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HTPC HTPC Build advise

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by simonsullivan1, 18 May 2010.

  1. simonsullivan1

    simonsullivan1 New to this

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    I am desperate to build a HTPC and have been thinking about it since I build my first PC two years ago. As recommend by Mystiik 'READ THIS FIRST: Build Advice threads - how to post them!' here is the basic information;

    Budget: up to £650-£750 for the total build

    Main uses of intended build: Watching Blu-ray and DVD as well as BBC iPlayer

    Parts required: Case, motherboard, graphics card (depends whether or not on board graphics are opted for), processor, power supply, fans, the works basically.


    Monitor resolution: KDL40Z5800

    Storage requirements: Looking at a 1.5TB

    Wont be overclocking

    Extra information about desired system: I will be hooking the system into a Sony DH800 Amp. I would like to do this by connecting it with a HDMI cable and then from the amp up to the TV. My only concern is the audio output through the HDMI. I want the best possible audio output.

    I've looked at a lot of cases but I have decided on the Zalman HD 503 case and will be using an Intel E6750 with 4GB RAM.

    The advise I'm looking for most is on whether to get a motherboard with on board graphics or to use a dedicated graphics cards. At the moment I'm leaning towards on board graphics but I need someone in the know who can guide me on HDMI out put and audio output from such motherboards.

    One other thing is it has to have quietness in mind, I really want this unit to be as quiet as possible and I'll pay a little extra to achieve it!

    I look forward to any help offered, you guys on here really seem to know what you're talking about.

    Cheers
     
  2. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    Try something along the lines of a Core i3-530 and H55 motherboard as your base. For hard drive - try a WD Green to keep it quiet, but I would suggest a cheap SSD as a boot drive so it only fires up the hard drive when you need something from it.

    Or, 45W AMD Athlon CPU, AM3 motherboard with a Radeon HD 5450. Passively cooled, latest HDMI support as well :)
     
  3. simonsullivan1

    simonsullivan1 New to this

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    Hi Bindibadgi, thanks for replying

    That does look like a good option to go for but am I right in thinking that its DDR3 RAM I'd need for that sort of set up. Its just I have an E6750 and 4GB of Corsair DDR2 that I could make use of. I've been looking at the Asus P5QEM board. What do you think? Would going for the i3 and DDR3 option give me better video and audio?
     
  4. yakyb

    yakyb i hate the person above me

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    sorry do you have the CPU and Ram already?
    if thats the budget and you have a e6750 i would push to get

    the case you want
    some p35 Mobo
    a 5770
    and a quiet psu like the corsair 650W

    should be only half the budget
     
  5. adam_bagpuss

    adam_bagpuss Have you tried turning it off/on ?

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    bit over kill yakyb dont ya think

    get a m-atx P31/G31 board. gigabyte G31m-es2l is nice little board.

    a 400W PSU is more than enough maybe a coolermaster extreme 400W or a bequiet 400W ive seen cheap recently.

    graphics i was thinking a 5450 that has HDMI output and HDCP http://www.ebuyer.com/product/191533

    it passively cooled as well

    no it will make no difference at all as video playback is a minimal task for a PC so any dedicated GPU with a modern CPU is fine

    i guess the only difference would be intel clearvideo technology although ati has AVIVO HD which is very similar
     
  6. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    If you already have the E6750/4GB then see Adam's suggestion above: G31 motherboard + Radeon HD 5450 is your best option.

    Underclock and try to gently lower the voltage of that 6750 because you don't need all that performance either. It will lower your temperatures and mean you can use a quieter fan. Some CPUs dont like undervolting though, depends if you're lucky.

    Any modern video playback software should use the graphics card's video acceleration function, so you don't need as much CPU.
     
  7. yakyb

    yakyb i hate the person above me

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    no not really i was matching to his budget

    my htpc is as listed in my sig and is fantastic for Pro evo, Just Cause 2 or some ps1 emulation on the 'Big telly'

    when combined with a number of 360 controllers
     
  8. simonsullivan1

    simonsullivan1 New to this

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    Thanks for the reply guys, I do indeed have the Ram and Processor left over, and I like the idea of passive cooling on the graphics card suggested by adam_bagpuss.

    I've noticed that the recommendations seem to be leaning towards a dedicated graphics card, can I ask the main reason for this? Is it a performance benefit over on board or something else?
     
  9. adam_bagpuss

    adam_bagpuss Have you tried turning it off/on ?

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    onboard especially older skt 775 graphics struggle with HD1080p playback.

    plus they dont support HDCP so no blu-ray etc
     
  10. simonsullivan1

    simonsullivan1 New to this

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    Well that makes perfect sense, thank you. Am I right in thinking then that the XFX HD 5450 512MB will output sound through its HDMI and if so is it full HD audio?

