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Building a HTPC

The Sheriff

Active Member
Following on from this thread http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=125537 I have also decided to have a go at building my own pc. I was thinking that while i was at it i might as well put together a pc also suitable for home cinema as well as the latest generation of games, as i am planning to upgrade to a projector pretty soon.

So my question is what extra stuff do i need to consider when building a htpc, is it simply a case of picking the components for my normal pc and then just adding things like silent fan, ir remote box, and tv tuner, or is there other things to consider.

My ideas for the pc would be along the lines of:

Asus A7V600 Socket A motherboard
AMD Athlon XP 3000 processor
1024MB DDR 400 Ram
Radeon 9800 Pro Graphics Card
DVD Rom
DVD Writer
17" TFT Monitor (using projector for big screen gaming/films)
Trust 514DX Sound Card With Coax Out
Rf Keyboard and mouse
Silverstone SST LC03 Black case
Seagate Barracuda 200Gb Hard Drive
Nexus AXP 3200 Skive Tech Silent SKT A Heat Sink & Fan
Artic Cooling VGA/Graphic Card Cooler Silent

Cheers

Nick
 

Sinzer

Well-known Member
Sorry for the lack of response I will move it to the HTPC forum.
 
A

AVMADMAN

Guest
I have built a hcpc recently and know what your going through with regards to what to get...

If i give you a component list from my setup maybe that will help?

Asus P4P800-VM Mobo
P4 512 800 fsb
Radeon 9600se (non pro) without fan....
Maudio rev 7.1 sound card
120gb Seagate HD quiet
Liteon dvd rom
Zalman 7000 CPU cooler
pinnacle pctv card

Extremely happy with the noise coming from it... ie no sound at all

and all nicely encased in one of stands uniques Strata cases

the next part is what software...

this is where it gets a bit tricky in setting it up. imho but when you get it right .. it all snaps into place :D

this is a list of software i use.

XP pro + updates
Theatertek + updates
myhtpc
dscaler
pinnacle tv
dvd profiler
Rage3DTweak
DirectX9
WMP9
Region Killer

hope that helps..



:thumbsup:
 

The Sheriff

Active Member
Ok i think i'm getting on top of things in terms of components, there's just a few things i'm unsure about. If i use the silverstone case, how many case fans am i gonna need, just the one that is provided or am i gonna have to get a few more, and how do i set these up? Also what do i need in terms of tv tuners etc, is it possible to get a card than i can input the signal from my sky box and then record it onto the hard drive, as well as output the picture to my projector? Also what is a tv capture card and do i need one?

Cheers

Nick
 
A

AVMADMAN

Guest
Just the one fan on the power supply and one on the chip, whether it be p4 or otherwise. as for setting up. the instructions should come with the fan. its pretty easy, everything has sockets that only fit the right shaped socket (well almost all).

unfortunatley you cannot input sky into a tv card as they wont release the encryption codes, only freeview is available to use on capturecards. there are a lot of ppl who might be able to shed more light on this in this forum.... do a search for (sky capture)

You will need a capture/TV card if you want to view freeview on your hcpc - think of it as a gateway that lets you watch tv programs on your pj you can also use it to do stuff like sky+ does.
 

The Sheriff

Active Member
Ok so my next question is, which tv card would you recommend for watching and recording digital freeview tv?

Nick
 

SeaneyC

Active Member
Another vote for the Nebula here, IMHO there is no other card worth having for freeview, it works a treat, and the manufacturer is constantly improving the software that drives it, which is more than can be said for a lot of the cards out there.
 

CrispyXUK

Well-known Member
what card to get if you cant receive digital?
 

The Sheriff

Active Member
Sounds like a good option. A couple more questions though....is that site the cheapest place to get the card from , and also is it just a case of plugging the ariel lead into it and getting digital, or is anything else involved (i've only ever had digital through a sky receiver)?

Nick
 

dgc

Standard Member
I think there are a couple of resellers out there but I'm not aware of any significant savings to be had. Anyway - good idea to buy direct from manufacturer to help their ongoing software development.

Installation is fairly straightforward and as you suggest it is simply the tv ariel that goes in the back.

