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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all. I need a new computer, and with the addition of a 50" Panny Plasma coming my way and a HUGE Dell monitor, I have decided to build an HTPC. I have been doing some research and I have come up with the following components. Please let me know what you guys think and also let me know if I am missing anything:


CASE: Thermaltake VF7001BNS DH101

http://www.directron.com/vf7001bns.html $199.00






MOBO: EVGA 750i

http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/Produc...tCode=10008307 $149.99(after MIR)






PROCESSOR: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400

http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/Produc...dlist=celebros $164.50






HARD DRIVE: Samsung Spinpoint F1 1TB

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822152102 $99.99






OPTICAL DRIVE: LG GGW-H20L Blue Ray Drive

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000ZEBOFG/...l_30fsskmha3_e $139.99






MEMORY: 4GB 2x2GB PC28800

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820231194 $89.99






VIDEO CARD: ZOTAC GEForce GTX 280 1gb card (one now and maybe another later) $319.99 (after MIR)




SOUND CARD: SoundBlaster X-FI Titanium Fatal1ty Pro

http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/Produc...tCode=10008876 $133.99






OS: Windows Vista Home Premium SP1

http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/Produc...dlist=celebros $108.99



My goal was to stay within a budget of $2000 bucks for this rig, including a Dell 30" 3007WFP monitor with a price tag of $750. This system should FLY and with the addition of another video card running is SLI mode, I should have a gaming power house as well. I want the computer to be able to show HD content on the Dell monitor as well as my 50" Panny. What do you guys think? One question I have is that if I am gaming or watching HD media on my Dell monitor, I will be playing audio through the sound card into a Klipsche ProMedia Ultra 5.1 system. How will I get audio to my Panny plasma? Would this setup be better or worse than the sticky thread builds at the top of the forum? My main goal here is to have a computer that will serve as my every day tasks computer and also be alble to show and store HD content, Blue Ray discs, etc. very well. I would also like to use this rig as a gaming computer in the future, so I would like it set up to just need a new video card or 2 to become a serious gaming powerhouse.
 

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why that motherboard? and sound card?


I'd say get a geforce 9400 motherboard and use onboard sound.


why would you use your TV's speakers if you've got the better Klipsch ones?

I'd use the klipsch for TV and htpc
 

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Seems like a good rig for what you are trying to do.


I would definintely not recommend using on board sound. I don't know the model the person above is recommending but many of them don't have digital converters any of the other fancy stuff a true gaming card would have. I was able to hear a big difference when I upgraded to an X-FI card vs onboard sound.


I have a Core2 8600 in my rig and I love it, i'm sure the 8400 is fine as well. Very overclockable. I'd highly recommend an aftermarket CPU fan, anything from Zalman has worked well for me in the past.


The GTX280 is a pretty bad-ass card, but with a big monitor i've found you need as much horsepower as you can get to crank out the frames on the big monitor, in your case I guess it would be 2560x1600!


You could always split the audio out of your computer to the Klipsh and the TV. I'd say a better way to go would be to use headphones for gaming, and use the surround sound for blu-ray.


You basically have to choose whether you want the speakers for gaming or for watching blu-ray, otherwise you will need to mount the plasma positionally above your monitor, or get another set of speakers.


Seems like a waste to me to have blu-ray if you aren't experiencing the full effect of the sound, and gaming with headphones always seems natural to me anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well, maybe I should clarify a bit what I want to do. The HTPC will be in my den (which is next to my living room) along with the 30" dell and the Pro Media 5.1 system. The plasma will be in the living room with no surround sound....just the TV speakers for now - the wife doesn't want speakers in the living room at the moment. I want to use the 5.1 system through the sound card to use for the PC.....veiwing Blue Rays and surfing the internet in the den. I want the plasma in the living room to be able to view HD content from the HTPC and play sound through the TV speakers.
 

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Do you need a separate display/system in the Den, ie do you imagine your wife watching TV in the living room while you game in the den?


There is no reason that the HTPC could not reside in the living room and be displayed out of the plasma. Speakers are easy to hide and it would allow you to fully converge your entertainment (and eliminate the cost of the pricey monitor). All you really will need to shift your computer use to the comfy sofa from the office chair is a nice Bluetooth mouse/keyboard. Being on the big screen makes fiddling on the Internet with the wife a lot more fun (together, no jockeying for sitting position). Because you are going to want a lot of the same features in both rooms (surround sound, nice display) it makes sense to not duplicate the same functions.


