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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all. I really want to reuce the amount of cable clutter and junk near my TV. I am hoping to building a full featured HTPC on a MiniATX or MicroATX platform.


Ideally, I would install Windows7 normally, and then put the box in my closet with the HomeServer and NAS devices. I have 2 MediaExtenders that I would use for watching TV in the bedroom and living room.


1) What would you suggest as a good platform (CPU/GPU-IGP)? What specific implementation (MoBo, CPU Model, etc)?


2) What problems do you see with the proposed solution (not included a more laggy interface)?


Thanks,
 

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What cable length requirement are you talking about to travel from your closet to the TV apprx?


What MediaExtenders do you have and what do you expect to be able to play off of your HTPC from your extender?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ideally, the HTPC would not even be hooked up to a monitor/tv. It would just be hooked up to tuners that would record and send signal to the extenders.


First Extender is the 360. Perfect for the living room because of games and DVDs.


Second Extender is a linksys DMA2100. Now, I don't 'love' this extender (its slow and clunky) but small and sexy physically. Suppsosedly, the windows7 experience with the older extenders is much improved.
 

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Why not just get a Zotac Ion based PC? It is Mini-ITX form factor which is I think the smallest you can go. And it uses an extremely little amount of power. You could stick a 750GB laptop hard drive in it which would be a decent amount of space, and if you didnt mind a ghetto approach you could probably tape a 2nd 750GB laptop drive somewhere inside it.


Windows 7 would work pretty decently, although some of the prettier settings might need to be turned off.
http://www.zotac.com/index.php?optio...d=331&Itemid=1
 

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Do you want to have a seamless operation on the TV and be able to watch live TV, all your recorded media, regardless of format, and be able to setup recordings from your TV all in one program and not having to change sources or go to the HTPC to setup recordings and have absolutely no hardware at your TV except for a HDMI cable and an IR receiver? This works nice for bedroom TVs mounted on the wall. I have no exposed wires, as my 2 cables come in through the wall. I just have a small round IR repeater below the TV mounted in the wall. I also ran a power line and recessed the outlet in the wall behind the TV.


I asked the length to your TV because another option is run your HTPC from the closest and hook the TV directly to it. I do it this way. You can run extended lengths of HDMI over CAT6 and IR repeaters over CAT5 and have complete control over the PC remotely. You can then use Windows 7 Media Center as your all-in-one entertainment device.


In addition, I've even run my cable directly into my closest from the street and run my split in the closest to each HTPC. This allows all my TVs to watch live TV from its HTPC and have a TV guide (I do not pay for digital cable - only extended analog, which has become clear QAM in my area already (Comcast Atlanta is shutting off analog in September and has changed all their analog channels to clearQAM.


The cost of your HTPC can be low, because all you need is a basic 45xx or 46xx ATI card, an E5600 Core2 duo and a single HD to store DVR recordings on your tuner capture HTPC. Any additional HTPCs can just link to the main HTPCs DVR folder. And you don't have to go with expensive small form cases or quiet cooling, because you store it in a closest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yeah,

The main TV is downstairs and the closet is upstairs. No interest in really doing the HDMI over cat5e solution, thought I suppose I may look into it (its a pretty long distance).


As for the ION platform, I just think it will be a little underpowered and I think a few expansion options would be good (RAM, CPU, etc). I have dual Cablecard tuners (USB) and I would spoof the bios to make the box compliant with OCUR.


I will keep lookin.
 

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I have one of these cases for an embedded application I'm working on. Decent quality and very small.



http://www.mini-box.com/M350-univers...-itx-enclosure


The case has lots of venting too.


If you get the ION with the power supply its probably one of the smallest package out there and draws the least power.



Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

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You really don't need something with powerfuly integrated graphics since it won't be hooked up to a monitor directly, you should be more concerned with I/O bandwidth, the grapics will have to be handled remotely. I would go with something that is going to give you better network badwidth and with a good integrated sata controller, like a P45 motherboard, since that will determine more your experience than anything else.


As for windows 7, I'm loving it thus far, and I hate Vista, windows 7 is IMHO what was promised with vista finally being delivered.
 
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