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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am building my first HTPC. It will be based on:

  1. XP 2200+ "T-Bred B" CPU

    512MB PC2100 DDR

    Maxtor ATA133 7.2K RPM 40GB drive

    HP DVD200i

    Maxtor ATA133 40GB drive in a case with 1394 connection[/list=1]


    The Video will be either a ATI Radeon 9700 Pro, or AIW Radeon 7200, outputting to an Akai 42" Plasma via RGB analog. I plan on using the on-board sound solution since the stats look good, and my main use will be for watching DVD, so the sound will usually go out to my receiver for DVD DD 5.1 or DTS.


    My question is, am I on the right track? Any pitfalls anyone had with similar components?
 

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My HTPC is a Shuttle SB51G which is at least a close cousin to the

SK41G. One interesting detail change that Shuttle made between the SB50 and the SB51 was that they placed a additonal small cut-out above the slots in the rear panel for the PCI and AGP cards. It is *so* tight inside that box that the cutouts are necessary if you are trying to install a full-length PCI or AGP card with cable connectors that protrude from the card. I was unable to install an HD tuner card in an SS50 for lack of the extra cutouts, so you might want to take a close look at the back of SK41G chassis to see if Shuttle designed the extra cutouts into that chassis.


Another point to ponder is the 200W power supply used in these boxes. I contemplated buying a Radeon 9500 but fell back to an 8500 because it does not require a dedicated power connector. I'd be interested to hear if people are successfully using top-of-the-line video cards which require their own power connectors in a Shuttle.


Overall, I am quite happy with the Shuttle. It is quiet, has been reliable, and is sufficiently unobtrusive that my spouse tolerates it in the living room -- not an insignificant point for an HTPC!


cheers
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the comments, they are appreciated. Especially about the wife approval. I am concerned about that, but if I pull if off, the worst thing that will tick her off is me playing GTA III Vice City in widescreen format on the Akai!


I will check out some more photos on eBay since they show the back, front, etc. I was able to get a great price through Pricegrabber, but I won't mention vendor or price here, anyone can email me for that, or do a Pricegrabber query.


The CPU was free, along with the two 40GB drives and 9700 Pro, so I had to do this, and it is much cheaper than a "full price" version. Basically, I paid for memory and DVD200i, and a Microsoft Blue Tooth keyboard yet to be purchased, so I will basically have to be satisfied based simply on pricing, but I hope it works for what I want to do too.
 

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I have just put together an HTPC based on an SN41G2.


I have a dvd player already and also had a Leadtek TV2000XP which can with a semi good remote so I decided to start with the onboard tv out and audio. This has proved to have a reasonable picture, I will prolly upgrade at some stage in the future to a Raedon AIW as I am not completely satisfied. It's good but could be slightly better. My tv isn't the greatest though and I have to run 640x480.


I also have an IRBlaster and an IR200L for remote control using the Leadtek remote and also for controlling my satellite box. This works quite well.


I have a 60gb primary drive which has XP Pro SP1 and my music collection. The second drive is a 120gb which is just for video.


I have 2x 256mb DDR333 Kingmax memory modules with an XP2400+ and I am running timings just back from aggresive and it's rock solid.


You might find the Shuttle a little noiser than you thought. I am investigating making it a bit quieter. I also plan to relocate the line in from the front to the rear and also put an rca spdif output instead of the toslink.


Matt.
 

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Best of luck getting GTA to play on your HTPC -- games are the ultimate test. Many PC game designers believe that they can just blithely set the video resolution to the optimum for their program. On the other hand, the ATI component video adapter, which I am using to connect my Shuttle to a 46" Mitsubishi, supports *only* 480p and 1080i. So, a game that tries to set the video resolution to 800*600 will go kaboom. Don't know whether GTA falls into this category, or whether it "plays nice" and always uses your current video settings. If the major application you have in mind is gaming on the big TV, an Xbox is probably a more satisfying choice than an HTPC....


a couple of other notes on building a Shuttle system. (1) use the IDE cable supplied by the factory and follow their instructions on how to route it through the chassis. 3rd-party IDE cables will not fit inside a Shuttle enclosure. (2) 7200 RPM drives aren't recommended because of the heat; on the other hand, if you're running a PVR, you need the speed. I built mine with a Western Digital 7200 RPM drive but did not install a floppy drive to give the hard disk some "breathing room." Seems to be working OK so far. (3) PCI add-in cards with daughter cards are not going to fit, so beware.


cheers
 

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I have two 7200rpm drives and my dvd rom with no heat issues.


I did have a minor problem getting my Leadtek TV2000XP card in though, because the connectors are mounted high up on the back plate it proved difficult to get the card in the slot.


Matt.
 
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