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Advice on Media PC under $1000

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June 26, 2009 2:33:35 PM

Hey everyone. I've been trying to do some research on building a media pc, and came across this website. Thought I'd sign up and see if I could get any input. I haven't built a desktop computer for maybe 6 years, so I've become a little out of touch with hardware.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: If I feel comfortable with the setup, then it could be as early as next week.

BUDGET RANGE: $1000

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT:
1. Replace current DVR to record/schedule TV shows
2. Media storage - videos, music, pictures
3. Watching movies
4. Gaming potential
5. Internet usage
6. General desktop usage

PARTS NOT REQUIRED:
Keyboard and mouse (already have)
Monitor (have Samsung LN32B360 32" 720p 60Hz LCD HDTV)
Speakers (using tv speakers)
OS (using win7rc)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com

PARTS PREFERENCES:
HTPC case
No part brand preferences

OVERCLOCKING: no

MONITOR RESOLUTOIN:
From TV product description:
# Widescreen 1366 x 768 pixel resolution
Supports 720 signals for stunning image clarity and a true-to-life display.
# 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio
Delivers a cinema-style entertainment experience.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
Very quiet PC that doesn't burn up the room, and under $1000
I have a digital cable box that will provide the cable input
Will be using bluetooth for keyboard and mouse
Currently don't have a network cable so wireless will be used
This is how I am picturing the setup: Cable hookup in wall -> Digital box - > Media PC -> Television

Part List:

Case: Antec Black Aluminum / Steel Fusion Remote Black Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case - Retail - $159.95

Power Supply: Antec earthwatts EA430 430W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.0 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail - $54.99

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-E7AUM-DS2H LGA 775 NVIDIA GeForce 9400 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail - $129.99

CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz LGA 775 Quad-Core Processor Model BX80562Q6600 - Retail - $199.99

Memory: G.SKILL 2GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5S-2GBPQ - Retail - $24.99

HD: Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drives - OEM - $99.99

TV Tuner: Hauppauge WinTV-HVR 1800 MCE Kit 1128 PCI-Express x1 Interface - Retail - $99.99

Network: Rosewill RNX-N300 IEEE 802.11b/g/n Wireless-N 2.0 PCI (1T2R) Up to 150Mbps Data Rates/ WPA/WPA2 (AES, 64,128-WEP with shared-key ... - Retail - $19.99

Blu-Ray/DVD/Burner: LG Black Blu-ray/HD DVD-ROM & 16X DVD±R DVD Burner SATA Model GGC-H20L - Retail - $109.99

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade - Retail $49.99

Total: $1,089.85

Questions:
How exactly would recording shows from the digital tuner work? I'm assuming I cannot schedule such thing, and would have to keep the current DVR to schedule, and then record the show from the DVR to the media PC.
How will the sound work? Does the HDMI from the media pc transfer the sound to the tv?
How will the remote control work? Would the remote for the media pc tuner be able to control the digital box?

Thanks for any help!

More about : advice media 1000

June 30, 2009 11:46:32 AM

Wait, you want to buy Windows 7? It's not ready for release yet!

Regarding the recording process, it really depends on the TV Tuner you purchase and the accompanying software. Recommend you come up with a shortlist, and search for feedback on its supporting software online.

Also, since this machine will basically be a DVR, do you really need the Blu-Ray drive?
July 1, 2009 12:51:09 PM

r_manic said:
Wait, you want to buy Windows 7? It's not ready for release yet!

Regarding the recording process, it really depends on the TV Tuner you purchase and the accompanying software. Recommend you come up with a shortlist, and search for feedback on its supporting software online.

Also, since this machine will basically be a DVR, do you really need the Blu-Ray drive?


I'll be downloading the RC to use until Windows 7 is released. Some people I know are running the RC and have had some good feedback about it.

Thanks for the input about the TV Tuner. I'll do some research on its software and see if it's what I'm looking for.

I'd still like toe Blu-Ray drive, since this will be the only disk drive attached to my television. I'd just like to have options for what I can do: watch tv, stream tv (maybe netflix), play dvds, cds, blu-ray, burn disks, etc.
Related resources
July 1, 2009 12:51:37 PM

I've made a few changes to the list:
Memory: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-4GBPQ - Retail - $46.99
(doubled the memory )

Wireless: Rosewill RNX-G300LX IEEE 802.11b/g PCI Wireless Card Up to 54Mbps Data Rates 64/128-Bit WEP, 802.1x, WPA, WPA2, AES, TKIP ... - Retail
(less expensive wireless card to use until I get the walls wired)

The one thing I'm really having a hard time deciding on is the HTPC case. Anyone have input or suggestions on different cases?

I do like the antec I have in my list, but did see a lian-li that looks as nice. It doesn't have a LCD display, and I believe only uses low profile cards.

LIAN LI Black Aluminum PC-C37B Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case - Retail

July 1, 2009 1:18:58 PM

For your requirements, the Q6600 would an overkill and would consume more power...
You can look into dual cores for your usage...

And generally the AMD onboards are far better than those Nvidia on board chips...
July 8, 2009 7:31:58 PM

Here is the final list of parts ordered for this setup. I ordered more power than what I probably need, but I don't plan on upgrading for a long time and want ot keep the options open. Thanks for the input everyone. So far the install is going good. Tonight I'll be hooking up the cable and checking out windows media center!

Case: LIAN LI Black Aluminum PC-C37B Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case - Retail - $149.99

Power supply: Antec earthwatts EA380 380W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.0 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail - $49.99

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-E7AUM-DS2H LGA 775 NVIDIA GeForce 9400 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail - $129.99

Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 Yorkfield 2.83GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80569Q9550 - Retail - $219.99

Memory: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-4GBPQ - Retail - $46.99

Hard drive 1: Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD3200AAKS 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM - $49.99

Hard drive 2: Western Digital Caviar Green WD10EADS 1TB SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM - $89.99

BD-ROM: LG Black Blu-ray/HD DVD-ROM & 16X DVD±R DVD Burner SATA Model GGC-H20L - Retail - $109.99

Wireless: Rosewill RNX-G300LX IEEE 802.11b/g PCI Wireless Card Up to 54Mbps Data Rates 64/128-Bit WEP, 802.1x, WPA, WPA2, AES, TKIP ... - Retail - $14.99

TV: Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 Media Center Kit Dual TV Tuner 1213 PCI-Express x1 Interface - Retail - $132.99

Keyboard: Logitech diNovo Mini - $125.98

HTMI Cable: Link Depot 6 ft. HDMI TO HDMI A/V Cable Model HDMI-HDMI-2 - OEM - $6.99

OS: Win7rc (preordered windows 7 as well)

Total: $1,204.13
July 8, 2009 7:38:46 PM

Let us know how it goes. I don't know how well the HVR-2250 will work with a digital cable box. I use both a HVR-1600 and HVR-2250 in my HTPC, but I use an OTA antenna for my digital signal. I only have a basic cable subscription, so I just have one cable line run to the analog input on my HVR-1600.
July 10, 2009 3:13:26 AM

Well I've been working on the 2250 for a few days now, and haven't been successful.

Right now I have the coax outlet -> motorola 3416 dvr -> coax cable -> hvr-2250 and have hdmi from my motherboard to the television.

It doesn't seem like this card is going to work with my digital cable box, but I'm not giving up! The tuner card was the #1 reason why I was putting this pc together, so it cannot fail :) 

ps is that your jeep in your avatar?
July 10, 2009 3:25:46 AM

gkay09 said:
And generally the AMD onboards are far better than those Nvidia on board chips...


Nvidia is better for HTPC. Something to do with audio over HDMI, IIRC.
July 10, 2009 6:03:08 AM

theAnimal said:
Nvidia is better for HTPC. Something to do with audio over HDMI, IIRC.

Actually, that's completely opposite of the truth. AMD/ATI GPU's have had the ability to send sound over HDMI since the HD2x00 series. My HD2600XT sends audio over HDMI just fine. Nvidia cards need a separate cable plugged into the motherboard for this capability.

That sucks about the HVR-2250 not working, but it doesn't surprise me. I've never heard of them being able to tune a digital cable signal.

Edit: It's actually a picture of me driving my dad's Jeep. I rolled my Moab ready 4-Runner at 70 MPH on the freeway so it's no more. :( 
July 10, 2009 7:06:46 AM

shortstuff_mt said:
Actually, that's completely opposite of the truth. AMD/ATI GPU's have had the ability to send sound over HDMI since the HD2x00 series. My HD2600XT sends audio over HDMI just fine. Nvidia cards need a separate cable plugged into the motherboard for this capability.


AFAIK ATI on-board is limited to DD/DTS over HDMI, and will not do full surround PCM. Also 780G (so probably also 790GX) cannot do 1080p at 24fps.
July 10, 2009 12:32:15 PM

shortstuff_mt said:
Actually, that's completely opposite of the truth. AMD/ATI GPU's have had the ability to send sound over HDMI since the HD2x00 series. My HD2600XT sends audio over HDMI just fine. Nvidia cards need a separate cable plugged into the motherboard for this capability.

That sucks about the HVR-2250 not working, but it doesn't surprise me. I've never heard of them being able to tune a digital cable signal.

Edit: It's actually a picture of me driving my dad's Jeep. I rolled my Moab ready 4-Runner at 70 MPH on the freeway so it's no more. :( 



That's a bummer about your 4runner. I've got a jeep myself :) 

Well last night I was able to get the 2250 to receive the signal from the digital box. But there are still some problems. The IR Blaster isn't working with the digital box. When configuring the remote in 7MC it does not recognize the remote actions (numbers, channel up, etc) So with the windows media remote, I'll enter a channel and nothing happens. With the digital box remote, I'll enter a channel and it will change channel, but very slowly. Also, the screen is displaying at 4:3 and not 16:9.

Any recommendations on a low profile tuner card that I could get this working with Windows 7 MC?
July 10, 2009 12:50:37 PM

I don't think it's a problem with your tuner, but more with an incompatibility with the set-top box. I have the same issue with my MCE Remote and my Comcast HD set-top box (using the AVerMedia AVerTV PCI-E Combo TV Tuner). It used to work fine with the non-HD box.

Why the screen is displaying 4:3, I couldn't tell you.

-Wolf sends
July 10, 2009 1:02:41 PM

Wolfshadw said:
I don't think it's a problem with your tuner, but more with an incompatibility with the set-top box. I have the same issue with my MCE Remote and my Comcast HD set-top box (using the AVerMedia AVerTV PCI-E Combo TV Tuner). It used to work fine with the non-HD box.

Why the screen is displaying 4:3, I couldn't tell you.

-Wolf sends


Did you ever find a tv tuner that was compatible with your HD set-top box?
July 10, 2009 1:41:19 PM

The tuner card works fine. The remote/IR Blaster is all that's incompatible.

-Wolf sends
!