Media Center PC build..

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Skuffen Huffen, Jan 14, 2008.

  1. Skuffen Huffen

    Skuffen Huffen
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    i know we have done this all before, but can you run an eye over my setup so i can go ahead and buy it please..

    I have already bought the LG HD-DVD, BLU-RAY combo drive,
    and i have gone for the Thermaltake DH102 case with the 7" touch screen which I think is a stunning thing!!!

    and in there, i am planning on putting...

    ASUS P5K-E/WIFI-AP AiLifestyle Series P35 Socket 775 Socket motherboard

    Intel Core 2 Duo E6550 2.33GHz 1333FSB Socket 775 4MB Cache

    Corsair 2GB Kit (2x1GB) DDR2 800MHz/PC2-6400 Memory

    Point Of View 8600GTS 256mb DDR3 128-bit DVI HDCP HDMI PCI-E Graphics Card

    Arctic Power 700W PSU

    2 x Seagate ST3500630AS 500GB Hard Drive SATAII


    what do you think?

    and i am just wondering if i can live with the on board optical output or if i need a graphics card...

    thanks.....
     
  2. Sy4

    Sy4
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    Nice looking setup imo :)

    What kinda price tag on this - If you dont mind me asking.

    I'm in the process of planning mine and it keeps coming out at about 550 quid ;) lol
     
  3. Skuffen Huffen

    Skuffen Huffen
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    the internal bits are going to cost 550 quid..thats without the sound card, which if i get one, will cost about 50 quid, if i need to...?

    so 550 for the hardware is fair enough.
    but the combo drive was 150 quid and the case is 300 quid...

    if i was just building a pc i think its a bargain price, but the extras are putting 450 quid on it which is a bit over the top, but i couldn't resist!!

    thermaltake do a DH101 case, which is the same case but without the touch screen, which at 150 quid i think is a bargain, but i think i can put the touch screen to good use..
     
  4. Sy4

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  5. Skuffen Huffen

    Skuffen Huffen
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    I was thinking of going for Vista64...
    from what i have read the media center is worth the upgrade from XP...
    not sure how much difference 64bit will make to 32 when we are talking about playing music and film, but i may as well...!!!


    anyone have any advice for the soundcard?

    cheers
    Adam
     
  6. Skuffen Huffen

    Skuffen Huffen
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    the graphics card i was getting has just sold out on ebuyer!! hows your luck, plan the build, wait a few months to get the money together, soon as you are ready to go, a key components sells out!!!

    i would really like an HDMI out grapics card...but i cant find another one...can anyone help with this too?!

    cheers..
     
  7. Sy4

    Sy4
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  8. Skuffen Huffen

    Skuffen Huffen
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    thats the stuff...that second one from Komplett..think i may just have that one..
    great find..thanks...
     
  9. Croatoan

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    Why are you buying a 700watt PSU?

    You would only need this for SLI or crossfire. Neither of which you are allowing on your spec.

    A crossfire supporting board but you buy an 8600????

    Also an 8600 is very poor value. A 3850 pro will serve you better allow you to have crossfire and actually be able to play the odd game............. you may actually get to use half the rated output of your power supply

    Spend a few quid extra and get the E6750

    The 8600 in any flavour is more expensive than a 2600xt and performance wise offers little more for £30 extra.

    You pick an absolute peach of a motherboard,

    As for someone recommending the 8600GTS at £130 when a 3870XT which totally obliterates it is only £20 more.

    Is the world going mad?

    You have picked a superb board, one of the best looking media centre cases around.......................how did it go so wrong?


    The radeons have built in HDMI audio................I dont mean to put your spec down but why anyone would consider the 8600 to be a good buy is beyond me.
     
  10. Apone

    Apone
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    Have to agree. If you wanting the 8600gts because of the actual hdmi socket then fair enough, but the 3870xt will also be able to connect via HDMI with an adaptor. My 2600xt did not come with a adaptor but you can pick up DVI/HDMI adaptors fairly cheap, around 15 quid.

    The best value/performance card at the moment seems to be the Nvidea 8800GT which is around 180 quid but scan sometimes have a special offer on the 'Today Only' section and i did see an 8800GT for 117 pounds:eek:

    Bear in mind that you will also need software like Cybelink Power DVD Ultra for playback of HD dvd and BD discs and that costs around 50 quid.
     
  11. Croatoan

    Croatoan
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    You really should look on ebay for hdmi to dvi adapters.

    Its cheaper to buy a DVI to HDMI cable, I pick mine up about £4.99 for a 2m one.

    These ones are gold plated and fit very well.
     
