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Discussion Starter #1
I'm tired of waiting for a company to get it "right" in building a high quality DVD player without the chroma bug so (silly me thought the Denon 9000 would be the savior but no...) now HTPC is gonna get a shot. I'm computer savvy, and have built several computers so I intend to build my own machine.


I currently own an Sony 61HS10 with component inputs. It does the anamorphic squeeze. My Onkyo 777 will handle the DTS/DD5.1 decoding.


Here is what I would like to do with the HTPC & features that are important:

  1. The highest of quality in DVD playback and sound, including DTS/5.1 (at least) pass through
  2. Complete remote-control ability via Pronto for all but the most complicated of tasks
  3. mp3 jukebox and CD creator
  4. control my Sony 300 disk megachanger w/ slink-e
  5. control HTPC'd DVD and mp3 playback via Pronto.
  6. ability to watch local OTA DTV stations and perhaps record their programming onto HD
  7. DVD profiler lookup.
  8. Occasional internet access via my home's 802.11b wireless network
  9. Maybe, just maybe use tv for educational software played on htpc
  10. Ability to manage Pronto's configuration on htpc[/list=1]


    Here are the hardware components I am ready to order:
    1. Calisto case from DC with DVD/CD-RW combo drive(I like the audio component look and don;t mind the $)
    2. Asus TUSL2-C & P3-1.2
    3. 256MB Crucial RAM
    4. ATI Radeon 7500
    5. M-Audio Delta 410
    6. Western Digital 120MB HD
    7. HiPix Hi-Def tuner card
    8. external USB 802.11b network adaptor
    9. VGA->Component Adaptor
    10. IR or RF keyboard/mouse (I currently use Logitech and love it -- not sure about it's distance abilities though)
    11. slink-e: I assume I need this to meet my requirements for items 2,3 and 4 above[/list=1]


      The software I belive I will require includes:
      • Windows XP
      • Powerstrip
      • TheaterTek DVD Player
      • Girder
      • CDJ for slink-e
      • Musicmatch Jukebox


      OK.... what am I missing? Any suggestions on different/additional products/software I will need to order/download?


      Should I upgrade the P3 to P4 processor? If yes, which MoBo/processor?


      Should I use Windows ME or XP given all I want to do.


      Please, I beseach you, tell me what pitfalls I am going to stumble across. You guys have really convinced me that I may be able to get high quality video/audio, upgradability, ease of use (after initial install).... I'm nervous but willing to invest the time and $ to see for myself.


      Thanks for any advice you have... please help!
 

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I don't know anything about the Western Digital HD, but I highly recommend the Seagate Baracuda IV 80GB hard drive. It is almost completely silent.


I don't know what a slink-e is. It might be similar to an IRman. If not, you will need an IRman for remote control of your PC. I am not an expert on this because I didn't go this route yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Order being placed soon :)! Am I doing the right things here?
 

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I agree, the Barracuda drives are very nice. I have two of the Maxtor liquid bearing drives and was quite disappointed in them :( Too loud. As for the hardware, sound pretty good. Hope you have better luck finding a hipix than me...
 

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You probably do not want to mix the HiPix card with the calisto case. According to DC the are not compatible. I have the AccessDTV card with the Calisto and it seems fine. AS for the remote control I have the IRMan with Girder and love it. The only issue I have is HD noise. The Calisto case does not have a lot of room for HD silencers (they want 5.25 drive bays for mounting) so I have to deal. I love the case too much to change it.


Joe
 

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 SlinkE is an infrared receiver / xmitter and also controls Sony S-link devices. It's hooked into your PC via RS232...
 

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More is ALWAYS better....CPU/RAM horsepower

IBM originally thought NO 1 would EVER need more that 32mb Hard Drive Space

U seem to want more that just a DVD player & $$ isn't an issue


Get the P4 1.6a/1.8a NorthWood Intel CPU (.13 micron build)

512mb DDR (ram is cheap Samsung/Micron/Crucial etc)
Asus P4B266 and the Soyo SY-P4i Fire Dragon

Both are FULL feature boards using Intel 845d chipsets accepting DDR memory

Since the Onkyo 777 is doing the DD/DTS decoding (u don't need mAudio DACs)

Get the CMI8738 sound option S/PDIF i/o (B sure box contains the Header)

ATI7500 is a Dual Monitor card

ATI7500aiw has the Builtin Tuner (add HD DTV later)

Seagate Barracuda Drives R a must....(they r FAST & u can't hear them)

U don't have to AIM the RF keyboard/mouse (wish I had RF)

another case idea PSI HTPC case


I agree with Wayne....

Get the DVD player working 1st and then ADD on a little at a time

using W2K/SP2 myself :D
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I agree that more is better, but this HTPC will be used ONLY for HTPC. I have a XP2000 loaded to the gills (400GB RAID, 2GB RAM, Ti500, etc)


This machine need not be turbo, just effective and stable.



Thanks for the case link! I think I prefer it over the cassini!
 

