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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,



A month or so ago, I built a mATX HTPC for a friend. He has since decided to use it as a desktop video processing machine and wants me to build him a new HTPC.


Here are his requests:

- as small as possible (mini-ITX), light weight, low power

- SSD for system OS and programs

- eSATA connectivity for 2 external drives

- HDMI out for video, optical out for audio

- wireless gyroscopic air mouse


Initially, he figured there would be no problem to use WinXP as the OS (as I had done for his previous build). But, given his requests for this build, I told him he really needs to move to Windows 7 if he wants a Microsoft OS.


To date, I have never built an SSD machine, and have never installed or used Win7. So here are my questions...


1. I'm thinking that my friend will appreciate compatibility with WinXP-based programs, so I am thinking of going with Win7 Professional (for its XP Mode feature). But I am not so sure if I should install the 32-bit version or the 64-bit version. All the system components in the new build will be compatible with 64-bit, but I am not sure if all the peripherals will be 64-bit friendly (i.e. the air mouse). I am also wondering if there are any "gotchas" to be aware of with regards to networking with a 64-bit system?


2. My friend wants to be able to play ripped DVDs stored on his external SATA drives connected via eSATA. Should he be able to do this easily with Win7's native Media Center application? Currently, he uses VLC Videolan on his WinXP machine.


Any feedback on the above will help me in planning for this upcoming build. I'm hoping to be able to start purchasing the components in about a week. So thanks in advance for any helpful discussion, which I never to fail to receive in spades whenever I post a question in this forum
 

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Windows 7 is the most user friendly operating system to use, does almost everything for you. 64 bit should be no problem, I have VLC installed and works great on one of my units. As I posted in another thread SATA II SSD's are probably the the way to go right now, issues with the SATA III sandforce controllers. Once you see the speed of a SSD you'll never look back. One more point with a SSD , you never defragment them.
 

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Ditto for Win7-64. It would be a mistake to install a 32bit OS at this point.


Yes for the SSD as a boot drive. Only 40GB or 60GB should be needed for an HTPC. Then use a "green" drive for media/data. Green drives are plenty fast enough.


A better alternative to SSD might be an msata drive, if you are using a mITX motherboard. My Zotac H67 can supposedly use one. Availability isn't great right now because they are new. The price is comparable to SSD.


msata drives at Newegg:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...=msata&x=0&y=0
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies.


Okay, it appears that 64-bit is very mature. Uncertainty is alleviated thanks to this forum



Does 7MC play DVD rips? If so, I presume it is best to store DVD rips as file folders rather than ISO... correct?


Thanks again, everybody.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vlad Theimpaler /forum/post/20866955



Does 7MC play DVD rips? If so, I presume it is best to store DVD rips as file folders rather than ISO... correct?

I can't directly answer your question, but I solve the problem in a different way. I use Handbrake to convert DVD rips to MP4 files. Saves about 50% of the space or so. Free software, so feel free to try it.


BTW, I am pretty sure that 7MC can't handle ISOs directly without additional software. But someone will correct me if I am wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I apologize in advance for any noobiness on my part, but I am wondering if I should save $ by purchasing Windows 7 Professional OEM version. Is there any downside to installing and activating the OEM version of the OS versus the non-OEM upgrade version of Win7 Professional? OEM does have all the same features of non-OEM, correct (i.e. XP Mode, 7MC, etc.)? TIA.


*EDIT*

Decided not to be lazy and Googled it. Answer found *HERE*


From the above source:

OEM versions of Windows 7 are identical to Full License Retail versions except for the following:


- OEM versions do not offer any free Microsoft direct support from Microsoft support personnel


- OEM licenses are tied to the very first computer you install and activate it on


- OEM versions allow all hardware upgrades except for an upgrade to a different model motherboard


- OEM versions cannot be used to directly upgrade from an older Windows operating system




I think OEM would be sufficient for the needs of my friend (who asked me to build him a mini-ITX HTPC).
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I have all the components in hand and will be building the mini-ITX HTPC over the weekend. One final question for y'all...


I read online somewhere that before installing the OS onto the SSD, the SSD should first be slaved to another machine and then updated with the latest firmware from the manufacturer.


I have never ever performed a firmware upgrade to any HDD prior to OS installation, but that is completely irrelevant. So the question today is: What is the collective opinion of this esteemed community on this idea? Should I take the extra step, or would it be okay to skip it?


And... okay I lied, I had 2 questions


From what I have read, starting with a fresh, out-of-box SSD will require no partitioning or formating prior to running the Windows 7 Profession DVD to install the OS (I do not want multiple partitions). The Win7 installer will automagically format a single partition (by default) before loading the OS. Correct?


Sorry for bumping this thread, but I want this build to go as smoothly as possible. I am certain that interacting with the experts in this forum before diving in will help me out immensely. So thank you in advance everybody.
 

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RE: SSD

If the SSD you use is not more than 6 months old, you could skip this step.

It is a good idea to check, but the concern most likely has to do with TRIM that all modern SSD support...


RE: Win7 install

At some point during the install it will offer to chose where to install the OS.

On a new not partitioned drive the total drive will be the default option

Just press Next...


Diogen.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ducati 1098 /forum/post/20863470


As I posted in another thread SATA II SSD's are probably the the way to go right now, issues with the SATA III sandforce controllers.

I completely disagree with this. What a waste of speed to use a SATA II SSD. Six months ago there were some problems with some early OCZ and Crucial ones, but Crucial has already replaced that C300 line with the new M4s and OCZ has fixed its firmware. Lots and lots of people here are using SATA III SSDs without issue. And if you don't for some reason like Sandforce controllers, get a Intel 510 series or a Plextor M2 series or others with a Marvell controller, or a Samsung 830 since they make their own controllers.


SATA II SSDs are already obsolete. I doubt if there will be any new SATA II models produced and there probably won't be any available for purchase by the end of the year. If you have a SATA III motherboard, I see no reason to get a SATA II SSD.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 /forum/post/20956653


I completely disagree with this. What a waste of speed to use a SATA II SSD...

We're talking about the boot drive for an HTPC. It is likely to be rebooted very infrequently. A normal hard drive would be plenty fast. Any SSD will be a big improvement.


Saying that that an expensive SATA III SSD is required for an HTPC is just wrong, IMO.


Some people might prefer it and be able to afford it, and that's great. But for the other 80% of us, SATA II SSDs will be perfectly fine.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by StanF /forum/post/20958076


Saying that that an expensive SATA III SSD is required for an HTPC is just wrong, IMO.


Some people might prefer it and be able to afford it, and that's great. But for the other 80% of us, SATA II SSDs will be perfectly fine.

SATA III SSDs are no more expensive than SATA II today. You can buy a 60GB Patriot Pyro SATA III for $75 at Newegg this week. Can you buy a SATA II for less? I doubt it. Next week they'll have something else on special. Buying a II is a waste.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820220602
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by StanF /forum/post/20959926


Sorry, but we disagree. A typical HTPC user is unlikely to see or feel the difference in speed between a SATA II or SATA III SSD.

That doesn't address the question. It is faster. That's a fact. I readily agree that how noticeable that speed increase might be in normal use is open to debate. If there was a price difference, then it might make sense to purposely choose a SATA II. But there isn't.


If your motherboard supports SATA III, and considering that it will not cost you one penny more to buy a SATA III rather than a SATA II SSD, why in the world would you purposely select a SATA II? On top of that, these newer 2nd generation SATA III models are more reliable than the SATA II designs of a year ago.


SATA III has rapidly become the new standard for SSDs. I'd like to hear any reason why someone should purposely choose a SATA II, other than price, and I don't believe you can get a SATA II for less money. If you can find a 60-64GB SSD for less than the $75 price of that 60GB Patriot SATA III, please let us know where. Heck, even that deal that looked good a month ago at Costco for a Kingston SATA II is for $85.


The premise of your post was your calling SATA III drives "expensive." They're not. They're the same price or cheaper.


As an aside, the post to which I was originally responding claimed that one should choose SATA II because of "issues" with Sandforce SATA III controllers, another statement that may have been partially true six or nine months ago, but certainly is not true today.
 

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I would read this article carefully, get the mobo and use a M350 chassis.

http://www.missingremote.com/review/...-core-i5-2390t


Habey would be small too but if its for a friend I'd rather not have to deal with the delicate heat issues and other funkiness, and an M350 is nice and fine. Mobo and chassis are on amazon.


Pentium or i3 should be fine, depending on needs, pay attn to getting a CPU with low profile fan.


mSata SSD


Win7


2x2GB SODIMM RAM


that logitech gyration mouse which, btw, should have the dongle fit nicely in the M350's front side USB casing.


spare power adapter.


done.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Vlad Theimpaler /forum/post/20862651


Hey all,



A month or so ago, I built a mATX HTPC for a friend. He has since decided to use it as a desktop video processing machine and wants me to build him a new HTPC.


Here are his requests:

- as small as possible (mini-ITX), light weight, low power

- SSD for system OS and programs

- eSATA connectivity for 2 external drives

- HDMI out for video, optical out for audio

- wireless gyroscopic air mouse


Initially, he figured there would be no problem to use WinXP as the OS (as I had done for his previous build). But, given his requests for this build, I told him he really needs to move to Windows 7 if he wants a Microsoft OS.


To date, I have never built an SSD machine, and have never installed or used Win7. So here are my questions...


1. I'm thinking that my friend will appreciate compatibility with WinXP-based programs, so I am thinking of going with Win7 Professional (for its XP Mode feature). But I am not so sure if I should install the 32-bit version or the 64-bit version. All the system components in the new build will be compatible with 64-bit, but I am not sure if all the peripherals will be 64-bit friendly (i.e. the air mouse). I am also wondering if there are any "gotchas" to be aware of with regards to networking with a 64-bit system?


2. My friend wants to be able to play ripped DVDs stored on his external SATA drives connected via eSATA. Should he be able to do this easily with Win7's native Media Center application? Currently, he uses VLC Videolan on his WinXP machine.


Any feedback on the above will help me in planning for this upcoming build. I'm hoping to be able to start purchasing the components in about a week. So thanks in advance for any helpful discussion, which I never to fail to receive in spades whenever I post a question in this forum
 

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I have no idea why anyone would need a blazing fast SSD for a HTPC. Just put a good hard drive in there and you will be fine. Ideally you would have a file server to store all your media and that would be limited by your network speed. All the SSD will do is transfer your hard earned cash to the SSD manufacturer. I see no point in wasting the money for a HTPC which sends your multimedia to your TV.


Buy a SSD if you want to brag at how fast Windows loads then leave the HTPC on 24/7 only sending it to sleep mode when you are done. I use my SSD to multibox Warcraft. I actually need the speed for running 5 Warcrafts at one time. They have other uses. This is my 2cents.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by myriadcorp /forum/post/20981452


I have no idea why anyone would need a blazing fast SSD for a HTPC.

It was a spec requirement made by the person I'm building for. He was very specific about wanting it and was willing to pay for it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by myriadcorp /forum/post/20981452


All the SSD will do is transfer your hard earned cash to the SSD manufacturer.

I've already built, tested, and delivered the system, and I can say without reservation that the SSD did alot more (for the system) than what you say in the above quote.

Quote:
Originally Posted by myriadcorp /forum/post/20981452


Buy a SSD if you want to brag at how fast Windows loads then leave the HTPC on 24/7 only sending it to sleep mode when you are done.

I don't think that "bragging rights" was the motive for the SSD request.
 
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