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Thread: Questions about building HTPC

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    Questions about building HTPC

    Looking to build an HTPC sometime this year and I had a few questions I wondered whether anyone could answer.

    The aim of the HTPC is to play Blu-ray, DVD's, DIVX's, MP3's and probably record from cable (Virgin Media).
    I won't bore you with the components suffice to say it will be AMD based and use either
    Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H or Gigabyte GA-MA78GPM-DS2H.

    Here's my questions:
    1) I've heard that the Heatsink for the North Bridge runs quite hot on the GA-MA78GM-S2H.
    Is it worthwhile using a 3rd party heatsink and if so which?
    Or did you find another method to cool it down?

    2) What fans would you recommend to fit in a uATX case?
    Is the Noctua fans really that quiet or would I be able to get by with Sharkoon "Golf Ball" Case Fans which are cheaper?
    I realise there are those who might say its all subjective and to try it out first but I would rather get it all built first time rather than taking it apart and re-building parts of it.

    3) How would I connect Virgin Media cable to the HTPC?
    I have the old grey PACE box with only Scart out.
    Is there a specific tuner card I should be looking at or an adaptor?

    4) Would I be best to leave on the HTPC all the time on standby/ idle or to boot it up when needed?

    5) What can I do in order to speed up the boot up time?

    Thanks if you can provide any help with any of the above questions.

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    finding nemo staffsMike's Avatar
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    Re: Questions about building HTPC

    1) I shouldn't think the temps are a major concern, and the cost of a worth while heat sink will probably be half that of the motherboard itself.

    I would be looking at teh abit board personally
    http://scan.co.uk/Product.aspx?WebProductId=845045

    2) Buy an antec NSK2480, comes with a power supply (380W Antec Earthwatts) and 2 Antec Tri Cool fans which are very quiet on their low setting.

    If you do wish to replace them I would go for yate loons/nexus or scythe slipstreams. Similar price to the sharkoon but far quieter than any other fans when undervolted and they still shift a fair bit of air.

    3) No Idea really. I would imagine you would need to convert scart to composite and plug it into one of many TV cards you can buy. The Asus M2A-VM HDMI actually comes with a card to allow composite but it's not as good as the 780G boards unfortunatly. Still capable of blu ray playback though I believe (I have one just havnt tried it yet lol)

    4) Whatever suits your needs really. It's going to take your typical amount of time (20 seconds?) to boot up which I think isn't too bad. I never really put any of my PC's into stand by though.

    5) Keep your windows install light or in it's own partition (partitioned like in Zak33's werid partition theory thread). A fast drive like the Western Digital 640GB AAKS, also will be very quiet if not inaudiable in the case mentioned).

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    Re: Questions about building HTPC

    Thanks for the answers.

    1) Checked out the Abit motherboard.
    Seems pretty cool. Might need to re-think what motherboard to go for now!
    Do you know of any links for a review of the Abit A-S78H?

    2) That was actually the case I was thinking of getting.
    Its a shame it didn't in black as well but nevermind.
    Cheers for the suggestions on other fans, hadn't thought about those ones.

    3) Did a quick search online and I agree. Looks like you can pick up an adaptor in Maplin for about a tenner.

    4) 20 seconds isn't too bad I suppose.
    Was thinking about the situation when something is on and you want to record it.
    Currently have a DVD/ HD recorder and it takes "forever" to spin up the HD and then get itself ready to record.

  4. #4
    finding nemo staffsMike's Avatar
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    Re: Questions about building HTPC

    Well the case front on the NSK is only plastic so if you felt up to it you could quite easily spray it to black

    Not seen a review of the abit but I would trust them over gigabyte personally and the fact that it's £10 cheaper just makes the deal even sweeter for me.

    If you do go for that case the scythe mini ninja is an awesome cooler which fits very nicely and can be run passive with the two 120mm's next to it

    I'm sure standby would be OK, or hibernation maybe.. I used to hibernate my vaio laptop all the time until it started to blue screen when resuming, stopped doing it since then.

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    Re: Questions about building HTPC

    to connect your virgin box to the htpc you could also use coaxial out (aeriel?) to connect to a tv tuner (has to be analog tho)
    also the quietest fans i have found to be the the 1200rpm scythe slipstreams

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    Re: Questions about building HTPC

    Thanks crazyfool for the suggestions about connections and the case fans.

    Do you know if there is any difference in quality connecting this way compared with via the SCART?

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    Senior Member crazyfool's Avatar
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    Re: Questions about building HTPC

    i believe via coaxial out would be better quality then scart but if u can connect via scart then thats fine but if not then this is a cheap and easy option
    btw i wouldn't go for the noctua fan, i have bought one and compared to the scythes the difference is minimal although the scythe seems to shift more air

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