New HT much appreciated!!!

greetings all. I am about to build a HT PC to replace my aging one. My main needs are a system that is quiet, a HT PC chassis profile, the ability to output 5.1 audio through HDMI, oh yeah, and a very very quiet system. there will be no gaming on this machine and I would hope to keep the price tag around 750...but I can easily go above that if it is needed.

The end goal is to have a silent HT PC that has one A/V output using HDMI to get 1080 and 5.1 audio to my HD TV.


CPU: Open to suggestions. I hope to pop on a passively cooled HS and Fan or a very quiet HSF

Harddrive: already have

PSU: already have

RAM: Already have


I know that motherboard can do 7.1 out, but it doen't say if it can be over HDMI. Alternatively, I can use a video card, but again, I am not sure if it can do 5.1 output. I have read that it can only do 2 channels. On Newegg's website, one reviewer wrote:

"Pros: Works great for Bluray and HD-DVD
Looks crisper in videos than my 2600XT
Completely Slient
Runs Cool for a fanless card
Does HDMI Audio (see notes)
Great Price

Cons: HDMI Audio doesn't support Dolby True HD or DTS-HD via HDMI (but neither does any ATI or Nvidia Product at this time)

Other Thoughts: The key to getting HDMI audio to work right is to install the realtek drivers:
Install the Vista Driver First, then Install the ATI HDMI audio drivers. By doing that (in that order) you get all the audio options and bitrates.

Mine works great with my Onkyo 606 and my Westinghouse 1080p tv. "

Another wrote,

"Cons: HDMI Audio is support is iffy. ATI's drivers do not know how to properly parse complete EDID data, which can often cause the HDMI audio to not work. There is a workout for Vista (details are on AVSforum), but none for Windows XP.

The basic problem is that the ATI drivers will only look at the first two 128byte EDID strings the HDMI device returns. It expects the first one to be a description of the video modes supported by the device and the second to describe the audio modes supported by the device. The problem is a lot of HDMI devices return more than 2 128byte EDID strings, and do not put the audio information in the second 128 byte string (because they report additional video modes in the 2nd 128 byte string or even the audio capabilities of the TV).

In my case, this caused my Pioneer Elite SC-05 receiver to appear to the card to not be a HDMI device because the 2nd 128byte EDID string does not contain the audio capabilities of the system. I'm running XP, so I'm stuck. :

Other Thoughts: This card and the other ATI 4xxx cards would be great for HDMI audio support if ATI could get their act together on the EDID handling in the drivers.

FYI: The Realtek audio drivers do not fix the problem either."

So there you have it...I now turn you loose for guidence!
9 answers Last reply
More about feedback appreciated
  1. We can't be of much help without a little more information. You say you already have RAM. What RAM do you have? We can't recommend a motherboard or system built around it without that information. We also need to know what PSU you have. If it's a cheap POS you shouldn't use it unless you like indoor fireworks.

    Do you already have the motherboard you posted above? If not, I wouldn't get it. AMD systems are much better for a HTPC build due to much better onboard GPU's.
  2. The PSU is an Antec I got last year...500w I believe. It is a great quality and very silent.

    I have 4GB DDR2 (2x 2GB) of Corsair, I can't remember the model, but it works great.

    I do not have the Mobo yet, but the one I posted is one I am leaning towards, but I am open for suggestions. AMD is an option, as long as it can do HDMI out to get 1080 and 5.1 audio to my TV...or paired with a video card that can do the 1080 and 5.1
  3. A combo like this would make a great HTPC. The on-board GPU is much better than the Intel G45 and it will pass video and audio over HDMI. $131.99 (AMD Athlon II X2 250 + Gigabyte GA-MA785GM-US2H combo)

    That same case has a MIR on Newegg.

    SILVERSTONE Black Aluminum / Steel LC10B-E ATX Media Center / HTPC Case - Retail $109.99 - $20 MIR

    I'm not so sure that case will work very well for you. Any case with 80mm fans isn't going to be very quiet. You should be looking for a case with 120mm fans. Here's a nice Antec case that uses two 120mm fans:

    Antec Silver Aluminum / Steel Fusion Remote Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case - Retail $129.99
  4. those are some really nice suggestions. After reading the reviews about the mobo with the ATI 4200 on board, I was quite surprised to read about how well it did when playing back HD video. For the price, it really is a tough setup to top.

    If you have any more suggestions, let me know! Thanks ;)
  5. Also, good call with the CPU. Having a 65w in there should keep temps down. Any ideas on a quiet HS&Fan that would work with this setup?
  6. Well I think I am sold. The suggestions you made seemed to fit right in to what I am looking to acomplish.

    I am still debating about which case, but I am kinda leaning towards the Antec. I have had great experiences with them.

    Again, thanks for the input. I'll keep checking in case anyone has additions to toss in there! :)
  7. I would definitely go with one of the other cases over the first one you mentioned. I've seen a couple people on here with that particular case having heat problems.

    Because of where the HDD bays are situated, a lot of times a graphics card will bump up pretty close to them and create a nice wall right down the middle of your case blocking airflow. Then they try to solve that by putting fans in front of the hard drives, but of course half the time that pushes the HDDs back to the point where one of them ends up getting in the way of the SATA ports on the motherboard.

    Anyway .... yeah, I'd get a different case.
  8. Yeah, the one aspect I am still up in the air about is the case. I am leaning towards the Antec one, but the one at the bottom here caught my attention. It's smaller height would be a better fit in my entertainment center. As of right now, I really don't plan on using something more powerful than the ATI 4200 on board, so the air flow pattern is not my main concern. But I definately agree with what you are saying. Years down the road I may change my mind, but by then, this unit would probably end up at my parents place and I could build a new machine.
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