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Discussion Starter #1
Dear AVS,

I am looking to build a HTPC to playback 720p rips, DVD files, Bluray (through drive), music, pictures, maybe down the line record off my Comcast HD box. This will be going through an entry level home theater setup that can do HDMI audio + Video. I am looking for the home theater system to support HDMI video+audio with either a 5.1 or 7.1 system which is still yet to be decided. All to a 32" Vizio Plasma. Keep in mind I am a college student that is looking to build a solid HTPC that will last me a few years. The TV, and home theater will most likely be upgraded in the next 4-7 yrs. The HTPC will be upgraded to a media server as well down the line I hope.



Here is a build I am piecing together:




Case - The case is still changeable. I want the case to have a lot of internal space to fill with more HDD's if I want in the future. I want it to have a IR receiver (I like how this has 6 internal HDD bays, and comes with a remote) I may upgrade to a lodgitech harmony universal down the line and would like simple compatablity

The motherboard + processor - I decided on with simply reading through the forums and felt it would be a good mid level system which would handle basically everything I throw at it. Also I want RAID support built in incase I want to use a RAID5 array


CPU cooler
- best bang for my buck?


The video card - I am deciding between a Gforce 8600 or a HD radeon of sorts. Any advice on that?

PSU - I need the PSU to be able to handle all the HDD's which may be expanded to fill all 6 spots

HDDs - I put 4 1TB drives in now just so I can get RAID5 up and running, although I may just use 3TB's to start off with. Question - Can I setup a RAID5 array with my 3 HDDs and then add more in down the line without whipping all my current data? Any other 1tb drives are welcome to suggestion.

Audio card I want this to be able to do any sort of audio I throw at it. Will I need an audio card?


Any advice would be great, keep in mind that the HDD's I put on the list may be substituted for less space if I wish, and if I choose not to start out with a solid RAID5 array (I don't know if I'll honestly need it) so I'm still deciding on how much space to actually start with.


I didn't add any thermal paste since its cheap and I don't know which would be better for my particular application.


Software is yet to be determined, but I am definitely going to be running some sort of rock solid front end such as Meedios to manage everything in a clean simple manner.



Sorry in advance for the long confusing post and I can help clarify anything if needed and as always thanks for any help and advice
 

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I'd not get a bluray & HD-DVD drive since the latter is already gone. Just get a blu-ray writer. The cpu is a bit underpowered. I'd go with a e8400, which is what I use in my server, and it works great. Very cool and relatively fast. If course, the q9500 is not that expansive.. something you might want to consider
 

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Video- if you have a brand new Yamaha reciever(rx-v663,863 and others of this model year) don't go ATI for sure. Big bug with them.


Cpu is more than enough for software decoding, let alone having hardware assist from video card.


Cooler- Scythe Mini ninja or full size one if it fits.


Audio you may not need a card if you go ATI 4850 or Nvidia motherboard with 8200, 8300 or 720a,730a,750a chipsets as they have HDMI audio to a reciever that takes PCM audio over HDMI
 

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I have a Imon VFD/remote. I never got the thing to work with a Harmony and finally gave up. I found a few posts around with people claiming it was working great but I couldn't get it working. I'm using a H659 remote and one of the database devices that was reported as working would cause an error when trying to update my remote. The Imon using an odd remote protocol and it's just not supported well with 3rd party remotes.


I'm presently using a Tira2 receiver and Eventghost as the software. It's a little more setup work but it's working great.


As for the graphics, I wouldn't go with an onboard 8200/8300 as suggested. I purchased a Gigabyte 8200 based board and am regretting it. I think the drivers are buggy. Sometimes playback is good but other times it tears or crashes.


Peter
 

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Discussion Starter #6

Quote:
Originally Posted by hehe299792458 /forum/post/14323488


I'd not get a bluray & HD-DVD drive since the latter is already gone. Just get a blu-ray writer. The cpu is a bit underpowered. I'd go with a e8400, which is what I use in my server, and it works great. Very cool and relatively fast. If course, the q9500 is not that expansive.. something you might want to consider

I cannot find a bluray writer alone, only the combo. So your suggesting the E8400 + EP35 DS4?

Quote:
Originally Posted by eminence55 /forum/post/14324281


Video- if you have a brand new Yamaha reciever(rx-v663,863 and others of this model year) don't go ATI for sure. Big bug with them.

I havn't even bought a receiver yet, although I am looking mainly at Onyko, Martinez, and Sony.


Cpu is more than enough for software decoding, let alone having hardware assist from video card.

Thanks, I'll research more builds with both suggestions


Cooler- Scythe Mini ninja or full size one if it fits.

Ditto


Audio you may not need a card if you go ATI 4850 or Nvidia motherboard with 8200, 8300 or 720a,730a,750a chipsets as they have HDMI audio to a reciever that takes PCM audio over HDMI

I'll look further into all of this

Quote:
Originally Posted by ftothe3 /forum/post/14324826


why dont you get onboard video? g45/g35

From what I read onboard video can only do so much. I want the build to be able to support any video at it, whither it be playing 720p/1080p .MKV files, or bluray files. Will onboard video really be able to sustain all of that? If so I'll look into one of the aformentioned motherboards and build up another set.



I also forgot to add the ram in, So 2-4gb of ram will also be in the box
 

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Discussion Starter #7

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshDorhyke /forum/post/14325099


I have a Imon VFD/remote. I never got the thing to work with a Harmony and finally gave up. I found a few posts around with people claiming it was working great but I couldn't get it working. I'm using a H659 remote and one of the database devices that was reported as working would cause an error when trying to update my remote. The Imon using an odd remote protocol and it's just not supported well with 3rd party remotes.


I'm presently using a Tira2 receiver and Eventghost as the software. It's a little more setup work but it's working great.


As for the graphics, I wouldn't go with an onboard 8200/8300 as suggested. I purchased a Gigabyte 8200 based board and am regretting it. I think the drivers are buggy. Sometimes playback is good but other times it tears or crashes.


Peter

Yes onboard video scares me a little. I want to cut out anything that may cause choppy bugs down the line. I should probably make sure that all this will fit into the case I picked out as well
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by litwick87 /forum/post/14325186


Yes onboard video scares me a little. I want to cut out anything that may cause choppy bugs down the line. I should probably make sure that all this will fit into the case I picked out as well

You could always go the AMD route. While I've had some issues with the build initially, the Gigabyte 780G board with a BE 5000+ 2.6GHz Brisbane has been able to handle any video type I've thrown at it...regular DVD, 720p and 1080p MKV, OTA ATSC, etc. Most of the time hardware acceleration is possible and the CPU is barely used, but in other cases with the 5000+ and CoreAVC as the filter the video is still buttery smooth. Just a thought...
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sneakerx /forum/post/14325367


You could always go the AMD route. While I've had some issues with the build initially, the Gigabyte 780G board with a BE 5000+ 2.6GHz Brisbane has been able to handle any video type I've thrown at it...regular DVD, 720p and 1080p MKV, OTA ATSC, etc. Most of the time hardware acceleration is possible and the CPU is barely used, but in other cases with the 5000+ and CoreAVC as the filter the video is still buttery smooth. Just a thought...

Yeah, I'm wishing I bought that board now. It seems to work well for most people.


Now it's probably cheaper to pick up a video card and stick it in.


Peter
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by hehe299792458 /forum/post/14323488


The cpu is a bit underpowered.

I agree for a build that's supposed to last many years I wouldn't hold back on processor power too much. The 8400 is great bang for buck, doesn't draw too much power and can handle 1080p as well.
 

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Hard drive: are you ready to start filling up the discs right the way? If not - wait until you do (half your price is HD).

Blu-ray: Why do you need a burner? It's more expensive that hard drive storage. By the time it matches, the burners will be under $100.

Mobo: Do you need a full ATX board?


Diogen.
 

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You can pick up the bd/hg LG drive for about 130 now. Having hddvd read is useful as disks are cheap, once you rip a movie to your hard disk who cares what media it came on.


The q6600 quad core chip is around 180 now.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by eminence55 /forum/post/14324281


Video- if you have a brand new Yamaha reciever(rx-v663,863 and others of this model year) don't go ATI for sure. Big bug with them.

What bug is that?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by politby /forum/post/14329155


What bug is that?

They don't recognise the video card as HDMI but as DVI and no sound.

Some problem with EDID I think. I can't comfidently say that Nvidia and Intel solutions work fine either.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
So far I see I should get a stronger processor, maybe even go quad core.

I don't acutally *need* a full ATX board, though it may be nice for future expansion.

The HDD's as I said I don't actually know how much I'll start with though if I do decide to go RAID5 I'll need to start with at least 3 correct?

And the GFX card still needs some deciding.

thanks for any future help AVS
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by eminence55 /forum/post/14329566


They don't recognise the video card as HDMI but as DVI and no sound.

Some problem with EDID I think. I can't comfidently say that Nvidia and Intel solutions work fine either.

Ah. Not happening on my RX-V1800 fortunately.

I also happen to be using a DVI Detective (which has proved to help avoid lots of other problems in addition to the main reason I got it).
 

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I'd recommend to spend half as much with a generic AMD 780G or Intel G45 solution (no separate video card, sound card required). When you are ready to go HTPC and server as separate boxes, re-purpose this as the server and build a new HTPC (in 1-2 years).

By then (hopefully) the high resolution audio will be sorted out, $100 will buy you a 3-4TB drive, BD had really won and is still hacked and decoding video needs less horsepower than DVD watching today.


Diogen.
 

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I agree with going onboard, the Intel g45 solutions are getting very good benchmarks at the moment. I would also agree with the e8400 or e8500.

The benchmarks indicate that the performance variance between a dual core and quad core (intel) is damn near nothing, and sometimes the 8500 wins.

At the moment, i would personally stay away from amd, they have lost this round, and need some time to re-engineer their stuff.

As far as a PSU, remember you need something with as high efficiency as possible essentially taking the rated output power and multiply by the efficiency percentage to get how much power it actually puts out. 82 or 83% is a good number.

PC power and cooling/OCZ are usually the best.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Ok so if I go onboard, which motherboard has been running solid with the e8400/8500 that has HDMI onboard? If not then I'll grab a Gforce GFX cards as they are pretty cheap.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I think I'll order up all the stuff on friday, so if anyone can build up a similar spec'd machine that would be great. Or post up similar spec'd machines.
 
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