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Please check my soon-to-buy HTPC specs (1 Viewer)

Steve Owen

Second Unit
Jan 7, 1999
I wanted to run this by everyone before I made any hasty purchase decisions. I'm putting together an inexpensive HPTC. I wish to use it for (in order of what I perceive as its main functions)...
  • Audio jukebox (primary use)
  • Recording/archiving video from DBS, maybe laserdisc (to burn VCDs or SVCDs on another PC on the network)
  • Recording audio from FM and DBS sources
  • Region-free DVD
  • Internet access (it will be on a network)
  • Internet streaming audio
Based on threads I've read here and on other sites, I've come up with the following components
  • Antec KS788 case: $74 (shipped, Provantage)
  • 800 MHz AMD Duron: $34 (Newegg)
  • ASUS A7V133 Motherboard: $101 (Newegg)
  • 256MB Crucial PC133: $34 (Newegg)
  • ATI Radeon VE 32MB w/TV out: $47 (Newegg)
  • IOMagic PC PVR: $49 (iomagic)
  • Maxtor 60G/5400RPM: $98 (Newegg)
  • Toshiba SD-M1612 DVD: $59 (Newegg) Don't need CD-R as I already have that capability elsewhere on the network)
  • Soundblaster Live 5.1: $32 (Newegg)
  • Hoontech SB Live III add on: $36 (hoontech) Can someone verify that this can be used with the SB Live 5.1?
  • Wireless Keyboard and Mouse: $38 (hugebee)
  • Linksys network card: $15 (Newegg)
  • Sony floppy: $9 (Newegg)
Total: $626 (remember, I said inexpensive :) ) Isn't it amazing that you can put together a pretty kick ass multimedia system for such a cheap price?
I'd like to keep the total under $700 if possible, so from this list I can upgrade a couple of things if folks think it makes sense to do so. I considered the "ATI All-In-Wonder Radeon 32MB DDR 4X AGP Video Card" ($143) instead of the ATI Radeon / IOMagic PVR combo. I could also go with a beefier CPU such as a 1GHz Athlon ($67). Are there places that I could scale back? I don't think so, as I went cheap pretty much across the board. Maybe a smaller HDD, but I'd prefer not to do that.
Any help, suggestions, comments, and criticisms would be very helpful. Also, any info on my choice of vendors would be good. Newegg seems to have a decent reputation and most of the stuff I'm buying is OEM, thus the low price.
PS, appologies to those to read the HTPC section on avsforum.com as I posted this there as well.
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Supporting Actor
Oct 25, 2000
Nice choices! I would spend a few extra $$$ and get a 7200 rpm HDD. I recently built a system with an IBM Deskstar 60GB 7200RPM 60GXP drive and it is awesome. Amazingly fast and quiet. I paid $152 in early August (OEM from Newegg) and they're now selling it for $122.
I noticed you didn't include a heatsink/fan or a case fan. They're fairly inexpensive and most do-it-yourselfers use them even if you don't overclock.
I bought the Enlight 7237 case w/300W power supply. It is on Newegg's front page for $47. Great case, well made.
You may also want to consider a Mobo that supports DDR Ram. The price of DDR is ridiculously cheap (crucial.com) and it's very fast. Applications open up in split seconds.
I bought nearly everything from Newegg and had no problems whatsoever, great vendor. I have also ordered from mwave.com with no problems (also very good prices).
Good Luck!
My baloney has a first name it's H-O-M-E-R my baloney has a second name it's H-O-M-E-R

Neil T

Jan 28, 2000
Yes the Hoontech works beautifully with the SB 5.1.
The only bad opinion is no opinion.

Eric Goldstein

Oct 10, 2001
just warning you, the live is one of the worst sound cards out there today. if you really want to treat your ears to good sound, take a look at the hercules game theater xp. if thats too much, then teh hercules fortissimo II should be right up your alley (an added plus is NO ADDON CARD REQUIRED! =D )
basically, i already posted about this on another forum, so ill just link you to the post i made. its very detailed.
if you have any further questions, PLEASE feel free to contact me through email at [email protected] or post on my forums at Link Removed
good luck with your system.
P.S. you want a QUIET hard drive for an HTPC, thats why i chose the seagate barracude IV cause its the quietest out there and is actually among the fastest.

Eric Goldstein

Oct 10, 2001
oh, by the way, my username is ELGEric in the forum post i sent you.
you can also reach me thru AIM at ELGEric. im on 24/7.
have a great day!

