I am going to build my first home theater PC. I have some ideas about what I need it to do. I have picked out some hardware that might work. If you see a problem or have a better idea, please let me know. Sorry if post is long.. I don't want to leave anything out.
Run absolutely quiet. No fans.
HDMI out 1080p
Stream Blu-Ray in 1080p
Stream all this wireless to my 47"LCD
My HTPC will be set up next to my TV.
I will install Linux onto the small drive. (maybe SSD for quiet)
On top of Linux, install XBMC
Here is the layout..and how I envision this to work.
1. I will backup my Blu-Ray, DVD, MP3's to a NAS that is attached(cat5) to my wireless g router located upstairs.
2. The NAS will have a wireless n dongle on it, broadcasting to the HTPC
3. The Home Theater PC will be wireless n (usb n)
4. The HT will be running Linux (my first time) and XBMC with the Aeon skin.
5. The HT will connect to my A/V receiver through HDMI.
I think that sums up what I want it to do.
Here is a list of the components I put together.
Are you saying put a Blu-Ray into my desktop PC? If I put the BR into the desktop ( much more power there ) I can crunch the BR much quicker.
If I put it into the HTPC would it take up room and be duplicating my main PC?
Sorry, I forgot to mention, I just bought a LG 390 Blu Ray player.
I wouldn't get caught up in trying to make it silent. You'll drive yourself nuts and have to compromise on parts that may fail.
I would recommend using very quiet parts instead of totally silent ones. Once you are playing any media at all, the sound of the pc will not be heard. If you pick good solid performers you won't have to replace them before their time.
Also, bear in mind that you probably are not sitting right next to the thing. If you're 5 feet away you should be fine.
Seriously. I spent a lot of money and time trying to make my HTPC totally silent. It is only possible if you're prepared to deal with replacing parts regularly. And in the end you won't even hear the difference.
My HTPC uses:
- Corsair HX520 PSU - one fan but really quiet (I used to have Antec Phantom 500 - failed after 6months)
- E5300 CPU with Zalman cooler (fan set to min speed)
- ATI HD2600XT with Zalman cooler (fan set to Auto)
- 2x scythe S-flex 120mm case fans
- 1TB WD 7200 RPM
- 2X tv tuners
- ASUS Xonar D2X sound card
- LG Blu-ray drive
I use wired network conection, but wireless is just the same. Never tried streaming blu-ray, I just put a blu-ray drive in the HTPC. Blu-ray content is too large to backup to HDD right now. I only own a few of the discs anyway. I did backup my 100+ regular DVDs though.
As for cases, they can be a big compromise. Right now I have the nMediaPC wooden antique radio style case and its great, but have used Silverstone LC-16M (size is an issue for full size GFX cards) as well as Antec P180B tower and for a while an Antec 900. The Antec cases are great but are too industrial for a sitting room environment. Found the Silverstone to be noisy (poor HDD mounting system) and overpriced.
Can't speak to the Linux thing. I have dabbled with Ubuntu but don't have the time to really learn the OS.
As far as a CPU & MOBO for 1080p, I think the requirements are very minimal. The 1080p / blu-ray should all be handled by the GPU, whether on-board or in a discrete graphics card.
In the past I just used an ATI HD2600XT 512MB card and it decodes blu-ray just fine. It didn't have HDMI but it came with an adaptor for DVI-HDMI.
I think you could stream the blu-ray from another pc, but not over wireless g. 1080p requires about 50MBps I think, when you include the audio channels too. This is pretty close to the limit of 802.11g. With wireless "n" you may be ok though. I have no experience of this. However if you are wired to your network you should be fine.
As for streaming from Hulu etc.... this is down to network infrastructure. Most motherboards have Gigabit ethernet nowadays, but this is irrelevent (to your purpose) anyway as most people don't have gigabit internet access. The quality of your streaming video will be less than blu-ray and will be limited by your internet bandwidth. Wireless "g" at 54MBps is usually much higher speed than the internet most people have. In a nutshell - this requirement should be no problem to meet with virtually any motherboard.
My motherboards are all long-in-the-tooth now but I will post them for your info. They all do what you say you need but they are older systems by today's standards: