HTPC Suggestions..

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Dragon_Cooler
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HTPC Suggestions..

Post by Dragon_Cooler » Mon Dec 28, 2009 4:26 pm

I posted in the Home Theater discussion and got no response. Figured since this is the more busy forum section I would give it a try....

I am days away from purchasing a htpc for our bedroom and really need some advice. The biggest ones I am looking at are the AcerRevo, eeeBOX, or the Dell Zino. (or if i can buy and build what nate built) Essentially here are my needs:

-Low footprint
-Low power
-Low noise
-Play 1080p no prob
-GigE lan
-bluray/dvd is a + but not needed
-sub $600

I am honestly torn as they all pretty much meet these specs, good brands, good quality at least from what i have read. I guess a deal breaker would be HD audio, but i dont know if they do that or not. Please Please,

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Re: HTPC Suggestions..

Post by DaIceMan » Mon Dec 28, 2009 7:01 pm

I like the Revo... http://lifehacker.com/5391308/build-a-s ... -the-cheap ... but I wanted the Blu-Ray Drive so I ended up building an actual PC (see sig) into an Antec 300.

Noise level of my system is a little loud, but once the receiver is turned to a normal listening volume, I don't hear it.
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Dragon_Cooler
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Re: HTPC Suggestions..

Post by Dragon_Cooler » Tue Dec 29, 2009 12:41 am

DaIceMan wrote:I like the Revo... http://lifehacker.com/5391308/build-a-s ... -the-cheap ... but I wanted the Blu-Ray Drive so I ended up building an actual PC (see sig) into an Antec 300.

Noise level of my system is a little loud, but once the receiver is turned to a normal listening volume, I don't hear it.
HEH, that is where i got the idea of getting a revo....Still cant decide.....
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Re: HTPC Suggestions..

Post by Bwall » Tue Dec 29, 2009 12:08 pm

Dragon_Cooler wrote:I posted in the Home Theater discussion and got no response. Figured since this is the more busy forum section I would give it a try....

I am days away from purchasing a htpc for our bedroom and really need some advice. The biggest ones I am looking at are the AcerRevo, eeeBOX, or the Dell Zino. (or if i can buy and build what nate built) Essentially here are my needs:

-Low footprint
-Low power
-Low noise
-Play 1080p no prob
-GigE lan
-bluray/dvd is a + but not needed
-sub $600

I am honestly torn as they all pretty much meet these specs, good brands, good quality at least from what i have read. I guess a deal breaker would be HD audio, but i dont know if they do that or not. Please Please,

"Input Input Need More Input"
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What plans might you have in the future? I have a hard time biting on these HTPC "appliances" because I like to be able to upgrade for new technology and for my rig to do other things. With a dedicated HT "PC" you'll be able to throw a tuner in it, or upgrade the system to be able to support new formats like 3D Blu-ray (Avatar 3D...sweeet).
My advice right now would be to WAIT. CES is a week away, Nate, Joe, and I will be covering the event this year and I hope to have some news on upcoming HTPC related stuffs. ;) I've seen a few details already and the future looks pretty good.
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Re: HTPC Suggestions..

Post by Dragon_Cooler » Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:57 am

that is a good point... CES. I completely didnt put the 2 together. Thank you for that. I think I will wait and see what it has to offer. Plus it will give me some time to save up even more money.
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Re: HTPC Suggestions..

Post by sasamkd » Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:16 am

well, about ability for handling 3d bluray, i don't think will be a problem.
i based my htpc around athlon 5050e + 780G and when playing bluray the cpu is loaded around 4-10% when using the gpu for decoding, and around 10-40% when gpu is not used. so again i don't think bluray 3d will be a problem.
Also the new processors are faster than mine.
and yes, this combination is cool and (nearly) silent :)

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Re: HTPC Suggestions..

Post by hnzw_rui » Thu Jan 14, 2010 4:47 pm

Dragon_Cooler wrote:I am days away from purchasing a htpc for our bedroom and really need some advice. The biggest ones I am looking at are the AcerRevo, eeeBOX, or the Dell Zino. (or if i can buy and build what nate built)
All I can say is don't, at least, not unless you know exactly what you're getting into. These little machines aren't for people who are new to HTPC's. The lack of processing power limits them in what they can do and while a lot of the video decoding should be handled by the GPU (keyword: should), there are still some times when you'd need to fall back on the processor.
Dragon_Cooler wrote:-Low footprint
-Low power
-Low noise
-Play 1080p no prob
-GigE lan
-bluray/dvd is a + but not needed
-sub $600
Define "low footprint". If you don't need something ultra small form factor, you can easily save money by going microATX. Lots more options, too. Unfortunately, I'm not as well-versed in microATX options as I live in a small apartment and tend to look only at Mini-ITX components.

If you want Mini-ITX, Intel (with either NVIDIA or Intel chipset) is pretty much your only option. There's an NVIDIA GeForce 8200 Mini-ITX board available but it doesn't compare to the NVIDIA GeForce 9300/9400 chipset.

Right now, I have the following build planned for my next small form factor HTPC (Mini-ITX):

Intel Core i3 530 2.93GHz, $125
Zotac H55-ITX, $130
4GB DDR3 1600, $100
Mini-Box M350, $40
PicoPSU-120-WI-25, $55
19V 120W AC-DC adapter, $35
Seagate Momentus 5400.6 500GB, $85
TOTAL: $570 (no OS, no peripherals, no optical)

Alas, since it's a very new platform and the motherboard has yet to hit retail shelves, I expect I'll have a lot of teething issues. Fun part is it supports HD audio bitstreaming if your receiver can handle it. :D

If you don't fancy being a guinea pig, here's a reasonably powerful, inexpensive Mini-ITX build based on the more mature GeForce 9300 chipset.

Intel Celeron E3200 2.4GHz Wolfdale, $50
Zotac GF9300-G-E, $140
4GB DDR2 800, $100
Apex MI-008 w/250W PSU, $40
500GB 7200RPM 3.5" HDD, $55
LITE-ON 4X Blu-ray iHOS104-06, $60
TOTAL: $445 (no OS, no peripherals)

You'd still need to provide your own operating system, remote and Blu-ray playback software but you can also save on a number of things. For one thing, you can easily get away with just 2GB RAM on HTPC so with current RAM prices, that shaves off $50 from your build price. Heck, if you're like me, you probably have some DDR2 SDRAM lying around. Ditto on the HDD. Blu-ray will add the most expense since you'll need to buy both the drive and playback software. I say build your HTPC first and once you get everything working, just add Blu-ray support if you still have extra funds. Nowadays, it's easy enough to install the OS from a flash drive so you wouldn't even need an optical drive for the OS install.
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Re: HTPC Suggestions..

Post by DaddyRabbit » Thu Jan 14, 2010 8:11 pm

Another vendor to consider if building might be Shuttle.
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Re: HTPC Suggestions..

Post by Dragon_Cooler » Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:06 pm

Awesome Thank you for the reply!

Low footprint, something about the same size as a shuttle or smaller. I have been eagerly looking at the Nvidia Ions. I have been seeing more and more builds with the Zotak boards so I may have to look into them.
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