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help me build my htpc

 
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97ss150



Joined: 19 Dec 2007
Posts: 161



PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 2:27 am    Post subject: help me build my htpc Reply with quote


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have any of you guys got any components that you are no longer using? video cards you are upgrading, sound cards etc???

lmk.

i am trying to build one on a budget.

henry
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AnalogRocks
Forum Moderator


Joined: 08 Mar 2006
Posts: 25459
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

TV/Projector: Sony 1252Q, AMPRO 4000G


PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 2:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well just some general advise.

Decide what you want it to do.

What do you want to do with this? Is it a DVD player is it a gaming machine? DO you want to receive over the air HD signals? Are you going to use this as a cable PVR or hook up a satellite receiver?

Set your budget.

Since you are asking for used stuff you have figured out one of the best things about surplus. It's cheaper than buying new.

Foundation
You'll have to by some stuff and the number one thing I will recommend is a quality brand name power supply.
Once you have that find the case you like best. Horizontal are a little more popular that vertical cases for HTPC.
I use a compact CUBE case myself.

Operating System
Figure out what OS your computer parts are going to need to run effectively.

Motherboard and Chip

Do you want a dual core? Quad core? Hyper thread? Intel or AMD?

You need to match your motherboard to your chip and your intended expansion cards.
Some cards won't play nice with dual core processors. Like my Hapapauge TVR-500 it isn't supposed to work with a dual core system. luckily it did because I didn't know that 'till after I bought it. Some cards (most ) need a PCI slot the newer ones are coming out with PCIe 1x connectors. Select your expansion cards carefully and make sure you have the proper slot for them.

Storage
If you plan on storing movies on your system you'll need some big hard drives. Goto your local computer store and look at the hard drive list. Most of the time there's only a $10-20 dollar difference between them. Until there's a big jump of $80-100 dollars. Go for the one just under this level.

Make sure you have the correct interface for the motherboard you are using (IDE or SATA and keep in mind you can always add more drives latter. USB2 external and eSATA boxes are great for that.

Optical Drives
You'll want at least a DVD-rom drive but the DVD burners are only a few dollars more now.
You could add a HD-DVD?Bluray combo drive too if you have enough system to run it.

Video Card
Are you a gammer? If not you can save some serious cash here. If your new system has a PCIe 16x video card slot then you are able to use one of the newer cards from ATi or Nvidia. You can have a video card capable of playing back the latest high def formats for as little as $95. The ATi 2400 HD and the 2600 HD can both do this. They also support HDMI and HDCP.
Caution here: Nvidia 8xxx series cards do not support custom resolutions and timings properly, so if you intend to connect to your TV or Projector and make the picture fit just right keep this in mind.
ATi does support Powerstrip and can do the custom timings.

If you end up with and older video card don't worry may can handle custom resolutions although I'd recommend one with at least 64 megs ram or 128 if you can find it.

Soundcard
Many people over look this. By adding a quality sound card to and older system you can actually speed it up by off loading the sound processing. Plus a good brand name sound card is likely to have better sound.

That's just some general advise.

Let's see what people offer up for you Thumbs Up

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97ss150



Joined: 19 Dec 2007
Posts: 161



PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 3:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

guess i went retarded on my post lol. i have a case right now that i am going to use. it is vertical, but i already have it and its a really easy to use case, so ill use it for now. it has a 350 watt antec power supply right now, ok but ill upgrade to a nice 500 later. i dont plan on any gaming as i have my 360 hooked up in the same room. also i want a sound card with optical output to hook into my surround sound. i will be using the hard drive for movie storage so a single 500 is minimum. i will be running xp on this system. i would very much like to run a hd dvd drive as well. not really into the blu ray stuff due to supporting sonys propriety stuff, cuz we all know how well that has worked. seems to be pretty decent though. i have an hd satellite box in that room as well that i would like to be able to display through this htpc as well. and ya pricewise is the ultimate reason for getting used stuff. so please guys hit me up with what you have. get the wife off of your back cause you are g etting rid of that "junk" and help me out cause i cant afford to buy new lol.
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97ss150



Joined: 19 Dec 2007
Posts: 161



PostLink    Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

anyone?
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MikeEby



Joined: 24 Jun 2007
Posts: 5236
Location: Osceola, Indiana


PostLink    Posted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 12:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What you put in your list as things you want to do with an HTPC require some “late model” hardware. In particle playing HD-DVD’s will require at least an Xbox add-in external drive and a video card that is HDCP compliant. CPU/Motherboard and memory requirements are also on the high side too as most people feel at least 3.2GHz Dual Core CPU & 1GB memory is the bare minimum.

I can say at my place I don’t have hardware like that just laying around.

Mike

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Last edited by MikeEby on Sat Feb 23, 2008 3:30 am; edited 2 times in total
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fireanimal



Joined: 17 Jul 2007
Posts: 231
Location: Stayner, ON


PostLink    Posted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 12:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You won't need a soundcard if using optical, just onboard sound is fine. If you get a decent video card, like a HD3850, the a P4 Dual core will be enough CPU, but 1 GB of ram is a must. Check Ebay, I am sure you could find a used P4D 820 or greater CPU, pair that with a decent mobo, 1 gb ram, and ATI HD3850, and shouldn't be a problem for HD-DVD.

But it will be cheaper for you to pick up a HD-DVD standalone, they are very cheap right now.
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lyd



Joined: 15 Sep 2007
Posts: 390
Location: Pending: Deerfield, WI


PostLink    Posted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 1:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What's your budget for the PC, total? That's really the place to start. I know "as cheap as possible" is your first thought -- it is always mine -- but you can't really begin to nail down what your options are and what the compromises will need to be until you come up with a real number.

lyd

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MikeEby



Joined: 24 Jun 2007
Posts: 5236
Location: Osceola, Indiana


PostLink    Posted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 3:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't rule out Craigs List as an option if you are in a large metropolitan area, the problem I see with Ebay on small ticket items is shipping costs. This can often add so much to the total cost of an item it will eat any savings up quickly. I recently sold 2 HiPix cards the shipping for the 2 cards weighing only 5 pounds was over $21 via USPS.

Mike

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benareeno



Joined: 22 Mar 2006
Posts: 1614
Location: ottawa, canada


PostLink    Posted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 5:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would consider selling my Intel core 2 duo / 2 gig ram/ Vista / ATI HD 2600 system....where are you located?
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