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Recommend me a Spec or even a case for my 1st HTPC!!

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by bigbfan, Aug 10, 2005.

  1. bigbfan

    bigbfan
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    As topic mainly.. just a bit stumped at which case and which capture card to get.. ive been reading many conflicting views, and really dont know which way to turn.. so my two main questions are:

    1.) Which Case shall i get?
    2.) Which digital capture card should I get?

    sorry if this has already been posted, but i cant seem to find anything..

    cheers
    :hiya:
     
  2. shaithis

    shaithis
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    I have built 2 systems with the Accent HT400 case from Quietpc.com

    Nice looking, fairly cheap (as far as HTPC cases go) and the VFD option is nice for a finishing touch.

    Only problem I have with it is the position of the DVD drive bay - once filled it can obstruct a number of gfx cards from being used. For instance, my ATI Radeon 9700 Pro w/Zalman fanless heatpipe assembly would not fit :(

    The fanless GeForce 6600's seem to fit ok though.
     
  3. bigbfan

    bigbfan
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    aah very nice case.. but a bit too expensive for me.. :( im on a budget of around £100 max for the case... as i want to build everything for under £450 if possible!!

    any other advice would be great!!
     
  4. lisag

    lisag
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    Shuttle's are pretty cost effective - depending on which one you go for... and you can add a powered usb2 hub for extra add-ons whenever you need them.

    lisa
     
  5. Skunkpipe

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    Case choice depends on how much room you have for it.
    By digital capture card, do you mean freeview card or a card for capturing analogue signals from something lime a digital set top box?
    What OS/media software do you intend on running?
     
  6. DEANO-B

    DEANO-B
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    I've just built a shuttle for a friend for less than £400 with a AMD 64 3.0 CPU and 200GB HDD. It's super quiet and really small, which is ideal for a room. I'd definatly look at shuttles than full size PCs. I got my bits from CCL Computers.
     
  7. bigbfan

    bigbfan
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    hiya mate, you wouldnt mind posting the spec could you. Id really appreciate it!!
     
  8. meansizzler

    meansizzler
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    A good small enough case at a good price would be the Antec Aria, it's basically a cube shaped case with a 300 Watt PSU and can take a micro ATX board, it comes with a built in memory card reader and can take 1 optical drive, has space for 4 expantion cards, would be ideal for a relatively cheap HTPC, just pick up a cheap P4 motherboard and cpu and for a tv tuner i'd go for a Win Tv Novat-T, if you shop around you can pick one up for £50....

    Total Cost...

    Case- £70
    Motherboard-£50
    CPU(2.8GHZ)-£90
    Memory (1GB)-£80
    Optical Drive-£35
    Hard Drive (160GB)-£60
    Graphics Card-£40
    TvTuner-£50

    Total = £475
     
  9. rob_finch

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    I'm thinking of getting an Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 4400+ Socket 939, can you recommend a graphics card to go with it? Something based on 6600/6800GT i guess, but which brand? As it will be my main PC plus be used to show HD content on my LCD TV, would I really need dual DVI out, or would VGA look as good on my PC monitor?

    I'm looking to replace my existing Athlon XP based machine, and I'm after something generally quicker, but that will also play 1080i content properly.

    Thanks in advance for any help.
     
  10. Xelon

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  11. Dunkwho

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    Take a look at the enlight htpc case - you'll see it listed on both the rlsupplies.co.uk and xcase.co.uk webstores. I picked mine up from RL - they're local to my office and am just finishing the htpc off now. It'll take full height cards, comes with a very quiet sfx PSU (quieter than the zalman 7000 running at min revs with a fanmate), has an air duct right over the CPU cooler to allow fresh air to be sucked in for CPU cooling (also keeps the system cool I guess). I'm still just installing the mobo and OS, gfx and two dvb-t cards going in tonight, can't see any problems with fit on my asus matx motherboard (with onboard coax spdif, also from rlsupplies). Think its about £50 for the case.

    Duncan

    links ...
    http://www.xcase.co.uk/acatalog/Enlight_EN-7473_Home_Media_Case.html
    http://www.rlsupplies.co.uk/products/product.asp?id=4302
     
  12. richjthorpe

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    Gigabyte do a fanless 6600GT. It was on ebuyer but I can't find it now.

    Nvidia 'Pure Video' apparently does a good job of getting a nice picture. I'm sure Lisag will be along to confirm !

    Richie.
     
  13. msrx7mh3

    msrx7mh3
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    I reccomend the Antec Sonata for a HTPC case- takes most motherboards, got a well-specced and quiet PSU, very easy to add/remove hard-drives, comes in a glossy Piano-black finish.
     
  14. rob_finch

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    Thanks for the info, Richie. I'll check that out.

    One further question, will the 6600GT play H264 content, and if not, do you know of a separate (PCI?) card that will be available to do this? I want to be able to play any HD content, and if I decide on a graphics card, I'd like to be able to buy an additional card to cover H264 if needed.
     
  15. richjthorpe

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    I think all you need is a H264 codec like you'd need a divx or xvid codec. Someone on here should be able to tell you.

    Richie.
     
  16. lisag

    lisag
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    Not sure about H264, but the 6600GT gigabyte fanless 128mb version plays back all Hi Def up to 1080 ok, using VMR9 hardware thing.

    lisa
     
  17. meansizzler

    meansizzler
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    If you want a graphics card just for playing HD Video I'd recommend a radeon 9600XT, there cheap and decent, if you require one along the lines of a 6600GT then I'd get an X700PRO they just came out in AGP and can play all of the latest games, there just as powerfull as the 6600GT but run much cooler, i'd stay away from Nvidia if you do not have good ventilation, there cards run at 95 degrees, while Ati's are around 60 degrees, I returned my 6600gt and picked up an x700 pro becasue of the heat issue, a radeon 9600XT would cost you £80 and an X700 Pro would cost you £140, I have the X700 Pro 256MB by sapphire, great card, even has ram heatsinks, though the stock coller run's quite loud when playing games, but you can always replace it with an Artic Cooler, playing 1080P WMV content my P4 2.8GHZ cpu runs at around 40%-50% usage, not bad...

    Bottom line is playing back HD content is CPU dependent, does not matter what graphics card you have, they don't really do much, unless you using Windows MCE, then you need at least an radeon X300 (MCE is kinda fussy about the graphics card you use, check Nvidia/ATi's site for MCE compatible cards), but I used the onboard Intel Extereme 2 graphics and can play 1080P content fine, just make sure you got a 2.8GHZ CPU with HT and at least 1GB RAM, and a 7200RPM hard drive helps, I can play 1080P and 1080i content at the same time with 70% CPU Usage..., for a mpeg 2 Decoder use Win DVD 7...
     
  18. lisag

    lisag
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    I am sure the Radeon alternatives are good too - but no heat issues with my fanless 6600gt so far - even when playing HL2...

    lisa
     
  19. rob_finch

    rob_finch
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    ATI or Nvidia - may come down to which will work better with Linux, although I'm not too worried about a 'little' cooling noise in the PC, I don't want to have a wind farm in there!

    As for CPU then, do you think the AMD X2 4400+ will have enough guts?

    Thanks for the help so far!
     
  20. meansizzler

    meansizzler
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    SHould be more than ENough, but I'm an Intel Fan, I stay clear of AMD myself, they do not provide enough for power for video encoding/playback compared to a P4 with HT..., if you want to do one thing at a time go for the AMD, if you like doign two things at a time eg, recording tv while playing a game go for a pentium, but it usually works out best if you get and nvidia card if your going with AMD or an ATI card if your going with Intel...
     

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