Need advice on proposed HTPC setup

aktivemac

Active Member
Hi everyone,

I've decided that I'm sick of paying through the nose for Sky HD every month and I'm considering moving to a Freesat-HD/Freeview combination (also liking the thought of sky player (using a login for my parents sky account...) and iPlayer. I currently have a Sky Digital Minidish with two LNB cables.

Anyway, I've never built a HTPC before and intending to run Windows 7 MC on it. I've pulled together the below spec using mainly Scan.co.uk.

Any comments or obvious bad component choices? or any similarly priced substitute components that I should look at?

Thanks for the help!

Case
1 x Silverstone Milo ML03B Micro ATX, Black, Slim/HTPC Case - £46.98 [Scan.co.uk]

PSU
1 x 400W Colours IT PSUCIT400MICRO, Micro ATX, 80mm Silent Fan, ATX12V, Passive PFC - £18.67 [Scan.co.uk]

Motherboard
1 x Asus M4A78LT-M, AMD 760G, AM3, PCI-E 2.0 (x16), DDR3 1600/1800, SATA 3Gb/s RAID, Micro ATX, VGA - £46.72 [Scan.co.uk]

CPU
1 x AMD Athlon II X3 445, Rana, Triple Core, S AM3, 3.1GHz, 1.5MB Total Cache, HT 2000MHz, 95W, Retail - £55.74 [Scan.co.uk]

Memory
1 x 4GB (2x2GB) Corsair XMS3 DDR3 PC3-12800 (1600), Non-ECC Unbuffered, CAS 9-9-9-24, XMP, 1.65V - £41.07 [Scan.co.uk]

HDD
1 x 1TB Western Digital WD10EARS Caviar Green, SATA 3Gb/s, 5400+rpm, 64MB Cache, 8ms - £41.10 [Scan.co.uk]

FreeSat-HD Tuners
2 x Compro VideoMate S350 Digital Satellite TV Analog Tuner - £23.25 x 2 = £46.50 [Scan.co.uk] (One per PCI slot on motherboard)

Freeview Tuner
1 x KWorld PE355-2T V2 PCI-e Dual - £46.73 [Scan.co.uk] (First PCI-e slot)

Wifi
1 x Edimax EW-7612PIn 300Mbps Wireless 802.11 b/g/n PCI Express Adapter - £17.24 [Scan.co.uk] (Second PCI-e slot)

Blue-ray
1 x Samsung SH-B123L/RSBP 12x BD-ROM & DVDRW Combo Player Retail - £46.98 [Scan.co.uk]

IR-Receiver / Remote
1 x Windows 7 Vista XP Media Center MCE PC Remote Control and Infrared Receiver - £12.98 [Amazon.co.uk]

Total cost - £420.71


Any advice anyone can give would be great!!

Thanks,
Richard.
 

Stiggy

Distinguished Member
Your tuners are cheap and cheerful, but won't do DVB-S2 or DVB-T2.

What graphics chipset is on the motherboard? I'd go for a dedicated ATI HD 5xxx card with HDMI out.
 

mjn

Distinguished Member
Get rid of cheap ans nasty PSU as well.
 

aktivemac

Active Member
Thanks for the replies.

Stiggy:
Sorry for being a total newbie here, but I've just got my head around the difference between DVB-T and DVB-S - whats the difference with T2 and S2?

One of my friends has a HTPC with the DVB-S card and his HD picture seems fine, in what way will I benefit from a better card?

Also, not sure of the graphics chip onboard, but it has a HDMI out - will that struggle if all I want is to watch HD TV (i.e. I wont be gaming or anything)

mjn:
Thanks for the advice, can I ask what might be a better PSU without being hugely expensive?

Thanks again,
Richard.
 

aktivemac

Active Member
Your tuners are cheap and cheerful, but won't do DVB-S2 or DVB-T2.

What graphics chipset is on the motherboard? I'd go for a dedicated ATI HD 5xxx card with HDMI out.

Stiggy: Also, given the motherboard only has 2 x PCI and 2 x PCI-e and I'm using all four with 2 x DVB-S, 1 x DVB-T and 1 x Wifi card. I'm not sure there will be room for a dedicated card. Should I get a Dual DVB-S card and then I'd have room for the ATI card?
 
might be worth a mobo upgrade for extra pci and pci-e slots to hold a dedicated gpu as onboard are never as good as a dedicated.

also the benifit of a dedicated card is if you go with an Nvidia graphics card (gtx460 or above for stability) you can use 3d vision if you get a 120hz tele.

went to pc world yesterday and they had aliens vs monsters in 3d on a tv with samsung glasses and it was actually pretty good, glasses were comfortable apart from that coil security cable they had on them lol

also if you go with a dedicated gpu you might need to upgrade to a 500/550 watt psu.

check out corsair and OCZ. i would recomend finding a modular one to help with cable management as a dedicated GPU will put the heat up a little bit inside the case.
 
