Newbie 1st HTPC build – specs. for comment/advice pls

Discussion in 'Home Entertainment Computers' started by brucerobinson, Feb 4, 2009.

  1. brucerobinson

    brucerobinson
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    Hi,
    Case: Silverstone Grandia GD01-B-MXR
    RAM: OCZ 2048mb DDR2 667Hz (2x1Gb)
    HDD: 320Gb SATAII HDD 7200rpm (Western Digital Caviar Green Power, Samsung Spinpoint or Seagate).
    Optical: Samsung/LG DVD-RW 20x BluRay reader
    PSU: 500w silent
    TV Tuner: Hauppauge WinTV-HVR 1600 HD tuner pci with remote. Will the Silverstone remote control the Tuner so I don’t need 2 remotes?

    Intel:
    CPU: Core 2 Duo E4600
    Mobo: ASUS P5N-EM HDMI (others?)

    or

    AMD:
    CPU: Athlon 64 5050e or 5200
    Mobo: ASUS M3A-H/HDMI (others?)

    Vista Home Premium 32bit

    HTPC use: (HD/DVB)TV rec. & play/BD play/radio/music/photos/video (not encode/edit)/web surf & iPlayer & music download. HDD for PVR. Media storage - GBLAN NAS (GBLAN Mobo). May add PCI Sat. card later for more HDTV & watch one/record another.
    No gaming.

    HTPC in living room, no space restrictions so ATX for options.
    Sound to stereo hifi (emphasis on sound for music more than movies, don’t plan surroundsound). Have D/A convertor with coax & optical inputs so coax or optical SP/DIF mobo feed, out of DAC into pre- to power-amps to speakers + sub. Guess select sound out of Mobo SPDIF in sound software, and picture either Mobo HDMI (HDMI/HDMI cable) or DVI (DVI/HDMI cable) to LCD TV. Any issues with HDCP for BD with this?

    Intel or AMD? Specs about same price (Intel ~£30 more). Intel ahead of AMD in processing grunt per £?, but seems AMD ‘e’ CPU spec. will do what I want at low power consumption hence heat/cooling/noise. But HTPC system builders don’t seem to offer AMD ‘e’ CPUs?

    Case: VFD/multimedia for inbuilt IR sensor, but wonder if mis-understood? From research believe need VFD/MMedia for powered IR sensor (feed taken before PSU) so HTPC can be brought out of stand-by with remote; USB IR sensor (per bundled with MCE-compatible remotes) can’t because USB ports powered down in standby. Difficult to believe that can be true, as it is a retrograde step compared with TVs for last 20yrs – have to bring HTPC out of standby manually just to watch TV!?
    Other than for IR sensor per above (which is a by-product), can’t see VFD info is much use i.e. doesn’t allow control of HTPC. If want HTPC for anything visual, need TV on, so what use info on VFD? Seems info on VFD would (only) be (really) useful if allowed to do things for which TV screen isn’t needed to be on e.g. want sound but not TV screen, such as navigate music, radio etc without putting on TV screen (which maybe more expensive 7” address). But as far as I can see, info on VFD isn’t enough for this? All it does is display weather info, graphic equaliser etc that won’t be visible from other side of room anyhow. Don’t need full explanation here, and probably doesn’t matter/require explanation here unless I’ve seriously missed the point and it makes a difference to what I’m buying/expecting from it. If so, please point me to where I can find an explanation!
    The premium for MXR version of Grandia seems not much more than a separate MCE remote/USB IR and multimedia card reader anyhow.
    Thanks in advance....
     
  2. Andy98765

    Andy98765
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    If you are not adding a graphics card then a 500watt power supply is way overkill, you only need 300watts and even that is too much.
    The AMD5050e is very suited to HTPC work due to its 45 watts power consumption. The most popular MBoard for this setup is from Gigabyte 780G range, as a just in case for the future not all 780G boards allow for a very high processor to be connected so possibly be selective.
     
  3. Scott_Mac

    Scott_Mac
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    Having recently done similar to you, have a look at my thread and also what i eventually bought:

    Thread:
    http://www.avforums.com/forums/home-cinema-pcs/910181-first-htpc-build-advice-please.html

    List of Gear:
    http://www.avforums.com/forums/8675476-post22.html

    Basically for PVR, 1080p media playback and BR etc the 780g, 5050e combo is hard to beat! Very energy efficient and not too pricey either!

    The LG BR/HD DVD/DVD-RW player on my post is universally used and excellent, but if you're planning on downloading etc.. i'd certainly plump for a larger hard drive than the one you're considering!!!

    For audio, the 780g motherboards have analogue outputs and i'd recommend you try those also! No problems with HDCP for BR using DVI/HDMI adaptors
     
  4. devo

    devo
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    I've got one of these in an HTPC which you may want to consider:

    GIGABYTE - Product - Motherboard - Overview - GA-MA78G-DS3H (rev. 1.0)

    Couple it with a 5050e and an HD 4550. RAM - up to 800MHz. I can recommend the WD green drives. As above, have a look at the LG HD-DVD/BD drive as HD-DVDs are so cheap.

    Silverstone make some nice HTPC cases, but may also be worth looking at the Antec Fusion Remote Max.
     
  5. brucerobinson

    brucerobinson
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    ok, so for audio go straight mobo analogue out to analogue in - to preamps or straight to power amp?
    So far from replies looking like AMD 'e' cpu way to go.
    Thanks
     
  6. brucerobinson

    brucerobinson
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    did look at Antec Fusion Max (and T/Take 101 multimedia) but couldn't see advantages over GD01 with which I thought front card reader made sense for HTPC.
     
  7. brucerobinson

    brucerobinson
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    Tks, also saw MSI KA790GX-F - same price and overclocked 790 (for future, or is that bad? heat?). Tks
     
  8. brucerobinson

    brucerobinson
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    Tks, I had seen/read your thread before posting (which was instrumental in informing what I've proposed).
    When you say bigger HDD if I propose downloading, did you see that I propose NAS for storage? If so, why 320Gb not enough in HTPC?
     
  9. brucerobinson

    brucerobinson
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    thought was better to overkill on PSU and therefore run cooler? No?
     
  10. Scott_Mac

    Scott_Mac
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    Sorry, did miss that bit!

    In which case, just to install the OS and programs etc... 320Gb is overkill!

    As for the PSU, mine runs very cool and also nigh on silent... and that's only a 400w one!

    As for the analogue outs, you will need a multi channel input on your AV amp to use this, they're not present on all amps but are reasonably common as they're used in SACD and DVD-A.
     
  11. brucerobinson

    brucerobinson
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    Scott: tks. Re: HDD size, my expectation is OS et al on a partition, and some HDD capacity locally to the OS for 'the equivalent of a large PVR video tape/DVD-RW (in high def. res.)'. My thinking is so doesn't have to go across the network to the NAS during recording/download/processing. If material is subsequently 'a keeper', transfer to NAS, otherwise delete after watching playback from HTPC HDD. BUT, advice is welcome, I'm a newbie. Sounds like your experience is, on that basis, you think 80-120-250gb enough (we're talking pennies here anyhow - real storage spend is ~ 500gb-1Tb NAS (x2 for backup).
    PSU - tks, I'm assured and will go for <400w.
    Sound - "you will need a multi channel input on your AV amp to use this," - clearly I don't know enough about this - I don't have an AV amp or know anything about them/their inputs, I have a stereo pre-amp. Could you elaborate on your comment to help me understand?
    Thanks again
    Bruce
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2009
  12. Scott_Mac

    Scott_Mac
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    Hi Bruce,

    Given the hard disc prices, stick with what you have, as you say you'll have local PVR functionality which is never a bad thing!

    For the audio, if you only have a stereo pre amp then you could use the one analogue audio out for the fronts with a decent quality 3.5mm to 2 RCA (i may be selling my QED J2P shortly...) or as you point out you could use your DAC. Apologies for the confusion, i thought you had an AV amp, but now re-reading that is not the case.
     
  13. brucerobinson

    brucerobinson
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    This is what I went for:
    Case: Silverstone Grandia GD01-B-MXR
    PSU: Silverstone 350W DUAL 12v Silent
    Mobo: GByte MA78G-DS3H
    CPU: AMD AM2 DUAL CORE 5050E
    RAM: GeIL 4gb 2 x 2gb 800MHz DDR2 PC2-6400 Black Dragon
    HDD: Western Digital Green Power 500GB SATA2 WD5000AACS
    Optical: LG GGC-H20L RETAIL BR&HD
    TV Tuner: Hauppauge Win/TV Nova-T PCI (decided on single and to add DVB-S2 next)
    OS: Vista Home Premium 64bit

    All-in £497 delivered. Except OS & RAM, all from Scan (respect: first-rate experience & good guys for free P&P for AVF members :)

    Storage & backup: LaCie Network Space 1Tb NAS (GBLAN) & 1Tb USB HDD backup - silent & good aesthetics for living room, (£197, Scan).

    Picture HDMI to LCD TV; sound S/PDIF out to high-end DAC/pre-/power-amp and speakers.

    Digibox/VCR/DVD recorder/FM Tuner/CD Player shortly to be consigned to the bin (I hope).

    Over-provided on storage & RAM for current expectations, but incremental cost seems peanuts for a bit of futureproofing. 'All' I've got to do now is put it together, hope 64bit OS doesn't turn out to be a mistake (Windows 7 seems to give some comfort of a way out if it is, although I hate beta testing - used to be an early-adopter before I grew up), find out all the things I-didn't-know-I-didn't-know and hope on balance more good than bad, find out if BluRay is really noticably better than DVD, hope my VBR-ripped-to-MP3 music collection sounds OK through onboard sound and see if it all lives up to my hopes/wife and young child's 3-button-press limitation ("why is it so complicated when all I want to do is put the telly on?"....Harmony fall-back position for a macro button - I don't suppose the remote that comes with the SilverStone case has macros, but that's something I-know-I-don't-know).

    Thanks to all who contributed here, and on TV Tuner forum.
     
  14. Scott_Mac

    Scott_Mac
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    Great, good luck getting it all set up!
     

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