    I know it sound picky but I really want the sound to be as good as it can be.
     
  11. adam_bagpuss

    adam_bagpuss Have you tried turning it off/on ?

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    it supports:

    HDMI 1.3a with Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio
     
  12. simonsullivan1

    simonsullivan1 New to this

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    Okay so its looking like this at the moment:

    Case:Zalman HD 503

    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-G31M

    Processor: E6750

    RAM: 4GB Corsair DDR2

    Graphics Card: XFX HD 5450

    Hard Drive: 1.5TB Samsung HD154UI Spinpoint F2 DT EcoGreen

    Already have a Blu-ray Optical Drive

    Power Supply:Thermaltake Toughpower 1000A (I know this is overkill but I already have it so might as well use it I guess)

    Unkowns:
    CPU Fan - Needs to be very quiet
    SSD: I really like the idea of having this with the OS on it to again reduce the noise but I have no idea about them or what to take into consideration when buying one - need help!!!:worried:
    Plus anything else I've missed
     
  13. yakyb

    yakyb i hate the person above me

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    looks fairly solid

    XBMC benefits greatly from a SSD the Intel M range should probably be fine for you although there are people who know a whole lot more about SSD's than me.
    (would really like three @~40GB, however still not getting one until prices fall )

    I was going to recommend that you get a separate OS drive before you mentioned the SSD so if you end up not getting one i would still advise a separate small os drive
     
  14. Tanacel

    Tanacel New Member

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    I went for an amd and a mini atx 785g board for my HTPC - all in all did the lot for £500 and its very reasonable with Blu ray playback - being skt AM3, gives me room to boost the performance a little in the future. Just put 4gig ram in it and give 512 over to the graphics

    Those nice chaps at scan again....

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/AMD-...Core-Socket-AM3-28GHz-2MB-L2-Cache-65W-Retail

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Giga...-1066-1333-1800-SATA-3Gb-s-RAID-Micro-ATX-VGA

    Bit tech also did a review of the board which got good marks

    http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/motherboards/2009/08/04/gigabyte-ga-ma785gmt-ud2h-review/1

    Save the pennies for all the Blu ray movies!
     
  15. simonsullivan1

    simonsullivan1 New to this

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    I think I might give the SSD a miss for the time being, really want to get this thing off the ground as soon as possible.

    I was wondering what the benefits would be if I did go for a small OS HDD?

    You're right there but with everything set up and achieving what I hope to achieve, it'll be well worth it :D
     
  16. thewelshbrummie

    thewelshbrummie Active Member

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    If it helps I'm using a 1.5TB Samsung EcoGreen in my HTPC as both boot and storage, and it's been faultless recording 2 TV shows at once at the same time as playing a Blu-Ray disc.

    But I can see the argument for an SSD boot drive - my HTPC takes about 2 mins to boot to the MCE menu, though I've installed a fair few extras on top of a vanilla Win7 HP 64bit install (drivers for my TV card remote, case VFD and motherboard, PowerDVD 9 for Blu-Ray playback within MCE & my usual maintenance apps (AVG, Spybot and CCleaner).

    Note that I'm running the Core i3 530 as in my sig - but I've dropped the multiplier from 22 to 19 for a speed of 2.53GHz (down from 2.93) to keep the temps down to 60 until I can get a new cooler. And the RAM is underclocked from 1600MHz to 1066MHz.

    It's solid enough, if a bit slow to boot.
     
  17. varkanoid

    varkanoid Professional Dribbler

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    just be mindful of the E6750 is a 65nm cpu so is not the coolest of CPU's and one of the biggest issues with a media PC is noise.
     
  18. simonsullivan1

    simonsullivan1 New to this

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    Thanks for the info 'thewelshbrummie', it seams like a good option to go for that HDD then but I was just wondering what the sound levels are like.

    This really is my second main issue after playback and sound quality. I want the unit to be as quiet as possible, the power supply I've got is quiet, I'm using a passive graphics card and I'll be getting a new CPU cooler that is also quiet.

    Can you advise on your system and whether or not you think the Samsung HDD would do the trick.

    Thanks
     
  19. yakyb

    yakyb i hate the person above me

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    the main benefit would be risk against losing your data, i presume the 1.5tb will house movies / tv/mp3 /photos

    if for whatever reason you needed to reinstall it would be alot easier to reinstall onto a seperate os drive than a partition on the storage drive

    i think with storage being so cheap now a days a general rule of them is to keep os and storage seperate.

    there are also benefits in being able to set up clean folder structures on a completely separate drive
     

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