Page 1 of 13 1234511 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 193

Thread: My first HTPC

  1. #1
    Joined
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Blaine, WA
    Age
    61
    Posts
    30,989

    Resolved My first HTPC

    I've started this thread to make a place to document the build as well as to solicit help from others. Hopefully it will serve as a source of help to others as well.

    Currently I have a Samsung 50" DLP HDTV (the HL-P5063W) with the supplied stand for storing various audio equipment. I had tried using TIVO and found it lacking. Just this year Microsoft Windows XP Media Center 2005 - OEM became available (OEM was the key) at New Egg to anyone. Previously as a "garage builder" I had applied to Microsoft for a license but never got a reply. Microsoft XP Media Center 2005 had some great improvements that made it a good choice to replace TIVO. So, I had the operating system I needed to build an HTPC!

    I started looking for a case to house the HTPC and I found the field kind of narrow. I wanted something that could look clean and stylish as well as something that could hold lots of 'goodies'. I wanted something black and aluminum and with stealthed drives. It absolutely couldn't look like a PC. After much research, I decided on the Ahanix D4 in black. (Ahanix website)

    The specs that interested me were:

    Case Type: ATX Desktop Important for room requirements
    Color: Black Matched other components
    Material: Aluminum
    Drive Bays: 5.25" x 2/0, 3.5" x 0/2 (external/internal) Will have 3 hard drivers and with a little modification, will work well
    Expansion Slots: 7 Just enough!
    Front Ports: 2 x USB2.0, 1 x IEEE1394 Always handy and the only concession to the "PC" look
    Power Supply: AHANIX HTPC 350W I could have done without this, more on this later
    Cooling System: 2 x 60mm rear fans Probably not enough
    Motherboard Compatibility: mATX / Standard ATX (12" W x 10" D) Important for motherboard requirements
    Dimensions: 7.13" x 17.13" x 16"(HxWxD) Fits in stereo cabinet
    Features: Standard VFD Driver for Windows XP Media Center Edition, Pre-Installed Vacuum Florescent Display (VFD) All exactly what I wanted

    OK, we got the case, now what is going to power this?
    Well, I still had a brand new ASUS K8V SE Deluxe motherboard sitting in the box. It would do nicely. I also had an AMD Athlon 64 3200 Clawhammer. I really wanted this PC to be quiet, so I chose a ZALMAN CNPS7700-CU heatsink fan combination. It is an excellent heatsink for this purpose. If the motherboard were sitting any other way than horizontal, I'd perhaps had some worries, but this will sit flat, so it's 918g weight wasn't a concern. (The maximum weight for a cooler is specified as 450g for AMD Socket 754/939/940 so this is well over twice that!) The CNPS7700 is one of the few heatsink fan combinations on the market with a 120mm fan. Rated at 20 dBA in stealth, it is uniquely qualified for an HTPC.

    For additional cooling, I chose a Zalman ZM-NB32J Northbridge Chipset Cooling Kit for the Northbridge to replace the stock passive cooler on the VIA K8T800 and attached the original small blue cooler from it to the VIA VT8237 chipset located just behind the AGP slot.

    Now, the next thing was the PSU. As I stated above, the Ahanix D4 comes with a 350 W PSU, but is simply won't do for an AMD 64 board with all the extras I will have, so I chose a PSU with good 12 volt power, decent fan (to improve air movement) and I came up with the OCZ ModStream 450W PSU Model OCZ45012U.

    The next area of concern was the hard drive. I wanted storage. This HTPC will store my music collection as well as record live TV. I wanted 3 separate drives. The main drive needed to be small, fast so I used a tried and true Western Digital Raptor 36.7GB SATA Hard Drive Model WD360GD. With a rotation speed of 10,000 rpm, it's not extremely quiet, but it is well suited for the job with a seek time of 5.2 ms. For storage I went for quiet and size combined with an eye on price. Two Seagate 200GB 7200RPM SATA Hard Drives Model ST3200822AS are among the most quiet available. With 400 GB storage, I won't be needing much else for some time. One thing to note is that both models of hard drive come with a 5 year warranty, most important!

    Now, I needed some fast steady memory. I'm not planning on overclocking this, so nothing blazing needed here. pqi TURBO Series Dual Channel Platinum Kit 184-Pin 1GB(512MB x 2) DDR PC-3200 would do nicely.

    Now, for the video card. I had an ATI RADEON 9800 XT 256MB in another case that I could switch out, so it seemed a logical choice. It's blazingly fast for what I'm going to do and, well I already had it!

    One thing though, that video card was going to generate lots of heat, so I looked for alternatives to the stock heatsink fan assembly. I decided on the Arctic Cooling VGA Cooler ATI silencer 3. It was a snap to attach and now almost all of the heat generated by the videocard is pushed outside the case by an extremely quiet fan.

    While we're on the video end of things, I needed TV tuners. Yes, I want 2 and Windows Media Center 2005 supports them, new for this version. I chose ATI PCI TV Tuner Box Model E-HOME WONDER They fit quite nicely in the little room left on the PCI slots. The Arctic Cooler takes up a PCI slot, the rear connectors for the Ahanix D4 takes another and the SPDIF out connector from the ASUS package took another.

    For the optical drive, I decided on a Plextor 12X DVD+/-RW Drive, Black, Model PX-712SA/SW-BL. Yes, it won't show, but I chose it for it's speed and quiet. When I get to burning TV programs to DVD, it should do very well.

    Last but not least, we need a way to work all this, right? I will still want to use all the functions of Windows XP, so I chose a Logitech Cordless Desktop MX for Bluetooth in black, of course. I also chose the MS Remote Control with Receiver for Microsoft Windows XP Media Center. I'm not sure how useful it will be, but for the wife I think it's something she will find easier than the keyboard/mouse combination.

    Well, that about wraps it up for the purchasing part of the system Total cost? About $2350.00. That's a healthy hunk of change, let's hope this thing works, huh?

    I hope you've enjoyed this so far. I'll post pics later as I get to installing everything. I won't bore you with the installation details too much, only the stuff I think is out of the ordinary.
    Last edited by UncleBob; 12-27-2004 at 07:48 AM.
    Main Rig: EVGA 141-BL-E769-A1 LGA 1366 Intel X58 CLASSIFIED/WATERCOOLED ED. cooled by the Monster Water Cooling Setup
    HTPC One BIG Case Asus 8 CORE Monster
    ASUS: 5 * BIOSTAR: 1 * CHAINTECH: 1 * EVGA: 3 * GIGABYTE: 5 * SUPER MICRO: 1 *TYAN: 2
    180+ GHZ total power for PC Perspective Killer Frogs Rosetta @ Home Team as The Uncle B's!!




    Spoiler!

    I'm the Uncle your Aunt won't talk about. Go ahead and pull my finger!

  2. #2
    Joined
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Aberdeen, North Carolina
    Posts
    857

    Re: My first HTPC

    I have the PVR-250 and like it alot. I've been thinking about getting a second one so I can watch tv and record at the same time. I'm still currently using my Samsung Syncmaster 172x monitor as my viewing screen. How do you plan on hooking your system up to the tv? I have a Panasonic PT-56tw53 HDTV Projection Monitor and in the manual it says "The DVI/HDCP input terminal complies with the EIA-861 Profiles standard and is not intended for use with personal computers". How do you get around this? Thanks for your help. PS: What made you go with microsoft versus Snapstream beyond tv3?

  3. #3
    Joined
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Blaine, WA
    Age
    61
    Posts
    30,989

    Re: My first HTPC

    Yes, I plan on hooking up the PC to the TV, AFAIK, it's compatible. Max resolution is "1280 x 720 Digital Format Converter for All Inputs" The TV has a DVI connector specifically designed for the purpose. As far as Snapstream? I'm wanting to use it as a sample to sell to potential customers and felt Xp to be a more useable platform. If it proves otherwise, I'll look further into that.
    Main Rig: EVGA 141-BL-E769-A1 LGA 1366 Intel X58 CLASSIFIED/WATERCOOLED ED. cooled by the Monster Water Cooling Setup
    HTPC One BIG Case Asus 8 CORE Monster
    ASUS: 5 * BIOSTAR: 1 * CHAINTECH: 1 * EVGA: 3 * GIGABYTE: 5 * SUPER MICRO: 1 *TYAN: 2
    180+ GHZ total power for PC Perspective Killer Frogs Rosetta @ Home Team as The Uncle B's!!




    Spoiler!

    I'm the Uncle your Aunt won't talk about. Go ahead and pull my finger!

  4. #4
    Joined
    May 2003
    Age
    27
    Posts
    1,479

    Re: My first HTPC

    on the comment about the remote control. Your wife must be far more adept than my mom. To access our HTPC (1800+ XP, Kt266aPro, 256, 8500AIW) you gotta turn on the reciever, TV, and switch the TV to vid1. Shes lost at turning on the Reciever. And using the remote wonder? "theres a computer back there?"

