Theydon's Perpetual HTPC Build

Discussion in 'Home Entertainment Computers' started by Theydon Bois, Mar 3, 2008.

  1. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    Scratch another thing from the list - er, that I havent written yet...:rolleyes:

    Done

    Vista Rating: 4.7 [Processor: 5.3, RAM: 5.5, Graphics: 4.8, Gaming Graphics: 4.7, Primary Hard Drive: 5.9] Not to shabby at all, most surprising for me is the RAM I think, seeing as how its early DDR2 RAM, and 4 x 512Mb 533, rather than 2 x 1Gb of something faster.

    Drive noise: Firmware update 1.02 on the LG has reduced the noise alot - it was only HD titles, and not Blu-Ray, well not the single Blu that I own (Casino Royale). Batman Returns, Unforgiven, all showed excessive drive noise. Now, the noise is more inline with how I imagined it. Phew! :smashin:

    To Do

    5.1 Sound - I am using optical out from my mobo to my HTK. tried all the different modes (ProLogic, Matrix, Cinema..) all only output to 2.1 :(

    Complete Intergration within Media Portal: I am nearly there, and my remote works a treat, and getting fewer lockups. I just need to remember to kill apps with the App Exit button which drops me back to MP once more.
     
  2. Valo^

    Valo^
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    That's looks superb!:thumbsup: I have to say that I'm a firm Vista Media Centre user but your making me think again about Media Portal....Think I'll need to have a play with it using a virtual machine.

    What resolution are you running your machine at out of interest for HDDVD/Bluray playback? What connection method are you using to connect your HTPC to your screen DVI-HDMI or DSUB?
     
  3. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    Media Portal is very nice software indeed, and it looks like they have already started on an upgraded version, cunningly entitled Media Portal 2.

    I have a FullHD TV, so my resolution is set to 1920x1080. I used the hdmi to DVI connector (that came with the ATI card) and a HDMI cable, but I kept getting speckles across the screen - admitidly, it was a cheap HDMI cable though. I replaced it with a DVI to HDMI cable (no connectors, just DVI at one end and HDMI at the other) instead and it all looks ok at the moment.
     
  4. Apone

    Apone
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    Nice build Theydonbois.

    With the 5.1 sound issue have you gone into the Realtek HD sound menu? You should be able to sort it out from there. You can even test each speaker on an individual basis.

    When you go into the menu you should see a speaker set up on the screen. Click on TEST when you have specified what speaker arrangement you are using.
     
  5. Zarch

    Zarch
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    Great Build Thread Theydon. Permanent link added to HTPC Sticky.


    On the 5.1 front. Make sure you have the latest drivers and that you've got all the "spdif" options clicked in your codec options (hopefully AC3filter!)
     
  6. Apone

    Apone
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    Just realised that my instructions are in case you used analogue connections:blush:
     
  7. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    Done

    Vista Rating: 4.7 [Processor: 5.3, RAM: 5.5, Graphics: 4.8, Gaming Graphics: 4.7, Primary Hard Drive: 5.9] Not to shabby at all, most surprising for me is the RAM I think, seeing as how its early DDR2 RAM, and 4 x 512Mb 533, rather than 2 x 1Gb of something faster.

    Drive noise: Firmware update 1.02 on the LG has reduced the noise alot - it was only HD titles, and not Blu-Ray, well not the single Blu that I own (Casino Royale). Batman Returns, Unforgiven, all showed excessive drive noise. Now, the noise is more inline with how I imagined it. Phew! :smashin:

    5.1 Sound - I am using optical out from my mobo to my HTK. I was only getting 2.1 sound at one point, but after help (see above) updated my mobo drivers. I had checked my Computer Drivers, and saw nothing wrong - it seems Vista had installed basic drivers. I have 5.1 sound now :smashin: - Just the thing for a big explosion...

    CD Drive - After seeing all the other build's, one major thing stood out for people, the humble cd-drive. Integrating it into the case seemed to involve cutting and twisting, heatguns or excessive specially made stickypadness.

    The humble CD Drawer

    My aliminium front seemed to line up ok, but had no clips or slots to slide onto the drawer, just a sticky pad. I removed the paper covering the sticky pad, added it to the drive and lined it all up before applying it firmly. And it all worked lovely.....huzzah for Zalman!

    To Do

    Complete Intergration within Media Portal: I am nearly there, and my remote works a treat, and getting fewer lockups. I just need to remember to kill apps with the App Exit button which drops me back to MP once more.

    LCD - :rolleyes: ..after all my concern about the Fusion case, I get a LCD that works only in software that I am not using. I am trying out LCDSmartie at the mo, and will keep you updated.

    Windows Colour Scheme - To remove the ultra annoying "Windows Colour Scheme has been changed.." announcement, bong-bing, bing-bong bloody noise...
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2013
  8. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    I have spent a good couple of hours trying to get the LCD to work ....but have had no joy. :mad: I am posting on the LCDSMartie forum at the moment, and hope to get some answers soon.

    It seems it can be done - someone in a thread had it working, but sadly not me...:mad:

    More Info

    The back of my HTPC - shows the G+ MIMO aeriels, Wireless USB for the keyboard and mouse, DVI to HDMi cable.

    The 3470 ATI card. Been happy with this so far, a few green screens, but I have ben pulling cables about and a reboot always sorted it. The white cable is one of the fan power cables, which I snaked under the graphics card to go to the last remaining fan controller on my board.

    The three Shakroons make it look neat, and the fitting on the heatsink allows you to adjust the height of the fan - handy, as it sits close to the RAM. As mentioned before, a modular PSU would cut down the cable mess no end.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2013
  9. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    Configuration Update

    Media Player: Still using Media Portal

    Case LCD: Equaliser and media info not working, but I have posted on the Soundgraph forums to ask this. Basically, my equaliser option to have the equaliser work in all audio apps is greyed out.

    TVSeries Plug-in: Just in case anyone is interested, this is my configuration

    Radio: Spent a little while mucking about with Radio stations and have added a few (Kiss and Heart), but dont want the radio to start automatically when I open MP. If you untick one, none of them appear in the radio option. :confused:
     
  10. moz414

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    Are you using the ProjectHTPC Media POrtal setup that uses KM Player. If so, have you managed to map a key to the remote to close KM Player instead of pressing Alt+F4? I'm finding MP very good and it does everything I want it to and my movies etc look very nice when played in KM Player. Just the closing of it that bugs me at the moment. I'm going to mess around with the MP IR Suite software this weekend to see if I can remap a button to close the player.

    BTW I'm using the MCE Remote.
     
  11. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    I am using that set up, yes. I have the Zalman MCE remote that came with the case, and I am lucky to have a button called App Exit on my remote, (a green button and the very top simalar to the red power button) that seems to be hard coded to Alt+F4, and regardless of program used (as long as I have added it within my iMon software) always is mapped to that command.
     
  12. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    Performed my PC upgrade yesterday, and things did not go as smoothly as I would have liked...I am uploading pictures and will detail things in this thread.

    I have also started a website that I will release soon, more for me than anyone (plus I have had other people ask if I would build one for them...:rolleyes:) - so that I can have my software configuration info all in one place rather than spread across multiple threads/posts, especially when I change my mind about a setting from one post to the next. I will obviously update my thread here and hope that my settings will help anyone else thinking on using Media Portal for more than just avi files.

    After being in pieces for 7 days :eek: I finally got enough time to put it all back together again.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2013
  13. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    My case was given a good old spring clean, not that it needed much, but those darstardly dust bunnies get everywhere...

    I like the ASUS boards a lot, and have used many different variations at a previous job (mostly the mATX versions) and have used two or three ASUS ATX boards for my own builds. The P5K is another fine example of their build (and even design).
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2013
  14. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    I had read somewhere about RAM speed is best in corralation with the speed of the FSB of the CPU (or a divisible number), so for 1066mhz CPU, use 533 or 1066 RAM. I had 533 Kingston RAM in my old PC, and so went for the 1066 Corsair. I know that RAM has tumbled in price, and I could have bought cheaper RAM, but 4Gb of Corsair RAM for £93 was just too much of a bargin in my eyes, especially when 6 months ago it was £180+.

    The Antec P180 case is a brilliant case, and one that I am very happy with, despite paying £110 (at the time) for it, as I knew it would last me for a good few upgrades.

    There are a few caveats, which I think have been addressed in the P182 version, namely the depth of the case. With a fat card like the 8800GTS, and the placement of the tool-less hard drive card being right on top of each other, you get cable management issues ....it all fits, but its a big struggle to get it in - hard drives first, then power into the card before the card is inserted into the board as there is no room for the power to be added once the card has been put into the board.

    Surprisingly, the other sections of the case are not compatable - the bottom section (level with the PSU) has space for 4 hard drives, but they have to be screwed in (rubber grommets for noise supplied) and the bays above the hard drives pictured, are for another 4 CDROM devices, which hardly anyone uses with combi drives so cheap and available.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2013
  15. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    I left the floppy drive out, as I already had enough cables, and I had removed the lowest case fan while I plugged in the modular PSU sections, and tested with power..........*cross fingers* :rolleyes:

    Huzzah and huragh, it boots, and I am soon at the repair stage ready to get all my stuff back once more.


    ...and then I get a bombshell. :mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad:

    During the installation I saw a thin green line down one side of the screen, and hoping frantically that it would disappear once drivers etc had been installed, I was only disappointed...

    And todays update is that it is still there. I tried various screen fixing software (admitidly for only a few minutes at a time) but nothing worked. I will try a longer test today though.

    I also have a few other problems - AVG did not like the repair option, losing its key (perhaps tied in with windows key?) and IE7 gets spectacularly trashed in a repair, and I havent been able to repair it myself yet.

    During this perid of 'unprotection' I blindly managed to get a trojan (dont ask), which has installed a few different things and spent a good hour ridding myself of it. Priding myself on having no virus or spyware problems in years, to say I am embarressed in an understatement. :oops:

    So, quickly ushering you the reader back to the green line problem, I eagerly await Samsungs fault line to open tomorrow so I can register with them and hope that I can get my TFT fixed. I also have 2 months left of its warranty, which is handy.....
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2013
  16. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    Well seem to have got it back up and running again. I started to get very vexed, and ended up mucking about trying to get IE7 to install without failing, my Windows updates to install without saying my licence is not correct when it is.

    Amyway, a good 4+hrs has been spent, and I think now IE7 has installed correctly. I didnt get time to check the OS updates, as the missus has gone to bed.

    Although she will never read this, a big thumbs up to her for putting up with me today :thumbsup: not once did she moan, and even pretended to look like she was bothered about my computer. :eek: Nor did she mention that I do have another 3 PCs if I really needed one that badly.
     
  17. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    And after spending more time with pixel fixing software, I get nowhere. :mad:

    So, I ring Samsung, and the lovely people there said they will arrange a swap out! :thumbsup: Three cheers for Samsung, and all there lovelyness. :smashin:
     
  18. jaymz

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    IIRC this is caused by overscan and the video has a "dirty" edge. Do you have the TV set to Just Scan?
     
  19. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    Sorry - Should have been clearer - My thread relates to my HTPC build, and a PC upgrade. The green line appeared on my Sammy 226BW TFT, part of the updates about my PC build. I have only just rebuilt my gaming PC, so its been in bits in my bedroom waiting the time to fix it all together. Once I had it built, I powered the PC up, and immediatly notice the green line down the left had side of my TFT.

    No driver update or resolution change made a difference, and even unplugging the DVI cable changed nothing. I had read about stuck pixels, but a line is something different.

