Approx requirements/cost of a HTPC?

badbob

Banned
I'm looking into building a HTPC to replace my two DVD players, to connect upto the LCD TV via DVI. It'll be used to playback DVD's, Mpeg-IV video files,OGG & MP3 files, and to scale video to the LCD's native pixel mapping. Digital audio will be sent to the HT processor for DPL/DD/DTS processing. It has to be silent as possible.

So a quick tally up of prices/parts..

Aspire X-QPACK Black/Blue Aluminium Micro ATX Case - With 420W PSU
MSI RS482M4-ILD SKT939 Radeon XPRESS 200 (RS482) Chipset Dual DDR400 PCI-E MATX
AMD (venice) Athlon 64 3000 + OEM 512Kb Cache Skt 939pin
CRUCIAL 1GB DDR PC3200 400MHz 184-PIN UNBUFF 128MX64 Memory Modules
Sapphire Radeon X1300 256mb 128bit DDR2 PCI-E VGA/DVI/TV-out Lite Retail
Zalman (CNPS7700-ALCU ) 120mm Super Flower Cooler (Al/Cu)
Western Digital WD2000JB SE 200GB 7200RPM ATA/100 8MB Cache
Microsoft OEM Media Center Remote Control Inc Reciever
Hercules Fortissimo IV High Def 7.1 Surround Sound PCI Soundcard
LG GDR-8164BL 16x52 DVD-ROM Internal IDE (Black) - OEM

£510 total inclusive of VAT. Any thoughts on this machine? I will check up if the Zalman flower fits. Any parts you would change? What about the video card? I know I have to install FFDSHOW, but is that enough? When I play a video file two FFDSHOW icons pop up in my taskbar, so I presume it's working- or do you have to fiddle with settings? I will use Power DVD 6.

I have a Home Theatre Master MX-700 remote. Is it possible to buy a micro ATX case with a built-in IR receiver onto the case front panel rather than having a external dongle? And connect upto a IR header port on the mobo to. I don't need the physical remote, just the IR codes in CCF or MXD/MXF format. OS will be Windows MC, stripped down of excess stuff with XP Lite/disabled services and using it's own front end.

I'll be having another PC, but that'll be a gaming PC. Connect DVI -> HDMI
 

arfster

Active Member
FFDshow is an absolute monster of a processor hog, and unfortunately Athlons are kinda poor with it (probably the slow clock speeds). If you can go for the 3700+, as it has a different core and is massively overclockable, yet is still pretty cheap. You can easily take it from 2.2ghz to 2.7ghz even with a stock cooler and a crap motherboard, without upping the voltage, and without heat issues. With your Zalman this wouldn't even slightly be a problem - some have taken them to 3ghz with that class of heatsink (I even saw one site running them at 3.2Ghz!).

Otherwise: why not a 300GB drive? They cost basically the same as 200GB nowadays. Also, does the motherboard not have a digital out? If you're sending everything to an external processor you have no need of a fancy sound card, as it just sends a raw bitstream out so any spdif will perform exactly the same. As for the graphics card, you might want to look into a fanless model if noise is important.
 

guido

Novice Member
Hard disk again... you have a SATA150 mobo.. but are going for an ATA100 disk? Also the in-disk at the moment is the SATA Samsung Spinpoint.. the quietest one available... and pretty much the same price.
 

Embarker

Active Member
Q:why not swap the mobo for the Asus A8N-VM CSM Micro ATX which has 6150 gpu onboard and has SATA300 which is 3 times quicker than ATA100.
 

rdhir

Novice Member
Embarker said:
Q:why not swap the mobo for the Asus A8N-VM CSM Micro ATX which has 6150 gpu onboard and has SATA300 which is 3 times quicker than ATA100.

While I don't disagree with the motherboard or the fact that you should consider SATA, as SATA are now starting to fall below the price of ATA,

Sata II is not three times as fast. ATA100, the 100 specifies the bus frequency and bytes are read (8 bits at a time). SATA150/300, the frequency now applies to the bits (1 at a time).

So the numbers are not directly comparable. sata 150 and ata 100 give comparable perfromance. It is more the drive than the interface which dictates how fast it can go. Generally only a RAID configuration will approach the maximum speed of any of the drive interfaces (ata, sata, scsi).

All that said stick with sata, but don't buy a board just because it has sata ii, there is no final standard so not all boards work with all drives in Sata II mode, although they all work together in Sata 150 mode.

Cheers

Rajiv
 

badbob

Banned
The video card is a passive design
As for scaling- isn't PowerDVD scaling the same for less overhead? The LCD TV will be the primary monitor
Hard drive wise- doesn't need to be high performance, it's mainly for reading in MP3, OGG, Mpeg-IV video. Set PM to shut off after 5 minutes for DVD-Video disc playback.

Apparently ATI have better picture quality. Motherboard ideally shouldn't have built in video but must have PCI Express slot, and space for a soundcard (digital out) with decent driver support.
 

Rambles

Distinguished Member
badbob said:
The video card is a passive design
As for scaling- isn't PowerDVD scaling the same for less overhead? The LCD TV will be the primary monitor
Hard drive wise- doesn't need to be high performance, it's mainly for reading in MP3, OGG, Mpeg-IV video. Set PM to shut off after 5 minutes for DVD-Video disc playback.

Apparently ATI have better picture quality. Motherboard ideally shouldn't have built in video but must have PCI Express slot, and space for a soundcard (digital out) with decent driver support.
Hmm, I beg to differ.
Nvidia 6 series graphics with purevideo codec provide excellent picture quality, and motherboards with built in nvidia 6150 graphics are all the rage.. cheap, quiet, cool, more space in the case.

http://www.nvidia.com/page/purevideo.html
 

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