HTPC build

AnimalHungry

Standard Member
I've built loads of PCs before but this will be my first HTPC. It will be used solely for media use, i.e. no gaming, and it'll need to be able to stream HD files from my XP desktop via wired ethernet (200mbps homeplugs) to my 42" Panasonic plasma in 1080p via HDMI. I'll be connecting the HTPC to my Denon-AVR1906 cinema amp via TOSLINK for the 5.1 audio. I don't have Sky (tend to not watch much telly these days) but will need to be able to watch digital freeview (inc. BBC HD freeview and any other HD freeview channels that may air in the future) while recording another freeview channel. I also want to be able to add a DVB-S2 tuner card in the future. I also want to be able to add both a Bluray and an HD-DVD drive in the future when they're cheaper. Here's my proposed build list:

Case: Antec Fusion Silver MediaCentre MicroATC Case with 430W PSU mATX (£98.99 ex VAT)
http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=593639

Motherboard: Asustek M2NPV-VM (£43.26 ex VAT)
http://www.dabs4work.com/ProductView.aspx?Quicklinx=4385

RAM: 2 x 1GB Crucial DDR2 PC4200 (from old PC)

CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ AM2 2.5GHz (£55.77 ex VAT)
http://www.dabs4work.com/productvie...electedId=11147&NavigationKey=11147,375370000

CPU Heatsink: Silverstone NT06 Lite (£22.00 ex VAT)
http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=537572

CPU Fan: ???

Video Card: XFX GeForce 8600GT Fatal1ty 256MB DDR3 PCIE TV DVI (£82.00 ex VAT)
http://www.dabs4work.com/ProductView.aspx?Quicklinx=4KPG

HDD: Samsung 500GB S300 16MB 7200RPM (£50.86 ex VAT)
http://www.dabs4work.com/ProductView.aspx?Quicklinx=4C0K

Digital Freeview Tuner: Black Gold GDI3520 Dual Tuner (£81.08 inc VAT)
http://shop.blackgold.tv/product/3520

Wireless keyboard: Accuratus Toughball (£42.50 ex VAT)
http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=648250

O/S: Vista Home Premium (about £60)

My concerns:

1. HD playback: Will this setup be able to play true HD in 1080p faultlessly i.e. with no noticeable stuttering, drop outs, glitches etc, whether from the native HDD or over my network?

2.Fit: Will all those components fit in the Fusion case?

3. Cooling: Do I need to add a CPU fan to the Silverstone heatsink - if so which one is best and will fit? Are the two 120mm fans in the Fusion case sufficient?

4. Components: Are there any other components you think I should be using instead of the ones I've listed?

5. Vista: I haven't bought Vista for my desktop PC because of know instability issues with some of my existing software. Since there won't be much software installed on the HTPC will Vista Home Premium be stable?

Thanks for bearng with me. All ideas gratefully accepted.

Oooh, I feel like a newbie all over again :D

Cheers
Simon
 

badbob

Banned
I doubt that videocard will fit in that case. You don't need fatality videocard, just pickup cheapest 8500GT passive.

CPU HSF is 7.8cm so need to figure if it'll fit with fan ontop. I would fit one on top, even a bit of airflow helps, 600-800 rpm will be fine. I know the Zalman 7000 fits into the Fusion (mate has 2400) but it's not the best cooler, for noise or efficiency.

You won't have a problem with 1080p playback. My HTPC is 4200x2 and that copes. Don't have BR but have played back 1080P H264 no problems. And that's with onboard graphics

Read up on ffdshow, you'll want to use that for SD scaling to 1080p
 

bcopping

Active Member
i had problems with powerdvd using a 8600GT in vista, gave jerky playback when in full screen. Switched to an ati 2600xt and is much better.
 

HSC

Active Member
the biggest problem to overcome with HTPC's is noise (fans, hdd's etc)

also - i've not looked it up again but I am fairly sure the XFX card does not support HDCP
required if you want to use HD


also - i'd probably change the HSF to a Scythe Ninja if you want to go fanless - but i'm not sure if it will fit into the case.

great case tho
 

badbob

Banned
required if you want to use HD

Wrong. Required if you want to use copy protected HD.

he biggest problem to overcome with HTPC's is noise (fans, hdd's etc)

Solution is to only use one hard drive, case fans are 12cm and set to low rpm, mothboard and videocard are passive, cpu fan , 12cm at low rpm.

My HTPC still produces noise, that can't be solved unless spending big bucks, but the noise is so low and unobtrusive it doesn't matter. It still has a fair amount of fans, but all at low. Compare a 8cm fan at 3000rpm and that will be louder than my entire system.

Scythe Ninja if you want to go fanless - but i'm not sure if it will fit into the case.

Not a chance, I have two Ninja's (Coolermaster Stacker and Silverstone TJ08)
 

HSC

Active Member
Wrong. Required if you want to use copy protected HD.)

chill dude - its clear (to me anyway) I was refering to his future intention to upgrade to HD-DVD, Blue-Ray. I'm no noob
and even then HDCP can be bypassed with the right software.....



Solution is to only use one hard drive, case fans are 12cm and set to low rpm, mothboard and videocard are passive, cpu fan , 12cm at low rpm.

