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How much would a "very good" HTPC cost to make?

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Captain chaos, Jul 24, 2003.

  1. Captain chaos

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    I am looking at splashing out £1000 on an Arcam player, then thought about the HTPC route to power my A300.

    How much would a top quality HTPC cost to build from components (I have a mate who can build PC's in his sleep).

    Many thanks, and im sorry if this is the 34985th time someone has asked this question.

    CC
     
  2. buns

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    Yeah! Asked once or twice! :D The best advice is really to have a read. There are a multitude of ways you can do the pc depending on your skills and willingness to fiddle!

    1)The easiest way is using the pc to process a signal from an sdi modified dvd player so you then just can forget about the pc totally.

    2) Use a pdi solution using the xcard giving a great picture (i hope!). This is almost as easy and wife friendly as the 1st option, but is all in one box and works out cheaper since you dont need the external player.

    3) Use a software player with soundcards etc. I havent tried this cos it looks a real hassle!

    The latter options are easily within reach for you and the former is just about. There are as i say more than a couple of similar threads even within the last week or so, so just have a read.

    all the best

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  3. Mr.D

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    I think mine ran to about £600 not including case ( another £150 for an LMP).

    Asus TUSL2C mobo (£80)
    Pentium III 1.1GHz (£50 these days)
    512M PC133 I salvaged from my old desktop ( say £40 these days)
    Radeon VE 32M graphics card (about £10-£20 these days)
    Maudio 2496 soundcard (£150)
    80gb seagate barracuda ata100 drive (about£80 last time I checked.

    Xcapture capture card (£50)
    Wireless NIC (£50 optional)

    Theatertek dvd software. (£50 I think)
    Pioneer 106 dvd drive (£30)
    Enermax whisper quiet psu (£50)
    Zalman flower cooler (£30)
    Floppy drive £10

    W2K OS ( already had a licence for another machine now scrapped) (£70)
    Gyratech RF mouse and keyboard £100.(optional)

    Hidden additional incurred in "development" costs:

    initial basic case £30,
    liteon dvd drive used initially £30
    PCTV capture card £25
    Falcon capture card £150!!
    PB TV100 capture card £30
    New faceplate for LMP case to replace the one my kids drew on! £50
    Serenescreen virtal fishtank! (£30) I know!


    What does it do??
    Plays dvds from any region perfectly with theatertek. ( no stutters no sync issues)
    Deinterlaces and scales extremely well thanks to Dscaler : digital TV , PS2, Xbox, SVHS deck.
    Plays CDs (excellently with flashy visualisations)
    Runs slideshows of the family photos.
    Virtual fishtank ( amuses the kids)
    Can be controlled and configured from my master PC downstairs without turning on the projector upstairs.
    Has a simple frontend that loads at startup and replaces the windows interface with a few simple buttons. ( myHTPC).
    Let the kids load up "paint" and virtual graffiti the wall!
    1:1 pixel mapping for my projector (ae100).
    Looks good switched off! (see LMP case)
    Very quiet in use.


    What it could do:
    Rip all my cds to it with lossless compression and use it as a jukebox.(probably need another HD but no problem)
    Surf the net ( if I ever get ICS working aargh!)
    Rip dvds to it (probably won't bother though)
    Play older games ( won't bother though what with the consoles and my other PC although maybe some retro emulators could be groovy)
    Control robotic arm to pass beer out of fridge!

    Conclusion: It works great , gives outstanding results , cost minimal considering what it does , was great fun to build and configure! Also it can grow as needs demand. I'd suggest you build a more powerful one though if only because time has moved on in 18 months.
     
  4. theritz

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    As far as I know, 1:1 pixelmatching hasn't yet been done with the AE300, so you might like to try out connecting a PC to the PJ with some near-match resolutions (I think that Xander has a list on a site - do a search) to see if you like the result before committing yourself to the hcpc route.

    Sean G.
     
