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HTPC build. You win, dairy.

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Gruso +

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HTPC build. You win, dairy.
After years of ohgrusoing around with front end / back end combos that always leave some of my mustard uncut, it's time to go full windsor and build a HfuckingTPC. Basic requirements:

- Quiet, duh.
- Best onboard graphics a man can get
- BD playback
- Some sort of amazing HTPC remote

Will be running a small SSD for OS, and an existing 2TB HDD for data.

NFI where to start with cases or mobos really. This n.beard on OCAU seems to have a decent system specced up. Thoughts?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

UPDATE Le build so far:

ASUS P8H77-I Mini ITX Motherboard $129.00

Ivy Bridge Core-i3 3225... soon (Picked up the 2120 in the meantime, $127)

Corsair CMX4GX3M1A1600C9 4GB (1x4GB) DDR3 $35.00

Intel 330 Series 60GB SSD $95.00

Lite-On IHES212 12X Bluray Combo $69.00

Lian Li PC-Q08B Black HTPC Case $129.00

Seasonic M12II 520W Modular PSU $109.00

Logitech K400 $49

Last edited by Gruso: 07-Jun-12 at 10:52am

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Whirlpool has a few different builds you can check out, maybe mix 'n' match a bit. I found it pretty useful at planning stage, although once i realised I could just plug my laptop down through the HDMI into the TV it rendered the HTPC concept redundant for my needs (thanks GCP&G)
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Any direct links whirlpool links? They have a wiki section for HTPC builds but it looked out of date, and the desktop PC subforum didn't seem to have much HTPC talk. I probably missed a section or something.

Re: Laptop + HDMI, funnily enough that's what convinced me I needed a HTPC. I'm now watching stuff from my lappy more often than not, because all my other gear fails. But it's a hot, noisy bastard.
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what form factor? if you can wait for a trinity matx or mini-itx then that will have best in class onboard graphics.

otherwise a mini-itx brazos system would do you well. you can even get passively cooled boards.

alternatively, ivy bridge i3-3225 will be out in june (first low end with hd4000 graphics) but it will be $180 odd i'd guess.

Quote:

Originally Posted by jarrardscott View Post

well, according to dictionary.com
chilli is hot pepper food etc.
chilly is cold temperature.

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The whirlpool page was up to date when I viewed it, but granted that was in February. Looks like it hasn't been updated since then: http://whirlpool.net.au/wiki/rmp_sg_whirlpoolpcs_htpc
Some more recent discussion that updates it a little: http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/1909640
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i've also been meaning to do this

/subscribed

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Originally Posted by RonPrice View Post

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oh yeah gruso are you running an android phone? i forget. if you are, i assume there's equivalent VLC or XMBC remotes like there are on iphones. i just control my new htpc with iphone.

Quote:

Originally Posted by jarrardscott View Post

well, according to dictionary.com
chilli is hot pepper food etc.
chilly is cold temperature.

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Quote:

Originally Posted by rancho View Post

what form factor?

NFI help me I want to watch video

Quote:

alternatively, ivy bridge i3-3225 will be out in june (first low end with hd4000 graphics) but it will be $180 odd i'd guess.

That sounds perfect, let's build a system around it.

Not running Android, but I'm pretty keen on a qwerty remote / wireless kbd anyway.
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Do you want a slimline case or something that looks like a chunky piece of hifi equipment that can hold a fair amount of drives, or will any old tower do?

Best not to rush into buying a case, make sure you get one that best fits your entertainment unit if you want it neatly tucked away, the height and depth of some of these cases are deceptive and may not fit properly in a unit where you think they might.

A few of the Antec ones come with built in remote sensors and can be powered on/off from afar.. the remotes they give you are pretty throw away though, but the sensor is still good and is rigged to allow you to cold boot with the on button of the remote.

I run the Antec Fusion Max as my main HTPC case, only 4 drive bays though which is a little restrictive. Intending to upgrade to something with 6 drive bays one of these days.

A good place to start looking at cases is pccasegear as they have a really nice layout for browsing cases and an excellent (read: huge) range.

From there obviously just staticice the case you want for the best price or to find stock in convenient proximity.

