A new HTPC Source for my AV192R

GrahamMG

Well-known Member
Hi Keith.

Yes the HTPC has come on bundles in recent years, half decent front ends making it easy for the family to use and cheap storage all have helped push the technology forward.

First I'd say get a decent box, large enough for a standard Motherboard and PSU (it helps if you want to change anything later!), a decent CPU (3.4Ghz would be my choice so ensure enough horsepower), and the best graphics card you can afford (Nvidia 6600GT or 7800GTX are my preference), sound card should be able to output SPDIF bitstream if your going to use a TAG processor and should be 24/192kHz native chipset support. You won't use the analogue outputs from a sound card so DD-ES/DTS decoding etc. isn't essential unless you wish to use analogue as well....... An expensive soundcard will give you a better SPDIF output (less jitter/ etc.) and that can and does make a difference. Current fav is the RME HDSP9632 which does a good job of CD and DVD/HD sound, a Creative labs soundblaster (or clone) simply sounds inferior even to my cloth ears....
A CD will take up about 700MB per disk and an average DVD film around 3-4GB (you can chop out the menu's/features/alternative sound tracks/commentaries etc.), You can never have too much storage..... Think about storage now and make it easy to add more later is the best advice I can give.....
 
K

Keith @ SG

Guest
Hi Graham,

Thanks for the informative reply :thumbsup: - very useful. I have always built my own PC's for the past 9 yrs here cos it's much much cheaper than buying a brand but am not so cluede up on state of the art graphics cards & sound cards.

You say 3.4GHz for CPU but is that the hyperthreaded CPU or should i go for the latest Intel 'dual core' model which is only a max of 3.2GHz at present over here but is a lot cooler apparently ??

Regards,
Keith.
 

GrahamMG

Well-known Member
Building them is easy, getting them to work neatly and wife frendly isn't......
I have only used HT Intel CPU's, there is a thing going around at the moment about dual core CPU's being a bit of an issue with current software players and post processing of video.....Best stay away until someone else sorts it out for us! As for heat, I use a big 120mm Zalman cooler and it works just fine (and quiet)..... As H264 is around the corner and is hugely CPU intensive it might be wise to pick a motherboard that can take either CPU and fit fast memory now....... Oh and at least a 450W PSU is very wise.....
 

GrahamMG

Well-known Member
Hi Keith.
It's the bitrate!
H.264 is getting so much attention because it can encode video with approximately 3 times fewer bits than comparable MPEG-2 encoders. This opens new possibilities such as:

• Squeezing more television programs into a given channel bandwidth;
• Delivering quality video over bandwidth-constrained networks (e.g., 3G Mobile),
• Fitting a high-definition movie feature onto a standard DVD.

Because H.264 is up to twice as efficient as MPEG-4 Part 2 (natural video) encoding, it has recently been welcomed into the MPEG-4 standard as Part 10 – Advanced Video Coding. Many established encoder and decoder vendors are moving directly to h.264 and skipping the intermediate step of MPEG-4 Part 2.
Sony Blu-ray and the DVD forum HD-DVD almost certianly will use it as standard eventually and the only reason I mentioned it in conjunction with CPU speed is that to encode video using H264 standard is extremely CPU intensive and with an eye to the future you may consider dual core CPU's and fast ones at that in your new HTPC build. If you have a DV camcorder and wish to make DVD burns of the footage, H264 will save you a lot of space with surprisingly no real PQ loss....
Do a "google" its all in print really if you wish to have an evenings bedtime reading..... :D
 

Stevesky

Active Member
H264 - THe latest gen. ATI R520 processor is H264 ready with encode and decode hardware support. I hear that the latest drivers for the NVidia 7800 based processors have H264 support, although only fragments of the decode are done in the NVidia GPU.

Quite a good intro into H264 can be found at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H.264/MPEG-4_AVC

With the roll-out of ADSL2+, H264 starts to make hidef content on demand a reality... give or take all the licencing issues attached to most material. :)
 

GrahamMG

Well-known Member
ATI chip encodes, blimey that is a serious chip...... I've seen P4 3.6Ghz drop frames....... The 7800GTX does have it built in I believe not sure about the decode bit though, I assume it shares it with the CPU? Miknd you that sort of defeats the point of renderless mode......
 

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