First Stage HTPC Build Decision

Discussion in 'Home Entertainment Computers' started by Sy4, Jan 14, 2008.

  1. Sy4

    Sy4
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    Ok Folks. After a fair few ours of looking around, this is what I'm leaning towards.

    Pros and Cons welcome :)

    [​IMG]


    Rgds
    Matt
     
  2. kdc

    kdc
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    vista?.... really???
     
  3. Scooby247

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    More RAM, More RAM, More RAM.... That should do it!
     
  4. AnthonyG

    AnthonyG
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    Personally for me, I am surprised you went down the AMD route.

    Its like the Blu-ray/HD-DVD situation as unfortionally Intel are walking all over AMD at the moment in terms of processor price/performance. (I used to like AMD processors but will not be buying any more if things don't change dramatically with AMD)

    I would personally go for an equally priced core 2 duo.

    Also with regards to your processor as its OEM you will likely need to buy a separate Heatsink and fan as I am pretty sure OEM processors don't come with these.

    For AM2 the best HS/Fan is the Scythe Infinity which costs ~£30 at Ebuyer.

    If you went down the Core2Duo route the Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro is the best S775 cooler which can be bought for a bargain £12 RRP.

    Or you could go down buying the retail CPU with included, but much noisier, fans and HS.

    Also as its only ~£2 you could also get the Zalman thermal grease paste from Ebuyer too to have it included in the free delivery. As it is excellent, I bought some last week and was extremely impressed.

    Hope this is some help
    Anthony
     
  5. Scooby247

    Scooby247
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    Ooops. Forgot to mention that I am a tad worried your putting a WLan Card in that bad boy! If your looking to stream any HD content get the hammer out and get cabling....
     
  6. Wild Weasel

    Wild Weasel
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    I'd get at least 2Gb RAM if you're going to run Vista. Get the 64 bit version of Vista if you want to use more than 3Gb RAM.

    Also the processor is an OEM one, so won't come with a heatsink & fan.
     
  7. Sy4

    Sy4
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    Right, so far, I'm not overly concerned. The responses I expected are here ;)

    1) RAM
    This is EASY to upgrade. I'm working on a budget right now, otherwise there would be 2gig memory there ;)

    2) There would actually be a second HD as well, but due to the vista cost, can't do it :(

    3) Vista
    Generally, I think the 32bit is fairly stable (from what I've read). It's the 64bit one that seems to cause the problems. Plus, it's technically cheaper, so unless justified (please do!) then 32bit vista by the looks of it :)

    4) WLan

    the reason for this is the wireless network I am presently running. It makes life easy, and less cluttered to the pure Cat5 response. I agree, cat5 hard wired is better, but this IS NOT STREAMING!. I download all content and verify and clean everything on this machine, then move to the new one ;)

    5) RAM
    Simple, budget. Of all the option easiest to upgrade, tis the ram. Another 2 gig (just to be sure) will go in the following month ;)

    6) AMD over Intel
    Fairly simple really, being a semi-serious gamer, AMD always worked better than Intel. So bit of a fan boi i spose ;)
    f there are justified reasons, which would cause minimal headache, let meknow, otherwise, based on CPU performance, over engery consumption, and previous knowledge, AMD it is ;)

    Cheers lads....just waiting for the next "wrong" ;)

    However, I would like to know peoples thoughts on the MSI Board. I think it should be ok to handle it, allowed for the CPU, rather than adding a GFX card right now? Thoughts?
     
  8. Croatoan

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    You can buy 2gb of ram for very little more and makes no sense to buy later especially at the price you are paying.

    By comparison my intel build was £100 more expensive and would perform better.

    I opted for the following

    Asus P5E VM HDMI
    2gb XMS6400c4
    E6750 Core 2 duo

    Otherwise pretty identical and good choices. Buy the extra ram and enjoy a well thought out amd build.

    Also the AMD integrated solutions have a better spec than the intel based boards in terms of hardware codec and dual channel memory.
     
