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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have read the guide, but I am just seeking advice for the best setup for what I need.


I have this TV downstairs amazon.com/Sony-KP-51WS520-51-Inch-HD-Ready-Projection/dp/B0002S9FG0


I have a 32 inch SD TV upstairs.


I want to downgrade my cable to just the locals and get rid of my 2 Comcast DVRs. So I need to build a machine that will be a DVR. I Also want to be able to watch what I record downstairs, upstairs.


Looking to spend $500 at most.
 

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I think you may be shooting a little low with that number since you want to feed 2 tv's you essentially need 2 machines. One could be an extender, maybe you have an xbox lying around.


I guess its possible you could run audio/video cables to the tv upstairs. You would also need a way to control the pc from up there. Also with an sdtv your going to need something that outputs s video or something analog. Which aren't the most common these days.


Imo you could build anb htpc with tuner card for about 500. But adding support for another tv on another floor in your home is where it will get a little hairy.


I'm sure someone can help you better that maybe already does this, just my .02
 

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Also agree I'd shoot for spending around $400-500 for a decent HTPC then get a 360 for upstairs. The 360's can be setup to auto start in media center and work great. I believe you can even watch live tv/record tv from the 360 but not 100% sure.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Critical5 /forum/post/18247700


I have read the guide, but I am just seeking advice for the best setup for what I need.


I have this TV downstairs amazon.com/Sony-KP-51WS520-51-Inch-HD-Ready-Projection/dp/B0002S9FG0


I have a 32 inch SD TV upstairs.


I want to downgrade my cable to just the locals and get rid of my 2 Comcast DVRs. So I need to build a machine that will be a DVR. I Also want to be able to watch what I record downstairs, upstairs.


Looking to spend $500 at most.

An htpc + xbox will be able to replace your DVRs, but $500 would only buy you a good htpc. You will also need a wired ethernet(cat5e/ cat6) connection to both rooms for HD streams.


If you want only locals, you may want to consider getting an OTA antenna, depending on where you live, and how far you are from the tv broadcast towers. This would eliminate any monthly TV charges. Goto tvfool.com to research signal strength.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ok, I feel dumb, but I didn't realize that there was a huge antenna sitting on my roof. I found the cable that was in my basement and hooked it up to my TV and I get all the channels I need with that, So I am going to drop Comcast altogether. What I am trying to figure out is how powerful of a machine I need for what I am going to do.


I want to be able to record in HD and SD. And I also want to be able to use Hulu and other internet sites to watch TV.

Quote:
I believe you can even watch live tv/record tv from the 360 but not 100% sure.

Does anyone know if this is true?
 

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If you currently have a PC in either room you can use it as an "extender" for your new HTPC. Put the new HTPC in the room that doesn't have a PC and use it for all your recording.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Can anyone recommend a setup for me? I am not picky about a case. What motherboard and chip will be best for me? Do I need a video card to do what I want to do? Let me know your setup and what you spent on it. Don't worry about the extender part, I will just keep looking for a good deal on an xbox 360.
 

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If only for DVD's and HD tv I'd suggest getting an AMD AM3 motherboard ($80)and 4gigs pc3 ram ($100). Get a decent AM3 processor dual or quad core($100), quad if you're planning on multitasking. Pickup a solid powersupply ($60), a nice looking case($60), and DVD drive ($30).


some of the am3 motherboards have either 790gx (HD3300)or brand new 890gx (HD4290)built in HDMI graphics so you won't need a video card.


Get a large harddrive 2TB ($139.99 at frys.com right now) or so and you'll be good for a long time. You can get a 1TB or lower and still be good.


for a tuner I'd get a dual ATSC tuner. So you can watch 1 show while recording. HDhomerun dual ($150) is a network tuner which might be easier if your antenna connection is far away, but any ATSC tuner will work($60-80). You can buy a single tuner then always upgrade and get another or a few more.


That might be a little over your price range but with AM3 if you need to upgrade in a few years you'll be set. If you're looking to save a few bucks i'd buy the cheapest AM3 proc ($35) and a small harddrive ($60). You then can upgrade the proc whenever and only lose $35 and always can add harddrives without a problem.


I'd also suggest getting an ATX board/case if space isn't a problem. A lot of people like the smaller mATX or ITX boards but if you don't mind a standard size PC tower sitting next to the tv then it'll allow for more room to let heat out and more slots for tuner cards and whatever else you'll want.
 

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I run a MSI 790GX-G65 AM3 Mobo

4gb PC3 1600 OCZ Reaper ram

AM3 810 quad core proc

500w power supply

coolermaster tower case

250gb drive (6TB in server)



I only have around 10-15 HD shows at one time max and with my music,pictures I don't fill the 250gb. I keep all the movies in my Server machine with 6TB though.
 

