Which is better spec for HTPC.Help me choose

Discussion in 'Home Entertainment Computers' started by curious1, Jan 14, 2008.

  1. curious1

    curious1
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    Hi,im sizing up 2 machines but eventually im going to have to bite the bullet and choose one.My main use for the system will be for surfing and d/l HD content and viewing HD.It will be housed in my living room.Here are the specs & prices for the 2 machines:
    1)

    Antec Fusion V2 MATX MediaCenter Case
    Asus Motherboard P5K-VM
    Intel Core2Duo E6750
    Corsair 2048MB TwinX XMS2 6400 DDR2
    Asus Extreme 8600GT 256MB DDR3
    Seagate 500GB SATA HD
    LG GGW-H20L Blu-Ray DVDRW and HDDVD
    Terratec Aureon 7.1 PCI soundcard +Dolby Digital Live
    Microsoft Windows XP Media Center
    £949 including VAT


    2)
    Thermaltake VH2001BNS DH 102 Case
    Intel Core 2 Duo E4300 Socket 775 FSB1066 2MB Cache
    Abit Fatal1ty F-I90HD ATI Micro ATX (Socket 775) PCI-Express DDR2 Motherboard
    2 X Seagate Barracudsa 800GB SATAII/300 7200RPM 16MB Cache
    2 X Kingston 1GB DDR II PC4200 RAM Total 2GB RAM
    LG GGW-H20L Blu ray Writer + HD DVD Read
    ATI Radeon™ Xpress 1250
    Hauppage Nova T 500 & Media Center Remote Control
    7.1 CH HD Audio sound card
    Windows Vista Home Premium
    Total £1144.95

    So please help me choose.:thumbsup:
     
  2. AnthonyG

    AnthonyG
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    From looking at those two PC's. Personally for me I am surprised the prices aren't the other way around.

    The first PC is better in every regard IMHO.

    Faster CPU, (1.8Ghz for the E4300 vs 2.66Ghz for the E6750)

    The first PC has a separate Nvidia graphics card. The Second just has onboard ATI graphics.

    The First PC has faster DDR2 memory PC6400, whereas the second only PC4200 DDR2.

    The first has given you a much better Asus motherboard than that of the second Abit motherboard IMHO.

    The only benefit of the second PC over the first is that they have given you two large hard drives (which you could easily add a second yourself later on to the first PC).

    Plus they have given you a premium Vista Operating system. (Which many would argue this is actually a drawback compared to XP media Center).

    If it were me and had the choice of either of those two I personally would have bought the first PC (and even if it were the higher priced of the two).

    But thats just me, others may disagree.
     
  3. curious1

    curious1
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    Thanxs for the reply! will see if anyone else replies b4 i make the decision.
     
  4. Zarch

    Zarch
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    Avoid the Fatal1ty board, it is unreliable. There are plenty of posts on here about it. :thumbsdow

    Consider the Asus-P5E if you want an "all-in-one" solution. See here: http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=685171

    My opinion is that the 1st build is complete overkill for general PC & HTPC use ONLY. You only need a E4400 and ATI 2400XT graphics card for the ability to play "every" file type and media type, look at these stats:
    http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=666171

    My build is based around a low end motherboard, E4400 cpu and 2600Pro graphics card and plays everything with no problems. It all about getting the right software/codecs in place and you'll be fine. :smashin:
     
  5. pjclark1

    pjclark1
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    1) is way better

    (except for the Blu writer that costs £30 more than the Blu reader)
     
  6. curious1

    curious1
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    Thanks for the replies guys,really appreciate it! so it looks like i'll be going for the 1st one:) One last question regarding playback of hd-dvd/bluray will i be able to get the truhd and dts if i plug the system thru my sony htddw 880 amp via optical lead?
     
  7. AnthonyG

    AnthonyG
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    No not via optical. As it doesn't have the required bandwidth to handle full hidef audio.

    You need to connect up via either HDMI or 5.1 analogues to get hidef sound.

    You can get standard DTS though via Optical.
     
  8. curious1

    curious1
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    Hmmm.I dont think i have 5.1 analogue connections on the back of my amp.I do however have a HDMI moniter out and 2 assignable HDMI labelled as DVD IN and VIDEO 2 IN.Could i connect HDMI from the media centre to one of those? Sorry if its a stupid question im pretty much ignorant on these things.:(
     
  9. curious1

    curious1
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    Anyone.:lease:
     
  10. Croatoan

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    Very surprised you have chosen an 8600gt when the ati 3850 pro 256 is better value for money.

    As previous thread have suggested a top end graphics card is not required, the asus P5E VM HDMI has sufficient onboard graphics for HD playback.

    It appears to better than the NV and ATI onboard offerings in terms of hardware decoding.

    Also of note is the antec fusion is ok but the vfd can be fickle when used in a room when other remotes are used. For example frequently freezing.

    Only built mine a few weeks ago with the following

    Asus P5E VM HDMI
    E6750 C2D
    Samsung 500gb HD
    2gb Ram
    Antec Fusion.

    Problems encountered with both the motherboard graphics and VFD on fusion.

    If I was to build again I would budget £50- £60 for a good quality Matx without graphics. The antec fusion case without the VFD and a seperate graphics card.

    Minimum of 2400xt but more likely the 3850 pro at £105
     
  11. Naaktgeboren

    Naaktgeboren
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    I have to strongly disagree with the unreliable Fatal1ty board comment, I have not had a single problem with my board and am very impressed with it, I would recommend it.
     
  12. Zarch

    Zarch
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    Dogzilla, apologies, but i once recommended the board to someone on here in a post a while back and was shotdown in flames by several distrungtled owners who had problems.
     
  13. Naaktgeboren

    Naaktgeboren
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    no worries Mickwall, I read all those comments at the time but figured as the board was new (Abit had not released anything remotely similar around that time) it would be sorted out with bios updates.... which indeed it has, I am using release 14 which enhanced the Blu-ray DVD-ROM compatibility and added support for FSB1333 CPU.

    Its a great cheap solution for HD playback out the box, plays 720p without any stutter or problems whatsoever, combine this with the built in spdif, I think its a great package. :thumbsup:
     
  14. Zarch

    Zarch
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    Glad to hear it! :smashin:
     
  15. curious1

    curious1
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    So what changes do you think i should make to the 1st system to bring the price down and get a good system.
     
  16. Croatoan

    Croatoan
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    You first need to decide if you want to just play video or not.
    Just video then I would still opt for the Asus board.
    The antec fusion is still a good bet as I have noticed the other antec case has a lower rated power supply.

    I personally wouldnt opt for a seperate sound card as the board has a coax or spdif depending which version you buy.

    As an example the board has HDMI audio which in 9 out of 10 cases will be what you use to get sound to the tv.

    If your tv has optical out then the intel audio will go via your tv to you amp.

    In my set up I disabled the intel audio and used the onboard sound to provide 5.1 output using standard 3.5mm jacks to my logitech z5450.

    Your processor is bang on, RAM again fine.

    The 8600gt is an expensive waste for media and not that great in 3d. £75 - £100 that will perform half as good as a 3850 pro which retails at £25 more.

    Likewise the dedicated sound card is ok if you have a 7.1 high end surround system, but if you havent then standard intel HD audio or the Realtek HD audio on the Asus board will also be good enough.

    The asus board has a few issues that need ironing out, but on the whole I think it is the best integrated solution. Theres nothing damningly wrong with it, just needs a couple of niggles sorting out.

    The antec fusion again is very good value although the vfd Infra red is a dog. The screen itself although cool and gimmicky adds a nice touch.

    Antec Fusion V2 MATX MediaCenter Case KEEP
    Asus Motherboard P5K-VM KEEP
    Intel Core2Duo E6750 KEEP
    Corsair 2048MB TwinX XMS2 6400 DDR2 KEEP
    Asus Extreme 8600GT 256MB DDR3 DITCH and use onboard or 3850 pro
    Seagate 500GB SATA HD switch for samsung, faster and quieter
    LG GGW-H20L Blu-Ray DVDRW and HDDVD debatable in short term......................wait!!!!!!!! HDDVD is on its last legs
    Terratec Aureon 7.1 PCI soundcard +Dolby Digital Live - DITCH
    Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Or Vista

    Basically makes no sense to buy the VM HDMI only to buy duplicate hardware. ie 3xsoundcards 2xgraphics cards and multi format reader that will be rendered obsolete in months.

    Just get a dvd writer :O))))
     

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