Comments Please - New HTPC new build spec.

Wags

Standard Member
Hi All,

I've done quite a bit of research on building my own HTPC & put forward my list of components for comments, good or bad, about the compatability & ability of what I am proposing.

Case:
Silverstone LC16S-MR Silver

Mobo:
Gigabyte GA-MA770T-UD3P AMD 770 Socket AM3 6 Channel Audio Out ATX Motherboard - Ebuyer

CPU:
AMD Athlon II X2 250 Socket AM3 3.0GHz 2MB L2 Cache Retail Box Processor - Ebuyer

RAM:
AMD Athlon II X2 250 Socket AM3 3.0GHz 2MB L2 Cache Retail Box Processor - Ebuyer

Hard Drive:
Samsung EcoGreen F2 1TB Hard Drive SATAII 32MB Cache - OEM - Ebuyer

Optical Drive:
Samsung SH-B084L Blu-Ray Reader with DVD±RW SATA Black - Retail Box - Ebuyer

GPU:
Sapphire HD 4350 256MB with 1GB HyperMemory DDR2 VGA DVI HDMI PCI-E Graphics Card - Ebuyer

PSU:
Coolermaster Silent Pro 500W Modular PSU - Ebuyer

CPU cooler:
Scythe Shuriken Quiet Low Profile Socket 1366, 478, 775, 754, 939, AM2, AM3 Processor Cooler - Ebuyer

Case Fans:
Sharkoon Silent Eagle 1000 80mm Case Fan - 3 and 4pin Connectors - Ebuyer

TV Card:
Hauppauge TV Capture Cards

I plan to install Windows 7 Home Premium & throw in a network card as well.

I intend to use this setup primarily to watch TV as a PVR (like the V+ box I currently have & soon will ditch)
& plan to store DVD's, photo's, & capture video from my camcorder.

On the audio side, I intend to take an optical feed straight to my surround sound amp from the on board audio. This is how I take my sound from the V+ box & DVD player & it's more than adequate.

My main query is to whether I need a dedicated graphics card or whether on board graphics is a better way to go considering the heat issue.

Another niggle I have is to the stability of a system like this as I get the impression that HTPC is not quite mainstream yet & I don't really know what to expect. I'm willing to experiment, but I'd appreciate some honest comments. The last thing I want to do is end up adjusting settings & updating endlessly.

Anyway, thanks in advance for your comments.

Cheers,

Wags.
 

spyder viewer

Distinguished Member
That system will perform the function you wish. There are plenty of mobos on this forum that have adequate on-board graphics. The Saphire 4350 is a passively cooled card that runs quite hot.

You will spend a little time setting it all up but it's all well trodden territory.
 

Wags

Standard Member
That system will perform the function you wish. There are plenty of mobos on this forum that have adequate on-board graphics. The Saphire 4350 is a passively cooled card that runs quite hot.

You will spend a little time setting it all up but it's all well trodden territory.

Thanks Spyder Viewer.
I went for a graphics card because i've always thought that a seperate GPU is always better. I chose the 4350 because it doesn't have a cooling fan to add to the noise.

Am I right in thinking that if I'm not offloading some HD processing to a graphics card, i'll be better with a faster CPU?

I don't intend to use it for gaming & I suppose I can always add one in the future.

I'll have a look for a mobo, but if someone could point me in the general direction of a good mobo with on-board graphics to do the job, I'd be grateful. :thumbsup:

Cheers,

Wags.
 

imilne

Active Member
Am I right in thinking that if I'm not offloading some HD processing to a graphics card, i'll be better with a faster CPU?

If you don't intend to game, or transcode/encode videos on it - ie, it's used for nothing more than just watching TV, DVDs, Blu-rays, etc - then the processor you've selected will be more than fine. In fact, I'd even consider dropping down to a 235/240e (the energy efficient ones). They'll use less power and run cooler too.

My current system runs quite happily on an X2 4000+ (coupled with a 4550 GPU), and it must be waaay slower than the CPU you've selected.
 

ham_mcfist

Active Member
I went for a graphics card because i've always thought that a seperate GPU is always better.

In most situations this is true but not necessarily in HTPC use. Modern onboard solutions are more than adequate when it comes to everyday HTPC tasks (except gaming!) and will use less power, run cooler and quieter. 3 things certainly worth considering when building a HTPC.
 

