Good config for HTPC?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Kenny West, Aug 8, 2002.

  1. Kenny West

    Kenny West Auditioning

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    Good Config for HTPC?
    Wanted to see if some of you might be kind enough to commnent on the configuration of a HTPC I am considering:
    http://www.nextwave-tech.com/html/ebay/2002DV-6002.htm
    I looked at building a HTPC from scratch (have built one now to see how it would work but it is an old PII and is slow...)... Since have no way to get parts at wholesale ended up costing more than some I have found pre-built.. I like the looks of this one and the price (1400) seems good..
    Thanks!
     
  2. Jedd

    Jedd Second Unit

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  3. Kenny West

    Kenny West Auditioning

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    Thanks for your reply at the HT forum.. Can you clarify a bit on your reply to my post ("no way, they picked up the most expensive components out there.
    Drop 5% in perfomance and get 50% off from the price.")

    Can you make some suggestions? I would rather build myself but when I found all the needed parts it was about the same price to go with one pre-built...

    Thanks for any assistance
     
  4. Jedd

    Jedd Second Unit

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    Ok, here we go:
    what do we need for HTPC? good videocard, audiocard with pass through and silent components. So we wont skimp on them.
    M-Audio 2496 - $160 best audio card with S/PDIF path trough
    Radeon 8500 128Mb retail - $135 - we can go with the cheaper 7500 models but they aint good for gaming.
    Proc: AMD 1600+ - you want it silent? - you need it cool. Stay with low Mhz. All you need for office is 1k Mhz, all you need for gaming is Radeon 8500. And you always can OC it. Did I mentioned price? $66
    Mobo - MSI 745 Ultra $70, just one good, stable, OC'able mobo
    HDD - seagate barracuda IV 80Gb - $85 - it is fast and silent, actually I cant hear it at all.
    Memory: 256Mb Samsung DDR333 CTL - $85, can be OC'ed up to 400 and even higher
    HS - Thermalright AX7 $25 - big, heavy and coool
    Fan - Silencer - $8 26CFM/21dB
    Case - black hydraulic midi tower $50 - you want it cool you need it big, it's also black and has a blackdoor to hide all white components
    PSU - Zalman ZM300A-APF $70 - one of the quietest psu's
    Video cooling - ThermalTake Crystal Orb $10
    DVD drive - LiteOn $35
    So, what we have: black, silent, OC'able and less then $800 (shipping already included) [​IMG]
    Prices taken from respectable sites like: newegg, directron, buy.com
     
  5. Brian_Morr

    Brian_Morr Auditioning

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    Jedd, I disagree with your assessment. First your off-the- cuff analysis does not take into account any of the software which ties the whole system together much less the requirements of the end-user. The software allows the hardware to be configured for the end-user based on their HT setup. 2nd there is no HDTV capabilities that will actually work in your recommendation. The Telemann is super for that . That machine is built not only for high performance but also high reliability. I don't see any Biostar mainboard there.

    The system also includes features such as RAID and software to allow for the user to capture/edit, in real-time, DV, rip DVDs and to create and playback their creations.

    Further, if you are so inclined to build your own HTPC machine (most are not) this is not a simple configuration to get working flawlessly. Like most custom systems when built correctly they are way more then the sum of its parts. Comparisons of off-the-shelf systems should be made to other manufacturer's of HTPCs, such as the ones from AVSScience, Digital Connection and Cellar Cinema, not component pricing. Look at their configurations and pricing.

    You can't touch that system for under $1900!
     
  6. DougRogers

    DougRogers Stunt Coordinator

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  7. Brian_Morr

    Brian_Morr Auditioning

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    Doug, really did not mean to get under anybodies skin. Just trying to make the point that a pre-configured HTPC system of the nextwave caliber will cost you about that much.

    As your link clearly shows the machine from Digital Connection is $1699 . Now you need to add a RAID controller, the 2nd 100GB drive, the MyHD PCI card < equiv. to the Telemann> the TheaterTek upgrade, Windows XP Professional, the DVD-RW drive and not to mention the all alumin top-of-line Coolermaster case.

    As you can see its well over $1900 fully configured
     
  8. Gabriel_Lam

    Gabriel_Lam Screenwriter

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    Why would you want RAID on a HTPC?
     
  9. Brian_Morr

    Brian_Morr Auditioning

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    Gabriel, your right a pure HTPC would not need a raid disk configuration. The machine Ken references above use a Raid controller with two drives because the machine will be used to record digital video via the firewire interface. So the machine has all the HTPC funcionality plus the ability to record/edit and burn SVCDs in real-time.
     
  10. Gabriel_Lam

    Gabriel_Lam Screenwriter

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    A single 7200rpm IDE disk like the WD Caviar can transfer a sustained 20mbps. I guess we would need more with uncompressed 1080p, but short of that, RAID shouldn't be necessary.
     
