New HTPC - any advice?

Discussion in 'Home Entertainment Computers' started by keylion, Jan 9, 2008.

  1. keylion

    keylion
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    Hi all,

    I’m about to re-build my nearly four-year old HTPC to incorporate Blu-Ray & HD-DVD playback along with a bit more power for decoding the collection of HD files on my hard drive. After a few weeks of research, I am proposing to order the following spec:


    Processor AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ 2.5GHz Energy Efficient Socket AM2 54.04
    Motherboard ASUS M2N-X nForce 520 Socket AM2 6 channel audio ATX Motherboard 39.51
    RAM 2GB (2x1GB) Corsair Value Select, DDR2 PC2-5300 26.97
    GFX 512MB Power Color HD 2600 Pro SCS3 (SilentPipe) PCI-E(x16) 52.28
    Hard drive 320 Gb Samsung HD321KJ Spinpoint T166, SATA300, 7200 rpm, 16MB Cache 46.99
    Drive LG GGC-H20L Lightscrib SATA READS - Blu-Ray & HD Disc's black - OEM 136.29
    OS Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium 32Bit 1Pk OEM (DVD) 63.44

    Total: 419.52


    The HTPC will be connected as follows:

    DVI – 720P Projector
    HDMI – 1080P LCD TV

    Do any of you have any advice or recommendations? My main concern is whether to go XP or Vista. I just don’t fancy paying for an out-of-date operating system. Is there any real advantage of one over the other?

    I will be using my existing case (Antec Sonata), keyboard & mouse.

    Any input appreciated.


    Regards,


    Chris.
     
  2. Andy98765

    Andy98765
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  3. Zarch

    Zarch
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    Keylion, i have no problems running all of what you want to do on a E4400, which performs virtually the same as your suggested 4800+

    Check this out
    http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=666171

    Only thing you don't appear to have got on the shopping list is PowerDVD for your hd-dvd and blu-ray playback.
     
  4. keylion

    keylion
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    Thanks for the advice guys.

    Not sure now whether to knock the processor up to a 5200+ for another tenner just to make sure it can cope. The Blu-Ray writer for just another £30 probablly makes sense as well.

    I've read (although I can't remember where) that the LG OEM drive still comes with the player software - can any one confirm this as if not then the retail ones certainly do.

    That Tom's Hardware article looks good - something to read tomorrow at work!

    Thanks again.
     
  5. anthony.s

    anthony.s
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    Do really need to up the processor?
    If your HD files are suitable for hardware acceleration by the 2600 a mid range p4 is suitable. You'll only need a faster CPU if software decoding is required.
     
  6. keylion

    keylion
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    The concern is that the 2600 will not help with all HD files. AFAIK WMV and X264 based files rely on CPU power only and some of the 1080i files can be quite demanding to play.

    From everything i've read though I think the 4800+ x2 will be fine.


    Regards,
     
  7. Zarch

    Zarch
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    Correct. (there are exceptions, but at the moment unlikely that your rips will adhere)

    If you say its only a tenner for the higher CPU it makes sense to get that one. But i do think you'll be ok with the one you originally planned with.
     
  8. anthony.s

    anthony.s
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    x264 and WMV are accelerated. WMV not by default and needs to be enabled with a registry key.
    x264 must meet certain constaints.
    This thread over at avs is worth a read.
    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=972503
    Tried it myself on a few 720p rip samples and CPU usage was <5% :clap:
     
  9. Zarch

    Zarch
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    Nice link anthony. Nice that ExDeus put that guide together as theres been quite a bit of info spread all over the place on avs in the past month or so. :smashin:

    Problem is how long it will take for these changes to filter down to the "encoding" community and then onto the rips most people manage to acquire. Hence the reason I've been stressing that file based video will be more than likely NOT be accelerated at this time.

    Too many people have the false hope that buying an ATI 2x00 or Nvidia 8x00 series card will instantly mean 5% cpu levels on file based encodes.

    Whats the WMV reg key you are on about? Is this XP, Vista or Both?
     
  10. anthony.s

    anthony.s
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    Another link I'm afraid
    http://exdeus.home.comcast.net/~exdeus/ati-hd2x00/

    The applicable one is "DXVA_WMV_NA"="0"
    Have a read though as I think there are different issues depending on driver version. Again AVS has a massive thread regarding 2600/2400 cards
    I don't have any WMVHD so it wasn't pertinent for me.
     
  11. keylion

    keylion
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    Thanks for all your help. Finally ordered the following:

    AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ 2.5GHz Energy Efficient Socket AM2 L2 1MB 54.86
    Gigabyte GA-M56S-S3, NF560, S AM2, PCI-E (x16), DDR2 533/667/800, SATA II 44.00
    OCZ 2GB PC2-5400 Gold GX Edition (2x1GB) 25.79
    512MB Power Color HD 2600 Pro SCS3 (SilentPipe) PCI-E(x16) 50.51
    320 Gb HGST Deskstar T7K500, SATA300, 7200 rpm, 16MB Cache, 8.5ms, NCQ 41.07
    LG GGC-H20L Lightscribe SATA READS Blu-Ray/HD Discs black OEM (Inc Soft) 132.76
    Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium 32Bit 1Pk OEM (DVD) 59.51

    Total = 408.50

    Will be building and setting up this Friday (providing my new TV turns up) so will no doubt be back on here for help and advice!

    Regards,

    KL
     

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