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HTPC $600-$700 What to do?

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April 6, 2010 11:13:27 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: sooner the better BUDGET RANGE: 600-700 After Rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Blu-ray films, Recording multiple cable channels simultaneously, video streaming, internet browsing

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Will be hooking up to TV so no monitor needed.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com

PARTS PREFERENCES: by brand or type

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I would like to have some way of piping out 7.1 surround sound out of the computer with or without the video.

Also if possible I want to keep it to a smaller form factor for optimal out of the way stashing.

Not sure what processor to pick to get the best deal but also be able to handle what i need like a champ.

I have never gotten or used a cable card so thats all new to me too.

Thanks for any help you may be able to give me.

More about : htpc 600 700

April 7, 2010 12:34:06 AM

First you said that you were hooking up to a TV ... but THEN you said you want a 24" LCD ?! ... Not sure I understand your final, intended config ... Hmmmm.

... I sure hope you don't think you are going to get a decent gaming rig WITH a 24" LCD for under $700US ! ... But we COULD do a very decent HTPC (with *light* gaming), for that much ... With OS, anyway ... still not sure about your monitor needs/budget/options ... elaborate ?

What were you thinking about, in terms of an Operating System ? Win7-64?

= Alvin =

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April 7, 2010 3:18:10 AM

woops. missed a part of the default info. Fixed now, no gaming will be done here. just 1080p playback and the like while recording live television. Most likely looking at win 7, and I dont have much of a preference on 32 vs 64 since i wont have more than 4 gigs of ram.
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April 7, 2010 4:21:53 AM

tkking said:
BUDGET RANGE: 600-700 After Rebates

no gaming will be done here. just 1080p playback and the like while recording live television. Most likely looking at win 7, and I dont have much of a preference on 32 vs 64

, Recording multiple cable channels simultaneously, video streaming,

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Will be hooking up to TV so no monitor needed.

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I would like to have some way of piping out 7.1 surround sound out of the computer with or without the video.

Also if possible I want to keep it to a smaller form factor for optimal out of the way stashing.

.


OKay !!

NOW we're getting good places really fast !

We want a modern Micro-ATX Like this one ... actually, "eXactly" this one.

ASUS M4A785T-M/CSM AM3 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

AND YOU *WILL* NEED a screaming fast HDD (for multiple streams) . . .

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And, .. I *DO* think you NEED a Quad Core and I *DO* think it should be a Phenom-II at 3.0GHz.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This one has a stock cooler but there is an OEM version (sans cooler) if you wish to buy your own (might be a good idea with smaller case) ...
... But it appears that the OEM costs just as much as retail so ... you might just opt for the RETAIL and go with a stock cooler ...

... I AM definately going to recommend, the Hyper-212, for this Micro-ATX small HTPC build, tho ... It should be QUIETER (lower fan speed req'd) ...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

That is the "nut" of the system ... should give plenty of bandwidth ....

... Let me just get you some well cooled 1333 RAM and Win7

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Power Supply ...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

a SAMSUNG DVDR

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SOME CASES THAT WOULD WORK ... CHECK REAR FOR CARD SLOTS

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=P...

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April 7, 2010 4:33:01 AM

Now we are cooking! Thanks a lot for everything so far.

what should i know when looking for good cable cards?
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April 7, 2010 4:42:07 AM

I've been looking at the cases ...

... I want you to have this one ... After looking at your mobo and thinking about your tuner card and possible graphics upgrades (in future). It is not only the "Best Rated" but it is the "Most Owned/Most Reviews" . . . PLEASE consider THIS case !

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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April 7, 2010 4:46:04 AM

So, with shipping (guestimating) ... something like $720 with cooler and OS and shipping.

. . . I have not added it up, yet, tho.
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April 7, 2010 4:56:37 AM


= $ 7 5 7 . 0 3

For ALL that ... THAT IS SHIPPED TO YOUR DOOR.

= Al =
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April 7, 2010 5:12:27 AM

If you are looking to shave costs ...

... Case and CPU COULD be downgraded ... I WOULD keep full 4GB RAM (512MB shared w/integrated graphics). . . . Tho you "might-could" get away w/2GB AND get slightly slower RAM.

= Al =
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April 7, 2010 5:32:35 AM



. . . 'nuther OOOPs!

ASUS Black 4X BD-ROM 8X DVD-ROM 32X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-ray Drive Model BR-04B2T - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Now ... This drive DOES NOT BURN DVDs or CDs Or BluRays BUT it WILL read them all.

There IS room in the CoolerMaster Centurion Case for BOTH the DVDR and the BluRay Player drives and YOU DO have enough SATA ports to connect to.

If you want to burn CDs and DVDRs then it is actually ~$30 cheaper to get BOTH(2) drives ... RATHER than ONE BR/DVDR that could do everything except to BURN BLURAY.

.... Hope that makes sense ... and to be realistic ... you will also need one extra SATA cable (if 2 come w/mobo ... need to chk) ... One HDMI .... and, you will also be needing some sort of BluRay Player Software ... Some BR player sw might come with your drive but I would not count on it .

= Al =
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April 7, 2010 5:54:33 AM

Cons: Absolutely no software in the package. As many other people mentioned there is no official support of BD Movies in the OS whatever you use (I use both Linux and Windows). To get it working you have to buy something and pay additional money. But the drive itself works, although it's absolutely worthless for BD if you dont' pay an additional amount out of pocket, say $100. Not a good purchase for sure. TTHD - I touched this item in the next textbox. But in two words - it's just a trap when the company has nothing else to say. If you use the right software ANY drive is able to do that, so called "quality improvement, rescaling", etc. It has nothing to the drive itself for sure. The drive needs to read and provide the stream from the disk, bit by bit, nothing else, and never modify the signal for improvements. :)  That's not even funny. Just bla-bla-bla, commercials.
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April 7, 2010 6:53:15 AM

recently built a machine with an LG blu ray player and it came with the software so i'll most likely look into that, cant find it right now will post in a bit when i find it.
Thanks a bunch for all the help.
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April 7, 2010 5:50:11 PM

I'm going to chime in here with my 2¢ before you go crazy and build an entirely overpowered system.

1) You do NOT want or need a quad-core, especially Phenom II, in a media center/HT PC. Not only is it overkill, but the power usage is astronomical.

My old HT PC was a quad-core Phenom II 550BE unlocked with 4Gb of memory and an HD5570. It used 240W AT IDLE and around 350W at load. My i7 overclocked heavily and 12Gb of memory barely uses more than that. This is a PC that will be on 24x7 - that's a lot of wasted power. My new build uses only 80W at idle and only 140W at load. BIG DIFFERENCE.

If you want to go AMD, get a 240e dual-core. For Intel, the i3-530 is perfect - and is more suited for you depending upon your stereo (see next issue).

2) If you're putting your HDMI directly to your TV, this probably isn't a big deal. BUT, if you have a stereo, and you want 7.1 sound to it, why wouldn't you use it for HDMI switching? I'm not aware of any 7.1 stereo that doesn't have HDMI in/out, so using a sound card to get the sound to your stereo seems silly. Now, if you don't have HDMI switching on your stereo AND you never intend on buying one that does, then this is irrelevant and you can skip it. If you DO, however, have HDMI switching and/or your stereo can handle DTS-MA or TrueHD (which 95% of all BRs have) then read on.

The 785G (or any AMD/NVIDIA integrated chipset) can NOT handle anything other than DTS or Dolby Digital, neither of which are 7.1 audio formats. Very few BRs have DTS - most are TrueHD or DTS-MA with a DD "backup". The only way to get those formats is to have either an Intel core i3/i5 with integrated graphics or to buy an ATI HD5xxx card (the HD5450 is great for HTPC use). But, if you're buying a 785G and then buying an add-on card, you're using FAR more power than you should AND you've spent the same amount on processor/video card as you would for an i3 530. I LOVE AMD and am borderline fanboy (though my main rig is an i7) but until they start getting their act together on audio in their integrated chipsets, I can't recommend them unless you want to put an HD5450 (for only HTPC use) or an HD5570/5670 (for some gaming). My $450 Pioneer stereo does every audio format around and watching BRs through PowerDVD Ultra in TrueHD/DTS-MA via HDMI puts a whole new perspective on your movies. That said, if you don't care about the audio, you can't do better than the 785G for basic BR/DVD watching.

3) You do NOT need a super fast hard drive. I have 6 TV tuners and we have a few nights where I'm recording 5 shows at the same time (3 OTA HD and 2 via cable). My hard drives? A single lowly 160Gb internal SATA drive and an exteranal eSATA 1TB Western Digital green drive. I record to the internal drive and tell BeyondTV to compress to MP4 and insert commercial skip as soon as the show is done recording, then put the result on the external drive. So, on Monday's at 8p central, after the 5 7p shows are recorded, it gets crazy. Neither the i3 nor the hard drives have broke a sweat. We have even watched another show and/or watched an MKV while all that's going on and not once have I seen the computer choke. Do not spend the money on expensive hard drives - you simply don't need them.

4) Finally, your BR drive probably came with PowerDVD 7.3 OEM or 8.0 OEM, neither of which will do TrueHD/DTS-MA - they only do Dolby Digital (I'm not sure, but I don't think they will do DTS, either). You will have to buy PowerDVD 9 or 10 Ultra if you want all the audio formats handled. Again, though, if you're going straight to your TV for whatever reason, this is irrelevant since no TV can decode those anyways. You may want to consider a burner if you want to burn any shows to disk and don't have a PC on the network that can do that. Otherwise, a simply $60 lite-on player will work just fine (and is what I use).

In case you're wondering, my HTPC is an ASUS P7H55D-M EVO board, an i3-530, 4Gb (2x2Gb) memory, 1 internal dual-tuner Hauppage PCIe card (cable), 1 external HDHomeRun (OTA HD), 2 USB TV Tuners (1 OTA and 1 Cable), interal 160Gb drive, external WD Green 1Tb, and this case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I use BeyondTV. Win7's Media Center will work - I have BTV because Vista's Media Center sucked so since I have the license and we're used to BTV, we just kept using it. Plus, I like to be able to do compression, commercial skip, encoding to other formats, etc..., that BTV will do for you. My HTPC alone was about $620 (including Win7 Home Premium 64bit OEM). The TV Tuners are an additional $300ish. You could probably build the PC alone with a decent 785G board ($80ish) and a $70 lower-power processor for about $80 cheaper so long as you don't need the audio support. If you do, then an AMD build will only be about $30 cheaper once you add an HD5450.

Hope that helps.
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April 7, 2010 6:00:23 PM

Oh, and in terms of cases, if you're putting it in a rack, you want a Media Center PC case. If it's just going to be sitting beside your TV/stereo...any case you're happy with will work. The nMEDIAPC I use is a nice sleek black and clean design and just looks great in my rack/cabinet with my stereo, VCR (yes I still have one), black xbox, and cable box. If I didn't have a cabinet, I'd have just stuck any decent looking case next to the TV.
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April 7, 2010 9:22:27 PM

@DK & OP

Well ... I always defer to folks who are "doing it" but I'll still stand by my build (125Watt-proc) ... I do HDV editing, though and output renders can take LONG time.
... Even batches of mp3s or RAW photos ...

. . . But I did build way beyond the stricter interpretation of your usage requirements.

. . . I have also read cust reviewws of USB and Card tuners who state their CPU usage and fans go crazy when in use and sys gets very warm.

. . . Sure wish DK had "chimed in w/his $00.02" much earlier in the thread ... but better late than never !!

. . . It has been said ... "A few MONTHS in the LAB can save HOURS in the library".

= Alvin =


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April 7, 2010 9:56:31 PM

Yeah, I've spent the last two years building four different HT PCs used strictly for Media streaming and watching TV. I've always had minor issues that just bugged me on the three previous AMD builds. I'm borderline AMD/ATI fanboy despite me having an Intel rig for my main PC for the past four years, so I've always built EVERY other PC - HTPC, my kids' PCs and my backup PC (I work from home so I have to have a system available at all times) with AMD dual or quad cores and ATI video cards. Whether those issues were with the video cards, the motherboards or BeyondTV, I have no idea. My biggest freak out was when I'd finally had enough of our power surges that kept knocking out memory or PSU or graphics card on my HTPC and bought a big ol' 1500KVa UPS for my entertainment center, then realized my PC alone was pulling 240W of power at idle, which was only a hair under what my main PC is pulling. I can't tell you how happy I am with the new HTPC - low power usage, great audio/video and it's been rock steady with nary an issue in the little over a month I've had it up. I definitely would have posted a bit sooner had I seen the thread and not been so busy with work. Sorry. :-)

tkking - to answer your question - YES. All HDMI outs on integrated chipsets push audio and video togther. The issue is simply what audio it will bitstream. ATI's integrated chips only do DD and DTS, but Intel's newest will do all the BR audio formats. It has to be one of the new i3s or i5s with integrated video and you have to use an H55 or H57 motherboard (the ones with the integrated video path to the chip) for it to work. The same is true of ATI's HD5xxxx cards - all of them will also do all the BR audio formats throiugh HDMI and I have no issues recommending them, either, except you're adding more power usage.

So, you can go AMD low-power dual-core (235e or 240e) except that I can't find them on NewEgg - look for the 45W chips - last I saw them they were $70ish. Add in any ol' POS AMD motherboard since you won't need integrated graphics if you're concerned about DTS-MA or TrueHD (about $60ish), then add an HD5450 and use the HDMI to port the sound to your stereo ($50). Probably about $180.

If you go Intel, the i3 530 can be had at Microcenter for $100 or NewEgg for $120. A decent H55 board is $80-$100. So, you're looking at $180-$220. But, you have a FAR faster processor with hyper-threading (2 physical cores and 2 logical - 4 total seen by the OS) that will tear up ANY AMD dual-core in everything you can do on an HTPC and then some, plus it will use a lot less power (probably 30-35% less). You don't NEED the board I posted - that's the one I used and I'm very happy with it, but it's a little high-end for what you can get away with. Any H55 board (all come with HDMI) will work so there are cheaper options. Biostar's quality has improved greatly in the past few years and they have a decent looking board that I'll probably use for a customer who's requesting me price one out (when I have time). And this thing is far cheaper and has everything you need for an HTPC provided you don't need more than 2 PCIe cards for TV tuners.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you want to stick to a name brand and don't need USB 3.0, then here's an ASUS board that I was going to buy
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I didn't simply because I needed eSATA to continue to use my existing external drive, and the one I listed was the next step up that had both USB3.0 (which I don't need) and eSATA (which I did).

I would highly recommend looking into an HDHomeRun if you are going with OTA cable and can get good reception where you're at with a cheapo $50 antenna (go roof mount unless you're right next door to the transmission towers - the indoor, even powered ones, are nothing but a headache). It's a network based TV Tuner so any other PC in the house can use it.

One caveat on saying that ALL HDMI video ports carry audio - nvidia's do not, least last I checked, unless you have an S/PDIF connector on your motherboard to wire into a connector on the cards that will then connect the sound. It's klugy and I can't get it to work half the time so avoid that option unless you're going with an ION chipset, but you'll spend just as much for that as an i3 530 and board.

Oh, and Alvin - the i3 runs so cool, and maybe it's the case fans on the nMEDIAPC case I have, but compared to my last HTPC that sounded like a jet engine taking off whenever something was being recorded or anything was going on (a quad-core didn't help), this thing is silent even with 5 shows being recorded and/or compressed. I honestly don't even know it's there any longer, which is great. Again, that's with two USB tuners, an internal PCIe tuner, and the HDHomeRun. I've yet to see the CPU usage go above 60% on the craziest of nights. It could be completely different if using Windows Media Center, though - I can't speak for that.

Let me know if you have any other questions.
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April 7, 2010 10:07:06 PM

Not to detract ... as the 1156 boards WILL do what you are asking . . . but . . .

Just so you know .. If you EVER intend to hook (ever in the future) any sort of "fully saturated SATA3/USB3 device to that 1156, it WILL be limited (to 250MB/s) ranther than the native Southbridge SATA6 of the AM3 mobos ... Additionally ... the PCIe x1 slots on the 1156 top out at 250MB/sec ... Whereas the AMD boards have a full 500MB/s bandwidth (minus protocol).

