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New Budget HTPC Build

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August 21, 2010 8:30:54 AM

The current peices of the HTPC that I own are the following.
Case: Thermaltake Lanbox
http://www.amazon.com/Thermaltake-La.../dp/B000PLY5BE
Motherboard: DG33TL Intel 775 Socket Type
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813121315
Processor: Intel Q6600
http://www.amazon.com/Intel-BX80562Q.../dp/B000MM37JW
RAM: A-Data 4x1GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820211066
PSU: ABS Tagan BZ Series BZ800 800W ATX12V
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817814014

I want this HTPC to run perfect blue ray quality to the HDTV through an HDMI cable and also I want it to be able to stream video/music/pictures to everything device in the house.

I need a TV tuner for my Cable input.
here is what I was looking at but it is very expensive for my budget:
http://www.amazon.com/Asus-Express-T...1865261&sr=1-1

And I was thinking about this video card: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814125250

I would like to utilize everything I have but if the cost is cheap I wouldn't mind upgrading a few parts... I don't wanna spend over 200$ for the new parts though. I also need a nice wireless mouse/keyboard but this is not manditory as long as I can remote control the pc with my laptop(need good remote control software - Remote Desktop locks the pc screen on my TV). Although I do still need a blue ray player. I do have a blu ray dvd player in a stand alone unit that I was thinking about stripping the drive from if that is at all possible.

I would also like some suggestions on what type of software i should use to stream/dvr. And what type of software to remote control the pc from my laptop accross the room to play movies and stuff...

Currently I am running Windows 7 64-bit professional and I heard that would be the best OS to run to get the job done.

Let me know what you guys think.... Thanks!




PS. I also have 2x 8800GT Video cards with custom heat sinks and a ATX - NVIDIA 680i Motherboard that I can utilize but the MB won't fit in that particular case and the video cards don't have HDMI output and run pretty hot.


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More about : budget htpc build

August 21, 2010 10:54:44 AM

No one have any comments?
I don't know much about low end Video cards(which would be good for HTPC)
and i don't know much about TV tuners, or if i should just upgrade the mobo and skip the video card... but the processor is pretty outdated and finding a good mobo that is compatable with my RAM and processor would be unlikely i think.
could i please get some feedback?

Thanks.
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August 21, 2010 11:57:13 AM

Your case is a nice case, and can hold a full-size graphics card if needed

for only $200, you're looking mostly at AMD based solution if you want to upgrade the cpu, which means some form of the Athlon II with DDR3, measning new memory, motherboard, and RAM. But you have the q6600 and the Athlon II 620 is only fractionally better at CPU benchmarks. www.cpubenchmarks.net gives the q6600 a passmark score of 2978, the X4-620 a score of 3123 and the 630 3239, so only a slight increase in power, most of the improvement would be the Memory. But DDR2-800 and DDR3-1333 don't have a HUGE difference in performance. a significant improvement in that would come mostly from the Phenom II chips, but thts 75% of your budget on the chip. We could get the X3 440, 4GB of RAM and a new mobo for your $200, but that only gets us halfway there, and its a slower processor. A very sideways build.

my sugestion instead would be to go for different HD ready graphics card, a Blue ray disk, and a wireless N card, and hang on to the RAM & Mobo for a while longer. You didn't say your Hard drive size

Looking at your board I don't see how you got 2 8800s in it, as it has only a single PCIe x16 slot, 1 regular PCI slot, and 2 PCIe x1 slots. I'll go for a good card to cover that.

your power supply is seriously overkill for a HTPC, even with the older processor, but we'l stick with it for now, it should be good for a few more years. If there is room, I'll get a decent 400W, which should cover your needs nicely

To do what you want, you need a Blu-Ray player, a wireless N network card, and a good HDTV ready video card, NVidia to match your current drivers. I'll see about a second hard drive for more data storage (you didn't mention your current HD size, but your case can take a second drive, and with video storage, more is always better), but as you have SATA 1, any drive will do, as long as it's 7200 RPM.

Gimme a bit of time, and I'll see what I can build for you.
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Related resources
August 21, 2010 12:05:35 PM

I use UltraVNC both at work and at home for remote access - I can even control the PC from my phone with it. Best of all it is free!

You can download a free copy here
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August 21, 2010 12:08:02 PM

I have a 150GB Raptor drive and a 500GB secondary drive, but this does not store my data, I have a external raid 1 1TB drive that holds my movies and music and everything.

I thought the same thing about the video card....(this is a downgrade HTPC from my old gaming desktop pc(which had a better mobo and video cards that don't fit in this case because of the custom heatsink on the video cards.)

the PSU was from the old PC also....this was a gaming rig with SLI'd video cards(i didn't have an extra psu to throw in this HTPC)

It runs pretty good atm just a little hazy on the software. I am using an analog output to the TV ATM(which is ugly)

as far as the wireless N card, this is not needed... I have it wired directly into my high performance router with a 1GB port on it. I do need a TV tuner card though and I need a remote for it also(not a big deal if you can't find one because I know a way to make my ipod touch to remote control the pc through my network.)
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Best solution

August 21, 2010 12:31:50 PM

AVerMedia AVerTVHD Duet PCTV tuner (A188) MTVHDDUET PCI-Express x1 Interface
$69.99

a TV tuner with remote, does HDTV 1080i input over the air or via a cable. average rateing on Newegg, but it seems solid for most respondants

PNY VCGGT2405G5XEB GeForce GT 240 512MB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card
SAMSUNG Black Blu-ray Combo Drive - Bulk SATA Model SH-B083L/BSBP LightScribe Support - OEM
GIFT StarCraft2 - FREE Trial Version Game coupon

$20.00 Mail-in Rebate
$124.98

a nice combo for the blu-ray player/DVD burner and a low-wattage graphics processor. the 240 is basically a die-shrunk 9600 GSO that uses only 75W. It'll even manage some games at medium settings. In power its a sideways move from your 8800s, but has the 1080p HDMI output for your blu-ray.

Subtotal: $194.97
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August 21, 2010 1:30:21 PM

ScrewySqrl said:
AVerMedia AVerTVHD Duet PCTV tuner (A188) MTVHDDUET PCI-Express x1 Interface
$69.99

a TV tuner with remote, does HDTV 1080i input over the air or via a cable. average rateing on Newegg, but it seems solid for most respondants

PNY VCGGT2405G5XEB GeForce GT 240 512MB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card
SAMSUNG Black Blu-ray Combo Drive - Bulk SATA Model SH-B083L/BSBP LightScribe Support - OEM
GIFT StarCraft2 - FREE Trial Version Game coupon

$20.00 Mail-in Rebate
$124.98

a nice combo for the blu-ray player/DVD burner and a low-wattage graphics processor. the 240 is basically a die-shrunk 9600 GSO that uses only 75W. It'll even manage some games at medium settings. In power its a sideways move from your 8800s, but has the 1080p HDMI output for your blu-ray.

Subtotal: $194.97



Any certain reason you picked that specific TV tuner?
That video card looks good, perfect suggestion.
The Blu-Ray player looks good also, just curious if there are cheaper solutions for this one...don't need lightscribe or anything but the capability of playing the blu-ray disc.
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August 21, 2010 1:41:30 PM

NVM on the blu ray question, just noticed it was a combo deal....ordered it already....just still curious about the TV tuner
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August 21, 2010 1:58:52 PM

midrigs said:
NVM on the blu ray question, just noticed it was a combo deal....ordered it already....just still curious about the TV tuner



Main reason I picked it was it fit within your $200 budget before rebates, pulled in HD quality (1080i, but thats all broadcast manages right now) and had a remote. There are others more expensive than that that are probably higher quality (I think I saw a Diamond at $84.99) if you want to swing that.

There are Blu-ray only players, but there were only $10 less than the Blu-Ray and DVD +- RW drive you ordered, with the bundle discount and rebate, it comes out noticeably cheaper.
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August 22, 2010 5:52:21 AM

I was just informed that 1 tv tuner card will not support watching/streaming 2 channels on 2 devices at the same time.... Is there another card that will support this? I am willing to spend the extra money if i can get this to send to my xbox 360 and my normal HDTV at the same time on 2 different channels, or if i can record 1 channel and watch another at the same time.
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August 22, 2010 5:53:19 AM

Best answer selected by midrigs.
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August 22, 2010 6:39:40 AM

midrigs said:
I was just informed that 1 tv tuner card will not support watching/streaming 2 channels on 2 devices at the same time.... Is there another card that will support this? I am willing to spend the extra money if i can get this to send to my xbox 360 and my normal HDTV at the same time on 2 different channels, or if i can record 1 channel and watch another at the same time.



I"m honestly not sure.

Most likely systems from your cable company (their HD-DVR boxes) have 2 HD tuners inside, one to run what you watch, one to record something, or record two channels at once.
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August 22, 2010 8:54:30 AM

then my next question is...do i need to buy 2 TV tuner cards, or are there any out there that have 2 tuners in 1, or idk what the best solution is for the money.
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August 22, 2010 10:45:52 AM

I got this TV tuner card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
The reason i picked this one up is because of the dual tuner in it, which makes it so i can record/watch 2 channels at the same time. but if i want to take it further than that (3/4 channels) then I would need to get another card....
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August 22, 2010 3:01:57 PM

that card is dual tuner....but NOT an HDTV receiver!

At least I don't thing so. It doesn't MENTION HDTV in its tuner, just NTSC and in-the-clear Digital cable.

I'm not completely familiar with the broadcast standards, but if you want ovr the air HDTV, I'd prefer the description to sat it got over the air HDTV.
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August 23, 2010 1:30:20 PM

so your saying that the card i picked up may not be able to pick up 1080i/720p/1080p channels if my cable company offers any? or will they just be in a lower quality format? Its weird in the documentation on that card....and its not does not have very many reviews compared to the other card I got.
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August 23, 2010 3:11:30 PM

that is exactly correct. its Standard definition only
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August 23, 2010 4:32:12 PM

I was informed on another forum that ATSC(the format that the card I ordered supports.) that this format is required for HD Playback, so that means that this card does support HDTV.
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August 23, 2010 5:07:52 PM

ok.

Just my own personal suspicion of marketing when I'm not fully familiar with the specs of something generally lead me to suspect 'If it doesn't Specifically *say* it, it might not do it' -- Just a personal peeve. I'd hate to get that and discover it was standard def only. And was worried that since it didn't *say* HDTV, it might not *receive* HDTV. Especially after the other card specifically said it received over-the-air HDTV signals in 720p and 1080i.

If those more in the know that me say its ok, it should be fine.
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August 23, 2010 5:14:40 PM

I agree on the fact that if it does not say it, it may not do it.... have had personal experience in that department as everyone probably has. at this point i think my research is good and as far as the hardware of my htpc is complete. Thanks for all your help, i'm sure i will see you in my next thread for software.
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