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Old April 24, 2013, 11:19 AM
thenewguy001's Avatar
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Default no experience with HTPCs, need advice

I'm trying to put together a media centre PC for netflix instead of buying a box. Not sure if this is a good idea. I have no experience at all with home theatre/media PCs


I have some old parts lying around:
  • Q6600 CPU
  • some Gigabyte motherboard for the above CPU
  • 4GB DDR2 RAM
  • AMD 5770
  • 650W PSU
  • keyboard
  • hard drive with WinXp installed
I'm assuming the above is more than adequate for a box that just needs to stream netflix/youtube and play vids off a hard disk.


Things I need advice on:
  • a good/cheap media PC case
  • a good/cheap remote control (I've read that a wiimote can be used for this? Anyone have experience? advantages/disadvantages over a remote?)
  • a good/cheap wireless card since this may need to be moved around the house.
  • software I need?
I'm wondering whether this can be cheaper/better than just buying a roku box, or whether I should just buy a prebuilt dedicated media box.



Any suggestions/advice is welcome! Thanks!
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Old April 24, 2013, 11:25 AM
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Software: XBMC

The processor will work but can struggle and cause playback issues on 1080p stuff. This is why I upgraded to a i5.
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Old April 24, 2013, 11:28 AM
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Xbmc doesn't support dxva?
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Old April 24, 2013, 11:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supaflyx3 View Post
Xbmc doesn't support dxva?
Of course it does.
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Old April 24, 2013, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enaberif View Post
Software: XBMC

The processor will work but can struggle and cause playback issues on 1080p stuff. This is why I upgraded to a i5.
I disagree. I was using an old 1.8Ghz Athlon I dual core for a period of time in my HTPC. It kept up just fine for 1080p. A q6600 should be miles ahead of what that old processor can do.
Make sure you put a nice quiet aftermarket cooler on that processor. Not for any overclocking headroom, but because the stock heatsinks can get rather whiny and loud. A large heatsink (Hyper212+) should be inaudible at idle/low usage.

As far as a remote is concerned, you could either a) spend money and buy a fancy remote, or b) buy a cheap wireless keyboard that has a trackpad built in. I went a third option and bought a wireless mouse/keyboard combo.

For wireless connectivity, the Gigabyte GC-WB300D would do. I threw one into my stepson's rig, and have no complaints. 300Mbps and Bluetooth 4.0 antennas.

Gigabyte Bluetooth 4.0 & WiFi Expansion Card at Memory Express
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Old April 24, 2013, 12:36 PM
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Thanks! I never even thought about wireless keyboards. That's probably what I'll go with.

I have a ninja rev b cooler for the q6600 but it's rather large and won't fit in a HTPC case. It also looks like HTPC cases are also not cheap. I may just go with a standard cheapo ATX Tower.

I also found it weird that his q6600 didn't handle 1080p well. All my experience and research indicates it's more than enough.
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Old April 24, 2013, 12:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thenewguy001 View Post
I have a ninja rev b cooler for the q6600 but it's rather large and won't fit in a HTPC case. It also looks like HTPC cases are also not cheap. I may just go with a standard cheapo ATX Tower.
That's what I did. I used an old Thermaltake V4 case that I had lying around. Cheap, all black and it fits sideways in an entertainment center. It could use a little more noise dampening though. Do yourself a favour, and before you buy a case, try to buy the cheapest case that has the most sound deadening in it.

It's worth it sometimes to get nice kit for your HTPC. Since I built mine up, it actually sees the most use out of any PC in the house (and we have 2 gaming rigs, 1 laptop, 2 tablets, plus the HTPC), so you want to make sure you enjoy using it. That being said, the demands put on it aren't that great, so you can get away with lower power hardware.

I would put an emphasis on silent operation over performance, and the quality of the peripherals. A bad mouse/keyboard/remote combo can make the HTPC a PITA to use, especially if you do lots of web surfing, not just movie watching.
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Last edited by great_big_abyss; April 24, 2013 at 12:53 PM.
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Old April 24, 2013, 12:56 PM
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Quote:
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Of course it does.
Well then the Q6600 shouldn't be a bottleneck at all if its x264.
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Old April 24, 2013, 01:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supaflyx3 View Post
Well then the Q6600 shouldn't be a bottleneck at all if its x264.
I never said it was a bottleneck I said it COULD struggle. Big difference.
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Old April 24, 2013, 01:58 PM
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You'll be good. That will rock anything you can throw at it.
Don't get a wifi card, if your house isn't ancient get Powerline Ethernet adapters. Much better than wifi.
Remote is all about personal preference. What style would you prefer? If you have an android or apple phone theres already a remote app that works well enough.
Software?
Xbmc, sickbeard (mr. oranges version is what I use), and windows of course. Netlfix is going HTML5 soon but until then I recommend windows if you want to use Netflix.
XBMC
Sick Beard ? View topic - SickBeard ThePirateBay Edition (Torrent branch+Subtitle)
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