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Hey all, I was looking for some info on components to use for my htpc. Haven't really set a budget, however I don't want to spend too much either. this build will complement a Samsung LN46A650 TV, Denon AVR-1609, SA-8300 htc cable box. I am looking at getting the antec black fusion htpc case, as far as the mb, and video card goes (if I do or don't need a video card you can throw that in there too) this is where I can use the info. I am welcome to suggestions.

On a side note, my 46 tv flickers on this one particular channel(1008: NBC) It used to flicker on the other HD channels, but i upgraded the firmware on the tv(LN46A650) and now it is only on this particular hd channel. Anyone know why this is?
 

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Hey all, I was looking for some info on components to use for my htpc. Haven't really set a budget, however I don't want to spend too much either. this build will complement a Samsung LN46A650 TV, Denon AVR-1609, SA-8300 htc cable box. I am looking at getting the antec black fusion htpc case, as far as the mb, and video card goes (if I do or don't need a video card you can throw that in there too) this is where I can use the info. I am welcome to suggestions.
Since this is a PC, you will need a video card. I'm not really up on the latest mobo's, but the last I knew add-on video cards were much better than anything that comes built-in to a mobo.

What do you intend on doing with this htpc? Is it mostly for playing movies, or do you want to play games on your TV as well (the answer will affect what video card you should get)? Do you want to record programming from your cable box using the htpc?

On a side note, my 46 tv flickers on this one particular channel(1008: NBC) It used to flicker on the other HD channels, but i upgraded the firmware on the tv(LN46A650) and now it is only on this particular hd channel. Anyone know why this is?
Sorry, can't help you here at all; but it sounds to me like it is still a firmware issue with the TV.
 

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IMHO you do not need a video card for a new HTPC. Just be sure the motherboard has recent design integrated graphics (Intel G45 or nVidia 8300) with HDMI.

Less power and no fan for add-on video card means cooler and quieter. :yes:
 

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IMHO you do not need a video card for a new HTPC. Just be sure the motherboard has recent design integrated graphics (Intel G45 or nVidia 8300) with HDMI.

Less power and no fan for add-on video card means cooler and quieter. :yes:
Ditto, or get a video card with passive cooling (don't need anything super powerful, but do get HDMI and make sure that it will pass PCM audio).
 
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I will be using this mainly for watching blu-ray and recording tv programs. What about the other posts about not needing a video card.
Thanks
 
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Ditto, or get a video card with passive cooling (don't need anything super powerful, but do get HDMI and make sure that it will pass PCM audio).

Thanks for the info. I ususaly buy my stuff from newegg, don't remember anything saying that video cards have that info about passing the pcm audio, how do I find out?
 

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Thanks for the info. I ususaly buy my stuff from newegg, don't remember anything saying that video cards have that info about passing the pcm audio, how do I find out?
You'll have to do a little research elsewhere. I love Newegg's prices and completeness of product images, but they are lousy with tech details. To be honest, I haven't seen very many cards with it (getting Dolby TrueHD from your PC to your AVR right now is a pain, but should be getting better within a year). I'd get something inexpensive like the ASUS EAH3450 for $20, will do 2-chanel PSM and 5 channel Dolby/DTS through HDMI. Then, in a year when all the cards come with TrueHD bitstream or 5 channel PCM, you can upgrade for another $20.
 

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Once again, if you are building a new HTPC and are not going to try to play high performance video games on the HTPC -- there is no reason to buy a video card.

Skip the video card purchase (save $ and heat) and get one of the newer designed PC motherboards that have the latest generation of Integrated Graphics Processors (IGP) like the Intel G45 or the nVidia GeForce 9300 or 9400.

Examples of such motherboards are the:

Intel DG45ID (G45)
Asus P5N7a-VM (9300)
Gigabyte GA-E7AUM-DS2H (9400)

These IGP's have full hardware acceleration for the newer high definition AVC H.264 and VC-1 video codecs that Blu-ray uses. They will pass audio decoded to multichannel linear PCM out the HDMI port along with the video.

I can no longer think of any performance benefits that an add-on video card brings to a non-game-playing HTPC. This is a change from last year.
 
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That sounds good to me extra $$ saved!!!!! one more thing, when I rip my dvd's on my desktop I can transfer them to my htpc, without losing any quality right. I do have a wireless home network setup, and that is the way I will be transferring the files.
 

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You would only need a separate video card for playing games with intensive 3-D graphics. For most movie playback the motherboard on-board graphics would probably work well.

With new stand-alone playback devices such as the Popcorn Hour A-110 and the Western Digital Media Player it kind of begs the question of why to build a HTPC if all you want to do is use it as a media server? You would save money by going with one of these over a HTPC build. I'm not sure about the PCH A-110, but the WDMP is 100% silent; the only sound would be the external hard drive you would hook up to it that contains the video files you want to play.

As for storing BluRay disc images on your hard drive, I still haven't gone with BluRay so I don't know for sure; but I think they are something like 40 Gigabytes in size unless you compress them (which takes a long time and lowers the image quality). That's big...
 

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I am now looking into an HTPC for a winter project myself. I built many computers in my day, my current gaming rig benched just over 20,000 in 3dMard06.:bigsmile:

This mediacenter PC will not see any gaming, only Blu-ray playback and stereo music.

It looks like a stumbling block to me would be the lack of DTS/Dolby hardware support. Maybe I am missing something. I assume that if your reciever can decode what it needs to, then bitstreaming the data to it would be the best idea. Can this be done over a highend audio card, maybe through the optical port?
 

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IIt looks like a stumbling block to me would be the lack of DTS/Dolby hardware support. Maybe I am missing something. I assume that if your reciever can decode what it needs to, then bitstreaming the data to it would be the best idea. Can this be done over a highend audio card, maybe through the optical port?
Most any new PC has more than enough basic CPU horsepower to decode the various audio codecs without special hardware. Cyberlink's PowerDVD can decode the newer DD+, TrueHD, DTS-HD HR and DTS-HD MA audio codecs to linear PCM to send out as multichannel audio via the HDMI port. Even the free ffdshow's libavcodec now has the capability of decoding these new audio codecs now.

The Intel DG45ID motherboard has Dolby Digital Live capability of encoding two or 5.1 channel audio back into legacy Dolby Digital (AC3) so the more common S/PDIF (coax or optical Toslink) digital audio interface can be used between the PC and the AVR.
 

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I just took a look at that board. Looks like a good choice. The only thing I could not nail down was the ability to send the audio out over HDMI. If that is the case, this mobo is a no brainer.
 

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The latest issue of maximum pc (Jan 09) has a great summary of the state of audio over HDMI on computers on page 64 "How To Connect your PC to Your Surround-sound Audio System". It will likely be here in a couple weeks: http://www.maximumpc.com/articles/howtos

But for now, it boils down to Software like powerDVD can decode Dolby TrueHD down to 8-channel PCM, but some cards can only send 2 channel over HDMI. You can always use analog outs, but if you want to use HDMI, you'll need to make sure your card will support it (they list AMD's RV7xx-series, Nvida 9300/9400, and Intel G35/45/965).
 

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Well I read all 50 pages worth of the G45 offical thread at AVS. The Intel board has issues... to say the least. It seems that they still have not nailed down the BOIS software, and some driver issues still as well. It just doesnt look solid yet. They even have an Intel Employee posting in the thread, and a month back or so just got intel to start to take the issues somewhat serious.

I would much rather see Creative or another top shelf sound card company make a nice audio card. PCI-E, 7ch, optical and HDMI and have the sound card maybe even do the Dolby/DTS decoding on board. Then drop in a nice video card and run DVI to the TV.

OR better yet, an all in one card. PCI-E 2.0 16X HD video capabilities AND Dolby/DTS decodeing and a single HDMI output, or a DVI, HDMI and optical.

The problem with a motherboard that is target towards a small market "HTPC" is just what Intel is running into, support and R&D. Most companies are pushing Gaming motherboards, server platforms, and cheap home/end user pieces. HTPC stuff is still very new.

I guess Nvidia has a 9400 board with HDMI... I will look into that soon.

But for $100 for the G45 board, it might be worth a look for myself. I have lots of parts laying around, I could throw a pc together and give it a shot.
 

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Gigabyte ga-e7aum-ds2h. Nvidia 9400 is where its at. The intel G45 is a few laps down in the race. Plays back video, without HDMI repeater problems, and HDCP issues. Both video and audio play back over HDMI, OUT OF THE BOX. Good thing I have 2 8500GT videocards wasting space, becasue this board supports Hybrid SLI, meaning I can run one 8500GT card along side the onboard 9400 GPU and they will SLI and split the load for graphics processing!

The only downside is they cant decode Dolby TruHD or DTS MA... but neither can the G45, or well ANY board out sofar! BUT, I ran Nvidia stuff for YEARS, and I bet they will update the drivers soon... well sooner that Intel will!

I am placing a newegg order tomorrow!
 
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