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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I finally decided it was time to upgrade from my NMT to a full blown HTPC. I'm planning to do some mild gaming on it as well - hence the slightly higher specs than really required to get the job done.


After reading/lurking this forum for a long time I think I have most of the issues sorted out however I do have a few questions remaining. First of all this is the parts-list that I ordered:


Antec Solo

Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3LR

Intel Core 2 Duo E7400

OCZ Titanium DDR2(800) 4GB CL4 (2x 2GB)

Club 3D HD4850 512MB (native HDMI)

Samsung Spinpoint F2 500GB

Sony AD-7204

Prolimatech Megahalems CPU cooler

Arctic Cooling Accelero S1 rev. 2 GPU cooler

2x SilenX iXtrema PRO IXP-74-14 - 120 x 120 x 25 mm

Scythe Kama Reader 2

Nexus Value 430

Terratec Cinergy C PCI HD

Smargo Smartreader PLUS

Logitech diNovo Edge


The reasoning for the above mentioned list are as follow (in case some of them seem odd) :

- case: I don't mind a normal case - and this one is piano black, and allows me to upgrade to bigger coolers for (nearly) passive operation

- mb: nice layout of pci/pci-e slots with future upgrade possible for extra tv cards etc

- proc: not planning on much transcoding at the moment for fast enough for some mild gaming

- mem: 4gb is cheap so why not

- gpu: 4850 for gaming/hd content and native hdmi output

- disk: the samsung disk is tested as near silent, 500gb on single platter and low energy to top it all off

- dvd: got a nice review for read/burn quality

- cpu cooler: tested as one of the best and doesn't cost too much

- gpu cooler: 4850 generates some heat - but i don't want noise

- fans: amazing amount of CFM at 14 dB (rated) - one goes on the GPU and

one as exhaust near the CPU

- card reader: for all the pictures

- tvcard: DVB-C capture card with HD support - will do free to air and encrypted content

- card reader 2: smartcard from cable company goes here


I'm planning to run the following setup on the software side:

- Windows 7 x64

- Media Portal + TV server

- NewCS/ACamd


The combination of Media Portal + TV server + NewCS/ACamd will allow me to use a cheap tv card to watch encrypted content instead of buying a more expensive version with a CI slot and additional decrypter. It also has the added benefit of allowing me to use 1 smartcard for multiple capture cards.

To my knowledge Media Portal is the only setup that will allow me to do this - but I'm open to other suggestions.


Now for the questions I have:


- OS: Is Win7 64bit the smart choice here - I'm not in need of it from a hardware side however it might be nice to be future proof without needing to reinstall if I do want more memory. However I've read that going 64bit locks out certain plugins/decryptors/etc (eg. reclock etc). What will I be missing out on by going 64bit vs 32bit?


- All my content will be stored on a NAS (linux based). Are there any network changes I should make to speed things up - like larger MTU or changes in TCP buffers?


- I'm also buying 4x 1 TB disks to go into the NAS on which I want to run software Raid5 - are there any pointers on special configurations to keep track of on the linux box (MTU/buffers/raid configs/etc)?


- I'm hooking it up to a Sony Bravia LCD screen, which supports 24p natively, what would be the best way to switch refresh rates based upon content. Ideally (not sure if this is possible) I'd like to run a high refresh rate by default and switch to 24p automatically if the content requires this.


- Tuning Windows - is there an overview somewhere (looked but did not find) that shows what services to terminate, registry changes to make to get a lean OS for an HTPC setup ?


- Remote control - The TV card comes with an IR receiver. I own a Logitech universal remote. Does anyone know if that combination will let me control the HTPC or will I need a seperate IR receiver?


Thanks
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BabyTux /forum/post/16979810


The combination of Media Portal + TV server + NewCS/ACamd will allow me to use a cheap tv card to watch encrypted content instead of buying a more expensive version with a CI slot and additional decrypter. It also has the added benefit of allowing me to use 1 smartcard for multiple capture cards.

To my knowledge Media Portal is the only setup that will allow me to do this - but I'm open to other suggestions.

I have never heard of being able to get cable with a card reader...
 

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I will go 64-bit Windows 7 Tandem later this year until then I have no definite answers.


I switch refresh rates and/or to 24p using Catalyst if needed manually. Don't know any solution to switch refresh rates automatically for your purposes.


