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Old March 9, 2012, 04:52 AM
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Default Bulding a HTPC - Been out of the loop

Hi,

Its been a while since my last build, no time for gaming does that to you ! I am buying an HDTV soon and I want to build a HTPC but not for Tv recording purposes, I will have a free pvr for that.

What I want to be able to do :

- Playback physical DVD and blue ray.
- Playback media files (1080p and regular Def) On my laptop I am currently using VLC for all my playback needs and I like it but I am not closed to other options.
- Playback my extensive music collection For now, it will be hooked to my edifier speakers
- Listen to web radio
- Surf the web on my HDTV, I will need wireless keyboard and mouse for that.
- My son will play the occasionnal Web browser flash game.

What I have :
- Silverstone fortress FT02, thus limiting my form factor to MATX
- HDDs (I have about 3 tb sitting there doing nothing)
- PSU
- unused windows 7 Pro license
- PC will be hooked directly to TV

What I need :
- DVD player/Blue ray combo
- Mobo/CPU/Ram and maybe a GPU if it is needed. For now most of my DVD/media collection is standard def. If a gpu is needed for bluray playback, I could buy the GPU later.
- For now, I wont be able to have a wired intenet connection, so wireless capabilities. I wont be streaming media content through the network since media will be stored on the PC.

Finally, I'd like to build AMD has I am aiming for best bang for the buck, (I dont want to do overkill here) but not closed to intel at all. Obviously, I wont overclock.

I am looking for hardware recommendation.

My HDTV will be

LC-52LE830U

I dont think I missed everything. If so please ask question.
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Old March 9, 2012, 06:17 AM
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I would first dig a little deeper, but my 1st choice would be a HTPC built around the A6-3650 APU. AMD A6-3650 Llano APU Review
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Old March 10, 2012, 10:12 AM
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Ok, i'm going to chime in with my two cents here.

First off and IMO the Quadtron TV is a waste of money. You are paying more money for a 4th pixel to display yellow when there is not a single camera used in the industry that records more then red/green/blue. Do some looking aroundon that subject and I think you might be suprised that's it's really a useless technology and a gimick at best. I prefer Samsung myself...and have 2(46" and 40") to back it up.

As for the HTPC, the A6-3650 APU is a good choice as 3.0Charlie said, but I would also look into the new Ivy Bridge cpu's that are coming out. I have seen some previews of the preformance of the HD4000 integrated graphics chip and it looks very promising(and suprising since Intel has not been know for their graphics in the past) for even light gaming. Both the AMD and intel offerings can handle Blu-ray/DVD playback no problem.

For the Blu-Ray drive I again like the Samsung drives. i have 2 diferent ones and they have played everything I have thrown at them.
Canada Computers | CD/DVD/RW /Blu-Ray Drives | Samsung SH-B123L/RSBP Black 12X BLU-RAY BD-ROM 16X DVD-Writer SATA Internal Blu-ray Combo W/ Power DVD Software

Ram wise.....4GB, more then enough for anything you might want to do. And the price on these is awesome right now.
Canada Computers | Memory | Kingston ValueRAM 4GB DDR3 1333MHz CL9 DIMM (KVR1333D3N9/4G)

For the GPU, I'm a bit torn. I know that with either CPU you may nothave a use for a GPU but I though I would go into it anyways. I have used both AMD/ATI and nVidia in my HTPC and so far have found the nVidia to be easiest to configure and just gave me less hassel. I have used an older ATI 2600XT 256MB and newer AMD/ATI 5450 1GB DDR3. Both card from AMD/ATI worked but they have so many options for configuring(which some people like) that it can be a bit of a nightmare and very time consuming to figure out the right combination for you particuar tv(plus they always had strange graphics anomolies on my tv). I currently have a Zotac 440 GT 1GB DDR3 (nVidia) in my HTPC and it works great, even when doing some moderate 1080P Left 4 Dead gaming. I would say if you want a card that you can plug in and just roll with it, go for the nVidia. If you want to have lots of configurable options, AMD/ATI is the way to go. Just do your reserch on which card is the quiestest(fan or fanless) for you HTPC. No one wants to hear the fan over the movie.

Wireless......get a wireless card One fron the same manufaturer of your router to make it hook up easier.

One thing i'm not sure if you have considered is the upgrade path for your audio. You caould leave the aidio hooked up to the Edifier speakers or hook it up to the TV via HDMI or some other way. If you get a reciever later on you would probably be able to hook the audio up to that via HDMI so that then you play your Blu-Ray's you can get DolbyHD and DTS-HD audio. Just something to think about.

Ok, that's it for me. Hope this helps a bit.

Last edited by Ravenor; March 10, 2012 at 09:26 PM.
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Old March 12, 2012, 12:23 PM
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Are you using VLC to play blurays?

I know when I was getting my feet wet in HTPC's I had a bugger of a time getting a frontend that was bluray friendly. XBMC is popular but I had a hard time with it. I use TMT5 to play blurays FWIW. I switched to mediaportal and it was real easy.
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Old March 12, 2012, 06:14 PM
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wow thanks guys. I still have a stanard def TV never played a blueray.... lol. Lots of thigs to research. will look into the sharp thing. My father have one ans I just liked the look of the screen...
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Old March 15, 2012, 04:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biff View Post
Are you using VLC to play blurays?
VLC doesn't play blu-rays. You need Power DVD for that. as CPU I would stay at the A6, Ivy Bridge is a waste of money for an HTPC.
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Old March 18, 2012, 04:59 AM
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I run a sandy bridge HTPC using virtual logix to do gpu switching (works well) and for a front end im using XMBC but i have modified two config files so that xmbc will use VLC to play all video formats (i dont use bluray) but im sure you could also have it play bluray with the player of your choice.

My hardware: ASUS motherboard with lucid logix gpu switching (games run on 9800GTX, media runs on integrated), 4GB ram, Silverstone GD06, the rest well is irrelevant.
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Old March 19, 2012, 07:23 AM
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For an HTPC GPU I would recommend a GT 520, preferably with passive cooling. That card supports all current features/techs and is capable of some pretty nice looking post processing on 1080p video. We've got one for $26 after rebates on Newegg right now, so that would be the way I'd go:

Newegg.com - Galaxy 52GGS4HX9DTX GeForce GT 520 (Fermi) Silent Edition 1GB 64-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card
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Old March 19, 2012, 10:16 AM
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We are canadian-based, so we have to use Newegg.ca, not .com. The GPU is this one: Newegg.ca - Galaxy 52GGS4HX9DTX GeForce GT 520 (Fermi) Silent Edition 1GB 64-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card
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Old April 20, 2012, 12:47 AM
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My sister recently moved out and I also went with a GT 520 so she can play the movies I hook her up with every weekend (.mkv) which are usually 720p and 1080p and between 7GB - 20GB files. It looks great on her new TV and run without a problem. Very smooth and very high quality picture. The TV is also a 55 inch 120 hz Samsung. When it comes to TV's I personally find that Samsung have the best quality TV's.

I spent about 700 dollars on her computer but this included a monitor and a 64GB M4 SSD. So you can probably bring it down a bit. I went with an Intel i3 processor, 8 GB of corsair ram, 500 Watt Corsair power supply, Corsair 400R mid tower, GT 520, and an Asus Micro ATX motherboard. she uses an external hard drive to store her movies. It was a budget build obviously and she hasn't had any problems at all with it.

Last edited by deinosaur; April 20, 2012 at 12:55 AM.
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