    Due to Financial constrains, the folding farm has discontinued production. Long live the farm!
    Email: Inyourface1650@cox.net
    Please email me at my Hotmail address though...
    Ebay: Inyourface1650
    Verified Non CC Paypal Member
    My Heat

  5. #5
    Joined
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    9,314

    Re: My first HTPC

    More info on Media Center XP please.

  6. #6
    Joined
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Blaine, WA
    Age
    61
    Posts
    30,989

    Re: My first HTPC

    Quote Originally Posted by dna
    More info on Media Center XP please.
    What do you want to know? Did you follow the links I provided?
    Inyourface....believe me, I know what you mean!!
    Main Rig: EVGA 141-BL-E769-A1 LGA 1366 Intel X58 CLASSIFIED/WATERCOOLED ED. cooled by the Monster Water Cooling Setup
    HTPC One BIG Case Asus 8 CORE Monster
    ASUS: 5 * BIOSTAR: 1 * CHAINTECH: 1 * EVGA: 3 * GIGABYTE: 5 * SUPER MICRO: 1 *TYAN: 2
    180+ GHZ total power for PC Perspective Killer Frogs Rosetta @ Home Team as The Uncle B's!!




    Spoiler!

    I'm the Uncle your Aunt won't talk about. Go ahead and pull my finger!

  7. #7
    Joined
    Oct 2002
    Location
    A VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER!
    Age
    36
    Posts
    713

    Re: My first HTPC

    Nice system. I'm sure you have the most powerful uber-HTPC on teh planet. So, uh, what do you do for a living to be able to drop cash like that? Mafia hitman? Own a casino or two?

    I try to keep em under $500. I just get the cheapest XP mobile (that I run at stock speed OMFG!) and throw it on a uATX board with TV out and use the onboard stuff for video and sound. Add one small cheapo drive (I used an old 8.4G) for the OS and one extraordinarily huge drive for all the mass storage. Don't need much ram, 256M will do. The last one I made like that had plenty of power for what's required of an HTPC. Recording my shows, playing divx movies, watching DVD's, creating DVD's, playing MP3's, surfing the net, and some divx encoding while I slept. Best of all thanks to the XP mobile, it runs dead quiet because I just don't have to move much air through it at all to stay cool. (Now everyone knows why I am the only person here that buys a mobile and doesn't OC it.)
    Last edited by pitchafit; 12-28-2004 at 12:14 PM.

  8. #8
    Joined
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Blaine, WA
    Age
    61
    Posts
    30,989

    Re: My first HTPC

    Quote Originally Posted by pitchafit
    Nice system. I'm sure you have the most powerful uber-HTPC on teh planet. So, uh, what do you do for a living to be able to drop cash like that? Mafia hitman? Own a casino or two?

    I try to keep em under $500. I just get the cheapest XP mobile (that I run at stock speed OMFG!) and throw it on a uATX board with TV out and use the onboard stuff for video and sound. Add one small cheapo drive (I used an old 8.4G) for the OS and one extraordinarily huge drive for all the mass storage. Don't need much ram, 256M will do. The last one I made like that had plenty of power for what's required of an HTPC. Recording my shows, playing divx movies, watching DVD's, creating DVD's, playing MP3's, surfing the net, and some divx encoding while I slept. Best of all thanks to the XP mobile, it runs dead quiet because I just don't have to move much air through it at all to stay cool. (Now everyone knows why I am the only person here that buys a mobile and doesn't OC it.)
    Thank you so much. That's very helpful. I've really been looking around and not finding much. What video card do you use?
    What about for surfing the net? You use the onboard video for that? What do you use for a monitor? (I'm using a 50" DLP)

    THanks for your input!

    Oh, BTW?.....I work at an LPG storage facility, just a workin stiff who has kept his nose to the grindstone for a long, long time!
    Main Rig: EVGA 141-BL-E769-A1 LGA 1366 Intel X58 CLASSIFIED/WATERCOOLED ED. cooled by the Monster Water Cooling Setup
    HTPC One BIG Case Asus 8 CORE Monster
    ASUS: 5 * BIOSTAR: 1 * CHAINTECH: 1 * EVGA: 3 * GIGABYTE: 5 * SUPER MICRO: 1 *TYAN: 2
    180+ GHZ total power for PC Perspective Killer Frogs Rosetta @ Home Team as The Uncle B's!!




    Spoiler!

    I'm the Uncle your Aunt won't talk about. Go ahead and pull my finger!

  9. #9
    Joined
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    9,314

    Re: My first HTPC

    Quote Originally Posted by UncleBob
    What do you want to know? Did you follow the links I provided?
    Inyourface....believe me, I know what you mean!!
    Ah, didn't see that 2nd link - only went to Newegg
    I'm interested in how well the Media Center XP works, need to see if it's worth the investment. About the only thing that really looks different about it is MyTV, which I can already do with my TV card.

  10. #10
    Joined
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Blaine, WA
    Age
    61
    Posts
    30,989

    Re: My first HTPC

    Well, I'm just about to start loading it, so I'll let you know!
    Main Rig: EVGA 141-BL-E769-A1 LGA 1366 Intel X58 CLASSIFIED/WATERCOOLED ED. cooled by the Monster Water Cooling Setup
    HTPC One BIG Case Asus 8 CORE Monster
    ASUS: 5 * BIOSTAR: 1 * CHAINTECH: 1 * EVGA: 3 * GIGABYTE: 5 * SUPER MICRO: 1 *TYAN: 2
    180+ GHZ total power for PC Perspective Killer Frogs Rosetta @ Home Team as The Uncle B's!!




    Spoiler!

    I'm the Uncle your Aunt won't talk about. Go ahead and pull my finger!

  11. #11
    Joined
    Oct 2002
    Location
    A VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER!
    Age
    36
    Posts
    713

    Re: My first HTPC

    Quote Originally Posted by UncleBob
    Thank you so much. That's very helpful. I've really been looking around and not finding much. What video card do you use?
    What about for surfing the net? You use the onboard video for that? What do you use for a monitor? (I'm using a 50" DLP)
    Built it for a friend, so unfortunately I don't have it here anymore, but I'm thinking of building a clone of it for myself when tax return time comes around.
    It's using the onboard video and audio on one of these.
    http://www.newegg.com/app/viewProduc...ion=13-152-020
    Works pretty good. It's not much for gaming, but he doesn't game on it anyway. He's got a gaming PC for that. He's just got a regular old Sanyo TV. Last I checked he was running 800x600 and can read all the text.

    The TV tuner is a TV wonder pro, and rather than a 5.1 computer surround speakers, he just bought three 1/8" stereo to RCA adapters and ran it to the 6 channel input on the back of his reciever. Sounds great!
    Last edited by pitchafit; 12-28-2004 at 01:28 PM.

  12. #12
    Joined
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Blaine, WA
    Age
    61
    Posts
    30,989

    Re: My first HTPC

    Thanks. I'm installing XP Media Center now, It's in my lab/office, not downstairs yet, so I haven't had a chance to tryi it out yet, more later!
    Main Rig: EVGA 141-BL-E769-A1 LGA 1366 Intel X58 CLASSIFIED/WATERCOOLED ED. cooled by the Monster Water Cooling Setup
    HTPC One BIG Case Asus 8 CORE Monster
    ASUS: 5 * BIOSTAR: 1 * CHAINTECH: 1 * EVGA: 3 * GIGABYTE: 5 * SUPER MICRO: 1 *TYAN: 2
    180+ GHZ total power for PC Perspective Killer Frogs Rosetta @ Home Team as The Uncle B's!!




    Spoiler!

    I'm the Uncle your Aunt won't talk about. Go ahead and pull my finger!

  13. #13
    Joined
    May 2004
    Location
    North Carolina
    Age
    40
    Posts
    1,327

    Re: My first HTPC

    I have the same tv basically(HLN6117W). Planned on hooking a pc up to it but havent had the need thus far. What do you plan on doing with the audio? Run it threw the tv or an amp? Or hook up speakers to the pc?
    -----------------------------------------------------------------


    "We've got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we've got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can't even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car!" -Iacocca

  14. #14
    Joined
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Indianapolis
    Age
    31
    Posts
    12,854

    Re: My first HTPC

    Great info Bob, I am ordering a few of those Seagate drivers here in a couple weeks. Sure can't beat the warranty.

  15. #15
    Joined
    May 2003
    Age
    27
    Posts
    1,479

    Re: My first HTPC

    I got my Audigy 2 ZS running Digital Audio into our onkyo 650w reciever...sounds pretty damn nice : ) .
    I also ripped all my CD's at 320KB/s...
    Last edited by Inyourface1650; 12-29-2004 at 11:09 AM.

    Due to Financial constrains, the folding farm has discontinued production. Long live the farm!
    Email: Inyourface1650@cox.net
    Please email me at my Hotmail address though...
    Ebay: Inyourface1650
    Verified Non CC Paypal Member
    My Heat

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •