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Considering HT setup or HTPC

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April 20, 2011 12:36:19 AM

Right now I'm debating on weather or not to buy a HT system or an HTPC. I was originally planning on just building a custom HT system from parts I found on the Egg but I actually just realized HTPC is another option. Obviously I'm new to this so I need some advice.

I just renewed my lease last month so I mine as well begin expanding the apartment. Seriously, all I'm sporting right now is a home office and a bedroom in the other room. My living room (if you want to call it that since there is no living in there) is occupied by a vacuum cleaner and boxes from my PC hardware which will be used when I sell my currents for upgrades. [:bohleyk:1]

I already have found some nice equipment off the Egg which I will list below. I'm currently undecided on which BR player to buy but I'm leaning towards an ONKYO player since there won't be any problems with compatibility that way.

Current total: $1,108.98 (without shipping)

Samsung 1080p HDTV
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ONKYO HT-S3400 5.1 Home Theater System
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ONKYO Blu-Ray Player (undecided)
http://www.amazon.com/Onkyo-BD-SP308-Blu-Ray-Disc-Playe...


------------------------------

As for a HTPC build, I'm pretty clueless on what to look for. I'm open to suggestions on both a HT setup and HTPC components. I'm just unsure what to invest in since I've never done a HT setup before.

My budget is $1,200.00 total. That includes the HDTV and everything else I will need. I'd like to stick with a 40in screen as its going to be HT set up but of coarse quality and price is a concern.

More about : setup htpc

April 20, 2011 2:45:30 PM

A basic AMD based HTPC will run around $350ish with a blu-ray drive. Having an HDMI and optical audio output, it is an easy additon to just about any HDTV and audio reciever setup. You will have to weigh the benefits and additional costs against a typical blu-ray player... yes, the PC has a LOT more capabilities, but are you going to use them? If you decide to go the HTPC route, fill out the form in the link below and give us a little more info (parts needed, where you can buy from, etc..). Microcenter has some good bundles if you have a store local to you... If you decide to go the blu-ray player route, be sure to get one with networking support (Netflix, Youtube, etc...).

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261222-31-build-advic...
April 20, 2011 4:17:12 PM

I went ahead a selected parts for a HTPC. As its a HTPC I went ahead and selected a dual core as I already have a gaming PC. I also experimented with an AMD dual core option but the price difference was minimal and the Intel build will surely perform much better. I thought about a quad core AMD HTPC which wouldn't be much more expensive. Maybe $70 more. But I already have a gaming PC. So what is the point?

Anyways here is what I had in mind. Critics welcome.

Intel: $599.93

CPU: Core i3-2100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MOBO: Gigabyte GA-H67M-D2-B3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 4GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: OCZ ModXStream Pro 500W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F4 2TB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case: SILVERSTONE Grandia Series
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Related resources
April 20, 2011 5:40:11 PM

mosox said:
Nope, for best video quality you should go AMD. You can get the new Zacate or an Athlon II X2/X3.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Do you want room for a tuner to record stuff or not?

I don't know about that TV
http://www.zdnet.com/reviews/product/flat-panel-tvs/sam...

The PSU is overkill.


I looked into the Zacate after reading your post. Still unsure about it. I mean its great if I just want to chill and watch movies but I probably will get into gaming on it since I'll be rocking a 40in screen[:bohleyk:7] I take it running an Athlon II X3 with a dedicated gfx card would be more worth while if I intend to game in the future, yes?

Tuner? You mean for like TV? Wouldn't it just pick up local channels and nothing more? Sorry if I seem retarded. I just don't know much at all about HTPC's. As you could probably already tell by my previous posts [:bohleyk]

I don't see anything wrong with the TV I already selected. You are always going to find problems with TV's these days. They all bleed and they all have issues. Its just how much you are willing to pay at the end of the day to minimize the bleeding and issues. If I do go HTPC, which I'm kind of heading towards, I'll have to ditch the surround sound until a later date. But we will see. I open to all possibilities so keep them coming!
April 21, 2011 12:47:43 AM

Thanks. I took a look and it wasn't much different to what I already had in mind. Well I've spent most of the day looking at what to get and came to my decision. I will be getting a HTPC over just the Blu-Ray player. It would have saved me serious cash to go with solely a Blu-Ray player but the HTPC is a better investment. Especially with the 5.1 surround sound for music.

I will be buying as soon as my check cashes which should be tomorrow. Any more suggestions are welcome.

Total: $1,576.00

HDTV: LG 42" 1080p 60Hz LCD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Sound: ONKYO HT-S3400 5.1 Home Theater System
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case: SILVERSTONE Grandia Series GD05B
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Optic: SAMSUNG Black 12X BD-ROM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU: Core i3-2100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-H67M-D2-B3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: Mushkin Enhanced Silverline 4GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: Antec High Current Gamer Series 400W (may install dedicated gfx in the future)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F4 2TB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Keyboard/Mouse: SIIG 88 Normal Keys USB RF Wireless Keyboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
April 21, 2011 2:40:33 AM

^That is going to be a nice HTPC. Don't forget another big plus of an HTPC over a standalone blu-ray player: ripping and storing your movie library
April 21, 2011 2:44:23 AM

rwpritchett said:
^That is going to be a nice HTPC. Don't forget another big plus of an HTPC over a standalone blu-ray player: ripping and storing your movie library


Yeah I'm really looking forward to it. I just need to call Direct TV tomorrow [:bohleyk]

I do have one final question though! On the LG 42' LCD there are no audio inputs. However there is an HDMI. So I could run the HDMI from the TV into the ONKYO receiver for 5.1 sound correct? I have another TV selected in case I need the colored audio inputs. This is killing me. Everything is perfect except the audio ports on the TV [:bohleyk:4]
April 21, 2011 3:07:55 AM

Your HDTV does have a TOSLink optical output which you would run to the optical input of your Onkyo Receiver. So I would assume, HDMI from the HTPC to the HDTV and then optical out from the HDTV to the Receiver. I don't believe the low end Onkyo receivers do HDMI audio processing.

