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Thread: Noobo needs help building HTPC

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    Noobo needs help building HTPC

    Thinking of building an HTPC to plug into my 40" LCD TV in the living room.

    I want to be able to watch full HD movies. I also want to use the computer as a full PVR and would like a TV Card with dual Freeview tuner aswell as dual freesat tuners (the tuner must also be able to decode the one or two high-def channels currently available).

    I would like the rig to be as quiet and efficient as possible, but powerful enough to do the above. I will not be playing games.

    So far I have come up with
    Case: Antec Fusion Remote Max
    RAM: 4GB
    Mobo: Have been recommended to go the ADM route for efficiency/power and get a 780G board.
    CPU: AMD 5050e
    Passive Cooler: Scythe Mini Ninja
    HD: Two Spinpoint F2EG (1.5TB) - running in RAID 1
    OS: Windows 7 64-bit

    Any advice on where to take things from here would be appreciated.

    My only slight concern here is the speed of the Hard drives being 5400rpm (maybe upgrade to a couple of 1TB F1 Spinpoints?)

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    Re: Noobo needs help building HTPC

    Everything sounds fine, although I agree with your asumption of speed with the HDD, I would recommend 7200 RPM other than that it sounds OK to me. I have not checked but make sure the motherboard is Windows 7 compatible otherwise none of the drivers for the motherboard will be compatible.
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    Re: Noobo needs help building HTPC

    Hauupage cards work well - i've got a dual tuner freeview and a single tune freesat card from them in my HTPC - I don't know of any dual tuner freesat cards (careful when researching them as some were stated as being dual channel but in reality aren't). The combination of 3 available tuners in mine covers things well enough for me regardless. You probably only need 2 gig of RAM (it's plenty for me) too (4 is overkill for just running media centre). I've stuck with 32bit because of that (although I hear 64bit is now no longer the big problem it once was for codecs etc).
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    Does he need a reason? Funkstar's Avatar
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    Re: Noobo needs help building HTPC

    I wouldn't worry about the drive speeds to be honest. sequential transfer is going to be fairly fast due to the data density

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    Re: Noobo needs help building HTPC

    Thanks for the replies - I was thinking of this card - Pinnacle 7010iX PCTV Dual Sat Hybrid (I won't add a link to the shop, as I am not sure I am allowed to on here). It says that it has 2xDVB-T and 2xDVB-S.
    This would be perfect, but I am not entirely sure whether I could pick up the few HD channels on this - I have heard that I would need a DVB-S2 tuner for this.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks.

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    Re: Noobo needs help building HTPC

    You are most welcome to link to the shop, that isn't a problem

    you don't need DVB-S2 for Freesat, at the moment it's all broadcast on DVB-S. I don't know if any of the Freesat branded boxes are DVB-S2, so I can't say if they are likely to move in that direction in the future.

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    Re: Noobo needs help building HTPC

    I would look at getting a 785G as it has better media acceleration features than the 780G:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Asus-M4A785D-M-PRO

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Gigab...-Micro-ATX-VGA

    The Antec Micro Fusion is also available for around £70 from Ebuyer too:

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/140998#

    However AFAIK it only has one hard drive bay too. You could use one of the 2tb hard disks though.
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 15-08-2009 at 12:29 PM.


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    Re: Noobo needs help building HTPC

    Have found this - http://www.hauppauge.co.uk/site/prod...a_hvr4000.html, had 2xDVB-T and 2xDVB-S2 (backwards comaptible with DVB-S).

    As you say, if the very few HD Channels are currently broadcast on DVB-S anyway, the above might just be pointless future proofing, as HD channels will probably not be broadcast on DVB-S2 in the next few years.

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    Re: Noobo needs help building HTPC

    Right, am getting there - have done some research and have come up with the following:


    Specs so far:-

    Antec Fusion Remote Max

    4GB RAM - unsure what type

    Asus M4A785TD-V

    AMD Athlon II X2 240

    Samsung F1 1TB HDD

    Windows 7

    Dual DVB-T Dual DVB-S tuner card

    PSU - have now idea which make or power rating.


    Would be grateful to know firstly whether the above spec would be recommended and if not, what changes you would make - would it be powerful enough to say record two channels as well as watching a live HD programme at the same time?

    Secondly, are there any bits I am missing.

    Thirdly, can anyone recommend the RAM and TV tuner and PSU I should use?


    Your comments would be very much appreciated.

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    Re: Noobo needs help building HTPC

    With hardware acceleration for the HD, you should be less than 10% CPU load.

    Recording digital TV streams takes very little CPU power, all the software is doing is pulling the MPEG-2 streams out of the DVB-T encoding and chucking it on a disk, so that setup should be just fine.

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    Re: Noobo needs help building HTPC

    Quote Originally Posted by elsmandino View Post
    Have found this - http://www.hauppauge.co.uk/site/prod...a_hvr4000.html, had 2xDVB-T and 2xDVB-S2 (backwards comaptible with DVB-S).

    As you say, if the very few HD Channels are currently broadcast on DVB-S anyway, the above might just be pointless future proofing, as HD channels will probably not be broadcast on DVB-S2 in the next few years.
    I could be misreading the link but isn't that DVB-S, DVB-S2, DVB-T and analogue? That's different from 2xDVB-T / 2 x DVB-S2 - or am i reading it wrong (long day)?

    Quote Originally Posted by elsmandino View Post
    PSU - have now idea which make or power rating.


    Would be grateful to know firstly whether the above spec would be recommended and if not, what changes you would make - would it be powerful enough to say record two channels as well as watching a live HD programme at the same time?

