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#128289 - 02/14/06 01:34 AM HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
Was waiting for Randy to take the leap and build his HTPC so I would have a good system to copy. After an upgrade on a gaming puter here a few weeks ago and looking at the spare parts we have stored away, guess its time to build a new box.

Ordered the Ahanix MCE601 this evening as I found a good sale price on it, and it will blend in well in the racks with the Halos and the pair of Pure Av.



Hardware on hand that will be used are an AMD Athlon 64 2.2 gig, MSI K8N Neo Platium board, one gig of PC3200 Corsair, nVidia GeForce 6800.
Will make decisions on the hard drive and player in the next few days, at the present think we will try out MCE2005 and see how it preforms. This new box will go in the rack system using wireless to the house network, all of the MP3 files will now be on a dedicated and faster machine, allowing the Squeezebox to be relocated to the bedroom system.
Any suggestions or expierance with an HTPC will be appreciated, as this will be a new adventure.
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#128290 - 02/14/06 09:06 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
SirClyde Offline
local

Registered: 10/04/05
Posts: 212
Loc: Cedar Park, Tx
Until a couple of days ago I never heard of HTPC but I was planning on hooking one of my PC's up in my HT.
What would it cost for a nice HTPC?
What makes the HTPC different from the regular PC?
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#128291 - 02/14/06 09:12 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
bridgman Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 5408
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
The simple things are :

- it usually runs the Media Center Edition version of Windows XP rather than the normal version

- it needs a graphics card with video ins and outs, like an All-in-Wonder

- it needs a good sound card with digital (spdif) out

Other stuff often includes fast hard disks for storing and streaming video content, a spiffy looking box to fit into the living room decor, and a bunch of low-power-when-idle requirements which I expect everyone ignores in the real world.

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#128292 - 02/14/06 09:18 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
MarkSJohnson Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 09/27/04
Posts: 10886
Loc: Central NH
Just to add one small point to John's excellent answer, I think most HTPCs are also designed to run very quiet.... no distracting fan noise!
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#128293 - 02/14/06 09:22 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
SirClyde Offline
local

Registered: 10/04/05
Posts: 212
Loc: Cedar Park, Tx
Ok what would it cost for a nice HTPC?
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#128294 - 02/14/06 09:41 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
bridgman Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 5408
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
>>I think most HTPCs are also designed to run very quiet....

Ah yes, good point. I probably would not have been very happy with my first HTPC

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#128295 - 02/14/06 10:08 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17775
Loc: NoVA
I wouldn't necessarily say that it runs XP MCE. There are an awful lot of Linux based HTPCs out there.
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#128296 - 02/14/06 10:16 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
Don't go saying that...................................... I already have that discusion going on here with the puter geeks. Needless to say the OS is not ordered yet.
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#128297 - 02/14/06 10:26 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
bridgman Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 5408
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
Interesting. I wondered about Linux when I was posting but I hadn't seen any Linux HTPCs around here...

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#128298 - 02/14/06 10:42 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
As for the reasons for building the HTPC, the comments by others have covered most of it. As I said, we have spare parts, it could reduce the amount of components in the rack systems, less power/heat, and I'm already funding the electric company to much. Will also allow PC gaming on the Sony 60", and I will have all music and video in one menu.
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#128299 - 02/14/06 11:55 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
md55 Offline
local

Registered: 05/20/03
Posts: 284
Loc: Nevada City, CA
I recently went through the excercize of pricing a list of recomended components of a low cost purpose built HTPC. Without making too many compromises it looked like $1000-$1200 plus operating system. It could be done for less but It seemed like that would start to compromise more than I would have liked. One of my motivations was to be able to incorporate BLU-Ray/HD DVD(not included in above cost estimate) and HD DVR capability so its on hold for me until that is both possible and sorted out. Quiet running and excellent heat managment are key elements in selecting components.
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#128300 - 02/14/06 12:34 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
danmagicman7 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/16/05
Posts: 1467
If you are using an HTPC strictly for music, you really don't need a fast processor, you can spend the money on hard drives.

Also, if you are using SPDIF, you don't need an expensive sound card. It simply will make no difference. Think of an SPDIF port on a sound card like a USB port on a USB expension card, you can't really get "better" quality. It's just a digital port connected directly to the computer. Any and all circuitry on the sound card is pretty much bypassed. I think the MSI motherboard you are looking at has SPDIF on it, that should suffice.

If you want to use it for TV and DVD's, you will want any video card with DVI out. If you don't plan to be gaming, an ATI Radeon 9200 PCI or AGP card will do just fine. I wouldn't recommend getting an AIW card simply because if you want to upgrade, you have to get another AIW card. Dual HDTV tuners would do the trick.

I am a huge stickler on the quality of MP3's and my digital music. As we speak I am converting all of my music to pure lossless format, which is the exact same sound quality as a CD. Trust me, even at the highest setting on an mp3, you will be able to tell that it isn't a CD, especially on your axioms.
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#128301 - 02/14/06 12:43 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
danmagicman7 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/16/05
Posts: 1467
Oh, and Tharkun. If you want a 160 GB HD for $40, here you go.

Link
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#128302 - 02/14/06 02:07 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
SirQuack Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 13333
Loc: Iowa
MCE is just the front end, there are lots of options, Xlobby(free and awesome), Meedio to name a few. I plan to use XP Pro for the O/S.

You can build/buy a decent HTPC for $1500 or less, depending on options/hardware.
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#128303 - 02/14/06 03:58 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
skyhawk669 Offline
devotee

Registered: 01/23/06
Posts: 436
Loc: Austin, TX
I'm currently building one too. I'm not sure whether I'm going to go with a Linux or Windows box.
I've spent the last weekend doing some tests on an old computer on which I loaded Linux (FC4) and used Xine (media player) to play some DVDs, pretty good quality right out of the box. I was able to set it up on my Z2 with almost no overscan! (a couple pixels on the left side) fairly quickly, I think I can get it perfect if I mess around with the timings some more.
I'm fairly pleased with the quality, the only problem I have so far is getting Xine to display DVDs fullscreen correctly, I still have some problems, but I'm getting there.
The great thing is that this test box is running an old Athlon K7 800MHZ and the video card is an old GeForce 256 and it works great! I was able to deinterlace pretty well without dropping any images, so I can't wait to try it on a newer system.
To me the PQ is better than any Windows software DVD player I've used in the past (though to be fair the last time I've tried one was in 2000, so I'm sure they're a lot better now, with ffshow and pure video).

The reason I'm still debating going with the penguin is because I might want to do some gaming and then it would be easier to run all with Windows, since if I go with Linux I would have to dual boot, which is fine by me (and cheaper! I don't feel like buying Theatertek/Zoomplayer, Meedio/MCE, etc...).

Anyway the Linux solution is a lot easier than I thought and there are enough HD cards that are supported for it to be tempting. I'm thinking about getting a HDPC3000 card, which is designed for Linux, and works great with QAM and ATSC (the only drawback is that it has no support for Windows if I decided to switch... We'll see...).

Anyway if I have time next weekend I'll take some pictures of my screen using Xine to play DVDs to show y'all.


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#128304 - 02/14/06 05:31 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
MarkSJohnson Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 09/27/04
Posts: 10886
Loc: Central NH
Have you guys been reading this?
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#128305 - 02/14/06 05:34 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
Thank you Mark, I remember starting to read that, but then spaced out where it was as I didn't bookmark it
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#128306 - 02/14/06 06:34 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
SirQuack Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 13333
Loc: Iowa
I think he would prefer SATA.
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#128307 - 02/14/06 07:10 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17775
Loc: NoVA
Any of you guys contemplating building an HTPC and thinking you can include HD DVD or BluRay when they come out should have a look at this and their other coverage of HDCP. Then scream.
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#128308 - 02/14/06 07:30 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
danmagicman7 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/16/05
Posts: 1467
Why would SATA be better?

SATA is no faster than IDE. The only real advantage is that they are much easier to install and have hotswap capability. SATA II drives are faster, but, those drives have yet to surface although there are SATA II ports supported on motheroards.

