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DirtyMonkey
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do you guys leave these things on 24/7? about how much does it add to your electric bill if you do leave them on all the time? just curious.

7/15/2008 2:28:30 PM

Prospero
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depends, if i use it for folding, it's on 24/7 100% load, about $10/month in electricity (assuming 150W)

i may decide against folding with it, in which case i'll have it on standby (low-power mode) so i can power it up in 5-10 seconds. that would reduce my power bill to about $2/month.

it's about .10 or so per kW/hr, so take the # of watts (* 24 hours * 30 days / 1,000W * 0.10 cents = $dollars) or just take the number of watts and multiply by 0.072.

and no, just because your PSU is rated for 500W doesn't mean it's using it.

[Edited on July 15, 2008 at 2:41 PM. Reason : .]

7/15/2008 2:40:02 PM

neodata686
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ok think i'm going with the silverstone:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811163055

so what's a good power supply to go with this? I might put an 8800gt in it. So i'm thinking 500watts to be safe.

7/15/2008 2:54:58 PM

Prospero
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obligatory antec earthwatts 500w, but it's not on sale this week.

this is my favorite all time PSU (i have this in my desktop)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817194003

7/15/2008 2:59:54 PM

neodata686
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how bout:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371006

39.99$ after MIR. I'm just worried about 430 not being enough, but it's probably plenty. PSU extreme calculator says i only need 220watts. So i should be fine.

7/15/2008 3:06:50 PM

quagmire02
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i don't understand why these companies (antec!) don't make more modular power supplies...i HATE having a whole mass of unused power cabling just taking up space and reducing airflow in my case

7/15/2008 3:12:53 PM

Prospero
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^i concur

^^i agree, 430W should be plenty

i have an E8400 & 8800GTS on 500W and my Zalman tells me i'm only using 210W on 100% load (folding)

[Edited on July 15, 2008 at 3:15 PM. Reason : .]

7/15/2008 3:14:40 PM

neodata686
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^^second that.

I know this thing will be on all the time so i want a reliable PSU. Antec earthwatts should do the trick.

7/15/2008 3:15:51 PM

ENDContra
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Quote :
"Logitech Z-2300 200 watts RMS 2.1 THX-certified Speaker System"

Im curious, why use computer speakers? Why not connect to a reciever via SPDIF/HDMI?

I am glad to see Im not the only one building an HTPC out of a tower case though....kind of feel like Im just building a computer that can play Blu-ray rather than an actual HTPC .

7/16/2008 6:36:40 AM

daalians
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Does anyone know of a card that for sure will automagically upmix 2ch audio to 5.1 and output it to spdif in vista? I know my x-fi can do it with analog outputs, but I don't want to get another with the extension and have it not work. Right now I'm using an old audigy2 with hacked up drivers, and its ok but I need a better card.
I have ffdshow upmixing, but mediacenter wont use ffdshow for the tv and mp3's.

7/16/2008 9:34:53 AM

Prospero
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^^b/c i'm only doing 2.1, it's too difficult to wire my house for 5.1/7.1, etc.

not to mention it only cost me $160 for a THX certified setup (XtremeGamer card + Z-2300) and I have a Zune dock directly into my Z-2300 via the Home A/V kit for the Zune (which also has FM radio), so I really have no need for a receiver. no need for XM radio or mp3 plug-in or HDMI passthrough, not to mention it wouldn't fit in my bookshelf.

my case is a mini-tower (microATX) and is really small, i could not use my current HTPC case do to the size constraints of my built-in bookcase/mantle in my house.

i use my 8600GT DVI-DVI HDCP cable to connect video to TV
i use Creative XtremeGamer card to Z-2300's for audio
i use my Zune Home A/V dock to play music from my mp3 player to the Z-2300's w/out having to have the HTPC on.

i really should take pictures to explain all this b/c a lot of this i bring up in the HDTV thread too. i just have a weird house

to be completely honest, i can't imagine any better of a system than what i have now in terms of how it sounds, it's absolutely incredible... if i could go 5.1 i'd probably still opt for the Z-5500 instead of going the receiver route. it's more cost effective too

[Edited on July 16, 2008 at 11:33 AM. Reason : .]

7/16/2008 11:04:50 AM

neodata686
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putting together my htpc now. woohoo! Guess i'm going to put 32 bit vista on it. See no reason to put 64 on it because there's only 2 gigs of ram.

7/21/2008 3:38:23 PM

ComputerGuy
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I went with 64 bit and 8 gigs ram...

7/23/2008 12:39:22 AM

neodata686
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why do i need 8 gigs of ram for an HTPC? I have that in my desktop.

