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HTPC build help.

SparksIT

Member
May 16, 2009
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0
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I'm looking to build a HTPC, and looking for help....

1: Uses: DVR and Media Player (No Gaming at this time)

2: Budget: No more the $500 dollars, the cheaper the better.

3: Location: Parts will be bought from the US - newegg, amazon (Prime member), I am an 1.5 hours from the nearest Microcenter, so its not out of the realm of possibility, but the savings do need to be worth while to make the trip.

4: Brand Preference: None - will be using Linux, from research AMD drivers are doable but can be a pain??

5: Media Software: I intended to use MythTV, Can I use a MythTV backend for recording and XBMC frontend on a signal PC?

6: Special parts(Tuner\CC): Will need 2 digital TV tuners, powered splitter 1x3.

7: Home Theater setup: LG 42LD550 TV, and a LHB335 BR\Home Theater

8: Time frame: Sooner the better, would like it to be up for the season\series premiers.

So my plan is to set up my own DVR, I only have OTA Broadcast (no cable), with the current fall schedule, I can only see my self needing to record 2 shows simultaneously. If needed I can still use the tuner in the TV. Would also like it to be able to use it to watch tv\movies from Hulu (the free ones) and Amazon Prime, both I believe use Flash Player. I currently use my blue-ray player for netflix, and of course eventually, would like to convert my current DVDs\Blue-Rays to a digital format. That will come later, not needed and would rather send the money from a BR drive to other parts.

Would like to use Linux, I have dabbled with Fedora, unless Ubuntu would work better with MythTV. I also like what xbmc brings as a media center, any way to combine the two on a single box?

Thanks for all the help.

As a side note, this forum could use a pre-defined FAQ like in General Hardware.
 
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tivo1

Senior member
Sep 12, 2002
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71
5 = yes , you can set up mythtv as a backend and use a plugin for xbmc to watch your recorded tv....

for number 6 go with a hdhomerun, and dont look back, one box, plugged in anywhere on your network, and can record two channels at a time
 

assassin24

HTPC Moderator
Mar 27, 2005
394
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0
For live TV there is only 1 option in my opinion. WMC. XBMC just isn't even close right now.
 

SparksIT

Member
May 16, 2009
103
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71
for number 6 go with a hdhomerun, and dont look back, one box, plugged in anywhere on your network, and can record two channels at a time
I've considered that one, I am already running a second network cable, I could run a third. Though I was looking to find a couple internal ones, save the number of powered devices showing.

For live TV there is only 1 option in my opinion. WMC. XBMC just isn't even close right now.
If I have to go that way, I will, but willing to test with MythTV first, and if tivo is correct, I could theoretically have both.

Any suggestions on hardware? Was thinking Intel i3 2105, get the better Graphics chips, Though with the recent price drops on AMD CPUs, that may not be a bad option? Not sure on MB. I figured about a 400w PSU, gives room for a little growth if I want to add a dedicated card later.

I do like the look of the Antec NSK2400, it does come with a 380w PSU, not sure on quality.
 
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Kwatt

Golden Member
Jan 3, 2000
1,603
12
81
This is not a recommendation! Because I have not had a DIY DVR since 2006. It was KnoppMyth.

I am looking into one again to replace my the Dish Pal OTA DVR. I have ordered a Homerun Dual to play with. I have been looking for software. I have not used Windows since Win2000. So, I know nothing about WMC. I have never even seen it.

I am going to try Linux MCE first and go from there. Since I have a working DVR I am not in a hurry and may try others before I make a choice. Allthough I don't really need a full HTPC only a DVR I may end up with Mythbuntu or something like it.

Linux MCE looked good on the youtube videos I watched but is a lot more than I need and has one requirement that will require me to run more cable.


.
 

Zorba

Diamond Member
Oct 22, 1999
7,591
1,504
126
I have 2 Diamond ATI HD 650 Link. They work very well, never had any type of problem with them. They only annoying thing is that they didn't come with a low profile bracket. I was able to make some using the blanks that came with my case.

The Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 is also a good tuner. I started with this tuner, tried 2 of them but neither one would tuner physical channel 11, which seemed like a common problem at the time. It was also impossible to get support from Hauppauge. But this was 3 years ago, so hopefully they fixed whatever the problem was.

Something I've heard about Linux, not sure if it is still true, is that Linux can not do Blu-Ray playback at all.
 

Zorba

Diamond Member
Oct 22, 1999
7,591
1,504
126
If you only want to watch OTA TV and playback other media. You don't really need very strong hardware.

On my computer I can easily record 2 HD OTA shows, while watching a Blu-Ray. The secrete is getting a tuner and video card that has hardware acceleration.

I have an AMD Athlon II X2 240 Regor 2.8GHz, which is a dual core. I also just use the on board video which is a HD 4200.

I would personally save money on the processing power and get a bigger HDDs or more tuners.
 

tivo1

Senior member
Sep 12, 2002
450
0
71
Zorba is right, you dont need very high end to record multiple streams, unless you get some older/cheaper cards, which off load to the CPU..

