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Old November 10, 2009, 08:20 PM
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Default Future Proof HTPC

USAGE: The main idea for the use of this system would be as a htpc (tv tunner (maybe dual and/or video capture ability), decent video card possibly with hdmi, storage space, and my understanding is the onboard video of the lastest boards are sufficient).
On top of this system being used as a HTPC, I will also be using it as my main workstation. Which would include document processing, web browsing, file downloading, audio/video streaming, and using VMWare running multiple VMs for educational purposes. I do not plan on using this system for much gaming.


BUDGET: around 1500 CANADIAN, but not a huge issue.

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe at some point, but not something I know a lot about

The parts I have selected (but not purchased or set on) so far are:

Intel Core i7 920 due to recent price drops.

Might just stick with the stock CPU cooler for now unless if you think otherwise..?

ASUS P6T SE because it's on the cheaper side and it appears to still have decent performance. Is this a wise choice?
ASUS P6T SE X58 ATX LGA1366 DDR3 LGA1366 3PCI-E16 PCI-E1 2PCI CrossFire SATA2 Motherboard - DirectCanada

Patriot Extreme Viper PVT36G1600LLK 6GB I have found good reviews on this memory kit. Any opinions? There's too many kits out there for me to make a decision.
Patriot Extreme Viper PVT36G1600LLK 6GB DDR3 3X2GB DDR3-1600 CL 8-8-8-24 Triple Channel Memory Kit - DirectCanada

Possibly the Hauppauge WinTV-HVR2250 tv tuner card as it has dual tuners and video capture capabilities. Any other suggestions?
Buy the Hauppauge WinTV-HVR2250 Dual TV Tuner Board at TigerDirect.ca

Two Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB drives in a RAID 0.

I'm interested in a modular power supply, but I really don't know what wattage I would require.

Eventually I plan on upgrading to a full ATX HTPC case, but for now I'm just looking for a temporary cheaper case with sufficient cooling.

Probably just picking up an average DVD drive with DL burning.

I am unsure of what video card to get. As gaming is not a priority I don't see the need in putting a lot of cash into a card. Of course, with it being mainly for watching movies and TV, picture quality is a must. It would make sense to have HDMI capabilities (whether an actual port or with an adapter from DVI, assuming there isn't any loss in quality). Dual monitors is also a must. Originally I don't plan on any Crossfire or SLI setup and I don't think I would really benefit from it without having gaming in mind, right?


Any opinions, suggestions, or comments would be greatly appreciated. I plan on making my purchases and building between now and mid December.

Thanks,

Brian
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Old November 10, 2009, 08:50 PM
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Corsair HX520 should do for your system and for GPU, maybe a GTS250 or 4770, 4830 or maybe even 5770 if you want. Everything else seems ok.

And you realize you'll only get analog channels through that TV tuner provided you're with Shaw/Rogers right??? TV tuners can't decode digital TV signal.
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Old November 11, 2009, 06:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by headsh0t View Post
Corsair HX520 should do for your system and for GPU, maybe a GTS250 or 4770, 4830 or maybe even 5770 if you want. Everything else seems ok.

And you realize you'll only get analog channels through that TV tuner provided you're with Shaw/Rogers right??? TV tuners can't decode digital TV signal.
I'd lean towards the HD4770 or HD4850. Around $100 and quite a few cards have native HDMI ports on them. If that's too expensive, a HD4650 or HD4670 would also suffice, but then gaming is a definite no-go.

PSU wise, I'd go with the new Corsair HX650W. Really amazing PSU with top efficiency.

This motherboard should also suit you fine: Gigabyte EX58-UD3R ATX LGA1366 X58 DDR3 2PCI-E 2PCI SATA2 RAID Sound GLAN CrossFireX Motherboard - DirectCanada Bit cheaper and in-stock.
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Old November 12, 2009, 10:00 AM
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Thanks a lot for the suggestions. I think I'll have to do a bit more research on tuner cards.

When searching for graphic cards, does the manufacture of the card make much difference. I'm new to this and I'm seeing that other manufacturers use the same chipsets as ATI and NVIDIA. Is that right?
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Old November 12, 2009, 10:25 AM
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ATI cards have an onboard sound decoder which will pass sound through the HDMI connection. Much better for a HTPC, in my opinion.

Also ATI and Nvidia supply their GPU's to multiple partners who produce the actual cards, such as EVGA, XFX, Saphire, Diamond, etc. They have different warranties and adapter bundles, read the fine print or reviews on the card you're interested in.
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Old November 12, 2009, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by headsh0t View Post
And you realize you'll only get analog channels through that TV tuner provided you're with Shaw/Rogers right??? TV tuners can't decode digital TV signal.
Only if you get an analog capture card, you can use a digital capture card to get unencrypted content... Also if you have a cable box that supports firewire (Shaw's might?) you can also capture video from that.

I'm not sure if Shaw's still support it but in the past it was definitely possible.
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Old November 13, 2009, 10:20 AM
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Hm so I'm having a bit of trouble understanding the deal with TV tuner cards. How worth are they to use in Canada (Ontario) when I'm on rogers. The original card that I selected is just analog? How about this one below?
WinTV-HVR-1800 Product description
Any suggestions on tuner cards?
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Old November 13, 2009, 11:03 AM
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The problem is that Shaw and Rogers use a scrambled digital signal, so you must use a cable box or PVR to decode the signal. You can then output the signal from the PVR to your tuner card, but you can't change channels and the like. This is one reason why I sold off my HTPC and bought a PS3 to use for bluerays instead.
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Old November 13, 2009, 11:07 AM
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RAID 0 is a horrible idea with 1 X1TB drives unless you get a really good PCI-E RAID controller. Even then, it is not practical. I would get a small primary drive and then a 2TB secondary drive for storage. Alot safer for your data too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SugarJ View Post
The problem is that Shaw and Rogers use a scrambled digital signal, so you must use a cable box or PVR to decode the signal. You can then output the signal from the PVR to your tuner card, but you can't change channels and the like. This is one reason why I sold off my HTPC and bought a PS3 to use for bluerays instead.
Agreed here.
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Old November 13, 2009, 07:17 PM
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As for capturing TV, wouldn't it be more ideal to just get something that has Component inputs and hookup the cable box that way? Sure you'd have to change channels via the STB (aka cable box), but then you'd get all the channels and possibly better quality. Could even do HD assuming the capture device supported it.
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