AVS Forum banner

1161 - 1180 of 1214 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
825 Posts
Discussion Starter #1,161

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chiahead /forum/post/15929934


Hey Ronnie, keep us posted on the PC build. I am interested in this. I built a PC about 6 years ago, and it was a miserable experiance. cards dying, machine crapping out. I thought to myself never again. But now seeing what I want to do in a theater, I don't want to shell out the amount needed to get what I would want from PC company.



I sure will. I have never ever bought a preconfigured PC and probably never will. I have built so many pc's for myself and others that I dont think i could even begin to count them. In my opinion, building your own is the only way to go to get the best components at the cheapest price, with the greatest ability to upgrade these components. Nothing wrong with pre-built OEM computers and there are definately some nice rigs out there ready to plug in and go. One thing to note is that I say this because I have been involved with this stuff since I was young and it seems easy for me and I like to do it. That might not be the situation for everyone though. I vote for anyone to try it. Its really pretty easy and there is plenty of help around here if you need it. My bet is you can get better tech support on the AVS forums than you can from the computer vendors



As a side note, UPS shows my stuff to be delivered on Monday.


Ronnie
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
825 Posts
Discussion Starter #1,162
After staring at the stack of boxes for my HTPC all week long, I finally had a chance to start the build over the weekend. It was a pretty tight fit to get all the components installed and the wires neatly arranged inside the Silverstone LC17 case. Lots of tape, wire loom, thought and patience for sure, but I finally got it the way I want it.


Here is a shot of everything installed, wired up, and ready to go.




The front of the case. One thing I am not particulary fond of is the way they make the openings for the 2 internal slots on the front of the case. They are only big enough to let the tray slide out and the actual drive is recessed into the case about 1/2 inch. They provide a blank panel that attaches to the front of your drive tray with double sided tape to give it a clean stealth look, but im going to just leave that off for now. I wish they were full height and they would give you the option to flush mount the actual drive without using the blanks. I might change my mind, but here is how it looks right now. LG GGC H20L BluRay and Veris Multimedia Station Basic are occupying those two slots. The Veris Multimedia Station Basic is a 3.5" device, so i had to use a 5 1/4 drive tray converter. The converter has a couple of usb headers on it, but they are not being used. I painted the converter tray black to match. The panel at the bottom right opens to expose 4 usb ports, headphone, mic, and a 1394 port.





Here is the new list of updated components: Most of the product links are to Newegg for info purposes only.

Case: Silverstone SST-LC17B

Power Supply: Enermax PRO82 525w EPR525AWT

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3P

Processor: Core 2 Duo E7400

CPU Fan: Xigmatek HDT-SD964

Memory: Corsair TWIN2X4096-6400 XMS2 4GB HIS DDR2-800 (PC-6400)

Video Card: HIS H467QS1GP Radeon HD 1gig

BR/HD-DVD: LG Black 6X Blu-ray/HD-DVD GGC-H20L - Retail

IR: Antec Multimedia Station Basic (3.5 external bay, IR, and Remote)

Keyboard: Logitech Dinovo Mini



After getting the hardware installed (before loading the OS), i normally do a burn-in on all the compents with several utilities that stress test all the components. These tests usually run for 8-24 hours and ensure all compnents are working properly. If they can pass this, then most likely they are good to go. The Ram was the only thing that kept failing. I was using memtest86 to stress test the ram. After messing with the ram config for 2 days, i could not get it to pass the tests successfully. The ram is OCZ OCZ2G8004GK. Tech spec HERE . Even though the OCZ ram was listed as supported on the Gigabyte website for the GA-EP45-UD3P board, i could not get it to work in any configuration. Tested various slots, voltages, timings, etc. I assumed I just got a bad memory kit and returned it. I also decided to try another brand rather than risk having the same issues again by exchanging for the same kit. I went with Corsair TWIN2X4096-6400. Tech specs HERE . After installing the Corsair memory, it passed the initial testing and also an overnight test run with flying colors.


At this point, i was satisfied that the hardware was good and ready for an OS and application load.


Windows Vista Ultimate 64 bit was loaded, along with all the latest drivers, firmwares, etc for all the various components in the system. Once everything was up to the most currrent versions, windows update was run to finish it off and bring the entire system up to date from a software perspective.


I am going to be working on getting all the applications purchased and loaded this week. Below are the items that I think I need. Stuck on deciding PowerDVD or TMT, or both. Seems to be dedicated crowds for either and its much like the mac vs pc world.