  11. Brian_Morr

    Brian_Morr Auditioning

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    Gab, if you look at standard DV format from a digital video camera and apply a little basic math you have something like this: 720p x 480p x24 bit/p x 29.97 frame/sec. The data rate streaming from the camera is the aprox. 32MB per second.

    Most stardard IDE controller/drive combos cannot handle these rate without droping frames due to the fact that the practical transfer limits of a single IDE drive are execeeded.

    RAID 0 will effectively increase the thruput from the controller to the drives beyond what is typically needed for real-time DV encoding.

    Now if you have enough horsepower you can compress the incoming DV data prior to writting ut to disk and thus reduce the need for faster disk access times. However you will now need to edit the video in other format(s) of uncompress the video prior to editing/creating your content.
     
  12. Gabriel_Lam

    Gabriel_Lam Screenwriter

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    Brian,

    My understanding is that DV transfers at 32 megabits (Mb) per second, or roughly 3.6 megabytes (MB) per second. This is what Canopus, ADS, Pinnacle, Avid, and many other companies say as well. This makes sense as it takes about a gig of storage for each 4.5 minutes of DV video. If it was 32 megabytes per second, a gig would only hold about 45-50 seconds of video.

    A normal modern UDMA 5400rpm drive can sustain 3.6 megabytes per second without any problems. The reason people recommend A/V rated SCSI drives is because of the large buffers and lack of thermal recalibration. Thermal recalibration causes a short pause in the writing which may cause dropped frames.

    Edit: BTW, I've personally done very little NLE (from Canon GL1 to system with 1GB of RAM and 3 15,000rpm hard drives in a RAID 0). If my info is wrong, please correct me.
     
  13. Jedd

    Jedd Second Unit

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    Well, my point was that for average HTPC you don't need all that ultra expensive stuff. And even if you do you can do it much cheaper if you DIY.
     
  14. Kenny West

    Kenny West Auditioning

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    I have after looking long and hard and taking many of your suggestions to heart decided to have them custom build for me. They have been very responsive to my questions and even posted here. Agreed I could build cheaper myself BUT.. Only by $100 to $200 at best and then have to take into consideration having to get parts from multiple suppliers (to get the best prices), assemble myself (which I know how to do) and configure. All with no warranty not to mention my time invested... I will keep all here posted on the results.
     
  15. Jedd

    Jedd Second Unit

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    Well, that's a good point. But as for me - if I didnt spend a day or two plugging in different component and tweaking bios I just don't feel computer as mine. [​IMG]
     
  16. Brian_Morr

    Brian_Morr Auditioning

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    I think you all need to look at the specifications of that machine. Price each componet and warrenty length:

    Ok, the TheaterTek = $70.00
    Abit AT7 - $148.00
    OCZ 235MB Memory = 80.00
    Plexor PX320-A CDRW/DVD = $191.00
    Matrix-Orbital = $120
    Coolmaster Case = $220
    WindowXP Pro = $160
    Telemann HiPx DTV-200 = $410
    WB 100GB 8meg Buffer x2 = $300
    Zalman Cooler = $48
    ATI 7500 = $120
    AMD XP2100 Box 3yr = $151.00
    Cables = $25.00

    Total Pricewatch Price = $2043

    How do you figure you can build this exact system for $1399.00?????? or a few hundred dollars cheaper? Sure you can use lesser quaility componets and/or remove some functionality BUT you CAN'T build it for $1399 nor is it even remotely overpriced!
     
  17. Javier_Huerta

    Javier_Huerta Supporting Actor

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    I think you are missing the point here. Check the specs on my gear.
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...threadid=86774
    It's cutting edge (actually, it *was* back in '98 [​IMG] ), but I don't need anything else for HTPC. It passes DTS, Dolby Digital. It sends a DVI signal to my projector. Processor speeds are more than enough, since the ATI board accelerates DVD playing. And I only had to buy the ATI board and the Santa Cruz one.
    A better deal than anything else out there, I might say. [​IMG]
     
  18. Kenny West

    Kenny West Auditioning

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    Maybe better for you.. BUT it is certainly not an equal to what I am having built. With that said it is up to the INDIVIDUAL person to decide what is best for THEM... [​IMG]
     
  19. Brian_Morr

    Brian_Morr Auditioning

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    Javier, YOU are missing the point. Can you build a less expensive HTPC. The answer is YES. Can you build one that has the same capabilities and quality as the one mentioned above, for that price, again, the answer is NO. Thats the point. I can build a less expensive HTPC, but it won't have the styling, functionaility or performance as the one listed above.

    How much quality and functionality an indivdual wants will vary from person to person. Ask yourself, why are some computers $3000 and others $499?
     
  20. Jedd

    Jedd Second Unit

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