Recommendations on new HTPC build

Discussion in 'Home Entertainment Computers' started by PC Nut, Jun 11, 2009.

  1. PC Nut

    PC Nut
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    Before I start I would like to thank you for your time and recommendations on my new build.

    Looking for recommendations for my htpc, heat and noise are not an issue as it will be in an adjacent room with an IR extender. Below is a list of requirments

    1) Matx htpc motherboard with on board sound and video. Nvidia or Amd ????
    Compatable 7.1 audio (will be playing blueray LPCM over HDMI)

    2) Fast processor below £180 (required for HD home shot video editing and processing)
    Suitable power supply ??? watts.

    3) Any thoughts on vista 64 or 32 bit ( I mention 64bit as I read somewhere it was better at the video editing and rendering).

    4) Any issues with your recommenations that i might need to consider or beware of, I will probably be using Media Portal as my htpc front end oh and whilst were at it video codec recommendations.

    Regards PC Nut
     
  2. Blu4KHD

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    1. Seeing as heat and noise issues are not a factor you may be wise to go for an Matx board without onboard video and more expansion slots and then maybe settle on one of the 4XXX series ATI cards with HDMI out and full 7.1 LPCM and maybe even the Asus Xonar 1.3 HDAV card for bitstream audio.

    2. as for the processor and power supply for under £180 you may be stretching it a bit here, 100% go with an intel minium quad core and if you can stretch to it an i7 for blistering fast encoding, Avoid AMD at all costs especially for encoding.

    3. Vista 32 more compatibility for codecs and the like for a HTPC where as for video editing x64 does have its advantages with about 10% more speed performance.

    4. Sorry cant help here as i no longer use a frontend just to much faffibg about trying to get things working when i could be watching instead, Someone else may be of help here.
     
  3. PC Nut

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    Points taken Digicon. But matx will help keep cost down, i was thinking along the lines of the asus 9300/9400 chipset board recommendations would help if anyone has suggestions.

    The power supply wont be part of the £180 that was for the CPU only.
    thanks for your input though.
     
  4. conan

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    I would suggest the Gigabyte GA-E7AUM-DS2H motherboatd, it meets all your requirements in terms of Matx, Nvidia 9400 chipset and 7.1 sound out. I just built a PC on one and added an E8400 CPU, 3Gz dual core, the CPU costs me £130 so well within your budget.

    If you are video encoding then yes, go for the 64bit Vista, or if you want to keep cost down go for a legally free windows 7 (64 bit) from MS. The motherboard works 100% in windows 7, I've installed both vista and win7 on my new build.

    Power supply, I'm using an 220w supply as there are not many components in the case, everything is onboard. Any good quality supply 250/300w upwards will be sufficient.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2009
  5. Huggy

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    re 2). Definitely a quad. This meets your budget, and would be fantastic for video encoding.

    Re PSU. Need to know more about total expansions. Video card? Sound card? Tuner? Wireless card? Will you be overclocking?

    In general terms, I recommend anything by Corsair or Seasonic (same kit) for quality and low noise.

    450W for minimum expansions
    620W if you are running a bunch like the list above.
    750W or above for all the above and SLI GFX cards for gaming

    I am sure there are some who whould think these are overspecced, but PSU aren't too dear and I think it is better to be safe than sorry!
     
  6. PC Nut

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    I think i have got my choice of boards down to either the Gigabyte mentioned or the Asus equivilant no seperate cards at this point so will probably go for an 80+ 500watt psu. The Q5550 looks tempting at the price. Would DDR2 with 1333mhz here work with any of the boards above as they say they only support ddr2 800
     
  7. PC Nut

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    Vista Ultimate 64-Bit
    Vista Home Premium 64-Bit

    Is their alot of difference between the two? appart from the ultimate being almost twice the price, do you think i would be missing anything that would be essential for my build.
     
  8. conan

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    Not sure on the difference as I only use ultimate. But, if you shop round a bit you should be able to get an OEM version discounted if you buy with the motherboard. I'd still recommend Win7 if you are on a tight budget. The licence is valid until March 1st 2010, so it gives you plenty of time to get sorted with another OS.

    Thats the same RAM I bought for the same board, but it is £15 cheaper at Dabs :)
     
  9. PC Nut

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    Thanks will look into win7, just noticed that the ram is ddr3 are sure it will work in a ddr2 board?
     
  10. Huggy

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    Nope. No need for it unless you go for an i7 board, which would be overkill. Something like this will be perfectly OK and much cheaper. You could even buy 4Gb for less...

    Vista Ultimate allows enterprise capabilities which you don't really need. I would suggest that Vista Premium is the one for you, unless you want to wait for Win7. You may have to wait a while until that is out though.
     
  11. conan

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  12. Huggy

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    Good spot - didn't know the RC was out.
     
  13. Ci4N

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    Just to mention, you'll have a tough time doing video/picture editing on integrated graphics. I would recommend getting an ATi as it can have HDMI and can handle LPCM audio. A low profile like this Radeon 4650 will suit nicely and it's only about £60.

    You could also go for an Intel E8400 CPU available in dual core (3Ghz) for £130 or quadcore (2.66Ghz) for £137. It's only £7 in the difference so you might wanna go with the quad.
     
  14. Huggy

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    Beg to differ, but video editing/encoding is primarily a CPU affair. The more cores and horsepower you throw at it, the quicker it goes, hence my suggestion of the 9550 quad. 9300/9400 integrated graphics should be perfectly able to present and compress any video. GFX cards come into their own when playing games.
     
  15. conan

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    Well, I'm not sure he did hide all the cables, he only has the CPU fan plugged into the mobo;)

    But, a great place to hide cables is under the motherboard once the PC is built and tested. It means taking out the motherboard again to fit the cables, and its a bugger if you need to change anything. For a stable build that you don't plan to change it works a treat.
     
  16. Ci4N

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    I didn't know you could do that. Will they all fit (power cables, front I/O cables, etc) and won't wreck it or anything?
     
  17. conan

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    Not all the power cables will fit, the main ATX connector for example wont. But usually the smaller cables are OK, the motherboard headers are the best to tuck under there, as they are usually the messiest but also the thinnest. The power and data leads for the drives can usually fit under also.
     
  18. Ci4N

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    Maybe I'll give that a try on my main PC later then. I have a window at the side and I'd prefer to be able to tidy up a bit.
     
  19. PC Nut

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    Thanks for all your help, im pretty sure i know what i am building now.
     

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