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Shuttle PC (as HTPC) - Building advice please...

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by janmars, Nov 30, 2003.

  1. janmars

    janmars
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    Considering buying a Shuttle for use as a HTPC, so I really need to get an idea on costs.

    This is the case I want...
    http://www.kustompcs.co.uk/product.php?view=1433

    No, what else would I need to go with this? I will only need a basic CPU (a Celeron maybe), and one that can be passivly cooled. Other than that I am not sure what else I would need as this would be my first shuttle.

    I need to connect it to my AMP and my CRT TV.

    So, it'd be great if you could advise what components I would need as well as their costs...

    Cheers...
     
  2. johnm60

    johnm60
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    I am running a Shuttle SN41G2 as my HTPC. I have added:

    1. A hardisc
    2. Athlon XP1700
    3. Radeon 9000 in the AGP slot - the onboard Nvidia wasn't as clean, plus I am using its DVI output to my HT1000 projector
    4. Pioneer DVD drive
    5. ATI Remote Wonder (remote control)
    6. 512M PC2700 (as a pair of 256)

    I run Windows XP and use Theatertek as my player. The onboard sound seems OK, and I use the optical output to my DD amp.

    The Radeon gives better PQ and has DVI. The CPU is gine, but if you also want to dabble with high definition stuff, then it is probably best to go for something like the Barton XP2500.

    Shuttle do another Athlon which has 400M FSB and no onboard video - this one may be one to go for if you are going to opt for a Radeon.

    I initially used to have a few annoying pauses during a film, but since I put on direct X 9 and the latest Theatertek version, it is now very clean.

    Hope this is useful.
    John
     
  3. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    I too have a SN41G and agree they're damned good.

    One thing I would say is that the harddisk is important ... I first ran a Segate 7200 Barracuda and it got more hot than I felt comfortable with and the noise was perceptible ... I changed to a 5400 Barracuda which is generally considered one of the quietest disks around and also runs cooler.

    Since an HTPC isn't a speed demon you won't need top-flight hard disk performance, I would suggest 5400 speed drives if all else is equal.

    As far as video is concerned, I used a 7500 when all I had was a TV using S-Video, nowadays I'd use a 9600 non-pro, fanless card if I still used the Shuttle for an HTPC.
     
  4. janmars

    janmars
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    Okay, thanks for the replies. Have been looking about a bit, and I hink that the SN41G would indeed be a good buy as you both suggest.

    Basically I only want a cheap setup as this will only be used for play back of AVI and MPEG2 files. Not sure what the video out is like on the systems with onboard graphics is like, but it may well be enough for what I am after.

    Thanks for the tips on the slower speed HD, I would more than likely have gone for a 7200, but will steer clear of that now.

    I will look into Theatertek , currently though I am using J River Media Center and that seems to do the job of what I am after so I may stick with that yet.

    Cheers again for the replies...
     
  5. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    TheaterTek won't be worth it using the on-board video, it's a hacked-down GForce 400 MX IIRC, to make the best of TT you really need a Radeon.

    This is the model I have , note that it's an nForce2 chipset not the earlier one though I doubt you'll find that older model anywhere now.

    Funny you should be using MC at the moment, I'm looking at that as a change from MusicMatch for music so that I can combine music and video playback in one app. .. excluding DVDs for which I use TT.
     
  6. janmars

    janmars
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    Thanks KraGorn, I am beginning to be swayed to getting that system...looks to have pretty much all I want. Though I was intending on using a on-board graphics card as I have no intent of using for games. And my TV is only a 32" CRT, so I don't know if the on-board card would be that bad for my set-up?

    As for MC, I don't know if you have the trial software yet...but I can highly recommend it. It also has a lot of support from the writers as well as the community which is nice...
     
  7. KraGorn

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    The nice thing about having on-board graphics is that at least you've got something to look at and see if it suits your needs. Personally I found the S-video output somewhat dark and dull, adding a cheap and cheerful Radeon 7500 made quite a noticeable difference. That was driving my Tosh 28" widescreen.

    FYI, this is a 7000-based card which will give greatly improved DVD decoding and output should you feel the need to spend £40 as opposed to the double that for a 9600 which may well be overkill for your current display.


    I've asked a couple of questions about MC in their forums and had rapid and friendly answers .. always a good sign. :) I've downloaded the trial version, not got round to playing with it yet though. Thanks for the comments, you're obviously happy.
     
  8. dek1965

    dek1965
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    I too, was going to buy a shuttle to replace my current hcpc, but
    have now reconsidered this as after some research, it turns out that they as quite noisy and require "modding" to keep the noise down
     
  9. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    Absolutely not at all true in the context we're disuccsing here. :nono:

    Yes, if you were to use one as a main PC, playing 3D graphic intensive games using the CPU at 100% for long periods the fan would become very noisy to dissipate the heat.

    HOWEVER, when used as an HTPC there's precious little processor or graphics power being used and heat generation is a minimum. The noisiest thing in my Shuttle when used as an HTPC was the fan on the Radeon 9700 I put in it prior to receiving the 9600 I use now.
     
  10. dek1965

    dek1965
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    wrong.

    from what i have read the noisiest thing is the psu fan, which u need to modd.
    especially when using as a hcpc
     
  11. KraGorn

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    What report?

    I'll not argue with you, jnms will have to make up his mind who to believe ... me, who used one of these for 3 months as an HTPC, XP2000+, Seagate 120Mb Barracuda 5400 drive and Radeon 9700 Pro ... or you who's read some report?
     
  12. dek1965

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  13. KraGorn

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    I see no mention of HTPC/HCPC applications there .. I also see this:

    I'm clearly one of the many who didn't experience a heat problem. I guess it depends on the environment you put it and where you locate it.
     
  14. dek1965

    dek1965
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    well it's upto jnms if he buys one or not

    but at least he has a link to help him keep it quiet, if he gets 1
     
  15. janmars

    janmars
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    Thanks for the replies. Well I am certainly going to be getting a shuttle sized case one way or the other. Whilst the Shuttle may be noisey for some people, I am not convinced it will matter that much with movies going on.

    Only time it may have an adverse affect would be during quite periods on movies. But how often does that have. And let's face it, to be audible over even a vocal track it would have to be pretty damn loud. Anyways, thanks for the info and the link...
     
  16. KraGorn

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    Another tip, with the heat issue in mind ... if you get a Shuttle, if you mount the disk where the floppy goes then there's some free air above the CPU/Northbridge area to help ventilation.

    Also configure the power options either in Windows or the BIOS to spin the disk down after say 5 mins, when you're playing a DVD or CD then you won't need the hard disk, again this'll reduce heat generation.

    The issue dek1965 raises is valid, as I noted for some applications, but based on my experience though I really do question the scale in an HTPC situation ... the one thing I can think of is if you like/have to have a relatively high ambient temperature ... if you like cranking up the central heating you could conceivably have a problem, but careful position of the PC would help ... 6 inches from a radiator isn't optimum. ;)

    Feel free to come back and call me a pillock if you have problems. :smoke:
     

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