I do have to ask, though. I didn't see any response to this question:

Quote:
yes, the PC has a LOT more capabilities, but are you going to use them?
as asked by sadams04.

I mean, if you're comfortable spending the extra cash on the HTPC, then by all means, go for it (I did). If you're not comfortable spending that extra cash, then you really need to look at what features your HDTV offers and compare them to what all you want to do and ask, "Do I really need an HTPC?"

-Wolf sends
April 21, 2011 3:15:46 AM

Well I don't NEED a HTPC but its a better investment. If I'm already spending 1K I mine as well spend a few hundred more on better options. I thought about it for awhile as it is a very good point. Will I effectivly use the HTPC? Probably not right away. I really don't know much about them other than the obvious. But I was the same way with PC.

Its only a matter of time lol
April 21, 2011 10:18:46 AM

I have some issues with your list. The CPU is expensive and the Intel IGP playback quality is far from being the best. A dedicated video card would be nice.

For a HTPC you can get a Radeon HD 6450 ($55)
For a gaming/HTPC rig you can get a more powerful card like the HD 6850/6870.

http://www.guru3d.com/article/radeon-hd-6450-review/4
http://www.guru3d.com/article/his-radeon-6850-6870-revi...

AMD's UVD3D offers the best playback quality available.

For a HTPC you can get the cheaper Athlon X2/X3 (plenty of power for a HTPC)

For a gaming/HTPC you should get a quad, the Athlon II X4 or this

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

The PSU is weak if you want to add a gaming card later, fine for a HTPC dedicated card. A modular PSU would be nice for that case though.

GIGABYTE GA-880GMA-UD2H
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
AMD Phenom II X4 840
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 4GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
XFX HD-685X-ZDFC Radeon HD 6850
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
LG WH10LS30 10X Blu-ray Burner
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
SeaSonic M12II 520 Bronze 520W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F4 HD204UI 2TB
SILVERSTONE Grandia Series GD05B

$779.92

And you get some cheaper 5.1 speakers and be in the budget.

Without the video card the total is $594.93 (the onboard video on that mobo is better than Intel's IGP in playback quality).
The total with your other stuff - except for the video card is $1,563.91

But the TV is cheaper on Amazon ($553)
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004OOQ8CW/ref=ox_sc_a...


Lastly, this mobo, GIGABYTE GA-880GMA-USB3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
sports the new AM3+ socket for the next line of AMD CPUs. It has onboard video. It says in there that's an ATX mobo and the same on Gigabyte site
http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=...

However the mobo looks like a mATX and the mobo's dimensions are mATX not ATX. If you want the new socket you should check with Gigabyte.









Best solution

April 21, 2011 12:54:57 PM
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BohleyK said:
I do have one final question though! On the LG 42' LCD there are no audio inputs. However there is an HDMI. So I could run the HDMI from the TV into the ONKYO receiver for 5.1 sound correct? I have another TV selected in case I need the colored audio inputs. This is killing me. Everything is perfect except the audio ports on the TV [:bohleyk:4]
A lot of TV's will not pass 5.1 surround to a receiver. They will mix down the 5.1 to 2 channel stereo and then pass that (that's how my Samsung does it, I've tried it).

The best setup is HTPC->HDMI->receiver->HDMI->HDTV (audio and video)

If your receiver does not have HDMI, then the best setup is:

HTPC->HDMI->HDTV (video)
-and-
HTPC->optical->reciever (audio)
April 21, 2011 11:55:54 PM

Thanks. Yeah I found a open box "mint" 40in 1080p Samsung for $500 with free shipping on Amazon so I bought that instead. I was too sketched out on the LG with no audio ports other than that single port.

I was skeptical on the onboard video from Intel so I bought a 6670 for dedicated gfx. Not entirely sure if 400W can push all of that but I'll find out. Ran the Antec calculator with a much more demanding gfx card and was in the clear so I should be OK. It was only $99 more and I was over my budget like $250 anyways. I always go over [:bohleyk:7]

I thought about AMD at first there Mosox but I only need a dual core for this and the i3-2100 is an awesome one at that. The price difference was minimal as well so I went Intel.

Everything should arrive around Wednesday next week. Can't wait!
April 21, 2011 11:57:58 PM

Best answer selected by BohleyK.
April 22, 2011 12:17:30 AM

Yeah I'll look into that in the future. Right now I'm done spending lol. $1,500 plus setting up Direct TV once everything is all setup is enough for now. I got lucky on the Amazon deal which saved me about $100

Thanks everyone for your input though!
!