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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all -


I'm new to the forum and new to Home Theaters in general. After review many threads (during work and in the middle of the night), I have selected some parts that I want to buy to build a HTPC. I am coming to you all since you all are more knowledgable than I in regards to these things and I just want to make sure that my set-up is okay. Please let me know your thoughts and/or recommendations.


TIA


Application:

I want to use this PC to store my music, movies, etc and watch it on my tv and run the sound through my bedroom set-up. I would also like to record some shows and play video games as well. My budget for this thing is about $2000 or less.


My bedroom set-up consists of:

Harman Kardon AVR 240 Receiver

Infinity 5.1 TSS-750 Sound system

Samsung LNT 4065F 40" 1080p LCD HDTV


The specs of my set-up are below (Missing is a HDTV tuner card - I need your help on this one b/c there are so many and I can't find out which would best work for my application):


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SILVERSTONE SST-LC18-S Silver Aluminum front panel, 1.5mm aluminum body ATX Desktop Computer Case - Retail

Item #: N82E16811163062

Return Policy: Standard Return Policy

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$599.99

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SAMSUNG 18X DVD�R DVD Burner With 12X DVD-RAM Write, LightScribe Technology Black SATA Model SH-S183L - OEM

Item #: N82E16827151141

Return Policy: Standard Return Policy

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$37.99

2

G.SKILL 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) System Memory Model F2-6400PHU1-1GBNR - Retail

Item #: N82E16820231085

Return Policy: Standard Return Policy

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$89.98

($44.99 each)

1

ASUS P5B Deluxe/WiFi-AP LGA 775 Intel P965 Express ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

Item #: N82E16813131028

Return Policy: Standard Return Policy

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$192.99

1

SAMSUNG SpinPoint T Series HD501LJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

Item #: N82E16822152052

Return Policy: Limited 30-Day Return Policy

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-$5.00 Instant

$119.99

$114.99

1

CORSAIR CMPSU-520HX ATX12V v2.2 and EPS12V 2.91 520W Power Supply - Retail

Item #: N82E16817139001

Return Policy: Standard Return Policy

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-$15.00 Instant

$20.00 Mail-in Rebate

$139.99

$124.99

1

Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Conroe 2.4GHz LGA 775 Processor Model BX80557E6600 - Retail

Item #: N82E16819115003

Return Policy: Processors (CPUs) Return Policy

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$224.90

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EVGA 640-P2-N821-AR GeForce 8800GTS 640MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Video Card - Retail

Item #: N82E16814130071

Return Policy: Standard Return Policy

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-$30.00 Instant

$30.00 Mail-in Rebate

$379.99

$349.99

Grand Total: $1,735.82
 

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You can get the e6600 on Ebay new for around 200 shipped, at least that's what I've seen there. If you wanted to cut down on costs, some other things can be bought from ebay (although I wouldn't suggest this for most items).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi all-


Thanks for your replies, I really appreciate the feedback. I know that the case is on the expensive side, but I don't want to look back in a year and go, "Damn, I should have sprung for the nicer case". I want this system to last me a good 3 -4 years (at least) but we know how fast systems go out-of-date.


Do any of you have suggestions about what HDTV tuner card I should use? I would like some recommendations/suggestions on what you all think would work best with the system. I currently use a KWorld HDTV tuner for my laptop and the clarity is fantastic...only draw back is that its external and uses usb.


Again, TIA for any help.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by RXM /forum/post/0


Hi all-


Thanks for your replies, I really appreciate the feedback. I know that the case is on the expensive side, but I don't want to look back in a year and go, "Damn, I should have sprung for the nicer case". I want this system to last me a good 3 -4 years (at least) but we know how fast systems go out-of-date.


Do any of you have suggestions about what HDTV tuner card I should use? I would like some recommendations/suggestions on what you all think would work best with the system. I currently use a KWorld HDTV tuner for my laptop and the clarity is fantastic...only draw back is that its external and uses usb.


Again, TIA for any help.

I bought Zalman HD160XT case for about the same amount of money and I am very happy with the case. Thing is, you can always put in new mb/cpu/hdd etc and your case still looks great.


I have almost identical to yours setup except I've got 2x1GB G.Skill 667FSB RAM and E4300 which is overclocked to 3.3Ghz.


My video card is Gigabyte 7600GT with the passive cooler.


I use Dvico Fusion USB HDTV card and very happy with it.


All in all, your setup looks fine, although a bit expensive. Oh well it's only money.


If you wanna go cheap, look at Abit F-I90HD mb. It has onboard Radeon 1250 capable of 1920x1080p, HD Audio, LAN etc. However, it only has one PCI slot and no 1394.


E4300 is an excellent CPU if you are willing to overclock.


Don't forget nice quiet HSF, sich as Zalman 7700Cu or Alcu.


Welcome to the world of HTPC. You can get in, but you won't be able to get out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hi Galileo,


Thanks for sharing your set-up with me...I was in need of a HSF and didn't know which to get yet. Just read some reveiws on the one you have at Newegg and looks like those customers are happy with their purchase.


The reason I wanted to go with the E6600 is because I've read on various forums, that it is very easy to overclock and is the best bang-for-buck CPU. I'm planning on overclock the CPU but I'm a little concerned with the PSU that I have. Do you think the Corsair 520HX is sufficient?


I was debating between the LC18, the Zalman HD160XT, and the Uneed x15 V2. I decided to go with the LC18 b/c of the numerous reviews that I've read. Pretty much, all the higher-end HTPC enclosures got rave reviews so I it came down to the screen quality. The LC18 has "HDTV" like resolution - as per the manufacturer website and reviewers love the screen as well. Basically, this is what won me over.


I did want to go cheap at one point - as newer components are released on what seems a monthly basis. In that respect, my system will become obsolete sooner or later. But then I just decided to go with somewhat better parts just to squeeze some extra life out of the system...eventually it will become a hand-me-down to my sister or brother



I'm holding off on the HD/Blu-ray drive as of now...both still pricey and nothing is concrete in which direction media will be moving. I'm happy playing regular dvds as of now.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by RXM /forum/post/0


Hi Galileo,


Thanks for sharing your set-up with me...I was in need of a HSF and didn't know which to get yet. Just read some reveiws on the one you have at Newegg and looks like those customers are happy with their purchase.


The reason I wanted to go with the E6600 is because I've read on various forums, that it is very easy to overclock and is the best bang-for-buck CPU. I'm planning on overclock the CPU but I'm a little concerned with the PSU that I have. Do you think the Corsair 520HX is sufficient?


I was debating between the LC18, the Zalman HD160XT, and the Uneed x15 V2. I decided to go with the LC18 b/c of the numerous reviews that I've read. Pretty much, all the higher-end HTPC enclosures got rave reviews so I it came down to the screen quality. The LC18 has "HDTV" like resolution - as per the manufacturer website and reviewers love the screen as well. Basically, this is what won me over.


I did want to go cheap at one point - as newer components are released on what seems a monthly basis. In that respect, my system will become obsolete sooner or later. But then I just decided to go with somewhat better parts just to squeeze some extra life out of the system...eventually it will become a hand-me-down to my sister or brother



I'm holding off on the HD/Blu-ray drive as of now...both still pricey and nothing is concrete in which direction media will be moving. I'm happy playing regular dvds as of now.

Corsair PSU is sufficient IMO.


As of overclock, I am not sure what can be done with E6600, but I don't know too many applications which require more horsepower than my 3.3Ghz E4300 gives. And it was only $100. Well, I like adventures, if you wanna stay on the safe side, go with E6600.


HDTV resolution on the 7" LCD? Not sure you will get too many advantages of it.


Anyway, Silverstone is a fine case. Except you probably will have to put some extra efforts to make it cool and quiet. That's why I went with Zalman, they prepared it for me.


