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Media PC Spec & S-ATA vs IDE

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Dr_Mike, Jul 28, 2005.

  1. Dr_Mike

    Dr_Mike
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    Hi everyone,

    I'm looking into buiding a media PC to act as a one-box freeview PVR & DVD player with the flexibility and upgradability of a PC. I'll intitially be connecting to my 28"TV with a VGA-SCART(RGB) cable but want something capable of giving a good picture when I upgrade to LCD/Plasma.

    Don't think I'll be using it for gaming although I might try a BBC or spectrum emulator for a bit of retro. Should be OK on a low-res TV

    Would this spec be suitable ?

    Case : Antec Aria Cube case with 300W PSU
    Mobo : EQS M62K8-MLF microATX with onboard sound & ATI X300 graphics
    CPU : AMD Sempron 3000+ s754
    HDD : Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 120Gb IDE or S-ATA ?
    DVD : NEC ND3540
    RAM : 512mb Kingston PC3200 CL3
    DVB Tuners : ????
    Software : XP Home & Media Portal + the usual widgets.

    For this sort of application is S-ATA a worthwile improvement over IDE or Would IDE have sufficient bandwidth for the "worst case" scenario of simultaneously recording two TV channels whilst also watching a recording off the HDD ?

    The extra cost of S-ATA doesn't bother me but, if I understand correctly, to use a S-ATA drive as the only drive, I'd need to have a floppy drive connected when installing windows to load the S-ATA drivers. Seeing as the Aria case has no FDD bay and I wouldn't otherwise bother with a FDD this would be more than a bit of a pain.

    Any recommendations for Twin DVB tuners ? Is PCI or USB the way to go ? Are there any single card/box dual tuners on the market yet ?
     
  2. probedb

    probedb
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    You could always just plugin a floppy drive on bootup then take it out once installed.

    SATA really doesn't cost very much more, if anything anymore. Been using SATA for years with no problems :)
     
  3. Maff et1

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    Normally you only need the sata drivers if you're using the raid functions. Sata doesn't cost any extra, won't give any noticable performance boost but the cables are neater. If you're trying to minimise noise/heat this alone is a good enough reason. DVB is a data rate of about 2mbits/s. I have a Topfield 5800 PVR with a 5400rpm Seagate drive, this will happliy record 2, plaback 1 and transfer another video out it's usb port.
     
  4. Monty Burns

    Monty Burns
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    Agreed. When your building the system, just build it with the case open and plug in that cheap-as-chips floppy drive into the mobo floppy port to install the XP kernal drivers. Once these are in and a few reboots later, remove it and put the case on.

    Jobs-a-gooden :D



    *edit* In my experience, ive never been able to get xp to use a SATA disk for install without a boot disk, regardless of RAID'd or not.
     
  5. owain_thomas

    owain_thomas
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    used sata-only on a couple of systems now and never had to use a floppy to install drivers. cables are a lot easier but otherwise I've not noticed any difference.
     
  6. Skunkpipe

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    We sell these boards and build a fair few systems with them. You do not need a floppy drive with this board if you want to install (non-RAID configured) SATA drives.
    In fact the only time you really need a floppy with this board is if you want to install a striped RAID array - which I wouldn't advise in a HTPC anyway
     
  7. Skunkpipe

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    oh and for HDD I'd go for a 7200.8 over the 7200.7 - quicker and quieter.
    Samsing spinpoints are also good
     
  8. -Hitman-

    -Hitman-
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    Please explain why you would not recommend S-ATA in a HTPC.
     
  9. Monty Burns

    Monty Burns
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    Why if you can afford the space and money would you not stripe? You still have the same backup issues as a single disk do you not? So what about the extra speed.... that a bad idea? ;)

    Although, im happy if boards have progressed far enough that the bios now replicates the IDE interface to NT's kernal. Glad to hear it! :)
     
  10. Steve.J.Davies

    Steve.J.Davies
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    isn't there a write penaly with striping I/Os ? don't know the numbers for this kit though...
     
  11. Skunkpipe

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    errr I would recommend S-ATA in a HTPC.
     
  12. Dr_Mike

    Dr_Mike
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    Thanks for the replies. I hadn't been aware of the cabling advantages. SATA it is!
     
  13. Skunkpipe

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    Sure you have the same backup issues, but you have two drives with the potential to fail over one. Performance wise, is the performance of a single drive V's a RAID0 really to the detriment of a HTPC system? I'd say not
    Why not just put a large HDD in there for starters - less heat = less noise yada yada yada.
     
  14. -Hitman-

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    I ment Raid S-ATA.

    I use Raid and the performance is outstanding.

    In my experience i would definately use a raid stripe 0 setup in a HTPC especially where media playback and processing is concerned.

    I've used raid for years with 0 failures.
     
  15. Skunkpipe

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    I don't see why you would need that sort of performance for playback - it's not like the bandwidth required is anywhere near that of a HDD in standard configuration.
    Processing - well teh HDD won't be the bottle neck hear unless you've not got enough RAM to do the processing and need to swap out your page file all the time...

    That doesn't prove anything either way. I've been driving like a loon for 20 years and not had an accident yet... *shrugs*
    I actually have a RAID0 in one of my servers which has been running for a couple of years now. Do I get any advantage from it? Hell no - esp now I'm running it on a wirelss network which acts as the bottlenec - this will be replaced with a larger RAID1 shortly now I've run out of space.

    But hey I never said don't do it, I just feel the disadvantages in this case outweight any performance gain you get that really doesn't *that* much to the overall system. Also whilst the benchmarks may tell you you're HDD is now twice as quick, real world performance increase is typically 20-30%....I'll go see if I can find again some interesting articles on RAID fairly recently
     

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