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mattwalter85

HTPC Build, need advice

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Hey guys, long time no talk. I've been super busy and haven't had any time at all really to get on here and post. Anyway I'm wanting to build my first HTPC but I need some advice on a couple of things. I have pretty much all the hardware picked out so far that I think will be sufficient but I want you guys' advice. The only thing I'm really not sure of is which video card to go with. It's going to be hooked to a 52" Sony Bravia XBR 240HZ so I wanna make sure it'll be able to push it fine. I already have a Sony Blu-Ray drive for the pc and a asus xonar 7.1 sound card so I have those covered but will be needing everything else. Below is what i've picked out so far. I'm open to all advice on chances that should be made tho being this if the first one i've ever built and also i will need advice on which video card I should get taht will be adequate. I'm also not sure if i should get a tv tuner for it or just use the one in the television..... Thanks again guys.

 

Case- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16811163076

 

Power Supply- PCP&C 500w http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16817703015

 

Motherboard- ASUS P5Q3 Deluxe w/ Wi-fi http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16813131298

 

Processor- Intel E8400 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16819115037

 

Memory- OCZ Platinum DDR3 1600 2x2gb http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16820227297

 

(2) hard drive's- Samsung spinpoint 1tb for Raid 1 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16822152102

 

ok guys thats what i've got so far. let me know what you think and plz recommend a good vid card and if u got any info about the tv tuner thing let me know about that too. thanks again.

 

Matt.

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I think the biggest question is how do you plan to use this thing? For example, I have two HTPCs, but I just use them to stream TV shows and movies from a central storage PC to my TVs. I don't play any games, so they really don't need big graphics cards. In fact, I've been seriously considering moving them up to AM2+ builds with onboard video because that's all they need and it'd simplify the build plus reduce energy use and heat. On the other hand, if you plan to game on your HTPC, then obviously an old video card or onboard is NOT going to cut it. So that's something we need to know in order to determine video card suggestions.

 

Then on the TV Tuner card topic, again it's a question of how you plan to use it. With a TV Tuner card you can set your HTPC up to act as a Tivo and record your shows for you to watch later. If that's not of interest to you, then you need to decide if you're OK with switching back and forth between the cable input on the TV for cable shows and the PC input for HTPC stuff. Not a big deal, but some people would rather have the TV Tuner card so that they can watch TV through their HTPC and kind of have it be a "one stop shop" setup.

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yeah thats kinda what i'd like to do is be able to record anything if i ever wanted to thats on tv and as far as the gaming i wont be doing ANY with the htpc just for storing movies/music and watching them i was thinking maybe a gts 250 or that might be a lil too much i just wanna make sure it'll be able to push my tv to its limits

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Honestly, a 250GTX is mega overkill. If you're not -rendering- graphics you really don't need much of a video card. My 2 HTPCs have an ATi 3450 and an 8500GT, just to give you an idea. Like I said, I'm seriously considering going to onboard video if I upgrade them to AM2+ internals. For just straight playback, you really don't need much graphics muscle at all.

 

As for the TV Tuner card, sounds like you'll be needing one for sure then. I'd stick to the Hauppauge cards for the most part because they're recognized by so many different HTPC softwares.

 

Finally, if your HTPC is going to end up in an entertainment center where it doesn't get great ventilation, that's all the more reason to go easy on the video card. Plus, you could consider sticking those disks in another PC in your house and just streaming the content you want over the network. However, if your HTPC will be in a spot where you get good ventilation, that shouldn't be much of a problem and it'd probably be easier to just have them right onboard.

 

EDIT###

feedfats squeezed in before me, but I totally agree. Drop DDR3 because there's no need, and seriously consider something with onboard graphics. That's all you'll need anyways and you'll still have the ability to add a dedicated card later if you need to. HTPCs really don't need to be very beefy if you're not playing games on them.

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From the other topic:

If you were going for a HTPC, I would say skip the whole HTPC and buy something like a Popcorn Hour or Mvix Ultio (MX-800HD).

 

These little boxes have a lot of functionality and probably are way cheaper than any HTPC your going to build.

This would be a good option if you aren't looking for a DVR and just something to play movies on your TV. It also has a built in *Bit-torrent cilent* as well as streaming support from Youtube, Hulu, Revision, and etc. A lot of functionally.

 

I plan to get a Mvix Ultio 800HD myself and retire my PS3 from streaming over videos.

Edited by Krazyxazn

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I just run a HD3650 for my HTPC and it does a great job going to my 47" LCD TV. I have a tuner card as well but don't like the pic from it when it runs threw the PC to the TV so it's mainly used to record.

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if i did go with a am2+ setup with on board hdmi it would be enough to play movies on my 52" sony?

 

 

Yup... just find a mobo that has at least half decent onboard video

 

and worst case scenario you can always add a card later but you wont need to

Edited by feetfats

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if i did go with a am2+ setup with on board hdmi it would be enough to play movies on my 52" sony?

Yes. People always get all worked up about the size of their TV. 37"... 42"... 52"... 60"... 75"... it doesn't matter. They all run 1080p so the performance needed for your 52" 1080p is the same as a 22" monitor at 1920x1080. But the point is that the video card is only necessary if you're rendering graphics. But you're not, you're just playing back pre-recorded video. That doesn't take video performance at all. I'm telling you from first hand experience. I'm running my HTPCs on a 3450 and an 8500gt. Most onboard video cards today are better than that.

 

As I have said many times, I highly recommend an AM2+ board with onboard HDMI. Simple, less heat, less power, and still has a PCIe slot if you ever need more.

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ok so i guess my next question is wats a good smaller power supply or should i stick with the 500w PCP&C one? and should i get a dual core amd chip or just get a phenomx4?

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for an HTPC you dont need big and bad...

 

you just need a rig...and a very simple rig at that...my rig does 1080p without a hitch and here is what I have...

 

Biostar Tforce 550 with a Brisbane 4000+ X2 @ 2.1ghz (1.2v)

 

2 gig of ram (ddr2-800)

 

GeForce 6600gt video card

 

Ultra 400Watt PSU

 

Seagate 80gig Sata II

 

this does very good for the family...does blue ray fine and 1080p without a glitch...

 

I did update the card a little while back to a Power color 4830 but that was only because the card had HDMI capability....other than that it is major over kill...

 

VLC media player does well in XP and in Windows 7 I use WMC...

 

you dont need anything special for an HTPC unless you use it for more than that...

 

for PVR/DVR I use a 25.00 Encore TV/TNL-FM Tuner card...does Hi-Def and is super clear...and records any format for any lenght of time...

 

best part is i can underclock the CPU and under volt it as you dont need a monster CPU for watching movies....

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