AVS Forum banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, fellow nerds. I've just completed my first ever HTPC build. I've built plenty of desktops in the past but this is my first HTPC and also my first build of any kind in 4 years. What I hope to achieve with this machine is to replace my WD Player and have a few extra bells and whistles. I intend to use XBMC to organize and play all of my movies, tv shows and music which I have stored on external HDDs. I also intend to play emulated games (up to PS2, possibly Wii quality) with Hyperspin. Last, I'd like to be able to launch Steam out of XBMC. I've loaded all the software and everything seems to run properly. However, it is not quite optimal for showtime yet. Here is what I need advice on:


1. VIDEO: Research convinced me that the APU on my processor would suffice for an HTPC with light gaming capabilities. Yet video quality is not as good as my tiny WD player when playing 1080p movies. Resolution seems to look fantastic on stills, but as soon as there's a little action, it seems to look a little blurred and unnatural with movement. Also, navigating menus seems to get unbearably laggy in XBMC and doesn't seem to refresh very fast at all when loading artwork. My instinct tells me it's all due to the APU not being powerful enough. I'm inclined to buy a dedicated card but it has to be low profile and hopefully be more than powerful enough to handle all the things I mentioned that I'd like to do without any lag. Any suggestions on a card? It has to fit a low profile case so I'm not sure how powerful those things can be these days. Am I even on the right track with buying a vid card or is there something else I'm missing? Please help!


2. INPUT: I was leaning toward Flirc and my existing universal remote (which currently controls my PS3 and TV). However, I would need it plug it into a back port since I need the 2 front ports for controllers. Hence, no line of sight for the IR receiver. Anyone know of any decent remotes for HTPC that work will with Windows 8.1 and XBMC? I browsed Amazon and couldn't find anything except for the Logitech harmony remotes but I'm not looking to spend that kind of money.


3: Right now my sound and video are going to 2 separate places. HDMI directly to the TV and optical from the sound card to the AVR. The reason for this is because the difference in picture quality is night and day between routing HDMI through the receiver and going direct to the TV. Sound is no issue either way. However, going directly to the TV poses a problem because I lose 3D capability. Anything stereoscopic 3D must go through the receiver because I have several 3D capable devices (PS3, WD, etc.) and the 3D adapter only has on HDMI input. Again, I think the intolerable loss in video quality may be due to lack of GPU power. Any advice there?


Thanks to all in advance who may be kind enough to help me in my quest to create this dream machine successfully. It's been a passion project I've been wanting to take on for years so I'm really hoping to perfect it.


Here are my theater specs:


HTPC HARDWARE:

-Silvertone ML03B HTPC case

-MSI FM2-A75MA-E35 motherboard

-AMD A10-6800K 4.1GHZ Quad Core Processor (Radeon 8670D APU)

-8GB (4x2) G.Skill Sniper DDR3 2133 RAM

-ASUS Xonar DG 5.1 card

-Kingston 120GB SSD (OS, Frontends, Emulators)

-WD Blue 1TB HDD 6GBS (Roms, Media)

-Antec Gold 450W PSU


SOFTWARE:

-Windows 8.1 OEM

-XBMC Frodo (front end)

-Hyperspin (emulation)

-Steam (modern gaming)


DISPLAY & SOUND:

-65" Mitsubishi 3D Ready DLP (2010)

-Mitsubishi 3DA Adapter (converts SBS/OU to checkerboard)

-Yamaha AVR (2010)

-Klipsch RF series 5.1 speaker set-up
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
For #1 you can try a GT630 low profile card, might take care of #3 too,


For #2, do you have Android phone? have you tried the remote app?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,290 Posts
2. You're making that way more complicated than it needs to be. If you want IR and have no line of site, get a $1 USB extension cable. Why do you need Flirc? Any MCE or Ortek dongle will work with any universal remote and control most of XBMC out of the box. Registry hacks can remap whatever missing commands you may have. I don't know what your expectations of controlling Win 8.1 apps with a remote are, but that simply won't work since MS designed it to be very keyboard/mouse/remote unfriendly. And as the previous poster said, there are tons of apps for remote control if you want to go that route. But your existing universal will work fine with any dongle and an extension, even Flirc if you insist.


Since you're doing all your viewing directly on your PC, I'd also rethink the XBMC thing. There are much better options out there, IMO, like MB3, JRiver and others. I think XBMC makes more sense on low end client boxes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Flirc was what came recommended by other users in several other articles I've read. I'll get on Amazon and see what else is available. The extension cable is a good idea. I'll do some googling on the other options. I have a wireless keyboard and mouse for when I need Windows which won't be often once I have everything configured.


Never heard of those 3 but I'll look them up. In my searches, it seemed like everyone was using XBMC, MediaPortal or Plex. Thanks for the input.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,290 Posts
Flirc certainly adds flexibility, and it has a lot of fans, but it also adds a lot of complexity and expense. I'd start simple. Then if the out of the box solutions don't cut it, move on to more complex solutions. I've never needed any remote software in my system, which is doing a lot more than you plan to do with yours. Similar story with XBMC. I think both are kind of outdated solutions. Just my opinion, so take it with a grain of salt.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
773 Posts
1) The A10 APU you already have should be way, way more than enough for smooth 1080p playback. If you're not getting I would investigate that there is something wrong with your playback settings in XBMC before I went out and threw more hardware at it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
This may be a dumb question but would the physical HDMI cable make any kind of difference. When I swapped out between direct to TV and through AVR, I unplugged the HDMI from my media player and switched inputs so I would have to dig my AVR out of it's place and worry about my speaker wires coming unplugged. I've never really encountered much of a difference in quality due to cables before but I'm considering all possibilities at this point.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That's precisely what my research is telling me. That my hardware is more than adequate for my purposes. I'm going to mess with a few more settings per everyone's input this evening when I get home to see if any of it makes a difference. Thanks again!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Oh, and my TV has a 120hz refresh rate. I noticed the display adapter defaults to 60hz but I've never seen much of a motion quality drop between 60hz and 120hz on the displays I've seen. My 50" LCD is only 60hz and looks excellent.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
322 Posts
With the video quality.....are you enabling the hardware decoding options you have available and are capable of in the codecs you use? Also, do you have the colorspace matched up between your display and drivers? Like if your TV is expecting the tv standard 16-235 colorspace but your pc drivers are set to output the pc standard 0-255 colorspace, that can make significant difference as well. Some sets will handle that disparity better then others (on my LCDTV in that situation it isn't that noticeable, but with my plasma in that situation there is a night and day difference and looks BAD), but it is most ideal for them to match. For most proper video, I'd set both to 16-235. If you game or do other stuff quite a bit and you have the option on your tv, you can try setting both to 0-255 and see how you like it. It's not the proper video range, but likely wont be to noticeable of a detriment in practice watching video and may yield some benefit for the rest of your pc use on the tv.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top