Building a HTPC questions...

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Ed O'Neill, Sep 18, 2003.

  1. Ed O'Neill

    Ed O'Neill Second Unit

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    Ok I want to build an all in one machine.

    I want it to...
    Play: dvd/svcd/divx
    Record: dvd/vcd/svcd/dvix
    Watch: TV
    Record: TV (like Tivo)
    I also want 6.1 sound and the machine to be remote controlled.

    My goal is to be able to hook up a TV and speakers for use in my summer home.

    These are the things I am lookin for suggestions or alternatives for:

    One case I picked out is the coolmaster(black) http://www.coolermasterusa.com/Product.aspx?ID=18

    So far for video:
    The choice is ATI - All-In-Wonder.

    So far for sound:
    The choice is SoundBlsster Audigy.

    I am looking for cheaper/better alternatives.

    Thanks in advance
    Ed
     
  2. Jeff Blair

    Jeff Blair Second Unit

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    I belive the All-In-Wonder Pro also has the TV Tuner built in. Take a look at Linux. There are 2 free programs that are Tivo like. Freevo, and MythTV. I am useing MythTV, and it works great. It even has a plug-in to watch movies, and play MP3's. You can even set up a web page, and record stuff remotely.

    If you want to go with Windows look at ShowShifter. I used it for a while, and liked it.

    As for the hard ware, I wouldn't get anything less then an AMD 1800, remember faster is better here. I would also have at least 256meg in memory. As for hard drive space, I would think about getting 2 drives. A small one, aprox. 30 gig, and a large one. You can put the OS on the small one, and use the large one just for video, and MP3's. Let us know if you have any other questions.
     
  3. John_Bonner

    John_Bonner Supporting Actor

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    Ed,

    What do you plan on using for a TV/monitor?

    A HTPC is a great idea but essentially only really work well with digital tv's or monitors. If you're using a tv at the very least the tv should have a component input. You'll then either need a video card with component out or a transcoder to convert from VGA to component. S-Video will look pretty crappy for HTPC.
     
  4. Ed O'Neill

    Ed O'Neill Second Unit

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    Jeff
    AMD all the way baby!. I was already thinking more like 10gig(I have an old one from my first computer) and at least 80/100gig for the second. I was also told the more ram the better for capping. On my computer for capturing I use an ati aiw 128pro, and I have 512 ram.

    I really am looking for opinions on the sound and video cards since the only time I ever built a computer I used an ati aiw and a soundblaster live platnum. Those are the only two I have experience with. I am looking for alternatives better or cheaper (whichever), or better and cheaper components..LOL

    John,
    I have a 65" mits in the home theater room. Like I said I want to use in my summer home (on weekends). I want to be able to un-hook it from my home theater and take it with me. Basiclly dual use in the summer. Now at my cottage I have a 25" tv with s-video. I already have used the s-video on my old computer in the familyroom and it looks good not as good as component cables of course.

    Any more input on sound and video cards?

    Talk to you guys soon ,
    Ed
     
  5. Robert Dunnill

    Robert Dunnill Second Unit

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    I use a Radeon LE flashed to a 32 DDR, with an M-Audio DIO 2496.

    I've since ordered an Asus A7M266 (which has onboard sound); , upon receiving it, I'm going to try out its SP/DIF output with a co-ax connection (if it's as good or better than the M-Audio, why not use it?).

    RD
     
  6. Jeff Blair

    Jeff Blair Second Unit

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    Well, here is what I have:
    AMD XP2000+
    725Meg 333 DDR
    MSI Nforce2 Mother Board-400 front side, I need new memory.
    I use the onboard sound, there is an adaptor for optical out, but I don't have it.
    Gforce 440MX video card-It has S-Video out
    ATI TV Wonder VE - patches into the onboard sound.
    Hard Drives:
    HD1:80 Gig Windows XP
    HD2:40 Gig Gentoo Linux
    HD3:30 Gig SCSI downloads, etc...
    HD4:100 Gig Video
    CD-RW hoping to get a DVD RW one day.

    I have been happy with how it works. I just have to figure out why I am getting static. I think it is the cable, it is fine in another room. Time to get a new patch cable.
    I am planing on getting a new system with the new AMD Opteron 64bit CPU. But, I think I am going to wait until they get the front side up to 400mhz, it's at 333 now. They look nice, and I am building the 2 and 4 CPU server boards....hummm... I wonder if they would miss one. [​IMG]
     
  7. JamesHl

    JamesHl Supporting Actor

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  8. Jeff Blair

    Jeff Blair Second Unit

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    I have been building the mother boards for AMD. We are also building some systems that they are giving away. They are high end gaming system. 1 Gig ram SATA RAID drives, Nforce FX cards, all in the new CoolMaster case....drool [​IMG]
     
  9. JamesHl

    JamesHl Supporting Actor

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    By giving away you mean giving away the chance to pay $640 for? Or is this another promotion?

    I was kind of pissed about that after I was one of the lucky winners of an Athlon XP during those promo events.

    What's an nforce fx card, anyway? You mean geforce fx?
     
  10. Jeff Blair

    Jeff Blair Second Unit

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    Ya, that's what I meant, GeForce. I've been doing some linux stuff, and it's nforce for my LAN, and nvidia for the video...It's been a long week. But, I think they are giving them away to different vendors, but I have no idea. I guess it is so they can benchmark the CPU before it is released.
     
  11. Eric_L

    Eric_L Screenwriter

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    I found out recently that the only AIW card that supports two monitors (vs a tv and a monitor) is the AIW 9600. For a two momnitor system you need multiple cards, and ATI does not support that configuration.

    I've been having a biotch of a time w my 9700 AIW AGP and radeon 7000 pci.
     
  12. Ed O'Neill

    Ed O'Neill Second Unit

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    Thanks for the heads up Eric.

    My old ati aiw does support dual output. I only plan on using one connection at a time anyways.

    RD and Jeff ,
    There is no way I will use onboard sound for my situation.

    So I guess there are no better alternatives for me.Ok then it's time to build the monster...COOL.

    Thanks for all the responses .
    Ed O'Neill
     
  13. Jeff Blair

    Jeff Blair Second Unit

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    If you want to go with an add on card, take a look at the Sound blaster. I have heard good things for it. It also has digital out. I have used S-Video for the connection to my TV, and it didn't look too bad. I had it set on 640x480 because I don't have that great of a TV yet, a lower end 32". Good luck in building it, it is always fun to do it yourself. If you have any questions on it, give me a yell.
     
  14. GrahamJW

    GrahamJW Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi:

    If you are looking for a sound card alternative M-Audio's Revolution 7.1 has some excellent reviews. The only draw back is that it doesn't have it's own DSP, so it relies on the host CPU for audio tasks. It shouldn't be a problem if the PC is being used for home theatre only. It can, however, be a problem for gaming as you want every little CPU cycle for your games. Newer SoundBlaster cards have ther own DSP to handle audio processing chores leaving CPU cycles to other duties (thus the higher prices). As for video, IMO, I think you should go with an ATI Radeon AIW card (probably a 8500 or 9600 series).

    Hope this helps...Cheers..John
     
  15. JasonRuiz

    JasonRuiz Auditioning

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    I'd go with the MAudio Revolution 7.1, the Audigy II is a pretty over-rated card. You could also check out other professional cards from MAudio and the like,(As opposed to consumer cards like the Audigy,Revolution etc...) they might give you some problems with games and such though. Nice thing about the Revolution is it brings the quality of thier professional cards to a consumer targeted model. Compare the Revolution and the Audigy (1orII) and I think the better is pretty clear. The Revolution has a S?N of something like 103...much better than any other consumer card out there. It does rely on the cpu, but if you have the processing power for it, I doubt it'll become an issue. If your just relying on the SPDIF output, you maybe able to get away with a number of cards. Nice thinh though is the Revolution 7.1 is on sale at newegg.com for $90...Less than a lot fo places are charging tfor the AudigyII and right around what you'll pay for an OEM AudigyII model. THey do have a USB version which is even cheaper but since it relies on USB1.1, it has a lot of problems. The bandwidth just isn't there.
    As for video cards
    If you aren't going to be playing a lot of games (or any at all) I'd look at the Geforce MX440, for some reason NVidia didn't include the video decoding features found in this card in it's higher end cards. IF I'm correct (and I may not be...so check it out) it has iDCT, which is also found on ATI cards, but not on the higher end Geforce4 cards (or Geforce-Geforce3 cards)...ATI has so9me great cards too, especailly if PCI slots are at a premium (AIW models) since they include a TV tuner onboard, problem though is they don't work with some of the better scaler software out there)
     

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