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HTPC vs Popcorn

Simpic

Standard Member
Hi,

I currently have a Popcorn Hour A100 that I use for streaming video files from a Synology DS211 NAS. I run YAMJ with various mods which I am very happy with.

All works fine apart from 1080p BD files in an MKV container. It won't read them due to the processing power required. The solution is to remux the file into a TS container. All great as long as you don't mind losing the chapters and subtitles. This has proved to be a pain recently on a few movies I have wanted to watch.

So....

I am thinking about moving to a HTPC.

The spec will need to be something like this: -

  • Hifi sized case to sit on top of my AV AMP
    HDMI 1.4a output to staisfy the 3D requirement if I choose to use it in the future
    Space for 4 - 6 HDD as I would like to lose the NAS and use this instead
    Low power draw as possible
    As quiet as possible!
    Looks sexy >>> Wife's requirement!
    Remote control by handset and wireless keyboard / mouse
    OS - Not really too fussed, Linux or WIN, although I would like to run SABnzbd, Sickbeard and Couchpotato somewhere
That's all I can think of at the moment. Can someone recommend a case, PSU, MoBo, GPU and OS to suit?

Thinking of the following: -

Case: Silverstone LC16 or 17, OrigenAE
CPU: AMD Athlon II X3 Tri Core 450 3.20GHz (Socket AM3)
MoBo: Asus M4A88T-M AMD 880G (Socket AM3) PCI-Express DDR3
HDD: Samsung SpinPoint F4 EcoGreen 2TB SATA-II 32MB


All so I have read various comments on merging the HTPC and NAS function into one machine due to noise issues.

If the HDD's are properly mounted using anti vibration mats (Rubber!) and the like, will this reduce the noise sufficiently? I will be running the machine 24/7 as it will be acting as the downloader for TV series etc.

Thank you as always for your comments.

Regards,

Simpic
 

scotthillier

Established Member
I've just made the same move. I've gone for a Zacate based board which seems to do the job beautifully. Ive got everything merged into one machine too.

I've got a OCZ Vertex 3 SSD which boots from bios to fully running windows 7 in about 8 seconds - so about a minute less than the Popcorn. Silent too.

The Case I've got is the Thermaltake DH103 HTPC which left me bags of room inside to play with for future hard disks. Ive got 4 HDDs in there running in RAID 1.

I've a thermaltake fanless psu.

I've a 30cm fan running at the top of the case, runs very slowly and is completely silent from outside the case.

I mounted my hdds vertically, using rubber matting underneath and you cant hear em.

Ive not managed to get bluray playback working yet, but XBMC is playing films back nicely. Ive got quite a bit of setup left to go.
 

Simpic

Standard Member
scotthillier,

That is some case you've go there! Might be just a little too big to meet my wife's requirements!

Are you running Linux?
 

stevos

Distinguished Member
The problem with the Wesena cases is they don't have any internal drive bays.

The e6 case i am looking only has 2 drive bays plus one 2.5"
 

Simpic

Standard Member
Ok, I think I know what case I will go for now. Also the internals.
* OrigenAE H6 Case
* CPU: AMD Athlon II X3 Tri Core 450 3.20GHz (Socket AM3)
* MoBo: Asus M4A88T-M AMD 880G (Socket AM3) PCI-Express DDR3
* HDD: Samsung SpinPoint F4 EcoGreen 2TB SATA-II 32MB * 4

Now can anyone tell me some info re the OS and media streamer to use.

If I run Linux and XBMC, will I be able to: -

* Watch Bluray copies made with MakeMKV, so a h264 encoded file in a mkv container with a DTSHD soundtrack and subtitles?
* Run SABnzbd, SickBeard & CouchPotato in the background?
* Run a Linux based NAS to control the disks?

Regards,

Simpic
 

nunovi

Established Member
If it's a HTPC/NAS you're after, I'd change the spec a little bit. If you expect to have the system on all the time, as a good NAS does, I would suggest going for an AMD Zacate setup with an ASUS E35M1-Pro which consumes only 18W power and, as a bonus, as a fanless design.
If you plan to do a lot of multitasking, transcoding or other CPU intensive tasks, then I would look at the Intel i3 2100T processor at 35W or the Athlon X2 240e at 45W. Both have more than enough power for a HTPC.
The next piece you need is a discrete graphics card. The integrated Radeon 4250 on the mobo will not enable you to play 3D Blu-Ray as it doesn't support HDMI 1.4a. I'd suggest buying a Radeon HD 6450, which costs about £35.
If you plan to play Blu-Ray ISO with all menus, then save yourself the hassle and just use Windows 7 with PowerDVD or TMT5. Then you can use either Windows Media Center or XBMC as the front-end.

Hope this helps.

Nuno
 

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