Sam C

Stunt Coordinator
Apr 30, 2000
I would maybe think about doing one small thing differently ... This is what I've done ... I've seen someone recommend the 7200RPM hard drive ... I recommend that as well but from a little different standpoint ... For the HTPC I'd buy a small drive (10GB or so) that runs at 5400RPM ... 5400 is going to be quiter than 7200 ... Then I'd buy the 60GB drive and put it in another machine like your editing machine ...
You say your pc's are networked so this would be good in the case someone else in the house ever wanted to listen to MP3's while you were watching a DVD ... I'm not sure if you even care about doing that though ...
"I will drop-kick those f#$%ing dogs if they come near me."
Frank T.J. Mackey ... Magnolia
[Edited last by Sam C on November 11, 2001 at 02:31 PM]

Steve Owen

Second Unit
Jan 7, 1999
Thanks for the input, Sam. Yes, I do intend to network the PCs. However, I went with the 5400 RPM / 60G (Maxtor) drive for the HTPC. I've got the 40G version in my "office" PC and it's quite quiet (ie, I can't hear it over the 7200 RPM Western Digital drive that I've got in there.
My intention is to do video capture on the HTPC, so that alone drives the huge capacity (the network wouldn't be able to handle the bandwidth). Plus, I'd like to have access to my music files w/o having to boot up the other PC on the network. I really want this to be a "stand alone" PC. I'll go off to the network when I want to load files onto the HTPC or when I want to send something to the office PC to be burned to CD.
For those interested, I went with most of the components listed in my original message. I ordered from a few places, so I'm waiting for the stuff to arrive. The two changes I made from the original list are...
I went with a Pioneer 116 DVD drive. That can be upgraded to RPC-1 (region free) via firmware. The one I had listed would be stuck in Region 1.
The other change that I made was to the video capture / TV device. I went with the Hauppauge WinTV radio (model 401). The big reason being that it has an S-Video input.
I'll be sure to write back once I start getting things together. In the meantime, if anyone has software suggestions, I'd love to hear them. I'm specifically looking for a good MP3 database program. I also plan on installing dScaler and VirtualDub for video capture.

Michael D. Bunting

Jun 9, 1999
Real Name
How is this project coming along?
I'm interested in hearing any inputs from you on how those products worked together.
Did everyhting work out wll? Any conflicts?
Let us (me) know if you can :)
I have an extra computer here in the house - and I want to make it into a HTPC!
Here is what I have:
CPU: Athon T2 1.4 Ghz (should be good enough?)
Video card: (Probably need a new one! - I need recommendations)
DVD Decoder Card: Hollywood+ (used to be a popular choice in HTPC's - not sure anymore)
RAM: Lot's off PC-100 RAM (256MB+)
Sound Card:SB Live! (Probably need a new one)
DVD/CD Drives: Toshiba DVD-ROM - Sony CD Burner
HT Components:
Denon AVR-3300
Sony KP-57HW40 HD Ready TV
Panasonic RP91 DVD player
What else do I need to complete my HTPC?
1) New Video card w/ TV-out (S-Video, Composite, or maybe even Component?)
I looked at a few ATI cards today: I really liked the ATI All In Wonder 8500 (Pictured below)It's kinda pricey at $299 - but it has a ton of features that the other cards don't have - but these may be overkill for what I need?
I noticed that this card will also allow me to do video capturing which is something I wanted on my HTPC anyway. This card will also let me use it as a TV tuner card to record live TV (kinda like TiVo does for me already) and down the road, ATI is to release an add-on cable that will allow connection to an HD Ready TV like the Sony I own now via Component cables.

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2) New sound card (Need some advice here also)
3) Video Capture card: If I went w/ the ATI AIW 8500 - I shouldn't need a seoerate Video capture card - as the 8500 has Video Capture ability.
What I'd like to be able to do with my HTPC:
1) I would like to archive home movies onto Video CD or on to DVD once I add a DVD burner to the HTPC, which I plan on doing later on when the prices drop a little more. I would also like to output video and audio from my DIRECTV receiver w/ TiVo and capture it on to my hard drive, then burn it to CD-R or DVD-R for personal use (pass on to family and friends).
2) I would like to be able to surf the web on my HTPC - and have it look good (if possible). I understand there are a few programs you need to download (Power Strip, DeScaler, etc) to really make things work well - but how complicated are these things to set up? Once you get them setup - is it automatically done each time the HTPC comes on after that? I understand I'll need a good wireless keyboard and mouse.
3) I would like to use the HTPC as a MP3 jukebox player, running into my Denon AVR-3300.
4) SOFTWARE DISPLAY: I want to be able to display programs like DVD Profiler on screen - to show of my movie collection when guests are over :) - I also want to be able to run programs like ProntoEdit for configuring my Pronto CCF file on the big screen. Games (My wife plays the heck out of "The SIMS") - so this would be a nice feature to have as well.
*** NOTE: I am not really concerned with DVD playback on the HTPC. I'll use my Panny RP91 for most DVD playback most likely.
DVD playback on my HTPC is just a bonus as far as I'm concerned. I might experiment with it a little I guess.
Lots of questions - I know :)
Any info/advice is much appreciated!

Samuel Des

Supporting Actor
Feb 7, 2001
Make sure the case comes with power supply; and don't forget your cooling fans. 80 mm? 120 mm? &c.

Gordon Moore

Second Unit
Nov 1, 2000
Sound Card: Look into the Phillips Acoustic Edge 5.1 S/PDIF is built-in along with a whole host of other features. I believe it has a Pro-Logic II -like feature that converts 2-channel into 5.1 surround. It's not as noisy as the Creative Products (which are really noisy). It's also easier on the wallet than the Game Theater XP
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