Wags

Standard Member
If you don't intend to game, or transcode/encode videos on it.

I don't intend to game, but i've been known to spend the odd hour on FSX, but that's not strictly gaming......but that's in the future perhaps.

One thing that I will be doing is recording to DVD from my camcorder. I don't propose to do any editing, just burning. Would on board graphics cope with this?

Cheers,
Wags.
 

Wags

Standard Member
OK.

If I used this mobo with on board graphics only
Asus M4A785TD-V EVO Socket AM3 onboard DVI VGA HDMI 8 channel audio ATX Motherboard - Ebuyer
& this CPU
AMD Athlon II X2 240e 2.8GHz Socket AM3 2MB Cache Energy Efficient Retail Box Processor - Ebuyer
would I be able to hook it to my TV via HDMI (Sony KDL-32D3000 LCD) & to my amp via optical & not have any lipsync issues while achieving 1080i output?
Would the onboard graphics upscale to 1080i at all?

I'd also like to install 3 DVB-T tuners (1 dual & 1 single), would PCI-e be better? I've read on here that it has faster 'wake up' times if it's PCI-e.

Any thoughts would be great, thanks.

Wags.
 

Boro David

Standard Member
Hi,

I've got a very similar setup to the one you are looking at and have no problems with 720p output, I can't check 1080i as my TV does not support it, but I'm sure it would handle it.

You probably know that the 785 Motherboards don't support HD audio over HDMI, I run an optical connection for DD 5.1 to my amp and have no lip sync issues.

I also have two tuner cards (1x PCI and 1x PCI-E) with 4 DVB-T tuners between them and can record 4 channels at once, although 7MC does seem a bit sluggish when I do this. it's very rare that I want to record 4 things at once though.

If you want to back up your DVD collection then you might want a second HD as they soon fill up!

Dave
 

Wags

Standard Member
You probably know that the 785 Motherboards don't support HD audio over HDMI, I run an optical connection for DD 5.1 to my amp and have no lip sync issues.

Yeah, but like you i'll be connecting to my 5.1 amp via optical so it's not a problem until I need to change the amp, which I hope won't be for ages.


I also have two tuner cards (1x PCI and 1x PCI-E) with 4 DVB-T tuners between them and can record 4 channels at once, although 7MC does seem a bit sluggish when I do this. it's very rare that I want to record 4 things at once though.

Crikey! Don't tell the missus or i'll need a 2Pb HD to cope with all the soaps. :facepalm: Do you have any wake up issues?

If you want to back up your DVD collection then you might want a second HD as they soon fill up!

Really? I don't have too many DVD's actually, but if I need to I can always add a second disc.

Cheers,
Wags.
 

Boro David

Standard Member
Hi Wags,

Do you have any wake up issues?

No issues really, S3 works well, wake up takes about 20s. I used the MCE standby tool to configure it with - Slick Solutions - MCE Standby Tool (MST)

I don't have too many DVD's actually, but if I need to I can always add a second disc.

I didn't realise how many DVD's we had until I started backing them up :eek:. I'm up to ~300 now and looking to add another 1.5TB disk tomorrow. I could try re-encoding them to save space, but I think it's easier to bang another disk in :D

Dave
 

Wags

Standard Member
Dave.
No issues really, S3 works well, wake up takes about 20s. I used the MCE standby tool to configure it with - Slick Solutions - MCE Standby Tool (MST)

Nice tip about the stand by tool. No mention of windows 7 compatability, but i'll check it out anyway in due course.



I didn't realise how many DVD's we had until I started backing them up. I'm up to ~300 now and looking to add another 1.5TB disk tomorrow. I could try re-encoding them to save space, but I think it's easier to bang another disk in

I don't have anywhere near that many DVD's, but the kids probably have. I'll be archiving them all anyway.
What do you recomend as a ripping tool & can you give me any idea as to how long it may take per disc?

Thanks a lot.

Wags.
 

Boro David

Standard Member
Hi Wags,

Nice tip about the stand by tool. No mention of windows 7 compatability, but i'll check it out anyway in due course.

If you go to the bottom of the page, there is a link to a version that works with Win 7.

I don't have anywhere near that many DVD's, but the kids probably have. I'll be archiving them all anyway.
What do you recomend as a ripping tool & can you give me any idea as to how long it may take per disc?

It was the kids scratching the DVD's that made me look at backing them up in the first place.

I've tried a few different tools, but the one I've used the most is DVDFab - the trial version has been sufficient for me. For the most part I've just copied the films to VIDEO_TS folders and not bothered with the DVD extras. Usually takes about 10-12 minutes and averages about ~5GB per film. I did try re-encoding a few to save disk space, but that takes several hours per film.

I've organised them using Mediabrowser, Daveybryce's thread has been really useful here http://www.avforums.com/forums/home-entertainment-pcs/1166028-guide-setting-up-htpc-after-fresh-win7-install-mediabrowser.html

I'm still fiddling with some parts of the setup, including backing up Blurays, but it works well for me and more importantly my Wife and Kids :)

If you need me to go into more detail, let me know.

Dave
 

Wags

Standard Member
Hi Dave,


If you go to the bottom of the page, there is a link to a version that works with Win 7.
I'll give it a look.

I've tried a few different tools, but the one I've used the most is DVDFab - the trial version has been sufficient for me. For the most part I've just copied the films to VIDEO_TS folders and not bothered with the DVD extras. Usually takes about 10-12 minutes and averages about ~5GB per film. I did try re-encoding a few to save disk space, but that takes several hours per film.

10-12 mins sounds pretty darned good. :)

I've organised them using Mediabrowser, Daveybryce's thread has been really useful here http://www.avforums.com/forums/home...pc-after-fresh-win7-install-mediabrowser.html

I'll be following that closely, but one question about installing the OS.......what are the benefits (if any) of partitioning the OS on the hard drive? I've read that quite a few people do it. :confused:

I'm still fiddling with some parts of the setup, including backing up Blurays, but it works well for me and more importantly my Wife and Kids :)

If my build fails to be 'wife friendly' i'm gonna end up in a world of pain! :eek:

Talking of builds....my parts have been ordered & should arrive tomorrow.....can't wait to get stuck in.

Here's the gear....

Scan.co.uk: Silverstone Lascala LC16S-MR Silver Desktop HiFi MCE Case with All In 1 card reader w/o PSU
Asus M4A785TD-V EVO Socket AM3 onboard DVI VGA HDMI 8 channel audio ATX Motherboard - Ebuyer
AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition 3.1GHz 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 Retail Boxed Processor - Ebuyer
Crucial 2GB DDR3 1333MHz/PC3-10600 Memory CL9 1.5 V Unbuffered Non-ECC - Ebuyer
Samsung EcoGreen F2 1TB Hard Drive SATAII 32MB Cache - OEM - Ebuyer
Arctic Power 500W PSU With PCI-E 2x SATA, 20+4 ATX12V 8pin +12V Connectors - Retail Boxed - Ebuyer
Scythe Shuriken Quiet Low Profile Socket 1366, 478, 775, 754, 939, AM2, AM3 Processor Cooler - Ebuyer
Samsung SH-B084L Blu-Ray Reader with DVD±RW SATA Black - Retail Box - Ebuyer
Akasa 80mm smart 4 pin, PWM contolled fans, anti-vib silicone pins incl. - Ebuyer
Scan.co.uk: KW-PE355-2T - KWorld PE355-2T V2 PCI Express Dual Digital Media Center Remote Low Profile bracket included

I'll take some pics as I go along & post them in due course.

Cheers for the help so far.

Wags.
 

Boro David

Standard Member
Hi Wags,

I'll be following that closely, but one question about installing the OS.......what are the benefits (if any) of partitioning the OS on the hard drive? I've read that quite a few people do it.

I find splitting the OS into a separate partition to be useful if you need to re-install and it also makes disk image backups smaller. My disks are partitioned as follows:

Disk 1 - OS Partition (60GB), Data partition - Music, Photos & DVD Rips
Disk 2 - Data Partition - Recorded TV & DVD Rips
Disk 3 - Data Partition - DVD & Bluray Rips

Good luck with the build :thumbsup:

Dave
 

Wags

Standard Member
Hi Dave,

I find splitting the OS into a separate partition to be useful if you need to re-install and it also makes disk image backups smaller.

:facepalm: Doh! yeah of course. I'll have to remind myself how to partition the drive, but I suppose I'll be able to do it at the initial install.......a bit more reading to do probably. :smashin:

Cheers,

Wags.
 

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