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Hello all! I am building my HTPC and I want your opinion. I also have a few questions that I would like answered prior to ordering the parts. I want to build a mini-ITX system and the case I've chosen is a little bigger than the Wii.


Here are my parts:

Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 (already own)

4GB DDR2 800 Ram (already own)

HP OVU422000/06 USB IR Blaster (Came with my HP Laptop)

Sata Bluray Drive

1TB Hdd (for now)


Zotac GF9300-I-E MiniITX Mobo - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813500041

Apex MiniITX Case w/ 250w psu - http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...096&CatId=3429


I want to use the box for either XBMC or Boxee hooked directly to my tv via HDMI in 1080p. I want a small footprint but quick performance. I store all of my BR's on the HDD. They are all in H.264 format.


Questions-

1) Is that mobo good enough for my needs? I see it has an optical out, can I just hook up the optical out to my Onkyo receiver, press play and a movie will be in DD or DTS 5.1/7.1? When I stream them thru my ps3 they all play in their encoded DD or DTS 5.1/7.1 formats.


2) Anyone ever use that IR Blaster? Will it work with my Logitech Harmony One?


3) Is the 250w PSU that comes with the case strong enough?


4) What is the best way to setup this box? Have it boot directly into XBMC or Boxee? Install Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit? I still want to access the files on my other pc's in my house. The parts i'm not buying are already in a pc that i use to stream media to my ps3 and host my media to my other pc's. Can i still do that with XBMC? Will XBMC see all 4GB's of RAM or is it based on a 32-bit program that only sees 2GB?


5) What is a good USB Tuner Card? The mobo I've chosen up there does not have any pci slots. Is there a good reason to own a tuner card?


Thanks all for all of your help!
 

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1) Yes, dunno about the audio part though

2) Dunno, assume so

3) Fine

4) XBMC Unix or Windows? Thought about Win7 WMC + Media Browser?

5) WinTV-HVR-950Q. As for reasons, you really only need a tuner card if you wish to DVR TV. If not, just let your TV's built in Tuner do the work, the TV tuner will most likely be quicker at changing channels anyway.
 

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1. I have the same processor and the G-E version motherboard. It works great for HTPC use and I'm actually using it for my general PC work too via a second monitor. You will not get 7.1 formats, ie the HD audio formats, over optical.


2. That appears to be a WMC remote receiver but a quick search showed it requires drivers. If it's like most WMC receivers then it's plug and play for use with MCE and I believe that XBMC (at least the windows versions) can also use a MCE receiver. Your Harmony can be programmed to be a MCE remote.


3. Yes. I'm using a brick and open board power supply from user Electrodacus off ebay. It's capable of maybe 160W.


4. I use Windows 7 myself and I'd recommend that route and experimenting with different front ends from there. Do a restore point before installing each front end and then you can remove it and try another one.


5. I don't use a tuner card. However, the SiliconDust HDHomeRun tuner seems to be very popular and you can put it on the network somewhere else besides in your living room.


Peter
 

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HDhomrun is a dual tuner and about $150. They have a lot of pcie card tuners that'll work fine.


You shouldn't have a problem getting 7.1 audio over optical. You won't be able to get DTSHD or dolby truHD over optical.
 
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