Builds.. basically an i5 will do a really good job without being too expensive. I'm still running an old core 2 and an ATI 4550 or something and it's more than up to the task.. Definitely look for a cheap fanless graphics card if you can, don't need anything too crazy.. but if you're building a half height/slimline htpc it may be a little harder to find a good fanless card.
Let Life Support and Dr Rudi do it right for you.
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also, logitech k400.. imo awesome htpc keyboard/trackpad combo.

anything keyboard smaller than that is just a pita (the small shift keys on the k400 are a little annoying, but bareable)
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lenovo has a nice little remote style keyboard/trackpad too

link
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Slim like a hifi component would be ideal actually. Don't care about too many drive bays; I'll start off with one SSD and one HDD, and can't see myself adding more than one more HDD later on. IIRC I'm width limited to 450mm, but height & depth aren't really issues.

Sticking to onboard graphics considering what some of the new stuff is capable of.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Gruso View Post

NFI help me I want to watch videoThat sounds perfect, let's build a system around it.

Not running Android, but I'm pretty keen on a qwerty remote / wireless kbd anyway.

cool, well that cpu + budget mobo or sperger mobo + 4gb memory (allowing later expansion) will get you started. mini-itx cases are perfect for entertainment cabinets, you'd probably want to hide a tower out of sight.

find something pretty and functional here

edit - actually not many of those are suitable. google around for htpc mini-itx cases.

Quote:

Originally Posted by jarrardscott View Post

well, according to dictionary.com
chilli is hot pepper food etc.
chilly is cold temperature.

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SSD for boot drive + NFS/iscsi mount to NAS over gb-e for media library?

No moving parts, low heat, low psu reqs?

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Quote:

Originally Posted by rancho View Post

a mini-itx brazzers system would do you well.

yes.
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XBMC hardware forums have everything you need.

http://forum.xbmc.org/forumdisplay.php?fid=112

The stickys have some really good info.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by rancho View Post

what form factor?

which is the most portable? or should i just get a wdlivepopcorn or whatever if i want something for that?

Quote:

Originally Posted by RonPrice View Post

ITM is, as far as I can see, the institute of trolls and memes. Alas and alack---it's time for my evening meal.

Infringing on copyrights since 1999

ITM 2012 NRL SC Champion
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this guy looks like a great case

http://www.umart.com.au/newindex28.p...id=2&sid=59907

Quote:

Originally Posted by jarrardscott View Post

well, according to dictionary.com
chilli is hot pepper food etc.
chilly is cold temperature.

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Quote:

Originally Posted by smidgin View Post

lenovo has a nice little remote style keyboard/trackpad too

link

Yeah not bad, but renaming, copy pasting etc are all a lot more difficult once you start getting down to keboards of that size without proper keys.

The k400 is a good inbetween.
Let Life Support and Dr Rudi do it right for you.
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This appears to be where I'm at right now. Just need to add CPU.

[edit] Keeping a running list in OP now.

Quote:

Originally Posted by big eddie View Post

SSD for boot drive + NFS/iscsi mount to NAS over gb-e for media library?

No moving parts, low heat, low psu reqs?

My current 'NAS' is an ailing C2D box. The plan is to replace it, the PS3 and the ATV with a single new box.

Last edited by Gruso: 22-May-12 at 08:40am

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I recently got a HP Microserver to use as a HTPC, not as small as your requirements though

I am going to set it up pretty much exactly as this http://www.tekforums.net/guides-proj...p-microserver/

It has space internally for 4 HDDs and 1 DVD/BR drive
Fill it with 2TB drives and you have a NAS there too

http://n40l.wikia.com/wiki/HP_MicroServer_N40L_Wiki
.



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^ That's pretty cool. Cheap on ebay too.
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Just chuck in a cheap ATI GFX card, the 6450 is like 30-40 bucks, and some more ram, and it will be solid for a HTPC.

The 6450 has 7.1 audio via HDMI and does onboard 1080P decoding
.



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Quote:

Originally Posted by Gruso View Post

My current 'NAS' is an ailing C2D box. The plan is to replace it, the PS3 and the ATV with a single new box.

Yeah using pcs as NAS devices is kinda shitty - the synology/qnap doohoovers however are pretty schmick.

My housemate has had a hardon for the htpc idea lately - and I hadn't considered the ssd + network option until now, I'm liking it.

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Originally Posted by gotamangina View Post

I hate it when you're right and I'm not.

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Gruso View Post


My current 'NAS' is an ailing C2D box. The plan is to replace it, the PS3 and the ATV with a single new box.

How much ddr2 is in the c2d? If you have 4gb I'd just be reusing most of the systems parts and put it in a new case. Even having just the ddr2 the price of used c2d processors/boards is very cheap these days. They're plenty powerful enough to handle htpc duties in most areas (ie. unless you're going to be doing some heavy transcoding)

Definitely don't rush into buying anything though, particularly the case. Because of the odd layouts of htpc cases it's quite easy to forget to take <random thing> into consideration and end up spending twice as much as you'd originally intended.

I'm not sure if the newer breeds of motherboards can cold boot on from a usb IR sensor these days either? (I'm still running an old core2 775 board in one htpc and some cheap asrock 1155 board in the other).. Not a problem if you're just using suspend, but for pedantic folk like me having a case that can't turn on with remote from cold is a dealbreaker.

Btw, if anyone has figured out an easy workaround to cold booting from an IR remote I'd be keen to know.
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are you considering putting in a tuner at all? definitely consider a case/mobo that can handle a pcie 1x tuner if you are.
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The old c2d is a Nova P20, virtually no re-usable parts, uses laptop memory. I'ma keep it complete and sell it on ebay, should be an easy one-fiddy.

I hadn't considerised power on methods, I'll give that some thought. No plans for a tuner. And I'm waiting until the new i3s come out before buying so yeah, not rushing in yet. Although I did just fill my cart up and sat there like

Quote:

Originally Posted by big eddie View Post

Yeah using pcs as NAS devices is kinda shitty - the synology/qnap doohoovers however are pretty schmick.

My housemate has had a hardon for the htpc idea lately - and I hadn't considered the ssd + network option until now, I'm liking it.

I'm upgrading the old man to 7800N + Synology NAS as soon as he ponies up the cash. Looking forward to that little project.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by diarx View Post

Not a problem if you're just using suspend, but for pedantic folk like me having a case that can't turn on with remote from cold is a dealbreaker.

Cause getting off the couch to turn it on at the start of every HTPC session is so hard?
.



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Quote:

Originally Posted by Flathead_21 View Post

Cause getting off the couch to turn it on at the start of every HTPC session is so hard?

Yes.

I know what which way I'd prefer switching my HTPC on after I'd sat down on the couch and forgotten to switch it on.
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dairy's pretty fat, man.

Quote:

Originally Posted by jarrardscott View Post

well, according to dictionary.com
chilli is hot pepper food etc.
chilly is cold temperature.

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Move closer to the HTPC would have sufficed
You two should consider binning your TV/home theater system remotes, clearly you don't need them ever.
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If you've got no other way to power on a new mobo via IR, I would seriously consider:



http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Learn-Bot...ht_2147wt_1064

Feed it 12v from your PSU (just tap out of a molex plug), and connect the n/o contacts of the relay to the power button pins on the mobo.
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wake on lan?

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Originally Posted by gotamangina View Post

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Sometimes I wake the P20 on lan from my laptop, to save me taking one step and leaning over. It's not a very home theatery method though, if that's the vibe one is going for.
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need it set up so one clap turns the whole thing on and sends a waterbed shooting out of the wall.

Can you rig the kinect up to somehow do it?
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just get an apple tv, bro.

Quote:

Originally Posted by jarrardscott View Post

well, according to dictionary.com
chilli is hot pepper food etc.
chilly is cold temperature.

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mctte

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yeah, I do WOL my htpc from work to get downloads ready sometimes, but really there are situations where I don't want to get the Torana out to get to the Commodore iykwim.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gruso View Post

If you've got no other way to power on a new mobo via IR, I would seriously consider:



http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Learn-Bot...ht_2147wt_1064

Feed it 12v from your PSU (just tap out of a molex plug), and connect the n/o contacts of the relay to the power button pins on the mobo.

actually looks pretty cool, but I'm a little confused.. If I'm not mistaken, you connect it to your cases power switch and the board will learn the power button on signal for your TV remote using it to switch the htpc on?
Let Life Support and Dr Rudi do it right for you.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by diarx View Post

you connect it to your cases power switch

yep

Quote:

Originally Posted by diarx View Post

and the board will learn the power button on signal for your TV remote using it to switch the htpc on?

I think the board will only respond to the yumcha remote it comes with. So you'd either have to use that, or learn the codes with a universal remote.
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Mac mini + NAS is my setup. It's not the cheapest option but It's very quiet.

