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Thread: Two systems, comments?

  1. #1
    Spider pig, spider pig
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    Two systems, comments?

    Overall Scheme

    Basically, my Dad wants a new PC, and wants me to build him an HTPC for the lounge. There isn't really a budget as such, but he just wants best bang for buck, not latest technology. His computer he wants to be able to play some decent games, but not the latest at high resolution. He wants it basically to be stable and able to run 2 or 3 monitors at once for share trading and stuff whilst browsing the net.

    The HTPC is basically designed to be a box that will output movies, music, and TV series from DivX/MP3, as well as play games a bit. We'll be having sky HD in 3 weeks with the Sky+ thingamibob, so I very much doubt we'll need any ability to record to the PC. Basically, will only want to record if there's an easy way to do so from component video input. This HTPC will also act as a file server for the house, running two 250GB HDDs in RAID 1 (is it 1 where they are mirrored to keep data extra safe?)

    Anyway, these are the systems as I have them at the moment. If anyone has any suggestions as to what might be done differently, then please feel free to comment.

    Dad's System

    Asus A8N SLi-SE £69.22
    AMD Athlon 64 3500+ S939 OEM £114.39
    9cm Ultra Quiet Amber Heat Sink Fan £8.70
    1GB Corsair Value Select DDR £56.04
    256MB XFX 6600GT £105.74 - Perhaps x2 if he wants 3-4 screens instead of 2 - either at build or at a later date.
    500W Xclio SLi 12cm £39.89
    Coolermaster Centurion RC-532 £42.99
    17" Hyundai B71A Black TFT £137.93 - x2 or x3
    Windows XP Home OEM £58.61
    We still have an HDD, CDRW, and DVD for this one, as well as keyboard, mouse, speakers etc.

    The Windows MCE system

    Asus A8N5X £50.87
    AMD Athlon 64 3500+ S939 OEM £114.39
    9cm Ultra Quiet Amber Heat Sink Fan £8.70
    1GB Corsair Value Select DDR £56.04
    256MB XFX 6600GT £105.74
    500W Xclio SLi 12cm £39.89
    SilverStone "LASCALA" LC17S (Silver) £71.68 - this is the one bit I think I'm most unsure on - just because I'm not quite sure what will fit in here in terms of CPU cooling, 3x HDDs, etc. I think it will all fit - but I don't want to get it wrong!
    Samsung Spinpoint P120 250GB HDD £58.15 - x2 in RAID 1 (I think it's RAID 1 - the one where they mirror each other for data safety)
    Pioneer Silver DVD-RW £28.45
    Windows XP MCE OEM £76.23

    There is another HDD lying around here somewhere which would be used for the installation of windows MCE and a few programs. The 250GB HDDs would be data only, no programs.

    As to the remote - I was looking at the MCE remote but I wasn't clear on what it was. Presumably RF, but here an IR remote would actually be preferable, so that I could program it into my Logitech Harmony remote and have that do all the jobs. Is there a reasonable RF MCE-compatible remote out there? Would make life a lot easier!

    Alas Scan don't seem to have a very wide range of bluetooth keyboard/mouse combos - the DiNovo seems much overpriced and the other logitech one is bulky and annoying. Any suggestions for keyboard/mouse combo that will work at 5m comfortably, costs around £70 or under, and isn't too bulked out with unnecessary buttons?

    All of this would put outputting to a Denon 7.1 receiver (by optical) and a Toshiba 32" HD LCD (by DVI), both of which we already have.

    Thanks anyone for any help
    Last edited by Alex; 30-04-2006 at 01:56 PM.

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    Senior Member pr0p4g4nd4's Avatar
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    Both setups sound great. I can only comment on the Akasa Amber series as I own he HS/F and case fans an I think they are great.

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    Maybe a x600pro passive for the graphics as its passive?

    Those chipset fans are going to drive you crazy mate!

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    With your dad's system you may wont to keep a note that the asus a8n-sli motherboard chipset fan is a bit dodgy and is prone to fail quite easily [correct me if im wrong], so if you ever here a loud computer dying sounds its the fan, so you may want to consider another chipset cooler.
    I also think that the akasa heatsink cooler would be a good choice and keep the cpu relatively cool inside the HTPC case. Havent got it but i have seen decent reviews for it plus its pretty quiet so thats a plus point.
    The nvidia 6600gt's should be fine at running practically any game out nowadays, however if you do want more performance and can stretch a bit extra the 7600gt would be a better choice for more gaming power. Choice is yours at the end of the day.

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    • [DW]Cougho's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus Crosshair VI Hero
      • CPU:
      • AMD Ryzen 1700 @ 3.9GHz
      • Memory:
      • 16GB Team Group Dark Pro DDR4 @ 3466 C15
      • Storage:
      • 256gb Samsung 830 & 1TB Samsung 850 Evo
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Gigabyte GTX1070 G1 Gaming
      • PSU:
      • Corsair AX760
      • Case:
      • Silverstone FT-05B
      • Operating System:
      • Windows 10
      • Monitor(s):
      • BenQ XL2730Z 1440p 144Hz
      • Internet:
      • BT Infinity 1
    Btw im not sure SLi can even support dual monitors, and im certain it cannot support the 3 or 4 you mention in the first system. So if you want more than 2 monitors you'll want a second pci card (something cheap like a 9200) to power the 3rd screen. I'd also recommend stretching to the 7600gt as it is a nice step up in performance.

    Also on the HTPC you mention you'll be connecting it by optical? does this mean you'll be wanting the pc to be encoding to 5.1 or only using the passthrough so that 5.1 will only be active on dvd's etc.? Cause the only modern sound solutions that can encode a 5.1 signal over optical are the HDA X-Mystique and the X-plosion.

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    Spider pig, spider pig
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    Well, I think that for my dad's system, with the graphics cards, although its an SLi board I'd only be setting it up for 2x PCI-E GFx cards so that I could have 3 monitors - would it be better then to have a 7600gt and maybe a 6200 to run the 3rd monitor? I think I'd prefer to keep it all PCI-E, not quite sure why

    How easy is it to switch between SLi and non-SLi? IE, coult you have 2x 6600GT, have them normally running 3 screens as non-SLi, then change them to SLi with a windows app for single screen games? That was what I was kinda hoping for...

    As for the optical on the HTPC - I'd use it to output DD where DD was already encoded, and use PLIIx on the amp where it outputs in stereo to get the music. Generally though, would use the Pioneer DVD575a DVD player I already have for DVDs, just use the PC for DVD rips, and downloaded HDTV content when a decent legal means to get it comes about. I'm not that bothered about another sound card - I've always found a decent AV amp makes far more difference than a 'good' soundcard - so I'll be quite happy sticking with the on board 7.1.

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    Spider pig, spider pig
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    Anyone know what this means when it says "HDTV: Yes"? I'm thinking that this card may be better for the HTPC, then another for my Dad's PC paired with a PCI-E 6200 to run the 3rd monitor.... thoughts?

    EDIT: Hmmm, having looked at it a bit further the 7600GT does seem to be fairly substantially better than the GS - and seeing as it'll want to be running at 1280x720 on the HD LCD it'll want to be a reasonable card... but the noise level... oh, decisions, decisions!
    Last edited by Alex; 30-04-2006 at 05:20 PM.

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    Amateur photographer Hans Voralberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex
    How easy is it to switch between SLi and non-SLi? IE, coult you have 2x 6600GT, have them normally running 3 screens as non-SLi, then change them to SLi with a windows app for single screen games? That was what I was kinda hoping for...
    Not 100% sure but I think you could enable/disable Sli through the nVidia control panel in Windows. IIRC it need restarting though, hopefully a Sli user could clear up the issue
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    Spider pig, spider pig
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    Thanks guys. In the end I changed the GFx in the MCE PC to a 7600GT, and got the logitech DiNovo keyboard and mouse. Other than that it's pretty much as above. Should be good fun!

  10. #10
    explorer.exe
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    MCE remote is IR. You should be good to go with that.

    Plus the 6600GT is HDTV compatible. The only thing you may want to look out for is HDCP, but there arn't many of those cards around, so you'll probably struggle.
    Last edited by Silent Shark; 01-05-2006 at 02:19 PM.

  11. #11
    lazy student nvening's Avatar
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    You need an sli board which is hot swappable between sli and non sli, otherwise there is an on motherboard jumper change/switch.
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    You should seriously consider going for more passive options on the MCE build. A 7600GS will be fine on an MCE box, and a m/b with a passive chipset cooling option will be much better in terms of noise. You might even consider going for an S754 board with a Sempron CPU. A VIA chipset board would even be OK, as you won't be looking to overclock it I'd assume.

    Also, Seasonic PSUs are generally regarded as the quietest on the market. They do 330, 380 & 430W versions, all of which should be plenty to power an MCE system in relative silence. The 430W is the best bang for the buck at the moment.

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