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MyCurrentSys:

W2K/SP2 Soyo Fire Dragon P4 1.6a 512mb DDR Toshiba1612DVD CM8737 S/PDIF ATI7500aiw -> DVI -> LP350


Running only WinDVD3.1 / Remote software

Toshiba M1612 has 512kb Buffer

yet my HDrive light is constantly ON while watching Movie....

Also I find I prefer SOFTWARE vs HardWare MOTION COMPENSATION 4 best PQ

Later on U may want to use dScaler with HDTV & PVR
 

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Greg_R, Thanks for the info on the slink-e. I wonder what the advantage over a Pronto/IRman configuration would be. The Pronto should be able to learn any IR codes the slink-e would provide, so isn't it redundant?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Here is the final order! I'm including prices rounded to the nearest whole dollar (not including taxes or S/H) for sake of archival purposes. I used www.pricegrabber.com for most items and went with the highest rated vendor among the lowest 10 prices.

PSI Video HTPC Case ( www.projectorspecs.com/pccase.htm ): $240

GoogleGear ( www.googlegear.com )

Asus P4B266-C - Intel 845D. P4 Northwood, Socket 478 DDR: $112

Intel P-4 1.6GHz (a): $131

Crucial Technologies ( www.crucial.com )

512MB, 184-pin DIMM (CT6464Z265): $141

Essential Computer ( www.essencompu.com )

ATI Radeon 7200 - Retail: $80

Toshiba SD-M1612 DVD - OEM: $45

Panasonic 1.44MB Floppy Drive - OEM: $12

The AllStar Shop ( www.allstarshop.com )

Seagate Barracuda ATA IV 80GB HDD - OEM: $119

Digital Connection ( www.digitalconnection.com )

M-Audio Delta 410: $199

ENERMAX 350W Whisper Dual Fan P4 ATX: $49

VGA -> RGBVH RCA 10' Cable: $49

Misc. Purchases

IRman: $40

TeaterTek DVD Player: $70

EnTech Powerstrip: $30



1 Case of Michelob Light: $30 :D
 

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> The only thing you are missing I think is the CPU Heatsink/Fan.


I've checked as many CPU Heatsink/Fan combos as I can find.

Are you sure the aftermarket offerings can improve upon the

combo included in the Northwood "box" offering?


With a variable-speed CPU fan and the CPU *not* overclocked

(and perhaps even *under*clocked), I was just wondering...


...one of the advantages of going with not only Intel (over AMD)

but also the Northwood versus earlier P4s...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
edmc:


My thinking exactly! If the fan noise is annoyingly audible, then I will get a different HS/F combo.
 

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I would have kept the ASUS PIII mobo and the 1.2 processor. Runs cooler and quieter, but the P4B266-C is a good replacement. At least you kept it to an Intel processor and chipset. Don't listen to anything else.


The change to the Seagate HDD is a good choice.


I'd prefer Win2K over WinXP due to driver maturity, and it works great for my HTPC now.


Robert
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Robert:


I really struggled with moving to the P4... but I came to several conclusions:


1. There are very quiet, if not inaudible, hs/f combos on the market for this chip. If noise becomes an issue, I will upgrade and it will be as quiet as the P3.


2. The price difference was not significant (~$50 I think) while the performance increases (in general) are.


3. The P4 gives me just a tad bit more future-proofing.


I'm still debating which OS to install... I have XP-home, 2000pro, 98SE sitting around so.... leaning toward XP still.
 

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Eric,


Your new system is so similar to mine it's a bit scary. :) Here's what I've got:


Asus P4B266

P4 1.6A

512mb Crucial DDR

ATI Radeon LE (older version of 7200)

Barracuda 80gb

Enermax 350w PSU


I plan to add a Delta 410 and TheaterTek some time down the track.


Totally useless information, but I thought I'd mention it anyway. :D


As far as operating systems go... give XP a whirl. I, for one, have been very satisfied with its reliability. Also, the only 'enhanced' Delta 410 drivers at the moment are WDM as far as I know (although that may change... but nonetheless, having the latest OS has such advantages).


From all I've heard, 2000 may be even better... "XP without the fat," as I've heard it called. But it can't hurt to experiment.


-Bon
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Bon, great minds think alike!


How is the noise from your box?
 

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Quote:
How is the noise from your box?
It's pretty decent- certainly quieter than my previous PC- but it's still not as quiet as I would like. (I'm aiming for silence, or damn near it. :)) I'm currently investigating ways to improve this, actually.


I have four case fans (Enermax variable-speeds at the quietest setting), which I thought were big contributors to the noise level, but having them disconnected (along with my DVD and CDRW drives) didn't make much difference. So I'm going to start with the PSU and CPU cooler, which I believe to be the noisiest components.


The Enermax PSU can apparently be silenced quite easily with a voltage modification to the fans... so I'm going to ask around about this before looking into fan replacements (although the design of the Enermax makes it look like fan replacement would be pretty easy to do). The Zalman 300W PSU is another alternative, but a bit more expensive than I'd like when I already have the Enermax.


The Zalman 6500-AlCu is looking like the most likely candidate to replace the standard CPU cooler. The 6500-Cu (all-copper) is slightly quieter and cools slightly better, but I'm scared of a CPU cooler that weighs over 900 grams! :D


-Bon
 
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