I dont bother terminating or changing the registry. As long as you have enough memory and cpu power its not a big deal.


You can program your Logitech to control both. Your TV card has its own remote control right?


Not very familiar with NAS setups so I can't comment on that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by mike_311 /forum/post/16986259


I have never heard of being able to get cable with a card reader...

It's a setup I found online where you install some plugings for MediaPortal and a key server. The keyserver uses a USB smartcard reader to fetch the keys off a valid and activated (hence paid for) smartcard - just like your settop box does. The keyserver + plugins then allow MediaPortal to fetch the crypted channels of the cable - but only those that fall within your subscription naturally.


The guide I found is written in Dutch and specific for my cable provider but the general principal should probably work for others as well. The url with the info in dutch is: xxxhttp:// zepman.tweakblogs.net/blog/2228/ziggo-digitale-tv-op-de-pc.html

I tried running the full page through bablefish but that did not work. Maybe there are other translators out there that do convert it to English.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xylon /forum/post/16986564


I switch refresh rates and/or to 24p using Catalyst if needed manually. Don't know any solution to switch refresh rates automatically for your purposes.

I've found a few posts by now that show how to change the settings based upon content by means of the ReClock plugin. I've also seen that this only works on 32bit though - can someone confirm this is still the case?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xylon /forum/post/16986564


You can program your Logitech to control both. Your TV card has its own remote control right?

Yea it comes with a remote - was just wondering if the IR + software will let me use the Harmony to control MediaPortal over it as well or if I can only use it to control the programs that come with the card itself. I've seen that this works for remotes that claim to be MCE compatible but I've not found a statement whether it is compatible or not on the product site.
 

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ReClock is a 32-bit filter, so it works only with a 32-bit player. But the only 64-bit players are MCP HomeCinema x64, WMP12 x64 and 7MC. The first two are also available in 32-bit, and ReClock automatic refresh rate change does not work properly even with the 7MC x86 internal player anyway.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BabyTux /forum/post/16979810


So I finally decided it was time to upgrade from my NMT to a full blown HTPC. I'm planning to do some mild gaming on it as well - hence the slightly higher specs than really required to get the job done.

Wise decision.
Quote:
- proc: not planning on much transcoding at the moment for fast enough for some mild gaming

You may not be trancoding now and I haven't researched procs in a while but this is one area I would not skimp on. A beefier proc improves multitasking while recording etc and someday you will probably want to transcode. Minutes instead of hours is preferable. It may also reduce stuttering or other problems with programs that don't take advantage of your video card's hardware acceleration. My next puter will be at least a quad core, fastest I can afford.
Quote:
- disk: the samsung disk is tested as near silent, 500gb on single platter and low energy to top it all off

....(snip)....

- I'm also buying 4x 1 TB disks to go into the NAS on which I want to run software Raid5 - are there any pointers on special configurations to keep track of on the linux box (MTU/buffers/raid configs/etc)?

I purchased a 2TB WD Caviar Green sata. It runs quiet, cool and its fast. HDTack reports 130.9 mb/s read spead. Faster than than 74gb WD Raptor I use as the C drive. The price point at the moment favors 1gb drives but IMHO 2 - 2TB drives in a non-raid configuration would remove some headaches.
Quote:
- Tuning Windows - is there an overview somewhere (looked but did not find) that shows what services to terminate, registry changes to make to get a lean OS for an HTPC setup ?

As you install your operating system and programs keep a close eye on background services. Print before and after installation lists of the services so you know what services are related to which programs. Keep them to a minimum.


That's all I can think of at the moment.


Later, Conrad
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradWS /forum/post/16986787


The price point at the moment favors 1gb drives but IMHO 2 - 2TB drives in a non-raid configuration would remove some headaches.

I agree that setting up two 2TB drives non-raid is less hassle - however having to rerip upto 2 - possibly 4TB of data when they fail would not be on my list of nice things to do

Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradWS /forum/post/16986787


As you install your operating system and programs keep a close eye on background services. Print before and after installation lists of the services so you know what services are related to which programs. Keep them to a minimum.

Nice pointer to keep things tidy indeed. I'm looking into what comes standard as well. I've seen some posts of people having success using vLite on Win7 to strip it down - but those were mainly aimed at installation on a netbook not installation for an HTPC/Gaming station - so I'm not 100% sure about which options I should not remove from the system.
 
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