Jump to content

Welcome to Geeks to Go - Register now for FREE

Geeks To Go is a helpful hub, where thousands of volunteer geeks quickly serve friendly answers and support. Check out the forums and get free advice from the experts. Register now to gain access to all of our features, it's FREE and only takes one minute. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more.

Create Account How it Works
Photo

HTPC Build


  • Please log in to reply

#1
DogJosha

DogJosha

    New Member

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 7 posts
I'm looking at building or buying a desktop purely for watching HD video in any codec on an HDTV and surround sound. I don't have a set price (probably not higher than $500 if possible), and this will be a build for my parents. Minimum functionality;

Video for a 52" 1080p 60hz LCD Sony TV
Audio for a 5.1 Sony DVD Surround Sound System
1TB HDD
Internet hasn't been decided on so leave that out for now

Right now I believe the Blu Ray player and TV are taking up the only 2 HDMI connections available for the surround sound but the TV should have 3 more connections available. My preference is definitely HDMI for video and preferably for audio too, but can you even send both signals through a single HDMI connection from a computer?

I will worry about the keyboard and mouse separately and I also have Windows 7 Pro to install.

Edit: I don't see my country on this page, which is USA.
Edit 2: I need this to be the cheapest build you can come up with while meeting performance standards.

Edited by DogJosha, 02 December 2011 - 03:58 PM.

  • 0

Advertisements


#2
Digerati

Digerati

    Grumpy Ol' MSgt (Ret.)

  • Retired Staff
  • 3,997 posts
  • MVP
Hi DogJosha and :welcome:

You might want to look at HTPC motherboards for some ideas. Then come back with any questions. For these motherboards, audio over HDMI is not going to be a problem.
  • 0

#3
DogJosha

DogJosha

    New Member

  • Topic Starter
  • Member
  • Pip
  • 7 posts
Okay so looking for a HTPC motherboard I ended up looking at some Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU/GPU combos. From there I've come up with a build for someone to either improve on or to agree with;

Gigabyte MOBO/CPU/GPU Combo - $119.99 ($30 rebate)
G.Skill Ram 2x4GB - $38.99
Seagate 1TB 7200RPM 32MB Cache HDD - $149.99
Samsung BD-Rom - $51.99
Silverstone HTCP Case - $59.99
Rosewill x2 80mm Case Fans - $7.98
Antec 380w PSU - $44.99

Total - About $474 not including rebates and shipping

Might reduce to 4GB of RAM (~ $20) if it isn't needed now or in the foreseeable future.
Haven't decided if the TB HDD is really necessary so might reduce that to 500 or 750 (~ $110).
BD-rom capabilities isn't a must since they have a Blu-ray player already so might just stick with a DVD Burner(~ $21).

Those 3 things would drop the total to around $384.
  • 0

#4
Digerati

Digerati

    Grumpy Ol' MSgt (Ret.)

  • Retired Staff
  • 3,997 posts
  • MVP
A couple things. I like Gigabyte boards so I personally think you made a good choice there.

I don't see an OS listed. Do note it is illegal to use a Windows license that came with, or was bought for another computer. If the disk says OEM/System Builder, Upgrade, Academic Edition, or "For Distribution with a new PC only", then it is not transferable to a new PC (or upgraded motherboard). Only full "Retail" licenses can be transferred to new computers. Therefore I recommend Windows 7 64-bit (even if you decided to go with 4Gb, though I think 8Gb, as the "sweet spot" for Windows 7, is what you should stick with), or one of the many free Linux alternatives.

I am curious about that case and have been looking at it for myself. Please let us know what you think (like/dislike) about it when done. I do like that it supports a standard ATX PSU.

The problem with BluRay on PCs is that you must also have the necessary software to play BluRay disks on your computer and that costs extra, on top of the cost of the drive. :( So if you have a BluRay player in your HT setup already, I would stick with that and go DVD on your HTPC. Note that Windows has built in DVD support but Microsoft would have to charge about $30 more for Windows to include the BluRay licensing fees in Windows - so we can blame the BluRay consortium and their outlandish licensing rules for that, and not Microsoft.