Last edited:

aktivemac

Active Member
How about:

1 x 512MB Asus HD 5450 Silent, PCI-E 2.1 (x16), 800MHz GDDR2, GPU 650MHz, 80 Cores (in the PCI-e 2.0 slot) - £30.29 (Scan.co.uk)

1 x PCTV Dual Sat Pro PCI 4000i - £79.68 (amazon.co.uk)

1 x Edimax EW-7722In 300Mbps Wireless 11n PCI Adapter - £19.90 (Scan.co.uk)

Same DVB-T Dual tuner as before, meaning all slots (2 PCI-e and 2 PCI now filled)


Total price now: £486.84....
 

aktivemac

Active Member
Power supply:

1 x 500 WATT OCZ PSU - Stealth XStream 2 - £45.00 (custompcwarehouse.co.uk)


Also, if I stuck with my original two compro DVB-S tuners and got this motherboard instead:

1 x Gigabyte GA-770T-D3L, AMD 770, AM3, PCI-E 2.0 (x16), DDR3 1666(OC), SATA 3Gb/s, SATA RAID, ATX - £50.96 [Scan.co.uk]

Is that board any good?

Thanks,
Richard.
 
that mobo will let you install the following cards

graphics card
pci satelite tuner
pci satelite tuner
pci-e x1 wifi card
pci-e x16 dual freeview tuner

so it should be alright. make sure you get compatible ram and cpu.

also the psu should be alright but cross reference it with the graphics card you choose to get to be sure.

as for a dedicated card the gtx460 1gb edition or the GTX480 will do the job.
 
Last edited:

aktivemac

Active Member
that mobo will let you install the following cards

graphics card
pci satelite tuner
pci satelite tuner
pci-e x1 wifi card
pci-e x16 dual freeview tuner

so it should be alright. make sure you get compatible ram and cpu.

also the psu should be alright but cross reference it with the graphics card you choose to get to be sure.

as for a dedicated card the gtx460 1gb edition or the GTX480 will do the job.


Thanks for all the advice. On the dedicated graphics card front, the GTX480 1GB appears to be circa £300. I was thinking in the more sub-£50 area :) As I said, I wont be playing any games and all I need is a card that can support HD playback on my Freesat and Freeview streams. Will the Asus ATI one (£30) that I mention above not suffice for that purpose? Or should I really push for a better graphics card?

Thanks,
Richard.
 
eh someone else with more GPU knoelwdge on that card should answer that. sorry.
 

aktivemac

Active Member
Also, thinking about this as a heat sink:

1 x Titan DC-K8J825Z/N, CPU cooler for AM2, Sempron - 3800+, 939 - Athlon 3800+, 940-AM2, AM3, Athlon - £4.50 [Scan.co.uk]
 
should be alright for the cpu cooler.

buy some arctic silver 5 and arcticlean cleaner as well. total cost of those together is typicaly around £11.

treat the cpu cap and heatsink surface with the arcticlean then apply the thermal paste and your temps will be a little bit better than using stock TIM and untreated surfaces. dust, hair and even fingerprints will reduce the cpu cooling abilities
 

aktivemac

Active Member
should be alright for the cpu cooler.

buy some arctic silver 5 and arcticlean cleaner as well. total cost of those together is typicaly around £11.

treat the cpu cap and heatsink surface with the arcticlean then apply the thermal paste and your temps will be a little bit better than using stock TIM and untreated surfaces. dust, hair and even fingerprints will reduce the cpu cooling abilities

Thanks again. Ahhh, Artic Silver that brings back memories of my overclocking days about 10 years ago :)

Anyone else have any advice on the GPU front?
 

mjn

Distinguished Member
Yeah, thats a goof PSU, just make sure it fits in the case :)
 

aktivemac

Active Member
Any commentary on the triple-core AMD cpu? or the RAM? Also very keen to know peoples thoughts on the graphics card?

Thanks again!!
 
im an intel and nvidia guy myself but the ram now thats easy pie if i ever saw any.

yeah the ram is a good brand, well reputated. the xms3 range is thier low value stuff but its good ram none the less.

should do for a htpc very nicely!
 

Stiggy

Distinguished Member
Thanks for all the advice. On the dedicated graphics card front, the GTX480 1GB appears to be circa £300. I was thinking in the more sub-£50 area :) As I said, I wont be playing any games and all I need is a card that can support HD playback on my Freesat and Freeview streams. Will the Asus ATI one (£30) that I mention above not suffice for that purpose? Or should I really push for a better graphics card?

I think the 512MB Asus HD 5450 mentioned above would be fine.

I have the HD 3470 which is much less powerful but works fine for Blu-ray and HD TV.
 

slobdog

Standard Member
Quick one of the GFX card.

I have an ASUS M4A78-VM 780G mobo and was originally using the onboard graphics. I did have some problems with the Catalyst control centre being a total pain in the bum. I also had some issues with the picture delaying behind the audio when watching live TV on WMC7 (never on any recorded TV or AVI files).