  12. Skuffen Huffen

    Skuffen Huffen
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    i was always confident that i had everything right apart from the sound card and graphics card, hence this post!! its a mine field out there..
    i need to use HDMI because i have a 80 quid QED cable doing nothing at the moment that is going to be used for connecting this media center pc to my projector..
    but if i can use and HDMI to DVI converter and its going to work on then i will have a look...


    power supply.
    i have overspec'd the power supply because eventually i think i will have 5 hard drives in the box and i wanted to make sure i didnt run out of juice..
    its only 35 quid, so for 5/10 quid difference, why not?


    Graphics card..
    i just dont see why i would need to do something like SLI or Crossfire when this is a dedicated media center pc..??

    so to recap, i need to look at...
    Nvidea 8800GT or the 3870XT...thanks guys, i will take a look.


    Processor..
    i could spend the extra and get the E6750 but then i could do that with every component i have chosen..this is already costing about 1200 quid, i feel i need to put a cap on spending somewhere!!
    will i really notice the difference?


    really appreciated the comments and suggestions, this is costing me loads of cash and i really want to get it right so i have a machine that will see me a good few years, and one that represents good value for the cash...

    thanks again..
    Adam...
     
  13. Croatoan

    Croatoan
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    The following site will give you a realistic figure of power requirements.
    http://www.extreme.outervision.com/psucalculator.jsp
    Be warned you are not going to get a good quality 700w psu for £30. You should be looking at a good quality 550w minimum I would guess for the 8800gt/3870xt with 5 drives.

    As regard the QED £80 cable, anything less than 2m makes little or no difference from a £5 gold plated cable to an £80 cable.

    You are quite correct about sli and crossfire, it would be daft in a media pc. You dont need anything more than a 2400xt for hd playback. £30.

    The issue is you have bought a high end desktop motherboard and would not really be cost effective to buy low end components to go in it.
     
  14. echn111

    echn111
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    Many video cards include a DVI to HMDI adaptor. I got my ATI 3850, which is far superior to the 8600, for £102 (including tax and delivery) from BT online, and that included the DVI to HMDI adaptor, so all I needed was a normal HMDI cable. Avoid that 8600 - it's not worth it.

    If you care about sound and have good speakers and a decent receiver, you may want to consider the [FONT=&quot]Auzentech Prelude[/FONT] sound card (£110).
     
  15. Skuffen Huffen

    Skuffen Huffen
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    the HDMI cable is 5 meters...so it needed to be a good one..

    really confused now!!!

    on one hand the message is that i am planning on getting a nice motherboard so i should be getting good components, which i am all up for...the better this machine is, the happier i will be!!! that makes sense to me...
    but then it is being suggested that i buy 30 quid graphics cards...which to me sound low end..
    my rational is that this is primarily for outputting video, therefore the graphics card is the important bit....

    if there really is no difference between a 30 quid and 130 quid graphics card then happy days, i will put the extra money towards better sound, CPU and PSU, but it just doesn't sound right to me...

    the main reason i got the motherboard was for the built in wifi...!!
     
  16. Skuffen Huffen

    Skuffen Huffen
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    why does there have to be 7 different 3850's on ebuyer alone!!
     
  17. echn111

    echn111
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    Just go for a "reasonable" card that's HDCP compliant with HDMI connectivity (via DVI of course). Not really poor, but not ultra-high end as you're building an HTPC not an uber-games machine.

    A decent mid range card will have enough extra power to give you plenty of flexibility should you occationally use graphics on your PC (and you likely will).

    If there are 7 models of 3850's on ebuyer with similar specs, just pick the cheapest! Or go for a 3870. Or an 8800GT. They're all good.
     
  18. Skuffen Huffen

    Skuffen Huffen
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    ok, so after taking everything into consideration, i now have the following, over budget!, list.....

    Hiper 530W Black Type M PSU - ATX v2.2, Silent/Temp Control, Active PFC, SLI/Crossfire Certified

    Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 2.66GHz 1333FSB Socket 775 4MB Processor

    ASUS P5K-E/WIFI-AP AiLifestyle Series P35 Socket 775 Socket eSATA 8 channel Audio ATX Motherboard

    Corsair 2GB Kit (2x1GB) DDR2 800MHz/PC2-6400 XMS2 Memory

    Seagate ST3500630AS 500GB Hard Drive x 2

    Gigabyte Radeon HD 3870 XT 512MB GDDR4 SDRAM DVI HDMI HDCP HDTV out PCI-E Graphics Card

    Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi Xtreme Gamer Soundcard

    KeySonic 2.4Ghz Wireless Compact Keyboard with Integrated TouchPad

    Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium x32Bit OEM


    its about 150 quid over my planned spending, so i will have to sweet talk the wife!!
    but this is looking like a proper machine now?

    cheers
    Adam
     
  19. MikeK

    MikeK
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    IMO you need to take a step back and have a think about what you want the PC for, what exactly you are going to be playing on it, and to what (and how) you are connecting it (OK, HDMI to the PJ, what about the TV? the AV amp?)