I would dump those fans. The last thing you want with a HTPC is to hear cooling fans rumbling when listening to quiet passages in a movie. If your folks have gone to the point of having a home theater setup with surround sound, believe me, fan noise will quickly become objectionable. 80mm fans tend to be noisy to begin with because they tend to move at a higher RPM. And sleeve bearings are junk - they are noisy and have a short (relatively speaking) life span and will begin to wear, and become noisier sooner. So especially in a home theater setup, you want quality fans with, magnetic, precision ball or fluid bearings. Look for the lowest noise level (dBA). If the bearing type is sleeve or not specified, avoid that fan. You want a good balance between noise and air flow. And avoid any with LED lights. Something like these would be much better (plus I see Newegg offers a nice volume discount for even 2 fans).
  • 0

#5
DogJosha

DogJosha

    New Member

  • Topic Starter
  • Member
  • Pip
  • 7 posts
A have a couple of unused legal copies of Windows 7 so that isn't an issue, and even so I'm thinking of trying Linux first but I've never gotten into it much before.

Didn't know that tidbit about the blu ray so I guess that definitely means DVD drive.

Thanks for the advice with the fans. I have noisier ones in my current desktop, which don't seem to bother me, but quiet fans don't hurt.
  • 0

#6
Digerati

Digerati

    Grumpy Ol' MSgt (Ret.)

  • Retired Staff
  • 3,997 posts
  • MVP
Just to follow up - I just stumbled on DAPlayer – a free BluRay and DVD Player for Windows. I just tried on 3 different disks and it worked fine.
  • 0

#7
DogJosha

DogJosha

    New Member

  • Topic Starter
  • Member
  • Pip
  • 7 posts
Okay the HTPC has been built and in use for a few weeks.

Overall I like the case but there are 3 noticeable problems. The top and side venting areas do not have ideal places to screw fans into, but I've never installed "extra" fans before so I don't know if I was doing something wrong. In the end, I could get the 2 fans installed on the side, using 2 screws on each (on opposite corners for maximum support.

Second, the main area for mounting an HDD is supposed to support both sizes, and it has the holes for both sizes. However, the plastic was too thick for me to screw in a SSD with the screws it provides. In the end, I bought some longer screws from Lowe's and ended up using 3 bolts on each as spacers.

Lastly, even though it supports a full size PSU, it only leaves about an inch to work with. Rather then following the installation instructions, you have to install the Optical drive first, and make sure you have everything plugged into it before you install the PSU.

Other than those quirks, I'm satisfied with it. However I have one problem. Most HD videos tend to skip a little bit. The skip is very slight and usually happens every few seconds. My best guess is maybe the GPU just isn't good enough to handle HD video on a 52" 1080p lcd. Whether or not that is the case, what is the best solution I have for this problem? If I need a graphics card, can you suggest one that will fit with that MOBO/case? Also, since I am using a single HDMI cable for sound and video, will I still be able to use that through the MOBO connection, or would I have to use the video card connection? Also, would the video card connection support sound along with video through HDMI?
  • 0

#8
Digerati

Digerati

    Grumpy Ol' MSgt (Ret.)

  • Retired Staff
  • 3,997 posts
  • MVP
I am surprised it is skipping. Is that with all video content? The size of the TV does not matter. As long as the graphics solution provides the correct resolution, it should not be a problem.

Did you get 8Gb of RAM and are you running 64-bit Windows? What security software?
  • 0

#9
DogJosha

DogJosha

    New Member

  • Topic Starter
  • Member
  • Pip
  • 7 posts
Right now I'm running Windows Vista 32 bit I think. I didn't have any other unused discs handy that I could find at the time. Its 8gb of ram and I actually didn't put any security on it yet. I really need to do more testing to see what works fine, and what doesn't. Not every video I play on it has problems. Maybe I will dedicate a day this week to testing out different video types and messing with other things to see how different things affect it.
  • 0

#10
Digerati

Digerati

    Grumpy Ol' MSgt (Ret.)

  • Retired Staff
  • 3,997 posts
  • MVP

I actually didn't put any security on it yet.

If connected to the Internet, that is a mistake. You should at least ensure Windows Firewall is enabled and get a decent anti-malware solution. I personally use and recommend Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE).
  • 0






Similar Topics

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

As Featured On:

Microsoft Yahoo BBC MSN PC Magazine Washington Post HP