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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My original (modded) Xbox is starting to act like it has the swine flu so i'm thinking of planning its replacement asap!


Use cases of HTPC:

* Media streaming (what current Xbox w/ XBMC does)

* Web browsing (wanna be able to use it instead of laptop to browse internet on TV)

* Torrent (client only...storage is elsewhere)

* Home Automation (not planning immediately, but would like to eventually use as a front end for home automation including temperature, lighting, sprinkler system, alarm, etc...)


Requirements:

* No gaming planned

* No DVR/PVR capabilities needed (as far i know...you're welcome to convince me otherwise)

* Has to do everything Xbox does today with XBMC as far as streaming

* Quiet

* "Green" (power consumption) to the extent possible as it will be on 24x7

* 2-3 years proof for above use cases

* Ability to handle any kind of high end/HD content (mkv, h264, BD, flac, etc...)


Set-up/interfaces:

* U-Verse HD DVR connected via HDMI to

* Denon 2809 AVR passing a/v via HMDI to

* Panasonic 1080p 50 inch plasma (50PZ800U in case it matters...may replace soon with 2009 model, TC-P58V10)


So ideally i'd like to connect the HTPC to AVR and pass out to TV. Stereo setup is sick to say the least but not in scope of this discussion.


I'd like to stick with Intel, NVIDIA due to general familiarity and comfort with the brands over the last few years. Would also like to run a SSD for HD for noise/power as it doesn't need to be large (mass storage is elsewhere network attached).


I appreciate any and all ideas the AVS community has to offer!
 

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I am using my HTPC for most of the same things you want, I would recommend the Antec Fusion 430 for the case, it has an 80Plus efficient PS and is super quiet. ( http://www.antec.com/Believe_it/product.php?id=NDk= )


For a processor, you should be fine with any Intel Core2 Duo above 2Ghz or any Core2 Quad. I always lean towards the Intel with their low power consumption and quiet stock fans. Also you may want to consider nVidia's new Ion platform with a Dual-Core Intel Atom and integrated HDMI so you can forgo the video card ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813500027 )


For video cards I usually prefer nVidia but Ati's cards with HDMI have native sound cards and make it much easier to send 5.1 audio over the hdmi. I'm chose this once since it uses a silent heat sink only design: ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814102819 )


For automation mControl for Windows Media Center works like a champ. It has a great 10 foot interface and can work with many automation systems. I use it for Z-Wave lighting controls and thermostats and it works great. ( http://embeddedautomation.com/EAHAmControl.htm ). They have great support forums which are actively monitored by the developers and are very helpful. I wrote a quick review here: http://connectedcommuter.com/?p=48


Also after moving from the XBMC I found using Media Browser with Windows Media Center gives the best interface for managing/streaming your movies. ( http://www.mediabrowser.tv/ )


PS, I also use it as a whole house DVR with an HDHomeRun QAM tuner and Dual ATI cable cards. It works great since I can stream all of my recorded TV shows to other rooms in the house that have XBOX 360s. Media Browser even works on the extenders and allows me to watch many video formats for streaming downloaded content.)


-Sean
 

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Unfortunately Nvidia is lagging a bit when it comes to audio processing. If you want to pass HD audio over HDMI then you either need an ATI 4000 series video card or you need an Asus Xonar HDMI audio card.


Other than that, pretty much any current hardware will do what you want. Are you looking for a complete build list?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ahhh, all great points...let me try to answer/comment on a few to keep the dialogue going...so far great tips.


I don't have a preference either way for onboard video vs. not...i would be willing to do without if i could get good performance and for some reason thought that some of the newer motherboards came with good graphics.


I thought i read some reviews of the Ion platform and how it's pretty lame, but i could be completely off my rocker. Because this HTPC will basically be replacing my regular PC for occasional CD that needs to be burned, and other junk like that i want to make sure that it is a legit PC (not sure if that makes any sense) where i'm not sure Ion accomplishes that. Admitedly, i have been out of this since my last custom built PC which was 6+ years ago...sorry for any ignorance.


I would like to accomplish passive cooling to the extent possible, so i'm interested in your considerations as far as build list with this in mind. I'm also curious about your thoughts on SSD (perhaps even in RAID 0)...thoughts?


Since i have a AVR (Denon 2809) do i really need to worry about sound processing?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So i just did some BASIC reading and turns out i'm mistaken about Ion...seems pretty beefy. I've been into my smartphone lately so i'm wondering if something like Nvidia's Tegra platform is going to have an impact on the HTPC crowd...perhaps i'm off my rocker again and i digress...


Was just thinking, i guess i didn't mention form factor. I think i want mATX (i think that's what it's called). Ideally i'd like for it to look like another receiver/blue ray player, etc...meaning short, but wide and deep.


Also, as a previous person mentioned about build list, i'd like to iterate through this thread with thoughts of my own and commentary on my ideas and to walk out with a build list. So i hope that helps...i'm not looking to have it handed to me on a platter, but i would like input and commentary on my ideas before i decide.
 

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I have recently built two G45 based systems and can say they should easily pass your green/low power tests. My e8600 mini ITX system runs on an 80 watt PSU, and I estimate the e5400 HTPC mATX system uses around 40watts idle and less than 100watts under full load. Since you won't be gaming the G45 IGP should work well for you and when matched with a decent processor it should be capable os supporting any new HD video codecs that come out in the next couple of years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by user4avsforum /forum/post/16960625


I have recently built two G45 based systems and can say they should easily pass your green/low power tests. My e8600 mini ITX system runs on an 80 watt PSU, and I estimate the e5400 HTPC mATX system uses around 40watts idle and less than 100watts under full load. Since you won't be gaming the G45 IGP should work well for you and when matched with a decent processor it should be capable os supporting any new HD video codecs that come out in the next couple of years.

Can you say more about G45? What is that? (again, sorry for ignorance...been out of the custom scene for 6+ years)
 
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