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Need advice: new HTCP and Server

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Last response: in Systems
January 8, 2010 3:52:31 AM


I'm a former linux sysadmin, been hands off keyboard for about 3 years. I'm wanting to build my first HTPC and thinking I should also build a server to house all the media etc. So far I'm only one mac at home, no other 'network' of systems. HTPC is first, server prob. later. This will replace my Tivo and also give me a chance to scratch the itch of getting hands back on the keyboard.

PPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: 1-2 months BUDGET RANGE: 4-600 After Rebates, I THINK but i'm flexible as i don't really know what I'm talking about. I'd rather spend less, but I want something of good quality.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Recording TV/watching live TV (cable) (replace my tivo), netflix, video podcasts (ie, TedTalks), DVD player (bluray negotiable) music (from itunes?) photos (from iphoto?), Other web content etc. No gaming.


PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: is aok. no strong preference. Like buying from quite a bit for most things. is certainly OK for making suggestions.

PARTS PREFERENCES: I'd like a discrete looking case perhaps, quiet etc.

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

This seems interesting:

AMD Athlon II X3 425 Rana 2.7GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Processor - Retail

Pretty sold on Win7 of MediaCenter, 64bit sounds good, but not sold on 32/64 and which Win Edition


SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Dont know enough... open to suggestions.


ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Quiet is good. Dont see a need for BluRay write. I dont feel i have a big need for tons of local storage. I currently have a "40 hr" tivo and thats plenty. hope the future holds a media server will all the music, photos and would like to rip/store dvd/bluray at that point. I dont want overkill GPU - will only be for PVR stuff, no gaming. Not hell bent on power supply either. Want a decent one, but dont want to spend a ton on it.

thanks a ton!

More about : advice htcp server

January 8, 2010 1:59:48 PM

though if you really want the PC to do Cable recording look into a company called Ceton, they are releasing a new CableCARD tuner (actually 3), a normal TV Tuner will not be able to get all of the cable channels only the ClearQAM (usually broadcast stations)

@vanekl don't forget that the CableCARDs are now open to DIY people, all we need now are the tuners to become available, the opening of cableCARD happened over this last summer
Related resources
January 8, 2010 2:22:10 PM

I really like the quality of the Antec products I've bought. I think you can pair that case with a good power supply from Antec or Corsair and be fine. If you're going to use the built-in GPU you won't need a lot of power, just good quality power.

I put together a HTPC yesterday with the following plus Win7 x64 and so far I am really really pleased. It was a very easy build.

nMediaPC 1000B HTPC Case

Antec Earthwatts 380D 380W 80Plus PSU


G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333

AMD Phenom II X3 705e Heka 2.5GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 65W Triple-Core Processor

Western Digital Caviar Blue WD3200AAJS 320GB

You probably don't need as much CPU if you don't play to do any video encoding. However, that said, I've already noticed that it runs Win7 Media Center much, much smoother when it comes to things like the photo slideshow screensaver and just general navigation, speed of programs, etc. IMO, there's a lot of focus on video performance in HTPCs but people forget all the other things you want to do that aren't going to be GPU optimized. A nice powerful energy efficient X3 or X4 is going to make the overall experience better.

I have a Windows Home Server setup so I went with a smaller HDD. You could put a 1TB drive in yours and that would hold you over until you get that set up.

Something else to consider is to take a look at what's coming (just announced) on the Intel of things with regards to Clarksdale. Google Intel Clarksdale and read up and see what you think. It's nice to see a platform with native 7.1 bitstreaming support finally show up.

Other sites to check out for HTPC/home server stuff:

Have fun and good luck!
January 8, 2010 2:38:50 PM

thanks for the feedback so far folks.

@vanekl- i'll read those links tonite. I scanned and saw the cablecard problem... will have to check into my provider (mediacom) and see how they feel about it.

@mindless728 -> good tip. this looks pretty intense I dont have any desire for 4 tuner... is there a reccomended 2 tuner card that would work in the same way?

@ Dougie Fresh - thx for the info and other links.

@ all - really encouraged by the responses, willingness to help out noobs and repeat questions (how should i build my htpc... ) over and over! floored actually.

January 8, 2010 4:56:19 PM

mindless728 said:

@vanekl don't forget that the CableCARDs are now open to DIY people, all we need now are the tuners to become available, the opening of cableCARD happened over this last summer

Yes, if you had followed the links you would have found extensive discussion on CableCard.

Building a box to do encrypted-QAM is a bad idea. There are numerous obstacles, one of which is it doesn't make economic sense. Encouraging somebody to pursue this w/o explaining all the risks is irresponsible.