'm working on revamping my HTPC currently and was hoping for some advice. You seem to recommend having your GPU separate from your Mobo.

Does this result in issues when trying to get Sound/Video to a reciever and then Video to a TV? It seems like having onboard graphics makes that a lot easier. One cord to the receiver from the PC, and one from the receiver to the TV.

I've been having a hard time figuring out if the onboard graphics on a given mobo supports 7.1 surround sound. Could you recommend one please?

In the guide:
HDMI Solutions
Intel Core i3/i5 Clarkdale processors (that integrate GPU); to be replaced by the Sandy Bridge processors
in Q1 2011.

From the rest of that guide, it seems like the Sandy Bridge processor is a good bet, but if I want to go for onboard graphics, how can I make sure it will support full 7.1?

Also - why do you shy away from onboard? I understand that you wouldn't get the full graphics capabilities, but my system will have no gaming done on it. Will I still be able to have full 1080p seamless playback?

Thanks for reading!
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post #18302 of 19539 Old 01-27-2012, 09:51 PM - Thread Starter
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AutoPlaying BD ISOs using MPC-HC inside WMC

 

WMC's AutoPlay feature (different from Windows AutoPlay) enables us to play back BD (ISO or physical disc) with any DirectShow player supporting LAV Source Splitter filter from inside WMC (typically built-in Movie Library+Mikinho Mount Image or Media Browser). Basic flow of the playback is:

1. Select a movie (iso) in the movie organizer and play it.

2. The movie organizer mounts the image and the following screen appears:

 

 

It's up to you and your system what players appear in the screen (via the registry key AutoPlay\\Blu-Ray).

3. Select the player you want to use and press Enter. The playback begins. If there is only one player registered in AutoPlay\\Blu-Ray, the playback begins immediately without this screen appearing.

4. When the playback ends and the player is closed (often by pressing Backspace key), the previous screen reappears.

Here is how to add a player to the AutoPlay\\Blu-Ray list. For example, consider the case of MPC HomeCinema x86. I assume you can play back a mounted BD iso with MPC HomeCinema by "Open DVD...".

1: Create an entry point of WMC for MPC HomeCinema (i.e. create a key in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\SOFTWARE\\Microsoft\\Windows\\CurrentVer sion\\Media Center\\Extensibility\\Entry Points).

This can be done by manually creating a key in the registry, but using a graphical UI such as Media Center Studio is more convenient. Media Center Studio is not available for download from the author's site right now, so download the bin folder here (MCS_bin.zip), unzip it and place it in C:\\ProgramData\\Media Center Studio (actually it does not matter where the bin folder is placed). Create a shortcut to C:\\ProgramData\\Media Center Studio\\bin\\MCStudioLauncher.exe, on the desktop for example, and double click it to launch Media Center Studio. Click "Start Menu" in the menu bar, then click "Start Menu" tab. Click Insert > Application.

 

 

Then you will see the following dialog box. Type in each field as in the figure:

 

 

- Title: MPC HomeCinema (or whatever; this will appear in the screen)
- Path: C:\\Program Files (x86)\\Media Player Classic - Home Cinema\\mpc-hc.exe
- Arguments: V: (this should be the drive letter of the virtual optical drive in your system). If you use another player, this may need to be "V:\\BDMV\\index.bdmv".
- Active image: whatever (that will appear in the screen). I used mr.duck's icon. Inactive image will be created automatically.

Save and close Media Center Studio. To edit fields later, launch Media Center Studio, click "Entry points" in the lower left corner of the window and double click "MPC HomeCinema" icon.

2: Add the entry point created in the above to AutoPlay\\Blu-ray (i.e. create a key in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\SOFTWARE\\Microsoft\\Windows\\CurrentVer sion\\Media Center\\Extensibility\\Categories\\AutoPlay\\Blu-Ray).