  5. Branxx

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    Good HTPC with latest video card and audio card is about £2,000. You can get a cheaper HTPC as per above post.

    My criteria for a 'good HTPC' is the one that would play T2 Extreme Edition.
     
  6. buns

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    Surely that is high?! I would say £2000 is ultra high end for an hcpc......

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  7. Branxx

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    Consider following configuration:

    Motherboard: Asus P4C800 Deluxe £160 (I was also considering Intel D875PBZ)
    Processor: Intel P4 3.0GHz 800MHz FSB, £300
    Memory: Corsair 1GB DDR XMS3200 TwinX (2x512MB) CAS2 £210
    Processor Cooler: Zalman NPS7000-AlCu, £34
    Power Supply: Zalman ZM400A-APF, £92
    Video Card: Sapphipe Atlantis RADEON 9700 Pro Ultimate Edition, £315
    Audio Card: RME DIGI96/8 PAD £204 or RME HDSP 9632 £270, either with AEB8-O Analogue Expansion Board £122
    DVD Drive: Not sure yet, but say £45.
    Hard Disk: I always go for Maxtor. Go for a large 5400RPM drive. They do go hot as much as 7200RPM and the random access speed is not essential for HTPC. I see no particular advantage at paying extra for SATA interface at present. Also check if Hard Disk Silent sleeve is compatible with SATA cabling. Approx £0.90 per GB, £180 for 200GB.
    Hard Disk Silent Sleeve: SilentDrive Acoustic Enclosure, £24
    Case: I would recommend a rack mount case. I have Vasco PE-200 and RM42S. Cases are available in black. Approx £160-230
    Case Fans (in required) : Ultra-Quiet Case Fans £15

    Software: Windows XP Pro (£110), SP1, DX9b, Windows Media Player v9, PowerDVD XP 4 (free with video card).
     
  8. Gary Lightfoot

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    My current htpc spec which plays DVDs with PowerDVd via DVI and gives an excellent image:

    ECSK7S5A Mobo - Pro version is £25.
    Duron 950 - only seen 1.3s available now - £25.
    Radeon VE with DVI - £30
    128meg SDRAM -£15
    Seagate Baracuda 4 HDD - £46 (less for a noisier drive)
    Case - £15.
    kb & mouse - £5.
    Liteon 165 DVD - £25
    SB 4.1 OEM sound card - £15
    Add aprox £45 to get a quiet radial fan for the CPU and a Papst fan to replace the PSU one if you want the pc to be quiet.

    Software extra unless you already have it. :)

    You'll be hard pushed to notice any difference comparing to much more expensive kit unless you go for something like the Radeon 9600 or better apparently.

    With PowerDVD XP, I get an artefact free image and a highly detailed picture.

    You can spend more, but the returns become less of course.

    I had a visit from another forum memebr who brought round his Panasonic S75 player, as I was considering a standalone player for convenience (for the other half). I was quite impressed with it, especialy it's progressive output. When I fired up the htpc, the S75 owner was amazed at the picture quality, and said that he'd come round to convince me to buy the Panny, but now I'd convinced him to go htpc.

    So even with a cheap htpc like mine, you'll be able to produce a stunning picture provided you have the time and inclination to tweak.

    I've even made up a little IR device and now have full remote control of PowerDVD and the mouse using my old Samsung 709 remote handset.

    HTH

    Gary.
     
  9. Jenz

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    If you want HiDef that's the price ;-)
     
  10. Jeff

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    HiDef on PC's is a gimmick. A good HTPC is one that plays regular DVDs flawlessly and with the hightest possible picture and sound quality.
     
  11. Jenz

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    Sorry Jeff I think you missed my point.

    If you want a HTPC that scales HiDef 1080i and 720p the cost is higher than a normal HTPC that plays DVD's.

    Any bit of kit regardless of price should play everything flawlessly and with high quality after all who would want it if it did not.

    Neil
     
  12. buns

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    :p im sure you could manage it for somewhat less :p :D

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  13. rsvrmille

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    well mine's cost near £1k so far

    some of the same gear too
    Motherboard: Abit IC7
    Processor: Intel P4 2.4GHz 800MHz FSB
    Memory: 2x512mb Winbond PC3200
    Processor Cooler: Zalman NPS7000-AlCu
    Power Supply: Zalman ZM400A-APF 420W
    Video Card: Sapphipe Atlantis RADEON 9700 Pro Ultimate Edition, £315 JUST BEEN SENT BACK - Corrupt memory on the card and interestingly the supplier won't stock the ulimate edition anymore
    Audio Card: Audigy 2
    DVD Drive: Lite-on
    Hard Disk: Western Digital 80gb, 8mb cache
    Case: normal midi tower (its in a cuboard so no-one sees it anyhow
    Case Fans (in required) : PAbst Ultra-Quiet Case Fan
    Software: Windows XP Pro, DX9, Windows Media Player v9, PowerDVD XP 4 (free with video card).

    So far so good,
    DVI cable arrived yesterday, now all i need is my new house a screen and a sceenplay5700.....
     
  14. Mr.D

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    Like I said the beauty with HTPC is you can spec it to do what you require and it can grow over time. If you need HD capability build it for that if you don't then don't. I myself have no need for HD at this moment in time ( not much point with an ae100). When I do things will change.

    What withthe price of P4s these days and decent mobos I'd have thought going to 2K for a machine to handle HD is excessive.

    I just built a P4 workstation for 2K film work at home and that wasn't 2K.

    Also forgot to mention you can use them as PVRs also.
     
  15. Underscore

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    Well, if £2000 was the price for an HTPC, I, for one, would never have built one! Mine plays DVDs very nicely thank you and has a Nebula DTT card with enough HDD space for 45-50 hours of recordings. Total cost was about £900 including VAT. That includes all the software like win2kPro, TheaterTek, DVDRegionFree. Add another £100-150 if you want an HTPC case like the LMP.

    _
     
  16. Pulsar

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    Hello,

    I have only been using a HTPC for a relatively short amount of time, but I cannot praise the sound and picture quality available from the enough. Here is my current spec:

    Antec 1080 AMG case with Antec True power 430 watt PSU £110
    Abit NF7 Nforce 2 motherboard. £90
    Amd Athlon xp 1700 JUIHB £45
    512 MB Corsair 3200 RAM (2*256 MB matched pair) £120
    60Gb Seagate barracuda £70
    Radeon 9700 128 MB DDR fitted with a Zalman ZM80A-HP £200??
    Winfast 2000xp TV tuner £20
    LG DVD £30
    TDK Cyclone CD-RW £60
    Zalman CNPS6000-Cu Flower cooler. £30
    Zalman Silent Northbridge cooler. £15

    With the processor overclocked to 2.3 Ghz (equivelant to a Athlon XP 3200 I think) This machine is fast enough to decode all HDTV film from WMP9 and ellacard player.

    By adding a Maudio Revo 7.1 card, this PC would give very good stereo reproduction along with top notch video performance.

    Cheers

    Rob
     
  17. Gary Lightfoot

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    If Hi Def becomes more available, especialy in the form of T2 on DVD, then I'll upgrade my machine accordingly. I'm currently quite happy with my DVD playback, and the flexibility htpc offers.

    Of course by then, CPU prices will have dropped and even a Hi Def machine will still be quite affordable. :)

    Gary.
     
  18. alexs2

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    I've recently bought one of Phil Hale's UVEM HTPC's....

    ATC case
    Seasonics 350W power supply
    Asus motherboard
    AMD Athlon 1.7Ghz
    Zalman Cu Flower cooler
    256Mb Ram
    Sapphire Radeon card
    Sigma X-card
    Maxtor 200Gb disc
    Audiotrak Prodigy 192 sound card used for digital out to external upsampler
    Firewire card

    All in all...very pleased with the machine and the backup,including excellent onsite installation,and software for £1300.....the X-Card also offloads a lot of processing from the CPU,given that I use an RPTV instead of a projector.
     