Anyways...have fun on your HTPC build!


Edited by danmagicman7 (02/14/06 07:46 PM)
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#128309 - 02/14/06 10:07 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
Unless I'm really confused or misunderstand your use of "front end", MCE2005 is a complete OS.
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#128310 - 02/14/06 10:39 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
SirQuack Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 13333
Loc: Iowa
Yep, I don't plan to use MCE2005, I'll continue to use XP Pro.
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M22-OWM22-VP100-Denon2805
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#128311 - 02/14/06 11:25 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
skyhawk669 Offline
devotee

Registered: 01/23/06
Posts: 436
Loc: Austin, TX
Well technically MCE is a WinXP platform with a frontend packaged with it. You can actually shut it down and be back on a regular desktop (like you would with Meedio etc...)

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#128312 - 02/14/06 11:49 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
danmagicman7 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/16/05
Posts: 1467
Yup, the media player aspect is sort of like a different program you open up that is very well integrated into the OS
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#128313 - 02/14/06 11:49 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
I meant that Windows MCE is purchased as an operating system for installation on a new computer, and not a stand-alone application that is installed on an existing XP installation.
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#128314 - 02/15/06 01:01 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
DallasAxiom Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/23/05
Posts: 94
Loc: Dallas, Texas
Wow...I see an HTPC trend on the Axiom HT board!

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#128315 - 02/15/06 01:05 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
Ya, I only posted to get info on issues useers having a HTPC may have had, instead I get basic puter asembly 101 from one person. Then differant meaings of things like OS, front end, and so on. lol
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#128316 - 02/15/06 01:57 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Capn_Pickard Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/09/04
Posts: 1056
Loc: Arlington, VA (NOVA)
I have been wanting to replace my cd collection/cd megachangers with an HTPC style music jukebox. I'm recently researching the low end HTPC market - not worrying about gonzo video reproduction or internal tuners, etc. Mostly, I'm just worried about digital audio out, lots of Gigs of storage (300 should do, I figure), decent video reproduction to get the PC screen interface on the computer so that you can operate the cd juekbox programs, etc.

It's still too early to abandon DVD media discs and I already have a PVR from the cable company that I'm happy with.

Considering my needs, I went to ecollegepc.com and checked out some complete systems with DVD burners, 300 Gb hard disks, low end sound and video cards, wireless ethernet and about 512 Ram, to be run on Windows MCE - cost is hovering around $750, including the build, tax and shipping.

If I go with this type of config, I'll let you know my impressions.

Any of you whiz kids think of anything I'm missing?

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#128317 - 02/15/06 02:06 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
tomtuttle Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/20/03
Posts: 8288
Loc: Tacoma
Adrien, I'm kind of in the same position as you, and have been moving towards HTPC in fits and spurts for a while.

One ongoing frustration I have is control. I guess if you use MCE, that the IR remote is more embedded in the OS and you may not have to worry about it.

I'm not a geek, so I'm having trouble with things like integrating an IR receiver into the HTPC and then using Girder (or whatever). I am also predisposed to NOT use MCE, because I cannot get a deep discount on it, but I can get a good deal on XP. Hey, a hundred bucks is a hundred bucks, right? Especially when I (like you) am not using it as a DVR.
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#128318 - 02/15/06 03:10 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
danmagicman7 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/16/05
Posts: 1467
Building an HTPC is probably your best bet.

If you don't know how to build a PC, get a friend who does. You will save a boatload of money.
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#128319 - 02/16/06 12:27 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
As for storage space if it helps, for the 576 CDS that are stored on a drive, only using about 43 megs for them. Looking at a 300 gig drive for the HTPC for now and will see if we run out of space soon.
I may have the new toy assembled and online in a few weeks, but also could be longer since I need to get the racks installed. So you could order and have yours in and be done before me.
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#128320 - 02/16/06 10:11 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
SirQuack Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 13333
Loc: Iowa
Are you going to provide any fault tolerance/mirroring for DR issues? My next PC will incorporate a Raid 5 array with at least 4 drives of high capacity to hold ripped movies and/or music. If one drive fails, it can be replaced and easily reconstructed with the striped/parity setup.
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#128321 - 02/16/06 10:28 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
skyhawk669 Offline
devotee

Registered: 01/23/06
Posts: 436
Loc: Austin, TX
That's what I'm planning on doing too.
Any of you have tried both TheaterTek and Zoomplayer?
I'm debating which one to use (if I go the Windows route, decisions decisions...)