    If it's for games as well as movie/music playback, then fair enough, but TBH if it's purely for use as a HTPC, then you've overspecced it!

    For a HTPC, the 8800GT/3870XT are total overkill - you really don't need anything more than a 2600Pro - about £50 or so (I'd get a passively cooled one personally - they're quieter and your case should be OK with one as it looks to have decent cooling).

    Not sure about the motherboard - I'd probably go for something like the Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L at £60 and add a USB wifi adapter (you can get decent ones now for less than £15), but each to their own!

    As for sound, how are you connecting up to your amp? - if it's via SPDIF, then it's unlikely that you'll notice any difference between a Soundblaster card and the motherboard's onboard audio.

    E6750 CPU? - no argument there really, though you could get an E2180 for £50odd and overclock it to the same speed - probably run a bit cooler too as it has less cache on chip! That said, I know a lot of people don't want to go there with overclocking, and that's fair enough - occasionally it can be problematic.

    Ditching the soundcard and switching the gfx card for a 2600 will claw back the £150 you've gone over budget!
     
  20. Zarch

    Zarch
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  21. anthony.s

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  22. Zarch

    Zarch
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    Anthony, all problems relate to the 2400Pro. (which i think can be fixed with reg hacks anyway)

    The 2400XT, 2600Pro and 2600XT all fine for all HD playback.
    All of this information is obtained from the ATI 2x00 owners thread: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=872538

    Hence when asked i always recommend the 2400XT or above and never the 2400Pro.
     
  23. anthony.s

    anthony.s
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    Oh thanks Mick for clarifying that.
    The price difference was £20-£30 thankfully.
     
  24. Naaktgeboren

    Naaktgeboren
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    Depending on you budget, I would change your hard drive choices to Samsung Spinpoints, I have a 500gb in my HTPC and it is truly silent. They are widely known in the industry for reliability. I will be buying another shortly.
     
  25. Zarch

    Zarch
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    Agree, got one in my HTPC and four in my NAS box.
     
  26. chrisuk01

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    the bit you mention about sound, is where i am a bit confused, as i am thinking of purchasing an amp (any suggestions ?) so that i can get proper hd sound. i will be using an ati 290xt in my htpc so it has audio over hdmi (though im yet to find out what dongle i need, as no-one seems to know to get this), so would i just plug a dvi-hdmi cable running from y graphics card straight into the amp ? wil this also give me a picture onto my plasma with hd audio ?
    thnks :)
     
  27. Skuffen Huffen

    Skuffen Huffen
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    guys, thanks for all the advice, really appreciate it, I am starting to get my head round what I am going to do!!!
    its great that I have improved on my original hardware list because of all your advice...thanks..

    so, in response to some of the suggestions...

    Graphics card!
    so I can get away with a 2400XT or 2600XT and save a bunch of cash, and this will play all my HD-DVD and blu-ray disks straight from the LG combo drive I have, no worries, as well as all the content I will have on my hard drives... and I am not going to see a noticeable improvement in picture by getting the 8800 or 3870?
    oh, and I want a silent one, makes sense...


    Sound card -
    I am hooking the sound up to my denon amp, and was going to use the 6 channel analogue inputs to pass the sound straight through the amp and get the PC to do all the decoding, that way, as I understand it, I can get HD audio...this will be using the 3.5mm Headphone Jack To 2 RCA Cables to do that...apparently the soundcard I have chosen will make a big difference to the onboard stuff....?
    cant use optical cos it doesn't have the bandwidth for HD audio....?


    Hard drives,
    these Samsung drives are a great shout, I understand that hard drives make the most noise, so to find some silent ones, great stuff, I am having them!


    not worried about TV at the moment, not a factor for me, this is going to be used for music, movies and as a DVD/hd-dvd/blu-ray player....that's pretty much it at the moment...

    getting there!!!
    thanks again people...appreciated..
     
  28. Zarch

    Zarch
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    Also the 2600Pro as well as the ones you list, but the 2400XT will do you for everything you want to do.
     
  29. Sy4

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    Ok, mini hijack here, and apologies, but going through a similar process to Skuffen (Including sign off from the wife ;) lol)

    Is it best to a) Have the HDMi out on the motherboard, with decent memory and CPU or b) get a std board and have the HDMi out on the GFX card?

    p.s. Love the Hiper psu's Skuffen - Good choice imo
     
  30. Skuffen Huffen

    Skuffen Huffen
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    i am thinking..

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/133406

    but the description is a bit sparce...it will be HD compatible wont it?!?!?
    my LG blu-ray/hd-dvd combo drive wont complain about it??

    i got the LG drive last week and plugged it into my existing pc but it wouldn't play and HD content cos my grahics card is rubbish!!!
     

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