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First build, HTPC for 1080p 3d projector

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July 19, 2012 5:47:57 AM


Hey gang, I'm looking for feedback on my first build. Specific questions are posed below, but I would welcome any comments, especially on the mobo and PSU. Thanks!

Budget: ~$1000
Purpose: HTPC for movies and occasional gaming, both in 3d whenever possible. Connected to 1080p 3d projector, Panasonic PT-AE7000U.
Components: roughly listed in order from what I'm most to least certain of, based on the reviews and forum posts on this site.


Fractal Design Core 1000 Mini Tower mATX Computer Case
no room for a larger case, and this one looks nice! fits mATX, mini-ITX mobo

Intel Core i5-3450 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor
I'm not interested in over-clocking, so this seemed like a decent choice vs i5-3570K

ASRock Z77 Pro4-M 1155 mATX Intel Motherboard
chosen randomly from boards that are Z77, 1155, mATX. Switch?

Galaxy GeForce GTX 560 Ti SOC White Edition 1024MB GDDR5 PCIe 2.0 x16 Video Card 56NGH6DP5QXX
I definitely want the GTX 560 Ti, but this version was chosen randomly. It is over-clocked, and some reviews complain about the loud fans. Switch to a different version of the 560Ti? Is it over-/under-powered compared to the i5-3450?

OCZ ModXStream Pro 700W Modular ATX Power Supply
among the cheapest, $60 after rebate. Switch?

Caviar Green 2TB IntelliPower SATA 6Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive WD20EARX - OEM
cheapest 2TB, 6gb/s I could find. Some sites claim high failure rates. Worth changing brands?

Crucial Ballistix sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory
8GB seems like enough to start

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit)
worth upgrading?

Audio: I have 6.1 surround sound speakers, so high audio quality is important. The speaker system (from ~2004) accepts optical and coaxial input, but not HDMI.
Is the Realtek ALC892 in the ASRock Pro4-M good enough?

Cooling: the case has a front fan, and I will add one fan for the back (Cooler Master 120mm R4 Series Rifle Bearing) and another for the side (Scythe Kama PWM 92mm)

Wi-fi: Tenda W322U Wireless N 300Mbps USB 2.0 Adapter


My preferred vendor is MicroCenter because their close proximity eliminates the cost for shipping and any returns. They also seem to have the best prices on most every item (at least for in-store pickup).
July 19, 2012 12:51:37 PM

Case - Looks like a good choice. I don't have any concerns here.
CPU - Also a good choice.
Motherboard - Nothing wrong with this choice. I like that it has all PCI-E expansion slots.
GPU - For NVidia cards, I tend to stick with EVGA or ASUS brands. Others may go with yet another brand. Definitely more powerful than the on-board of the I5-3450
Power Supply - Not sure how this PSU is rated as compared to Antec, Seasonic, Corsair, PC Power and Cooling, etc... 700 watts seems excessive for a single GPU solution and a word that should almost never be used when talking about power supplies, "Cheapest".
HDD - Meh... If this is a single disk system (i.e. this drive has both your OS and data stored on it), then you definitely want to stay away from "Green" drives.
RAM - 8GB seems like enough to end. No need to go any higher than that.
OS - Good choice.
Audio - I think that the on-board chipset should be good enough for your needs, but I'm not sure it's going to recognize an older 6.1 set-up.
WiFi - If at all possible, go with a wired connection.

-Wolf sends
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August 13, 2013 4:41:01 AM

Hey JeffroHD

It is about a year ago since you announced this project. I am wondering how it went? Or are you glued to the screen every day now?

I have been trying something similar to drive my Panny AE7000. My ultimate goal is to run the HTPC using MythTV (mythbuntu) but I have encountered a few issues getting that running. Right now I am working with Win 8.1 demo version. This does not come with WMC, so I have installed a demo of SageTV. So far I am not very impressed.

My hardware includes ASUS P8 H61-MLE, Intel i3 (3.3 GHz), 8 GB DRAM and Hauppauge 2250 TV capture card. I had assumed that the DVI out on the MB with max resolution 1920x1200 at 60Hz would drive the projector at 1080i (if not 1080p), so an additional video card would not be needed. But one problem is that the Win 8.1 display is "cropped" on all sides when the image is projected through the Panasonic. It displays perfectly when connected to a cheap (Acer) 1080p LCD monitor. Win 8.1 reports the projector display as a "Generic PnP monitor", though in fact it is connected through the AVR rather than directly to the projector. I am not averse to buying a low-end GPU card if necessary.

Any comments/experiences would be welcomed.

Hal
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August 13, 2013 5:15:05 AM

Check your display properties to see if you have an, "Overscan/Underscan" option. If you do, attempt to underscan your display until it fits properly on your projector display. Also check to see if you have a similar option in your projector set up screen. Also look to make sure you projector is set to a 16:9 and not a 4:3 display ratio.

Your Panny should be able to display whatever the source resolution is, up to 1080p. A discrete graphics card should also allow you to upscale lower resolution videos to a higher resolution (say 720p to 1080i and 1080i to 1080p). No guarantees here, but it should work.

Just for reference, I'm using my HTPC's Radeon HD4670 with a 35' DVI to HDMI cable connected to my 1080p Optoma HD20 projector. Audio is handled by optical S/PDIF to my Onkyo HT-S3300 5.1 surround sound system.

-Wolf sends
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August 14, 2013 7:18:58 AM

Wolfshadw said:
Check your display properties to see if you have an, "Overscan/Underscan" option. If you do, attempt to underscan your display until it fits properly on your projector display. Also check to see if you have a similar option in your projector set up screen. Also look to make sure you projector is set to a 16:9 and not a 4:3 display ratio.

Your Panny should be able to display whatever the source resolution is, up to 1080p. A discrete graphics card should also allow you to upscale lower resolution videos to a higher resolution (say 720p to 1080i and 1080i to 1080p). No guarantees here, but it should work.

Just for reference, I'm using my HTPC's Radeon HD4670 with a 35' DVI to HDMI cable connected to my 1080p Optoma HD20 projector. Audio is handled by optical S/PDIF to my Onkyo HT-S3300 5.1 surround sound system.

-Wolf sends


Thanks Wolf. The Panny is set to 16:9 and it works perfectly with other inputs....but you have given me an idea. It's been a while since I first set it up. The Panasonic switches automatically between 16:9 and 2.35:1 when the screen rectangle changes. I needed to manipulate the screen window (top/bottom and side borders) to get the 2.35:1 image to fit nicely on the screen. The PC video could be generating a "different" 16:9 image, so I may need to readjust the Panny's window and save it as a new preset.

I will look into it and report back.

Hal
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!