If you get one and have any problems then shout out - many people here are nebula users
 

The Sheriff

Active Member
Ok, so i've finally got all the kit and have put it together. I booted the computer and started installing windows xp and have encountered a problem. For some reason it only recognises the hdd as about 130gb when it is actually 200gb and i don't know what the problem is, any help please?

Nick
 

james.miller

Novice Member
yes - you need the sp1 service pack if you're using winxp otherwise it wont recognise drives >127gb.
 

The Sheriff

Active Member
Ok cheers m8.

Got another problem now which is a bit more serious. I had the computer up and running with all the bits installed but i had used a heatsink and fan which wasn't silent which i borrowed because my silent heatsink and fan hadn't shown up. Anyway i got the new part so decided to install it, but when i went to boot up my computer again i got no picture on the monitor, it just goes into standby mode. The computer seems to boot up ok with the hard drive and cd drive lights flashing but there is just no picture on the monitor, i've tried a different monitor but the problem is the same. Could i have damaged the motherboard or processor or something when installing the new fan which may have caused this problem?

Cheers

Nick
 
I

IAMGEOFF

Guest
Have you knocked the graphics card? Done it so many times myself. :oops:
Try reseating the gfx card first.
 

The Sheriff

Active Member
How exactly do i reset the card? I've powered down the computer and taken out and replaced it but it didn't help. Its a radeon 9800 pro btw.

Nick
 

David PluggedIn

Active Member
Just to avoid any confusion regarding capture cards, yes it is correct you cannot buy a 'Sky Satellite card' that slots in to your PC due to the copy protection issues mentioned.

However, you can use either an analogue or a digital video capture card to take the image from Sky (or any other video source) for display on to your projector, and the results will vary widely depending on the quality of the capture card that you use. The Pinnacle PCTV is at the low end of both the price and performance scale, have a look at our faq http://www.pluggedin.tv/sweetspot/support/faq.html#2 for more info on the subject.

If it makes you feel better we are currently running a trade-in scheme, so if you want to part-ex that Pinnacle card then drop us a line.

cheers
 

The Sheriff

Active Member
Tried reinstalling the card again with no luck. Also tried a different processor, reinstalling the heat sink (as mentioned on another forum), and resetting the bios using the reset jumper on the mobo, all with no luck. I'm gonna try a different gfx card to see if that sorts it, but if not it looks like the mobo is knackered. If that is the case, would it be possible do you think to get a replacement from the shop, got it from microdirect?

Cheers

Nick
 

The Sheriff

Active Member
Ok finally got it sorted. I narrowed it down to a fault with the motherboard so took this back to microdirect and they tested it on the spot and confirmed it did have a problem. Got it swapped for a slightly better replacement as they didn't have mine in stock (went for Asus A7N8X-8 nforce2) and now the computer is running fine.

Got another question though. When i boot up the computer it reads something like "memory at 200Mhz, single channel mode". Is this what i sould expect, and how do i get it to run in dual channel mode? I've tried the 2 sticks of ram in various configurations in the dimm slots but it always says the same. The memory is 2 x 512mb pc3200 400ddr but i didn't buy it as a dual channel package.

Nick
 

Iain Shields

Novice Member
If they wern't part of a duel channel package then they are probably slightly different, duel channel modes needs both memory modules exactly matched...

Saying that, there might be an option on your mobo bios to turn on the duel channel mode which might be set to off at the moment on your board, this is just a shot in the dark though as my MSI Nforce2 board dosn't have it in the bios, it just goes into duel channel mode or dosn't, depending on the memory... Anyway, worth having a look.

Regards,
Iain.
 

The Dude

Distinguished Member
I had a look at a mate's hauppage card, and my Bro's nebula, before buying my nebula..

For me the Nebula has 3 big advantages..

much better picture IMO

better software, very easy to use, especially the PVR.

Nebula starts almost instantly, the hauppage I saw took nearly 10 seconds to open the TV screen..

Also there's the support, Nebula are a small firm, who only make the one product as far as i can see, so they're focussed on developing and supporting the product properly, it's their whole business..
 

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