Bossworld's HTPC build and rebuild

krlibbi

Standard Member
I've been following your thread on here and also on the ebuyer forum... I see that you have got your VFD display to show diffrent graphics. I've downloaded the latest drivers, but still can not get it to work... any help would be welcome....
Also i'm running a Palit GS 8400 graphics card, with HDMI. how do i connect it so as to get sound through the HDMI.
I am currently tunning and messing with my Scaleo on a monitor untill its perfect, ready to connect to my 50" plasma down stairs...


:confused::confused:
 

Bossworld

Active Member
Depends on whether or not your card supports HDMI audio. My 8600 didn't have an onboard HDMI chipset, but you could connect a link cable that took the default SP/DIF output from the back of the Scaleo and combined it into the HDMI output. GT220 just has it's own HD audio chip on board.

Do you have any graphics showing at all? I designed the English graphics which Absolom since included in the zip file (since about version 1.10 i think)
 

krlibbi

Standard Member
Thanks again for the reply.
I have a 2 pin sound input on my 8600gt card, but can you explain where on the motherboard will i connect it to.
About the display, i downloaded the new drivers off the Ebuyer forums but they don't work. is it possible you could send me the ones you used, or tell me what i'm doing wrong please....Thanks again
:smashin:
 

Bossworld

Active Member
There may well be an SP/DIF header on the motherboard, I honestly can't remember if I found it after ripping all the bits out or not when I dremeled it to bits.

My one had a second cable that just went to the coaxial out on the back.

PM me with an email and I'll send the drivers through.

I'm having major issues again, lots of reset to device issues relating to hard drive in event viewer, and taking a long time to boot/respond. Might look into a new case as after replacing everything, it's possibly the power supply that's not up to the job?
 

STdrez625

Banned
The reason you cant get into the BIos with your bluetooth keyboard is that it needs special windows drivers to work , and obviously these dont load until windows is loaded . eg its a non std peripheral not recognzied by the BIOS. (probably)
 

Bossworld

Active Member
The reason you cant get into the BIos with your bluetooth keyboard is that it needs special windows drivers to work , and obviously these dont load until windows is loaded . eg its a non std peripheral not recognzied by the BIOS. (probably)
The DiNovo mini does work now, not sure what the problem was at first. The included dongle means that it transmits via BT but the PC doesn't recognise it as a BT device if that makes sense. Because it's recognised as standard HID device it works without drivers and therefore at the BIOS stage.

if you connect it to a PS3, you toggle an inbuilt switch that presumably puts it into a normal BT only mode.
 
Last edited:

Bossworld

Active Member
For my own notes if nothing else

Disable irritating tmt5 prompt:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\AutoPlayHandlers\EventHandlers\PlayDVDMovieOnArrival

Also had to cheat and use MC Studio to link to the shortcut file for the 24hz switch, as I couldn't get my shortcut target path to work directly. No idea if I did this last time or not, tried all combinations of arguement and quotation marks :(
 
Last edited:

krlibbi

Standard Member
Thanks bossworld
yet again, you sorted me out. found the SPDIF output off the motherboard under the rear outputs. connected it to the 8600gt and Bang!!! job done....:clap:

About your problem, I've been thinking about putting a different motherboard and processor in, maybe a Q6600, but now i don't think i'll bother....
but looking at the case after you said it could be a power supply issue.
Would it be possible to put a normal ATX power supply where the riser card is in the case.... could be worth looking at????? what do you think???? Or what about a power supply out of a Dell optiplex SFF PC???
I have two of these for the kids, and the power supply is tiny.... Just a thought!!!:lesson:
 

Bossworld

Active Member
Thanks bossworld
yet again, you sorted me out. found the SPDIF output off the motherboard under the rear outputs. connected it to the 8600gt and Bang!!! job done....:clap:

About your problem, I've been thinking about putting a different motherboard and processor in, maybe a Q6600, but now i don't think i'll bother....
but looking at the case after you said it could be a power supply issue.
Would it be possible to put a normal ATX power supply where the riser card is in the case.... could be worth looking at????? what do you think???? Or what about a power supply out of a Dell optiplex SFF PC???
I have two of these for the kids, and the power supply is tiny.... Just a thought!!!:lesson:
Glad to hear it :)

There's very little structural integrity left on mine to be honest (after dremelling) and I'm not sure you'd get enough space. The smaller ones may work, but if you look at the Scaleo PSU it's kind of block tapered to fit in an exact space.