Quote:

Originally Posted by jarrardscott View Post

guessing im really slow on this.

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Originally Posted by Derelict View Post

It's called being a tradie, dickhead.

Eh... my gay friend that works in IT recommended them to me

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Quote:

Originally Posted by diarx View Post

Yeah not bad, but renaming, copy pasting etc are all a lot more difficult once you start getting down to keboards of that size without proper keys.

The k400 is a good inbetween.

good point. we dont have any local data so organising and formatting didnt even cross my mind, only use the keyboard for searches.
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Fingered a K400 in JB yesterday, seems like a good unit. Also looking at this IOgear number:

http://www.ht.com.au/part/Z7259-IOGE...ard/detail.hts



Not overly excited about trackballs, but it does have some nice looking functions. Higher res: http://www.wegotserved.com/wp-conten...010/12/io6.jpg
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If you just want a "remote" for media, there are tons of phone apps around that can control XBMC
.



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Yeah I knows. Having a webos phone limits the options a bit, but I'll probably have a crack at that too.
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webos phone. webos tablet.

kinda backed yourself into a corner there didn't you

Quote:

Originally Posted by jarrardscott View Post

well, according to dictionary.com
chilli is hot pepper food etc.
chilly is cold temperature.

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Nah

https://sites.google.com/site/xbmc4webos/
http://www.angrygoatapps.com/screenshots.html
http://java.engineequalscar.com/mediaremote/
https://developer.palm.com/appredire...iacenterremote
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k400 @ $49

http://www.logitechshop.com.au/logit...oard-k400.html
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I'm having a lot of joy with the WDTV but I too have money burning a hole in my pocket and am investigating a HTPC solution.

Flatmate has an old HP EX490 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HP_MediaSmart_Server) that I can probably buy off him for 100 or so. Then I can chuck in a gfx card which does hardware decoding and HDMI out. Put in an SSD and be done with a good solution that has a lot of room for expansion for the next little while.

Thoughts?
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Flathead_21 View Post

If you just want a "remote" for media, there are tons of phone apps around that can control XBMC

played around with remote apps a bit on my ipad when it was jailborked, sound nifty, but still in the "get the Torana out to get to the Commodore" basket.

They just aren't practical when you have to use a button/start app to wake them up, particularly if using with your smartphone:

1)press on/wake button
2)slide/unlock screen etc.
3)start remote app if it isn't already started
4)use remote function

A standard MCE remote just works
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Quote:

Originally Posted by jaebles View Post

I'm having a lot of joy with the WDTV but I too have money burning a hole in my pocket and am investigating a HTPC solution.

Flatmate has an old HP EX490 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HP_MediaSmart_Server) that I can probably buy off him for 100 or so. Then I can chuck in a gfx card which does hardware decoding and HDMI out. Put in an SSD and be done with a good solution that has a lot of room for expansion for the next little while.

Thoughts?


"Hackers and enthusiasts have modded the EX470 by adding a VGA monitor"

^That's a worry.

Unless you can be sure it is one of the later core2 models, has 4gb ram and a pcie graphics slot I'd steer well clear - if he's pimped it out with a bunch of 1 or 2tb drives then it would be worth it for the drives alone though.

2gb of ram just won't cut it for basic windows htpc duties. 2gb will have random spaz/slowness issues, 4gb is ideal,
and 8gb practically has no benefit imo.

Upgrading to 4gb ddr2 can be a pretty costly exercise and enough to make it worthwhile looking into a budget end socket 1155 or AM3 system, especially if that HP media serveris limited to two ram slots and comes with two 1gb ddr2 modules.

Current going price for a 2 x 2gb ddr2 kit is around $70-80, add the video card you intend to purchase and the $100 cost of the PC and you're more than halfway to a low end 1155 or AM3 system.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by diarx View Post

played around with remote apps a bit on my ipad when it was jailborked, sound nifty, but still in the "get the Torana out to get to the Commodore" basket.

They just aren't practical when you have to use a button/start app to wake them up, particularly if using with your smartphone:

1)press on/wake button
2)slide/unlock screen etc.
3)start remote app if it isn't already started
4)use remote function

A standard MCE remote just works

That's my thinking too, for video stuff anyway. Should be good for music though, when the TV isn't on.
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