Go Back   Team-BHP > Around the Corner > Shifting gears > Gadgets, Computers & Software


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 27th January 2010, 00:08   #1
Senior - BHPian
 
frankmehta's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 3,865
Thanked: 2,217 Times
Default frankmehta needs® an HTPC: Help me build one!!

Hi all!! The time has come for one more 'frankmehta xxxx' ® thread!!
But this time, it's for something I need, and not something I want to show off!
I want to build an HTPC, which I can use in my present house with my Viewsonic 19" LCD for 4-5 months, after which I shall be shifting to a larger pad, with my own room, hence a larger screen, which will then be used in conjunction with my HTPC.

Now the biggest question here is, SHOULD I build an HTPC, or should I go for something like the Dell Zino HD, or the Mac Mini (the new one is pretty enticing, but horribly expensive)

My requirements for the HTPC are like this:

1. This is going to be THE HUB for watching my HD Rips, so a big HDD and a decent video card ( i don't want ONBOARD, I want a dedicated display card) are the order of the day. The HTPC will be connected to a 32", 37" OR a 40" display and full HD output must be effortless. There is NO preference as to the processor, whether it is AMD or Intel. I do not want the ATOM/PINE TRAIL etc. processors though.
Just the mobo should be a good one with good components and superior cooling.

2. This is going to be on 24/7, as this will also be my download rig. We have 3 laptops at home, so not many are going to depend on this for their 'official' work, but yeah, I will be browsing and downloading and watching youtube videos on this frequently. So I need something where TEXT is visible clearly, and not where fuzzy text and overtly bright picture mar the convenience of it being a regular PC as well. I will not be sitting very close to it in the new house, as it will not have a seating around it. I shall be viewing from a distance of 8-12 feet, hence visibility of text and ease of use must be very necessary.

3. The sound card will need to be fantastic, and I would be connecting it to better audio equipment (NOT an HTIB, but a separate dedicated components system) on shifting to the new house. As of now, the same audio card will power my Altec Lansing ATP3's. I don't know much about sound cards, but digital output and full fledged flexibility is required. An external unit with AUX IN and Headphone Outputs will be welcome if it is flush with the minimalistic theme of things. Speakers will be chosen by me, so will the receiver and the amplifiers. Hence, only the sound card is of concern. This need not be a concert level sound setup with a budget of 2-3 lacs, but I do need decent sound. MOSTLY for music. So please keep that in mind when suggesting the sound card.

4. A small footprint is priority, and a lot of USB connections must be available upfront, as I shall be placing this in a cupboard and hence the convenience of hooking up USB devices upfront should be there.

5. Again, placing it in a cupboard, so the MOBO and CPU must cool well, and the use of a good HTPC cabinet with sufficient cooling is required.

6. DVI, HDMI and ESata: All three are de facto standards, and will have to be present in the machine I choose. USB 3.0 is an added benefit if a cost effective MOBO with it can be squeezed into the budget.

7. The machine will have to have Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, in built (not external) card reader (that actually works) and a SLOT LOAD cd drive. Yes, there will be space constraints, and I don't want to have a tray load drive also for the aesthetics purpose.

8. I shall be storing ALL my HD stuff onto it, so a 1.5-2 TB single hard drive (or 2 1TB drives) should be the norm here.

9. MAIN question: I might be storing this thing away from eyes, and it's not going to be much visible, nor possible to be controlled with an IR Remote Control. SO, should I get an HTPC cabinet, or will a normal full fledged ATX cabinet suffice? I want maximum ports upfront and great aesthetics (for when I myself use the cabinet). I might also think of shifting this cabinet to the hall, just in case the cabinet is aesthetic enough, and can be showcased on the main unit. Ungainly wires and extra devices with the machine will not be a good sight in a house whose entire theme is minimalistic yet futuristic. That's why the concern.

10. QUIET: Yes, this unit should not make all the BZZT AND GRRRR sounds when in use, since it will be on 24/7 and people shall be around it all the time. I want it to be quiet, and the irritating noise of fans and other components will not be welcome.

11. Ease of Use: I shall need a keyboard with a built in trackball that can be placed within the confines of the side table next to my bedside. So yes, I shall need suggestions for the same. There will be NO corded keyboard or mouse in the new house.

12. OS: I will want to purchase Windows 7 Home Premium officially as I wish to have the ease of use of a non pirated OS.

13. Upgradability: I don't upgrade my Home PC at all. It's a build it and forget it kind of a thing. Hence, compatibility and operatibility must be kept in mind for the next 2 years atleast. Then again, there MUST be room for upgradation just in case, something might come up and needs instant replacement/upgradation. I shall be building the PC myself, so any upgrades/replacement that has to be done, can be done by me easily.


Hence, with all those demands, I now come to the main part.

My request here, is for people to suggest FULL configurations (from a pen to a piano, EVERYTHING that has to be purchased for this project) for the HTPC (with present prices: that's a very big request)

My budget is flexible, but not super large. I don't even have a ball park figure, but I would want something that meets these minimum requirements. That's all. Nothing elaborate. No gaming, no video rendering, no post production editing of videos or images. Just plain watching movies, viewing images in their full glory, listening to music (a lot of it), web surfing, good ol' MS Office or even important backup. I need it for these reasons. Please don't go overboard in selection of components. This is all I need!


Thank you for reading this LARGE post, and please contribute to help making frankmehta the HTPC he needs
frankmehta is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 27th January 2010, 08:18   #2
Senior - BHPian
 
aaggoswami's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Vadodara
Posts: 4,630
Thanked: 1,318 Times
Default

@methasaheb :

The requirements are too many.
I can tell you that either 9500GT or HD4670 are good enough as they dont eat much too much power and they are quite silent as compared to others.

I suggest you compromise a bit on sound and go for a graphic card that has active cooling.
You can also have a look at GT240 and HD4770, but they are expensive.

Processor, go for Athlon II X4 as they are very high VFM. As you are going in for dedicated graphics cards, I am not including Core i3 and Core i5.

Monitor, Benq E2200HD.

I will post FULL configuration later on as I am not sure about budget.
aaggoswami is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th January 2010, 08:52   #3
Senior - BHPian
 
aaggoswami's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Vadodara
Posts: 4,630
Thanked: 1,318 Times
Default

1) Processor : AMD Phenom II X4 955 BE, Rs. 9500
2) Mother board : MSI 70GX-G65, Rs. 7500
3) RAM : DDR3, 1066 or 1333
4) HDD : Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 1 TB X 3
You can also go in for two 1TB and two 500 GB
5) Optical drive : Sony Blue Ray ( Rs. 8500 ) OR normal DVD Writer ( Rs. )1100
6) Speakers : 7.1 channel from Creative or any other good brand.
7) Monitor : Look for HDMI input monitor. Have a look at Benq E2200HD.
8) Graphic card :
a) Decide on whether you want HD or not.
I will suggest you 9500GT, HD 4670 as they are good enough for HTPC.
9) Cabinet : Coolermaster HAF 932, Rs. 9500
10) PSU : Coolermaster Extreme Power 500W, Rs. 3000

This is to the best of my knowledge. Not much aware of sound cards.
aaggoswami is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th January 2010, 09:00   #4
BHPian
 
mohit's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Toronto / Kurukshetra
Posts: 640
Thanked: 119 Times
Default

- Video ATI Radeon HD5670 - DirectX 11 and possible Dolby TrueHD/DTS Master audio support
(will do 1080p with ease and has HDMI out)
- Explore the Intel option for CPU as intel CPU generally run cooler than AMD. I would recommend entry level Core i5.
- Gigabyte/Asus P55 motherboard.
- 4 GB of decent DDR3.
- As much Hard disk as you want.
- Try and get a CPU cooler like the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus or similar. Get one that has a 120mm low RPM fan and hence is not very noisy. It will help things stay cooler than stock.
- A dedicated sound card from creative/turtle beach etc.
- I have no idea about the HTPC cases that you can get out there but ensure that it has atleast 1 low RPM 120mm/140mm fan if you are putting the machine in an enclosed cabinet. Prefer to have an outlet to avoid heat buildup.

For a keyboard, looks at this one:
http://gizmodo.com/226007/logitech-m...ps3-controller

Last edited by mohit : 27th January 2010 at 09:03.
mohit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th January 2010, 18:36   #5
Distinguished - BHPian
 
DerAlte's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 8,076
Thanked: 2,867 Times
Default

Kya DrFrankBhaiMehta, fancy you talking of "horribly expensive"! It is just a matter of a few RCTs and extractions.

If you want trouble free performance, Mac Mini is the real "fill it, shut it, forget it" solution. No chik-chik, no jhik-jhik - all licensed software. And downloaded updates don't do funny things and mess up your life.

The Dell box is cool/cute looking, but it still runs Windows. The problem is not with the hardware, but with Windows as an HT machine. And, it is not about processor speed and graphics card complexity. Waste not, want not.

If you really don't want to do anything other than watching stored content (no PC work), there is also the Apple movie box that streams HD content from home network storage for putting on the HDMI to the TV. Or the Xstreamer.

For storage, go for a 1TB/2TB Home Storage solution say from iOmega, which can stream content efficiently and is PnP with Apple and PC boxes. This will mean that you can connect to the content from anywhere in your house, not just your bedroom.

I don't think you need anyone's advice on the sound part of the setup. Fullishtap!
DerAlte is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th January 2010, 19:50   #6
BHPian
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Chennai
Posts: 951
Thanked: 7 Times
Default

What u need is this WD TV Overview

It connects to multiple usb storage drives, has hdmi output, digital audio output. Built in Media player is opensource. Full HD Support.

This is no PC. All media to be played has to be stored in a USB drive. Live model has wifi/internet capability. Cute, small footprint. IR remote avlbl. Costs <10K.

I currently use the WD HDTV model hooked up via HDMI with a Sony Bravia 42" Full HD LCD. The digital output is connected to Sony 5-DVD 5.1 changer home theater system. Excellent Quality Video/Audio/Picture.

You can use your existing laptop/desktop to manage media on usb external drive and then connect it to this device for playing the content.

Regarding you internet surfing/office/normal PC use, you can continue using your existing PC or go for basic assembled version with blue-ray drive etc just for ripping music/movies and transferring to external storage.

1 TB external drives are <5K and you can build up a media library on multiple such drives.

Also, wait for the Apple iTablet announcement which will take place today (tomm morn India time).
sanjayc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th January 2010, 06:35   #7
BHPian
 
anku94's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 225
Thanked: 27 Times
Default

Better go for an HD4870. You don't need it, but it'll only cost you a few more grands. And since you're spending this much, it won't hurt. Or two HD4670s in crossfire.

Try liquid cooling if you want quiet.

A Phenom serious proccy or a Core i3 would be enough. You don't need Core i5.

And inbuilt WiFi is alright, but I haven't heard of inbuilt Bluetooth on normal form-factor MoBos. You'll have to do a DIY.

Sound : Creative Fatal1ty Sound Card. I trust Creative so much that for the best...just select the most expensive one. And for speakers, I'd suggest Bose for cutting edge technology. Or maybe you can integrate a home-theater with the CPU. Not sure about that.
anku94 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th January 2010, 12:19   #8
Senior - BHPian
 
frankmehta's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 3,865
Thanked: 2,217 Times
Default

Ok, now I am a little confused. Everyone is insisting that the onboard graphics that come on today's mobos are enough to run full-hd movies without a glitch. In fact the present combo I have runs them at full ease (its got an Nvidia 7050PV graphics card onboard, and it's an M2N-DVI card from Asus paired with an AMD Athlon 4200+ and 2 Gb of DDR2 RAM running windows XP/Seven Ultimate)

I would say, I could skip the GFX for now and keep a provision for an expansion later.

NOW, please suggest AMD mobos with
1. good graphics
2. usb 3.0
3. onboard sound ( i can upgrade when I get the higher end equipment)
4. wi fi + bluetooth
frankmehta is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 28th January 2010, 14:17   #9
BHPian
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 27
Thanked: 0 Times
Default

Personally i suggest using MYTH TV than running Win7 but its your choice.

In Any scenario finding parts wont be hard. What is hard is finding inbuilt Bluetooth. I suggest just get Motherboard to USB cables and tie them indise the case on the corner. You get 2 internal USB ports this way and get more depending upon motherboard.

Also stay away from Nvidia and AMD. I suggest staying with Intel CPU and ATI graphics. I know ATI is under AMD but AMD has no cpu worth buying when compared to Intel Line at this time.

I feel Zotac 9300m Wifi, MiniITX motherboard with Silverstone SG06 coupled with Bluray drive, Decent graphics card and few HDD's should be good. I also suggest getting windows media centre control.

Cheers
it_inspector is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th January 2010, 15:34   #10
BHPian
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Chennai
Posts: 951
Thanked: 7 Times
Default

Frankbhai, if this is not going to be your main work pc, I again suggest WD HDTV (refer my earlier post). A complete Home Theater system can be had with the foll:
1. Full HD LCD TV 40" for viewing
2. 5.1/6.1/7.1 Amplifier/Speaker Setup for audi
3. WD HDTV Live Media Player (will paly almost all formats of video/audio/photo - full HD 1080p output) - added advantage - take this along with the usb hdd anywhere you go and connect to any tv with hdmi or composite or rca cable and you are all set. Even in a car if you have a LCD in the car.

4. Xbox/Blue-Ray Sony PS3 or dedicated blu-ray dvd player (for playing from discs/gaming)
5. Any existing laptop/desktop for managing media/doing your work
6. Lots of usb hdd storage
7. Apple iTab for internet surfing while watching video on the LCD.

Note that it is not comfortable to watch normal text on a largescreen TV since your eyes have to travel a large distance left2right, top2bottom compared to a monitor. Too much of eye strain. In my experience, with a 42" Bravia connected to a Dell Dimension 420 system via DVI, and working with a Logitech bluetooth keyboard with a mouse pad built in, on a recliner from a distance of 6-7 ft - difficult to work for long time. Plus keeping the desktop sytem on for long hours is not a green thing to do.
sanjayc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th January 2010, 21:22   #11
BHPian
 
anku94's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 225
Thanked: 27 Times
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by it_inspector View Post
Also stay away from Nvidia and AMD. I suggest staying with Intel CPU and ATI graphics. I know ATI is under AMD but AMD has no cpu worth buying when compared to Intel Line at this time.
I beg to differ. Intel's iX series might be on the top currently, but Athlon Dual Core and Phenom II 255 are excellent VFM budget buys.
anku94 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th January 2010, 08:52   #12
Senior - BHPian
 
aaggoswami's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Vadodara
Posts: 4,630
Thanked: 1,318 Times
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by it_inspector View Post

Also stay away from Nvidia and AMD. I suggest staying with Intel CPU and ATI graphics. I know ATI is under AMD but AMD has no cpu worth buying when compared to Intel Line at this time.
I have a dual core Athlon II and a quad core Intel cpu. My daily machine is still the dual core athlon II.
Next, AMD gives faster performance in lower price band. Core i3/5/7 are not cheap and neither are their mobos cheap. The ecosystem for Core iX series is much more expensive.
AMD even at budget range has no bottleneck of fsb unlike intel. Intel offers QPI at higher costs and both i5 and 3 have dual channel. AMD offers the same at much lower cost.

For the same price in budget CPU, AMD are faster. The new Phenom II and Athlon II are one of the best VFM cpu I have ever come across. My uncle is buying a new CPU and cost of Athlon II X4 620was lower than Core i3 setup. Yes, a quad core now comes with lower price tag.

If you are looking for very high performance, AMD still does the job.
aaggoswami is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th January 2010, 13:59   #13
BHPian
 
Amey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Pune
Posts: 679
Thanked: 189 Times
Default

I would recommend a slightly different setup frank,

Core i3 dual core cpu is a better bet, why ? thanks to its 32nm fabrication tech and hence lower power consumption, which means the cpu will run much cooler.

Gigabyte H55 Board would be a nice companion for the i3. I trust Gigabyte's build quality over any other brand these days. They have better after sales support too.

4GB DDR3 1333 or 1066 or 1600 ram should suffice,whatever is cheaper. Although Faster RAM with tighter timings helps, from whatever I have observed till date is that memory timings and speed dont affect performance on the Nehalem architecture a lot.

So,
Here is what I would do if I were you,

Intel Corei3 530CPU
Gigabyte P55M-UD2 mohterboard
4GB DDR3 1066 CL9 RAM
320/500GB Single platter SATA II HDD Seagate/WD (Preferably WD)
1TB WD Green HDD for storage ( How many you want is totally upto you)
Corsair HX650W PSU
Chassis, according to your choice.
LG/Samsung DVD-RW
ATI Radeon 5750 1GB GDDR5 GPU to do the video decoding work for HD movies. ( I know its an overkill but I like the HD5xxx series energy efficiency which keeps these cards cool)

Thing is I would be building 2 HTPC soon for my home where I would be going for almost the exact same config except for the HDDs. I will be using a single 500GB drive and remaining movie collection will be on my dedicated file server which will be accessible through Wifi network
Amey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th February 2010, 15:53   #14
BHPian
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Delhi
Posts: 55
Thanked: 4 Times
Default HTPCs Anyone?

Been hearing a lot about Home Theatre Personal Computers these days. Information on HTPCs in India is pretty rare, and considering the 'technologically aware' Team-BHPian community, anyone heard of these?

Do you own one? If so, whats are the specs, the case, and the cost?

I'm interested in buying one actually. Definitely a treat for a geek like me rather than just having a DVD Player and an LCD, right?
nutcracker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th February 2010, 19:10   #15
Senior - BHPian
 
gigy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: mumbai
Posts: 1,321
Thanked: 40 Times
Default

lot of people here have so called htpc. its more of assembling one rather than buying readymade. i dont know where you can buy it off the shelf since its a very customised product.
people will recommend wd player, extreamer like stuff unless you want a serious configuration.
which way would you like to proceed?
gigy is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
The Frankenbike Build: My Honda CBR 600 F3 Build-Off ap10046 Superbikes & Imports 16 16th July 2013 14:26
A cute Mini-HTPC - Preview Ponmayilal Gadgets, Computers & Software 41 10th September 2010 18:47
frankmehta needs a 'NEWER' headunit! frankmehta In-Car Entertainment 29 10th April 2009 15:00
frankmehta needs a new head unit! frankmehta In-Car Entertainment 35 25th December 2008 01:29
frankmehta needs a new amp! frankmehta In-Car Entertainment 103 9th December 2008 13:26


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 23:58.

Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks