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Thread: New Media Build

  1. #1
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    New Media Build

    Hello Y'all,

    I'm moving to a new house soon and would like to build a Media PC to hook up to a HDTV, to be used mainly for watching films, TV episodes, playing old emulators and maybe some casual gaming.

    I thought about it more and what with RAM prices the way they are, it might be a decent time to look about. I initially saw this and ordered it, as it was on offer for about £120

    Shuttle SK22G2

    And was going to pair it with 2gb Corsair XMS2 5400

    And also a really cheap and cheerful AMD X2 3600+ 65w

    Not decided about a GPU, but there is onboard graphics, so i have a bit of time. There is a full size, single slot PCIe slot, so i was thinking a 7600GT or something like that, as the PSU in the rig is a bit weedy. Anyway, that doesnt amount to too much, and that should be enough to do all the stated right? (I also have a Wii and a nother PC for dedicated gaming, but would like to do some Lego-Star Wars gaming with my gf on the big TV)

    I have a few questions, if anyone can help:

    1) Can I add an IR receiver, so that I can use a MCE remote? There doesnt seem to be a port to plug into on the back, so is there another way (short of buying the whole new frontplate, with VFD)...

    2) Would I be better going for a C2D system? It still uses DDR2, and the cheapest CPU would be the e2140. Does that compare favourable to the 3600+ above, in temp/performance?

    3) One other option would be to get a 939 system, as I will probably upgrade my main rig to C2D later and that means I have an X2 4200+ (this machine I'm typing on) and also and Opty 146... Both are pretty good I guess, but I cant seem to find that many barebones for 939... would that be buying into too dated hardware?

    Finally, any opinions on the above or what would be the best type of platform to choos would be great - I've seen loads of different cases, from Asus, to some nice Elonex ones (but dont really want the old, hot Pentiums) and its quite confusing really...

    Any help for this HTPC newb would be great

    Jonny
    Last edited by jonathan_phang; 02-06-2007 at 07:41 PM. Reason: spacings

  2. #2
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    whats your budget????

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    • jonathan_phang's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus Rampage III Extreme
      • CPU:
      • i7 930 @ 4.2 ghz (200x21)
      • Memory:
      • 12GB Corsair XMS3 1600
      • Storage:
      • Crucial M4 128GB SSD + Misc Data Drive
      • Graphics card(s):
      • EVGA GTX 1080 FTW
      • PSU:
      • Corsair HX850 Modular
      • Case:
      • Antec 300
      • Operating System:
      • Windows 7 x64
      • Monitor(s):
      • Asus PB278Q (27" 2560x1440)
      • Internet:
      • Virgin Media 100mb
    Well - as with many things techie - it started on a small budget (for example the above can be got (if you add in a 7600gt) for £265) but I may be able to go up to £300 - dont wnat to go too much more... moving house and all

    But i just saw the antec fusion and thats lovely, and gives a lot more flexibility in terms of mobo etc... but is obviously more expensive - maybe thats overkill.

    TBH, if i can get the remote sorted, then that initial build will be fine i think (the shuttle, I mean). It should be fine to play media shouldnt it? Also, maybe I could get one of those wireless MS Remote Keyboards. I think they are USB but can do pretty much all you need right?

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    oooo the best HTPC keyboard by far is a gyroscope one.

    You will want a large hdd space as dvd's eat hdd space like crazy and so do tv recordings

  5. #5
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    • jonathan_phang's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus Rampage III Extreme
      • CPU:
      • i7 930 @ 4.2 ghz (200x21)
      • Memory:
      • 12GB Corsair XMS3 1600
      • Storage:
      • Crucial M4 128GB SSD + Misc Data Drive
      • Graphics card(s):
      • EVGA GTX 1080 FTW
      • PSU:
      • Corsair HX850 Modular
      • Case:
      • Antec 300
      • Operating System:
      • Windows 7 x64
      • Monitor(s):
      • Asus PB278Q (27" 2560x1440)
      • Internet:
      • Virgin Media 100mb
    May not need a massive HDD as I am looking to get an ethernet drive to hook up to my router - and should be able to get access to all my films and music from there - Not really thought about the TV recording side of it tbh, not my primary concern...

  6. #6
    I need a coffee jamena's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonathan_phang View Post
    But i just saw the antec fusion and thats lovely, and gives a lot more flexibility in terms of mobo etc... but is obviously more expensive - maybe thats overkill.
    Check out the antec nsk2400 ...similar to the fusion but it's the cheap version. I think scan do it at the best price - around £40 or so (with an Antec 400W psu) ... review on silenpcreview was very chuffed with it iirc.


    I have to admit to having bought a silverstone lc11 media edition (with the rtemote/vfd) for my planned htpc. Quite a nice little case but the psu is a little underpowered and it's an annoying sub-ATX size. If you can get away with low power requirements though there's some amazingly tiny psu options out there - ITX places sell "picoPSU" which, coupled with a decent external power brick save an awful lot of space inside a case!

    wrt the gpu - if you aren't planning to play games and aren't going HD then a 5200 or 6200 should do nicely. If you want HD then I'd suggest 8500GT or 8600GT for the decoder. tbh a 7600 is overkill for video playback and doesn't help, afaik, with HD-decoding enough to warrant the increase in price
    Last edited by jamena; 02-06-2007 at 04:48 PM.

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    Squirrely tigerboyce's Avatar
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    • tigerboyce's system
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    Yep seconded, I would go for a lower range 8 series GPU too.

    Dx10, HD, and will probably handle games to your needs

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    the 8500gt is designed for media centre use the 8600 is for media cente with moderate gaming. If your using it as a media extender then you won't need much at all go with mini-itx get a via board if you just want to use it for films and music but for light gaming you will be better off with a commell lv-676 or 677 and a e6320 and then 2gb of ram with a 8600gt this should come to under £500+hdd which you will only need 10gb you can play games over a network share aswell as films

  9. #9
    AKA daniel.phillips Sprite's Avatar
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    He wants to keep to under £300...

    Go with the NSK2400, X2 3600, mATX AM2, 2GB RAM and an 8500GT/8600GT
    Main - Intel Core i5 2300 @ 3.5GHz, 8GB DDR3 1333Mhz RAM, Asus P8P67 Pro, Coolermaster iGreen 600w, GTX 480, Antec One Case



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    • jonathan_phang's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus Rampage III Extreme
      • CPU:
      • i7 930 @ 4.2 ghz (200x21)
      • Memory:
      • 12GB Corsair XMS3 1600
      • Storage:
      • Crucial M4 128GB SSD + Misc Data Drive
      • Graphics card(s):
      • EVGA GTX 1080 FTW
      • PSU:
      • Corsair HX850 Modular
      • Case:
      • Antec 300
      • Operating System:
      • Windows 7 x64
      • Monitor(s):
      • Asus PB278Q (27" 2560x1440)
      • Internet:
      • Virgin Media 100mb
    Thanks for all the advice guys - esp on the GPU part - going to look up reviews for the 8500/8600 and see which is more appropriate in terms of money/perf/noise, also going to check out the case mentioned. However if I go for the case, then I'll open up another can of worms to see which is the best value mAtx to go for... But if the case is that cheap, then it leaves me around 50-60 to get the mobo...

    But i think that the RAM, CPU, MCE remote are all set. Saw a nice Samsung DVD SATA drive, which is meant to be very quiet, for about 20 quid too...

    Gonna try and check it out now before i head out tonight!!!

    EDIT

    The case looks nice - getting the tape measure out now to see how 'Big' the case would be... In regards to sourcing my own mATx board, if go with that case, I could now go C2D, and for about a tenner more than the 3600+ CPU price, I could get an e2140... I cant seem to find too many comparisons between then. They both seem to run cool, but not sure what the diff is perf wise. Also, wheres a good place to read up about mAtx boards, I want to guage if Intel or AMD ones tend to be better. THanks for opening up another can of worms (I love it really!!!)

    EDIT 2

    Hmm... Not sure about the Case size really, could be a touch on the large size for me - although I do recognise that it would open up a lot more options.... - Maybe its best to stick to the Shuttle, and as long as I could stick in a 8500/8600 - need to check if they are true single slot cards - then maybe the size of a shuttle would be more suitable. Its just the sheer depth of it that does it... High and wide might be ok.
    Last edited by jonathan_phang; 02-06-2007 at 07:22 PM. Reason: Checked out New Recomendations

  11. #11
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    • jonathan_phang's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus Rampage III Extreme
      • CPU:
      • i7 930 @ 4.2 ghz (200x21)
      • Memory:
      • 12GB Corsair XMS3 1600
      • Storage:
      • Crucial M4 128GB SSD + Misc Data Drive
      • Graphics card(s):
      • EVGA GTX 1080 FTW
      • PSU:
      • Corsair HX850 Modular
      • Case:
      • Antec 300
      • Operating System:
      • Windows 7 x64
      • Monitor(s):
      • Asus PB278Q (27" 2560x1440)
      • Internet:
      • Virgin Media 100mb
    Just another question about this build, if anyone can help. I’m looking to buy the Microsoft Media Remote to use with the shuttle, and I was wondering if I get a tv tuner (USB or PCI) then can I use the MS remote to control watching from within Windows Media Centre? Or would I still have to use a card specific one?

    Thanks All

    JP

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    • kungpo's system
      • Motherboard:
      • ASUS P6T SE
      • CPU:
      • i7 920 @ 3.90 Ghz
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      • Silverstone Fortress
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    Hi - to answer some of your questions:

    1. 8500GT is a single slot card. I use one in a P4 based system with Vista Home Premium and it decodes 1080p HD perfectly. Fantastic card and dead quiet.

    2. The Microsoft MCE control is great. It controls everything, so no need to use the supplied remote with the TV tuner (which won't work under MCE most likely anyway - the Hauppauge one certainly doesn't). I have the Hauppauge PCI freeview card which works like a dream.

    As far as Media Center is concerned, there are some funnys with it. XP MCE needs DVD software installed in order for the TV to work (the DVD software provides the MPEG decoder functionality). Vista doesn't, but seems to work better with DVD software installed.

  13. #13
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    • jonathan_phang's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus Rampage III Extreme
      • CPU:
      • i7 930 @ 4.2 ghz (200x21)
      • Memory:
      • 12GB Corsair XMS3 1600
      • Storage:
      • Crucial M4 128GB SSD + Misc Data Drive
      • Graphics card(s):
      • EVGA GTX 1080 FTW
      • PSU:
      • Corsair HX850 Modular
      • Case:
      • Antec 300
      • Operating System:
      • Windows 7 x64
      • Monitor(s):
      • Asus PB278Q (27" 2560x1440)
      • Internet:
      • Virgin Media 100mb
    In regards to the tuner - I'm trying to decide which to get. Hauppauge seem to be the ones that are decent, but trying to pick between the Nova and the PVR versions, and I cant seem to totally figure out the difference.

    Can any owners confirm/deny?

    - Both (PVR/Nova) can record/pause TV
    - The 500 versions have dual tuners to watch one, record another
    - The MCE versions have the 3 phone jacks (Red, White, Yellow) so that you can record from another source

    If all the above is true then it depends on whether I need (or can afford) dual tuners. If yes, then is the only advantage of the PVR MCE version that it has extra video in jacks? Or is there more to it. If not then the dual tuner Nova 500 might be better...

    WHo knew this HTPC build was going to be so difficult...