I did a bit of reading around and found it wasn't uncommon. I also discovered quite a bit of associated annoyance with ATI.

I decided to get a dedicated GFX and whilst an 54xx ATI may have done the job, I didn't want to 'risk it' and spent a bit more on a similar entry level nvidia - as below

1 x PALIT GT 430 1GB DDR3 DVI VGA HDMI Out PCI-E Graphics Card. It was £43+VAT

It has been perfect since I installed it on practically stock settings and the picture seems that bit sharper.

As I say, not bagging on ATI, but the above card has given me nothing but joy! Just make sure the slot isn't too close to the PCI slots, as the heatsink is just big enough to stop me using one of my TV tuners, which annoying!
 
Last edited:

slobdog

Standard Member
Aktivemac.

If you could be so kind to feed back what you end up going for and how it fits together, that would be brilliant. (I'm abot to build my Dad a HTPC and may nick your spec ;) )
 

aktivemac

Active Member
Quick one of the GFX card.

I have an ASUS M4A78-VM 780G mobo and was originally using the onboard graphics. I did have some problems with the Catalyst control centre being a total pain in the bum. I also had some issues with the picture delaying behind the audio when watching live TV on WMC7 (never on any recorded TV or AVI files).

I did a bit of reading around and found it wasn't uncommon. I also discovered quite a bit of associated annoyance with ATI.

I decided to get a dedicated GFX and whilst an 54xx ATI may have done the job, I didn't want to 'risk it' and spent a bit more on a similar entry level nvidia - as below

1 x PALIT GT 430 1GB DDR3 DVI VGA HDMI Out PCI-E Graphics Card. It was £43+VAT

It has been perfect since I installed it on practically stock settings and the picture seems that bit sharper.

As I say, not bagging on ATI, but the above card has given me nothing but joy! Just make sure the slot isn't too close to the PCI slots, as the heatsink is just big enough to stop me using one of my TV tuners, which annoying!


Slobdog, thanks for the advice on the graphics card. I might keep with the cheaper ATI one to start with, as a previous poster suggested it might suffice and its a good bit cheaper :) I'll keep the Nvidia card in mind if it struggles.

I'll also make sure I keep this feed updated with my travels :)

Thanks. Richard.
 

aktivemac

Active Member
Right, I think I'm getting closer to a system that might work. Thanks for all the help so far. Apologies if this is slightly repetitive, but just wanted to clarify my exact spec thinking at the moment to get peoples thoughts.

Case
Silverstone Milo ML03B Micro ATX, Black, Slim/HTPC Case

PSU
600 WATT OCZ PSU - Stealth XStream 2

Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-770T-D3L, AMD 770, AM3, PCI-E 2.0 (x16), DDR3 1666(OC), SATA 3Gb/s, SATA RAID, ATX

CPU
AMD Athlon II X3 445, Rana, Triple Core, S AM3, 3.1GHz, 1.5MB Total Cache, HT 2000MHz, 95W, Retail

HDD
1TB Western Digital WD10EARS Caviar Green, SATA 3Gb/s, 5400+rpm, 64MB Cache, 8ms

RAM
Corsair Memory XMS3 4GB DDR3 1600 MHz CAS 9 XMP Dual Channel Desktop

Video card
512MB Asus HD 5450 Silent, PCI-E 2.1 (x16), 800MHz GDDR2,
GPU 650MHz, 80 Cores

2 x Freesat Tuner
Compro VideoMate S350 Digital Satellite TV Analog Tuner + Video/Audio Capture Card

Freeview Tuner
KWorld PE355-2T V2 PCI-e Dual Digital Media Center

Infrared Receiver
Basic Windows 7 Vista XP Media Center MCE PC Remote Control and Infrared Receiver

Wifi card
Edimax EW-7612PIn 300Mbps Wireless 802.11 b/g/n PCI Express Adapter

Blueray drive
Samsung Blu-Ray Combo, SH-B123L/RSBP, SATA, Retail

Accessories
DVI to RGB 2m adaptor cable (for outputting to Slingbox)


Total cost of above spec = £495



Secondary question, does anyone output their WMC 7 to slingbox? Does it work well? I currently use my Sky HD through slingbox and just wondering if I can continue this with a WMC htpc?
 

The latest video from AVForums

Panasonic LZ2000, LZ1500 & LZ980 Hands-on Launch Event | No QD-OLED for 2022, new 77-inch for LZ2000
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Latest News

What's new on Netflix UK for June 2022
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Triangle announces new wireless Borea Active bookshelf speakers
  • By Ian Collen
  • Published
Cleer Audio announces Arc earbuds
  • By Ian Collen
  • Published
iFi Audio launches new Go bar portable DAC/headphone amp
  • By Ian Collen
  • Published
Sony adds LinkBuds S to its earphone series
  • By Ian Collen
  • Published

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom