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Thread: HTPC Challenge

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    Welcome to stampytown! Salazaar's Avatar
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    HTPC Challenge

    I've been thinking about this for a little while now and I thought I'd open it up to ideas...

    Is it possible to build an HTPC capable of 1080p playback, supporting a wide variety of formats? It would need to play DVDs, and possibly Blu-Ray if the budget extended to that. It would need at least two DVB-T tuners and a reasonable size HDD (200Gb+) and run quiet enough to record programmes over night sat in a bedroom. A remote control would be an advantage as well.

    And the real challenge would be to get all this to somewhere close to the price of the off the shelf boxes I've seen which never quite seem to doeverything I want i.e. £300 or so.

    In terms of the challenge it would be nice to spec it up with an OS and HDD but in reality I could re-use one of my old HDDs and use Windows 7 for a year or so before buying a retail copy.
    Last edited by Salazaar; 27-05-2009 at 01:51 PM.
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    Pony Fiddler Madafwo's Avatar
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    Re: HTPC Challenge

    I've come close, but being at work I have limited time...

    Code:
    LN21995  Antec NSK2480-UK V2 Desktop Media Centre Case for uATX with 380W Earthwatts PSU  £85.04
    
    LN25120  Asus M3N78-VM, NV GF 8200, SAM2+, PCI-E 2.0 (x16), DDR2 1066/667/533, SATA II, SATA RAID, uATX, VGA   £52.43
    
    LN25916  AMD Athlon 64 X2 7750+, Black Edition, AM2+, Kuma Core, Dual Core, 2.7GHz, 3MB Cache, Retail   £45.76
    
    LN14277  2GB (2x1GB) Corsair TwinX XMS2, DDR2 PC2-6400 (800), 240 Pins, Non-ECC Unbuffered, CAS 4-4-4-12 	£26.04
    
    LN22883  LiteOn DH-4O1S-06C Black 4x Internal BD-ROM Blu-Ray SATA OEM   £50.59
    
    LN26800  KWorld PE355-2T V2 PCI Express Dual Digital Media Center Remote   £56.35
    All from Scan so without having to pay for delivery it would come to a little over £310. No HDD or OS but as you say, with Windows 7 there for a little under a year you can use that. Comes with a remote, plays Blu-Ray and should be able to handle 1080p without a problem all through the onboard HDMI.

    The BD player can't record to anything though, but if you weren't too bothered with BD playback as of yet you could always put a normal DVD-RW drive in there and save a few pennies, or spend it on more ram.

    It's also difficult to know what style case to look for though, but that case is basically an Antec Fusion without the media display or remote, but you get the remote with the TV Tuner.
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    Welcome to stampytown! Salazaar's Avatar
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    Re: HTPC Challenge

    That's pretty similar to the spec I was considering though that motherboard doesn't seem to support HDCP which would rule out bluray.

    I might look at something 780G based instead.
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    Re: HTPC Challenge

    what about ion??

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    Re: HTPC Challenge

    It's a possibility but there doesn't seem to be much cost/performance benefit over an mATX mobo and a low power CPU.
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    Re: HTPC Challenge

    Quote Originally Posted by Salazaar View Post
    That's pretty similar to the spec I was considering though that motherboard doesn't seem to support HDCP which would rule out bluray.

    I might look at something 780G based instead.
    All I can find say it does support HDCP, especially here. Which is Asus' UK site.

    The cheapest 780G board I can see on Scan at least, is the J&W, not a bad board and only £3 more expensive than the Asus.
    "I've heard there is a common problem with this item from forums" - If you read some forums they believe Elvis was abducted by aliens, doesn't mean it's true.

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    Re: HTPC Challenge

    Quote Originally Posted by Madafwo View Post
    All I can find say it does support HDCP, especially here. Which is Asus' UK site.

    The cheapest 780G board I can see on Scan at least, is the J&W, not a bad board and only £3 more expensive than the Asus.
    Ah okay, I was looking at the spec on Scan but I'm more inclined to believe the Asus site.
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    Re: HTPC Challenge

    Madafwo's spec seems to be pretty much as cheap as you can get (in terms of price not quality lol) but if you stretched the budget to £400 you could include an OS and a hdd in there as well. Also I would suggest a low powered cpu ie a 5050e because it will make it alot quieter

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    Re: HTPC Challenge

    The OP should know that the Phenom II and Athlon II based dual cores are coming out next wek:

    http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/cpu/dis...arly_June.html

    http://www.fudzilla.com/content/view/13856/35/


    Here is a mini-review:

    http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu...lon-ii-x2.html

    The J&W motherboard is also a good choice alhough it is limited to 95w TDP processors.


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    Re: HTPC Challenge

    I'm thinking low TDP would be more important than raw perfomance particularly if a lot of the video decoding can be offloaded to the GPU.
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    Re: HTPC Challenge

    The newer 45nm dual cores will have lower power consumption when compared to the earlier 65nm processors.


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    Re: HTPC Challenge

    True but the 4850e and 5050e have a 45w TDP.
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    Re: HTPC Challenge

    Quote Originally Posted by crazyfool View Post
    Madafwo's spec seems to be pretty much as cheap as you can get (in terms of price not quality lol) but if you stretched the budget to £400 you could include an OS and a hdd in there as well. Also I would suggest a low powered cpu ie a 5050e because it will make it alot quieter
    I'll be honest and say I didn't spot the 5050e below the 7750 and for an HTPC box I would, without doubt, go for the 5050e.
    "I've heard there is a common problem with this item from forums" - If you read some forums they believe Elvis was abducted by aliens, doesn't mean it's true.

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    Re: HTPC Challenge

    even the 5050e is overkill, you could underclock and undervolt that a bunch
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  18. #15
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    Re: HTPC Challenge

    Just beware if you buy a blu ray drive that you get software that plays them eg. Retail package(the one mentioned above doesn't) otherwise you'll have to fork out for an extra £50.

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    Re: HTPC Challenge

    Well here's the proposed spec, all from ebuyer I'm afraid cos Scan don't seem to have stock of a few key components.

    Antec NSK 2480 MATX Desktop Case Black & Silver - With 380W EarthWatts PSU 130945 £84.98
    AMD Athlon 64 X2 4850e 2.5GHz Socket AM2 Energy Efficient 1MB L2 Cache Retail Boxed Processor 144638 £46.06
    Hauppauge WinTV Nova-TD 500 Dual digital DVB-T PCI TV Tuner card 113946 £50.55
    ASROCK A780GM-LE 780G Socket AM2+ VGA DVI Out 6 Channel Audio MATX Motherboard 160999 £50.00
    Sony BDU-X10S Blu-Ray BD-ROM SATA Black Internal - Retail Box with Cyberlink Software 158605 £49.98
    Kingston 2GB Kit (2x1GB) DDR2 800MHz/PC2-6400 Memory Non-ecc CL5 Unbuffered 1.8V 129954 £22.46
    Wireless 2.4Ghz HTPC Keyboard - Touchpad with Integrated Numberpad and Smart Fingers Zoom/Program Switch Functions - USB UK Layout 158377 £29.99
    Total £334.02

    As I said I'll add a spare 250Gb HDD and a copy of Windows 7 for now.

    Edit: And purchased.
    Last edited by Salazaar; 01-06-2009 at 04:04 PM.
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