The deksawyer Omaura TF8 hi-def slim media player build

deksawyer

Novice Member
Go straight to the build post here

Go straight to my server rebuild here

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OK, before it gets too old (probably already is) I thought I'd get some info up regarding my latest build. I bought most of the parts back in Feb and was waiting until it was finished before posting, but the delay in the case means I'd better get a move on now and update when it arrives.

After having built many media pc's (starting of with MCE2004 way back when) the time was right to build a slimline quiet & powerful HTPC to playback hi-def material. No gaming required.

I wanted something smaller than the case I was using at the time (Silverstone LC17 – great case) and the choice was either OrigenAE SV14 or Omaura TF8. The Omaura just had the edge, but as of now, I've been waiting on it for over a month. Here's what all the fuss is about;





Here's the list;

Asus P5E-VM HDMI
Intel Xeon 3075
2gb Corsair XMS PC6400
Hauppauge Nova-T 500
LG GGC-H20L combo BD/HD DVD drive
2.5” 60gb seagate notebook drive (OS)
2.5” 250gb Sorpio notebook drive (Recorded TV)
Elan Vital 400w Greenerger PSU
Vista Ultimate 32 bit
I bought the Xeon because I couldn't get hold of an E8400 (still can't). The Xeon runs at 2.66Ghz and is a 65nm chip – it does however have a power rating of 65w so is cooler than a 65nm C2D chip.

It all went together without incident, apart from the 4 pin 12v socket on the Asus board; there's a component on the board which gets in the way if you try and use the 8 pin 12v plug on most modern PSU's. It's partly the Elans fault as well because the plug doesn't split into 2 so an adapter was required.

Vista installed without issues and it was now time to tweak the settings to my liking.

I'll be using the CCCP codec pack (ffd show), Core AVC Pro, PowerDVD retail (from the LG drive package).

Anyway, I put the components in a temporary case as a shakedown test to iron out all the issues associated with getting MCE (in this case Vista MCE) to work with all file formats and at 50hz before fitting it in to the eagerly anticipated Omaura case. I've been using it like this for quite a while now.......

D.
 
Last edited:

deksawyer

Novice Member
I‘ll go into a bit more depth and provide screenshots when I have the time but for now, here’s a quick runthrough of what I’ve been up to;

My TV is only 720p for the time being so all media is up/down scaled to fit. I'm connected via hdmi>dvi adapter>DVI to HDMI cable as I haven't got round to buying a HDMI>HDMI cable yet!

Blu-ray/HD DVD playback

Couldn’t be any easier, installed the bundled Cyberlink PowerDVD 7 OEM that came with the LG drive and bob’s your uncle, plays both formats without breaking a sweat. The Intel graphics don't use hardware acceleration with HD DVD but it was able to play Transformers just on CPU power which I was surprised at.

Audio is connected via SPDIF and it outputs DD & DTS to my receiver.

MKV playback

Installed Core AVC Pro, CCCP codec Pack (a tweaked ffdshow). VMC only plays some titles if Core AVC is set as the default decoder and I can’t get to the bottom if it. Everything plays fine within Graphedit though. If I use ffdshow to decode, everything plays but CPU usage is ~10% higher at ~35-40% overall. Still not bad.

Audio is handled by ffdshow audio decoder, using spdif pass through.

Hi-Def .TS files

I have a few 1080p rips that are in a .ts container. Some are mpeg2 and some are VC1. ffdshow is selected to decode the mpeg2 and the in built Vista VC1 decoder does, well, the VC1.

Audio is handled by ffdshow audio decoder, using spdif pass through.

DVD playback

These are handled by the default Vista decoders, good job they do too.

TV playback

Again, handled by the Vista decoders. I tried using Nvidia Purevideo but it never gave me smooth results. I tried using ffdshow and it was great but certain channels would playback at roughly 1 FPS; very strange.

I eventualy settled on the default Microsoft decoder for both audio & video as it was a decent compromise between smooth playback and image quality.

Refresh Rate Change
Disclaimer - do this at your own risk

VMC will default to 60hz everytime, no matter what refresh rate you have set your PC to. To get round this I set the value in the relevant registry settings to 1 instead of 0.

0 is the higest value while 1 being the lowest. This ensures that when in VMC full screen, the refeshrate is 50hz.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Settings

Look for "EnableRefreshRateChange" and change value from 0 to 1

You also need to do this here as well

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Settings\DisplayService

"EnableRefreshRateChange" change value to from 0 to 1

S3 Standby

I have the machine go to sleep after 15 min of inactivity and it seems to be doing OK. Sometimes it’s already on in the morning and it would do all sorts of funny things, but I disabled hybrid speep and it seems to be a bit better.

I’ve used the excellent S3 Standby Tool in the past and if I need to, I’ll use it on this build but 9.5 times out of 10 it’s OK. Work in progress.

More to follow......

D.
 
P

Phoenix_TT

Guest
Love that case and can't wait to see more pics. What HSF are you using ?

Edit *** I've just seen your signature and it state stock cooler ****
 

deksawyer

Novice Member
I'll be using the stock cooler when the case arrives, which will give me time to figure out what aftermarket cooler will fit. I have my eye on the Scythe Shuriken, and I'll use that if it fits.

http://www.scythe-eu.com/en/products/cpu-cooler/shuriken.html

I'll also see how the stock cooler works out. I'm using an Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 pro atm and with the bios fan control set to silent, I can't hear it.

With the 2.5" drives and the Elan PSU, it's the most silent PC I've ever (not) heard. There are no case fans in the Antec tower and the CPU idles at anything from 22-29°C.

I realise it'll be a different story with the Omaura case, but I'm hoping my choice of components will keep the heat, and therefore the noise down.

D.
 

Jim_b0b

Novice Member
Hi m8,

I think I shall be watching this post with some interest as it is very similar to what I want to be doing but with a TF-5 case. (A media server shall host the tv cards, so space isnt such an issue).

I shall probablly use the gigabyte 780G chipset board and the AMD 4850e processor when it becomes available (hopefully in about a month) it's pretty much the same as the X2 4800 but on a 65nm die, and has a TDP of 45 watts and will be priced the same as the 4800, so should suite it well.

Could you shed some light on the PSU you are using as it's something im not too sure about using, would your PSU fit the TF-5 do you know ?, I was going to be using the FSP180-50PLA Power Supply (http://www.specialtech.co.uk/spshop/customer/product.php?productid=5063&cat=230&page=1), I have followed (looked at the pics! lol) of a TF-5 build ( http://www.minhembio.com/jperss10/169991/ ), which is looking nice, but I notice he uses some additional PSU, maybe a DC/DC converter, but im not too sure as I cant read the language, do you know what this would be for ?

Also, can you shed any light on the supply of the omarua cases or more importantly specialtech, as what I have read so far is not paticularlly good, mainly long deliver times.

Do you plan on using the OLED? I think I would like to be able to use it, and if it was at all possible, display in real time - time, cpu load, cpu temp, and bandwith usage (for streaming of media)

Damn, I went on a bit there didnt I!, sorry to bombard you with some questions, but it should be an exciting build.
 

deksawyer

Novice Member
Omaura case should be here next week, so full build pics then. I'll be using the OLED.

Jim_b0b, sorry, I missed you post, but I think you'll get more info on the Specialtech forum, as a few people have built a TF5 there.

They also have the TF5's in stock I believe.

D.
 

Theydon Bois

Moderator
This is why I never went with the OriginAE case I liked - Special TEch still dont have it, meaning that if I wanted it, I would have been waiting nearly 3 months now.

Hope it turns up for you soon - I want to see it in action!
 

deksawyer

Novice Member
Well, Specialtech have let us all down again, with another no show for the Omaura parts we've been waiting on.

I heard that Kustom PC's had some in stock so I ordered from them and cancelled my order from ST. The case should be here tomorrow.

This is purely my own opinion, but I'd strongly discourage anyone from using Specialtech as a supplier, as they don't seem to be a very reliable company to deal with.

They took over 30 days to refund an RMA and then didn't refund the cost of the return postage (they have now offered to pay some of it back).

Anyway, I'll have pics of the case transplant tomorrow, hopefully!

D.
 