PS - I am writing this while sitting on my sofa looking at a 61" 1080p screen. My daughter is watching Noggin in the upper right corner of the same screen. When she goes off to school I will likely turn on Fallout 3 for a bit before getting back to work in Excel.
 

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Also, about your build.


You are buying a lot more motherboard than you need. That board is good for overclocking. Overclocking = hot = needs more cooling = noise = not great as a HTPC.


If you do not use a Yamaha/Onkyo amplifier with the EDID issue with ATI video cards, you might do better choosing a 4870 or two. They provide audio with the card and also provide 7.1LPCM over HDMI for free. That means that you can run full BluRay audio and video out of one device using one cable.


If you are serious about PC gaming and want to keep this thing for a while, the 8400 chip will be outdated soon. This is even more dire a situation if you want to game at the native resolution of that 30" Dell. If it is just 1920x1080 it will last for a while, but the Dell's native resolution will need a faster CPU and likely SLI right from the start.


Think seriously whether you are going to go 64 or 32 bit. With 64 bit you will encounter some issues with immature codecs and older game incompatibilities. With 32 bit, you have a worse problem. A 32 bit OS can only address a net total of 4 GB of RAM. That includes caches and memory on video cards. Two of those 1GB video cards will leave your PC with less than 2GB of system RAM to use. So even with one video card you will only get to use 2.5 - 2.75 GB of RAM, once you go SLI you might as well take out half of the memory because it can't be used.


Are you going to load your DVDs and BDs into the computer? Worth considering now. I am building a media server right now because the 3TB my HTPC was built with 4 months ago is already full.
 

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Honestly, I think the trend is towards smaller... I have mine built on an old Ahanix D4 chassis and, well, it's huge... to huge and too deep for today's svelte flat panels.


Some of the mini-itx builds look really sharp, and have way more functionality than extenders, and the new eee Box B204 will make a neet little extender.


Micro-atx seems best suited to the main/living room, as you get better audio options , as well as having the pci/pcie slots to customize.


Stay away from cases with display panel on the front. Definite eye-candy, but not much more, and not worth connecting. If you need to connect it because it houses the IR receiver, well... consider getting a new IR receiver.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yes, I do plan on gaming or surfing the internet or watching a movie in my "man cave" den while the wife is watching John and Kate +8 in the other room. I have that much motherboard because I would like the ability to overclock in the future if I feel the need. At first I will be loading BD's and dvd's into the computer, but I would like to store HD movies on the computer as well. If I need more storage I can always add another HD or go external can't I? THat 4870 idea sounds great to be able to link to my plasma with 1 HDMI cable. Does that card have 2 DVI outs so that I can feed both monitors? I like NVIDIA stuff.....is there an invidia equivilent?
 

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I've been considering putting together a system of my own but just don't have the funds right now.


Some thoughts...

Since I see you were looking at a case at Directron, I'll start with the fact that I had been looking there at a Shuttle XPC. There was a rebate last month that had this at $250 but I think that it's still reasonable at $299. ( http://www.directron.com/sg33g5m.html )


I liked it b/c it came with the MB and Remote already.


Also, check out Tigerdirect and see if they still have the rebate on the Cosair 4GB (2x2GB) RAM. I think it was less than $40. The CPUs there seemed competitive too! (I was looking at a Core 2 Quad).


Someone more technical will have to chime in about why they don't like about the system but it has built in HDMI and I was just going to let my LCD TV do the sound processing.


I believe someone had a new Dual Blu-ray/ HD-DVD internal burner for under $300.


I was considering going with a flash drive or just a USB drive as I'm not really looking at doing any heavy PC work just using it as an HTPC bus to my TV.


Keep us posted on what you decide and what the overall price tag is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Also, If I go with the 4870 card, could I ditch the Soundblaster Xfi card? Or would I need that to feed the 5.1 system in the den with the dell monitor?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by burnout42 /forum/post/15474677


Also, If I go with the 4870 card, could I ditch the Soundblaster Xfi card? Or would I need that to feed the 5.1 system in the den with the dell monitor?

