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Thread: HTPC spec request and questions..

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    HTPC spec request and questions..

    Hi there,

    I'm going to build my own HTPC but I'm unsure of what hardware to go for.

    What is a good budget for a system that can watch, pause, record TV, play DVDs - possibly BlueRay, play music from a large library, digital radio and so on, can all this be done for £300?

    I have a spare copy of Vista Business, what would be the best way of getting WMC? I can upgrade to Premium for £100, or buy Home Pro on it's own for £70odd, or is there a better way?

    Thanks in advance!
    adsmithy

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    Re: HTPC spec request and questions..

    to the top..

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    Re: HTPC spec request and questions..

    nice budget really.

    I would get something like

    Antec mATX + 380w Earthwatts ~£55
    Asus M2A-VM HDMI ~ £45 (non HDMI version is £35)
    2GB PC6400 RAM- £30
    AMD 5000+ X2 black edition + scythe ninja £85
    500GB Western Digital AAKS - £60
    Optical (not blu ray) - £20

    £295 and overclockable quite easily to 3.0GHz (unlocked multiplier on the CPU)

    Should be near enough silent, with that CPU should give you enough juice for blu ray.

    Pretty sure there are some new intel and amd boards on the way for this kind of thing though, might be worth waiting.

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    Re: HTPC spec request and questions..

    Computer hardware and software at amazing prices, available online from Scan Computers UK

    Potential motherboard, has pretty much everything you could want in a media PC motherboard, touch more expensive than what Mike suggested though it will take a Phenom if AMD ever sort a decent one out!

    Oh your also going to need to add digital tuners to that price

    Single Tuner PVR: £43 Computer hardware and software at amazing prices, available online from Scan Computers UK
    Duel Tuner PVR: £108 Computer hardware and software at amazing prices, available online from Scan Computers UK

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    Re: HTPC spec request and questions..

    Yes I will have to build one of these all too soon, the main question I have is that do you need to have Windows MCE 2005 or Vista Home Premium/Ultimate if using Windows? Or will any of the XP/Vista OS do with say something like the IMon VFD's and the corresponding software, iMedian?

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    Re: HTPC spec request and questions..

    Quote Originally Posted by staffsMike View Post
    nice budget really.

    I would get something like

    Antec mATX + 380w Earthwatts ~£55
    Asus M2A-VM HDMI ~ £45 (non HDMI version is £35)
    2GB PC6400 RAM- £30
    AMD 5000+ X2 black edition + scythe ninja £85
    500GB Western Digital AAKS - £60
    Optical (not blu ray) - £20

    £295 and overclockable quite easily to 3.0GHz (unlocked multiplier on the CPU)

    Should be near enough silent, with that CPU should give you enough juice for blu ray.

    Pretty sure there are some new intel and amd boards on the way for this kind of thing though, might be worth waiting.
    Hi,

    Thanks for the spec,

    So if I've got this right I am looking at about £400 with a single PVR and Vista Home Premium to get Vista MCE.

    Why don't MS sell Vista MCE as an upgrade? I have a copy of Vista Business, but it seems the only way I can get MCE is if I buy a another copy of Vista Premium or Ultimate?

    having a bit of trouble finding this case+psu:
    Antec mATX + 380w Earthwatts ~£55
    Rgds,
    adsmtihy
    Last edited by adsmithy; 18-03-2008 at 08:11 PM.

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    Re: HTPC spec request and questions..

    Sorry I should have been more specific

    Antec NSK 3480 Micro ATX Case - 380W Earth Watts PSU

    there is hte case, I believe you can get them else where, ebuyer for example.

    Vista is just done that way. Business is meant to take away all the media functions and games etc.. It would be nice to upgrade (or downgrade) as you please. I do think you can upgrade to ultimate though, they shouldn't make much trouble for you if you wanted to do that. Havn't tried it myself mind..

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    Re: HTPC spec request and questions..

    Quote Originally Posted by staffsMike View Post
    Sorry I should have been more specific

    Antec NSK 3480 Micro ATX Case - 380W Earth Watts PSU

    there is hte case, I believe you can get them else where, ebuyer for example.

    Vista is just done that way. Business is meant to take away all the media functions and games etc.. It would be nice to upgrade (or downgrade) as you please. I do think you can upgrade to ultimate though, they shouldn't make much trouble for you if you wanted to do that. Havn't tried it myself mind..
    That Antec case is good value for money, but I think my Dad would prefer something like the Antec Fusion Black HTPC Case although everytime I see Overcockers alarm bells start ringing in my head!

    It looks as if the budget has gone out the window!

    I'm a little confused by Tuner PVR cards. What would be the advantage of a dual PVR over a single?

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    Re: HTPC spec request and questions..

    Quote Originally Posted by adsmithy View Post
    I'm a little confused by Tuner PVR cards. What would be the advantage of a dual PVR over a single?
    You can watch 1 thing while recording something else on another channel (or record both). A single tune will only record or watch 1 channel.

    The ones Webby suggested are ludicrously expensive, and I've no idea what extra you're getting for your money than the Hauppauge Win TV Nova-T 500 Dual. It's certainly not worth double...

    Just buy Home Premium for standard TV/DVD watching. I believe Vista HP can play HD (BluRay?) too, while I don't think MCE 2005 can. You might need PowerDVD too for that too though (for the BluRay codec), I'm not sure. MediaPortal/GB-PVR/MythTV are better at general media management, but aren't as good (or easy) for TV in my experience (yet to try MythTV yet mind, but you won't be getting BluRay discs to work in Linux any time soon apparently).

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    Re: HTPC spec request and questions..

    I wasn't expecting him to pick one of those was in a hurry at the time IIRC so just picked a couple off Scan to show what he would be looking for.

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    Re: HTPC spec request and questions..

    Regarding HDTV, I understand this won't be available via Freeview for a few more years yet, but when it does come about, will I need to change my PVR card to support this?

    Also, how exactly can I get it to play BRay discs?
    Last edited by adsmithy; 20-03-2008 at 06:33 PM.

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    Re: HTPC spec request and questions..

    You need a Blu-Ray optical drive, it seems that the LG drive is very popular at the moment, would recommend the Pioneer drives also.

    Have a look at these for instance, there must be better prices out there?

    Blu-Ray Reader (Can only watch Blu-Ray films but still use it to write to CD/DVDs)
    Computer hardware and software at amazing prices, available online from Scan Computers UK

    Blu-Ray Writer (Can write to Blu-Ray/DVD/CD)
    Computer hardware and software at amazing prices, available online from Scan Computers UK

    Hope that helps!

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    Re: HTPC spec request and questions..

    Quote Originally Posted by UseItNow View Post
    You need a Blu-Ray optical drive, it seems that the LG drive is very popular at the moment, would recommend the Pioneer drives also.

    Have a look at these for instance, there must be better prices out there?

    Blu-Ray Reader (Can only watch Blu-Ray films but still use it to write to CD/DVDs)
    Computer hardware and software at amazing prices, available online from Scan Computers UK

    Blu-Ray Writer (Can write to Blu-Ray/DVD/CD)
    Computer hardware and software at amazing prices, available online from Scan Computers UK

    Hope that helps!
    Thank you, it will be a toss up between one of those or a PS3.

    Now, if somebody can clear this up..

    Quote Originally Posted by adsmithy
    Regarding HDTV, I understand this won't be available via Freeview for a few more years yet, but when it does come about, will I need to change my PVR card to support this?
    Last edited by adsmithy; 22-03-2008 at 01:19 AM.

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    Re: HTPC spec request and questions..

    I am also wondering if I can use my existing Sky dish to receive Freeview or will I need to buy a new aerial?

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    Re: HTPC spec request and questions..

    I play blu-ray at 1080P with AM2 3800+ X2, 2GB DDR, XFX Silent 8500GT and Vista Ultimate with Power DVD Ultra and a HD-DVD / Bluray multi drive.
    □ΞVΞ□

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    Re: HTPC spec request and questions..

    Quote Originally Posted by staffsMike View Post
    £295 and overclockable quite easily to 3.0GHz (unlocked multiplier on the CPU)
    I'm not sure, but I thought that even a 4200+ would be enough in connection with a 780G IGP. I'll have a look SPCR tested this thoroughly.

    edit: No, it was a 4850ee - click. So very similar, but still "only" tacts at 2.5Ghz. The peak CPU usage does not exceed 21% watching blu-ray, so even lower tacted CPUs will do.

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