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HTPC have an idea for parts just want reccomendations

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July 29, 2009 3:55:47 AM

Hey I've been thinking of building an HTPC and have a parts list of what I think I want to get
Antec Case:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Lite On Optical Drive:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Motherboard:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Processor:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
TV Tuner:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Mouse/Keyboard:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
OS:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
PSU:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
WiFi:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
RAM:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I currently have a decent sized HDTV, a comcast cable box with digital cable and a 5.1 surround sound system. I do not need much help finding a HD since I have a few laying around. What I would really like to know is if the TV tuner is good. If the PSU will fit in the case and if I can rely on either the integrated graphics or a 8600 GTS that i have laying around. I really want to use this media center to play movies and cds, play mp3s, and be able to watch and record tv on it I don't need to record and playback HD stuff but I would like to be able to use my digital cable features like the TV guide and on demand stuff. Any help?
Thanks
July 29, 2009 2:06:26 PM

Looks like a good setup. The power supply should fit without issue.

I'm partial to Windows/Vista Media Center (VMC), so I'd look for a TV Tuner that includes a VMC Remote Control. Here is the same Hauppauge TV Tuner Card with the VMC Remote Control. Setup of the VMC should also include setting up the TV Guide for your local Comcast Cable subscription, though I'm not sure how On-Demand would work. I've never tried it on my HTPC with Comcast.

My only real concern would be the wireless connection. If at all possible, you're going to want this system hard wired into your network. You'll avoid any hiccups with downloading new guide content and/or Netflix/Hulu/YouTube video downloads.

-Wolf sends

Oh btw... The onboard video should be more than enough for DVD/TV playback.
July 29, 2009 3:20:21 PM

I'm not sure that motherboard will work with that CPU without flashing the BIOS. Here are some hardware suggestions:

AMD Athlon II X2 245 Regor 2.9GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $64.99

ASUS M3N78-VM AM2+/AM2 NVIDIA GeForce 8200 HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $74.99

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-8500CL5D-4GBPK - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $54.99 (The RAM you picked would work also, but this RAM has tighter timings and free shipping)

Antec Black M FusionRemote 350 Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $199.99 (I wouldn't bother getting a case and PSU separate, just get them together so you're sure they work together)

Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 Media Center Kit Dual TV Tuner 1213 PCI-Express x1 Interface - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $127.99

I would also get 64-bit Vista with a free upgrade to Windows 7. There's really no reason to use a 32-bit OS today.

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders w/ Tech Guarantee - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $109.99

You could save $100 off of my case suggestion above if you like the looks of this case:

Antec NSK1380 Black/ Silver Steel MicroATX Cube Computer Case 350W Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... (case + motherboard combo)
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July 29, 2009 8:30:15 PM

Thanks for the replys. I have been told that the PSU would fit with the case that I chose out and I've also contacted Antec about it but haven't gotten a reply yet. I don't really think that I would need a 64 bit version of vista unless there is a good reason. This computer doesn't need way to much power. What would be the advantages of having the remote that comes with the TV tuner you chose out other than the remote that comes with the Case that i picked out? Also why would the CPU not work with the mobo I chose out. I've heard that ATI integrated graphics work well with media centers is that true or would going with the 8200 thats in the one that you picked out. I do like the case that I've picked out and have seen a few builds that have used it (but i think they came with PSUs =/) and I've measured and it should fit into my cabinet. I can't really do anything about not using WiFi since the router is pretty far from where the media center will be and honestly it wouldn't do much good since I have a horrible internet connection (but I don't really mind waiting a little bit for movies to load). And yea I guess I will probably switch to the RAM that you picked out.
Again thanks for replying
July 29, 2009 9:01:23 PM

I don't see a good reason NOT to go with a 64-bit OS. You won't be able to fully use all 4GB of RAM with a 32-bit OS and you don't even have the option of adding more RAM later. Driver support for 64-bit Vista is excellent also. 32-bit is quickly going the way of 16-bit because there's really no reason for it to exist.

The remote that comes with the TV-tuner will work seamlessly with Windows Media Center which is a very good user interface for a HTPC.

To be honest, the CoolerMaster PSU you picked out is a POS. It doesn't have active PFC and is only about 70% efficent. You can do MUCH better. Here's a few options for high quality PSU's that will power this system:

CORSAIR CMPSU-400CX 400W ATX12V V2.2 80 PLUS Certified Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $59.99 - $20 MIR

Antec earthwatts EA380 380W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.0 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $49.99

OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ500MXSP 500W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply compatible with core i7 - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $58.99 - $25 MIR

SeaSonic SS-400ET 400W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V V2.91 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $44.99

PC Power & Cooling Silencer PPCS370X 370W ATX12V 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $39.99
July 29, 2009 9:17:10 PM

Alright just as long as there is driver support for 64 bit vista thats decent. The OCZ PSU that you chose out seems good so I'll probably get that. Do you still think that I should get a different mobo or is the one that i picked out decent?
Anonymous
July 29, 2009 9:31:48 PM

There's nothing wrong with the motherboard you originally selected, it's just that it may be old enough to require a BIOS update to work properly with an AM3 processor. The rest of your selections look fine. As far as a 64bit OS goes, given the specs of the motherboard, and the parts you've chosen it would probably be overkill, on the other hand future-proofing can be good. I was wondering about how you intend to hook up the sound from the PC to your surround system, that is if you're going to do that.

For sound hook-up options alone I would recommend this board:


Also it has more options for video connection, twice as many DIMM's for memory, and on-board dedicated graphics memory (Sideport,) and it's only $10.00 more than the board you originally selected. Of course, if you got this board I would recommend a 64-bit OS, only because this board is more upgradeable than your original pick.
July 29, 2009 9:40:26 PM

ECS certainly isn't in the same quality realm as Gigabyte and Asus. I just worry that you're putting a brand new model CPU in a board that doesn't support that CPU until a BIOS revision released on 05/30/09.

http://www.ecs.com.tw/ECSWebSite/Products/ProductsDetai...

Of course with a CPU that new, there's always compatibility worries. I'm not 100% sure the Asus board above will work, either. I'll have to do some checking. Do you need HDMI on the board? There's a Zotac board in a combo with the x2 245, but it doesn't have HDMI.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
July 29, 2009 10:17:55 PM

Alright well I think the mobo Aarchel picked out seems good since I really would like HDMI. I'll switch my RAM to the G SKILL kit, my OS to the 64 bit, get the TV tuner with the remote, and get the OCZ PSU. Anything else that I should consider?
EDIT: Oh and I should be able to record comcast digital cable without way to much hassle right? I've heard a lot about encoding stuff that might be a pain. I don't care about recording HD though just regular stuff.
July 29, 2009 10:31:08 PM

I'll have to punt to someone with direct experience with recording Comcast digital cable. My HD content all comes from an OTA antenna. I only have basic analog Comcast cable, so I've never tried to record digital cable. It's certainly not as straightforward as my antenna/analog cable setup. You'll have to get an IR blaster to control your Comcast digital cable box. Like I said, I don't have any experience in that, so hopefully someone who does will be able to comment.
July 29, 2009 10:31:28 PM

Don't forget to save some of your budget for some additional software.

I suggest you take a look at TotalMedia Theater 3 Platinum for blu-ray playback since your BD drive is an OEM without software.
July 29, 2009 10:37:13 PM
July 30, 2009 12:02:52 AM

Sorry I couldn't get back to you sooner. The reason I recommended a Tuner card with a VMC remote is because I'm not sure how well the case remote would work with Vista Media Center and all it's functions.

There is an issue with (that I'm experiencing anyway) with the IR Blaster not working with the HD Cable Box. Mine worked fine with the standard box, but will not change the channel on the HD box. All other remote control functions work perfectly.

Since the cable box has to be on for you to record non-clearqam signals anyway, just set your cable box to record whatever program you want (and make sure it automatically changes channels when the program starts). Set your TV Tuner card to record the same program and it will work. Since you're connecting the TV tuner card to the HD cable box, you may lose the ability to record two different shows simultaneously. I don't actually have that card, so I can't check it out.

Recording OnDemand is a manual process. First, make sure your HTPC is powered on and ready to go. Start the LiveTV option (again, I'm using Media Center). With the cable box remote control, start your OnDemand movie selection. Once the movie begins, press the Record button on the VMC Remote Control. When you're done recording, press the stop button on the VMC Remote to end the recording. Press the stop button again to stop the LiveTV application of Media Center.

-Wolf sends

July 30, 2009 1:08:16 AM

I don't need to record on demand I just would like to record regular TV from basic cable channels and be able to play them back. I do have a universal remote that can save signals from other remotes lined up to it and I can also program buttons to send more than one signal. I guess I could have one hook up connected to digital and one to analog?
July 30, 2009 1:47:57 PM

Ok. This all depends on what shows/channels you want to record. There are two ways of connecting your TV Tuner card.

1) Directly from the wall socket. This will allow you to watch and record all channels Comcast sends out ClearQAM (unencrypted). Comcast in St. Paul, MN sends about 50 channels (2-99 range) ClearQAM. Your TV Tuner card acts as the tuner and you'll use it to change channels. If you want to know what channels you get ClearQAM, plug your cable line from the wall directly to your HDTV and scan the channels.

2) From the wall socket to the cable box and from the cable box to the TV Tuner. This essentially turns your TV Tuner card into a glorified Video Capture card. The cable box acts as the channel changer and tuner. All channels you subscribe to are now available for recording on your PC.

If the shows you want to record are sent ClearQAM, then I'd suggest getting a splitter and connecting via method 1. If not, use method 2.

-Wolf sends
July 30, 2009 8:38:37 PM

would i be able to have both? I know what channels I get in ClearQAM since another TV in my house is just connected to the cable directly. What I'd like to be able to do is have the main input that I would use for watching and some recording connected to the cable box so I can watch some of the extra channels. Then I'd like the other input to be connected directly to the wall. I dunno for sure how it works does the digital line use the same line as the ClearQAM and would I be able to get a splitter to do what I would want?
July 30, 2009 10:29:20 PM

The problem is you only have one coax input (the other coax input is actually for an FM Antenna).

http://www.hauppauge.com/site/products/data_hvr2250.htm...

So you'd have to go from the wall to the splitter, to the coax input on the TV Tuner card (ClearQAM) and then from the splitter to the cable box and S-Video from the cable box to the tuner card. I'm not sure how well that second connection would work.

I don't know that I can try it on mine. All my experience is based on the two TV Tuner cards I have: The AVerMedia AVerTV PCI-Ex1 card and an old ATI All-In-Wonder X1800XL. The specs for my card say I can, but it'd be a real pain to pull apart all the connections and rewire it tonight.

-Wolf sends
July 30, 2009 10:39:31 PM

The HVR-1800 has two separate inputs. One for analog and one for digital. You should be able to spit the source and run one to the cable box then to the digital tuner on the TV tuner card. The other cable could run straight from the wall to the analog tuner.

I know that's probably not exactly what you're looking for, but it should work. I have both a HVR-1600 and HVR-2250 in my HTPC. The HVR-1600 has a cable run from my OTA antenna to the digital tuner and one run straight from the cable to the analog tuner. My HVR-2250 is also plugged into my OTA antenna. I end up with 3 digital tuners and 1 analog tuner with this setup.

I'm not sure if that helps or not. :( 
July 31, 2009 4:40:44 AM

in the picture it shows FM, Cable and an antenna port not an analog cable or will it still work?Oh wait i see a S-Video to composite converter
EDIT:Im guessing the antenna input will work as the analog input?
August 2, 2009 4:55:54 AM

Nvm actually read the online manual lol. So pretty much everything is good and I should go out and get the stuff?
sorry bout the bump also
!