The 4850/4870/4870X2 all have two DVI connector and also one DVI-HDMI adapter that actually allows audio. It was strange to me too. The DVI connector can have audio, but DVI cables cannot carry it. The adapter allows it. So you can send HDMI (with audio) to the Plasma and a straight DVI to DVI run to the Dell. There are even settings in the drivers, Theater-mode I think, that automatically sends video out to one specified video source whenever video content is initiated full-screen. Eliminates the annoyances of using an extended desktop. So "in theory" your video card could be playing a movie out one display, while you worked on the other.

Sound in Vista is weird. Microsoft ditched the APIs that made a Soundblaster a Soundblaster. Current XFI cards have to actually use a type of emulation to provide the more advanced positional. It really is a big mess. Games can now do all the same things with direct control of each channel inside the game instead of having to depend on Creative's API. I have 5.1 analog downstairs using an XFI and 7.1 LPCM upstairs. Both provide full wrap-around sound. The XFI uses acoustic tricks to provide a sense of elevation, which made FPSs a little more realistic, but the sound quality of LPCM absolutely blows it away. So I am happy with my tradeoffs. You might not if you are overly dependent on a couple of advanced Soundblaster features. However, Asus is releasing a card - the Xonar HDAV, which provides full XFI support and both 7.1LPCM and HD Bitstreaming support (if your receiver can decode). But that will cost about $200.


For two audio sources and locations, you will have to set it up a little quirky. You can only have one default audio device in Vista. I have four devices available right now, an HDMI, analog speaker output, and two digital connections.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Java Jack /forum/post/15475044


MSI 7411.


" http://www.jdoqocy.com/click -3136390-10521304?URL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.newegg.com%2FProduct%2FProduct .aspx%3FItem%3DN82E16813130206"


If you are going to spend that much on a board. Audio/video out of this platform works great for Blu Ray, etc.

Why does your link have a redirector, " http://www.jdoqocy.com ", in the beginning of it? Do you get money each time somebody clicks your link? How sad.
 

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I have no idea. I just copied directly from the newegg site.


Trying again.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813130206


Interesting...not sure why it is doing that.


Tried doing a search on jdoqocy, not much info immediately available. Anyone even know what that is? I had never seen that before.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Java Jack /forum/post/15475522


I have no idea. I just copied directly from the newegg site.


Trying again.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813130206


Interesting...not sure why it is doing that.


Tried doing a search on jdoqocy, not much info immediately available. Anyone even know what that is? I had never seen that before.

Yeah, I just started noticing that, too. And it's not just limited to you or your post. WTF is going on here? Has this forum been hijacked?
 

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As I keep mentioning before, AVS Forum adds that automatically for all Newegg links. They're probably a Newegg affiliate and get advertising revenue if you click on the link.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovejedd /forum/post/15475749


As I keep mentioning before, AVS Forum adds that automatically for all Newegg links. They're probably a Newegg affiliate and get advertising revenue if you click on the link.

i've never seen you mention it, nor anybody else. i guess i will avoid clicking newegg links from this site. good thing i mouse over links before i click them. they could have sent people who knows where. heh


i was concerned that jdoqocy.com was possibly a fraud. considering I can't find any information about that website, i will make it a point to avoid them. who knows what kind of virus/malware it could be putting on our computers.


sorry about the thread hijack. i was concerned about the links given to the OP. i don't have anything in addition to what was already said. good advice in here.
 

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Your video card is overkill for a HTPC, you could spend much less by getting an Nvidia 9600.


Your setup doesnt sound much like a HTPC. It sounds like its a gaming computer on a desk with a video out going to a near by plasma. Typically a HTPC is for the 10 foot experience, not gaming.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by getnate12345 /forum/post/15476542


Your video card is overkill for a HTPC, you could spend much less by getting an Nvidia 9600.


Your setup doesnt sound much like a HTPC. It sounds like its a gaming computer on a desk with a video out going to a near by plasma. Typically a HTPC is for the 10 foot experience, not gaming.

some people like to play games further than 12 inches from a screen. in which case his video card is fine. play on!


[to the OP: there is a HTPC gaming section also, to avoid the video-only clubbers like this person]
 
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