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 Post subject: Silent HTPC @ 1500$
PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 12:08 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2006 11:52 am
Posts: 6
I've started thinking about building myself a HTPC, and it is (of course) important that it is as silent as I can possibly make it with my 1500$ budget. I will use it for movies, music and TV (pvr). I'm no gamer, and I suspect I will never be :-)

The components I have dug up until now are as follows:
AMD Athlon 64 3200+ "Venice"
Asus A8N-E
Asus GeForce 6600GT 256MB Silencer
Corsair Value Select DDR400 1024 MB (2x512)
Hauppauge WinTV PVR500MCE
Microsoft Remote Keyboard for Windows XP Media Center Edition
Nec ND-4551
Samsung SpinPoint P120 250 GB S-ATA
Seasonic S12 380W
Silverstone SST-LC17
Zalman CNPS9500LED

What do you think about this? Any suggested changes to make it more silent (or any other suggestions)?

I was thinking about going for a Pentium M or an Intel Core Duo T2300 cpu, but they are more expensive, and it's hard to find any motherboards...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 12:19 pm 
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Location: Berlin
The CNPS9500 is not what you're looking at if you're looking for silence.

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 Post subject: Re: Silent HTPC @ 1500$
PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 12:36 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2005 5:44 pm
Posts: 317
Location: Earth
Ayabara wrote:
Samsung SpinPoint P120 250 GB S-ATA


It’s noisier than the 160GB version; also I found Samsung P120 SATA drives to be nosier than the PATA.


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 Post subject: Re: Silent HTPC @ 1500$
PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 12:37 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 2:21 pm
Posts: 544
Location: NYC, NY
Ayabara wrote:
I've started thinking about building myself a HTPC, and it is (of course) important that it is as silent as I can possibly make it with my 1500$ budget. I will use it for movies, music and TV (pvr). I'm no gamer, and I suspect I will never be :-)


Will you re-encode TV programs to DivX for archiving purposes, thus shrink down the size of the media file? Will you be encoding your DVDs to DivX so that all your movies will be in the HTPC while your DVD are stored away in prestine condition? Any heavy multi-tasking like doing mp3 and DivX encoding at the same time? What about HDTV? Recording shouldn't be a problem, but converting that content to DivX will be.

For video playback, you are better off with the Radeon X1xxx series. nVidia has PureVideo, but it is only taken advantage in specific programs like Windows Media Player. PowerDVD may use PureVideo to playback media onto your TV, then again it may not. PureVideo is an additional software that you need to purchase; $20 - $40.

The Radeon X1xxx needs no additional software purchase or hardware add on for video playback acceleration. Technically speaking ATI wipes the floor with nVidia when it comes to video playback. Subjectively speaking, most people would say that ATI is better in terms of color, jagged lines, video consistancy, etc. I believe nVidia provides sharper images. I'm not looking to upgrade my HTPC yet since I need to upgrade my primary PC first. But you should do your research on video playback and quality between ATI, and nVidia. You may get conflicting opinion, but remember it is based on what your eyes can see, so it is subjective.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 8:55 pm 
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Posts: 757
Location: EARTH.
Ditto on the above comments.

You'd be better of with a Radeon x1300 (several fanless versions) or a Radeon x1600 (asus makes a passive version, but it's pricy). The x1300 consumes about 31W at load, and the x1600 about 42. The 6600GT uses about 48, so both of the ATI cards are probably better suited for low airflow situations.

I think I'd go with an X1300 (regular version). They're cheap enough that it's probably not as difficult of a descision as well.

Lastly, I'd also consider getting a larger hard drive (or setting up a RAID-0 array, if you care about your media). I have a 250 GB drive on my single tuner HTPC, and it's completely full.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 11:54 pm 
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Thanks for the replies!!

Quote:
Will you re-encode TV programs to DivX for archiving purposes, thus shrink down the size of the media file? Will you be encoding your DVDs to DivX so that all your movies will be in the HTPC while your DVD are stored away in prestine condition? Any heavy multi-tasking like doing mp3 and DivX encoding at the same time? What about HDTV? Recording shouldn't be a problem, but converting that content to DivX will be.


I had not given this a thought, but now I have... I think I would want to encode my DVDs and store them in the HTPC. Not sure if I will archive much TV. Anyway I don't think that I will have to multitask mp3 and DivX-enc. I can be without entertainment when I do stuff like that :-) I am prepared for an upgrade when I need HDTV capabilities, but here in Norway I don't think we will see much HDTV in a couple of years.