My HTPC still produces noise, that can't be solved unless spending big bucks, but the noise is so low and unobtrusive it doesn't matter. It still has a fair amount of fans, but all at low. Compare a 8cm fan at 3000rpm and that will be louder than my entire system.)

true - getting into noise reduction is an expensive and annoying path (I still think the 12fan on my HSF running at 900rpm is the loudest component)



Not a chance, I have two Ninja's (Coolermaster Stacker and Silverstone TJ08)

I was not sure - but the Antec does look like a big case. Perhaps a trawl through the forums over on SPCR will answer that..?
 

AnimalHungry

Standard Member
Thanks for the pointers BB.

So an 8500GT will be man enough for the job of HD (inc Bluray) then, so this Gigabyte one should do the trick: http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=632509
...and it seems to fit in the Fusion case although I might lose a PCI slot unless I can squeeze the 8500 into the end slot: http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=39938

However, there are posts all over the net about 8500GT playback being choppy which is putting me off it. So, what about the ATI 2400XT - would it cut the mustard or do I need to go 2600XT instead?
Scan have three different 2400XT cards: http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Prod...400&FilterMinPrice=&FilterMaxPrice=&OrderBy=3 Of the three I would be inclined to go with the faster 1400Mhz memory.

The Fusion case is 140mm deep so the Silverstone NT06 Lite and a 12mm fan will fit depth-wise. The Noctua NF-S12-800 fan gets good reviews as being a very quiet 120mm fan: http://www.silentpcreview.com/article695-page6.html ..and it looks like there's enough room around the M2NPV-VM motherboard to fit in a flat 120mm fan.

I'll read up on ffdshow. Found this which looks useful: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=719041.

Thanks again.

Simon
 

AnimalHungry

Standard Member
HSC - Cheers for the advice. I will want to play HDCP content when I get the Bluray/HD-DVD drive so the video card has to be HDCP compliant. The 8500GT is HDCP compliant but I've seen loads of posts over the net moaning that it gives choppy HD playback so I'm now thinking of a Sapphire ATI 2400XT card as it appears more stable, as long as it's man enough for the job.

Even the Scythe Ninja Mini is 140mm so that wouldn't fit in the Fusion case which is 140mm deep, and that's before you take into account the motherboard.

One other thing, the Fusion case only has one 5.25" hole which means that I'll probably end up putting the Bluray drive in it and installing an HD-DVD drive in the desktop and stream it to the HTPC over my wired network (200mbps homeplugs). Would this work?

Simon
 

enablerbro1

Well-known Member
The 2400XT will play HD content with no problem. No good for gaming but HD is very much it's trick.

If you install AnyDVD HD then you will not need to worry about HDCP or region on BD.

:)
 

AnimalHungry

Standard Member
The 2400XT will play HD content with no problem. No good for gaming but HD is very much it's trick.

If you install AnyDVD HD then you will not need to worry about HDCP or region on BD.

:)

Cool. I'll look into Any DVD HD. Getting the 2400XT saves me about 45 quid over the 8600GT, which is always a winner.

As a general point, in any of the hardware I buy doesn't work properly in my setup and I can't fix it then I'll just get a refund and buy something else.

Simon
 

HSC

Active Member
HSC - Cheers for the advice. I will want to play HDCP content when I get the Bluray/HD-DVD drive so the video card has to be HDCP compliant. The 8500GT is HDCP compliant but I've seen loads of posts over the net moaning that it gives choppy HD playback so I'm now thinking of a Sapphire ATI 2400XT card as it appears more stable, as long as it's man enough for the job.


choppy, really thats intersting to know as I was led to believe (well from the nvidia marketing spiel) that it would be fine - I was even happy to know that PureVideoHD only needs a single core CPU (saves me upgrading). Best do some digging before I upgrade.

One other thing, the Fusion case only has one 5.25" hole which means that I'll probably end up putting the Bluray drive in it and installing an HD-DVD drive in the desktop and stream it to the HTPC over my wired network (200mbps homeplugs). Would this work?
Simon


why dont you wait until LG launch their combi PC drives (£200-£250) - that way you can enjoy both..?
http://www.engadget.com/2007/07/19/lgs-2nd-gen-super-multi-blue-blu-ray-hd-dvd-hybrid-drives-and



p.s. i've used AnyDVD for years - highly recommended
 

AnimalHungry

Standard Member
why dont you wait until LG launch their combi PC drives (£200-£250) - that way you can enjoy both..?
http://www.engadget.com/2007/07/19/lgs-2nd-gen-super-multi-blue-blu-ray-hd-dvd-hybrid-drives-and

Wow! It's cool that there's actually some convergence going on in a market that's currently split down the middle.

As a rough guide to the video cards just Google words 8500gt and jerky and then the words 2400xt and jerky. 10 pages of hits for 8500gt and 2 pages for 2400. OK so that's only a finger in the wind and I'm sure for the majority of users the 8500gt is great, but I'd rather just limit my risk and get the 2400xt.

Simon
 

The latest video from AVForums

LG G1 OLED Evo TV and SVS SB-1000 Pro subwoofer reviews, Samsung OLED rumours and more...
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom