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Help me build an inexpensive HTPC

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May 14, 2010 4:34:45 PM

Will the cpu/mobo/onboard radeon 4200 I selected have enough power to be a HTPC? I've never built one before and not really sure how it works but this deal on newegg is getting me interested. I'd need a case, psu, and ddr2 ram that are inexpensive but im not srue what to get, please help

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: ASAP BUDGET RANGE: <$300 (Cheaper is better) Before Rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: HTPC stuff

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Monitor, speakers, keyboard, mouse

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS:Newegg.ca
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Canada

PARTS PREFERENCES: Inexpensive and will work well

OVERCLOCKING: No SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: I guess HTPC need 1920x1080?

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Inexpensive :D ! Will the CPU/Mobo/Onboard Radeon 4200 have enough power for a HTPC?

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Include a list of any parts you have already selected with descriptively labeled links for parts.


Combo CPU+Mobo ($69.98)
http://www.newegg.ca/Special/ShellShocker.aspx?nm_mc=AF...
CPU:
AMD Sempron 140 Sargas 2.7GHz 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM3 45W Single-Core Processor
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
MOBO:
BIOSTAR A785GE AM2+/AM3 AMD 785G Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

More about : build inexpensive htpc

May 14, 2010 6:45:33 PM

The Radeon 4200 is nearly perfect for an HTPC. The video side is powerful enough for smooth blu-ray playback. Its only downside is it is unable to bitstream the new HD audio found on blu-rays if that matters to you.

P.S. If you are getting a 785G (HD4200) based motherboard and you are building new, go for a DDR3 version instead of a DDR2 version.

Edit- That combo deal is a good price... but that motherboard does not have HDMI, or optical out, and it has a low end audio chip. Is it worth saving $33? And the Sempron is kind of weak too.
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May 14, 2010 8:48:19 PM

What is bitstreaming HD audio? Does that mean I'll be without audio for blurays that have new HD audio or will I be forced to use an older type of audio?

Also I've seen this optical out before, but what is it used for?

I just assumed the stuff a HTPC does is not cpu intensive. How much power does a HTPC need for the cpu?
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May 14, 2010 9:13:46 PM

Bitstreaming is passing through the digital audio in its uncompressed raw form to be decoded by your home theater equipment (receiver).

The new HD audio formats (DTS-MA and Dolby TrueHD) can be found on blu-ray movies, but offer backwards compatibility by piggy-backing the older Dolbly Digtal and DTS formats with the HD audio. So, if your receiver cannot decode HD audio or your HTPC cannot bitsream HD audio, you still get the same surround sound that is available on DVDs.

Optical out is used to pass the older Dolby Digital and DTS audio to a DD/DTS receiver through an optical cable.

So, the motherboard you listed cannot bitstream HD audio and it can't even pass through DVD surround sound either. The only option to get surround sound would be to have the HTPC decode the audio and send it out through the analog ports (the 1/8" jacks on the motherboard).
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May 14, 2010 10:09:03 PM

rwpritchett said:
Bitstreaming is passing through the digital audio in its uncompressed raw form to be decoded by your home theater equipment (receiver).

The new HD audio formats (DTS-MA and Dolby TrueHD) can be found on blu-ray movies, but offer backwards compatibility by piggy-backing the older Dolbly Digtal and DTS formats with the HD audio. So, if your receiver cannot decode HD audio or your HTPC cannot bitsream HD audio, you still get the same surround sound that is available on DVDs.

Optical out is used to pass the older Dolby Digital and DTS audio to a DD/DTS receiver through an optical cable.

So, the motherboard you listed cannot bitstream HD audio and it can't even pass through DVD surround sound either. The only option to get surround sound would be to have the HTPC decode the audio and send it out through the analog ports (the 1/8" jacks on the motherboard).


Ah thanks for the detailed explanation I get it now. I was going to just use the tv speakers, but I didn't really think about how to send the audio to the tv.

I'll give some thought to what I need for audio and if I want more future proofing because I only have a TV with its included speakers but maybe one day I'll have some standalone speakers
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