I am planning to build my first HTPC (actually, my first home-made PC whatsoever), and I definitely need your expert advice on the components I am planning
First: the specs I have in mind
Enclosure: Silverstone LC18 + touch screen 7" touch screen (848x480), 2x5.25"ext, 5x3.5"int, ATX
Motherboard: ASUS P5N32-SLI Premium WiFi/AP, Intel Duo Core 2 + nVidia SLI capable. Silent Cool
Graphics card #1: ASUS EN7600GTSILENT/2DHT/256M 256MB PCI-E DDR 2DVI HDTV OUT, 2xDVI: Dual LCD (HD) and projector (WXGA), PureVideo, capable for games, not too expensive, silent cool, H.264, WMV, MPEG2 acc by hardware, subpixel calculation,...
Graphics card #2??????: 1xVGA + 1xDVI: touch screen independent and future upgradations
Processor: Intel Duo Core 2 775, E6600 2.4 64b, 4MB High perfs, low heat
Memory: Kingston DDR2 2GB 667 dual
Hard Drive for system: Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 300GB SATA 3,5" 16MB; 3 OS: XP Multimedia + Vista + Linux
Hard Drive for data ??????
Sound: Creative X-Fi Elite Pro: CMSS: stereo to surround, vinyl to digital
Keyboard: Logitech diNovo Edge; I want WiFi keyboard+touchpad. How is this touchpad? Like laptop ones?
Remote: ??????; Looking for Bluetooth/WiFi: through walls
DVD RW: ??????
DVD ROM: ??????
TV Synth: ??????: Analog + Digital, TVR, Multiple view/recording, FM
Power Supply: ??????
LCD Screen: ??????: 1920x1080, 1080p, no need for integrated TV receiver,...
Projector: ??????; DVD quality, preferently WXGA
Second, why this system:
[*:11c00d919f]I found the idea of having a touch screen on your HTPC a brilliant idea: the system can work as a stand alone, and for playing music, synchronising with other devices (iPod, PDA, etc...) you don’t need to turn your big screen on, take your keyboard, etc...
[*:11c00d919f]I want an LCD screen for usual PC apps (internet, work, etc...), gaming at HD or XHD and for TV watching
[*:11c00d919f]Finally, a projector for DVDs, DivX and TV movies, matches,...
[*:11c00d919f]Ideally, the 3 video outputs (touch screen, LCD screen and projector) should be able to work independently, so I can either use the PC as a stand alone device, either use LCD for working while my girlfriend is watching a movie and so on. The touch screen (whether other video outputs are used or not) would be devoted to music and video controls and to some shortcuts to profiles activation (like watching TV on the LCD, or DVD watching on the projector, etc...), so when any of these is activated, configs like resolution and so are applied to the different outputs for the desired purpose
[*:11c00d919f]So 3 video outputs are needed... which means nVidia SLI or ATI XFire technology is needed
[*:11c00d919f]And I personally like nVidia. No clear reason, but I had good experiences, it’s flexible and you don’t use to have troubles, drivers are always there, you can easily use multi-screen config,...
[*:11c00d919f]Final comment on graphics: I want to be able to do some gaming, but I’m not a fan, so overclocking and such is not my prio 1
[*:11c00d919f]Processor: Intel Duo 2 Core seems to me ideal for HTPC: high perfs, low heat,...
[*:11c00d919f]Intel Duo 2 Core + nVidia SLI = nForce 590 chipset for Intel (ok, 680 should come at some point, but I can’t see clear advantages for the wait and the extra cost), and ASUS’ motherboard seems ok: silent cool, good reviews, good connectivity, expansion possibilities,... so I fancy P5N32-SLI Premium
[*:11c00d919f]Talking about ASUS: they have a silent cooling version of the 7600GT, and this could well be my main graphics card: good enough for my needs (SLI capable, full nVidia Video playing, including HD, dual DVI for using both screen and projector at the same time,...) but not too expensive. This card should be able to manage with the two main video outputs at the same time: LCD screen and projector, with different resolutions and so
[*:11c00d919f]There is still a second graphics card needed for the touch screen. 848x480 VGA input is no big challenge. Anyone could do, provided it’s got SLI capability, so I can combine it with the main one and have 4 outputs in a Dual config. So I better look into nVidia products. Any suggestion? If my 7600GT gets obsolete in the future, I’ll probably replace the second card by a new one (better than the 7600) and make this my first graphs card
[*:11c00d919f]Sound Card: this is not so clear to me. ASUS motherboard has an integrated SupremeFX card. I would however buy a Creative XFi Elite Pro, cause I fancy their claim to translate stereo into surround, the possibility of recording vinyls and the connection capabilities of the card. Can the 2 sound cards cohabitate peacefully?
[*:11c00d919f]Remote: that’s not very clear to me either. What do you exactly need? Is it one PCI card for the receiver and a remote? What systems do you suggest? Ideally, I would like to avoid IR and be able to go through a wall with it
[*:11c00d919f]Keyboard: I’ve seen this very nice diNovo Edge, but I’m not sure about its touchpad. I don’t want mouses or similar devices from my coach, so I need to be able to move through my screen with something integrated on the keyboard. Is diNovo Edge touchpad like a laptop one? Or is it just a kind of fancy scrollbar?
[*:11c00d919f]If so far, my config seems fine, that would be very good news. I’m not very worried about all the other peripherals: TV tuner, Skype, DVD player and recorder,... Any suggestion will be very welcome, of course, but first I want to be sure my first idea for my system is ok
[*:11c00d919f]Then, of course, I’ll have a thorough look to LCD screens (I would fancy a 1080p ready one), projectors (at least DVD qual, 720p ready if possible) and speakers (I’ve got some Creative Inspire T7900 so far, I’ll see if they need to be replaced). But this will come later, after I am sure my ideal system is feasible...
So please, let me know:
[*:11c00d919f]What do you think about my planned system: feasible? Sounds good? What about each single component? Enclosure, motherboard, graphics,...?
[*:11c00d919f]Is there anything missing to the list? It’s first time I build a PC, so I might have forgotten some important stuff to make all this work... Please give me your advice on fans, power supply, etc... (as silent as possible, please!)
[*:11c00d919f]Will I be able to have 3 independent video outputs and configure them as per my desired “usage profiles”: full screen on the projector, all the controls related to music and video (iTunes mini-player, Media Player, PowerDVD, etc...) sticking into the touch screen, all other applications to LCD,...?
[*:11c00d919f]What about the sound card issue: I’m a bit confused about the integrated one on the motherboard: will this be able to cohabitate with the XFi I want to buy? I guess you might even have the option of a dual output: 5.1 for a DVD, while listening music through headphones, or in an other room
[*:11c00d919f]Other issue: distances. How far can the LCD and projectors be from the graphs card?
[*:11c00d919f]Finally, I don’t know much about building PCs, so any suggestion or guide on how to do it would be welcome
"Will I be able to have 3 independent video outputs and configure them as per my desired “usage profiles”: full screen on the projector, all the controls related to music and video (iTunes mini-player, Media Player, PowerDVD, etc...) sticking into the touch screen, all other applications to LCD,...?"
I just got done building an LC18 2.4 GHz Quad Core AMD System. I had three graphics outputs on my ASUS motherboard VGA to touch screen and HDMI to the 1080 P projector routed through a reciever. Only one issue with the displays, there doesn't seem to be a display manager optimized to control the LCD logically. We need software that puts music and video player interfaces on the LCD and keeps them there even if you're full screen on the projector. Any suggestions