AnyDVD HD (Slysloft)

Power DVD 9 Ultra (Cyberlink)

TMT (Arcsoft Total Media Theater)


Does anyone have any suggestion, comments, or feedback on applications they use for HTPC?


Ronnie

My Movies 2 (for collection mgmt and content)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,939 Posts
Sweet HTPC,


Can't really offer any suggestions as I have yet to build a HTPC but it's something I hope to eventually get to. Pretty cool how you were able to test everything out beforehand and trouble shoot. Good luck with getting it going.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
825 Posts
Discussion Starter #1,164
Another thing i worked on over the weekend was the mount for my equipment light. Several posts above you can see what I had in mind for lighting up the front of my equipment rack.


At first, i was going to build a pull out shelf with a light on the bottom of it. Simply pulling out the shelf would activate the light and provide lighting to only the front of the rack. After some thought, i decided why not make it a drawer instead of a shelf. That way I could store things like remotes, manual, etc in one easy to find place.


So here is what I have so far. I took one of my existing rack shelves and mounted a keyboard drawer slide to the bottom of it. I then made a small drawer out of 1x4's that is 16" wide and 18" deep and painted everything black. Once mounted to the slides, it will have 6" of storage height (this can be adjusted later if needed). Once I move some equipment around in the rack, i will make the drawer front for it at the appropriate size and mount the light to the bottom of it. The plan is to have the drawer front hang down well below the actual drawer bottom to hide the light, direct it downwards and keep it from spilling into the room.


I dont know if everyone remembers how I built my rack, but its simply a couple of shelf brackets on the backside of the theater room wall. The shelving has notches on each side that allow the shelves to protrude through the wall and to be flush with the theater room side wall. From inside the theater, the shelves appear to be floating.


A pic of the backside of the rack from the equipment room:





Here is the drawer, and the handle i will use once I make the drawer facing. Should I paint those slides black????




As soon as I get things moved around and the drawer facing made, I will post some follow up pics.



Ronnie



Ronnie
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
825 Posts
Discussion Starter #1,165

Quote:
Originally Posted by oman321 /forum/post/16004214


Sweet HTPC,


Can't really offer any suggestions as I have yet to build a HTPC but it's something I hope to eventually get to. Pretty cool how you were able to test everything out beforehand and trouble shoot. Good luck with getting it going.

Thanks Omen. I like it so far. One of the things I find really cool so far is that the Antec Multimedia station will allow me to turn on and off the pc with a remote. Its tied into the power of the motherboard. This will make it handy for my Harmony 880 Remote.


Stress testing all the compents for a build is something critical for anyone building thier own pc. It validates thier functionality and performance. You also only have about 30 days to return any defective parts unless you want to go throught the warranty RMA process which I like to avoid, so this makes it even more critical. Some of the items also had rebates that needed to be submitted quickly, so i didnt want to cut any of the UPC codes from the boxes until I was certain the items were working 100% and stable.


Ronnie


Ronnie
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
121 Posts
Thanks for the info on the HTPC stress test. I'm currently building a similar machine, and was wondering what the startup process is usually like. Nice work on the room too!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,261 Posts
Sweet rig, Ronnie. Though if it were my case, I'd attach the stealth panels to the optical drives (much better looking than all the logos, etc)..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,192 Posts
Ronnie,


Cool idea on the drawer for the rack. Nice implementation as well.


WRT the HTPC, how is a HTPC difference that one of those Network Media Tanks? Other than the DVD drives and HDDs are in the HTPC. I've never built a PC or a HTPC. I'm sure I could after hours of reading and then many more hours of trial and error, but the NMT seems easier (although NOT easy).


Any thoughts for a newbie to both technologies?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
825 Posts
Discussion Starter #1,169

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scawt /forum/post/16004487


Thanks for the info on the HTPC stress test. I'm currently building a similar machine, and was wondering what the startup process is usually like. Nice work on the room too!


Scawt, A great list for these utilities in one spot and is constantly updated is over HERE Its the Latest Overclocking Programs, System Info, Benchmarking, & Stability Tools section on the Gigabyte section of tweaktown.com forums. This forum caters to the overclockers in general, but contains good info for the masses as well.


Check it out.


Ronnie
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
825 Posts
Discussion Starter #1,170

Quote:
Originally Posted by miltimj /forum/post/16004664


Sweet rig, Ronnie. Though if it were my case, I'd attach the stealth panels to the optical drives (much better looking than all the logos, etc)..