One more thing: whatever you do, get two sticks of RAM, be it 2x512mb or 2x1GB to take advantage of the dual channel. And make sure this RAM is at least 667FSB if you are going to overclock.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by galileo2000 /forum/post/0


Corsair PSU is sufficient IMO.


As of overclock, I am not sure what can be done with E6600, but I don't know too many applications which require more horsepower than my 3.3Ghz E4300 gives. And it was only $100. Well, I like adventures, if you wanna stay on the safe side, go with E6600.


HDTV resolution on the 7" LCD? Not sure you will get too many advantages of it.


Anyway, Silverstone is a fine case. Except you probably will have to put some extra efforts to make it cool and quiet. That's why I went with Zalman, they prepared it for me.


One more thing: whatever you do, get two sticks of RAM, be it 2x512mb or 2x1GB to take advantage of the dual channel. And make sure this RAM is at least 667FSB if you are going to overclock.

Max resolution on the LC18 screen is 1600 x 1024. I'm not sure what benefit I will get from that type of resolution besides clarity, but it sounds pretty nice to see that resolution on such a small screen.


I tried to do a search regarding the LC18 cooling and noise, but didn't turn up much. I thought the case did not have issues with cooling since it had so many vents and holds up to 4 fans. Is there a reason I should be concerned with the noise as well? I'm sure you've done your research on cases before you decided on the Zalman. Is there a link you can direct me to that has information regarding cooling and noise issues with this case.


If these two things are a big issue, then I will consider the Zalman.


I will look into the CPU again, heck...if I can get a cheaper set-up without compromising performance...then I'm all for it!


Please let me know your opinions on the LC18 as I am very interested in why you feel cooling and noise is an issue.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by RXM /forum/post/0


Max resolution on the LC18 screen is 1600 x 1024. I'm not sure what benefit I will get from that type of resolution besides clarity, but it sounds pretty nice to see that resolution on such a small screen.


I tried to do a search regarding the LC18 cooling and noise, but didn't turn up much. I thought the case did not have issues with cooling since it had so many vents and holds up to 4 fans. Is there a reason I should be concerned with the noise as well? I'm sure you've done your research on cases before you decided on the Zalman. Is there a link you can direct me to that has information regarding cooling and noise issues with this case.


If these two things are a big issue, then I will consider the Zalman.


I will look into the CPU again, heck...if I can get a cheaper set-up without compromising performance...then I'm all for it!


Please let me know your opinions on the LC18 as I am very interested in why you feel cooling and noise is an issue.

I am not going to say anything bad about LC18, I am not really familiar with the case, I am sure is decent and might be better than my Zalman.


I still have my D.Vine 4-based HTPC. All my efforts to make it quiet were fruitless. I've spent a lot of extra money on the fanless PSU, 120mm CPU fan, huge heatsink etc. That HTPC had left my living room and now takes asylum in my office.


My decision to go with Zalman was based on those factors:


- Zalman is well known fot its cool and quiet solutions;

- Zalman cooperated in designing the case with one of the manufacturers of the very expensive cases ( I forgot which one but their cases start like at $799).

- all fans in Zalman case are preinstalled. They provide software app to control the fan speed to make them quiet ( although the lowest before 0 is 40% which I don't like).


And guess what, Zalman LCD supports 1268x720 just fine and might support higher resolutions, I haven't tried, for me this LCD just a wow factor and my 7" virtual aquarium or slideshow player.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by galileo2000 /forum/post/0


I still have my D.Vine 4-based HTPC. All my efforts to make it quiet were fruitless. I've spent a lot of extra money on the fanless PSU, 120mm CPU fan, huge heatsink etc. That HTPC had left my living room and now takes asylum in my office.


.

One of my HTPCs (in fact my first one), uses the D4 as well. Yes, the case is not "optimal" from a cooling perspective, but improvements can be made..
The setup I have in it now, is with an ASUS M2N32 motherboard with an X2 5000+ CPU, with a Thermalright 120 CPU cooler, and a Corsair PSU. The PSU has a 120mm fan, the case came with two 60mm fans, one of which I replaced with an 80mm fan using a 60-80mm adapter, the CPU cooler has an 80mm fan sitting on top of it as well (couldn't fit the 120mm fan that came with it, it made it too high), the video card is an XFX 7950GT passive cooled, and I dremmeled the side of the case to install an 80mm intake fan.