But it sounds like your plan is to have an all in one box... Which personally I started out that way, but now i have a file server (well two until i get some more large drives and can xfer everything) a myth tv box, and 3 hdhomeruns, a few pci cards, and multiple front ends..

I would still recommend separating things in a similar fashion... but for 500 that would be a bit harder, but may be something to keep in mind when shopping for hardware for this build, buy things that you can break out in the future...

The thing with the HDhomeruns is that you can put them really anywhere in a closet behind the tv, whatever... I cant recommend them enough - cost - they just work - ease of setup - and constant improvements and updates.

Kwatt: I have a friend who has been playing with linux MCE for over two years, and has spent way more money than i have on things.. I love the idea, but in my opinion its just not there yet...

Zorba: linux can definitely do BR playback, BR ISOs too, mythtv has this and so does XBMC (else i wouldnt be using it) ;) (its actually been possible to playback on linux for 2 or 3 years now, pretty much since it was able on windows, but it was a little more difficult back then)
 
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Zorba

Diamond Member
Oct 22, 1999
7,591
1,504
126
Thanks for the info on BR in Linux, I may have to try it out again some day when I really feel like messing with my HTPC.
 

assassin24

HTPC Moderator
Mar 27, 2005
394
0
0
I've considered that one, I am already running a second network cable, I could run a third. Though I was looking to find a couple internal ones, save the number of powered devices showing.

If I have to go that way, I will, but willing to test with MythTV first, and if tivo is correct, I could theoretically have both.

Any suggestions on hardware? Was thinking Intel i3 2105, get the better Graphics chips, Though with the recent price drops on AMD CPUs, that may not be a bad option? Not sure on MB. I figured about a 400w PSU, gives room for a little growth if I want to add a dedicated card later.

I do like the look of the Antec NSK2400, it does come with a 380w PSU, not sure on quality.
The new Ivy Bridge i3 comes out next week. If you go with AMD the A6-3500 is the only one to get. Anything lower is too anemic and anything greater is way too hot and uses way too much energy.

That was actually my very first HTPC case. Its a great case to build in and very quiet. Its also very big. A 380w PSU is plenty big for most HTPC discrete cards that you will may choose. Most non-gaming cards use 75w or less despite what the manufacturer claims.
 

SparksIT

Member
May 16, 2009
103
0
71
So here is what I am thinking, I'm a bit over budget. I could go with a cheaper MB, though I would like to get one with HDMI out, with optical out, and at least 1 pci-e. Found a cheap ASRock, not sure on the brand reliablity?

Parts:

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/g1GN
CPU: Intel Pentium G850 2.9GHz Dual-Core $77.98
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-B75M-D3P Micro ATX LGA1155 $91.99
Memory: Kingston 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 $19.99
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM $165.99
Case: Antec NSK2480 MicroATX Desktop w/380W Power Supply $110.87
TV Tunner: Hauppauge 1229 WinTV-HVR-2250 $89.99
Remote: Lenovo N5902 Enhanced Multimedia Remote with Backlit Keyboard $49.00

Total: $605.81

Suggestions?
 

Arkitekt

Member
Aug 11, 2012
52
0
0
So here is what I am thinking, I'm a bit over budget. I could go with a cheaper MB, though I would like to get one with HDMI out, with optical out, and at least 1 pci-e. Found a cheap ASRock, not sure on the brand reliablity?

Parts:

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/g1GN
CPU: Intel Pentium G850 2.9GHz Dual-Core $77.98
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-B75M-D3P Micro ATX LGA1155 $91.99
Memory: Kingston 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 $19.99
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM $165.99
Case: Antec NSK2480 MicroATX Desktop w/380W Power Supply $110.87
TV Tunner: Hauppauge 1229 WinTV-HVR-2250 $89.99
Remote: Lenovo N5902 Enhanced Multimedia Remote with Backlit Keyboard $49.00

Total: $605.81

Suggestions?
Go with a WD Green instead of a Black, will save yourself about $65

And why an optical out? send audio through HDMI. But you can go with this ASRock http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813157303
 

assassin24

HTPC Moderator
Mar 27, 2005
394
0
0
ASRock makes great boards.

You can use a cheaper CPU. I don't like black 7200RPM drives at all for HTPC.

Personally I would consider going with a 64GB SSD (for OS and programs) and a 2TB Green drive with a cheaper CPU. Price will be close and you will have a better HTPC experience, imo.
 

SparksIT

Member
May 16, 2009
103
0
71
Go with a WD Green instead of a Black, will save yourself about $65

And why an optical out? send audio through HDMI. But you can go with this ASRock http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813157303
Thanks for the suggestion, swapped HDD and MB, though will need to read a bit more on ASRock.

As for Optical out, you mostly right, I won't need it with the HDMI out, but its always nice to have options. If there is a better board that doesn't have it, or comes with better options, please by all means recommend.

ASRock makes great boards.

You can use a cheaper CPU. I don't like black 7200RPM drives at all for HTPC.

Personally I would consider going with a 64GB SSD (for OS and programs) and a 2TB Green drive with a cheaper CPU. Price will be close and you will have a better HTPC experience, imo.
An SSD plus a Platter drive was my original plan, I didn't think it would fit the budget at this time. I do plan to keep an eye on deals, and hope to get one around Black Friday.

