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Advice for HTPC ( though more for music feeding DAC )

Last response: in Systems
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February 15, 2011 3:01:08 PM

Hi y'all, here's the template filled with my best thoughts, let me know your views guys, cheers


Approximae Purchase Date: Within the next four weeks.

Budget Range: Not more than $2000.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Boots in max 10 seconds, Music Server to DAC via S/PDIF and USB, blu-ray, HD videos , surfing, a bit of gaming e.g. sc2 but no high-end graphics

Parts Not Required: speakers, subwoofer, monitor, cables, sound card

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: uk sites / prisjakt.nu

Country of Origin: Sweden / UK

Parts Preferences: was happy with intel and ocz

Overclocking: not sure

SLI or Crossfire: not sure

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments:

Flexible on ATX or other size for MOBO but overall size of case should have max 1 5,25 bay and max 2 internal HD bay, to keep all small enough.

I'd use win 7 ultimate, SSD for booting, UEFI, USB3 , 1 or 2 external HD almost always plugged to the HTPC, ipad remote for music, im open to raid for backup

Many many thanks for your suggestions




February 15, 2011 4:04:48 PM

Initial thoughts/comments:

$2000 :ouch:  that's US$ I assume? That's about £1300. You could easily build what you want for half that. Is there something you didn't mention that warrants such a high-end budget? It's perfectly fine if that's what you want to spend. It just seems your budget is a lot higher than the needs you described.

Secondly, for your 10s boot max you can achieve that easily using S3 mode with any hard drive. An SSD is nice to have though. Just making sure you are aware that a properly set up HTPC should not be cold booting very often.

HTPC cases are a very subjective matter. Can you give us some tips on what you would like the case to look like in addition to your bay requirements? I.E.: Height requirements? Silver? Black? Look like A/V equipment? Aluminum vs. steel? Front panel LCD? Integrated IR? Bundled remote?
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February 16, 2011 10:22:44 AM

thanks for your reply

- yes, thats in usd but i said max , not to reach that amount of money :) 
- i think i mentioned everything
- you mean S3 mode doesnt use power so that i cut off home electricity for hours ?
- i dont want paticularly cold booting or not, i dont mind but why do you say we should not cold boot ?
- case should be similar to a HIFI receiver (no standup column) with front-load dvd/bluray and with LCD. How is LCD front-panel generally connected to the MOBO ?
- i plan to use ipad/iphone so no need of remote
- i dont mind alu/steel/color

appreciate very much your help
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February 16, 2011 11:35:45 AM

In S3 mode the computer appears to be completely off. No fans moving, hard drives shut down, etc. It gives you an instant on experience when you hit the power button (maybe 1 or 2 seconds) so it makes the HTPC like a DVD player. Plus, if you are using the system to record TV programs, it allows the HTPC to wake up for scheduled recordings and then return to S3. S3 mode does use a little bit of standby power which will vary depending on your components, but its usually in the single digit watts... like 5W or so.

Usually, if you get a case with an LCD display it will come with a remote. Manufacturers tend to integrate the IR receiver for a remote to the LCD display. That wouldn't stop you from using your ipad/iphone though and it might be nice to have the option for a remote if you want one in the future. LCD displays typically connect to one of the motherboard's USB headers.

Maybe you should consider one of the popular Antec cases like these:

Antec Fusion Remote Black


Antec Veris Fusion Silver


Antec Fusion Remote 350





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February 16, 2011 12:40:09 PM

rwpritchett much appreciated for your answer

Actually i was looking at 10 sec boot as i regularly turn off the power for the whole HomeTheater installation but it seems no win 7 PC is able to boot that fast

For the case, im looking to use usb3 and newegg shows only 1 case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

For the cpu, what would you recommend ?

Cheers
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February 16, 2011 1:00:02 PM

tichouchou said:
Actually i was looking at 10 sec boot as i regularly turn off the power for the whole HomeTheater installation but it seems no win 7 PC is able to boot that fast
You might get a 10sec boot with Linux and a SSD. But I doubt it.
For Win7 30 seconds is more realistic. The next gen SandForce 2000 controller due out shortly might improve that a bit.
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February 16, 2011 3:15:16 PM

A lot of Lian Li cases have front USB 3.0 ports. Unfortunately, the only Lian Li case that looks like A/V equipment AND has USB 3.0 ports is the PC-Q09 series. I say unfortunately because those cases are ITX with no expansion slots, and they do not have a front panel LCD display. Also, I believe that most cases that do have USB 3.0 front panel ports use a cable that snakes all the way to the back I/O panel to connect to the external USB 3.0 ports on the back and not to the motherboard header. Very, very few motherboards have a USB 3.0 header BTW (quite a few of the recalled P67 board have them though). This is the only one I could find on newegg.

Silverstone is the first manufacturer I've seen that has a USB 3.0 motherboard header connector cable. The Silverstone ML03B also has internal USB 3.0 connections:


No LCD or IR receiver though. And it's a low profile case which would limit your GPU selection (you said gaming, right?)

If I were you, I wouldn't decide on a CPU just yet. First decide on the case, which will determine the motherboard and expansion capabilities. Then pick a motherboard that has as many features you desire onboard to reduce the use of expansion cards and USB peripherals.
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February 16, 2011 3:50:32 PM

ok, i can wait 2 or 3 weeks for this amazing sandforce SF-2000 for fast POST + win7 booting

for gaming, i dont need high end graphics

for the case, i cant find neither a LCD enclosure with USB3, im continuing to search and tell you

for the mobo, why not an intel usb3 ?






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February 16, 2011 3:58:08 PM

tichouchou said:
ok, i can wait 2 or 3 weeks for this amazing sandforce SF-2000 for fast POST + win7 booting
Probably more like 2 or 3 months....
And a SSD doesn't help POST time. That's firmware embedded in the MB.
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February 16, 2011 4:31:04 PM

Has anyone evaluated the POST time of BIOS vs. the new UEFI boards?

If you can find an intel board with an onboard USB 3 header, go ahead and add it to the shopping list. Asus announced the P7P55/USB3 board that uses s1156 CPU's with the header but I don't think it ever made it to retail. If you can wait for SB to get straightened out, you could get a P67/H67 board with a header (and maybe SandForce 2000 will be out by then).
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February 16, 2011 4:33:56 PM

And I bet there will be more case choices with USB3 options as well.
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Best solution

February 16, 2011 5:03:46 PM

Interesting... the motherboard I am patiently waiting for with my next HTPC build has an onboard USB3 header. It's an AMD Fusion board though, very low power... lower performance than a standard build.

Not exactly what you are looking for, but I thought I'd let you know about the Fusion-USB3 option.

http://www.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=9BmKhMwWCwqyl1lz&...

Too bad it's big brother doesn't have the header.
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February 17, 2011 3:26:28 PM

ok, so most important is indeed the enclosure and i will wait for the first USB3+LCD on the market ...

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February 27, 2011 7:40:28 AM

Best answer selected by Tichouchou.
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November 29, 2011 11:27:29 AM

Guys, i guess the Moneul 972 is the first HTPC case with USB3 & LCD , have you seen any others ? thanks a ton!!!!
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