What quality of components do I actually need?

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Lupine Lacuna
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Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:38 am

What quality of components do I actually need?

Post by Lupine Lacuna » Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:49 am

I'm looking to build a simple, budget HTPC. Its use will be:

1. Library for all my mp3's, which I'd like to play back using a remote, and navigable on screen.

2. Playing DVD's, do not care about quality

3. Playing avi's, wmvs etc from my computer again do not care about quality

4. Have a wireless card to access the internet for updates and streaming tv (such as BBC iplayer)

I've been out of the building work (relying on laptops!) for years so feel a bit clueless.

I'd like to be silent or effectively silent, and given the budget and flexibility I assme it is sensible not to worry about size and just get something that looks rubbish as it will be easier to keep cool?

I'd really appreciate some pointers in the right direction

Thanks

tim851
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Re: What quality of components do I actually need?

Post by tim851 » Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:50 am

If you say "don't care about quality", do you mean you won't watch HD?

Because, if so, then all you need is an Atom-board. Regular definition videos, DVDs and MP3s really don't tax any modern system.

If more power is needed, a 3 Ghz dual-core Athlon II X2 250 is just ~60$. Get a complementary Socket AM3 mainboard with 785G/880G chipset, they start under 70$ with an HDMI output. 2 Gigs of DDR3-memory is not even 30 bucks nowadays. A DVD-writer can even be had for way under 20$. As for the Hard Disk, Western Digital has quiet Caviar Greens, Samsung has quiet EcoGreens, choose any size you like, but 2 whopping terabytes are only 100$.

Size really doesn't matter all that much here. Get a good looking case! As long as it fits a slim Scythe Big Shuriken (35$). That will have no problem cooling your CPU quietly in an HTPC scenario.

As for PSUs: a 160w PicoPSU, fully passive and powerful enough, is like 85 bucks on ebay. Easily, the Big Shuriken could be the only fan in your system.

boost
Posts: 661
Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2006 10:29 am
Location: de_DE

Re: What quality of components do I actually need?

Post by boost » Fri Jan 28, 2011 10:32 am

Bobcat is the new ION.
It's basically an Athlon X2@1600MHz with integrated Graphics.
The ASUS E35M1-I Deluxe is completely passive. Very low power and all the latest ports including USB3, Sata 6GB/s and Wifi. What's not to like?
Put it in a cute little case like the SilverStone Petit PT-05 and you've got a sweet, completely passive system.
Lian Li V600, Asus P77Z-M Pro, i5-3570K 4.4GHz with Scythe Orochi, 140mm Slipstream 500RPM and Mugen2 115X Bolt through kit, Evga GTX 970 Superclocked, BeQuiet E9 580W CM

Lupine Lacuna
Posts: 25
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:38 am

Re: What quality of components do I actually need?

Post by Lupine Lacuna » Sat Jan 29, 2011 1:26 am

Hi Guys

Thanks so much. Yeah no need for HD. Thanks for pointing it out, its useful to formally check off in my head specs that unecessary, what else will I be losing out on a system like that? Nothing that interferes with what it'll be doing presmably?

That ASUS motherboard looks great. I will try and find out when the UK release date is. So Spec will be as follows:

Mobo - ASUS E35M1-I Deluxe - so am I right in saying this include the CPU, Video, Sound, USB?

Operating System - Windows 7? I only have XP at the moment, is there any point in 7? In an ideal world I'd love it rnning Linux.

Storage - I'd really like a solid state. I assume this is possible?

PSU - Pico

Case - tbc

DVD - Probably wont even bother with a writer, will just get a player

RAM - 2 Gigs DDR3. Presumably no benefit in getting more and none in spending less?

Finally, software, does such a thing exist so that I can use a remote to change songs, etc possibly even navigate a list of avi's to play, change volume, etc?

Lupine Lacuna
Posts: 25
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:38 am

Re: What quality of components do I actually need?

Post by Lupine Lacuna » Sat Jan 29, 2011 5:16 am

Sorry repost

quest_for_silence
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Location: ITALY

Re: What quality of components do I actually need?

Post by quest_for_silence » Mon Jan 31, 2011 2:09 am

Lupine Lacuna wrote:Mobo - ASUS E35M1-I Deluxe - so am I right in saying this include the CPU, Video, Sound, USB?

Yes (and the CPU fanless heatsink: maybe do nothing to watch, but it cools silently).
Lupine Lacuna wrote:Operating System - Windows 7? I only have XP at the moment, is there any point in 7? In an ideal world I'd love it rnning Linux.

W7 should offer a better colors space (black and white, particularly) if you go through HDMI.
Lupine Lacuna wrote:Storage - I'd really like a solid state. I assume this is possible?

AFAIK at an hefty cost, if you store your media content on it: IMHO sort of a NAS would be advisable if you want to go with a really small enclosure AND an SSD as a boot drive (50-120GB).
Lupine Lacuna wrote:PSU - Pico

Only if you want a really small enclosure: otherwise an ATX PSU would rock.
Lupine Lacuna wrote:Finally, software, does such a thing exist so that I can use a remote to change songs, etc possibly even navigate a list of avi's to play, change volume, etc?

You might start giving a read to this site and his articles/reviews: hereafter Google will be your friend, I guess.
Regards,
Luca

Support SPCR, use these links when you buy: NCIX, Amazon and Newegg

HFat
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Re: What quality of components do I actually need?

Post by HFat » Mon Jan 31, 2011 3:00 am

About the software... is there any reason not to run something like that (I don't know):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XBMC#XBMC_Live
You not only save the (AFAIK) utterly pointless Windows license but you save a lot of time installing and configuring and you can also have a very cheap solid state drive since you're not going to need performance because you'd load the stuff in RAM.
Maybe that's not compatible with the BBC player but it would be a shame to buy a drive and a Windows license just for the BBC, especially when most of the worthwhile BBC content is available unofficially "elsewhere".

I would avoid both picos and ATX PSUs by buying a case with an included fanless PSU. A 60W PSU should be enough for Bobcat unless you want more than one hard drive. But maybe 60W would be a stretch if you want a 3.5'' HDD, an ODD plus wifi and a flash drive? 80W might be safer in that case.

If you want to have a lot of content but to avoid noise and large cases, stream from the network or external drives. Both options will consume more electricity than internal drives but will allow you to manage (and upgrade if need be) your storage and HTPC separately. This is a must-have for me but maybe not for you. You can get an ARM NAS on the cheap nowadays (the nicer units are expensive). Alternatively a low-power drive in a fanless eSATA enclosure would be fine. Low-power is important for fanless enclosures.

quest_for_silence
Posts: 5275
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Location: ITALY

Re: What quality of components do I actually need?

Post by quest_for_silence » Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:41 am

HFat wrote:buying a case with an included fanless PSU.

What are you talking about?
Regards,
Luca

Support SPCR, use these links when you buy: NCIX, Amazon and Newegg

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