HTPC Build in Pictures - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #1 of 16 Old 12-29-08, 10:55 PM Thread Starter
flk
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Multipurpose HTPC setup for 5.1/7.1 1080p

This thread outlines my HTPC build and depicts the connections and settings used to make it work for web browsing, music, 7.1 analog gaming, 5.1 digital 1080p movies etc. This was done with a budget of $1000.

Components:
-Silverstone HTPC aluminum case (faceplate matches Onkyo)
-Thermaltake 500W Purepower ATX PS
-Asus P5Q-E Green Intel P45 Socket 775 Motherboard
-Intel Core 2 Quad Q9300 2.5Ghz 6M 1333Mhz CPU
-ZEROtherm CPU Cooler CF900 775
-Corsair PC6400 DDR2 800MHz (2x1024MB) DHX
-ATI Radeon HD4870 512MB PCIe w/Dual Link
-1TB (x2) Serial ATA 7200/32MB
-and a BluRay or DVD-R drive

Software:
-MPC Home Cinema (No Codecs of any sort are installed on system!)
-CoreAVC for MPC
-AC3Filter for MPC



HTPC in action, running XP/SP3:







Here you see all the components put together. Even though it looks really cramped (and it is), there's enough space for 5 total HDD's, which can bring this sucker above 10TB in a single volume with RAID/Span. Note the connections on my motherboard's back panel, it has 7.1 multichannel 3.5mm output as well as digital SPDIF for PCM:






Here you can see all wires connected. I used a total of three 3.5mm -> stereo RCA adapters (orange for LFE/C, yellow for SL/SR, and green for FL/FR) hooked up to the receiver's multichannel input. These are analog and you can use one more for 7.1 sound but I only have 5.1 equipment. These cables are for gaming in 5.1 surround sound or with any windows application that supports multichannel.
To the left of these analog cables is a thick gray optical cable, going to the receiver as well. This is for PCM passthrough (undecoded audio like DTS/DD5.1) while viewing movies.







Below is a picture of the PC DVI->VGA adapter input into my LCD running at [email protected] Even though the Radeon and high-end graphics cards now support HDMI I don't use that because my TV does not have an "HDMI PC-Mode" in which you can select to correct the overscan that is native of HDMI. Using HDMI from any PC to connect to any high-def. screen without overscan correction (HDMI PC-Mode) will give you uncorrectable fuzzy text.
Also of interest is that my Radeon supports 8 channel LPCM over HDMI with the special dongle it came with, however due to poor implementation as well as a fault of my own equipment, it is completely useless. First, like I mentioned my LCD panel only has PC-Mode enabled for VGA, and not HDMI as a selectable option so any HDMI signal is going to look like garbage on the screen. Second, the Radeon cannot actually passthrough encrypted audio, so TrueHD/DTS-HDMA won't work. Third, you can only use the 8 channel LPCM when a media player is configured to decode the stream and output them as 8 channels, this means no 5.1 gaming and AC3Filter's settings will be on forced decode if PCM passthrough (I haven't confirmed the latter myself) for viewing XviD/MKV. Man what a pain.






Playing 1080p MKV and passing through DTS 96/24 to the Onkyo 806:






Settings on MPC to bypass digital PCM to receiver:








Windows 5.1/7.1 analog multichannel going to the receiver when playing games:


Last edited by flk; 04-17-09 at 11:39 AM.
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post #2 of 16 Old 12-30-08, 01:14 AM
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Re: HTPC Build in Pictures

Very nice thread. Thank you.
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post #3 of 16 Old 12-30-08, 12:30 PM
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Re: HTPC Build in Pictures

Sweet...
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post #4 of 16 Old 01-01-09, 12:20 PM
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Re: HTPC Build in Pictures

Very nice!! I love the Klipsch speakers. So why MPC? I am not saying it is good or bad..I run 2 systems with MCE 2005 and I love them. I tried Vista and couldn't stand an add on program called MY Movies cause it kept on crashing. I went back to MCE 2005 and a program called MY DVD's and never looked back. I run Power DVD 8, Any DVDHD. The systems are both AMD X2 4600 both run Sapphire 3450. Once you get started it is hard to stop I have a large collection I just added my 13th hard drive.
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post #5 of 16 Old 01-01-09, 10:37 PM Thread Starter
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Re: HTPC Build in Pictures

Quote:
gem wrote: View Post
Very nice!! I love the Klipsch speakers. So why MPC? I am not saying it is good or bad..I run 2 systems with MCE 2005 and I love them. I tried Vista and couldn't stand an add on program called MY Movies cause it kept on crashing. I went back to MCE 2005 and a program called MY DVD's and never looked back. I run Power DVD 8, Any DVDHD. The systems are both AMD X2 4600 both run Sapphire 3450. Once you get started it is hard to stop I have a large collection I just added my 13th hard drive.

Hey gem, thanks for the comments - your setup is nice and cozy!

I run MPC because it's a self-executable file that's less than a meg and doesn't require any codecs to be installed on your system - while playing almost anything you throw at it. Also because you can use external filters such as CoreAVC and AC3Filter, both of which is an absolute must in a HTPC that plays 1080p with PCM passthrough.

I've tried MCE before but I personally just didn't like the feel of it. I don't like frontends much either, maybe because i do too much computing on the HTPC.. it's certainly faster than my actual workstation!
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post #6 of 16 Old 01-03-09, 05:56 PM
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Re: HTPC Build in Pictures

I don't want to sound stupid...but I'd like to know more. Downloaded and played around with MPC a little this weekend. Had no problems playing VTS files. I really didn't play with sound. I got really confused when it came to playing bluray files from hard drive. I would normally play or mount the ISO file through Virtual clone drive and Power DVD 8. I am always interested in something better. I went through a couple of forums to find out more information for playing bluray through MPC most of which made little sence. What do I need to do??
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post #7 of 16 Old 01-03-09, 06:46 PM Thread Starter
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Re: HTPC Build in Pictures

gem - are you using MPC or MPC-Home Cinema?
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post #8 of 16 Old 01-03-09, 08:16 PM
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Re: HTPC Build in Pictures

MPC- home Cinema. i couldn't see CoreAVC in external filters list
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post #9 of 16 Old 01-04-09, 12:01 PM Thread Starter
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Re: HTPC Build in Pictures

^Are you trying to play .m2ts files?
You should easily be able to drag and drop those files right into mpchc and they will play after installing Haali's media splitter. During the install tick MPEG-PS, then in mpc-hc go to internal filters under options and un-tick MPEG-PS/TS/PVA under "Source filters" so Haali will take over. Make sure to have Haali's enabled too under "Playback -> output."

If you are installing CoreAVC it comes with Haali's and you would have to enable CoreAVC in external filters and set that to prefer.
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post #10 of 16 Old 03-03-09, 03:58 PM
 
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Re: HTPC Build in Pictures

very nice ! I see the Silverstone case has lots of room for expansion
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