    EDIT

    After rummaging around and then missing the obvious - the PVR MCE versions dont actually have a freeview tuner on them, so it looks like its the NOVA-T-500 or singlr tuner variant for me!
    Last edited by jonathan_phang; 05-06-2007 at 11:00 PM. Reason: Differences...

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    Quote Originally Posted by kungpo View Post
    As far as Media Center is concerned, there are some funnys with it. XP MCE needs DVD software installed in order for the TV to work (the DVD software provides the MPEG decoder functionality). Vista doesn't, but seems to work better with DVD software installed.
    Very true. Live TV in Vista MC runs smoothly if I have PowerDVD installed, but has periodic jumps if I dont.

    Nova-T 500 cards are extrememly popular and well supported in alll windows flavours. You can pause live tv. If I were looking for a new TV card that would be top of my list. An inbuilt mpeg decoder would also be bonus, so bear it in mind.

    I personally use a Pinnacle card with Vista MC and have no issues at all. However, if you intend to use something like MediaPortal instead of MC then you need to make sure it supports your TV card specifically.
    Last edited by s_kinton; 06-06-2007 at 10:08 AM.

  15. #15
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    • jonathan_phang's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus Rampage III Extreme
      • CPU:
      • i7 930 @ 4.2 ghz (200x21)
      • Memory:
      • 12GB Corsair XMS3 1600
      • Storage:
      • Crucial M4 128GB SSD + Misc Data Drive
      • Graphics card(s):
      • EVGA GTX 1080 FTW
      • PSU:
      • Corsair HX850 Modular
      • Case:
      • Antec 300
      • Operating System:
      • Windows 7 x64
      • Monitor(s):
      • Asus PB278Q (27" 2560x1440)
      • Internet:
      • Virgin Media 100mb
    When I move, which will be soon, I'll be dead poor and wont be able to have the luxury of SkyHD anymore, so thats why I thought get a goot freeview card - I've held off the Nova 500 as after looking around the Hauppauge forums - which happen to have good company admins posting - they STILL have problems with drivers in Vista and with Media Centre.

    Its not everyone - but still, I may wait until later in the hope that the driver support is better.

    Also when you say "An inbuilt mpeg decoder would also be bonus, so bear it in mind" is that because the nova 500 has one, or are you telling me that it would be better to get a card with one? Er.. What does it actually do? Take the hard work away from the CPU and let the card handle it?

    Anyway, should be getting some bits and pieces soon:

    Shuttle SK22G2 - Easiest option. Weakpoint is PSU
    2gb Kingston XMS2 5400 - Wanted Corsair XMS2 but out of stock at ebuyer
    AMD X2 3600+ 65w
    Microsoft Media Remote
    3.5in Card reader
    400GB Samsung Spinpoint
    Asus DRW-1814 DVD-RW

    That is weighing in at about 320GBP, which is a bit over budget, but only because i didnt really need to get the remote or the HDD now, but i would have done eventually, so why feel guilty Only left out the TV tuner (reasons above) and the GPU. There are inbuilt graphics on the board, which will do until i can find a good gaming/media card which is single slot. Hope ati get there low/mid 2xxx series cards out soon...

    But thats it, just wait for it to roll in! Will let you know how the build goes if i get it all!

  16. #16
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    • kungpo's system
      • Motherboard:
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      • Memory:
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      • Graphics card(s):
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      • 3MB ADSL
    I don't think the MCE cards are any different, just the bundles that they come with (with the older cards PVR150 etc, the MCE version didn't haver the remote control, ir blaster etc).

    There is a new Hauppauge card, the HVR4000, which is meant to be HD capable from a sat source, so apart from the Sky encrypted channels, you'll be able to get any of teh free-to-air HD channels through your MCE machine.

    Your machnie spec seems reasonable, 2gb RAM good for Vista, won't make much difference for XP MCE.

    Suggest you get the NVidia 8500 for video - it essentially gives you the hardware MPEG support. And is SUPERB at HD video. Anything else (that I've tried) just sucks.

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