... Except for the 1156/i5-750, as an OC gaming rig (just maybe), I would not have a socket 1156 mobo ... it is a lobotomized architecture on a trunkated socket and card-bus.

... If you are really only going to use this as a multi-stream DVR and BR player, then absolutely ... build it as an appliance that will never be upgraded, just like a stereo receiver ... who cares what is in it? (so long as it works and the price is right).

... BUT ... *IF* you even suspect you might do some personal content creation and use the computer for other things ... if you plan to do "migration-upgrade" and carry major parts to future builds ... take my path. Because it is an architecture that totally "breathes" and is assured DOUBLE the peripheral bandwidth, with regard to SATA6 and USB3 . . . think about that ... but that case is also an investment, which might be rolled forward, as well, so I could see you taking the mini-tower forward as a server, etc. ... How much more does all that flexibility and capability cost ? Not so much ..

... But sure ... nice "stereo stack" type case with a slim-line optical and just what you need (compute core) to record 2 channels while watching another .... We could call it the TANDY/KENWOOD Build !

= Al = That was my last desperate sputter and just to take a different tac.
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April 8, 2010 1:23:07 AM

heh-heh. That was funny. Don't forget that you only have a total of 16 PCIe lanes, and two would be taken up by USB3 and SATA6.

You're correct in your comments, but aiming strictly at a couch web-browser, multi-channel recording device, and BR player, the 1156 (more directly, the H55/H57) and an i3 is perfect for it. Here's a few arguments why.
1) USB3.0 needs the speed for what? hard drives. No one in their right mind (or that isn't rich beyond god) is going to be putting an SSD in an external enclosure anytime soon. So, 250MB/s is perfectly fine because even the fastest mechanical hard drive can't do more than 140MB/s (the new raptors). So, it's completely irrelevant at this point and time AND for his use and probably will be for years until SSDs get over 1Tb (and, by that time, 2Tb for storage) because even a 512Gb $1,000 SSD isn't going do squat for a media PC storing multi-Gb of movies and recorded TV shows. And, don't forget that even most SSDs, other than the Crucial C300, don't even exceed 250-270MB/s. Not saying that in 5 years time that extra 250MB/s won't come in handy, but...
2) For an HTPC, the only thing that should ever go in the x1 slots would be TV Tuners and they don't need bandwidth at all. Heck, the PCI versions work just fine for dual tuners. My old HTPC (a 785G) was mATX with a single PCIe x16, a single x1 and 2 PCI, so I had a PCI AND a PCIe TV tuner (before going with the HDHomRun to replace one of them) and never had any issues. There shouldn't ever be any other type of cards he needs to add, especially anything that needs that kind of bandwidth, to an HTPC.
3) Even IF he decided to use this for something else, and IF he needed a bad-a$$ graphics card, and IF the USB3 and SATA6 each took 2 PCIe lanes, he'd still have a full 14 lanes for the graphics card and it's been proven countless times that two cards in x8 crossfire mode still function just as fast as two in x16 mode, so I don't think an x14 slot will really matter. The only time 1156 is "crippled" is when they attempt to do crossfire or SLI on them. Then, you're restricting the PCIe graphics slot to x7 each...and even that's been shown to only be about 5% slower.

I can promise you that taking this HTPC, give the 530 a little OC, put a 5870 in there, and you'll have a MEAN gaming PC. You, uh, did see this little article (which was done on an 1156)...right?
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/core-i3-gaming,2588...

The power consumption graph alone justifies it as a great 24x7 HTPC, let alone the fact that even at stock it can bottleneck a 5850. Yes...it's definitely cripped compared to X58 and the 890...no doubt about it. I probably wouldn't buy one, either, except that they're just the perfect setup for HTPCs.

Agreed on the case - just depends on where/how you want to mount it.

Ideally, you would want to treat this like an appliance. Honestly, my last HTPC was so completely overkill that I did end up selling it as a PC (after taking it out of the media case and putting it in a regular case). But, you DO want this to last 5-10 years at which point it would probably only be good for a kids homework PC. If I can record 6 shows, watch an MKV, stream to my other PCs...well...what else would I want it to do? A good HTPC replaces your cable box (unless you can't live without ESPN and are FORCED at gunpoint to buy basic cable just to get it because your cable company stripped it from your QAM lineup) and you don't upgrade your cable/DVR box, right? You just also don't have to pay $100 for a bluray player that's obsolete as soon as the next BR standard comes out. You don't have to pay $120 for a WD TV Live HD box to stream music FROM another PC (this becomes your streaming box). You don't have to pay the cable company $90-$120 a month. And, you don't have to hook your laptop up to your PC to surf the web. So, in a sense, it is an appliance that you hopefully never have to touch (other than to clean the dust bunnies out once a month).

Oh...and did I mention it's still quite fast? LOL.

Dude...I LOOOOVE AMD and would have ZERO issues if the OP went that route so long as he understands that an AMD is the equivalent of having a 15cubic foot fridge running full time (210-220w at idle), while the Intel build is more like a 2cf fridge (80w), and any x2 out there wouldn't be as fast as an i3-530, while the x3s are about as fast (they trade blows).

Definitely not trying to start any flame war or anything. I appreciate the"different tac" arguments no matter how desperate they are. I think the OP will have a very good idea where to go after we're done with him. LOL
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April 8, 2010 1:59:34 AM

Settled, then ... you even have ME convinced and you have done it and paid your dues and "lived with it" ...

... That's what it comes down to ... Living with it.

... This was my first truly earnest attempt at a Micro-ATX build (I usually avoid them like the plague) but, it was late and the thread was "dangling" so ...

... I was immediately surprised at how mobos, cases, and PSUs (all three) were like half the price of Full-ATX counterparts ... a bit of a revelation ... and a temptation!

I'm glad the landscape is well laid ... I'd look a wee bit less dopey if you'd come in sooner (dk) ...

... I have a stand-alone BR deck .. no sw issues ... no system load .. nice remote ... I can turn my PC fan (noise) all the way off! ... better freeze-zoom-slowmo on a dedicated deck (SONY) that I got from Wal-Mart for ... ~$140 almost a year ago.

... Much better for watching thigs that bounce ... Basketballs, etc....

Frankly ... I don't think BR looks all that great ... waiting for 4K video with good 3D!

... Much better for watching thigs that bounce ... Basketballs, etc.

= Al = I am also more apt to buy a PS3 or Xbox for gaming, when a 5870 costs more.

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April 8, 2010 3:41:48 AM

You da man, Al! I had a PS3 for BR, by I played all my games on the PS3. Decided to sell it and use the money for an actual PS3 and get rid of cable. Stupid ESPN and football games. Dang it! That said, I'm with you - I'm not convinced that BR is SO much better than DVD that you need it. The sound - oh my god - LOVE that part of it. The video? It's great, but my 39 y/o eyes just don't see that big of a difference. But, I've taken the plunge, all my movies via NetFlix are BR, and I'll live with it for the sound. But HD basketball and football, especially on CBS - f-in brilliant. THAT is what I think ALL HD should look like.

I actually used to build only mATX simply because most of my customers are so freaking cheap, so since they'll never need more than a single card (especially given I can't convince them to spend money on a great PSU and not an el cheapo) that mATX does the job. For an HTPC, though, you can go either way. If I knew I was going to have 2 or 3 internal PCIe cards, then an ATX would be the only way to go. I REALLY wish ATI would have let the 890G do DTS-MA and TrueHD so this argument wouldn't even be valid. I'm sure a lot of us HTPC guys would have loved it and never looked at Intel. But, they dropped the ball and only slightly upgraded the 785G's chipset (HD4200) to the HD4290 and didn't bother doing DX11 AND BR audio. So, what are we to do? Either buy an add-on card or buy Intel. Sucks to be put in that position and I had to do it when the first Core2Duo's came out and I haven't looked back. I love AMD, but they desperately need something to compete with the core's and something to compete with Intel's integrated audio capabilities.

Since our HT PC is on 24x7, it really doesn't take but 10 seconds tops to get to the main menu. The only complaint I have is that I've been too lazy to download the freaking plug-in for BeyondTV's FireFly remote to able to use it to play DVDs under PowerDVD9 Ultra. Fixable, but I haven't done it. That's why I have the bluetooth keyboard and mouse, though. LOL.