Right now this can be done only manually (where people have had no clue). Go to the directly C:\\ProgramData\\Media Center Studio\\Images\\EntryPoints (the location is fixed wherever the bin folder is). You will see an image file (.png) of the Active image you selected. The file name is the GUID of the entry point just created. In my case it is {ed04868e-bf98-467c-a50f-3137609e3ba7}. Launch Registry Editor (regedit.exe). Go to the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\SOFTWARE\\Microsoft\\Windows\\CurrentVer sion\\Media Center\\Extensibility\\Categories\\AutoPlay\\Blu-Ray and create a new key with name {ed04868e-bf98-467c-a50f-3137609e3ba7}. Go to the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\SOFTWARE\\Microsoft\\Windows\\CurrentVer sion\\Media Center\\Extensibility\\Entry Points\\{ed04868e-bf98-467c-a50f-3137609e3ba7} and copy the value of AppId. In my case it is {e87bf767-1efd-479d-9407-3609df0c9034}. Create a new string value in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\SOFTWARE\\Microsoft\\Windows\\CurrentVer sion\\Media Center\\Extensibility\\Categories\\AutoPlay\\Blu-Ray\\{ed04868e-bf98-467c-a50f-3137609e3ba7} with name AppId and value {e87bf767-1efd-479d-9407-3609df0c9034}.

 

 

That's it.

 

See also AutoPlaying DVD ISOs using MPC-HC inside WMC.

 


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post #18303 of 19539 Old 01-27-2012, 11:44 PM - Thread Starter
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@galaxybird88

Check the feature tables of the latest guide.
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post #18304 of 19539 Old 01-28-2012, 10:16 AM
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renethx. im getting a file not found message in mpc-hc. my movies are in bluray folder structure rather than iso, will mpc-hc autoplay blurays that are in their folder structure.
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post #18305 of 19539 Old 01-28-2012, 09:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by funnyfuka View Post

renethx. im getting a file not found message in mpc-hc. my movies are in bluray folder structure rather than iso, will mpc-hc autoplay blurays that are in their folder structure.

Many players support the BD folder in HDD as well as BD disc in a physical or virtual optical drive. But WMC and Windows AutoPlay support only BD disc in a physical or virtual optical drive. As Windows 8 supports ISO natively, ripping in ISO may be a better choice than the BD folder, depending on your usage. Of course Media Browser supports the BD folder in HDD, but without AutoPlay, so that you have to use only one player you specified in Media Browser configuration.
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post #18306 of 19539 Old 01-29-2012, 03:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

Many players support the BD folder in HDD as well as BD disc in a physical or virtual optical drive. But WMC and Windows AutoPlay support only BD disc in a physical or virtual optical drive. As Windows 8 supports ISO natively, ripping in ISO may be a better choice than the BD folder, depending on your usage. Of course Media Browser supports the BD folder in HDD, but without AutoPlay, so that you have to use only one player you specified in Media Browser configuration.

thanks for that information renethx
would you recommend me to convert my BD folder movies to iso
what program would you use to do this if so
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post #18307 of 19539 Old 01-29-2012, 02:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by funnyfuka View Post

thanks for that information renethx
would you recommend me to convert my BD folder movies to iso
what program would you use to do this if so

As I said, it's up to each user. Personally I prefer ISO because of the maximum compatibility/convenience. Ripping BR 3D in folder is not recommended because of a larger file size; ISO is recommended. Some people hate the extra process of mounting the image, but this will be the past story with Windows 8 (and XBMC already supports ISO natively and nobody notices a time lag by this process).

ImgBurn?
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post #18308 of 19539 Old 01-31-2012, 12:11 PM
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Hi - guide donor here :-)

I've made a revision to my HTPC build and was wondering if I could please get some feedback on this system? The main change is dropping from a A8-3850 to a A6-3500 as I want to have plenty of headroom to run a picoPSU to get the system quiet. The 160W picoPSU seems to be the strongest one I could find and I think the A6-3500 will actually do everything I need. I want to run the system 24/7, so I don't want to worry about being on the edge of the power supply limit with these picoPSUs.

This is for a Windows 7 build - controlling everything through Windows Media Center. I'm looking for something quiet that will flawlessly play all manner of MKVs (1080p etc.) and play and record OTA television through a HDHomeRun. I don't need any of the fancy rendering algorithms - I just want something that will play as smoothly as my media streamer, which is a WDTV Live Plus.

I've gone for a picoPSU and I believe that with the 65W TDP chip I should have plenty of headroom with this 160W supply? I don't plan to have any dedicated cards and I will run a self-powered HDD. I was not planning to run any case fans as this case appears to be well ventilated. My only question mark is regarding the noise of the supplied AMD cpu fan - I was planning to see how loud it really is before splashing out on a Scythe Big Shuriken.

[APU] AMD A6-3500
[MOBO] ASROCK A75M (micro-ATX)
[CASE] SILVERSTONE ML03B
[PSU] 160W picoPSU
[MEMORY] 4GB DDR3 1600 CORSAIR XMS3
[SSD] 80GB INTEL
[HDD] EXTERNAL eSATA (SEPARATE POWER)
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post #18309 of 19539 Old 01-31-2012, 03:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Looks good. Another good cooler is Prolimatech Samuel 17 (45mm tall) + SY1212SL12H (12mm thick), that won't block any DIMM.
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post #18310 of 19539 Old 02-01-2012, 04:34 PM
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Hi guys,

I'm ready to spend some $3000-4000 for my HTPC. CPU, GPU and other elements are things that are easy for me to choose. What I really need is advice what case should I use. The one I really like is a little bit old fashioned Silverstone Crown CW03-black model. The HTPC will be placed in distance of 4 meters (11,5 feet) from where my seat. I know it might sound stupid but I really wonder if I should spend quite big money for 7" display that I won't see from that distance. Otherwise the look of the case is just for me perfect. I've spent already some weeks bothering myself about the case where the main problem was do I need the display or not. Found also Lian-li PC-C32, PC-C33, and PC-C60 but they all have no display. On the other hand the problem is that Silverstone CW03 is getting old (for example USB 2.0 is installed instead of 3.0). Did you guys had same problems. What was you decision ?.

PS: I don't understand why is the LUXA Case not being produced in black colour. Would be probably choosen by thousands.
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post #18311 of 19539 Old 02-01-2012, 06:38 PM
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Hi guys ive looked at diagrams and read posts but i must be dumb.. I built an HTPC a few years ago..now I built a server ( ran out of room)..How to i connect the 2...am I an idiot.. I have WHS2008 on the server and I ran a CAT5 cable from the HTPC to the SERVER. server cant identify network ( my HTPC is on a wireless usb stick) Really i just dont understand how this whole thing works.
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post #18312 of 19539 Old 02-01-2012, 06:48 PM
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I've been though 4 HPTC cases in the last 6 years I've had my HTPC running.
From Micro ATX Antec to 2 full size Silverstone ATX cases until I finally saddled on a case that HAS IT ALL. It was a bit pricy but I've never had buyers remorse since the day I took it out of the box.
Full size ATX, large VFD display, full size PSU and GPU support, 2 x 80mm exhaust fans and 1 x 92mm intake fan , soft mounted hard drives and the SEXY looks are the main features that sold me on this case.



Highly recommended.

Regards,
KC

PS. Did I mention that the manufacturer includes a pair of white cotton gloves in the box
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post #18313 of 19539 Old 02-01-2012, 07:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whiskeynsoda View Post

Hi guys ive looked at diagrams and read posts but i must be dumb.. I built an HTPC a few years ago..now I built a server ( ran out of room)..How to i connect the 2...am I an idiot.. I have WHS2008 on the server and I ran a CAT5 cable from the HTPC to the SERVER. server cant identify network ( my HTPC is on a wireless usb stick) Really i just dont understand how this whole thing works.

Usually they are connected via a switch (LAN) or a router (LAN+Internet).
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post #18314 of 19539 Old 02-01-2012, 07:34 PM
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So should I run CAT5 from my wireless router to the server....
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post #18316 of 19539 Old 02-02-2012, 07:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

Yes.

Thanks renethx...I used your guide to build to build my htpc over 3 years ago....Love it. Hopefully I can figure this out .
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post #18317 of 19539 Old 02-02-2012, 09:03 PM
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I can transfer files at triple digit speeds through out the transfer from my server to my HTPC but the same file barely breaks 15 MB/sec half way through the transfer when transferred from the HTPC to the sever.

Both systems are running win7 64bit. One with a mid range AMD chip (server) the other with a core i5(HTPC) similar memory speeds and size in both. Network testing shows no issue with the cabling. Server is running raid 5, HTPC has no raid.

Looking for suggestions on getting the HTPC --> server transfer speed more in line with the server --> HTPC speeds.

thanks

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post #18318 of 19539 Old 02-03-2012, 01:03 PM
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^^^ When the RAID5 in the server runs out of cache, the transfer will slow to a crawl because it's having to generate all the parity data in real-time in order to write the data to the disks and empty the cache before it can handle any more data.

Since the HTPC just has a single drive in it, the writes go a lot faster in that direction since there's no RAID parity calculations that need to be done.

Adding an enormous amount of RAM to the server might help assuming the version of Win7 that you have allows that memory to be used for disk caching. And assuming that you can add more RAM than the size of the biggest files that you usually transfer.(Someone with more knowledge of what's possible in all the different flavors of Win7 will need to chime in on this one. You might actually have to have Win7 server edition, I don't know.)


P.S. This is why some people are willing to spend really big bucks on hardware RAID controller boards with fast CPUs on them that are capable of doing the parity calculations without slowing down the write rates.
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post #18319 of 19539 Old 02-03-2012, 05:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac The Knife View Post

^^^ When the RAID5 in the server runs out of cache, the transfer will slow to a crawl because it's having to generate all the parity data in real-time in order to write the data to the disks and empty the cache before it can handle any more data.

Since the HTPC just has a single drive in it, the writes go a lot faster in that direction since there's no RAID parity calculations that need to be done.

Adding an enormous amount of RAM to the server might help assuming the version of Win7 that you have allows that memory to be used for disk caching. And assuming that you can add more RAM than the size of the biggest files that you usually transfer.(Someone with more knowledge of what's possible in all the different flavors of Win7 will need to chime in on this one. You might actually have to have Win7 server edition, I don't know.)


P.S. This is why some people are willing to spend really big bucks on hardware RAID controller boards with fast CPUs on them that are capable of doing the parity calculations without slowing down the write rates.

Interesting. Your are correct, I am running RAID5 and it is a software solution running under AMD RAIDXpert software to control 7 1.5T drives.

The software has a built in scheduler described as "An automated process of checking data and parity." From this I had the impression that parity checking was not done real time but maybe I need to dig into this some more.

Thanks for feedback.

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Hi,

Great guide. After reading it, I am thinking in buy this:

http://img833.imageshack.us/img833/2876/htpcm.jpg

But i also want to add an Radeon HD6750. I am not a high gamer, i only want be able to play sometimes if i want. The PSU is enouth for it, it says 450W required? What is the most quiet brand for GPU? The memories and PSU are a little expensive, there aren't cheaper solution?

Regards
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post #18321 of 19539 Old 02-04-2012, 07:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmpa View Post

Hi,

Great guide. After reading it, I am thinking in buy this:

http://img833.imageshack.us/img833/2876/htpcm.jpg

But i also want to add an Radeon HD6750. I am not a high gamer, i only want be able to play sometimes if i want. The PSU is enouth for it, it says 450W required? What is the most quiet brand for GPU? The memories and PSU are a little expensive, there aren't cheaper solution?

Regards

Even 300W PSU is enough for your system + HD 6750. Antec EA-380D Green is slightly cheaper. If you are not going to use iGPU, then DDR3-1333/1600 is enough. For example, G.SKILL F3-10666CL9D-4GBNS or F3-12800CL9D-4GBXL. HIS H675F1GD is quiet.
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post #18322 of 19539 Old 02-04-2012, 09:23 PM
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Currently I am running RAID5 under the AMD RAIDXpert software to control 7 1.5T drives. Not happy with the file transfer speeds I am getting between server and PC so I am looking at replacing the software RAID5 with a hardware solution.

What cards are currently being recommended for this?


thanks

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post #18323 of 19539 Old 02-05-2012, 11:21 AM
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i read through the recent free pdf and found it a useful starting point. however, i think it would benefit from having the OS installation and management portion detailed.

would you recommend having a mirrored raid setup for the OS drive?
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post #18324 of 19539 Old 02-05-2012, 09:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrolmstd View Post

the same file barely breaks 15 MB/sec half way through the transfer when transferred from the HTPC to the sever.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrolmstd View Post

Currently I am running RAID5 under the AMD RAIDXpert software to control 7 1.5T drives. Not happy with the file transfer speeds I am getting between server and PC so I am looking at replacing the software RAID5 with a hardware solution.

What cards are currently being recommended for this?

For me this seems to be a network problem. A typical transfer rate between two JBOD (i.e. no RAID at all, software or hardware) systems is

(One system is A75 chipset + Realtek RTL8111E Gb LAN chip + WD20EARS, another is GeForce 9400 chipset + NVIDIA Gb LAN + Samsung HD501LJ.) All of the following are disabled:

- Energy Efficient Ethernet
- Flow Control
- Green Ethernet
- Interrupt Moderation
- Jumbo Frame
LL
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post #18325 of 19539 Old 02-05-2012, 09:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by outspoken View Post

would you recommend having a mirrored raid setup for the OS drive?

No, just back it up (for example, by using Paragon Backup & Recovery 2012 Free).
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I have an old HD3450 card which is becoming increasingly incompatible with DVXA AVC decoders such as ffmpeg.

I'm now looking for a fairly low end GFX card that can decode all the modern formats including blu-ray. No gaming is done on this machine.

It looks like the following cards probably fit the bill (in order of weak to strong?)

AMD 6450
nVidia gt520
nVidia gt430
nVidia gt440
AMD 6670

Are there any others I'm missing in this range? I'd like to keep it around $60 with passive cooling if possible. Which would you go for? Thanks!
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post #18327 of 19539 Old 02-06-2012, 05:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

For me this seems to be a network problem. A typical transfer rate between two JBOD (i.e. no RAID at all, software or hardware) systems is
(One system is A75 chipset + Realtek RTL8111E Gb LAN chip + WD20EARS, another is GeForce 9400 chipset + NVIDIA Gb LAN + Samsung HD501LJ.) All of the following are disabled:

- Energy Efficient Ethernet
- Flow Control
- Green Ethernet
- Interrupt Moderation
- Jumbo Frame

Thanks for the feedback on this and I will check these settings. I have used a network tester on all connections now and verified everything is wired correctly. What confuses me about this being a network issue is how I can down load a file (server --> pc)at 105-108 range but across the same connection, I only get 15-20 uploading (pc --> server) the file.

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post #18328 of 19539 Old 02-06-2012, 05:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by floepie View Post

I have an old HD3450 card which is becoming increasingly incompatible with DVXA AVC decoders such as ffmpeg.

I'm now looking for a fairly low end GFX card that can decode all the modern formats including blu-ray. No gaming is done on this machine.

It looks like the following cards probably fit the bill (in order of weak to strong?)

AMD 6450
nVidia gt520
nVidia gt430
nVidia gt440
AMD 6670

Are there any others I'm missing in this range? I'd like to keep it around $60 with passive cooling if possible. Which would you go for? Thanks!

and AMD Radeon HD 6570 (for example, HIS H657H1G, $65).

HD 6450 and GT 520 are a bit too low-end in my taste.
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post #18329 of 19539 Old 02-06-2012, 10:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snootch View Post

I've been though 4 HPTC cases in the last 6 years I've had my HTPC running.
From Micro ATX Antec to 2 full size Silverstone ATX cases until I finally saddled on a case that HAS IT ALL. It was a bit pricy but I've never had buyers remorse since the day I took it out of the box.
Full size ATX, large VFD display, full size PSU and GPU support, 2 x 80mm exhaust fans and 1 x 92mm intake fan , soft mounted hard drives and the SEXY looks are the main features that sold me on this case.



Highly recommended.

Regards,
KC

PS. Did I mention that the manufacturer includes a pair of white cotton gloves in the box

Which model is that?
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post #18330 of 19539 Old 02-06-2012, 12:13 PM
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Any idea when an updated version of the guide will be released? Been waiting on the new version for over a month now. Thanks.
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