I agree Tim, it would probably look better. It bothers me that I have to attach it with double sided tape. I am worried that it wont come off easily without messing up the drive tray in the event i decide to upgrade the drive and use the current one in another machine.


For sure I will put the stealth panel on the bottom slot to cover the Multimedia Station IR box. I plan on routing an internal ir emitter inside the case and attaching it to the front of the Multimedia station sensor with a jack on one of my back slot covers to connect it to my repeater. At that point, I can cover that slot with the stealth drive cover.


Do you have any experience with Power DVD or TMT????


Ronnie
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
825 Posts
Discussion Starter #1,171

Quote:
Originally Posted by ejhuzy /forum/post/16004774


Ronnie,


Cool idea on the drawer for the rack. Nice implementation as well.


WRT the HTPC, how is a HTPC difference that one of those Network Media Tanks? Other than the DVD drives and HDDs are in the HTPC. I've never built a PC or a HTPC. I'm sure I could after hours of reading and then many more hours of trial and error, but the NMT seems easier (although NOT easy).


Any thoughts for a newbie to both technologies?



Thanks Ed.


When you say "Network Media Tanks", are you referring to a network attached storage device? Something thats basically a box full of drives? Or a PC with tons of storage?



A HTPC is a full blown PC. While it could function as a storage only device, there are cheaper ways build a pc for network storage it if all your interested in is storage. You would not need all the processing power, graphics capability, sound, etc that you need for the HTPC. You could also build one that covers both HTPC use and lots of storage, but it will be louder than a standard HTPC because you will have to cool all those drives and high end components. You would not want that whirring away in your theater room



I know you say you dont want to read, but I would suggest checking out The Guide to Building a HTPC over in the HTPC area of this forum. It covers both standard HTPC's and Media Storage PC's. Good stuff.


Ronnie
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,192 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by ronnie_jackson /forum/post/16005083


When you say "Network Media Tanks", are you referring to a network attached storage device? Something thats basically a box full of drives? Or a PC with tons of storage?


A HTPC is a full blown PC. While it could function as a storage only device, there are cheaper ways build a pc for network storage it if all your interested in is storage. You would not need all the processing power, graphics capability, sound, etc that you need for the HTPC. You could also build one that covers both HTPC use and lots of storage, but it will be louder than a standard HTPC because you will have to cool all those drives and high end components. You would not want that whirring away in your theater room



I know you say you dont want to read, but I would suggest checking out The Guide to Building a HTPC over in the HTPC area of this forum. It covers both standard HTPC's and Media Storage PC's. Good stuff.

Ronnie,


I don't mind reading at all, I've done lots of it on this forum. It was all worth it as I now have a great HT (with thanks to you too bud). I will definitely check out those links.


I read all 38 pages of this thread on the Popcorn Hour NMT. They are a NAS, but can connect to one. I guess they're more like streaming devices.


I know you know a lot about HTPC, I was hoping for a few words comparing the two (HTPC vs NMT). I'm leaning towards a NMT because it seems like it handles what I want and is less of a $ commitment. Although after you buy the BD drive, HDD/NAS, and the NMT, it might be close to the same $.


Anyway, good luck with the HTPC and keep the updates coming. I'm real interested in learning about them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
825 Posts
Discussion Starter #1,173
Ed, I dont think I could do a comparison between a network storage device and a home theater pc. They are two different beasts serving two different purposes. While a person might be able to accomplish the functions of both in a single device, I chose not to go this route.


What you choose to build is mainly based on your requirements. For me, it was first the ability to play blu-ray and hd-dvd content. Another item of interest was to be able to play movies and things ripped to my hard drive. I have a few hundred movies on a single 1.5TB drive. I will also keep a little music (mp3's) on the same drive, just so i dont have to load up or change cd's. With my setup, I can have it play my trailers, special content, etc before the movie, then the main movie, all while dimming the lighting to coincide with the specific events. It can pretty much be automated to do anything. I also wanted to be able to do light web browsing and a few occasional pc related things on the big screen. Things i choose to put on the HTPC can also be streamed to media center extenders.


For me, i didnt want or need 30TB of storage that would house every movie, picture, or MP3 that i own or will ever own. I just needed space to keep some of the latest and greatest stuff on it, provide some automation, and also a little cool factor for the guests.