There are times, when work is slow, I live on here just trying to help people out. I don't answer just any ol' thread - I stick to things I know and have experience in and, well, topics that there haven't been 25 answers of exactly the same thing. Oh, and I avoid NVIDIA topics like the plague. I remember my 8800GT, 9800GT and 9800GTX very fondly, but I haven't touched anything NVIDIA since the 4870 came out and am failry anti-NVIDIA now - no point in me getting a forum to voice an opinion no one wants to hear. Unfortuantely, I wasn't slow when this came out. But dude...you recommended almost EXACTLY what I'd have recommended a year ago and almost exactly what I had. Definitely NOT dopey. :-) I just wanted to make sure that he saw that I've been there done that and wanted to share the experience in the hopes of saving him some money. heh-heh.

I'm sure we'll meet again in another forum. LOL
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April 8, 2010 5:32:51 AM


Prolly ... regarless of name, you'll know me by "style".

I came in here Cause I got sick of being continuously "strung along" by AVID and ADOBE is also playing the PRO-trap scam ... I sure wish I could (really and honestly) run Apple FCP on a Win7 system (and still use as Win7 .. stable) ... That would be great ...

... Now VEGAS gets a pretty bad RAP because it will do everything that is important, inexpensively, and with fair ease ... An easy upgrade to Vegas Pro for like $550 ... not too bad but, hey ... VEGAS Platinum Pro-pack $94 and works with 4 video tracks and enough audio to get you by on most "common" productions ... Now ... VEGAS (simple) can see 4 threads while Pro sees 8 ... So a clocked 955 w/4GB of 1600c7 with basic VEGAS almost seems like free, to me . . .

BUT (DK), ya still with me ?? ... The reason I told you all that is because it explains what comes next (you may not like it) . . . Because I want 4 displays (two 1200Ps and two 1080Ps) ... I need two fairly peppy GPU cards but VEGAS DOES NOT USE GPU COMPUTE ENGINE ... Further, I am restrained to a PSU that is old but "New in the Box" in my closet 2 yrs ... The PSU only has 2x18Amp Rails for 33Amp combined . . .

. . . Yup ... you guessed it ... not only am I going nVidia (because some graphics tools and suites (ADOBE/BORIS, etc.) *DO* directly address OpenGL and even CUDA . . .

. . . And remember that I AM a cheap bastard and that 9800s(pair) are not an option because my 480W PSU cant push 2x9800s or even 1x9800 + 1xGT220 . . . What to do?
... I really want some graphics advantage ... I have more mony into studio sound than video, right now, and I don't want loud fans and no guarantee the long cards will fit in my old RAIDMAX case (with blue-disco bubble bars .. .not to be lit!) ...

Finally found a pair of nice HTPC cards with 1GB DDR3(ea.) OpenGL 3.x AND CUDA enabled and single slot and they just sip the power and are quiet !!! and CHEAP! YAy!

yup!

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

= Al= ... Talk me out of THIS one ... doubt it, but try if you like.

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April 8, 2010 5:39:22 AM

Memory
Effective Memory Clock 1580MHz
Memory Size 1GB
Memory Interface 128-bit
Memory Type DDR3
3D API
DirectX DirectX 10.1
OpenGL OpenGL 3.1
Ports
HDMI 1 x HDMI
D-SUB 1 x D-SUB
DVI 1 x DVI
General
RAMDAC 400 MHz
Max Resolution 2560 x 1600
SLI Support No
Cooler With Fan
System Requirements 300-watt power supply recommended
Dual-Link DVI Supported Yes
HDCP Ready Yes
Dimensions 4.376"H x 6.198"W
Packaging
Package Contents ZT-20201-10L
Driver Disk
User Manual
ZOTAC Boost software bundle
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April 11, 2010 7:20:28 AM

Hey dkapke, What are the exact specifications of your HTPC running the ASUS P7H55D-M EVO LGA 1156 Intel H55 with i3-530 Chip? Can you play downloaded 1080p MVK filies without any problems?


Deuce
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