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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,


I've learned via some kind members that the crappy acer pc I was trying to use as a htpc was just that...crappy.


So, i need to build a unit that will meet my needs. Here they are:


1) Play 1080p flawlessly from BD and MKV sources, with 7.1 sound via an HDMI to my receiver.


Here's our Movie room so far: Epson 6500UB projector, Grandview 110" screen, Denon 2310CI receiver, xbox 360, wii, ps3, HD satellite TV.


Because of the setup i really want the computer to connect to the Denon 2310CI receiver using only one 1.3 HDMI cable.


So...what do people suggest for the case, mobo, processer, GPU etc.

I'm not too worried about price, but i don't want to be foolish with it either.


Thanks in advance...let the expertise fly!
 

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Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-MA74GM-S2 - Cheap and reliable.

CPU: AMD Athlon II X2 245 Regor 2.9GHz - Cheap and fast and cool.

Video card: ATI 4350 - Low power, low temperature, 7.1 LPCM over HDMI capable. Just as good at hardware video decoding as a top-of-the-line card for 1/5 the price.

RAM: Whatever 4GB dual channel DDR2 800 kit is cheapest.

Case: Whatever micro-ATX case you like the looks of.

HDD: Anything from the WD Green line.

BD-ROM: LG CH08LS10 if you don't need to burn BD, Pioneer BDR-203BKS if you do.


You can do the whole thing for under $500 with a 1TB drive an a cheap case.
 

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A common misconception is that hardware video decoding is the same on the cheapest cards as it is on the fastest cards. I've found that both non-accelerated and accelerated video is smoother on faster video cards. Of course, that's not to say the 4350 is more than capable of playing any 1080p mkv thrown at it. If you can, going for a nicer video card will make everything smoother including media center and just windows in general.


EDIT


I'd also suggest going for a Seagate LP drive. Those are faster than WD drives (esp the green line) and consume less power and spin slower for less sound. This is achieved through higher density disks.
 

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I would go with a similar build as Candre23 except the following changes:


Motherboard - GIGABYTE GA-MA785GMT-UD2H AM3 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard

CPU - same

GPU - Sapphire 4670

Drive - I prefer to keep the Green/LP drives for storage and the WD Caviar Black for O/S

Case - really depends on where you want to keep your budget (some come with PSU). I have a real cheap HEC Case for one of my HTPCs and a more expensie Antec Fusion remote for another HTPC.

PSU - if not included with case, Antec EA430

RAM - G Skill 4GB (2 x 2GB)

Rom Drive - I had purchased the LG Blu Ray/HD DVD drive

O/S - W7 (up to you x32 vs x64, I would lean towards x32 for an HTPC)

Remote - cheap IR Receiver paired up with a universal remote or the Logitech diNovo Mini

UI - WMC (via MediaBrowser). Alternatives XBMC or MediaPortal
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by candre23 /forum/post/17015575


Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-MA74GM-S2 - Cheap and reliable.

CPU: AMD Athlon II X2 245 Regor 2.9GHz - Cheap and fast and cool.

Video card: ATI 4350 - Low power, low temperature, 7.1 LPCM over HDMI capable. Just as good at hardware video decoding as a top-of-the-line card for 1/5 the price.

RAM: Whatever 4GB dual channel DDR2 800 kit is cheapest.

Case: Whatever micro-ATX case you like the looks of.

HDD: Anything from the WD Green line.

BD-ROM: LG CH08LS10 if you don't need to burn BD, Pioneer BDR-203BKS if you do.


You can do the whole thing for under $500 with a 1TB drive an a cheap case.


That motherboard has decent onboard video, why do you need a graphics card at all?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkro /forum/post/17017598


That motherboard has decent onboard video, why do you need a graphics card at all?

No AMD chipset supports 7.1 HDMI audio. So a HD 4xxx discrete card is necessary. Moreover 740G does not support hardware decode acceleration for HD video formats.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by candre23 /forum/post/17015575


Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-MA74GM-S2 - Cheap and reliable.

CPU: AMD Athlon II X2 245 Regor 2.9GHz - Cheap and fast and cool.

Does Cool'n'Quiet (including non-downclocking memory) work properly in this combination? I am wondering this because AMD 740G is designed mainly for AM2 processors (HT 1000MHz).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx /forum/post/17017633


No AMD chipset supports 7.1 HDMI audio. So a HD 4xxx discrete card is necessary. Moreover 740G does not support hardware decode acceleration for HD video formats.


I was talking about the 785G which I believe incorporated some new HD features. Like I think it supports HDMI 1.3, but I only go for 5.1 anyways. Setting up 6 satellites and one center seems pretty crazy, especially if you are paying for high quality satellites. Good speakers cost way more then these computer systems, you can easily dump $500 on just the powered sub.


This is the mobo I was thinking:


GIGABYTE GA-MA785GMT-UD2H AM3 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkro /forum/post/17017929


I was talking about the 785G which I believe incorporated some new HD features. Like I think it supports HDMI 1.3, but I only go for 5.1 anyways. Setting up 6 satellites and one center seems pretty crazy, especially if you are paying for high quality satellites. Good speakers cost way more then these computer systems, you can easily dump $500 on just the powered sub.


This is the mobo I was thinking:


GIGABYTE GA-MA785GMT-UD2H AM3 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard

Unfortunately AMD 785G chipset supports exactly the same audio formats over HDMI as the previous chipsets.


- Stereo LPCM

- DD bitstreams

- DTS bitstreams


This is an old story ( AMD 785G Update - Multi-Channel LPCM is not Available ).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by roots4x /forum/post/17015714


A common misconception is that hardware video decoding is the same on the cheapest cards as it is on the fastest cards. I've found that both non-accelerated and accelerated video is smoother on faster video cards. Of course, that's not to say the 4350 is more than capable of playing any 1080p mkv thrown at it. If you can, going for a nicer video card will make everything smoother including media center and just windows in general.

.

while that is true, this isn't gaming, its also easy to overdo the card. get a card that can do what you need, you don't need the extra heat, power consumption or fan noise.


its why integrated graphics are popular on htpcs, most htpcs will be on all the time.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by roots4x /forum/post/17015714


A common misconception is that hardware video decoding is the same on the cheapest cards as it is on the fastest cards. I've found that both non-accelerated and accelerated video is smoother on faster video cards. Of course, that's not to say the 4350 is more than capable of playing any 1080p mkv thrown at it. If you can, going for a nicer video card will make everything smoother including media center and just windows in general.


EDIT


I'd also suggest going for a Seagate LP drive. Those are faster than WD drives (esp the green line) and consume less power and spin slower for less sound. This is achieved through higher density disks.

Considering the track record of seagate for the past 2 years I would stick with WD HDD for the time being.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for all the input, I think I'm ready to start shopping!!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx /forum/post/17017968


Unfortunately AMD 785G chipset supports exactly the same audio formats over HDMI as the previous chipsets.


- Stereo LPCM

- DD bitstreams

- DTS bitstreams


This is an old story ( AMD 785G Update - Multi-Channel LPCM is not Available ).

Do you actually have 7 speakers and a powered sub?


My audio preference has been Dolby Digital 5.1 and my stereo is currently powering two full range stereo speakers. My receiver is to old to support HDMI. In fact my receiver was basically from before HD tv's, but still it can do DD 5.1 through the optical input.


P.S. dont buy sony receivers, in fact don't buy any sony audio stuff.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkro /forum/post/17024493


Do you actually have 7 speakers and a powered sub?

Yes (otherwise I couldn't write good advices in this forum such as rear/side swapping issue
).


If your AVR is pre-HDMI, why do you worry about 7.1 LPCM HDMI audio?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx /forum/post/17024510


Yes (otherwise I couldn't write good advices in various threads such as rear/side swapping issue
).


If your AVR is pre-HDMI, why do you worry about 7.1 LPCM HDMI audio?

I don't really, I just always worry about future proofing stuff. If you can tell by me receiver I keep stuff for a long time.


You must have one hell of a nice home theater room. Its always kind of awkward to set systems like that up in houses without a home theater room.
 
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