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Thread: Premade HTPC

  1. #1

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    Default Premade HTPC

    I'm looking for a ready-to-go HTPC. Here's what it needs:

    - 1080p video and the new lossless formats of 5.1 audio over HDMI
    - horizontal form factor
    - room for 2 or 3 internal hard drives
    - wireless card
    - blu ray
    - decent i5 or i7
    - $1k or under

    What are some good options??
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  2. #2

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    No interest in building one yourself?
    Wris****ch--->Crisco

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    Quote Originally Posted by strider View Post
    No interest in building one yourself?
    maybe. the more i look around the more it seems like that will be the only option. never done it before, but i'm sure i can figure it out.

    i was hoping for a quick & easy solution.
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  4. #4

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    What OS are you looking for? Win7, XBMC, MAC?

    A couple guys on XBMC.org make some custom HTPC's.

    Links here and here


    The first link is to a guy who goes by assassin on both XBMC and AVS the second guy goes by DougieFresh on XBMC.


    I personally am building one myself with a AMD A6-3500 processor in a Mini-ITX board and case and total cost is under 500 for it so far. If you want I can probably point you in the right direction but I wouldnt suggest using a i7 for a HTPC AT ALL. I would stick with something with less horsepower in like the 65 TDP range.

    If you want to talk more hit me up for my contact info via PM and we can talk on the phone which is probably easiest.
    Last edited by EndersShadow; 09-10-2012 at 01:00 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by EndersShadow View Post
    If you want to talk more hit me up for my contact info via PM and we can talk on the phone which is probably easiest.
    Awesome! Thanks, man! I'll take you up on that sometime in the next week or so. My main desktop was fried in a lightening storm last week, so I'm waiting on my insurance company to I know how much dough I have to play with!
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  6. #6

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    Plenty of them on eBay. That seems to be where many people who build them sell them. I'd also look for something Mini-ITX and passively cooled, if you plan on having the HTPC in the same room with your audio gear, the goal being zero fan noise.

    The Intel D2700 seems to be a popular choice lately. If I was building my own HTPC, it would end up pretty much like this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Intel-Atom-D...item5d328b5c3c
    Last edited by Syndil; 09-10-2012 at 05:03 PM.

    RT-12, CS350-LS, PSW-300, Infinity Overture 1, Monoprice RC-65i
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    Eh the D2700 is decent but for not much more you can get an Intel Sandy Bridge or Llano board. The Sandy Bridge Pentiums are QUITE good and under 50. Thats what I was looking at but I went AMD for a couple different reasons that may not matter to the OP.

    Also given he wants 3 or 4 HDD's he's probably going to get a bigger case (like Silverstone Grandia) so he might as well get a Micro ATX or ITX board that can have a dedicated graphic card added on later on.

    I was looking at the Atom's and Fusion boards but given the advice on XBMC they recommended Sandy Bridge as its got MORE than enough performance to handle some decent tasks with headroom to spare.

    I would also guess he's looking for the computer to encode the movies onto his HDD's in which case the Atoms are WAY outmatched by the Sandy Bridge Pentiums.
    Advice is free, the Flea Market is earned - F1Nut

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    Instead of going with multiple hard drives in one case, how about keeping the PC simple and going with a NAS? Use a Solid State drive in the PC for the OS and keep everything else on the NAS..

    Just a thought..

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    If going with a NAS setup, use a i5 or better cpu.... I'm using a i3 cpu and found if I setup a NAS it caused my video playback to skip.

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    Quote Originally Posted by falconcry72 View Post
    maybe. the more i look around the more it seems like that will be the only option. never done it before, but i'm sure i can figure it out.

    i was hoping for a quick & easy solution.
    Built my first one last year. It really wasn't as difficult as I had thought. Mine is i3 based, don't remember the particular CPU but it is a Sandy Bridge with built in graphics. With a Bluray burner, 60GB SSD for the OS and 2TB HDD for storage, wireless keyboard, wireless network adapter, nice horizontal case I think I am into it for about $700 up and running with everything. Motherboard outputs HDMI.

    I may upgrade to a sound card that is able to output an S/PDIF signal at some point; the search for an affordable external solution for asynchronus USB to S/PDIF conversion is getting old. I store all my movies on the internal HDD, music and photos are stored on a NAS.
    Wris****ch--->Crisco

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    Quote Originally Posted by disneyjoe7 View Post
    If going with a NAS setup, use a i5 or better cpu.... I'm using a i3 cpu and found if I setup a NAS it caused my video playback to skip.

    My issue was a NAS setup in the HTPC, not to confuse anyone.