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#128322 - 02/16/06 12:07 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
SirQuack Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 13333
Loc: Iowa
I demo'd Theatertek at another friends house, and it was very cool.
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#128323 - 02/16/06 01:35 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17775
Loc: NoVA
Aren't the large amount of drives going to be horribly noisy? Or are you hiding the case off somewhere?
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#128324 - 02/16/06 02:07 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
With 3 people here involved in the HTPC build, have not managed to get a deciding vote as of yet,so the verdict is still out on the HD system. lol
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#128325 - 02/16/06 06:02 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
danmagicman7 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/16/05
Posts: 1467
You'd be suprised how quiet some hard drives can be. Seagates are really quiet, others are a little noisey.

But, RAID5 is awesome.
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#128326 - 02/16/06 08:46 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17775
Loc: NoVA
The Seagate Barracuda IVs were quiet. The Vs were not. Having not heard 5 in one machine, I can't speak to whether 5 Barracuda IVs would still be quiet. And there's also the cooling to consider on a drive array.

I've not read much about the Barracuda 8s, perhaps Seagate has finally gotten back to the quiet. However, even quiet drives can build up in noise when you have more than 1.
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#128327 - 02/16/06 11:15 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
SirQuack Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 13333
Loc: Iowa
I'm with you on this one Dan the Magic Man7

There are many drives that are whisper quiet. Ken, I have not decided yet. Highpoint Technologies and Promise offer some nice setups with Raid PCI or PCIx cards with or without external SATA interfaces. Seperate external cases or combined towers are available from Highpoint called Rocketmate which works with their RocketRaid cards.

A lot depends on which case I go with and room for internal expansion and cooling.
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#128328 - 02/17/06 01:48 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17775
Loc: NoVA
Let me know when you find some whisper quiet ones. I suck at building quiet computers.

'Course, the GeForce 6800 Ultra in my current box kind of insures that.
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#128329 - 02/17/06 09:49 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4829
Loc: western canada
I just put together a Shuttle XPC for my mother.
I can attest to its incredibly low SPL, virtually silent. The vidcard runs a bit hot but is otherwise a nice little unit, all for under $700 Cdn.
The parts are more mid range now (Athlon XP 2500+, Socket 754) but would be more than enough to run as a HTPC. I would probably change out the video card for something a bit more beefy though. I would also go with a separate sound card.
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#128330 - 02/17/06 10:46 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
Is it a safe assumption that the primary reason for your desire to have mass storage is for movies ? Sorry I may have missed it, but having so much fun with grouting lately.
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#128331 - 02/17/06 11:12 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
SirQuack Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 13333
Loc: Iowa
Don't even talk about grouting, that will be this weekends project.

Yes Tharkun, basically your right, I have lots of my CD's ripped and I want to archive some of my DVD's so I don't have to manually pop the DVD in each time, just got to a menuing system like Xlobby or other front ends to launch my movies.

I like the idea of a Raid 5 setup for fault tolerence and DR situations.
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M22-OWM22-VP100-Denon2805
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#128332 - 02/17/06 12:07 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
Well the case will be arriving on Monday via UPS, so this weekend we really need to agree on what we are going to do for the storage system and order it, Raid is still in the discussion, I'm having a problem with the cost. lol One reason is we already have as much money in the puter room as the HT system, perhaps more and they help pay the bills. The main boxes are due for a seriuos upgrade or replacement, with the cost of that, I'm having a problem justifing a Raid system on my simple HT box.

As for grouting, I'm doing it in three stages, each one an average of 400 sq ft......I'm only on stage one.


Edited by Tharkun (02/17/06 12:12 PM)
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#128333 - 02/17/06 12:27 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
danmagicman7 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/16/05
Posts: 1467
If you can't afford a raid, why don't you set up a backup server and have it back up only the things you want every night? It sounds like you have a couple computers around the house.
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#128334 - 02/17/06 12:35 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
Everything is backed up on drives, with partials done daily, full backups weekly, all going to the DAT unit, thus why I think a Raid on the HT is rather a waste of money, since it will be on the network, a restore is not a big issue.
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#128335 - 02/17/06 12:38 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
skyhawk669 Offline
devotee

Registered: 01/23/06
Posts: 436
Loc: Austin, TX
Sirquack,

Have you looked into MediaPortal? It looks like another good alternative.

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#128336 - 02/17/06 01:07 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
SirQuack Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 13333
Loc: Iowa
Dan, Dennis can afford anything, you must not have checked out his equipment, lol. Anyway, Dennis as long as your mirroring or backing up changed data, your good to go.
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#128337 - 02/17/06 01:09 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
SirQuack Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 13333
Loc: Iowa
Thanks Cam, I'll have to check that one out also. XLobby is also a free product which is pretty cool as you can control your HTPC from any WiFi device, even remotely. _
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#128338 - 02/17/06 01:14 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
bridgman Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 5408
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
>>If you can't afford a raid, why don't you set up a backup server and have it back up only the things you want every night? It sounds like you have a couple computers around the house.

He has a small data center around the house including centralized backup, but it's for work not part of the toy collection.

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#128339 - 02/17/06 01:18 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
LOL......really can't afford everything I like, but as for the house puters, Ken's job title is a senior Unix system admin, becasue of that we have the Unix boxes. So yes, we have so much redundancy & security built into the systems here that it s a pain at times when passwords are changed and I can't get to where I want.
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#128340 - 02/17/06 01:34 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17775
Loc: NoVA
Note: not me.
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#128341 - 02/17/06 01:44 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
Sorry, I should have used Kenneth L to aviod any confusion.
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#128342 - 02/18/06 11:49 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
I was just reminded this morning that when we built the current box I use, we did add Raid 1 to it. Since tying it in to the DAT drive is way more problems than its worth, as the DAT is set up for SCSI use by the Sun boxes.
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#128343 - 02/19/06 12:50 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
SirQuack Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 13333
Loc: Iowa
Cam, I've been testing MediaPortal, and so far I'm very impressed. Had to tweek some of the configuration settings to get rid of some stuttering on this old PC, but it is working great now. Can't get the webbrowser feature to work yet, but will figure that out.

This is a very very cool front end, for those that already have an OS like XP Pro, and don't want to buy MCE. Actualy their MCE skin almost looks just like the real thing. I think I like this one better than XLobby. Open Source is a great option.
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#128344 - 02/19/06 01:01 AM BluRay & HD-DVD Blues
Feribaba Offline
frequent flier

Registered: 02/12/06
Posts: 14
"One of my motivations was to be able to incorporate BLU-Ray/HD DVD(not included in above cost estimate) and HD DVR capability so its on hold for me until that is both possible and sorted out."

Mark, not to argue or anything, but what makes you think that this issue will ever be sorted out? Further, what is the guarantee that EITHER of these so-called high-def DVD formats will take off in the marketplace?

My money is that neither will, and that this so-called high-def DVD brouhaha will die off before it really gets started. Once folks realize that the quality (resolution) is not all that much higher (especially with HD-DVD), and that the copy protection is just plain ludicrous, that regular ole' DVD player will gain favor over these newfangled attempts to part us with mo' and mo' dough. ;-))


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#128345 - 02/19/06 03:19 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
skyhawk669 Offline
devotee

Registered: 01/23/06
Posts: 436
Loc: Austin, TX
That's really great! I hope to be able to test it next weekend. I'm still testing MythTV on Linux right now and I have it tweaked to where I like. Once I try MediaPortal I'll be able to decide which way I want to go. As far as I can tell they are pretty similar.
The main differences are that you have more settings to tweak on MediaPortal when it comes to DVD playback; and building up a DVD database is easier.
On the other hand it seems that MythTV has a better HDTV cards compatibility. I know that MediaPortal dowsn't have as many cards that work well, but they are working on it (the main "problem" being that most of the developpers/testers are european and therefore don't have enought people to test ATSC, that is changing for the better though).
I have heard that when it works MediaPortal's tv features are very close to Tivo, and they're getting better with every release!

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#128346 - 02/19/06 10:22 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
INANE Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/04/04
Posts: 1665
Loc: Omaha, Nebraska
Note to DIY HTPC'rs

HD + HTPC's = less and less likely everyday thanks to your friends in Washington bending over for the 'industry'.

I don't mean to rain on this parade because HTPC is one of my most favorite things. There is going to be a war once HD content becomes more prevalent and it doesn't look good for *us*.

Believe it or not, but Microsoft is our friend in this. They may be one of the few companies to fight on our behalf. On one side you have the RIAA saying you shouldn't be allowed to turn your CD into mp3. On another you have Hollywood fighting to keep movies off your (HT)PC. And then the kicker is the cable industry (CableLabs) saying those kick butt cable cards will not be allowed in any (HT)PC they don't stamp their ($$$) approval on.

Oh ya, don't care about HDTV? They are trying to make all this bad news backwards compatible too.

Write your Senator/Rep!

I'm a saaaaaad panda.
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#128347 - 02/19/06 10:43 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
INANE Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/04/04
Posts: 1665
Loc: Omaha, Nebraska
Oh ya, on a brighter side, I absolutely love MCE 2005. There may be other packages that do certain things better here and there but overall I haven't come across one I like more. I especially love how music is handled in it.
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#128348 - 02/19/06 11:51 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
Appreciate the vote for MCE, the HT case will arrive tomorrow, and since we need an OS for it, sticking with MCE.
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#128349 - 02/20/06 06:58 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Saturn Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 10/21/02
Posts: 1041
Loc: Toronto Ontario Canuck
I have been successful over the years with XP abd NVDVD. NVDVD stock has been very succesful in presenting a great picture with lots of contrast. It rivals close to a fully configured FDSHOW, Theatertek and Dscaler setup.

In the mean time that the HD DVD wars gets retified you can take a look as WMV HD format on a HTPC. It has been available for the past 3+ years starting with WM9.

ops forgot link.
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/content_provider/film/HDVideo.aspx





Edited by Saturn (02/20/06 07:16 PM)
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#128350 - 02/20/06 07:07 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
Thanks for the info, and if I waited to build an HT box till HD DVD wars are over/settled......I could die before that happens. lol
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#128351 - 02/20/06 07:25 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Saturn Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 10/21/02
Posts: 1041
Loc: Toronto Ontario Canuck
I will be rebuilding my HTPC in the next couple of weeks. My new home theater/entertainment area will be ready in the next 3 weeks. I'll let you know if there are any snags or changes to NVDVD, XP. If I have a chance I will check out MCE since a fair bit use it. as for the interface I have been so used to XP. All I did was buy a wireless keyboard and re-produced all the keyboard keys on the learning remote so I barely need the keyboard or mouse to run XP.
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#128352 - 02/20/06 11:11 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
The Ahanix HT case arrived this afternoon and took a few pics of it. It was double boxed and packaged well, UPS managed to do no damage to the box at all. Quality of the case in my opinion is superior, the front panel looks to made on a CNC machine, the interior of the case is also nicley done as I found no sharp edges to nick fingers on. The dual case fans are very low db level, and see no need to replace them at this point. Did need to make a mod to the video card that we had, the plastic shroud for the cooling fan was a tad to high for the case cover. Will go with it for now and change out later if heat for the card becomes an issue.
Will be ordering the rest of the parts this week I think, so should have the new box online in a week or so with any luck.















Puter parts were installed under the watchful eyes of Anika.


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#128353 - 02/20/06 11:27 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
INANE Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/04/04
Posts: 1665
Loc: Omaha, Nebraska
Nice!