End results: I can't hear the system from more than 18 inches away.
The CPU and system idle at around 30 and 38 respectively, and rarely break 42 even when playing 1080 HD.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kapone /forum/post/0


One of my HTPCs (in fact my first one), uses the D4 as well. Yes, the case is not "optimal" from a cooling perspective, but improvements can be made..
The setup I have in it now, is with an ASUS M2N32 motherboard with an X2 5000+ CPU, with a Thermalright 120 CPU cooler, and a Corsair PSU. The PSU has a 120mm fan, the case came with two 60mm fans, one of which I replaced with an 80mm fan using a 60-80mm adapter, the CPU cooler has an 80mm fan sitting on top of it as well (couldn't fit the 120mm fan that came with it, it made it too high), the video card is an XFX 7950GT passive cooled, and I dremmeled the side of the case to install an 80mm intake fan.


End results: I can't hear the system from more than 18 inches away.
The CPU and system idle at around 30 and 38 respectively, and rarely break 42 even when playing 1080 HD.

Hi kapone,


I did not say it could not be done w/D.vine 4. I said I could not do it and my experience affected my decision on the next "fancy" case.


Congratulations on your success w/D.vine 4.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by galileo2000 /forum/post/0


Hi kapone,


I did not say it could not be done w/D.vine 4. I said I could not do it and my experience affected my decision on the next "fancy" case.


Congratulations on your success w/D.vine 4.

Oh, I certainly did not mean to imply that my friend. I completely agree that even though the case is real nice (and btw one of the few that can fit that monster 7950 with it's humongous cooler
), it lacks in terms of cooling. I kinda lived with the noisy aspect of it (since the fans had to work hard to cool it) for quite some time, until I finally said, screw it, and took the dremmel out, as well as started rethinking the components.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by RXM /forum/post/0


I found an excellent review of the Zalman case that you have ( http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid...e=expert&pid=6 ) and the more I read, the more I liked it. Very nicely designed case. I'm glad you chimed in on this thread
How would you rate the noise of the system under full load and all fans blowing?

It is extremely noisy with all fans at 100% but it is very quiet at 40%.


Even under full load such as playing HD DVDs w/o hardware acceleration on the main screen and the Divx HD stream on the LCD screen 40% fans speed is sufficient.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by galileo2000 /forum/post/0


It is extremely noisy with all fans at 100% but it is very quiet at 40%.


Even under full load such as playing HD DVDs w/o hardware acceleration on the main screen and the Divx HD stream on the LCD screen 40% fans speed is sufficient.

I think I'm sold on the Zalman over the Silverstone. Which PSU did you decide to go with and which direction did you mount the PSU - Fan facing in our out of case?


Thanks again!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by RXM /forum/post/0


I think I'm sold on the Zalman over the Silverstone. Which PSU did you decide to go with and which direction did you mount the PSU - Fan facing in our out of case?


Thanks again!

Good question.


I have a fanless PSU there, don't remember the brand, but it is around 450 W and more than sufficient.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kapone /forum/post/0


Oh, I certainly did not mean to imply that my friend. I completely agree that even though the case is real nice (and btw one of the few that can fit that monster 7950 with it's humongous cooler
), it lacks in terms of cooling. I kinda lived with the noisy aspect of it (since the fans had to work hard to cool it) for quite some time, until I finally said, screw it, and took the dremmel out, as well as started rethinking the components.

I got emotionally attached to that HTPC holding rusty Northwood P4 2.8 -> 3.3Ghz and Abit IS-7 mb.


It served me well for many years. I did not want to disassemble perfectly working machine (yes, it can even play HD DVDs).



It was easier for me to assemble brand new system.
 
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