7/23/2008 1:01:29 AM

Prospero
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http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080727-opinion-the-htpc-is-dead-long-live-the-htpc.html

interesting read. they seem to ignore a couple big things (and only focus on HD cable).

a) HDHomeRun / Happauge HD PVR
b) OTA antennas
c) internet browser (RSS, news, weather) capable
d) gaming PC
e) full 1080p blu-ray & hd-dvd support
f) THX-certified sound quality
g) sharing of photos, videos
h) streaming ability for internet radio
i) media card reader for showing pictures
j) home automation / home survellience

i mean my HTPC does a heckuva lot more (and still capable of HD content over cable) than this article thinks of.

he's got a point about the cable card issue though, it sucks.

7/28/2008 2:42:07 PM

neodata686
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I don't even have a tuner in my HTPC. There's no point when you have a HD cablebox. In my opinion there's really no other way to play any video on an HDTV.

7/28/2008 2:46:05 PM

Prospero
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well if you want to record HDTV from OTA you need a tuner, unless you are paying for an HD PVR (which is different than just a HD set-top box isn't it?)

7/28/2008 2:50:07 PM

neodata686
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^we have an HD DVR set-top box for recording HD. Although newsgroups has kinda killed the need for any DVR action. The HTPC is pretty much for downloading/playing newsgroups content on the HDTV. Plus emulators/pc games.

7/28/2008 2:52:33 PM

bous
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just bought this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811219021


consolidating my POS 2x 8 bay systems that have sata cables running out the back of them - annoying. and this is CHEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAP compared to everything else out there. very good reviews from people that have used items 3-5x the price of this via avsforums.

i now have 3 rackmountable systems for my media server. this 20 bay, a 16 bay sata->sas enclosure, and a 12 bay sata->scsi enclosure (got it free).

7/28/2008 3:37:06 PM

neodata686
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you do that much illegal downloading?

7/28/2008 3:42:30 PM

Prospero
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seriously, wtf, i mean that's enough hard drives to record like 10 channels in HD 24/7, how in the world would you even have enough time to watch that content?

7/28/2008 4:03:05 PM

bous
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they're not all filled with drives and they're at around 40% capacity.

7/28/2008 4:32:24 PM

Prospero
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but why do you have that much space, i mean you can put (3-4) 1TB drives in a single case.

at roughly 9GB/1hour of 1080 video, that's still like ~120 hours of HDTV you're recording... that's like 30 days of 4 hours of TV recordings to watch for only a single TB

7/28/2008 4:46:34 PM

neodata686
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^i guess i could put 7 terabytes in my case. 8 sata ports on the mobo: 7 tbyte drives, and one for the dvd drive.

7/28/2008 4:49:42 PM

quagmire02
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i know this isn't quite HTPC, but i have and use the antec mini p180 (black) as my HTPC and it was only $80...i love it (thanks to the heads-up earlier in the thread)...the white version is on sale for $80 now (with coupon code EMCAHCKBJ) if white is your thing

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129044

[Edited on July 29, 2008 at 9:28 AM. Reason : l]

7/29/2008 9:27:53 AM

Prospero
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^i got that black one too i'd use it for my mediaPC but i have the 3480 and it's a bit smaller, more compact, so now i have a mini p180 around for a project case

[Edited on July 29, 2008 at 11:08 AM. Reason : ,]

7/29/2008 11:06:43 AM

wahoowa
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Looking to build my first home theater pc for HD movie playback and music. Need recommendations on components.

Already picked up a case which can handle any size motherboard. I want to have at least 4 Sata connectors in case I need to add more HDDs later on. Need a recommendation for a motherboard.

Is it better to have built in RAID on a motherboard or a separate hardware controller? I plan on starting out with 3 HDDs and may add more later.

What is the best way to send decoded HD audio to my receiver (sound card?, motherboard?)

Which graphics card to send HD video through HDMI to my tv?

Any build suggestions would be appreciated.

[Edited on September 3, 2008 at 12:36 PM. Reason : a]

9/3/2008 12:34:48 PM

Prospero
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How much are you willing to spend for each?

Since it sounds like you have an ATX case and plan to use this as an media server as well (an all-in-one approach) mediaPC, my recommendations are for such.

Quote :
"Already picked up a case which can handle any size motherboard. I want to have at least 4 Sata connectors in case I need to add more HDDs later on. Need a recommendation for a motherboard."

If you check out the perpetual computer build thread, the P5Q Pro is a good place to start. It has 8 sata ports, and supports RAID 0/1/5/10

Quote :
"Is it better to have built in RAID on a motherboard or a separate hardware controller? I plan on starting out with 3 HDDs and may add more later."

