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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm trying to use this thread as a way to bounce ideas of off people, and sift through the mess of information out there.


So I've been reading into the fact that with most graphics cards that do HDMI Audio there are hiccups with 24p video. And issues with PAP, etc. So here's what I want to do, and then you guys tell me where I'm wrong, and what I should change.


This was my list I put together a month ago of parts:


Case: Antec Black Fusion Remote Max ATX Media Center / HTPC Case

Power Supply: CORSAIR CMPSU-550VX 550W

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 810 2.6GHz Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Processor

Mobo: ASUS M4A78T-E ATX AMD Motherboard

Memory: OCZ Gold 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory

Video Card: SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 4770 100277L Video Card

Optical Drive: Pioneer Black 8X Blu-Ray DVD Burner w/ Software SATA Model BDR-203BKS

HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F1 1TB 3.5" SATA

Keyboard: Logitech diNovo Edge 2


I know this is over $1000 right now, and I have no idea how well the components will work together. I'm simply trying to build a machine that I can play back 1080p video seamlessly while having the ability to encode/transcode video, do photoshop work in, maybe play some video games (doubtful - I have a 360), and handle everything else (productivity software, etc). I'm a college student, so I want to have something that uses less than 300-350W at peak (keep power bill low), but can also act as an always on media server (the current options have problems with transfer rates, etc). It has to be able to handle 5.1 audio, 7.1 is a plus, but its not necessary.


Most content that will be run on it will be 720p video, or 480p. I download a lot of movies, and tv shows when I miss them, so it has to play back those files no problem. I want to have something that can handle upscaling the video (any recommendations for software?). This thing has to be somewhat quiet as well since it will be on 24/7.


Please, help me with this build, this is definitely gonna be the center of my living room for a long time to come once I put it together. Way better than downloading movies and then using a flash drive to play them on the xbox 360 (limited in what files it will play), or using my laptop via a vga cable (scanlines of sort, pain in the ass because then I can't use my laptop).


Thanks!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunDevil2012 /forum/post/16970785


I know this is over $1000 right now

...

play back 1080p video seamlessly while having the ability to encode/transcode video, do photoshop work in, maybe play some video games

...

less than 300-350W at peak

You're kinda all over the map with this. You can easily do seamless 1080p for less than $400, let alone $1000. The rest will obviously scale with processing power, but they're certainly possible even on low end machines. Just to give you an idea, a lot of people who are looking to build cool and quiet HTPCs with low power consumption use an E5200 CPU and Nvidia 7300 integrated GPU. Anything beyond that is not strictly necessary and entirely up to your personal preference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I should have cleared it up there. Apologies.


Forget the part about video games. It just has to play 1080p video and handle everything over HDMI. The peak 300-350W still applies.


When I was talking about the components before about being over $1000 its only slight. But I want to cut that number down to something like $500-$750 if I can.


For the nVidia 7300 integrated GPU, which mobo would you recommend the most? I'm going to be running Windows 7 Ultimate on the machine too.
 

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Heck, why build when you can buy an AsRock ION 330 for less than $400. and get a ready made HTPC which does hardware acceleration of BD with the onboard chipset and has HDMI out, comes with everything you need and is overclockable if you prefer somewhat faster processing...with a maximum of 40watts power consumption...Encoding/transcoding is just time, btw, any machine can do it...
 

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There is no GeForce 7300 IGP. GeForce 9300/9400?


If you don't play games, then you don't need HD 4770 (assuming 5.1 means 5.1 DD/DTS).


Atom processor is not good for your purpose (encode/transcode video, photoshop work).
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm not interested in a nettop, that's actually the last thing that I want. It would feel too underpowered with an Atom CPU inside. I want something with a little more oomf if you know what I mean. Remember, I want this thing to work as a home media server as well as a regular HTPC at the same time.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx /forum/post/16972147


There is no GeForce 7300 IGP. GeForce 9300/9400?

...

Atom processor is not good for your purpose (encode/transcode video, photoshop work).

You're right on both counts. I meant 9300 but mis-typed it.


The ION platform is great for what it is, but it really cuts it close with its ability to play back HD content. You need just the right software set up just the right way or it won't work. Going with a low-power desktop processor like the E5200 makes a lot more sense. Even if your software doesn't support hardware decoding, the CPU has enough moxie to do it in software.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Alright, I revised my list of parts and came up with the following after taking a look around the forums a bit more, and taking everyone's advice:


CPU: Intel E5200

Mobo: Intel BOXDG45ID

Case: APEVIA Black SECC Steel / Aluminum X-MASTER-BK/500

Power Supply: Rosewill RD400-2-DB 400W

GPU: MSI R4350-MD512H Radeon HD 4350 512MB

HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F1 HD103UJ

Memory: Crucial 2x2gb PC2-800

Optical Drive: Lite-On 4x Blu-Ray Reader Model iHOS104-08

Remote: Anyware HA-IR01SV Infrared Certified MCE VISTA


It comes out to $531.90, but $565.38 with shipping.


What do you guys think about that?


But question, what's my best option for a good remote for it but still affordable?


Edit: My brother has a bit more experience than I with building computers, so he recommended a better power supply brand, and a different mobo. I think I'm going to look into getting the Antec NSK1480 case instead, and then get the ASUS P5Q-EM mobo also. And then its around the same price. Still under $600, which is damn good.
 

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Why not something like a 785g chipset board and an Athlon II X2 245 of Phenon II X2 545?


The Gigabyte GA-MA785G-UD3H has an optical output for 5.1 audio. Note that this chipset still do not offer 8 channel LCPM over the HDMI like the Nvidia 8200/8300 would.