I've done some research and apparently the BIOS might under report the voltage and a few other things. I've done a proper reformat, installed everything and taken an image. Kept a keen eye on event viewer, I've not seen any further sata storage errors but there have been a couple of timeout messages about writing files. Just going to have to watch this space I think

I've also swapped A/V to MS Essentials, and turned off some of the Win 7 visual features for speed.

Would still love to know the proper syntax for the 23hz shortcut, unless I did just link to a normal shortcut last time!
 

Bossworld

Active Member
Brief update:

Current state of play

TV card was swapped out for a TBS 6280 dual DVB-T2. I've seen people complaining about the price but they're rock solid and there's a loop through so you can still connect an aerial to your TV, so in effect I can now record two lots of Freeview HD, and watch normal Freeview through the telly if needs be.

Have also paid out for the newer version of My Channel Logos - stick your hands in your pockets folks, for the price of a pint it's well worth it. Took the opportunity to clear out some of the crap too.

Random resets/lock ups are out of the way, went back to having 1 x 3.5" drive (rather than that plus a 2.5" drive). Had bad sectors on the 2.5", no idea what caused them but it was the source of months of frustration. Also found I can turn the default fan speed down to 25%, this made the PC almost silent (could only hear the resonance of the hard drive at 7200RPM), however had a couple of resets in the warm weather last week so upped it to 50%. Idles at about 28 degrees now.

Finally, decided my old MCE v2 remote (best one they ever did IMO with fastext buttons and TV power) was getting long in the tooth, and became aware of the existence of the Philips MCE SRM 5100 4 in 1 just this week. Paid an arm and a leg for one on eBay but one remote now controls the HTPC, the TV, the XBOX 360 and a Sony 2.1 system I bought to replace the old Logitech PC speakers. I've re-used the bundled RC6 receiver and the old remote on an Acer Revo.





 

Attachments

Bossworld

Active Member
2 months without a major change, that must be some kind of record for me ;-)

New house, new TV unit. Most Ikea stuff is a fairly uniform 10.5cm in height, but they're all very shallow. The present Scaleo is about 42cm so was jutting out far too much to be usable.



So sadly after nearly 4 years, it's in the bin. Tried to salvage the IR receiver but although I could get the USB hub detected (and eventually even the receiver as an eHome IR transceiver), it wouldn't respond to the remote.

I've replaced it with the Novatech Vision HTPC case. Reasonable quality for the £50 they ask, also comes with PSU. The measurements on the site are wrong, it's approx 42cm wide, 25cm deep, and 10.4cm high.



Two negative points from the off - no kettle lead supplied, and mine had some cosmetic damage on the top. Couldn't be bothered with the hassle of RMA'ing but it must have been damaged before transit. Novatech sticker came off easily, will clean up the rest with meths when I get the chance.



Through the build, a few little niggy problems occured. My Samsung BD-ROM/DVD-RW combi has an odd shaped eject button Meant that the eject button didn't line up. Solved this by wedging a small section of double sided tape inbetween for a nice clicky motion now. Can't see how the eject button would match up easily on most DVD drives in all honesty.



Also, there are no ventilation holes drilled in the top or sides of the case. My previous Scaleo (was better metal as well) had them on all three sides. At the moment I'm running the Novatech without the top case piece, as otherwise I was overheating the northbridge after 40 mins of TV (I'm using integrated graphics as I think the GT220 will be too hot).

Few really good things along the way - the button panel/in built IR receiver came off easily enough, so I'm going to order this replacement off eBay - eBay - The UK's Online Marketplace





As I've lost the VFD from the Scaleo, I've also been able to use the new HDD activity LED as a recording indicator - piece of software called Ledsdriver. Constant on for 1 channel recording (like Sky +), slow blink for 2 channels recording (so you know to use the TV's inbuilt tuner), and a very slow pulse if someone is using an XBOX 360 media centre extender (so as not to switch the machine off accidentally). Have added a jumper since the pic so the software detects it as a 'single LED' rather than a COM port. Incidentally, you probably should use a resistor here but the official forum suggests a direct header connection hasn't given any problems in testing.



Going to have to watch this space re: cooling, if I think there's any realistic chance of getting the rest of the case back on I'll probably replace the PSU fan for something quieter as well. Maybe even another fan in there on the unlikely chance I can get the GT 220 back in.


 

spyder viewer

Well-known Member
Nice to read the thread from start to finish. You've come along way: interesting to follow the evolutionary path! I never had any problem with overheating on my build but of course I used different components and only fitted a t1 dual tuner.
 

jammyb2004

Novice Member
Man, hats off to you for this! Probably one of the most interesting builds on here!

There are only 2 things stopping me from making one of these.

• the hz issues.
• if it could get Sky1, Atlantic & Living channels (obviously at a monthly cost)

Other than that I'd have one!

What's your experiences with the tuner cards been like?
 

Bossworld

Active Member
Thanks for the replies lads.

Spyder, appreciated your help on your own build thread, there's nothing similar to these cases in terms of size and value for money. Shame about the few niggly things but hey ho.

Been running with both Euro 2012 matches on ITV 1 HD tonight so cooling issues are now resolved, would like to put the case back on but don't think it's going to happen. Have wedged an old PCI slot cooler in the gap above the motherboard, slowed it down to 5v but it's still helping to extract some hot air.

Sorely tempted to put the GT 220 back in but just can't see it working even with the extra clearance at the top, it's fine on it's own but when the TBS 6280 is on at the same time, it must heat the back of the GT 220 up and hence overheats it. The only workaround I can envisage is a half-height decent card with fan - of which there'd be very little point going for a GT *10 or ATI *450 series card if the only reason for changing is the deinterlacing power.

@jammyb. The best £ for £ tuner I can recommend is the Sony Play TV. They're a little on the expensive side these days because they've been discontinued but if you're not bothered about HD (perhaps your TV has it built in), they're a nice, well sized external twin-tuner unit that means there's no cooling problems in an HTPC chassis. The individual sticks vary wildly in terms of tuner strength, random USB disconnects etc. so I'd shy away from them. Have read too many problems with Blackgold cards but the TBS has been rock solid.

I believe there is a long thread about getting Sky channels on these but it's a legal grey area. If you're willing to go down that level of modifying/tweaking then the hz issues should be simple to resolve with all the addons you'll need to install. I don't want codec packs on my machine, nor do I want ffmpeg and all manners of filters so there's no easy way round it for me.

I have the desktop set to 60hz (for youtube etc.), WMC set to 50hz, and blu-ray at 24hz. I find watching 60hz content at 50hz nowhere near as bad as 50hz at 60.
 

jammyb2004

Novice Member
Thanks for the replies lads.

Spyder, appreciated your help on your own build thread, there's nothing similar to these cases in terms of size and value for money. Shame about the few niggly things but hey ho.

Been running with both Euro 2012 matches on ITV 1 HD tonight so cooling issues are now resolved, would like to put the case back on but don't think it's going to happen. Have wedged an old PCI slot cooler in the gap above the motherboard, slowed it down to 5v but it's still helping to extract some hot air.

Sorely tempted to put the GT 220 back in but just can't see it working even with the extra clearance at the top, it's fine on it's own but when the TBS 6280 is on at the same time, it must heat the back of the GT 220 up and hence overheats it. The only workaround I can envisage is a half-height decent card with fan - of which there'd be very little point going for a GT *10 or ATI *450 series card if the only reason for changing is the deinterlacing power.

@jammyb. The best £ for £ tuner I can recommend is the Sony Play TV. They're a little on the expensive side these days because they've been discontinued but if you're not bothered about HD (perhaps your TV has it built in), they're a nice, well sized external twin-tuner unit that means there's no cooling problems in an HTPC chassis. The individual sticks vary wildly in terms of tuner strength, random USB disconnects etc. so I'd shy away from them. Have read too many problems with Blackgold cards but the TBS has been rock solid.

I believe there is a long thread about getting Sky channels on these but it's a legal grey area. If you're willing to go down that level of modifying/tweaking then the hz issues should be simple to resolve with all the addons you'll need to install. I don't want codec packs on my machine, nor do I want ffmpeg and all manners of filters so there's no easy way round it for me.

