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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The building HTPC thread in the FAQ's is a bit out of date.


I am thinking of building a dedicated HTPC. Please recommend MB, CPU, RAM, video card, audio card, software etc. etc. that would be easily upgradable as new formats develop. I am specially interested in loading up my 400+ CDs into the HD like a juke box.


I am flexible with Linux or Windows or OS 10 based system.
 

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hi, i think the experts are going to need more info...the biggie being what price range, and what are you going to use it for?i built mine based on pentIII 1 gig,cusl2...radeon7000 card.it's used strictly for dvd playback only!!!so for me it performs flawless...but if you'll be doing gaming,hdtv,pvr,it opens up a whole different ballgame..most definitely do your homework,which it appears you're doing..my only regret is i could have went to a pentIV for probably cheaper than my pent III.but it peforms awesomely so that's enough for now.


brickie
 

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I am alos building htpc strictly for dvd playback on front pj. here is a list of items I will be putting in my htpc...

P4 2Ghz, 1024 MB RAM, 200 GB HD, Toshiba SD-R1202 DVD, ATI 9500 Pro, M-Audio's 24/192 Revolution...

I have been doing lot og reading here for highend htpc & so far I have come up with this list...
 

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Why a gig of ram?
 

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Like many of the folks that read this forum, I too am building an HTPC device over the holiday break at the end of December. I have ordered most of my gear and most likely have made a few mistakes that I will not discover until I start to hook everything up. I want to built a complete HTPC device that does the following:


1. Music Jukebox, I have about 500+ CDs, but realistically I want to dump about half of them onto the Jukebox at near CD quality (320 kbs). I'm most interested in building play lists. Burning CDs will be nice, but not a something I do much of. I do want to be able to transfer MP3's to a Apple iPod.


2. To support above, I want high end audio quality (optical or coax connection).


3. I want to be able play DVDs at equal or better quality that my current Progressive Scan Toshiba DVD player.


4. I want to be able to get rid of my Tivo PTR and replace it with the HTPC. In addition, I have TWC supplied Exploer 3100HD, so I want to be able to record HDTV (which cannot be done with Tivo).


5. I want to enhance my TV picture (I have a Pioneer 505HD Plasma which is 1024x768 and supports full all HD formats).


6. I want it to look like an audio component and fit inside my HT cabinet - all my gear is hidden. To this end, I am concerned about heat and noise.


Given all of the above, here is what I have ordered:


1. Vision 2 case

2. Asus P4PE-GBL motherboard (wanted HT support)

3. P4 2.4 GHz CPU (may upgrade when HT stuff comes down)

4. 512 MB Corsair PC2700 DDR

5. ATI Radeon 9700 Pro

6. M-Audio 24/96 Audiophile sound card

7. Holo3DGraph H3D card for scaling and dinterlace

8. accessDTV HDTV Recording card

9. Seasonic 300W P4 Power Supply (it is quiet)

10. Zalman CPNS6500B-CU CPU cooler for P4

11. 2 Enermax UltraCool 8am BB cooling fan

12. D-Link DWL-520 802.11b PCI card - have Dlink Air Port

13. Evation IRMan

14. Gyration RF Mouse/Keyboard

15. Seagate ST3120023A 120 GB drive (it is quiet)

16. Windows XP - would rather run Linux, but want to get the thing working quickly and don't want to get hung up looking for drivers. May go with Linux and Windows XP running under VM at some point. If I need to write a program in C,C++ or Java then Linux will become a necessity.


I'll try mostly open-source software to start and will buy stuff as I need it.


Hope this helps. I did a lot of research on this site and the above is what I came up with. I can tell you that I did not start when I ended up. Originally I wanted a micro case, but PCI slots were going to be a problem, so I opted for the larger case so that I could do everything that I want.
 

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Forgot to list the DVD gear:


16. Sony DRU 500A - DVD burner

17. Toshiba SD-M1612 16x/48x EIDE DVD-ROM (for playing)
 

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beboram,


I will second jmbnyc list of components. The functional objectives of my HTPC are almost exactly the same and after a couple months of research my "ingredients" are the except the following:


1. I will try the MOBO digital coax out first before getting the M-audio card.


2. ATI 9500 pro instead of the 9700 pro


3.Only a Seagate 80 GB


4. No Access DTV HD card - there is a paucity of OTA HD in my area


5. The A-tech case with the power supply and fans instead of the Vision 2 case.


6. Linksys 802.11b instead of D-link Airport


A couple of questions for jmbnyc. I would like to get rid of my TIVO also. But how are you planning to perform the PVR function with your input going into the H3Dcard? I thought that it did not have any PVR capability. Also, I don't understand how a software program can record video as it goes in the H3D card out DVI from the ATI card. Is there a PVR program that can do this?


Thanks,

Scott
 

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Your question: how to get rid of tivo.


I have 3 video PCI cards: Radeon 9700 Pro, H3D and accessDTV. Here is what I plan to do:


Signal from TWC supplied Explorer 3100HD (it has SVideo, Composite and Component) into accessDTV, accessDTV into H3D and then H3D into Radeon 9700.


I will not know how it all fits together until I get the gear and read the manual. I posted on this site last week asking about this setup and someone replied that they had this exact thing working (but they were using MyHD card).


I'll post when I get everything working.
 

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jmbnyc,


The accessDTV card doesn't have a video input (unless you consider the two antenna inputs, and the VGA passthrough as such).


I'm also not sure of the benefits of sending the AccessDTV signal through an H3D... as the AccessDTV card can output a signal scaled to your PJ's resolution.


While you may loose the ability to timeshift your cable signals, you will get better picture quality if you connect your cablebox directly to the H3D and connect your projector to the computer video output (If you have 2 inputs on your PJ, you should use one for the ADTV card and the other for the video card... as the passthrough feature of any of the current ADTV card has limited BW)


Good luck and happy HTPCing
 

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Here is my suggestion:


VIA MiniITX "M" Motherboard

ATI TV Wonder Card

120GB Seagate Barracuda

Pioneer CD/DVD

256MB DDR266 Ram

Gyration RF Mouse/KB

Your flavor IR broadcaster (USB)

Sony Personal Entertainment Display


Software:


ShowShifter

WInXP

Your flavor Jukebox


That's it. Mabe $1200. retail plus monitor ($1000)


MB supports 5.1 and 6.1 Surround Sound

Supports S-vid, VGA 1024 x 1280Component

Software supports PVR, CD, DVD


It's a great box!


Michael
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks jmbnyc and Michael.


My application is very similar to jmbnyc except perhaps the time-shift. Basically I would like to replace the pre-amplifier, the standalone CD juke box, DVD player, the HDTV tuner the FM tuner all with the HTPC.


Not being a full blown computer geek (in a good sense) yet, please indulge my ignorance. If I understand it correctly both MBs have Dolby 5.1 and 7.1 integrated on it. What advantage does it provide over a MB on I can plug-in a card to do the same. That way any future stands can be easily adopted?


Finally did you consider the HiPIX card? If not why not?

http://www.telemann.com/
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Eiffel
jmbnyc,

The accessDTV card doesn't have a video input (unless you consider the two antenna inputs, and the VGA passthrough as such).


I'm also not sure of the benefits of sending the AccessDTV signal through an H3D... as the AccessDTV card can output a signal scaled to your PJ's resolution.


While you may loose the ability to timeshift your cable signals, you will get better picture quality if you connect your cablebox directly to the H3D and connect your projector to the computer video output (If you have 2 inputs on your PJ, you should use one for the ADTV card and the other for the video card... as the passthrough feature of any of the current ADTV card has limited BW)
Eiffel,


You make some good points and I think you may be correct. As I said, I do not have this stuff hooked up nor have I read the manuals. I am also in the process of asking accessDTV support a bunch of setup questions so that I can figure it all out. The real question for me is where the source of the signal for the accessDTV signal comes from. I think I understand how the Holo and my Video Card will work (connected to my Plasma), but fail to see how to use the accessDTV card. So far, accessDTV claims the card cannot be used with the TWC signal coming from the STB, so my question for them is: where does the signal come from. I live in a high rise in NYC and thus placing an antenna outdoors is out of the question, i.e. to get an OTA signal. Maybe their supplied antenna will work like a normal UHF/VHF antenna.
 

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I just built mine .. its working great.


Asus P4S533-VM Micro ATX Mobo

Celeron 1.8 Gig processor

256 Mb DDR RAM

Seagate 40 Gig Barracuda HD

Pioneer DVD/CD Drive (patched for Region Free)

Radeon 8500LE Video Card

M-Audio 24/96 card

XP Pro SP1

PowerDVD 4.0

PowerStrip

DVDXCopy :)


Now .. looking for the perfect case
 

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You will need to find some way to receive an OTA antennae feed in order to put any of the HD cards of today (with the drivers of today) to use. A few people are trying to convince the keepers of the HD card drivers to support QAM. This would mean that the digital cable feed would go directly from your wall via RF into the card.... not through a STB... and it would only work for those channels that are passed "in the clear" by your cable company. It seems that cable companies are precluded from encrypting those channels which are available OTA in your area, but they may or may not obey that rule.


Ask your building's management if there are rooftop antennae for your use. I was pleasantly surprised by the answer I got here in DC.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by work permit
Why a gig of ram?
If your into PC gaming, a gig of ram is for starters. Most games that are worth playing require atleast gig of ram for gameing. The new DOOM when that comes out will prolly need atleast that and probably alot more.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by salsbst
You will need to find some way to receive an OTA antennae feed in order to put any of the HD cards of today (with the drivers of today) to use. A few people are trying to convince the keepers of the HD card drivers to support QAM. This would mean that the digital cable feed would go directly from your wall via RF into the card.... not through a STB... and it would only work for those channels that are passed "in the clear" by your cable company. It seems that cable companies are precluded from encrypting those channels which are available OTA in your area, but they may or may not obey that rule.


Ask your building's management if there are rooftop antennae for your use. I was pleasantly surprised by the answer I got here in DC.
I just heard from accessDTV and this is indeed the case, so I'll wait until they have the software - they claim (as you said) to be working on it). I must admit, I am still a bit confused. For example, how does Tivo work? It's source is the TWC supplied cable? Or do the limitations that we are talking about only apply to HDTV channels?


As for roof antennae. My neighbor put one up for sat tv, but I don't want to have another cable run into my apt.
 

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userji & SteroMAdMAn I'm sorry but a gig of ram for an HTPC is overkill. Your money would be better spent either getting a 845PE motherboard with some high speed Cosair CMX512-3200C2, or waiting a few weeks and getting one of the new Granite Bay motherboards and a couple sticks of CMX256A-2700C2 for some dual channel ddr action going on.

The Radeon 9700 is worth it if your really want the best in 3D speed although I would probably go for the 9500 PRO as I wouldn't pay what they want for it right now.

As far as audio goes the New M-audio Revolution is right around the corner and hopefully be worth the wait.

For TV Capture I'm personally going to get the Xcapture Card because of the low cost and reportedly great PQ.
 

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No, problem! Its just with RAM so cheap these days its easy to get a gig of RAM. Now for somebody who just types up word documents and browses the internet. Is a gig of RAM too much? I'd say so.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by SteroMAdMAn
If your into PC gaming, a gig of ram is for starters. Most games that are worth playing require atleast gig of ram for gameing. The new DOOM when that comes out will prolly need atleast that and probably alot more.
You are so full of mis-information it's not even funny. I think you need to go back and check your sources... someone's trying to put two tons of crap into a one ton truck here...
 
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