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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently decided I'm gonna build myself an HTPC that's fully capable of recording and outputting 1080p video and the accompanying audio.


I'm not a complete noob to building a computer but this is gonna be my first build from the ground up.


I've done a fair bit of research over the past few days and I think I've got everything figured out. I've got a list of most everything I'm gonna need but I would appreciate it if everybody just gave it a quick once over and let me know if there's gonna be any obvious hardware conflicts or I'm forgetting something.



Hardware -

Silverstone Black Aluminum HTPC Case

Corsair 450W Power Supply

Gigabyte AM3 AMD 770 ATX Motherboard

AMD Phenom II X4 3GHz Quad-Core Processor

G.Skill 4GB (2x2GB) Memory

Western Digital 1TB Hard Drives


I'm going to start with three of these.

LG BD/HD-DVD/DVD Drive


As I'm sure most of you know HD-DVDs can be had for dirt cheap.

Gigabyte Radeon HD 4550 Video Card

D-Link Wireless Network Adapter

Logitech diNovo Wireless Keyboard & Integrated Mouse



Software -


Windows XP Pro


MediaPortal


DVDFab


PowerDVD


CapDVHS



I plan on outputting audio over an optical out to my receiver and video over HDMI to my TV.


I'm also planning on using this HTPC as a DVR. My cable box (Scientific Atlantic 4250HD) has a firewire out which I'm planning on using for that.


Again, if anybody has any input on this system, I'd really like to hear it.


TIA
 

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Will you be gaming on this? If not, some of your components are unnecessarily powerful. You don't need much juice to stream 1080p content. Also, if you are going to invest in a sound card, you may want to go with this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16829132012


It allows for Dolby TrueHD over HDMI, that is, if your receiver can handle it. If so, it will enhance your Bluray experience.


Also, your CPU link goes to your motherboard.
 

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I'll agree with the last poster, your build seems a little overkill and you might have trouble taming heat/noise, negating the benefit of your SSD. I would look at a milder proc and spend the money on a Xonar. The key thing to remember about these home built HTPCs is that the big challenge isn't putting the hardware together, it's about getting all the parts to sing together. To that end, save yourself the trouble of trying to get the Xonar to output TrueHD, use it to pump out the 8 channel LPCM from HD DVD/Blu-Ray rips. It's arguably the same, just not as awesome as seeing the TrueHD indicator light. The optical cable works fine enough for DD, but to get the good stuff you need the bandwidth of HDMI audio. Good luck, and tell us how it goes!


Jason
 

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Doesn't the mobo offer SPDIF optical? I don't see the point in spending $90 on a sound card for SPDIF. If you have a HDMI repeater receiver, I'd personally use MPCM from the gfx card.


8gb ram is way overkill.


I'm not too familiar with SSD drives and their performance. I do love the velociraptor!


$150 Nvidia Sli board and ATI 4870? Not sure why you picked this combo... I would imagine you plan on gaming with the 4870...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by therealbiglou /forum/post/17038413


Will you be gaming on this? If not, some of your components are unnecessarily powerful. You don't need much juice to stream 1080p content. Also, if you are going to invest in a sound card, you may want to go with this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16829132012


It allows for Dolby TrueHD over HDMI, that is, if your receiver can handle it. If so, it will enhance your Bluray experience.


Also, your CPU link goes to your motherboard.

No, I won't be doing much gaming at all on this computer. At the most I'm probably going to play some old Command & Conquer but that's it.


I went for overkill on a few things to make sure that the system is going to be future-proof for many years to come.


What would you suggest changing other than the sound card?


My current receiver is an older model and it doesn't have any HDMI inputs nor does it support the current loss-less audio formats. An upgrade is in the works but to be perfectly honest, it sounds pretty good right now, so its not a high priority.


I fixed the link for the CPU.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mackworth /forum/post/17038509


Also, 8 GB of ram?


That motherboard is also pretty nuts. SLI?


I have that wireless card. Its ok. Depending on where your access point is, you might want to buy a breakout antenna.

The 8GB of ram is to make sure the computer runs lightning quick while multitasking.


As for the motherboard, I have no need for SLI, that I know but from what I can gather its the best mobo out their for that kind of money. That's something I'm more than open to changing though. Any recommendations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tno /forum/post/17038542


I'll agree with the last poster, your build seems a little overkill and you might have trouble taming heat/noise, negating the benefit of your SSD. I would look at a milder proc and spend the money on a Xonar. The key thing to remember about these home built HTPCs is that the big challenge isn't putting the hardware together, it's about getting all the parts to sing together. To that end, save yourself the trouble of trying to get the Xonar to output TrueHD, use it to pump out the 8 channel LPCM from HD DVD/Blu-Ray rips. It's arguably the same, just not as awesome as seeing the TrueHD indicator light. The optical cable works fine enough for DD, but to get the good stuff you need the bandwidth of HDMI audio. Good luck, and tell us how it goes!


Jason

I'm thinking of dropping the sound card all together for the time being because my receiver can't handle any of the loss-less audio formats anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gunbunnysoulja /forum/post/17039056


Doesn't the mobo offer SPDIF optical? I don't see the point in spending $90 on a sound card for SPDIF. If you have a HDMI repeater receiver, I'd personally use MPCM from the gfx card.


8gb ram is way overkill.


I'm not too familiar with SSD drives and their performance. I do love the velociraptor!


$150 Nvidia Sli board and ATI 4870? Not sure why you picked this combo... I would imagine you plan on gaming with the 4870...

The video card is overkill too actually come to think about it but I wanted to make sure I had something well reviewed that also was HDCP compliant and had an HDMI out.


Maybe I should like for a motherboard that has an integrated graphics card that can do the same thing. However if I do that, my concern would be making sure I can display the image properly on my TV.


I appreciate all the opinions, keep them coming.
 

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Since you don't need integrated graphics, I would just get something like a P45 mobo or something, you can probably get something for like 80-100 that would be fine. There is really no point in future proofing that much with intel, because they are most of the new stuff in ~2 years is probably going to be a new socket anyway.


For the graphics, get something like a 4550 or 4670. Look for something passive if you can.


Also, it will be fine with 4 GB, you shouldn't have any issues multitasking.
 

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First, halve your memory. You don't need 8gb--not even for multitasking. Also, that Mobo is not necessary. Get a more basic board that still has all your necessary features. I would simply use on-board optical audio; it will do you just as good as a sound card.


You don't need a balls-to-the-wall system to stay future proof on the HTPC scene. 6 year old PC's can more than handle HDTV and Bluray. Many people are caught up in the gaming PC train of though; bigger is better. Save yourself some money and you can spend it on future upgrades like a better receiver or software for your HTPC.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by therealbiglou /forum/post/17040093


First, halve your memory. You don't need 8gb--not even for multitasking. Also, that Mobo is not necessary. Get a more basic board that still has all your necessary features. I would simply use on-board optical audio; it will do you just as good as a sound card.


You don't need a balls-to-the-wall system to stay future proof on the HTPC scene. 6 year old PC's can more than handle HDTV and Bluray. Many people are caught up in the gaming PC train of though; bigger is better. Save yourself some money and you can spend it on future upgrades like a better receiver or software for your HTPC.

Very good points here. Personally I have my game PC and my HTPC. When I upgrade something on the game PC, the flow down part goes into the HTPC, and it is usually more that enough. Currently it is a Gigabyte-X48-DQ6, Intel C2D E6600, 4GB RAM, EVGA 8800GT SSC in my HTPC. The graphics card is the loudest thing in there, but only if I want to play games. This flow down has allowed me to keep both computers fairly well up-to-date very cheaply, and I purchased a new pre-processor last October with all the savings (and a little extra from the 3 years that I had a "temporary" pre-processor in the system which I got direct from Harmon Kardon on their ebay store for less than $200 for a refurbished $1600 flagship model)
 

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After reading what your goals are, either get an inexpensive mobo with SPDIF and an inexpensive 4XXX series gpu for HA and MPCM via HDMI, or go with a proven IGP mobo that supports HA and MPCM via HDMI (such as the 9300/9400), and 4gb ram MAX. Get W7.


Do NOT get 8gb ram, a 4870, SSD, Sound Card, or that mobo (SLI support and no plans on gaming??) .


I'd probably just get an E5200 also and oc it



Then I'd get a last gen HDMI receiver. Video will be equal on most HTPC setup's who do it "correctly"
. A higher end gfx card doesn't make BD look "better". If it did us crazy people would probably have Tri-Sli setup's!


As you will have BD capabilities, it wouldn't make sense to not atleast get MPCM.
 

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You're spending about $500 too much, and getting way too cheap of a case. Once everything is assembled, the only thing you'll see is the case, so I'd suggest a nicer case. A faster computer is always a nice luxury, but when you're watching a movie, the cheaper, less powerful one will almost assuredly use less power and be quieter.
 

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Yeah bud, your htpc plans are way over kill, id cut back a lot and buy that new hdmi reciever,


My opinion is this, and its just my opinion.


You don't need to really future proof your htpc so much as, 1080p/bluray/ect is whats out now and for atleast a year or two, I dont see a major jump in video quality coming anytime soon and a e5200/igp solution should playback what is out now just fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Alright thanks everyone for your opinions. I've gone through my list of equipment and have revised quite a few things.


If everybody could check out my revised list I would appreciate it.


The only thing I'm still not sure about is the motherboard. There seems to be some question about if it can output 5.1 sound over the optical out. If that's the case, I'm gonna have to go with something else.
 

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Any board (to my knowledge) with a spdif port (optical) will be able to pass DD/DTS with the proper codecs installed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by daninfamous /forum/post/17047326


Any board (to my knowledge) with a spdif port (optical) will be able to pass DD/DTS with the proper codecs installed.

I posted in the mobo's official thread on here to get an answer for sure.


I have another question about my setup, will it be able to stream 1080i flash content without any playback issues?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by mackworth /forum/post/17052290


The G45 is ok, but I would do some research on the nvidia 9300/9400 chipsets. People in this forum seem to think that it offers better drivers, video quality, etc.

There is a Gigabyte motherboard that has the 9400 chipset onboard but it unfortunately only has 3 usable (to me) SATA ports. I need at least 5.


I guess I could buy a SATA controller card to but that adds expense.
 

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Depending on how much your saving from your original htpc build you could build a media server, I built my server for about 130 with used parts and trial software, this is with a small starter HD to get the idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I updated my list again. I changed from an Intel processor to an AMD because, you can get a quad core AMD for the same price as a dual core Intel. The motherboard for the AMD is cheaper too and has better features for me than the one for an Intel processor I was looking at.
 
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