  19. zAndy1

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    Bloody hell, I think I'm in the wrong job! I've just built the following PC:-

    Abit IC7 £97
    P4 2.4C CPU 800 MHz FSB, running stable at 2.8Ghz on standard voltage £140
    80GB Seagate Barracuda 7200rpm HD £65
    Geil PC3500 DDR Ram 512MB Dual Channel £98
    Antec Plusview 1000AMG case £58 (fantastic case!)
    Antec TruPower 430W PSU £70
    Connect3D Radeon 9800 Pro £280

    Used a few other bits from my old PC (e.g. Zalman 7000alcu cooler) and you could add eg a Sony DVD writer DWU10A for £130

    Total cost £1000 odd and believe me it's a bloody amazing PC and will easily do hidef.

    Cheers,
    Andy.
     
  20. Jenz

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    By Hidef I mean 720p in and 1080i in :)
     
  21. Insp.Gadget

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    I wouldn't bother with a HCPC with the AE300, it's simply not worth the trouble because of the lack of 1:1. I tried it via DVI and I much preferred the image I get from my prog scan Sony.
     
  22. IronGiant

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    Not being silly but:

    When Cyberlink told me my Duron 700 is too slow for PowerDVD 5.0 :rolleyes:, I ripped the whole motherboard out and replaced it with a new motherboard, Athlon XP 2400 and fan, + Radeon 9000 for around £165...

    Bargain new home theatre :D

    OK, so I haven't put it together yet

    Dave
     
  23. oreoboy13

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    zANDY - where did you buy those parts?
     
  24. james.miller

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    what it would cost to build a rig very similar to mine now:

    xp1700+ @ 2.4ghz - £43.48
    abit nf7-s v2 - £82.47
    2x256mb twinmos pc3200 - £73.78
    Softmodded Sapphire r9500np - £114.34
    Thermalright sk-7 heatsink - £21.09
    Enermax EG365AX-VE PSU - £46.94
    80gb maxtor HDD - $60.69
    Sony 52x/24x/52x cd writer - £34.17

    case - say £60

    thats a total of £536 withoug p&p. and for half the price of zandy's rig, it comes damn close in performance.
     
  25. Jeff

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    I'm looking at half that just for the motherboard. OUCH!!!
     
  26. zAndy1

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    Bought the CPU/motherboard and Ram from micro direct (www.microdirect.co.uk). Bought the case, power supply and HD from ebuyer (www.ebuyer.co.uk). Bought the Radeon 9800 Pro from the overclocking store (www.theoverclockingstore.co.uk). Believe me, it's a cracking PC mate, if you get those bit's you won't go far wrong and it's easily overclockable. I've had 3D Mark 2003 score of 6466 (think that's pretty good).

    Cheers,
    Andy.
     
  27. james.miller

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    thats a good score. but is it worth an extra £500?

    anyway, i wouldnt reply on 3dmark2003 too much - it is no indication of general games performance - it is almost totally graphics-card dependant. It's wouldnt matter if you had 1.2ghz celly, youd still be getting 6000+. But your real games performance would be terrible.
     
  28. GrahamC

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    Try one of the SFF systems from Shuttle, MSI etc.
    I am sure you can get a great HTPC for around half the cost of Arcam player. The thing I find with HTPC is that people go way overboard on the specs if all you need is to play media (DVDs, MP3 and CDs). You only need more power when editing and such.
     
  29. Gary Lightfoot

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    I think you can build a very simple htpc for just over £200 now (including Radeon), and still get excellent image results for DVD playback and 5.1 via spdif.

    An extra £60 will get you a 9600 for best DVD picture, and around £44 will make it quiet.

    Look on ebuyer and you'll see what I mean.

    Gaming of course, moves the goalposts.

    Gary.
     

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