I'm considering Linux and MythTV, and I haven't heard many nice things about ATI's linux support. Anoyone else have any experience with this? I think I will go for the X1300 anyway. (contradicting myself, but what the hey ;-) )

Any large, silent harddrives to recommend? If I decide to encode my DVDs, I think I will need all the space I can get...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 7:52 am 
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Posts: 544
Location: NYC, NY
Ayabara wrote:
I had not given this a thought, but now I have... I think I would want to encode my DVDs and store them in the HTPC.


The A64 3200 will be fine, since you will not be encoding HDTV content since the resolution is 7x larger than SDTV in, at least in the US.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 8:36 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2006 11:52 am
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Quote:
The CNPS9500 is not what you're looking at if you're looking for silence.


I will go with the A64 3200 then, but what cooling should I get? Would I be better off with something from Arctic Cooling, or should I get another Zalman.

For graphics, I added the Sapphire Radeon X1300 Pro 256 MB to my setup, instead of the nvidia card. Is this card okay?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 9:40 am 
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Posts: 544
Location: NYC, NY
Well, the standard answer would be the Scythe Ninja, but that's too big for your case. I think the Scythe KATANA should fit your case, just double check the dimensions. I believes it stands 113mm tall.

If that's too big you can try theARCTIC COOLING ACS64U it should be small enough.

The X1300 is a good choice. Based on the technicals it is superior to nVidia. But video is subjective and most people would agree that the X1300 is superior to anything nVidia has. ATI cards tends to have better color, consistency, and tones. nVidia cards tends to be slightly sharper, but overall quality fall in ATI's court.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 10:22 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2006 11:52 am
Posts: 6
A friend of mine suggests that I should go for P4 instead of AMD. He suggested the following setup:

Hauppage! WinTV-PVR 500MCE
Silverstone SST-LC03 Silver kabinett
NorthQ 400W Silent ATX
Strømkabel 2 M m/jord
ASUS P5PL2 S775, GBlan, SATA2, SoudMax soundsystem, DDR2,PCI-Express
Maxtor MaXlLine 3 250GB SATA2 16MB Cache 7200RPM
Intel Pentium 4 630 3.0Ghz S775 2MB Boxed
XFX GeForce 6600GT 256MB DDR3 PCI-Express
NEC DVD-brenner ND-4551A m/Labelflash
Corsair Value S PC3200 1024MB(2x512MB)
Artic cooling freezer 7 Pro CPU kjøler
Artic cooling vga silencer NV6
Nexus DiskTwin, stop HD vibration

There's too much to choose from!!!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 10:33 am 
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Posts: 477
Location: Puget Sound, WA
Ayabara wrote:
A friend of mine suggests that I should go for P4 instead of AMD. He suggested the following setup:

Hauppage! WinTV-PVR 500MCE
Silverstone SST-LC03 Silver kabinett
NorthQ 400W Silent ATX
Strømkabel 2 M m/jord
ASUS P5PL2 S775, GBlan, SATA2, SoudMax soundsystem, DDR2,PCI-Express
Maxtor MaXlLine 3 250GB SATA2 16MB Cache 7200RPM
Intel Pentium 4 630 3.0Ghz S775 2MB Boxed
XFX GeForce 6600GT 256MB DDR3 PCI-Express
NEC DVD-brenner ND-4551A m/Labelflash
Corsair Value S PC3200 1024MB(2x512MB)
Artic cooling freezer 7 Pro CPU kjøler
Artic cooling vga silencer NV6
Nexus DiskTwin, stop HD vibration

There's too much to choose from!!!


That'll be harder to keep quiet as the P4 runs quite a bit hotter than the 3200+.

-Derek

_________________
Desktop: Antec P150|Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3R|Intel Xeon E3110|2x2048MB PC8500|HR-01|eVGA 8800GT SC|HR-03 GT|Scythe PWM 120mm|Scythe PWM 92mm|WD5000AAKS|Seasonic SS400-HT
HTPC: OrigenAE X11|Intel DG45ID|Intel E8400|2x2048MB PC6400|Scythe Big Shuriken|ATI HD4550|2xATI DCT|80mm Nexus|2TB WD 3.5" SATA + 100GB Seagate 2.5" SATA|NeoHE 430


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 10:40 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 2:21 pm
Posts: 544
Location: NYC, NY
Ayabara wrote:
A friend of mine suggests that I should go for P4 instead of AMD.


Since you are going for a single core CPU and will be doing video capture/encode I agree that you should get the Pentium 4. If you were to go for dual core AMD would beat Intel while doing capture/encode.

The Intel your friend recommend is based on the 90nm Pentium 4. That thing runs hot. I don't care how good at encoding it is, that thing runs hot!!!!

Instead, go for the Intel Pentium 4 631 Cedar Mill. It runs at the same speed and uses the 65nm core. It may cost around $5 - $10 more, but the heat reduction is well worth it.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 11:20 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2006 11:52 am
Posts: 6
P4 is the one I'll go with then, and I might change to the 631. The final setup (I hope) will then be:

Hauppage! WinTV-PVR 500MCE
Silverstone SST-LC03 cabinet
Seasonic S12 380W psu
Strømkabel 4 M m/jord
ASUS P5PL2 S775, GBlan, SATA2, SoudMax , DDR2,PCI-Express
Samsung SpinPoint P120S 250GB SATA2 8MB 7200RPM
Intel Pentium 4 630 3.0Ghz S775 2MB Boxed
XFX GeForce 6600GT 256MB OR Sapphire X1300
NEC DVD-brenner ND-4551A w/Labelflash
Corsair Value S PC3200 1024MB(2x512MB)
Artic cooling freezer 7 Pro CPU kjøler
Artic cooling vga silencer NV6
Nexus DiskTwin

Does this seem okay, or should I change anything. Speak now or forever hold your peace ;-)

Once again, thanks for all helpful comments!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 8:34 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2005 8:58 pm
Posts: 561
Ayabara wrote:
P4 is the one I'll go with then, and I might change to the 631. The final setup (I hope) will then be:

Hauppage! WinTV-PVR 500MCE
Silverstone SST-LC03 cabinet
Seasonic S12 380W psu
Strømkabel 4 M m/jord
ASUS P5PL2 S775, GBlan, SATA2, SoudMax , DDR2,PCI-Express
Samsung SpinPoint P120S 250GB SATA2 8MB 7200RPM
Intel Pentium 4 630 3.0Ghz S775 2MB Boxed
XFX GeForce 6600GT 256MB OR Sapphire X1300
NEC DVD-brenner ND-4551A w/Labelflash
Corsair Value S PC3200 1024MB(2x512MB)
Artic cooling freezer 7 Pro CPU kjøler
Artic cooling vga silencer NV6
Nexus DiskTwin

Does this seem okay, or should I change anything. Speak now or forever hold your peace ;-)

Once again, thanks for all helpful comments!


Hauppauge cards are hot; if you don't need dual tuners I suggest you get one of the external USB2 ones instead. In addition to being easier to set up and troubleshoot, it doesn't dump a ton of heat inside your case.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 8:53 pm 
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Posts: 1008
Location: San Jose, California
Mar? What the heck are you talking about? The Hauppauge cards don't even have heatsinks. They do not get hot at all. Keep yours away from your 6800 Ultra if you think it gets hot!

You might consider the P4 805. It is a dual core p4 that runs at 2.66Ghz for $130-$150. Cheapest dual core available and you get the multitasking you need. The p4 does well with encoding tasks and it seems to run cool enough to undervolt the stock intel cooler (i would not recomend the stock cooler for anything but a paper weight). It also undervolts well to lower the power output making it easier to cool.

Here is a thread:
http://forums.silentpcreview.com/viewtopic.php?t=29588&highlight=

Also, if you are not a gamer get the regular 6600 not the GT, or get the x1300. If you want to use linux though most would suggest the 6600.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 9:14 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 11:00 am
Posts: 477
Location: Puget Sound, WA
If you are doing analog TV capture, then the PowerColor T55P03 Theater 550 PRO TV Tuner (essentially the same as the ATI TV Wonder Elite) is the best of the analog PVR cards in terms of price/performance. I'm actually using the ATI version and it completely crushes any of the Hauppauge offerings in terms of image and color quality. It's especially noticable in sports (especially NFL & NBA games) where there is a lot of rapid motion.

The down side is that it doesn't come with any software - you are pretty much locked in to Windows XP Media Center 2005. Of course, IMHO, that isn't necessarily a bad thing. :)

And, FWIW, I have no performance problems whatsoever with the following running MCE2005 (now if only they'd release the USB cablecard tuners):

- Sempron 3300+
- Gigabyte K8S760M board
- 1024MB Corsair PC3200 RAM
- Gigabyte Radeon 9600XT 128
- ATI TV Wonder Elite
- Seasonic S12-330

You should be fine with the hardware you originally suggested.

-Derek

_________________
Desktop: Antec P150|Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3R|Intel Xeon E3110|2x2048MB PC8500|HR-01|eVGA 8800GT SC|HR-03 GT|Scythe PWM 120mm|Scythe PWM 92mm|WD5000AAKS|Seasonic SS400-HT
HTPC: OrigenAE X11|Intel DG45ID|Intel E8400|2x2048MB PC6400|Scythe Big Shuriken|ATI HD4550|2xATI DCT|80mm Nexus|2TB WD 3.5" SATA + 100GB Seagate 2.5" SATA|NeoHE 430


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 Post subject: Re: Silent HTPC @ 1500$
PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 4:58 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2006 11:28 am
Posts: 8
Ayabara wrote:
The components I have dug up until now are as follows:
AMD Athlon 64 3200+ "Venice"
Asus A8N-E
Asus GeForce 6600GT 256MB Silencer
Corsair Value Select DDR400 1024 MB (2x512)
Hauppauge WinTV PVR500MCE
Microsoft Remote Keyboard for Windows XP Media Center Edition
Nec ND-4551
Samsung SpinPoint P120 250 GB S-ATA
Seasonic S12 380W
Silverstone SST-LC17
Zalman CNPS9500LED

What do you think about this? Any suggested changes to make it more silent (or any other suggestions)?


That setup is similar to the HTPC I'm running. I have the full specs and some pictures of it in this thread: http://forums.silentpcreview.com/viewtopic.php?t=29733

My only suggestion is to pick a motherboard with a fanless chipset heatsink. Though, you could replace the MB chipset fan on the Asus A8N-E with a Zalman HS.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 11:06 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2006 11:52 am
Posts: 6
Thanks for all the replies! For some reason I did not get email notification, so I didn't read the until now...

I'm not sure wether to go for P4 or AMD anymore. The most important thing is that it is silent. You say that the "basic" P4 I suggested gets hot, and both another P4 and a P4 dual core are suggested as replacements. Will any of these choices give as little heat as the A64 3200+?

I have actually ordered a Mac Mini, but I'm not sure I want it anymore. I think I want the flexibility a htpc gives me. Easier to upgrade later I think/hope.

If I go for the original setup I wrote (with AMD). I will change from 6600GT to ATI X1300 (passively cooled), and from the Zalman cooler to Scythe Katana or Arctic Cooling. Will also add "Nexus DiskTwin, stop HD vibration" to that setup.

Are there any drawbacks to choosing a passively cooled X1300 card? Guess the performance is lower than if I choose one with a fan, but if I'm not a gamer, will I ever notice it?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 4:14 am 
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Posts: 25
Location: Brisbane, Australia
I would love to have a x1300 in my pc. If you ever wanted to play games on it that would be fine, because i ran Couterstrike Source on my FX5200 and it was playable. The graphics card does not have a huge impact on decoding video (unless it has features that are supposed to speed up decoding) and its more the CPU that does the decoding. Heck you could probably go with a year old processor thats been tried and tested in the community and get it running passively if you wanted...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2006 2:43 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2006 2:28 am
Posts: 4
Ayabara wrote:
Hauppage! WinTV-PVR 500MCE
Silverstone SST-LC03 cabinet
Seasonic S12 380W psu
Strømkabel 4 M m/jord
ASUS P5PL2 S775, GBlan, SATA2, SoudMax , DDR2,PCI-Express
Samsung SpinPoint P120S 250GB SATA2 8MB 7200RPM
Intel Pentium 4 630 3.0Ghz S775 2MB Boxed
XFX GeForce 6600GT 256MB OR Sapphire X1300
NEC DVD-brenner ND-4551A w/Labelflash
Corsair Value S PC3200 1024MB(2x512MB)
Artic cooling freezer 7 Pro CPU kjøler
Artic cooling vga silencer NV6
Nexus DiskTwin



A little head-up for the XFX 6600GT. It's noisy and I'm replacing VF700-CU witj the original fan on mine.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2006 3:59 am 
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Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2006 1:28 pm
Posts: 19
Location: Denmark
Regarding the Nexus disktwin I found them to be working less than ideal. The rubber is much too hard imho. In my system the case was still resonating with the HD reads. Use a simple rubberband setup in the 5.25" bay instead. Much much better.


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