  9. SeanT

    SeanT
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    Vista is a great stable (32 bit) OS that I run on my desktop (AMD 4200) and my laptop (C2D), but on my media centre I run MCE - it's not as pretty but hell it's reliable and easier to hack around with (plus I can run Dscaler!)
     
  10. echn111

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    Don't really want to keep talking about memory, but since you mentioned "budget", you are significantly overpaying by at least 80% for that RAM. RAM prices have fallen a lot and you can get 2 Gigs of Corsair memory for almost the same price. Or go for unbranded stuff for less.

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=255300

    You're overpaying for Vista. You can probably get that for at least £12 cheaper elsewhere.

    And, as people have said, you're probably overpaying for the CPU (although not as much as your RAM). Intel will tend to cost less for better performance.

    Great choice for the case - that Antec Fusion is excellent value for money.
     
  11. Sy4

    Sy4
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    Than ks all for the feedback.

    Maybe you can assist here. I'm tempted to go the cost saving routes suggested, but use tht "spare" cash to get 2 500gig drives and raid them.

    However, I'm a complete Raid novice.

    Is it worth doing it that way from the offset? Allowing for the fact I would like to end up in a few months with 2/3 terrabytes storage in there. Would this cause problems with the raid aspect and should I maybe consider taking a little longer in the build and opt for a couple of terrabyte hdd's in the first instance with raid? I'm not really sure of the benefits (in real terms - I've been told the Theoretical differences).

    I was also told by a good friend, tht he runs his system over wireless (where the htpc pics up the movies from the NAS) and has a 5-10 seconds buffer and it runs smoothly. This does mean a 10 second delay to the start of the movie, apparently, but surely that's a small price to pay?

    Lastly, the software, would like peoples thoughts. Most present vids are AVI clean rips. I've searched for a few mkv files, and assume that powerDVD is the best for this. Can someone clarify in semi-non technical formt ;)

    Should I also look at Windows MEdia Center or look at other solutions. This part REALLY confuses me ;)

    Thanks all.
    Matt
     
  12. echn111

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    I use Microsoft Media Center for everything as it's free with the premium versions of Vista. Got powerDVD too, but I'm reserving it for HD-DVD and Blu Ray. For normal media, I just use Media Center. It should play .mkv files with the right codecs (just google .mkv and codecs). Maybe powerDVD does this too (dunno).

    Not sure what benefit raid is going to give you. If you're using it for to protect your data by saving data to two disks at the same time, all you do is lose 50% of your storage capacity. If you're using it to speed up disk performance, all I have to ask is: why? It's just an HTPC not a super overclocked high performance PC.

    If you have a bit of extra cash, consider buying a sound card or graphics card. Or upgrade to Blu Ray (would set you back an extra £60 over your DVD player).
     
  13. AnthonyG

    AnthonyG
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    For AVI and MKV files I would highly recommend giving Gom Player a look over.

    PowerDVD is really only good for DVD/Blu-Ray disk playback IMHO.

    Also having VLC or Windows Media Classic on your system can't hurt and they are good as a jack of all trades players.

    Also if you ever plan on watching any Real Media or Quicktime video's on your HTPC, as opposed to being forced to using the QT/RM players you can install the Real Alternative Lite or Quicktime Alternative Lite codecs and this allows you to play these files on any movie player you like.
     
  14. Sy4

    Sy4
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    Cheers Anthony.

    Player of choice for me atm is DivX :) ould this be fine allowing for he codecs?

    Matt
     
  15. Zarch

    Zarch
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    Codecs should be independant to the player involved. You can use graphedit to check what codec the system will use outside of any player. The player should then use the same.

    Having got my HTPC playing absolutley every type of file, the player is definatley down to personal choice and after trying quite a few i've ended up with Zoom Player.

    Codecwise, its as of my Performance and Codec helps threads.
    Performane: http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=666171
    Codecs: http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=652538

    x264 (in mkv) - CoreAVC
    wmv - Windows Media Player 11
    mpeg2 - ffdshow
    blu-ray & hd-dvd - PowerDVD.

    all audio - AC3filter

    The above selections will get you stable and imho the best performing codec for each file and media type.
     

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