I have the desktop set to 60hz (for youtube etc.), WMC set to 50hz, and blu-ray at 24hz. I find watching 60hz content at 50hz nowhere near as bad as 50hz at 60.
Hahaha. I sold my playTV on eBay at Christmas as I have sky and the aerial at our current house doesn't get all the channels!

I'd want either freesat or to somehow get those 3 Sky channels too. I'd definitely want HD as my TVs don't have freeviewHD.


I just remember when learning XBMC on windows and from resume my desktop would be funny resolution and hz. With XBMCbuntu it's perfect 1080p 24hz viewing all day long!
 

Bossworld

Active Member
Midweek update.

Was really struggling with cooling issues, even with the onboard graphics (presume northbridge was getting too hot). Also microstutter while watching Euro 2012.

Decided to buck my ideas up and get the GT220 back in there.

This meant I needed improved cooling.

So, purchased an Antec Spotfan (£12 from PC World). This goes into a sysfan connector but is on a flexible rod so can be positioned almost anywhere in the case. I've got it towards the front, but aiming air at the graphics card, tv tuner and north bridge. So far so good and even when watching live TV, the graphics card hasn't gone over 70 degrees.

Couple of problems noticed while watching TV - microstutter (again) and also sudden changes in contrast. Fixed both of these, rolled back to an earlier Nvidia driver (258.96), and also added a registry entry regarding contrast settings in 7MC (was some kind of dynamic setting taking over) CLICK FOR DETAIL.

Finally, to get the case back on (as the new fan is quite noisy in comparison to the older ones), I've done some ghetto-drilling in the case! I've got the new fan on the middle setting and it's doing OK.

Next to come - Fractal Design 80mm fan to replace the PSU one (was quite noisy, suppose it's irrelevant now the new fan is in but anyway) and the IR receiver has been ordered (about £16 from US eBay). Should be done/pics up early next week.



 
Last edited:

spyder viewer

Well-known Member
Don't let Damian Hurst see that: he'll pinch your idea and call it art!

Interested to hear your temperature results.

I had some localised hotspots on an old motherboard and put in some 30mm fans to shift the air about.
 

Bossworld

Active Member
GPU seems to hit about 70 degrees C when watching HDTV (though the tuner card is directly behind it). It had to come out of the Scaleo as it was hitting 90s and causing reboots. Would say mid 50s when watching SDTV, 40-50s if not using the tuner card at the same time.

CPU roughly 38, the other motherboard sensor reads about 42.

Contrast with the Scaleo with with the GT220 removed was a reasonably rock solid mid 30s. The lack of space around the case won't be helping either though.

I might be paranoid but I'm sure every time I watch a Euro 2012 match on BBC/ITV HD I can see microstutter TV is set to 50hz and by doing 411 + more info, it doesn't shift from 50hz either on the diagnostics so I'm a bit baffled.

EDIT: Overheating again, have removed the top part of the case and GPU has stabilised about 48 degrees, other temp sensors about 35-38.

I'm also baffled as to how the lad on bit-tech used the fractal design fan as it's 3 pin, whereas the PSU needs a 2 pin fan. Might send it back to Amazon.
 
Last edited:

spyder viewer

Well-known Member
Maybe you need to cut a hole and cover it with a fan grille.
 

Bossworld

Active Member
Maybe you need to cut a hole and cover it with a fan grille.
To be honest I'm not sure there's the clearance from other components to put it anywhere useful. The PSU fan appears to take air inwards, I think the CPU one expels air outwards.

Plus there's the small problem of the 2mm clearance between the top of the unit and the top of the shelf :laugh:

Left the case off it and all seems OK so far. Still getting the slightest bit of microstutter, not when streaming live TV through an XBOX 360 so has to be some kind of GPU/graphics driver issue.

Since putting that spotfan on, GPU temps have not hit 50, system temps haven't hit 40. Think we're good :thumbsup:
 

Bossworld

Active Member
Just to finally update this, I ironed out the microstutter with a silent Asus 6450 HD card. Not as good as the GT220 on paper, and I don't think the deinterlacing is as clear as it was or as good as Sky HD, but the stuter is completely gone.

Interestingly, the problem comes back with a 6670, which although I thought I'd use to get better deinterlacing, has had to go into an old spare PC instead to bring that to life.

