Major Help need to build a Blu-ray PC

Discussion in 'Computer Components' started by Cocksure, Apr 26, 2007.

  1. Cocksure

    Cocksure
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    Hi all, I’m a complete newbie here who is after some advice on what I need to buy/upgrade so as I can play Blu-ray discs on my pc. The current PC I have so far has a Pentium 4 3.4HT processor, 1 Gig of ram and 186 gb hard drive, is this all ok or does it need upgrading, likewise I have no idea what type of video card I need or sound card, I would like any sound card to have a 7.1 output if possible though. Is their anything else I all so need to look at (apart from a blu-ray drive)? Many thanks in advance
    Lizard
     
  2. andyr300

    andyr300
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    mainly you will need a gfx card that supports HDCP
     
  3. Cocksure

    Cocksure
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    Thanks, that lets me know one area to look at. :thumbsup:
    What i really dont understand though is how things work with the sound. I belive that Cyberlink PowerDVD decodes all the different sound formats, but i dont understand what type of soundcard i need to be looking at that can traslate the information to send it to my amp?
     
  4. sideysid

    sideysid
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    The Realtek ALC885 supports HDCP and is the only audio chip that does at the moment.

    I'd look at the Abit Fatality F-I90HD for an all-in-one solution. Mind you the program AnydvdHD disables HDCP if not.

    Do you want to change the case too? Theres some good HTPC options around.
     
  5. KraGorn

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    What sort of audio feed are you looking for? If you have an A/V receiver then you may be best off taking the encoded digital out of the PC and letting the receiver decode it: known as 'pass through' mode from the sound card's perspective.
     
  6. Cocksure

    Cocksure
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    I suppose like everything else it all comes down to price, but what i would idealy be able to do is to receave a 7.1/5.1 anologe output from the PC that has already decoded the new sound code as i have no HDMI compatable amp.
    Further more though, i'm so lacking in knowledge when it comes to the sound side of things that i dont even know if a digital output from your pc comes on sound cards or not :confused:
     
  7. Cocksure

    Cocksure
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    Thanks for the info, as for the case, at the stage i wont to stick with what i've got as the whole HTPC route is still very new to me (coming from a seperate video processor) and at this stage i purely want it for blu-ray. If on the other hand i get into HTPC as a result of this, then later down the road i'll look at cases etc.

    One more question though, at the mo the PC is rather nosie, i'm i right in thinking that i just need to change the fan on the processer to a quiter one? But how do i go about making the power converter quiter? its rated at 350watts at the mo if that matters?
     
  8. arfster

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    Only one place to go - have a dig around this site's forums and guides:

    www.silentpcreview.com


    As for your hardware, the major problem you will have is that it won't be fast enough for h264 discs (although it'll be fine for MPEG2 and VC1 discs with any mid-level graphics card). Unless you upgrade the processor, your only option is to buy a 8500gt (£55ish), 8600gt(£85ish), or 8600gts (£125ish) - no other current cards can provide enough h264 acceleration for it to work on a 3.4ghz.

    For Bluray playback these three models are pretty much identical, although for gaming obviously the more expensive ones are better. Also, at present in Britain only 8600GTS cards have HDCP, although no doubt soon enough there will be 8500gt/8600gt cards with it (they already exist in the US).
     
  9. charris cy

    charris cy
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    Lizard,

    please see my post here on information about my HD-DVD/BD HTPC: http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=513191

    I will try to explain a few things here:

    The software needed is: Cyberlink PowerDVD Ultra 7.3 and Slysoft Anydvd HD.

    You will need to upgrade to a dual core processor. I will suggest getting one at middle level and above.

    The graphics card is very important. Get an Nvidia one, from the 8000 series. They are all HDCP compliant (although not really needed at the moment since anydvd hd removes that)

    For this kind of graphics card and processor you will be needing a powerful power supply (PSU). I would go for 600W. I reccomend the Seasonic range. They are very efficient and they are silent.

    For BD drive I use the LG H10NB but any one you buy that is available it should be fine.

    For Audio the software (Powerdvd Ultra) will decode the HD formats (Dolby Digital+, Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD) and will output LPCM using analog to the amp/processor. The only thing you need is an amp/processor with 5.1/7.1 analog inputs. You will need three cables for this: the cables have one 3.5mm headphone jack at one end and two RCA jacks at the other end. I am currently using my motherboard's jacks but I am testing two sound cards to see which one has the best analogue outputs. Please note that the soundcard is just used as a medium to output the sound from the system. All the decoding is done by the software.

    There are 4 noisy parts in a pc: the case fans, the CPU heatsink and fan, the graphics card fan and the PSU.

    For case fans i reccomend the AcoustiFan DustProof Quiet Fans.

    For quiet CPU coolers have a look at the following brands: Arctic Cooling, Zalman and Thermalight.

    For VGA cooling please look at the same brands as for CPU.

    The Seasonic PSU is very silent. No modifications are needed.


    Please note that it is very easy to also add the Xbox HD-DVD drive to the pc and have a dual format machine.
     
  10. Cocksure

    Cocksure
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    Ok so I thought I needed major help before, but it turns out I’m already dead :rolleyes: and I need a miracle instead!
    I just took my PC to a local PC shop to find out about upgrading the RAM, and whilst I was their I start to ask a few questions, it turns out that as my motherboard does not have any PCI Express slots it rules out getting a new Nvidia 8000 series graphic card (until AGP becomes available), so it appears I would be better of upgrading the board as I would also like 5.1/7.1 outputs (which I don’t have at present), which further means I might as well do the processor as well! Now the cost of doing this and then adding a blu-ray drive (the point behind the upgrade), new power supply, less noisy fans, Graphic cards, is really starting to make me wonder if HTPC is the way to go?

    So the point behind this all is this, as I don’t want to spend more than 1k (the price of the panny blu-ray player) is it possible to do or not, and if it is then any recommendations on what processor board etc to go for would be great, thanks.
     
  11. Cocksure

    Cocksure
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    Ok, I've calmed down since yesterday and being doing some research on the web, plus i've realised it can all be done in stages and that building/altering a PC doesnt seem to hard.

    All i really need to know now is what Processor i need to go for, for HD use, as from their i can figure out what motherboard etc to go for. The reason i ask is because i have no idea about processors and what they need to do, or even if Intel or AMD is best?

    One more thing :lease: , I wont to be able to use a remote with the PC, i know this comes built in with some motherboards, but can a add on be bought for motherboards without it?
     
  12. andyr300

    andyr300
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    you should be able to buy the MCE remote
     
  13. Pulsar

    Pulsar
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    Lizard,

    Here is what I would go for:

    Gigabyte DS3 motherboard
    Intel Core 2 Duo 6300/6400/6600/6320/6420 (take your pick)
    2GB DDR2 PC6400 RAM
    Geforce 8600GT/8600GTS/8800GTS.... (again take your pick, all equal for BlueRay playback)

    These parts would form the basis of a very powerful media PC that should handle anything your throw at it. I haven't researched the next parts, they are just what I remember being decent when I made my last HTPC.

    Samsung Spinpoint hard drives.
    Tagan PSU (look for one that says silent or <14db)
    Case if your choice
    Accoustipack foam
    NEC DVD-RW (Unless you want to use the BR drive)
    M-audio soundcard???

    I'm sure others will chip in with suggestions, but this should get you going. Just a tip, but www.overclockers.co.uk have some great prices on DDR2 RAM and processors at the moment.

    Cheers

    Rob
     
  14. charris cy

    charris cy
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    Lizard,

    do not worry. With a bit of research and help it is not hard at all to build a pc.

    For CPUs I think the Intel Core Duo 2 have the edge over the AMD X2 at the moment. But you can not go wrong with either of them.

    For a remote you will jut buy the Microsoft MCE remote (comes with the receiver). Of course you must be using Windows MCE as the OS. Here is a link to the remote: http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=SW-009-MS
     
  15. Cocksure

    Cocksure
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    :oops: Lost it a bit yesterday :oops: ,
    Thanks for yours and others posts, I just got overwelmed with the things you have to look at, and with it all being new to me.
     
  16. Cocksure

    Cocksure
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    Thanks Rob,
    With this list i can now start to look at what i need to buy, as i now have a starting point:thumbsup:
     
  17. Danieluwe

    Danieluwe
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    I agree that the Intel Core 2 cpu's are the better performer but AMD have really cut its prices on the AM2 X2 cpu's, you can get a pretty decent performer for not a lot of £££'s so it may be worth giving it a look.
     
  18. arfster

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    Minor point (and maybe just a typo), but the 8800GTS isn't anywhere near as good for h264 as the 8500/8600 models. It's the same for MPEG2/VC1 though.
     
  19. Cocksure

    Cocksure
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    Thanks, i'm trying to keep costs down at the mo (as pretty much everything needs changing) and was only planning to go for the Intel core 6320 as a result, so this news is very helpful to me.

    EDIT
    I just been looking at motherboards for the AM2 X2 and have descover that their are SLi ready or Crossfire ready boards, which apart from the fact has something to do with the graphic cards comunicating with the CPU i'm at a loss to. I take though that an Sli ready board is the one to go for as it is the type supported by Nvidia?
     
  20. sideysid

    sideysid
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    If you want to keep costs down, while still being able to satisfy your bluray/HD-DVD requirements, did you not look at the Abit Fatality F-I90HD I recommended earlier in the thread?
     
  21. Cocksure

    Cocksure
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    In all honesty no, I checked out the Realtek ALC885 that you mentioned and forgot about the F-I90,:oops: sorry.
    Having just taken a quick look (have work now), are you saying that with the built in graphic card it has, that all i would need to do is change my processor with the card and add a blu-ray drive and i'm up and running?
     
  22. mac_monkey

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    Rob has pretty much layed out the spec of my current XBOX 360 HD-DVD HTPC (I've hilighted my bits in bold). The main difference between his proposed spec and mine is that I opted for the ASUS 7600GT with HDMI out as the 8 series cards were not out when I built mine.

    It's been absoloutly rock solid since I built it and has been a worthwhile project. Good luck with yours
     

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