Building my first HTPC, Suggestions Appreciated (1 Viewer)

Neumahn

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Hello,

I am building my first HTPC. I have assembled PCs before but never a HTPC. I live in California and plan to use it for over the air broadcast ATSC both Live and DVR, Ripped and Downloaded Music, Movies, Photos as well as watching Blu-Ray and DVD movies. I would also like to access Netflix and Hulu. I also would like to be able to play GTA IV occasionally. I spent some time researching it on the AVS Forum (Intel/Intel ATX High-End) and I saw a gentleman, ZeeBOBNZ, from New Zealand's videos of his Zalman HTPC running MediaPortal and decided to go for it. Here is what I ordered:

* 1 x Western Digital WD20EADS 2TB SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive - OEM
* 1 x Intel Core 2 Quad Q8300 2.5GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80580Q8300 - Retail
* 1 x GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
* 1 x Hauppauge WinTV-HVR 1800 MCE Kit 1128 PCI-Express x1 Interface - Retail
* 1 x RiDATA 25GB 2X BD-R(Blu-ray) Single Disc - OEM
* 1 x Western Digital Caviar GP WD7500AACS 750GB 5400 to 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive - OEM
* 1 x ZALMAN Black Aluminum HD160XT Plus ATX Media Center / HTPC Case - Retail
* 1 x HIS Hightech H485QT512P Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready
CrossFire Supported IceQ4 Turbo Video Card - Retail
* 1 x LG Black 6X Blu-ray Disc Burner & HD DVD-ROM Drive SATA Model GGW-H20L - OEM
* 1 x ASUS Xonar D2 7.1 Channels PCI Interface Ultra Fidelity Sound Card with Complete Dolby/DTS Sound
Technologies - Retail
* 1 x Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM
* 1 x ADATA 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin PC2-6400 DDR2 800MHz Dual Channel Unbuffered-DIMM Non-ECC Memory
* 1 x Zalman CNPS9500A LED CPU Cooling Fan - Socket 478, 775, 754, 939, 940, AM2
* 1 x Logitech diNovo Mini
* 1 x Corsair CMPSU-850TX 850-Watt TX Series 80 Plus Certified Power Supply
* 1 x Windows Vista Ultimate with SP1 64-bit for System Builders
I recently had my circa 1993 Hitachi 55 inch Ultravision SD projection TV die so I just bought a Samsung Luxia 55UNB7000.

I was considering using MCE but now that I found MediaPortal it looks like a better option but i am just not sure if it does everthing I need. I am also not sure if all of my hardware is completely compatible with it. It is also possible I made some mistakes in what I ordered, if so I would appreciate someone pointing that out to me. I plan on using the smaller HD for software and operating system and the larger one (first of many) for media. Does anyone know if the Tuner card I bought can be used with a single antenna to get two ATSC DT stations at the same time? I would like the ability to record two stations simultaneously.

Again, thank you so much for your input in advance!!!

-Neumahn:D
 

joz

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First off, why the heck are you buying a gaud core CPU for a HTPC?
It uses more power, more expensive and the cores are most likely idling all the time. If you want performance I would go with a E8xxx range because of the power consumption diff.
In my opnion AMD is the best HTPC solution; X-2 5050E is really power efficient, also compared to intel. Because AMD has the memory controller integrated within the cpu. That also makes the motherboards cheaper.
Second I would consider a ATi 4770 becuase of the lower power usage and almost same performance.
 

happy

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    i have to agree with joz, thats more a gaming pc than a htpc, you should do some more research, efficiency is what your looking for with a htpc, have a look in my sig, not exactly a power house but plays my HD content and when mum pays the power bill she doesnt notice its on there
     

    dcwp

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    Since money doesn't seem to be a major constraint with this build, I'd spend a few bucks on a Nexus Real Silent 120mm fan for exhaust cooling. Particularly if you go with that quad core processor, you'll be glad you have a quiet and powerful cooling system. Nothing worse than spending a ton of time and money on a new system with killer sound and video only to have that constant hum and whir coming from the PC itself.

    Personally I'd also think about isolating the hard drives with suspension or aftermarket isolation boxes to keep their noise down. Those WD GP drives will be pretty quiet, but you'll still hear seek noise without isolation.

    Regarding drives, your 750 Gb drive will be far beyond what you need for a system drive, you'll have around 700 Gb left over for storage if you want it. I'd recommend partitioning it to keep system files separate. Right now I'm on a single drive system and I've got a 1.5Tb drive partitioned with 80Gb for system and the remainder as storage. Honestly though the system partition is less than half full.

    The other option that I would consider if I could afford it would be a Solid State Drive for system files. A small SSD is still pricey, but they're getting reasonable. With a 64Gb SSD, you would have way more than enough room for system files, plus total silence, no heat, and the fastest read times available right now. If you got one of those instead of the 750Gb drive, you'd notice the difference in heat, noise, and speed (from what I've read, the WD drives never actually spin up to 7200RPM so you should consider it a 5400RPM drive permanently). You might notice the missing 700Gb, but if you're planning to add storage drives later anyway, this may not matter.
     

    joz

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    dcwp:

    about your last bit, the SSD, I totally agree.
    I use a 30GB SSD drive for me desktop's main OS and programs drive. It's more than enough and incredibly fast. I still have 10GB left, running xp and pretty large programs such as; visual studio, netbeans, mediaportal, office, photoshop etc.
    Vista uses a lot more space, so you should consider that but 30GB is really, really enough for XP usage, especially HTPC usage.
    I use a 30GB vertex myself. If you're buying a (OCZ) SSD pay attention to benchmarks please. The first generations had huge issues with the controller.
     

    Gixxer

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    i cant understand either why put a quad core and 4gb of ram for a htpc.

    u say u may be playing a game sometimes, but still i think its overkilled.

    btw, are there 2tb drives already in the market? wow !!!
     

    Neumahn

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    Thanks for your inputs. I think an SSD drive might be a great way to go for the OS and Programs. I have sent the copy of Vista back along with the Hauppauge tuner card. Instead I downloaded Windows 7 RC last night and bought a SiliconDust HDHomerun box that will stream two channels of HD over my Ethernet. This box is compatible with more software options than the Hauppauge card was. I think I will upgrade to the SSD card when this copy of Windows 7 expires and I need to do a new install sometime next year. By then the prices on the SSD cards should be more reasonable.

    I ordered a Clearstream C4 antenna today and canceled my DirecTV!

    I was going to use Windows Media Center but I have been looking at a few other options like MediaPortal. Does anyone have any good suggestions? I really like the skinning ability of MediaPortal but I am just not sure if it is going to be as capable at WMC. I looked at XBMC but was surprised that it did not seem to offer DVR capabilities.

    Thanks,

    Neumahn
     

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