I've also upgraded to a 2TB Seagate drive which has finally removed the resonance problem with the WD 640GB - again relegated to an old spare.

Never did get around to putting the case back on, may be possible now I'm down to the 6450 (only takes up a single slot and takes less power).

One thing I would add for anyone building an HTPC, partition your hard drive into 2, one for OS and one for media. Then take regular images of the OS partition using something like Clonezilla. Been invaluable, even if you don't figure the correct cause of an issue, you can quickly wind back to something recent without having to reinstall, reintegrate 7MC etc.
 

Bossworld

Active Member
To bump a two-year old thread...

I've moved the contents of my case out to a Bitfenix Prodigy M. It's quite a tricky case to build in, but I've used:

Corsair CS450M semi-modular power supply (as it's only 14cm deep)
Bit-Fenix triple fan splitter (was about £6 but why not)
USB3 PCI-E card (to make use of the external ports on the Bitfenix).

I also took the opportunity to upgrade to an AMD Sapphire 1GB R7 260X, and to a 1045T AMD hex-core CPU.

Although my motherboard supports a max of 90W TDP CPUs (of which the 1045T is one), it seemed to struggle and automatically reduce the clock multiplier. I also had a few instances where the machine failed to wake from sleep.

I've reduced the clock multiplier and upped the FSB, the result being I'm back to stock 2.7ghz, but with turbo boost to 3.5ghz instead of 3.2. All seems fine and stable, seems to run games a bit better too.

Due to the layout of my motherboard, the GPU clearance against the blu-ray was going to be nip and tuck, but with careful use of two extra screws to angle the drive upwards slightly, I've managed to give myself 2mm clearance (the GPU plastic fan shroud is about 1cm longer than the space allowed by the blu-ray drive, so I had to compromise this way.

It's a lovely quiet build now, runs COD:WaW fine, black ops is a bit laggy, the AW demo ran fine too. FIFA 15 runs like a dream, so might get FIFA 16 on here rather than PS3 (yes I'm a generation behind on most stuff :))

One thing I would add about the Bitfenix case, swap the panel with the controls/ports over to the left hand side when you're assembling it, otherwise you'll be forever trying to move around it without pulling cables out. It's also an absolute pain in the **** trying to get SATA power to 3.5" HDDs and 2.5" SSDs when they're mounted opposite each other on the bracket.

I've also wedged the internal RC6 USB remote receiver bracket against the PSU, so it works fine and is hidden by the front grill.
 

Attachments

Bossworld

Active Member
Five years since an upgrade seems fair. I changed the motherboard out back in early 2016 as it was unstable, the replacement (ASRock 970m Pro3) has worked absolutely fine for four years but I saw a few deals coming up on a new CPU and fancied a change.

As of today, now have:

Ryzen 5 3600
16GB DDR4 3200 (corsair vengeance lpx, whatever that means)
ASRock B450 Fatal1ty MicroITX motherboard AC

The motherboard was hideously expensive, particularly with the new B550 boards around the corner but no one can make their minds up as to whether they'll provide any genuine upgrade path so threw caution to the wind.

Haven't noticed a discernable difference yet other than this is quieter, I'm looking to get an nVME M.2 drive for the rear slot.

I'm not a gamer or a PC enthusiast, so I was very much bewildered reading up on all the new options and all this RGB stuff. Different strokes for different folks.

This case is a lot more manageable with a Micro ITX board! I'm also no longer fouling the DVD/Blu Ray with the GPU, so I'll look to get something better when funds allow.

IMG_20200519_125020.jpg
 

zhir

Novice Member
Hello.

Very interesting thread.
BTW, I never heard before of the MCE SRM 5100 remote. Very nice.
But in this day and age, I´m surprised that you did not use instead an USB HDMI-CEC adapter for PC ?
 
Last edited:

Similar threads

The latest video from AVForums

Podcast: Home AV, TV, Tech News & Reviews, Plus The Best of July 2020

Trending threads

Latest News

McIntosh and Sonus faber unite under Fine Sounds Distribution in UK
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
JBL launches 4349 Studio Monitor
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
LG Display next generation OLEDs showcased at SID 2020
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
AVForums Podcast: 2nd August 2020
  • By Phil Hinton
  • Published
Top Bottom