Also, there is a 400W Corsair power supply that's cheap and will work fine for a HTPC. If you drop the video card you should be under 100W or at least not much over 100W any time it's operating.


Peter
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshDorhyke /forum/post/16973105


The Gigabyte GA-MA785G-UD3H has an optical output for 5.1 audio. Note that this chipset still do not offer 8 channel LCPM over the HDMI like the Nvidia 8200/8300 would.

The 4350 will handle HD audio over HDMI, so it's a moot point.


OP: Your new list looks fine. Personally, I would go with an Asus or Gigabyte MB and a higher end PSU (quality-wise, not wattage), but that's really a matter of personal preference.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunDevil2012 /forum/post/16973057


Alright, I revised my list of parts and came up with the following after taking a look around the forums a bit more, and taking everyone's advice:


CPU: Intel E5200

Mobo: Intel BOXDG45ID

Case: APEVIA Black SECC Steel / Aluminum X-MASTER-BK/500

Power Supply: Rosewill RD400-2-DB 400W

GPU: MSI R4350-MD512H Radeon HD 4350 512MB

HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F1 HD103UJ

Memory: Crucial 2x2gb PC2-800

Optical Drive: Lite-On 4x Blu-Ray Reader Model iHOS104-08

Remote: Anyware HA-IR01SV Infrared Certified MCE VISTA


It comes out to $531.90, but $565.38 with shipping.


What do you guys think about that?


But question, what's my best option for a good remote for it but still affordable?


Edit: My brother has a bit more experience than I with building computers, so he recommended a better power supply brand, and a different mobo. I think I'm going to look into getting the Antec NSK1480 case instead, and then get the ASUS P5Q-EM mobo also. And then its around the same price. Still under $600, which is damn good.

Also, what kind of transcoding are you planning on doing?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
In terms of transcoding, I'll mostly be converting 1080p/ 720p h.264 MKV sources to DivX and WMV-HD. Its so that when I download those sources my friend can play them on his Xbox 360 as well since he won't have an HTPC.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunDevil2012 /forum/post/16974270


In terms of transcoding, I'll mostly be converting 1080p/ 720p h.264 MKV sources to DivX and WMV-HD. Its so that when I download those sources my friend can play them on his Xbox 360 as well since he won't have an HTPC.

Not sure how how those encodes compare to what I do:


But I have a quadcore Q9300 overclocked to 3Ghz, and to transcode a 1080p blurray to a 1080p mkv, it takes anywhere between 5-7 hours. My E8400 that I had before that took double that.


Have you done any research on how long it would take a E5200 to encode into WMV-HD or anything like that?


The E5200 might be fine, but I just wanted to point this out before you make your purchase. I didn't do any research and ended up having to buy a Q9300 later on and lost money on the deal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshDorhyke /forum/post/16975153


The idea was to not buy a seperate video card.


Peter

Not necessarily. I rather know it has the extra capability rather than rely on the integrated graphics chip. Remember, I'm not building a nettop. I'm trying to build a decent mid-level HTPC on the cheap.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunDevil2012 /forum/post/16974270


... Its so that when I download those sources my friend can play them on his Xbox 360 as well since he won't have an HTPC.

You might want to keep that to yourself....
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunDevil2012 /forum/post/16975392


Not necessarily. I rather know it has the extra capability rather than rely on the integrated graphics chip. Remember, I'm not building a nettop. I'm trying to build a decent mid-level HTPC on the cheap.

The nettop could fail because the Atom isn't powerful enough to software decode when there is a problem with hardware decoding. The integrated graphics will play back any online files you try to watch given a powerful enough CPU. I'm running Nvidia 8200 onboard and 4850e processor and it works fine for me.


You were indicated you wanted to save some cash and also save some power. The option I posted could do both and it will have a spot to stick an even newer video card for possible future expansion. That is all.


Peter
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshDorhyke /forum/post/16980972


The nettop could fail because the Atom isn't powerful enough to software decode when there is a problem with hardware decoding. The integrated graphics will play back any online files you try to watch given a powerful enough CPU. I'm running Nvidia 8200 onboard and 4850e processor and it works fine for me.


You were indicated you wanted to save some cash and also save some power. The option I posted could do both and it will have a spot to stick an even newer video card for possible future expansion. That is all.


Peter

Great idea. I may do that, save me an extra $30-35 for the ATI 4350 that I may not need.


I'll play around more with this idea for the next few weeks. I got a few other "big" purchases coming up over the course of the next month so its kind of difficult to judge when I get around to this. I gotta get me one of those Zune HD's and the HTC Touch Pro2 when it comes out on Verizon.


But great advice all around. Especially across this section, been reading so much about what I need exactly for when I put an HTPC together.


But quick question, if any of you guys may know. If I have content that is non-HD and I want to play it back full screen, it can sometimes look distorted. Does anyone know a good way to play it back being upscaled to say 480p or 720p, hell, even 1080p? I figure its an option with some video cards to do hardware accelerated upscaling. But in terms of software what's out there? Or say, in Media Player Classic or VLC player, how would you do it?
 

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Any decent front end like WMC or XBMC is going to scale video up to your screen resolution (1920x1080). XBMC specifically offers HQ scalling which won't distort the image and will look as good as you can get.
 

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I run MCE in 1080p and every video is scaled up to fill the screeen. Windows Media Player and VLC will do the same. It's not a big deal to get the video to best fit to the screen. It will only be distorted if you pick some option to stretch or shrink the video in an attempt to try and make something that's not the right aspect ratio fill the screen. Same problem as setting your 16x9 TV to stretch 4x3 video to fill the screen.


Peter
 
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