Onboard RAID is more than sufficient.

Quote :
"What is the best way to send decoded HD audio to my receiver (sound card?, motherboard?)"

Dedicated sound card for sure, although the ALC888 and ALC889 are both very capable onboard HD audio chips. Just be sure to send digital output (optical or SPDIF) out to your receiver.

In terms of dedicated cards, look at the:
Emu 0404 PCI - http://www.emu.com/products/product.asp?product=10447
X-fi Titanium - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829102019
Asus Xonar D2 (or D2X) - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829132001

I have one of these: (Chaintech AV-710)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829120103
it's probably the best bang/buck, but it's really hard to find nowadays.

Quote :
"Which graphics card to send HD video through HDMI to my tv?"

a) make sure it's an HDCP capable card
b) any 8500-series nvidia card or higher, any 3650 ati card or higher
c) use a DVI-HDMI cable to your HDTV, also make sure it's HDCP capabled
d) look for cards that have only a heatsink (made for silent applications)... i know asus makes some good silent heatsink cards
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121237
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121098

AIMHO

you can also check out the AVForums:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=940972

[Edited on September 3, 2008 at 1:20 PM. Reason : .]

9/3/2008 1:06:33 PM

wahoowa
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^price is not a significant issue although cheaper is better for this computer. Thanks for the info. I had no idea HDCP was necessary for the graphics card.

9/3/2008 2:41:10 PM

DoubleDown
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you'll probably want to go with HDMI out

DVI -> HDMI is so 2 years ago. also I like to encode my audio over HDMI

1 cable is a very slick setup, unlike Prospero's jumble of cables

9/3/2008 6:51:34 PM

Prospero
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what's a jumble of cables? two?

i have a single DVI-to-HDMI cable for video
i have a single 3.5"mm cable to speakers.

i bet you have two as well, 1 to the receiver and 1 to the tv

besides you can't even do lossless audio over HDMI with a PC setup (yet), at least not with a dedicated pci-e card

Quote :
"Unfortunately HDMI audio has not been realized yet in the PC world and we are still confined to S/PDIF. As a matter of facts, every HDMI video card simply passes S/PDIF signals from a sound card or onboard audio codec over the HDMI connector. Thus there is no real advantage of the current HDMI solution over the existing DVI + S/PDIF solution. Recent IGPs (ATI Radeon Xpress 1250 for Intel and AMD 690G) are no exception. Right now the only way to take the full-rate lossless multichannel sounds from the PC is use analog outputs."

from:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=940972#Graphics

[Edited on September 3, 2008 at 7:28 PM. Reason : .]

9/3/2008 7:25:35 PM

DoubleDown
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this is coming out of your PC tower in the corner?

im going for slick harmonized HTPC setup - not the "i just moved my PC to the living room" setup

9/3/2008 7:32:32 PM

Prospero
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i have a mini tower in my bookcase(w/door) that's nearly completely hidden, the wires are wired up through a grommet in the mantle and run to the TV, it just looks like any other component would in the bookcase

i have a WHS in the basement for storage and streaming. i've been thinking about the popcorn hour, but can't get myself to do it because it would leave me without a blu-ray player in the living room

you must be seriously trolling, b/c i don't know why you are criticizing my PC for having 2 cables, one being 1mm thick, and i don't have a nice large receiver like you do, and you have the same number of cables as i do, so where do you get the idea that mine is any less streamline than your own?

[Edited on September 3, 2008 at 7:40 PM. Reason : .]

9/3/2008 7:37:23 PM

wahoowa
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What RAID level do you guys use?

9/5/2008 12:11:43 PM

Prospero
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I have a WHS, so it's a proprietary Windows software solution that combines all your hard drives into a single partition, then duplicates all the info. Most similar to RAID 5 or 0+1, except you can use any hard drive and it's software based. For my front-end, I just have a single 320GB hard drive for the OS and any TV recordings. My photos, videos, music are all streamed from my WHS.

9/5/2008 1:48:24 PM

DoubleDown
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I use RAID 5 with (3) 750GB 7200.11s, WHS was too slow for me

9/6/2008 4:12:30 PM

Prospero
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you'll have to explain, there's no way it could be WHS being slow, b/c your network would become a factor before your hard drives in terms of streaming, and gigabit LAN is plenty to stream my 1080p content.

[Edited on September 6, 2008 at 7:57 PM. Reason : .]

9/6/2008 7:55:01 PM

neodata686
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We only have a megabit router and it's plenty to stream all our 1080p content.

Quote :
"there's no way it could be WHS being slow, b/c your network would become a factor before your hard drives "


Don't you mean the other way around? We don't have a gigabit lan but whenever i daisy chain computers together with gigabit cards the harddrives are always the limiting factor. You never actually get 128 Mbytes/sec with a gigabit, you get 35-50Mbytes/sec because the harddrives are the limiting factor.

[Edited on September 6, 2008 at 8:36 PM. Reason : ..]

9/6/2008 8:35:38 PM

DoubleDown
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Yes, you are correct neodata686 - the harddrives were the limiting factor on my network until I went with a hardware RAID solution

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816131003

9/6/2008 8:45:28 PM

Prospero
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yes, it's 125MB/s but that's theoretical, typical speeds is more like 80MB/s and most hard drives i know in RAID don't perform at less than this level unless it's RAID 1

7MB/s right... i was referring to 1080p bandwidth required for an uncompressed signal (350MB/s) and mixxing it with blu-ray disc.

[Edited on September 6, 2008 at 8:59 PM. Reason : .]

9/6/2008 8:48:55 PM

neodata686
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^^yeah but why would the harddrives ever be the limiting factor? You're not going to come across video with higher bitrate than harddrives can transfer at. Most ripped HD content is between 4kbit-8kbit. Not anywhere close to the transfer speeds you can get with a harddrive. It's true the harddrives are the limiting factor in a gigabit lan, but only if you care how fast you can transfer a 100GB file from one computer to another.

-Streaming works fine on a megabit network. The only reason you'd ever want gigabit is because you can't sit and wait for a big file to transfer from one HDD to another. Or if you're streaming multiple things at once.

[Edited on September 6, 2008 at 8:57 PM. Reason : .]

9/6/2008 8:50:25 PM

DoubleDown
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I do not perform ANY local streaming on my HTPC. Stick with your xbox360 if you're looking for a streaming appliance.

My HTPC holds over 2TB of movies & mp3s locally, no need to stream anything.

-- The reason for the RAID is because I do not do any media management on my HTPC, that is all done on a desktop on the LAN. So moving huge files back and forth to the HTPC was taking too long with WHS. Also, the stripped array provided a small sense of security for the media.

[Edited on September 6, 2008 at 9:00 PM. Reason : ...]

9/6/2008 8:57:39 PM

neodata686
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Quote :
"I do not perform ANY local streaming on my HTPC. Stick with your xbox360 if you're looking for a streaming appliance."


Yeah but the xbox 360 won't natively play .MKV files and that's the only HD media i have. I'd rather use my HTPC for streaming. It's faster, and plays anything i want.

Quote :
"My HTPC holds over 2TB of movies & mp3s locally, no need to stream anything.
"


Well you obviously don't have roommates. I have 2Tbytes on my desktop which is streamed to our HTPC, and my three roommates computers are also networked so they can play stuff too. It's a waste of time to transfer things over the network to the HTPC when they can simply be played form the original computer they were downloaded to.

9/6/2008 9:00:25 PM

DoubleDown
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The best part about an HTPC is you can customize it to your personal needs. If it is primarily going to be a streaming server, then you probably wont need any hardware acceleration

9/6/2008 9:03:47 PM

neodata686
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^true. We just stream everything so i don't really worry about network transfer speeds. It would be impossible to fit everyones media on the HTPC and streaming just allows us not to have to move anything and have to wait everytime we wanted to watch something.

9/6/2008 9:08:45 PM

DoubleDown
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Im still on the lookout for a better front-end to the HTPC than VMC that can handle large amounts of media without hangups - let me know if you run across anything

9/6/2008 9:18:41 PM

LimpyNuts
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You guys and your tiny storage capacities. I'm pushing 4TB now

9/6/2008 9:20:55 PM

neodata686
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^^VMC didn't work for me because it kept hanging up loading thumbnails. Try out media portal. It works great. You can even tag each movie with IMDB content so as you scroll through your movies it looks like you're flipping through dvd covers.

9/6/2008 9:24:31 PM

Prospero
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i guess it's just a different setup

HTPC that's my front-end plays Blu-ray/HDDVD/DVD, used for HD audio -> speakers, used for a GUI, used on occasion for recording HDTV content

WHS has nearly all the data (music, pictures, video) on it, there's a utorrent plugin so all the data is downloaded directly to it. my HDTV is DLNA so i can stream content directly to my HTPC frontend or to my TV, best of all, the data is duplicated, and i have an all-in-one solution for backing up my entire network of computers AND a central media server for my entire network. best of both worlds and i've never had any issues with speed. RAID 5 alone is not a sufficient backup solution.

9/6/2008 10:08:35 PM

neodata686
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^yeah but what software do you use as your front-end?

9/6/2008 10:13:13 PM

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