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New HTPC computer project

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December 22, 2011 1:22:47 AM

Hello all I'm currently in the process of turning my old gaming computer into a HTPC. Here are the parts I currently have:

Mobo: ASRock ALiveNF6G-VSTA
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 4000+ Brisbane (2.1GHz)
RAM: G.SKILL 2x 1GB DDR2 800MHz

I'll probably run into issues where the on-board GPU can't handle pure 1080P so I hope the CPU can do some emulation work and get my 1080P resolution without skipping. Also plan to stream netflix off of it. No optical drive is needed. Here is what I need to know so I can order them:

1. Slimmest case for my mATX mobo.
2. Possibly an external PSU (pico, etc) if possible... otherwise the smallest/quietest PSU on the market.
3. A good TV tuner card for svideo input and cable-ready RF input from cable box
4. Which OS should I choose to play movies, music, stream netflix on that uses the least amount of system resources for the purpose of using as little CPU as possible... I'd like to run the fan in almost-off condition. (Money is no issue on OS choice... efficiency is key choice)
5. Currently has the stock HSF... any alternative for the possibility of running a passive CPU cooling setup?

Yes, I know I'm asking alot from you with very little to work with however I don't really want to invest alot into my old computer as the mobo itself is on the verge of dieing and the on-board backplate audio output it blown (have to use front audio connector).

More about : htpc computer project

December 22, 2011 1:36:50 AM

Sounds like a mini-ITX build to me.
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December 22, 2011 1:54:02 AM

kajabla said:
Sounds like a mini-ITX build to me.


Exactly but not using a mini-ITX board... want to get as much life out of the mATX mobo I can. Than I can trash the board and sell the RAM + CPU for $40 on eBoy. :p 
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December 22, 2011 1:56:48 AM

Oh, you already have it. Ok.
I don't know about emulation, unfortunately.
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December 22, 2011 2:06:29 AM

kajabla said:
Oh, you already have it. Ok.
I don't know about emulation, unfortunately.


Just really looking for an experienced HTPC user to answer 1 - 5. :p 
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December 22, 2011 12:19:45 PM

1) Several Low-Profile HTPC cases
  • nMEDIAPC HTPC 1080p case
  • XION HTPC Series Slim Desktop
  • hec Black HTPC case
  • Silverstone Black Aluminum HTPC
  • LIAN LI Black Aluminum HTPC

    All of which will accept (or already have) a standard power supply. There are several more on Newegg. Just do a power search on HTPC cases. Narrow the results by selecting MicroATX for Motherboard Compatibility.

    2) Really can't speak to quiet power supplies. I've never really had that much concern. My HTPC is on 24/7 and I could only hear it when it was absolutely quiet in my small apartment.

    3) I'd probably look at this AVerMedia AVerTV Bravo Hybrid for your TV Tuning capabilities, but not sure if it would work under linux. Which leads me to...

    4) I have no experience with linux set ups, but I can only assume it would be the least resource intensive OS. On the other hand, I really don't see any reason not to go with Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 as your OS if this is to be strictly for media. 2GB of RAM should be plenty for Windows 7 and nothing else.

    5) Using a passive cooling heat sink probably isn't the best idea, particularly in a small, low-profile HTPC case, but this Silverstone NT06-E at 82mm (3.23"), should fit.

    -Wolf sends
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    December 24, 2011 3:39:42 AM

    Wolfshadw said:
    1) Several Low-Profile HTPC cases
  • nMEDIAPC HTPC 1080p case
  • XION HTPC Series Slim Desktop
  • hec Black HTPC case
  • Silverstone Black Aluminum HTPC
  • LIAN LI Black Aluminum HTPC

    All of which will accept (or already have) a standard power supply. There are several more on Newegg. Just do a power search on HTPC cases. Narrow the results by selecting MicroATX for Motherboard Compatibility.

    2) Really can't speak to quiet power supplies. I've never really had that much concern. My HTPC is on 24/7 and I could only hear it when it was absolutely quiet in my small apartment.

    3) I'd probably look at this AVerMedia AVerTV Bravo Hybrid for your TV Tuning capabilities, but not sure if it would work under linux. Which leads me to...

    4) I have no experience with linux set ups, but I can only assume it would be the least resource intensive OS. On the other hand, I really don't see any reason not to go with Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 as your OS if this is to be strictly for media. 2GB of RAM should be plenty for Windows 7 and nothing else.

    5) Using a passive cooling heat sink probably isn't the best idea, particularly in a small, low-profile HTPC case, but this Silverstone NT06-E at 82mm (3.23"), should fit.

    -Wolf sends


  • Hmm interesting heatsink! I'll probably end up just buying a pure forged copper heatsink and put a 80mm fan on it or whatever size fits the sink, look on newegg for the best one, and drop it to the lowest possible setting. Than just use cool n quite feature and set it to got sleep if idle for more than 20mins.

    Windows7 obviously would be the designed choice but I'm looking to go so far as to go hard-driveless as I'm not buying a ssd for pure quietness. And don't really want to spend several hours figuring out how to efficiently configure PXE booting. So leaning more toward linux as it can run from USB. I'm debating on running either Ubuntu or OpenELEC. Plan to solely run XBMC with this build. I believe XBMC Live and OpenELEC use Ubuntu 10.1 while 11.1 is the newest version so hopefully that means better stability/compatibility. Basically all XBMC and OpenELEC are is XBMC slipsteamed from Linux. Although alot of people online claim a 17-second cold boot with OpenELEC while XBMC Live takes a little over a minute. Quiteness is the key here but so is a long-life with a USB drive (dont want to replace it every 2 months) and power/CPU useage also is a key factor. I'll be setting up a file share on my windows pc for the music and movie folders. Yeah totally defeats the purpose of a dedicated media-only pc when it still is depended on another machine but it's becoming more and more common for homeowners to not only have a network but a professionally set-up one.
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