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Old 2007-05-12, 19:22   Link #1
theDarkHorse
at what speed must i live
 
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Sydney, Australia
Age: 22
New HTPC

I'm considering building a new computer/home theatre PC for myself in the near future (say, two or three months). I'd just like to hear some of your views on my current parts list, see what you guys recommend.

Since it is a home theatre PC, primary purposes are watching TV/DVDs/movies/anime xD I'm using MediaPortal because I like it much better than Vista's Media Centre ... thing. I'll also be using it for a bit of gaming, and running Ubuntu or Sabayon on a Virtual PC. (Just for fun.)

Here's my parts list:

-Gigabyte P35-DS4 (I chose this motherboard because the P35 chipset will have support for codename Penryn CPUs in the future).
-Intel Core2Duo E6320 (They're good overclockers, plus they have hardware virtualisation tech, which the 4x00 series do not)
-2GB Kingston 667 DDR2 RAM (4GB is overkill)
-Seagate SATAII 320GB (Maybe two of them in RAID0)
-320MB GeForce 8800GTS Gigabyte/Foxconn (since I'm hooking this up to a nice big Sony Bravia, and I'll be playing games fairly regularly, this seems reasonable)
-Leadtek DTV2000H DTV tuner
-Creative X-Fi XtremeAudio
-Pioneer SATA 18x 212D DVD burner
-Antec P180 Black case OR Gigabyte Poseidon case
-Coolermaster iGreen 600W (silent)

Probably will throw in a WiFi card as well.

Opinions, please. Should I go AMD instead? Is the 8800GTS overkill? What about the nForce 650i series motherboards? What should I get as my wireless keyboard/mouse combo? Don't worry about OS; I'm sticking to WinXP right now because of Vista's various driver issues. Or I might boot up Ubuntu and run MythTV. Who knows.
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Old 2007-05-12, 20:05   Link #2
Ledgem
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Northeast USA
Age: 28
Since it's a home theater system, make sure that you go for quiet components. I don't really have an opinion on the processors - just go with whichever runs cooler, I suppose. Both AMD and Intel have virtualization support built in these days, it seems.

Regarding the hard drives, if you can, avoid the 7200.9 line of the Barracudas. I've read that many of them have noise issues, although it's less noticable on drives with fewer platters. I have a 500 GB SATA Barracuda myself, and the thing gives off this whining noise unless it's spun down. I even put it into a silencer, and it's still very audible.

For mouse/keyboard, Logitech has some nice offerings, although I'm starting to dislike the feel of their keyboards. The DiNovo line is supposed to be pretty nice, but it's also their premium line of keyboards, so you can expect to pay for it. Disappointingly, they don't support Linux. Their stuff has great media key support, but you lose it in Linux.

I'd go with the P180 for the case. I was looking into getting the silver version for myself - it looks like an amazing case. I'd never heard of the Poseidon, so I looked it up just now, and it doesn't really look like anything special to me. I'll admit I looked it over quickly, but the P180 just looks great outside and like it'd be easy to work with inside, too. Having the PSU in its own compartment, separated from the rest of the components, also makes a lot of sense in terms of heat control. I think you could have a better cooling solution for less noise with it overall.

Is there a need for the soundcard that the motherboard can't fill?
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Old 2007-05-12, 20:17   Link #3
theDarkHorse
at what speed must i live
 
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Sydney, Australia
Age: 22
Each hard drive brand seems to have their own problems, it seems. I've had several heat issues with Samsung hard drives, so I'm steering away from them. Western Digital seem okay.

Regarding the sound card, it's more of a personal preference thing, I think. That's probably one component which I could leave out, though.

My main concern with all the cordless keyboards is their range. They always don't seem to stretch far enough. T_T I want a diNovo Edge keyboard...

I think the Core 2 Duos run a bit cooler, but that depends on various factors anyway. Heh, wish I could throw in a huge cooling system like the Noctuas.
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Old 2007-05-13, 16:20   Link #4
Tiberium Wolf
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Age: 34
Hmmm... I see no point getting the P35-DS4. I myself got last week the 765P-DS4. And about the cpu why not get the e6600 ? The price difference isn't that great. It's great only to the e6700.
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Old 2007-05-14, 02:09   Link #5
theDarkHorse
at what speed must i live
 
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Sydney, Australia
Age: 22
Only cos it's quite likely I'll just grab myself a new Wolfdale/Penryn processor when it comes out. They need the P35 chipset. IIRC, the E6x20 series have double L2 cache compared to the E6x00 series. In which case it's more worthwhile to get a E6320 and overclock it.
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Old 2007-05-14, 02:54   Link #6
Tiberium Wolf
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Age: 34
Hum??? They both have 4 MB L2 cache! They started to have 4 MB cache on the e6600.
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Old 2007-05-14, 04:16   Link #7
theDarkHorse
at what speed must i live
 
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Sydney, Australia
Age: 22
o_O my bad xDD

Didn't realise it.

Still, price difference is something like $180 Australian...=/
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Old 2007-05-14, 05:47   Link #8
Sides
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Edinburgh
Age: 32
Depending what mainboard size you're going for,
you might want to have a look at htpc cases
like the antec NSK2400 or cases from silverstone,
instead of using a tower case.

As for HDD, just get a small, solid and silent one
and setup a NAS, that way you can share you stuff
over the network.
I don't see a point getting a big HDD,
since you'll probably use it most of time to store media files temporally,
until you burn the them on DVD, or put them on the NAS.

Last edited by Sides; 2007-05-14 at 06:33. Reason: silverstone not silverline ^^
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Old 2007-05-14, 06:07   Link #9
theDarkHorse
at what speed must i live
 
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Sydney, Australia
Age: 22
I've heard that various HTPC cases, such as the Antec Fusion, have some major troubles with heat dissipation. Plus, I find that I'll more than likely run out of PCI slots. TV tuner, sound card, WLAN card, and remember that most microATX motherboards generally only come with 2 PCI slots, a PCIe x1 slot and a PCIe x16 slot for graphics cards. Unless someone knows of a PCIe x1 sound card. I really don't like the idea of USB WiFi devices.

It's more likely that I'll be burning stuff to DVD anyway, so a large HDD isn't too necessary. But looking at the price I'm saving if I were to go down to a 250GB or 160GB hard drive, it doesn't seem worth it.
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Old 2007-05-14, 06:54   Link #10
Sides
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Edinburgh
Age: 32
Sorry my mistake it is silverstone not silverline.
Some of their cases (the big ones) do fit in atx boards and
have 7 expansion slots.
Some of them do have a lcd display as well.
(only winxp 32bit drivers atm)
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Old 2007-05-14, 08:26   Link #11
Tiberium Wolf
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Age: 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by theDarkHorse View Post
o_O my bad xDD

Didn't realise it.

Still, price difference is something like $180 Australian...=/

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