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Thread: New HTPC

  1. #1
    SiM
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    New HTPC

    Any advice on this spec?

    320Gb Seagate ST3320620AS Barracuda 7200.10, SATA2, 7200 rpm, 16MB Cache, NCQ
    256MB Sapphire Radeon X1900 GT PCI-E (x16) 1200MHz GDDR3 GPU 575MHz 36 Pipes CrossFire
    Logitech Office 2.4GHz Cordless Keyboard + Optical Mouse (Black)
    500W CoolerMaster iGreen Power Silent SLi 85% Eff' ATX 12V V2.2 EPS12V v2.91
    ASUS A8N-SLI Premium, NF4 SLI, S939, PCI-E (x16), DDR 400, SATA I / II, SATA/IDE RAID, ATX
    Coolermaster Praetorian 732 Silver full aluminium, easy install (No PSU)
    NEC ND-4571 Labelflash Silver x5 RAM x16 DVD±RW Dual Layer DVD-Writer OEM UK
    2Gb G.Skill ZX Series DDR PC3200 (DDR400) 2-3-2-5 Dual Channel kit

    All from scan, except RAM.

    Will be using a 3500+ that I have already got.

    Any ideas to get a faster, similarly priced Conroe system? I do not know much about intel...

    I would like this to compatible with all formats of HD video (and potential to add BD ROM/HD DVD too it when its properly out)

    If I would like to use the encrypted HDMI on my plasma - which graphics card do I need to change to?

    Thanks
    Last edited by SiM; 03-09-2006 at 02:07 PM.

  2. #2
    SiM
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    • SiM's system
      • Motherboard:
      • P5K Premium
      • CPU:
      • Q6600
      • Memory:
      • 8GB PC2-6400 OCZ ReaperX + Platinum
      • Storage:
      • 3 x 320gb HD322HJ single platter in Raid 0
      • Graphics card(s):
      • PNY GTX285
      • PSU:
      • Corsair TX650W
      • Case:
      • Antec 1200
      • Monitor(s):
      • 2407-HC
    Can anyone help?

  3. #3
    radix lecti dave87's Avatar
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    If you want to enable HDMI on your plasma, you are going to need a HDMI capable card, which afaik the x1900 isnt.

    I'm presuming as it is a htpc, that it needs to be quiet, if so, why the x1900?

    From a personal preference point of view, I would switch the x1900 for a cheaper passive 7600, then get something when HDMI capable cards start to become available.

    Other components seem fine, though I would ask if you are recording telly, is 320gb going to be enough, especially with HD on the way? Also if you have a plasma telly, I presume decent sound is required - getting an independant soundcard might be a good idea, especially if you are linking to a Surround Sound set - something like the Auzentech X-Plosion has the ability to create 6/7 channel audio on the fly - turning telly into a surround experience, and gives better quality sound than onboard (and according to some owners, blows x-fi out of the water )

    Hope this helps

    Dave

  4. #4
    Senior Member kalniel's Avatar
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    • kalniel's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Gigabyte X58A UD3R rev 2
      • CPU:
      • Intel Xeon X5680
      • Memory:
      • 12gb DDR3 2000
      • Graphics card(s):
      • nVidia GTX 1060 6GB
      • PSU:
      • Seasonic 600W
      • Case:
      • Cooler Master HAF 912
      • Operating System:
      • Win 10 Pro x64
      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell U2311H
      • Internet:
      • O2 8mbps
    Quote Originally Posted by SiM
    Any advice on this spec?

    320Gb Seagate ST3320620AS Barracuda 7200.10, SATA2, 7200 rpm, 16MB Cache, NCQ
    Fine.

    256MB Sapphire Radeon X1900 GT PCI-E (x16) 1200MHz GDDR3 GPU 575MHz 36 Pipes CrossFire
    Overkill.

    Logitech Office 2.4GHz Cordless Keyboard + Optical Mouse (Black)
    Fine.

    500W CoolerMaster iGreen Power Silent SLi 85% Eff' ATX 12V V2.2 EPS12V v2.91
    Overkill.

    ASUS A8N-SLI Premium, NF4 SLI, S939, PCI-E (x16), DDR 400, SATA I / II, SATA/IDE RAID, ATX
    Overkill.

    Coolermaster Praetorian 732 Silver full aluminium, easy install (No PSU)
    Overkill (unless you really want a big tower case as your htpc)

    NEC ND-4571 Labelflash Silver x5 RAM x16 DVD±RW Dual Layer DVD-Writer OEM UK
    Fine.

    2Gb G.Skill ZX Series DDR PC3200 (DDR400) 2-3-2-5 Dual Channel kit
    Overkill.



    I'd definately look at conroe, and wait a while for the asrock conroe 945G motherboard as it comes with a HDMI card

  5. #5
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    I agree with kalniel - unless you are planning on heavy gaming, something like a passive 7600GS will be much more sensible. You could even got for a 7300GT or similar. You'll need to read up on HDMI though, as I have no idea which cards support it or not.

    I'm assuming you want an HTPC to be as silent as possible. Seasonic make the quietest PSUs. Their 330 or 380W will be fine if using a low end graphics card. Go for the 430W if you plan on using something higher spec. If you do decide to stick with an X1900, go for 500W+.

    The Abit KN8 SLI is a cheaper passive board than the ASUS Premium. Abit will soon be releasing a KN8 Ultra SOTES which will also be a passive board but with only 1 PCI-E 16 slot (and hence cheaper still).

    Finally, don't know if NEC drives have improved since their 3520, but I found my Samsung DVD-RW much quieter than the old NEC 3520 I had.

  6. #6
    SiM
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    • SiM's system
      • Motherboard:
      • P5K Premium
      • CPU:
      • Q6600
      • Memory:
      • 8GB PC2-6400 OCZ ReaperX + Platinum
      • Storage:
      • 3 x 320gb HD322HJ single platter in Raid 0
      • Graphics card(s):
      • PNY GTX285
      • PSU:
      • Corsair TX650W
      • Case:
      • Antec 1200
      • Monitor(s):
      • 2407-HC
    Thanks for all the suggestions guys, I will revise (and downgrade) my specs.

    I chose a big case because didn't want sff motherboard & I don't have a space constraint - and I wanted room for more hard drives in the future.

    I have an av receiver and 5.1 so all the sound be passed (digitally) through optical cable to my amp - does this mean I still need a better sound card? Because the computer will do none of the sound decoding... I think(?)

    My plasma has HDCP too so does that mean my graphics card has to be compatible with that too? otherwise all HD video will be downscaled?

    Is this what I need? http://www.hexus.net/content/item.php?item=6534

    Also are there any more suggestions for a conroe motherboard? Also do I need 1066 ddr2 ram to run it in sync with the processor?

    Thanks again!
    Last edited by SiM; 06-09-2006 at 08:58 PM.

  7. #7
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    I assume that HTPC means quiet - I've just built one myself to be as quiet as possible...

    I'd recommend one of the Samsung Spinpoints for your hard drive as they tend to be the quietest in my experience. 320Gb should be fine, you can always add a second later.

    An X1900 is overkill - get something with HDMI now, Scan have a Sapphire X1600pro which is easily fast enough (LN15496).

    I'd go for power supply and CPU cooler from Zalman - they have a reasonably-priced 460w temperature-controlled fan that should be fine for your needs (LN13598) and I'd recommend getting a CNPS-9500 to cool your CPU as they're excellent (LN14370)

    Motherboard is fine in my book. In terms of case, I'd recommend getting a desktop as it'll look nice with your receiver (assuming it's a standard hi-fi job). I've just bought an Antec NSK2400 which is fantastic but only takes mATX boards. Suggest any of the Silverstone HTPC cases that take your fancy...

    Otherwise, I'm going to be contraversial and suggest that you get 2Gb of generic (or at least cheap) DDR-667 - as far as I'm concerned, HTPCs are built to be quiet and stable and there's no way you should ever be pushing your RAM anyway - I'd save cash and get some Corsair Value Select memory. Don't worry about RAM Sync - get the fastest you can easily afford but you're not building purely for performance here.

    I believe that any HDMI graphics card will support HDCP if the software is correct. In terms of sound, if you want surround sound for anything but content with a dolby digital soundtrack, you'll need to get a motherboard that supports Dolby Master Studio (real-time DD encoding). With the setup you've got, you'll have stereo for everything that isn't encoded as DD or DTS, and then only if you enable S/PDIF passthrough.

  8. #8
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    Talking from experience here, if you want to play all formats of HD you will need a lot of what you have listed above.

    When HD-DVD and Blu-ray hit with VC-1 or H.264 encoded video, a fast dual core processor and a decent video card will be required, and more ram is never a problem.

    BBC-HD tests are 1440x1080i 18.5mbps H.264 streams some with 5.1. You need a dual core system, or a fast single core with a high end gfx card with support hardware H.264 decoding or you will not get the full frame rate. Blue-ray and HD-DVD should easily hit this spec.

    Mpeg2 HD will be fine on that system. If you end up recording HD, most films clock in around 10gb for a 2 hour 1080i with 5.1, though you will see others higher and lower than that by a couple gigs or more. BBC-HD streams are currently about 8gb for an hour.

    I do suggest making everything as quiet as possible though.

    Look at the 'My System' box on my profile - the X2 4400 is my HTPC which is pretty silent due to lack of gfx card (using the on board atm which is sufficient as the X2 4400 takes the load for the HD content) and case fans.

    As for the suggestion of the X1600 Pro HDMI, I'd dodge this for now - Gigabyte will be releasing a passive cooled 7600GS soon which would be a better choice. Personally, I'm happy sticking with the on board GF 6150 I'm using until a range of passive cooled DX10 HDMI cards are available.
    Last edited by Skinleech; 07-09-2006 at 09:29 AM.

  9. #9
    Welcome to stampytown! Salazaar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodchuck2000
    I believe that any HDMI graphics card will support HDCP if the software is correct.
    I'm not sure that's true... As I understand it HDMI is just DVI (plus audio) with a different plug. You do need an HDCP certified card (and software, and TV).

    Also have you considered putting a couple of DVB-T cards in it? Use it as a full media centre. And, if it's going to be slung under the TV, a nice case would look good, but that's far from essential.

  10. #10
    Senior Member kalniel's Avatar
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    • kalniel's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Gigabyte X58A UD3R rev 2
      • CPU:
      • Intel Xeon X5680
      • Memory:
      • 12gb DDR3 2000
      • Graphics card(s):
      • nVidia GTX 1060 6GB
      • PSU:
      • Seasonic 600W
      • Case:
      • Cooler Master HAF 912
      • Operating System:
      • Win 10 Pro x64
      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell U2311H
      • Internet:
      • O2 8mbps
    Quote Originally Posted by SiM
    Also do I need 1066 ddr2 ram to run it in sync with the processor?
    For starters running out of synch isn't a problem in the slightest, but if you do want to run 1:1, you need 533 DDR2 memory (actual speed 266, DDR is double data rate, and the CPU link quad pumps the fsb).

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