Jim_b0b

Novice Member
Everything I have read about SpecialTech has been negative, which is discouraging as I was going to buy me case from them.
 

Jim_b0b

Novice Member
Just on a side-note, I notice you plan on using 2.5" notebook HD's, how are you planning on fitting these? some sort of adapter?
 

deksawyer

Novice Member
Just on a side-note, I notice you plan on using 2.5" notebook HD's, how are you planning on fitting these? some sort of adapter?
I'm going to suspend them with strong elastic. They're sata drives so have the same connectors as 3.5" drives.

They're completely silent, and I really don't notice any disadvantages speed wise either.....

D.
 

Theydon Bois

Moderator
Thats unfortunate news about SpecialTech, but I would imagine that they where probably let down by suppliers to them - All the specialised cases seem to have very little distribution routes, and only a few specialised sites picking them up.

Good news that a place actually has them in though, so good luck on the build!
 

deksawyer

Novice Member
Without further adoo, THE CASE IS HERE, THE CASE IS HERE!!!!

Now I either wait until the wife has gone to bed to change it all over or do it on Thur. my day off.

OR, I put the TV on cable and let her make do with that....??

First impressions - blooming nora, the box is big. The case is very nice but has 5000 (!) wires in it already, most if not all of them are too long.

It also came with a spare backplate - the one that can accept a horizontal card. It also has an IR receiver built in, but no board to control it - I'll see if I can get one of those Philips IR boards somewhere as I'm not paying £30 odd quid for an Omaura one, which is just a Philips one but dearer!

Can't wait to see how everything is going to fit inside.......:confused:

Keep an eye on this thread.

D.
 

AVus3r

Active Member
Cant wait been looking at this case for awhile will be interesting to hear your experiences with plenty of pictures:thumbsup:
 

jcstars

Standard Member
so glad you managed to get the TF-8 :smashin:

the whole specialtech saga is a fiasco.

But really looking forward to seeing your build now, about as close as I am going to get to an Omaura case this century....

All we need now are pics to make me really jealous :eek:

Good luckwith the build its going to look great
 

deksawyer

Novice Member
OK after waiting 3 months, the case is finally in my hands. It's very well put together and everything fits as it should.

I took my time over the build but still managed a few blunders.

I replaced the std fans with the Silenx Ixtrema fans as they were slightly quieter and moved as much air after a back to back comparison. I removed the from 60mm fans without testing them as I knew they wouldn't cut it. I had to use some standoffs on the fan bracket to hold the 'mesh' in place as it's normally the fans that do that.

I had most of it together then realised that Omaura have a back to front airflow set up and that the rear fans actually blew into the case. I managed to swap them round without removing anything, but it was close.

There's not much room for a big cooler in here so I stuck with the Intel cooler that came with the Xeon and I have to say it's not bad. Bios set to optimal I can't really hear it. I'll try a hidef movie later to see if it ramps up.

The OLED display. Took a while to get it working and it slowed the pc right down at first, but it seems to work well. What it doesn't do which is annoying is show any info when watching live TV - no channel #, no prog info, nothing. Even worse, when in standby, the clock (which is the default display setting when nothing is happening) goes off. WTF??

I also have a problem with the power light & Omaura logo staying on when it's put into standby.

It seems to keep things cool as well. The CPU is idling around 28-30°C and this is a slight overclock to just over 3GHz. I have to keep the PSU fan on low rather than use the SSM feature as it was getting hot to the touch, but it's still quiet enough.

Here are some pics;

Compared to my Silverstone LC17


Don't believe the advertising shots - check the cables out....


Original rear fans.....


.....Replaced with Silenx Ixtrema 11da 18cfm


Front 60mm fans removed - no point in using them


Amidst the madness - my attic room


Getting there


My lovely girlfriend brought me these to keep me going (some posh English cheese with cranberries in it) and a nice chilled glass of Chardonnay Viognier


Getting there even more


Soft hard drive mount


Almost done apart from some cable ties


OLED playing music (from VMC)


Movie playaback


Arty


D.
 

WalkInMyShoes

Active Member
Very nice indeed, where did you get all your parts from mate, and how much did it cost, Im hoping to build/buy me one. Laptops are ok but not that great if you know what I mean. Nice build do you do that for a living?
 

Theydon Bois

Moderator
.....I would love to be able to see the pics, unfortunatly, the filtering here has classed them as 'pornography'. What exactly have you taken pictures of mate? :eek: :D
 

deksawyer

Novice Member
The filtering where - your work on on the forum?

I can obviously see them fine.............

Try a direct link to the photo host;

http://www.pbase.com/deksawyer/omaura_tf8

The pics could be mouth watering for some, but nothing untoward!! :D

D.
 

Theydon Bois

Moderator
Yep, 'here' is a school for me.

The direct link also is apparently 'pornography' :nono:. No worries, I will check when I get home. I have control over the black and white lists, but as everything is logged, my 'powah!' is for emergancies only...:D
 

tinners

Novice Member
Yep, 'here' is a school for me.

The direct link also is apparently 'pornography' :nono:. No worries, I will check when I get home. I have control over the black and white lists, but as everything is logged, my 'powah!' is for emergancies only...:D
LOL Tech Porn is also filtered......:D

Dek - great work that OLED is the business. Shame they dont make that case in silver.
 

deksawyer

Novice Member
Dek - great work that OLED is the business. Shame they dont make that case in silver.
There's a couple of places in Germany selling the silver case - I enquired but they won't ship to the UK, which is strange.....but if you know someone in Germany.....

D.
 

Theydon Bois

Moderator
LOL Tech Porn is also filtered......:D
My second favourite genre of pr0n! :smashin:

Seen the pics now, and oh my goodness that is a supurb case. Just beautiful. as for the OLED, now that is what you want......:drool:

Lovely setup, and an attic filled with goodies....v nice indeed!
 

Zarch

Well-known Member
.....I would love to be able to see the pics, unfortunatly, the filtering here has classed them as 'pornography'. What exactly have you taken pictures of mate? :eek: :D
His lasses cheesy biscuits aren't pornography, they look lovely!!!

Sorry Dek, couldn't resist!!!


Cracking looking build, the OLED is the business. :smashin:
 

Zarch

Well-known Member
Lovely setup, and an attic filled with goodies....v nice indeed!
The messiness of his attic made me feel a lot better....... components and crap scattered everywhere..... lovely!! :rotfl:
 

Beaker

Novice Member
It looks like Wensleydale, the stuff Wallace likes. The cheese that is
 

deksawyer

Novice Member
It looks like Wensleydale, the stuff Wallace likes. The cheese that is
White Stilton I'm afraid. From M&S.

Also, in defense of my attic mess - I'm currently refitting a shower room and this is the overspill for this as well. There's only so much space and I guess the pc components are taking over............new server build from left over parts coming soon.

D.

PS the case is quiet and cool. OLED has it's issues though, as does the power light/logo. I'm working on it though.
 

deksawyer

Novice Member
Turns out the Asus board gives intermittent power to the power LED, so that it flashes when in standby, normaly. With the Omaura case, the power light & logo stay lit.

I've modded a 4 pin molex to fan adapter to fit the power cables from the case and I'll fit that tomorrow evening, giving me a 5v supply directly from the PSU when switch on and hopefully nothing when in standby.

OLED is still a mixed bag due to crap software.

D.
 

Theydon Bois

Moderator
OLED is still a mixed bag due to crap software.

D.
Although this post most surely identifies me as a jealous fiend over such a gorgous case, it is nice to know that even the most expensive OLED solution still has problems...:D

Hopefully it will be sorted out in software revisions though mate! :thumbsup:
 

tinners

Novice Member
Turns out the Asus board gives intermittent power to the power LED, so that it flashes when in standby, normaly. With the Omaura case, the power light & logo stay lit.
D.
You want that flashing ? With my Zalman case with the living room lights off it's like a flaming disco.:D
In the end I "modded" my case with some blutack over the LED. I can still see the flashing LED as it's reflected off my media unit (glass shelves) through the bottom intake of the case, but I cant see it when sat on the sofa.
I can tell when the system's on as the HDD LED remains lit most of the time due to all the stupid background tasks Vista does for no apparent reason....

BTW superb system......
 

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