    Secondly, are there any bits I am missing.

    Thirdly, can anyone recommend the RAM and TV tuner and PSU I should use?


    Your comments would be very much appreciated.

    RAM - doesn't matter - something branded, lifetime warranty and cheap. You don't need anything too exotic for a HTPC - see 004 in my sig which copes with 3 channel recording and playback of a fourth with no sweat. TV tuner - I have a nova t 500 DVB-T dual tuner card which works very well and a single DVB-S2 card (same manufacturer) and i've had no problems (i have good signal from both satellite and freeview). Windows 7 is the key to bringing them together well though - Vista is a PITA to sort out by comparison. PSU - i tried a 500W zalman PSU for a media center and was happy with it enough to buy one for my wife's machine (002) too - it's extremely quiet. That said and good non-uber-cheap PSU will do.
    Last edited by dangel; 17-08-2009 at 05:16 PM.
    System 001: Maximus VII Formula, 4790k i7, RTX 2080ti FE (incoming), 16GIG Corsair Vengence DDR3 RAM CL9, Corsair HX1000, ROG SWIFT PG278Q , SSDs, Antec 1200 case, All watercooled. [main]
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    Re: Noobo needs help building HTPC

    Thanks very much for that.

    You are completely right, the Tuner I suggested, though advertised as a quad-tuner, is not at all what I want. As you say, I want dual DVB-S and dual DVB-T.
    As you have, I think I shall get two separate cards as you have - I was originally thinking of getting the Pinnacle 7010ix which appears to do everything but I have heard that they can be a little temperamental, very difficult to find and have a big delay between channel changes.
    So you think that Windows 7 Media Centre is the best way to bring both tuners together? I was thinking of Media Portal but have hard that MC is the better one to use.

    With regards the DVB-S2 card you bought, I realise that I should obviously buy this as it is backwards compatible with DVB-S and when the few HDD channels move over to S2, I could then carry on watching them. Out of interest, do you know when this is change over is likely to happen?

    Just one other quick question, with regards my CPU and mobo. I have had a look around various forums and this site has been mentioned a few times, http://www.linuxtech.net/features/be...herboards.html, listing the best Mobos for HTPCs.

    I have decided to go the Athlon route and my original CPU, choosing an Athlon II X2 240 over the E5300, and shall be putting it in one of the suggested AMD Mobos. This is all fine but for one thing - the boards are all mini-ATX and only have two PCI cards, which I shall use up with my two tuner cards as per above. Do you think I should just go for it, as I am unlikely to need another PCI Card for an HTPC or, as I am getting a case that can take a full size board, should I get a full size board with extra PCI ports?

    Thanks again for your help.

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    Re: Noobo needs help building HTPC

    These 785G motherboards are full ATX and take DDR3 RAM:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Asus-...-SATA-RAID-VGA

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Gigab...s-RAID-ATX-VGA

    I would get the full ATX motherboard as the slots will be better spaced put.


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    Re: Noobo needs help building HTPC

    Quote Originally Posted by elsmandino View Post
    Thanks very much for that.

    You are completely right, the Tuner I suggested, though advertised as a quad-tuner, is not at all what I want. As you say, I want dual DVB-S and dual DVB-T.
    As you have, I think I shall get two separate cards as you have - I was originally thinking of getting the Pinnacle 7010ix which appears to do everything but I have heard that they can be a little temperamental, very difficult to find and have a big delay between channel changes.
    So you think that Windows 7 Media Centre is the best way to bring both tuners together? I was thinking of Media Portal but have hard that MC is the better one to use.
    W7MC is certainly the best thing for me - and yeah i'd recommend it. MP needs some work in a few areas (but has it's plus points).


    Quote Originally Posted by elsmandino View Post
    With regards the DVB-S2 card you bought, I realise that I should obviously buy this as it is backwards compatible with DVB-S and when the few HDD channels move over to S2, I could then carry on watching them. Out of interest, do you know when this is change over is likely to happen?
    No idea in all honesty (sorry) and nothings for certain - obviously with S2 you're covered either way though.

    Quote Originally Posted by elsmandino View Post
    Just one other quick question, with regards my CPU and mobo. I have had a look around various forums and this site has been mentioned a few times, http://www.linuxtech.net/features/be...herboards.html, listing the best Mobos for HTPCs.

    I have decided to go the Athlon route and my original CPU, choosing an Athlon II X2 240 over the E5300, and shall be putting it in one of the suggested AMD Mobos. This is all fine but for one thing - the boards are all mini-ATX and only have two PCI cards, which I shall use up with my two tuner cards as per above. Do you think I should just go for it, as I am unlikely to need another PCI Card for an HTPC or, as I am getting a case that can take a full size board, should I get a full size board with extra PCI ports?

    Thanks again for your help.
    If you can use a full size board then do so - no point in limiting your options unecessarily. Some people obsess about the case being tiny but for me it's a no brainer as a full size HTPC is still only the size of my surround amp and it offers more flexibility, better cooling and ease of access when working on it. Realistically you'll probably only need two PCI slots but you never know - I guess I might add another S2 card in the future or simply replace a single tuner S2 card with a dual one (if and when one's out). 3 tuners is still over and above my old sky+ box and i've never hit a recording conflict with Mrs DAngel

    HTPC stuff is great fun and you'll absolutely love it
    System 001: Maximus VII Formula, 4790k i7, RTX 2080ti FE (incoming), 16GIG Corsair Vengence DDR3 RAM CL9, Corsair HX1000, ROG SWIFT PG278Q , SSDs, Antec 1200 case, All watercooled. [main]
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