As for CPU, how low can I go? I chose the Pentium G850 because that's the cheapest that comes with Intel's HD2000 graphics, though I don't know how much better it is over Intel's HD graphics, when it comes to performance.

Parts:

CPU: Intel Pentium G850 2.9GHz Dual-Core $77.98
Motherboard: ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 $69.99
Memory: Kingston 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 $19.99
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB 3.5" 5400RPM $99.99
Case: Antec NSK2480 MicroATX Desktop w/380W Power Supply $110.87
Tunner: Hauppauge 1229 WinTV-HVR-2250 $89.99
Remote: Lenovo N5902 Enhanced Multimedia Remote with Backlit Keyboard $49.00
Total: 517.81
 

assassin24

HTPC Moderator
Mar 27, 2005
394
0
0
For 1080p? Graphics is the same. I have an i3 2100 and G620T and can't tell a bit of difference.

I would really save an extra little bit to get the SSD + platter combo. As I stated it shouldn't cost you much more at all if anything. Its a dramatic improvement, imo, for HTPC.
 

Arkitekt

Member
Aug 11, 2012
52
0
0
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/g2Pw

Try this setup, its $40 cheaper then your original build. It has a cheaper CPU and Mobo, but includes a SSD with a WD Green. You can change your case to something like the Silverstone ML03B and get a cheap decent PSU to save a few more $'s.

Also, why the Lenovo remote? If you have a favorite remote at home that you already use, take a look at Flirc.tv
 

LowTech

Member
May 22, 2009
29
0
0

SparksIT

Member
May 16, 2009
103
0
71
So I modified a few Parts, and added a SSD drive, hopefully it will be back in stock at newegg before the rebate expires. I think I'll keep the processor for now, its only $10 difference.

CPU: Intel Pentium G850 2.9GHz Dual-Core $77.98
Motherboard : ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 $69.99
Memory: Kingston 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 $19.99
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB 3.5" 5400RPM $99.99
SSD : OCZ Vertex Plus R2 60GB 2.5" SSD $29.99 after $20 MIR
Case: Silverstone ML03B HTPC $59.98
Power Supply: Antec 380W ATX12V / EPS12V $38.99
Tunner: Hauppauge 1229 WinTV-HVR-2250 $89.99
Remote: Lenovo N5902 Enhanced Multimedia Remote with Backlit Keyboard $49.00
Total: $535.90

Personally, I like SiliconDust TV tuner better because it allows you to turn any PC within your network into a TV. I own the HDHomeRun Prime. The HDHomeRun Prime also has a CableCard slot which allow you to add a cable card from your cable company if you want in the the future.
For now I am trying to keep it to all in one box type system, though that my change, still have about a week before I need to order.

As a side note, it is kind of a annoying how
Code:
SSD:
turns into SSD:
 

Arkitekt

Member
Aug 11, 2012
52
0
0
LOL I agree about the SSD emoticon, it is annoying. As a suggestion, I believe the OCZ Vertex has an Indilinix controller, it is also SATA II. . I would suggest looking into something that is SATA III with a Marvell controller, much better reliability.
 
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ecosmartpc

Member
Aug 15, 2012
67
0
66
www.ecosmartpc.com
As for CPU, how low can I go? I chose the Pentium G850 because that's the cheapest that comes with Intel's HD2000 graphics, though I don't know how much better it is over Intel's HD graphics, when it comes to performance.
The G850 doesn't have the Intel 2000 GPU, just the Intel HD that all the other SandyBridge Celeron/Pentium chips have. As Assassin points out, for 1080p it doesn't matter. IIRC, the Intel HD is similar or the same as what was in the Clarkdale CPUs which ran great, handled HD audio bitstreaming, etc.

See here: http://ark.intel.com/products/53491/Intel-Pentium-Processor-G850-(3M-Cache-2_90-GHz)

Something to know about the NSK2480 is that there are little fan grilles that stick out on the side that are not included in the quoted dimensions of the case. If you're tight for width wherever you are putting your case add an inch or so. I ordered this case for my very first HTPC and because of this it did not fit in my cabinet. YMMV.
 

zon2020

Member
Aug 17, 2012
52
0
0
Will that tuner fit in the ML03? I ask because I don't know, but I would certainly check if I were you. That's a nice case, but it's not very tall, and fit is definitely an issue with many things in that case.
 

pkscout

Junior Member
Aug 30, 2012
24
0
0
Memory: Kingston 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 $19.99
You might want to think about 2 x 2GB instead of 1 x 4GB for the RAM. That board supports dual channel memory access, so you'll get better performance with both slots filled with like DIMMs. That said, the performance increase might not be noticeable for your use case.
 

Plugers

Senior member
Mar 22, 2002
547
0
0
I also would recommend the Silicon Dust HDHomeRun products. I have a prime and one of the originals.

That way if you want to fire up a W7 laptop or an iPad (there is an app for that) you don't NEED your main HTPC on to use a tuner.

$129 shipped right now on the Egg for the Prime.
 

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