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Old October 12, 2009, 01:49 PM
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Default Need help with HTPC/Server

I posted this an NCIX several days ago, but so far no responces, so I thought I'd give Hardware Canucks a try.

Hi guys,

I will be assembling an HTPC in the next few weeks, and I was looking for some input.

1st, for duel HTPC/Server capabilities, I wanted to run a virtualized vmware Windows Home Server within windows 7. That way I can do all the auto-backup stuff and have all the media server features easily. Is this a good idea? Has anyone tried it?

2nd, is there a better way of capturing HD quality programming off a satellite box than this?

blackmagic-design.com/products/intensity/

I have seen the Hauppage HD-PVR,

ncix.com/products/?sku=30194&vpn=1219&manufacture=HAUPPAUGE

but I would like something that is integrated into my system, not another external piece of hardware.

3rd, I was very excited with the 5xxx series Radeons able to bitstream 7.1 HD codecs. Any idea if the cheaper models will be able to do this, and when they will become available on NCIX? (Saves me $200 for a 1.3HDAV Xonar)

4th, I want this to be as silent as possible. Is watercooling the best option? Any recommendations?

5th, What would be the best way to control this? I really like the look of the DiNovo wireless keyboard.

ncix.com/products/?sku=23881&vpn=967685-0403&manufacture=Logitech

Anyone use it and like it? Have anything better to suggest?

Thanks a lot for your help!!!

Ben

I could not insert links because this is my first post here, so you might have to insert the www infront of them. Sorry
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Old October 12, 2009, 03:09 PM
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Black Magic card can't do what you are looking for. It isn't meant for for capturing HDTV. The Hauppauge HD-PVR really is a piece of crap. You may luck out and be one of the 10% that has a working device. But chances are you won't be. I have been struggling w/ mine for a year now. It causes me more frustration than any computer device I've ever owned. At least once every day or two it fails to record a show. And I only record 4-5 shows a day on average. Not only this, but every single show will fail afterwards until you reboot the unit. So if you don't pay attention you could very well loose every recording for the entire day. I have finally decided to buy another PVR as a backup, because I can't deal with this POS.

You don't need watercooling. There are tons of air coolers that will be quiet enough. Your HDD's will likely be the loudest part of your system.

I am confident all the 5-series ATI cards will be able to support a Protected Audio Path. Even if they don't, the HD5850 is a better buy than the HDAV1.3 or the Home Theater HD IMO. Or you could always do what i do and rip all your movies to MKV, thus removing all the DRM. By using FLAC audio you retain all the quality. You then could use a $40 HD 4350 no problem.
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Old October 12, 2009, 03:32 PM
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Thanks for the help.

Quote:
Black Magic card can't do what you are looking for. It isn't meant for for capturing HDTV.
In what way is this card inadequate? I have been researching it extensively, and it seems as though capturing via component is the ONLY way of getting quasi-HD quality recordings off of Cable or Satellite receivers. I have heard similar stories about the Hauppage PVR, and I want to avoid it if possible.

Quote:
Or you could always do what i do and rip all your movies to MKV, thus removing all the DRM. By using FLAC audio you retain all the quality. You then could use a $40 HD 4350 no problem.
That was my first thought as well, but this system will not be for my own use, but rather my grandfather's. He is not completely computer illiterate, but he is also not an expert, so I wanted to make this as seamless a process as possible. I would rather it just be able to play blurays with proper audio out of the box.

Ben
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Old October 12, 2009, 04:13 PM
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The bluray playback software out there is a joke in my opinion. I had nothing but problems with both TMT and PowerDVD. Neither of them updates the keys required for playback often enough. I had to wait 5-6 months before I was able to play X-Men.

The Black Magic card isn't meant for capturing HDTV. It has no IR blaster, really no software support, no digital audio input. Since it has no IR blaster you are going to need to spend another $60+ on a USB-UIRT. I've heard you can get it to work w/ SageTV, but looks like a hell of a lot of work. So $250+ for the card, $60 for the IR blaster, another $80 for the software. It is starting to get pretty high in price. In all honestly I would just get a set top box PVR. BTW the image quality of the Hauppauge HD PVR is excellent, once I upped the bit rate to ~12mbps I can't tell the difference. Too bad the drivers, hardware, and playback software all suck currently.
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Old October 13, 2009, 06:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lowfat View Post
In all honestly I would just get a set top box PVR.
Lowfat is 100% correct. Trying to record with a HTPC is very frustrating. Get the set top PVR and never look back!
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Old October 13, 2009, 07:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by p3t3rson View Post
Lowfat is 100% correct. Trying to record with a HTPC is very frustrating. Get the set top PVR and never look back!
I really wish I did this a year ago before spending $350 in software/hardware. It is nice as you are able to collect a nice library of movies/TV shows. But it is a pain in a the ass when you get home from work and the entire night of TV shows are missing.
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Old October 14, 2009, 06:08 PM
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You guys are depressing me, lol

So you're basically saying there's no reason to get the black magic card for HDTV? I already have a set top PVR, but I would like to be able to output those programs onto a computer harddrive where they are permanent and can be shared throughout my network. Would using the Black Magic card for this purpose be useful? As a secondary PVR for a permanent and sharable collection?

Anyone have any insights into my other questions?

Thanks!

Ben
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Old October 15, 2009, 10:43 AM
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Well if you already have a PVR that you can use as a backup by all means then grab another PVR. You can try the Black Magic card but you are going to have a hard time setting it up. You could just grab the Hauppauge HD PVR, and since you have another PVR it doesn't matter if it fails as you could re record it at any time from your STB PVR.
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Old October 15, 2009, 02:38 PM
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2c on quiet.
I have the Western Digital WD15EADS Caviar Green 1.5TB in my HTPC and it's the quietest HD I've ever (not)heard.
Also, I use 2 Zalman fanmate 2 controllers for my 2 x 120mm intake fans to keep them quiet ~700 rpm.
Works like a charm.
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Old October 16, 2009, 08:53 AM
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I was thinking of using the Greens. I have heard they are quiet. Do you know how they compare to the blues? (or the Seagates 7200.12?)

You would recommend air cooling over watercooling? I was leaning this way anyways, due to the complexity of a watercooled system in a small case, but assuming cost is no issue, would watercooling be better?

Thanks again,
Ben
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