    I was just unlucky I guess - I have had it nearly a year with no problems, and although my PC is on 7am till 10pm everyday, my TFT is off when I am at work, and only on when I physically sit at my PC for games.
     
  20. jaymz

    jaymz
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    Sorry just releasied that when i look at the image.
     
  21. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    Latest Configuration

    Using Monochrome 1.6 as a skin, which is very nice and clean.

    Frontend

    [​IMG]

    One of the reasons I liked the skin is because it incorporates the 'F3' function (which shows the film information and actor names) without having to press the F3 button. Once the film has been selected, it loads the ISO through Deamon tools, and then autoplays through PowerDVD.

    Onto my favourite section, the TvSeries Plug-in. Very crisp!

    My TV

    [​IMG]

    Selecting the show takes you to the screen showing all the synopsis of the episodes (spoliers can be hidden)

    [​IMG]

    ...still tinkering, but enjoying things.......:smashin:
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2013
  22. deksawyer

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    I installed MP a few weeks ago to play around with and absolutely loved everything about it apart from the TV side of things.

    What an utter pain in the *rse trying to get the channels mapped. Gave up in the end as it wouldn't map the main 5 tv channels at all - no guide info.....

    If there's an idiot guide, then please show it to me!!

    D.
     
  23. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    Sorry mate, no idea. I am using it for DVD rips of TVShows, and use my PVR box, (which the missus can use) for all my freeview needs.
     
  24. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    Got a call from Samsung - they are replacing my TFT on Monday - Huzzah! :thumbsup:

    Back to my HTPC config.....

    Emulator Front End

    I am using the MyEmulator plugin for Media Portal, which can be added to the home menu or plug-in menu as required. I may have a little bash to Fireworks this into the mame cabinet image, rather than Gamecube image.

    [​IMG]

    Obviously a little sparse at the moment, as I only have the MAMEmulator, rather than N64, NDS, Gameboy and the old school SNES, NES, Com64 and speccy stuff.

    [​IMG]

    Rom Page. The blank sqaures are all ROMs*, that need images uploaded - I have a newer screen shot that shows them better now and will replace once I have tweaked a few other things.

    You will have to edit each rom with title information etc, as this is not populated. Also, due to the fact that MAME uses roms that conform to 8:3 naming, you dont get proper names, (BankP for Bank Panic for instance)

    [​IMG]

    .....sorry FRAPS does not run in the emulation within the ROMS, and so I cant show you the ROMs* running.

    *ROMs which I obviously delete after 24 hrs to conform with all laws - these are just shots for configuration purposes.
     
  25. Zarch

    Zarch
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    God I loved to play 1942..... they just don't make games like that anymore! :thumbsdow
     
  26. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    One of these little black boxes is 1942 :smashin:, as well as my favouites, Mr Do!, Bank Panic, and then others like Commnado, Contra, TwinCobra, Double Dragon, Donkey Kong, Scramble, R-Type....
     
  27. DpM

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    Mr Do! superb game!! I may have to get this up and running on my PC when its finished. Loved that game on my 2600. Where did you get the EMU & ROMS from can you PM me a link please?

    Ever play Sea Quest? thats another superb 2600 game.
     
  28. Zarch

    Zarch
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    omg, we are showing our ages now aren't we? 2600's? LOL.

    E.T was quite possibly the worst game i've ever seen or played!!
     
  29. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    Lol - My Mum used to run a catalogue many many moons ago, and someone ordered an Atari for christmas. We didnt have the money to buy a 'home entertainment system' but my Dad opened it up to test it. He then spent ages playing Space Invaders, and we where allowed one game before it was boxed up again, when he played it every night after we had gone to bed.

    We never did get an Atari, but I played it round my mates house. We did however get the vastly superior Intellivision instead, which had plastic sheet overlays that fitted onto your controller.

    Sea Battle was the dogs dangly's...oh, and my al time favourite, Lock n Chase
     
  30. DpM

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    Never played ET, Ghostbusters was good though :thumbsup:
     

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