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Gaming - Powerful HTPC

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June 22, 2010 1:48:32 AM

Hey guys. I've been reading and posting on toms for a while as I wanted to OC and water cool my rig eventually but I never got the money for it.(And I love the news of course) So now my decision has gone to hit up the htpc first and worry about water cooling later sometime next semester. I currently have a summer internship (=money) so within two months or so I want this thing built. I can start ordering parts any time and needed some help really figuring out what I needed.

First things first ma specs

| Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD5 | i7 920 | EVGA GTX 260 Core 216 896 MB | OCZ Gold (3 x 2GB) | Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 7200 RPM | Corsair 850W | MM U2-UFO Case | Win7 64bit |

This computer will be used for pretty much everything. I want this to ideally be the one component in my apartment that I can do everything on. Basically I want my movie/music experience to be as good as it can.

I figure all of this will work and nothing needs to get replaced. However I am willing to upgrade what is needed. Correct me if I am wrong. The only part I thought might not work is my video card. As it does not have an immediate HDMI port although I can just get an adapter. But for my first question, if I were to replace this GPU would you reccomend going SLI and getting a second one or getting a whole new card, and I am willing to throw down money for a card as this is this is a gamign comp/HTPC.

Things I need to pick up...
Sound Card
Tuner Card
BD Player/RW
New cpu heatsink for sure
Software?
Possibly another hard drive strictly for music/movies/recordings

Note: Again I am willing to throw down the money as I love my deskbeast. (Hence the title - ALL OUT, my 3 months of working this summer are going right into this)

Really I would just like recommendations for all of these. I have looked around quite a bit now and am still having trouble deciding especially with the Tuner Card. Also is there anything else I am missing? And another thing I was thinking, if something is coming out soon that's more top of the line I'd probably rather wait.
Thanks ahead of time for taking the time to read this and replies! Everything and anything is appreciated even if I'm completely off on something... Criticism is a positive imo.
I feel like I'm forgetting something so I'll prob come back for an edit. Thanks again errbodyy.

Ryan

More about : gaming powerful htpc

a b B Homebuilt system
June 22, 2010 1:49:56 AM

Did you know that this isn't overclock.net?
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June 22, 2010 2:04:10 AM

Whoops I was just copying my post from there... I usually get better replys on toms... Ignore that please haha
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 22, 2010 2:09:27 AM

k couple things. Your 260 is perfectly fine for high def playback. You dont need a soundcard unless you're very picky. My onboard audio goes to my surround sound system just fine on my HTPC.

If you get a bluray player realize that Windows7 doesnt natively support it. If you get a retail BD-ROM it will come with software but will cost 130-150. If you get an OEM BD-ROM you'll need to buy Bluray software that costs from 70-100 dollars.

As far as tuner cards I prefer Hauppage PCI cards, at least over the USB 2.0 TV tuners, but thats just my personal preference.

Are you going to be using this on a bigscreen TV? Or on your computer screen? If its on your computer I recommend getting a 2nd monitor to watch TV on so you can continue using your computer to surf/game while the TV portion is going. Just my 2c
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June 22, 2010 2:15:29 AM

Mmm CMC thanks for the fast reply. I'm not sure if I completely get what you mean by this BluRay issue. I wanted to get an internal one to replace the DVD drive in my computer. Money again is not TOO big of an issue as I've needed BD for a while now and have saved up for that specifically.

Hauppage seems the way to go. Is there one that is better than the rest? I have not read much on USB 2.0 cards so I'm not really sure about the difference.

I want to use this on my Bigscreen HDTV and also my computer monitor if possible. Pretty much exactly what you said in that last paragraph.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 22, 2010 2:17:54 AM

Lets see if I can clear it up. If you get an Bluray drive, and put a bluray CD in it, it wont play. Win7 doesnt support it. So you have to buy a program that plays it.

Some Bluray Drives come with this software some dont.
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June 22, 2010 2:23:41 AM

Interesting. That seems so odd to me. I guess that's the one thing Win7 cannot do. I didnt know BD Roms even came OEM I guess that's what confused me. You have any recommendations for one? The nicest one on newegg seems to be Lite-On and I'd rather stick with a bigger name like LG. Or is this one of the things I should maybe wait on as BR Drives are still coming up.

How exactly do you hook up an HDTV and a computer monitor at the same time?
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 22, 2010 2:26:29 AM

Your Gfx card should have 2 DVIs out. DVI is basically HDMI without audio. So get a DVI to HDMI converter and hook up an HDMI cable.

No I dont have any recommendations for the Bluray unfortunately. But just realize on newegg if its listed as OEM, you will need software. Read reviews for the drive and alot of people will list software and prices.

For the record, Im on my living rooms HTPC atm an checking forums during commercials. I LOVE IT!
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June 22, 2010 2:32:35 AM

Mmm lucky one! I'm overseas working for the summer can't wait to get back to the desktop I'm sick of this Acer G1S that's old noww. So I'm looking at these Tuner Cards on newegg. You have a site that explains the difference. Dual Tuner, Combo Tuner, Hybrid?
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 22, 2010 2:36:14 AM

I kinda stabbed in the dark and got a decent one. It's important to get multiple tuners. Lemmie see if I can find a good link for you.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 22, 2010 2:38:47 AM

This is a good dual tuner: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Meaning it can record 1 channel while you watch another, but it seems to imply that if you are recording a High Def channel you can only watch analog on another channel. I know alot of people with HTPCs get multiple TV cards so they can record multiple things at once. I am considering getting another for myslef as a matter of fact.
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June 22, 2010 5:32:35 AM

Ooo ok that's great to know. Might just splurge and get two duals then I guess. Thanks for the link man.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 22, 2010 5:45:03 AM

Glad I could help, if you need anything else feel free to ask.
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June 23, 2010 1:08:25 AM

Does anyone know...
What's the difference with AverMedia G2 cards? (There's 5 on newegg, I can't seem to find a difference) The 2010 Beginners Guides suggest AverMedia over Haup for what reason I'm not sure.

I read something yesterday about the Hauppage box that can record HD TV. Is that box the only one that can do it really, or can all these cards record/watch anything now?

What's the point on the display port to. As I do not need HDMI for my computer monitors (right?). Two DVI would work fine for that. And then one more HDMI port for the TV. Most cards seems to have that, x2 DVI and x1 HDMI.

Just realised that my GTX 260 has a TV-Out HDTV/S-Video Out port... Is that needed or does a mini HDMI port do the exact same?

Thanks for the opinionnss, I'll have a list of parts up later today, late tonight for most of you I guess. (Overseas)
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2010 1:48:42 AM

I work nights so I can look it over all night and comment if you're awake.
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June 23, 2010 6:55:12 AM

If anyone wants to answer my questions from the post before please do it'd be a huge help! But here goes a rough parts list with some choices to make yet...

TV Tuner Card
1. Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 Media Center Kit Dual TV Tuner 1213 PCI-Express x1 Interface
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
2. AVerMedia AVerTV Combo G2 TV Tuner Card 795522961976 PCI-Express x1 Interface
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

New GPU... Still deciding
EVGA Fermi GTX 470 or 465... Price difference still is quite big would really like to know the difference

BD Drive/Rom
Any of these I guess. I do not know why there are 3 models as they all have the same exact specs... Any ideas on that?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

CPU Heatsink
Still deciding but I do not really need help on this one, I know enough about em and have read too many reviews for a whole year now

Sound Card
Might hold off for now so I can spend more on the tuner card or maybe two and also the GPu

Software/Keyboard/Remote
Still taking recommendations

Hmmm and I think that's all for now... Thanks guys
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2010 8:23:59 AM

Sound card is truly not required. I'd suggest forgoing it for now and if you find your high def sound lacking from your motherboard, then acquire a sound card.

Everything that I have heard is that the 465 is garbage, I'd say 470 minimum.

As far as the 2 TV cards both are equal. For me the hauppage was a simple install in Windows 7 and media center was automated for set up. I think either one is a good choice. Just be aware that you want a dual tuner card.

I use a nice RF media keyboard with a trackball and mouse buttons on it. When I get time later I'll find a link for it. At least to give you a good reference for what to look for.

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

It comes with the bluray software and at 109.00 thats a tremendous deal!!
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June 23, 2010 8:45:45 AM

Where do you see that coming with software other than in the picture? (Bluray drive) Edit - 2/3 of those come with software it seems. Well that's what the picture looks like. So what's the difference past that.

Next, tuner card I guess I'll just order right before I go back to the states. I'll keep reading reviews on both.

Ok so any of these 4x5's are probably garbage too. What about something like the 460 I wonder?

Is there a difference with a Combo Tuner and Dual Tuner?

CMC Thanks so much again... You've helped tooo much haha.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2010 8:52:52 AM

I read reviews that stated it came with the software.

TBH I'm an ATI fanboy so I simply havent researched the new Fermi's. But from some of the comments Ive seen, anything below a 470 is of questionable value. Sorry I can't be more help on that.

What are you doing overseas? Military?
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2010 8:56:39 AM

Oh to answer your combo tuner/hybrid tuner. From what I gather a Combo tuner is a single tuner capable of decoding ATSC/QAM/NTSC signals. Meaning it can decode anything. Which is nice. The bad news is, since it's only 1 tuner, you have to watch what you're recording while it's recording. Which is why it's important to get a dual tuner. So you can record on 1 tuner, and watch on the other(speaking about 1 card with 2 tuners built in, not 2 cards)

Then it gets to the point where if want to record 2 high def shows in the same time slot, they are competing for tuners, and you will need to buy another TV card.

I hope that makes sense
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2010 8:58:45 AM

Also one more thing, cable TV is encrypted, so all those high def channels on cable wont be able to be accessed by your TV card. The local High Def will though. Right now there are a few TV tuner cards about to be released that can utilize a "cable card" issued from your cable provider to decode their content and play on an HTPC.

These new TV cards are priced around 350-500 each. My cable provider charges 3.00 a month to "rent" a cable card. THey didn't used to even offer them until the FCC mandated it.
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June 24, 2010 3:47:16 AM

On the GPU, pretty sure I'm just going to end up going with a 470 anyways. I'll probably use that for the computer and keep my 260 for the TV. Or something like that, I think that's quite pointless but I'm still deciding.

Can you throw me a link to these new TV cards. Otherwise wouldn't AverMedia be the way to go with the combo card as you can decode anything.(Something you cannot do with your Hauppage card?)

Overseas cause I grew up, always come back in the summer for a job.

So I just looked at that AverMedia G2 again. It only has S-Video and 3.5mm Audio L/R... How are you meant to connect it to the TV without Antenna/Cable input? The setups would be completely different compared to the Hauppage then?
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 24, 2010 3:55:20 AM

My Hauppage uses 2 Coax inputs. I'd shy away from S-video all together.

Im kind of confused, are you making 2 computers. You make reference to the 470 for the computer and the 260 for the TV?

Here's how my system works. I have a coax splitter from the wall, and 2 Coax plug into my Hauppage PCI TV tuner. Then I have an HDMI from my graphics card to my television.

Once we clarify that we can move on. I'll do some research tonight at work when I get time on what those 2 new TV cards were.
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June 25, 2010 1:04:15 AM

Na I'm only upgrading this one computer. But I'm planning ahead for when my comp has a dual monitor or even triple setup. Hence the new 470. I mean I could get by with the 260 for now easily, as I might even do that so I can get one of those expensive TV Tuner cards. I found one yesterday but it's still on preorder and getting delayed. Apparently its a 4 port Tuner?
http://cetoncorp.com/products.php

Basically don't worry about the GPU. I know enough there to get by on my own.

So all I'm really deciding on now is the Tuner Card. Whether or not I want to wait for one of these high end Tuners.

Also still looking into a good wireless keyboard/mouse and whatever software I'll need. And a Blu Ray player possibly. Mixed reviews on newegg for those two so I'm still looking around just in case.

Edit - How important is the "Cache" on BD Readers/Writers. For example the lite on has a 8MB Cache on the writer, compared to the LG ones with 4. And the readers only go up to 4MB.
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