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Also I just upgraded from:

939 3500+ proc

Abit Fatal1ty 939 board

3gb DDR ram

500w power supply

coolermaster tower case

250gb drive (6TB in server)


This was my old pc turned into HTPC. It worked pretty well
 

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Quad core is definitely overkill. All the decent tuner cards do hardware encoding, so it's not really taxing your CPU at all. 4GB of RAM is not strictly necessary either, since nothing you'll be doing with a HTPC is particularly RAM-intensive. Normally I'd say go for 4GB anyway, but if money is really a big issue, you can skimp on it and you'll probably never notice a difference in performance.


This would do you nicely for about $450. It's the best you'll do unless you want to cheap out on the HDD or you have some parts lying around that you can use. The case is, as always, subject to personal aesthetic taste. I went with this one because it has room for 4 HDDs, which you may need if you want to expand in the future.





Quote:
Originally Posted by Critical5 /forum/post/18257430


Is this a good Motherboard?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813131406

The reviews would indicate that it is. You almost can't go wrong with Asus or Gigabyte. They both tend to be on the expensive side though. ASRock is Asus's "budget" brand, and they still tend to be decent boards for a lower price.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by candre23 /forum/post/18257431


Quad core is definitely overkill. All the decent tuner cards do hardware encoding, so it's not really taxing your CPU at all. 4GB of RAM is not strictly necessary either, since nothing you'll be doing with a HTPC is particularly RAM-intensive. Normally I'd say go for 4GB anyway, but if money is really a big issue, you can skimp on it and you'll probably never notice a difference in performance.


This would do you nicely for about $450. It's the best you'll do unless you want to cheap out on the HDD or you have some parts lying around that you can use. The case is, as always, subject to personal aesthetic taste. I went with this one because it has room for 4 HDDs, which you may need if you want to expand in the future.







The reviews would indicate that it is. You almost can't go wrong with Asus or Gigabyte. They both tend to be on the expensive side though. ASRock is Asus's "budget" brand, and they still tend to be decent boards for a lower price.

How upgradeable is this setup? Am I going to regret not paying a little more now?
 

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Well it does use ddr2. Which is being phased out for ddr3. That

being said I built a system last week with ddr2 as thats not really an issue for htpc's imo.
 

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Whoa, Dont but the A188 Duet for a tuner. I have one and it's flakey. A lot of other people are having the same problem. I believe the problem is it doesn't seat well in the pcie slot and sometimes dissapears, it becomes a huge pain. Also I've heard they don't even have a phone number or anything to RMA, everything has to be online and takes weeks to RMA.


I would stick with a ddr3 motherboard. ddr2 is older and slower and you'll be kicking yourself later because you didn't spend a few bucks more. I suggested getting 4gb ram because it's dual channel and 2x2gb would be the best then later you can add 2x2gb more to fill the slots. I don't see a point in buying 2x1gb for a few bucks less. Win7 64bit requires 2gb at a minimum and is very ram intensive.


Quadcore is overkill but it comes in handy if you're watching a movie while you're recording a show and downloading something.
 

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Pretty good board and microatx but only has one pcie x1 slot. Not sure if that matters to you but it might leave you limited. Also i'm not sure of the difference between the 785 and 790 but i'm assuming 790 is better and since you're planning on using onboard HDMI it might be a good idea to get a 790 or 890 board.


Are you looking for micro atx (small) or ATX (larger)
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by justinm0424 /forum/post/18258905


I would stick with a ddr3 motherboard. ddr2 is older and slower and you'll be kicking yourself later because you didn't spend a few bucks more. I suggested getting 4gb ram because it's dual channel and 2x2gb would be the best then later you can add 2x2gb more to fill the slots. I don't see a point in buying 2x1gb for a few bucks less. Win7 64bit requires 2gb at a minimum and is very ram intensive.

DDR3 is more expensive, as are the boards that use it. You will never notice any speed difference in an HTPC setting. You will also never notice any performance difference between 2GB and 4GB of RAM.

Quote:
Quadcore is overkill but it comes in handy if you're watching a movie while you're recording a show and downloading something.

No it doesn't. In that sort of situation, you'll run into a HDD bottleneck long before you max out your CPU. With the tuner card encoding the show being recorded, the GPU decoding the movie being watched, and downloading not being CPU-intensive under any condition, I'd be surprised if a dual-core Athlon II even broke 50% usage in that scenario.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by justinm0424 /forum/post/18258905


Whoa, Dont but the A188 Duet for a tuner. I have one and it's flakey. A lot of other people are having the same problem. I believe the problem is it doesn't seat well in the pcie slot and sometimes dissapears, it becomes a huge pain. Also I've heard they don't even have a phone number or anything to RMA, everything has to be online and takes weeks to RMA.

What tuner do you recommend?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Critical5 /forum/post/18259205


What tuner do you recommend?

The A188 is fine. The problem justinm0424 mentions isn't with the A188, but with Windows 7. It affects all tuners. Windows 7 has a known issue with "losing" tuner cards when resuming from S3 sleep. There is currently no fix besides simply not allowing your HTPC to hibernate.
 
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