APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: ASAP BUDGET RANGE: $750-$1000
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Waching/Streaming HD 1080p mkv files, Music,Pictures
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: TV Tuner
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg.ca, Tigerdirect.ca, Canadacomputers.com -- CANADA
PARTS PREFERENCES: No preference. Looking for a nice HTPC case capable of 5-6 internal hard drives.
OVERCLOCKING: No SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No
MONITOR RESOLUTION: Will be using LCD TV
Current setup: I'm currently running my main workstation in my office. Dual Quadcore Xeon 5345s, 12GB RAM, Windows 7 ultimate 64Bit, OS drive (dual solid state RAID 1), Storage (4x 1.5TB JBOD). Currently all my media files reside on my 4 storage drives. The workstation is currently responsible for streaming media to a PS3 and 2x Xbox 360s in multiple rooms in the house using both PS3 Media Server and Tveristy. Entire network is wired via Ethernet over Power adapters. Current setup works great but having my monster workstation on all times turns my office into a fairly loud sauna. The goal is to seperate the "everyday PC use" and the "media use" so I don' thave to have my workstation on at all times.. I'm looking at setting up an HTPC in my main living room and moving my 4 Storage drives off my main workstation. I'd like to build an HTPC with enough horsepower to stream 1080p MKVs with DTS HD (home receiver will handle DTS encoding). Now I'm stuck on what I should do with my actualy storage. Do I buy a larger HTPC case capable of 6 drives (for growth) and point my PS3/Xbox 360s to those shared drives and leave the HTPC on at all times....or...do I build more of a slimline HTPC and purchase some type of Nas enclosure which resides on my network. The obstacle I face with the Nas enclosure is that it needs to be DLNA capable so the consoles can see it on the network as upposed to turning on a computer to mount the nas volumes. The nas device also needs to be able to house at least 4+ drives. Or 4 drives and the ability to daisy chain USB or esata enclusures off it.
Looking for recommendations around a nice HTPC case, Mobo with HDMI/Optical out, Do I need a video card if onboard HDMI will handle? Do I need a sound card if onboard Optical will handle? Thinking of the Dinovo bluetooth keyobard for control unless anyone has a better idea. Power supply? 500W?
Am I approaching this project incorretly all together? Any freshcreative ideas are welcome.
I would use a PSU that has at least an 80+ Bronze rating since this system is likely to be powered on all the time. You don't need a PSU with a high wattage rating to run a system with integrated graphics. The higher the rating, the less energy is wasted as heat output.
I think you would just be shifting the problem
from your office to your living room if you moved your HDDs there.
I would approach the problem completely differently by
putting the HDDs in a NAS in
the basement. Something like this:
A High-Def front-end cpu does not have to be powerful as long as the graphics chip is fast. Even an
energy-efficient (and quiet) Intel Atom chip is fast enough to handle High-Def if it is matched with
something like the Nvidia ION graphics chipset.
Modern onboard HDMI has enough bandwidth for DTS HD. The video would have to be decoded by something like PowerDVD 9 to get DTS HD and then sent to your a/v receiver over hdmi. If you don't decode the audio stream first, it will probably be down-converted to 5.1 channel audio.
A little update - I went and purchased a Silverstone case. before purchasing a new mobo, chip, memory etc I installed an older board and a couple drives to test sound...vanekl was right. All I did was move the problem to my living room. I returned the case and went and purchased the Acer Easystore H340 appliance, runs nice and quiet and I've moved my 1.5TB drives along with my data over to this box. Took damn long over Gbe but the job is now done. I'm now considering the next step of purchasing the Acer Revo fron end. Question is....I see various models with the R1600 being the bottom of the barrel....although this still runs the nVidia ion chip will it handle 1080p and DTS? or do I need to go go the higher end version?
Although it'll handle 1080p content what will the Window's/XBMC experience be like? I'm running almost 6TB of Media through the library. Will the interface be sugglish when navigating through the content?
It wont be anything like your dual quadcore xeon, so, yes, it will feel sluggish.
The only thing that will slow xbmc down are all the thumbnail images. If you need xbmc to be super-fast, the acer revo is a poor choice. It has enough RAM and disk to work as a front-end, but it's not the same as a typical desktop system. Most people would consider it fast enough if used only as a media center front-end, though.
Update again. Revo is setup on the front end. When loading the video within XBMC anything 720p and up is rather choppy. When I open the same 720p file in windows media Player everything is perfect. It appears that when I open the file in WMP it aso loads Haalli media splitter and FFDshow in the task bar. How do I get XBMC to load these 2 items when playing a video through this interface? help!!