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 Post subject: New to SPCR - advice on HTPC build
PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 1:48 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 1:29 pm
Posts: 3
Location: USA
Hello everyone! I am currently using a 5+ year old PC as a makeshift HTPC and am wanting to build one from scratch. The main uses for it will be to watch recorded HD OTA through Sage TV as well as watching Hulu/Netflix streaming and things like Pandora and other internet radio stations. I've built a couple of desktop PCs before but it's been a few years. Never built an HTPC so I'm not sure if I'm heading in the right direction.

Case: nMediaPC HTPC 1000B Micro ATX Media Center Case

CPU: AMD Athlon II X2 Regor 3.0GHz 2x1MB L2 Cache Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core

Mobo: Gigabyte 785G AM3 HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard

GPU: Integrated ATI Radeon HD 4200 on the mobo. If necessary, I could also take the nVidia 8800GT from my gaming PC.

RAM: OCZ 4GB (2x2GB) DDR2 1066 RAM

HDDs: 1 for the OS drive WD 80GB 7200rpm 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Bare Drive - OEM and 1 for storage (recorded TV, music, photos, etc.) WD Caviar Green 1.5TB 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Bare Drive - OEM

PSU: PC Power and Cooling Silencer 370W ATX12V 80 PLUS Power Supply

Tuner Card: Already have a Hauppauge Win-TV HVR-1600

OS: I will be using Windows 7 Home edition when it comes out on later this month.

Will the stock heatsink/fan that comes with the CPU work well enough?

Are two hard drives necessary or should I just go with the 1.5TB drive by itself?

Will the integrated graphics be enough?

Any ideas on a silent or very quiet DVD drive? I may be getting a PS3 in the future also, so it would handle any blu-ray needs.

Does anyone have any suggestions on a keyboard mouse combo for this? I've looked at something like the diNovo mini but it gets mixed reviews and seems expensive.

Anything else I'm missing?

Sorry for all the quesitons. :D
Thanks!!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:20 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2005 1:53 pm
Posts: 1201
Location: Plymouth, MI
Does Sage cost money up front or subscription? You could just use WMC instead. Joinnnnnnn usssss....

You could probably skip the "OS" drive. A drive that small is probably old, or at the least old tech. If you're just using the computer as a media unit the Green drive should be fine.

The onboard graphics should be fine. The case looks a little busy to me, but individual preference is in the eye of the beholder. At regular DVD reading speeds no drive should be too noisy--at regular high speed (like install etc) they will be noisy.

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R.I.P. Felger Carbon & cpemma


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:09 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 4:53 pm
Posts: 2
Location: Colorado
We have built several HTPC machines.
You have a workable design in mind.
We like to use a separate drive for the OS too.
Reduces wear and tear from seeks and can be critical in HD playback.
The HVR-1600 is in several of our builds; works fine.
The HVR-2250 pcie is our choice for over-the-air digital.
The current problem with Sage, Myth, etc is getting access to an EPG source. The free Zap2It Guide is no longer free.
You might give high consideration to using Win7 Home Premium to get the Media Center solution. We have it running 4 tuners with no problem.
Quad core Phenom.
Your motherboard is probably the most important issue.
e.g. HDMI, DVI; sp/dif audio? coaxial or optical? eSata for toasters?

Good luck with the build! :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 5:51 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 1:29 pm
Posts: 3
Location: USA
Thanks for the info! :D

Sage TV is a one-time cost. I bought a bundle from them which included the software and the Hauppauge tuner card. I've never used WMC before, but it looks pretty nice, so maybe I'll give that a go. If it doesn't work out, I've always got the Sage TV to fall back on.

That 2250 tuner looks nice too! It would be nice to watch one channel and record another. I'll keep that in mind for a future upgrade.

Thanks again!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 12:49 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 1:29 pm
Posts: 3
Location: USA
Is is possible to pause live TV with WMC?


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 Post subject: Htpc MCE
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:25 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 4:53 pm
Posts: 2
Location: Colorado
Actually, you can record on one and watch live another on the HVR-1600 also. OR; record on 2 and watch an already recoded one.

Yes, Media Center is also pausable; and skippable, and rewindable.

My only issue with MCE is that it takes more "horsepower" to run it.
It has an extensive set of features it has to attend to.
We use the MCE to record Movie channels and "serve" them to an Xbox360 extender that actually is driving the TV HDMI input (amongst others).

We like Beyond-Tv (Snapstream) for all other uses.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 6:29 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2005 1:53 pm
Posts: 1201
Location: Plymouth, MI
I've been using VMC (Vista Media Center) for about a year and a half now. Been the only real use of the computer--for a year or so it was on an SD TV with dual analog tuners getting either cable or antenna. Then I had it set up with dual digital converter boxes with IR blasters after the digital switch.

I finally got an HDHomerun this summer (dual ATSC/clear-QAM network tuners!) and upgraded the system with new motherboard/cpu/video card and managed to keep my windows install in place and functional. Plus being hooked up to an HDTV. The HDHomeruns, besides being networkable (and thus available to all your PC's) are stackable--you can add as many as you like to the network. Though the cable co's will be taking away many/most/all the clear-QAM broadcasts.

Been happy with it, use a couple plugins, one removes commercials so we can record and then come back later and watch commercial free. There is a different one that will do commercial skipping in near real-time (tivo-like).

HDMI handshaking is more HDMI kick to the goods when it comes to getting things working consistently right. Urgh.

About to integrate our VMC machine with dumping Recorded TV to the new WHS (windows Home Server) box I just put together. I can't believe I'm basically turning our whole house into one "happy connected media sharing ohthejoys" MS network :P :wink:

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R.I.P. Felger Carbon & cpemma


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 27, 2010 10:25 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 9:15 am
Posts: 44
Location: USA
As far as a DVD drive goes, wouldn't it be good to just buy a cheaper drive and then use software to slow it down when watching movies?

EDIT - I also have an nMediaPC HTPC case and I haven't been that impressed with it in terms of build quality. If you can spare a few bucks more I would recommend picking something else up if the case will be visible in the room and you don't mind spending a bit more on style.


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