    Speakers
    Carver Amazing Fronts
    CS400i Center
    RT800i's Rears
    Sub Paradigm Servo 15

    Electronics
    Conrad Johnson PV-5 pre-amp
    Parasound Halo A23
    Pioneer 84TXSi AVR
    Pioneer 79Avi DVD
    Sony CX400 CD changer
    Panasonic 42-PX60U Plasma
    WMC Win7 32bit HD DVR



  12. #12

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    Raspberry Pi: $35
    OpenElec: Free
    NAS of your choice: $100-$$$$

    There seems to be a little debate over which of the new audio formats it'll do- people have it working playing files with the newer DTS codecs, but they appear to come out in plain old DTS.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by unc2701 View Post
    Raspberry Pi: $35
    OpenElec: Free
    NAS of your choice: $100-$$$$

    There seems to be a little debate over which of the new audio formats it'll do- people have it working playing files with the newer DTS codecs, but they appear to come out in plain old DTS.
    The Pi while being cool simply isn't up to this task. It is a nifty device but just not enough power.
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    Quote Originally Posted by EndersShadow View Post
    The Pi while being cool simply isn't up to this task. It is a nifty device but just not enough power.
    Eh- give it another two months- which is about the lag time on delivery. It's got the power once all the hardware acceleration can be fully implemented and someone sorts out the DTS-HD passthrough. They're making leaps and bounds & plenty of people have 1080p w/ DTS 5.1 going and no issues. About half my TV's are 720p so that's what I use (distributed A/V system), but I have _zero_ hiccups and the menus no lag. (Airplay photos show upside down about half the time).

    So on the one hand, it's not that easy to get up and going at the moment, however, I'd say very shortly they will have a stable build that you can throw on the card that'll pretty much make it act like an open-source Apple TV. And it's $35.

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    The Pi will unfortunately probably not be up to the task anytime soon. Its terribly terribly buggy. I've had first hand experience and its not really close. They are about 10% of the way there (but at least its a start!).

    I can't believe no one has mentioned these guys yet.

    www.assassinhtpc.com

    There guides are amazing if you want to do it yourself and they sell totally pre-built and pre-configured HTPC's. And their amazon reviews are all positive.

  16. #16

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    Very nice specs. Buy it now seems reasonable considering ad ons.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Extremely-Qu...item416aaf598a

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    Here's a link to the thread on my build:
    http://www.polkaudio.com/forums/show...New-HTPC-Build

    The guide available at AVSForum.com that's mentioned in my thread is pretty phenomenal.
    Wris****ch--->Crisco

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    Unc anyway you cut it your still into a 2 case build since the Pi doesn't have SATA ports. I debated it myself and maybe it will get better but I would rather wait till its a more stable platform before diving in.
    Advice is free, the Flea Market is earned - F1Nut

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  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by EndersShadow View Post
    Eh the D2700 is decent but for not much more you can get an Intel Sandy Bridge or Llano board.
    You can always get something a little bit faster for a little bit more, doesn't mean it's better. I put a lot of importance on absolute silence through passive cooling. The D2700 has enough performance for transcoding and can still easily be passively cooled. Obviously there are many ways to skin this cat, so YMMV as they say.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Syndil View Post
    You can always get something a little bit faster for a little bit more, doesn't mean it's better. I put a lot of importance on absolute silence through passive cooling. The D2700 has enough performance for transcoding and can still easily be passively cooled. Obviously there are many ways to skin this cat, so YMMV as they say.
    I agree, there are many methods to do this and some involve fans running at low rpms, some are passive, some make the case a heatsink (streamcom cases). Its all about what your willing to spend and what your looking to do.
    Advice is free, the Flea Market is earned - F1Nut

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  21. #21

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    Just a follow up on the Raspberry Pi:
    Got one for my brother for his birthday, decided to try out raspBMC (instead of openelec). Took about 2 minutes of active install (put SD card in windows machine; run program; put SD card in Raspberry Pi, turn it on) and 20 minutes of watching it do its thing. Tested out 1080p, worked without a hitch. Airplay worked perfectly out of the box as well and the only issue with playing 1080p video over airplay was that my wireless was a little too slow and it had to stop to buffer once or twice.

    Hulu and Amazon on demand took about another 5 minutes to set up.

    I haven't gotten the chance to test out the lossless audio, but people seem to have it working. So. Easy install, no linux knowledge needed, cheap, low electricity consumption, gets the thumbs up from me.

    Minuses:
    -Videos have to be h264 or mpeg-2 (and mpeg-2 costs a couple dollars extra for the license)
    -Storage has to be via NAS or whatever you can hook up to the USB.
    -Backorder is about 2-3 months

  22. #22

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    Thanks UNC I was looking into it.... How is the interface? Is it laggy or pretty quick?

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    It's pretty snappy, except for when you're using a plugin that has to scrape info (so not the actual interface, but rather getting the data). Amazon plugin will sit there thinking for a minute and if you click in the meantime, it'll hit the first item when it FINALLY comes up. So the wife gets impatient and punches the button about 20 times and it eventually chokes its way to whatever the first movie is after all the submenus. Best way to avoid this it to make a watchlist, then link to that in the main menu so you don't have to browse through anything.

    The other nice thing about this device is that the OS sits on a SD card, so you can treat it like an old Nintendo. I've got my XMBC card, and I'm putting together a Quake card. Using it in a completely different manner is as easy as swapping a card.

    As a counterpoint to this, I forgot to turn off auto updating on my first gen Apple TV/OpenElec box. It updated and screwed the component output (again). So you WILL spend a little more time tinkering with these things than with something pre-made out of the box.

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