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Basic HTPC

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January 1, 2013 1:53:18 PM

Hey Guys....Noob here...
I want to build a HTPC.

1.) I want to be able rip and store movies on to a hard drive and watch them.

2.) I want to store my music collection on it.

3.) I want to game on it.

4.)I want to run Windows on it.

4.) I don't want to record anything on it.

Last year I built my own gaming pc without any problems so I believe I can do this.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Now to show my ignorance...would it be possible just to hook my pc to my tv with an HDMI cable and be able to do these things?

Thank You!
Jim

More about : basic htpc

a b B Homebuilt system
January 1, 2013 1:56:28 PM

mrjjv said:
Hey Guys....Noob here...
I want to build a HTPC.

1.) I want to be able rip and store movies on to a hard drive and watch them.

2.) I want to store my music collection on it.

3.) I want to game on it.

4.)I want to run Windows on it.

4.) I don't want to record anything on it.

Last year I built my own gaming pc without any problems so I believe I can do this.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Now to show my ignorance...would it be possible just to hook my pc to my tv with an HDMI cable and be able to do these things?

Thank You!
Jim



yes, you could do all these things with your gaming PC.

you probably want an inexpensive machine that is separate for your gaming machine as an htpc however. what's your budget for it? and do you want the htpc to also get over-the-air HD broadcasts?
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January 1, 2013 2:06:56 PM

Thats the thing...I don't know what a basic one would cost to build. Could something like this be built for $500 +/-?

As far as HD broadcasts....wouldn't my cable box suffice? Sorry for the lack of knowledge on my part. I do appreciate your quick response.
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 1, 2013 2:13:09 PM

We have far better users then me for build recommendations.

In order to do the HD thing, you need either a capture card with Component(red/blue/green/white/red) in(as HDMI is protected and will not allow recording/watching of most things on the computer) OR a cablecard tuner if you live in an area with CableCard support.

CableCard tuners replace the cable box it self(cablecard is 1 way so some premium services and PPV service will not work. If your provider has SDV[switched digital video], you will also need a tuning adapter.),

A capture card to capture component will require the cable box and IR blaster(a device that allows the computer to control a cable box. it is placed over the remote sensor on the box(most times) and the computer sends remote commands that way.).

Here comes the problem, some of these cards run a good chunk of your budget.

I just want you to know what to expect.

SD capture is cheaper(S-vid/composite + audio or even coax) from the cable box and an ir blaster for channel changing. I find many USB tuners are not quite as good on the image quality from due to a lack of hardware acceleration(for compressing the video/audio stream).

If you have good over the air coverage, a tuner card + antenna may get you some HD channels.
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January 1, 2013 3:10:23 PM

Do you want to use cable or over-the-air?

HD TV capture cards are cheap and you can use HDMI from the video card without any issues. It is a very elegant solution. HDMI drivers are great, work just as well as any commercial Blu-ray or DVD player. Plug-and-play.

Using cable is a pain in the neck. If you want premuim cable, just pay a little extra to get a DVR from the cable company. It is a total rip-off, but trying to go through the HTPC is just too much of a pain. I am cheap anyway, so I just use over-the-air. I get many HD chennels.

BUT...who uses the HTPC for TV anyway? That is what Netflix and Hulu-Plus are for!

For price, $500 should get you a great simple HTPC, but plan on spending another $200-$300 if you wanna game on the thing.

TV card $50, Dual-core CPU $75, Videocard ~$75, Motherboard with 1 PCI-e $50-75, RAM $30, Case/PSU (depends--cheap to fancy), HDD $100, Windows $25 (get 8. It is cheap and works well for an HTPC because of the Metro UI. Also, get it in January if you are gonna do it. You can get Media Center for free if you get it in January). For gaming, spend more on CPU and Video card. You will also need an imput device(mouse, keyboard). If you have and an Apple i-device, there is an app for that. Alternatively, you can get a remote from newegg for $85. I use this one in combo with an apple app: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HTPCs are totally awesome and totally worth it! I built my first one in 2006 before the technology was ready. The current itteration it absolutely amazing! I will never go back.
Good luck.

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January 1, 2013 3:10:48 PM

Do you want to use cable or over-the-air?

HD TV capture cards are cheap and you can use HDMI from the video card without any issues. It is a very elegant solution. HDMI drivers are great, work just as well as any commercial Blu-ray or DVD player. Plug-and-play.

Using cable is a pain in the neck. If you want premuim cable, just pay a little extra to get a DVR from the cable company. It is a total rip-off, but trying to go through the HTPC is just too much of a pain. I am cheap anyway, so I just use over-the-air. I get many HD chennels.

BUT...who uses the HTPC for TV anyway? That is what Netflix and Hulu-Plus are for!

For price, $500 should get you a great simple HTPC, but plan on spending another $200-$300 if you wanna game on the thing.

TV card $50, Dual-core CPU $75, Videocard ~$75, Motherboard with 1 PCI-e $50-75, RAM $30, Case/PSU (depends--cheap to fancy), HDD $100, Windows $25 (get 8. It is cheap and works well for an HTPC because of the Metro UI. Also, get it in January if you are gonna do it. You can get Media Center for free if you get it in January). For gaming, spend more on CPU and Video card. You will also need an imput device(mouse, keyboard). If you have and an Apple i-device, there is an app for that. Alternatively, you can get a remote from newegg for $85. I use this one in combo with an apple app: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HTPCs are totally awesome and totally worth it! I built my first one in 2006 before the technology was ready. The current itteration it absolutely amazing! I will never go back.
Good luck.

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January 1, 2013 3:26:09 PM

Over the air sounds like the way I want to go....I don't watch much tv. just dvds, blu-ray. I watch a lot of Netflix. I really appreciate everyones comments and I'm sorry for so many questions!
Just got an Ipad for christmas so apps sound good.
Wouldn't i need a blu-ray or dvd burner to rip my movies to the hard drive?
And yes I would like to game on it.
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 1, 2013 4:18:36 PM

OK, well a cheap tuner will give you decent OTA in media center. Windows 7 or 8(its an addon for $10 after the time expires for a free copy. iirc the free addon is only for Win8 pro.)

For Bluray, I personally use PowerDVD as it works well and was on sale :) 

If you want to rip the discs, then yes, you will need a drive that can read them.

I am not sure if i was misunderstood above, but yes HDMI out from the video card will work just fine audio and all. It was HDMI in that would be the issue.

Depending on the location you live in Netflix can range from GREAT to just meh(it does get better every day).

For gaming, yeah you will want more video power in the end. I know a 7750 is a good mid end card that can play many games(but will need reduced details for performance reasons). It has the advantage of having very low power consumption. This is good for a system that may stay on 24/7

Just if you are interested in what I happen to use at this time for Media Center/HTPC/Web/some gaming.

ATI combo 650 USB(not that great.)
Win7 HP 64-bit
Silverstone SG05
FSP 300 Watt SFX PSU
H55N USB3
I5 750 undervolted(as low as it will go :)  )
Geminii S + 1200 rpm fan(Globe)
2 x 4096 @ 9,8,8,24 (1333)
1 x 128gigabyte M4 SSD
1 x 1TB WDC blue 2.5 inch drive(real power saver this thing is). Wish they came it bigger sizes, but I want it quiet/low power so this works for me.
GTX 650 Ti(MSI Cyclone II)

It has had changes over the years. So it started with a 4350 then a 5770 then back to the 4350 because the 5770 was needed for something else, then the 650 ti. The hard drives went from 1TB 3.5(seagate) to 2 x 1TB 3.5(yeah that took some work to fit that) back to 1 TB 3.5 then to the SSD + 1 3.5 then the 2 x 2.5 inch drives. All in all it works well for what I need.

Things I have learned from it. If you primarily want media(including Netflix and Hulu+). any dual core should be more then enough and a video card better then the 4350 never hurts as it is even painful with media centers interface, but I DID get he playback job done.

The mid to higher end APU's from AMD may be a good thing to look at. The lower end ones may not work as well with Hulu+ due to a lack of video acceleration and the cpu not being THAT fast.

Games on the other hand, you may want more then the 500 dollar budget.
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 1, 2013 8:41:01 PM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD A10-5800K 3.8GHz Quad-Core Processor ($119.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock FM2A75M-DGS Micro ATX FM2 Motherboard ($60.98 @ Newegg)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($27.98 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 60GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($64.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1.5TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Silverstone ML03B HTPC Case ($59.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: SeaSonic 350W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($37.14 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHOS104-06 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Drive ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Other: Diamond ATI HD card ($34.99)
Total: $501.04
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-01 17:35 EST-0500)

here you go. 64GB SSD for boot and major programs, 1 TB HDD for videos and storage. A10 processor can handle games at 1280x720 (720p) at medium/high settings, and games that aren't too bleeding edge (like most MMOs) at 1920x1080 at low/medium. also includes a tuner card from Diamond. case is a HTPC case with USB 3.0 front ports, and a top-notch 350W PSU. If you need more graphical oomph, you can add a DDR5 HD6670 for $50-70 for dual graphics, or turn off the 7660D with a stronger card. Also includes a basic Blu-Ray player
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January 2, 2013 6:38:45 AM

ScrewySqrl said:
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD A10-5800K 3.8GHz Quad-Core Processor ($119.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock FM2A75M-DGS Micro ATX FM2 Motherboard ($60.98 @ Newegg)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($27.98 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 60GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($64.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1.5TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Silverstone ML03B HTPC Case ($59.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: SeaSonic 350W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($37.14 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHOS104-06 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Drive ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Other: Diamond ATI HD card ($34.99)
Total: $501.04
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-01 17:35 EST-0500)

here you go. 64GB SSD for boot and major programs, 1 TB HDD for videos and storage. A10 processor can handle games at 1280x720 (720p) at medium/high settings, and games that aren't too bleeding edge (like most MMOs) at 1920x1080 at low/medium. also includes a tuner card from Diamond. case is a HTPC case with USB 3.0 front ports, and a top-notch 350W PSU. If you need more graphical oomph, you can add a DDR5 HD6670 for $50-70 for dual graphics, or turn off the 7660D with a stronger card. Also includes a basic Blu-Ray player


Wow! You've given me something to think about. I appreciate all of your help!
Thank You!
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!