My HTPC case does have the ability however to hold 6 hard drives. So, if I ever want to upgrade its storage, i could easily put 12TB of internal storage using todays 2TB hard drives. I can also easily add external storage like a nas type device. Just some other benefits of this particular setup.



So as you can see, you must start with your requirments. Then build the system to fit those needs. I hope this helps and I have answered your questions.


Ronnie
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,192 Posts
Ronnie,


The NMT's are not NAS's. I had a typo in my last response. Sorry about that. You would think with 20 yrs of computer programming I'd know how to type by now.


NMTs are actually very close to being HTPCs. The NMT doesn't come with any storage and doesn't actually require any. It's basically a box with the sound and video cards in your HTPC with software that allows for streaming content over the net. NMT is a general term for several hardware boxes that share a firmware from one company. More info on the products here and community forums here .


Enough with my NMT derailment. :) I just thought you might be interested in them and given your in depth knowledge of HTPCs give a comparison. I've been reading up on them and while everyone that owns them think they are easier to set up compared to HTPCs, that could just be fanboy talk.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
825 Posts
Discussion Starter #1,175
sorry Ed, I guess I did misunderstand you.


Those things look like media extenders to me. Seems like it would work for its purpose.



I dont have any experience with any of those. I use my DirecTV HDR recievers for streaming content from my HTPC to my tv's. From what I have read, Popcorn Hour is a pretty good one.


Ronnie
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
121 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by ronnie_jackson /forum/post/16004968


Scawt, A great list for these utilities in one spot and is constantly updated is over HERE Its the Latest Overclocking Programs, System Info, Benchmarking, & Stability Tools section on the Gigabyte section of tweaktown.com forums. This forum caters to the overclockers in general, but contains good info for the masses as well.


Check it out.


Ronnie

Awesome, thanks for the link!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
825 Posts
Discussion Starter #1,177
I installed all the media applications over the weekend and got everything set up. Right now I am testing the trial versions of PDVD8 and TMT to see which one I like or if I actually might need both.


Power DVD 8

My Movies 2

Total Media Theater

Vista Media Center configured with TV Pack.


I originally tried PowerDVD 9, but there seems to be an issue with this software and HDMI right now. Everyone on multiple forums have the same issue and nobody has an ETA on the fix, therefore I went with PowerDVD8. 8 seems to be working, but i need to do some more tweaking.


I watched a standard def DVD to completion from my hard drive through PowerDVD8 and everything looks just as good as my standalone players. I also watched a little Blu-Ray and played with some of the BDLive stuff. Pretty cool. Awesome picture and sound.


So far I am satisfied with the build, so I am going to work on mounting the HTPC into my rack and cleaning all that up. From there I will continue to tweak it out and integrate it into my automation. Other than the PowerDVD9 snag, things are good.


Ronnie
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,639 Posts
Looks like you're having some fun Ronnie. I've had my HTPC in place for a few years now Its been pretty darn reliable. You used the same case I used - you'll love it.


BTW -- I never stuck that little DVD face plate on the DVD player in fear I would upgrade to BR. Guess I should put it on one of these days.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
825 Posts
Discussion Starter #1,179

Quote:
Originally Posted by swithey /forum/post/16067031


Looks like you're having some fun Ronnie. I've had my HTPC in place for a few years now Its been pretty darn reliable. You used the same case I used - you'll love it.


BTW -- I never stuck that little DVD face plate on the DVD player in fear I would upgrade to BR. Guess I should put it on one of these days.

Lots of fun, just wish I had more time. I need to pick your brain sometime on your setup and get some pointers on software, config, etc. Its funny that a lot of our equipment turned out to be the same. I didnt plan that
I really do like the case. It looks great in the rack.


I ended up sticking the faceplate on last night. It looks better and if I ever have to swap out the drives, i guess i will do the best I can to remove it without tearing something up.


Ronnie
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
825 Posts
Discussion Starter #1,180
I pickep up a Logitech Dinovo Mini keyboard over the weekend for the HTPC. Wow, what a cool little addition to the HTPC and theater room. It fits in the palm of your hand, is backlit, and has mouse controls. It can also be operated in Media mode for WMC or standard mode. Its not something you would want to do a lot of typing on because of the small size, but its perfect for the HTPC. Reminds me of an oversized BlackBerry keyboard. It was highly recommended on the forums and seems to be well worth the money.



You can check out the details HERE .




 
1161 - 1180 of 1214 Posts
Top