I really want to get a case a lot like that (that one was on my short list) but alas, I can't afford such things at the momemnt.

Reguarding my HD+HTPC comment, I guess I should have clarified, I was talking Cable (and Satilite, and disk) not OTA HDTV, but I want more than 3 (4?) channels. (But if the broadcast flag passes it could affect OTA too)
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#128354 - 02/20/06 11:37 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
We do use satellite for tv and HD and we use a Huges Tivo box, the order of building the HT box was going to be music, movies, and then the satellite issue.

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#128355 - 02/20/06 11:45 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
INANE Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/04/04
Posts: 1665
Loc: Omaha, Nebraska
There is no doubt most HTPC's are excellent for music and movies. I absolutely would not do without mine now. I just really love being able to do EVERYTHING in one box. TV, AVR and MCE box, its friggin nice. (I'm still just on SDTV). The idea of having to split that back up upsets me.

The DIY market share isn't exactly huge, so I try to rile up those that I can to fight the good fight in being able to continue DIY HTPC's into the digital future.


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#128356 - 02/21/06 01:29 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
danmagicman7 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/16/05
Posts: 1467
Looks like the great makings of a HTPC! I love the case.

What exaclty did you do to the vid card heatsink? It looks like you just popped the plastic covering off?
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#128357 - 02/21/06 10:36 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
This is the fan shroud that was removed, the top part is deisgned to move air to opposite side of the card, making the card about 3/16 of an inch above the case height. One suggestion was to take the Dremel to it, I voted for just removing it, if it is changed out later, can reinstall the shroud and sell the card unmodified. lol


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#128358 - 02/21/06 10:58 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
One more piece closer to being finished, just ordered the custom rack mount piece for the HT case. Now if it fits as MA says it will.


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#128359 - 02/21/06 11:56 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
danmagicman7 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/16/05
Posts: 1467
Groovy.
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#128360 - 02/21/06 02:45 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
INANE Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/04/04
Posts: 1665
Loc: Omaha, Nebraska
Wow, going all out. More pics once its all in place. A short review of the process would be cool to. Always curious how other people percieve the entire process of building and using a HTPC.
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HT v2.0 !
HT v1.0

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#128361 - 02/21/06 06:31 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
Will post my thoughts once its up and running, but the HT box is just one peice of a major change, the new rack system is going to involve some major re-wiring of all speakers, components, and adding cables for the projector and power for the screen....so may be a time before all is completed. LOL
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#128362 - 02/22/06 08:47 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
spiffnme Offline
axiomite

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 5214
Loc: Los Angeles
I love the idea of a HTPC, but I'm a little confused as to their purpose.

Loading my entire MP3 collection to a HTPC sounds like a good idea, but what about movies? Do you guys play your DVD's in the HTPC or do use your dvd players? It seems odd to me to replace a DVD-2900 with a $50 dvd drive in a PC.

I'm all for a HTPC, like I said it seems like a great idea, but what's the PQ like for playing movies?

How about recording TV? Would a HTPC really replace my beloved Tivo?


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#128363 - 02/22/06 09:09 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
SirQuack Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 13333
Loc: Iowa
The point is you can combine all the things you mentioned plus more, on one attractive AV HTPC case. For dvd watching, you can scale the image to match exactly that of your tv/projector because of the high end video cards available. The picture can blow away most stand alone players in my opinion. For constant height screen setups, you can set the dvd player software to automatically stretch/adjust the image of 2.35 material as a prerequesite for an anamorphic lens and make use of all the pixels of your HD projector.

Lets see what else; Internet/Radio/HDTV/Recording/Streaming trailers/archiving movies and music for instant access/wireless control from your couch of everything.....

I don't know there are so many things....come on Dan/Dennis and others...
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#128364 - 02/22/06 09:21 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
skyhawk669 Offline
devotee

Registered: 01/23/06
Posts: 436
Loc: Austin, TX
What he said.
You can also play games (though if you want to have a videocard powerful enough for it you will have to deal with more noise).
The fact that you can store all your DVDs on it is a great thing! Think about it, all your movies at the reach of a button. Also the advantage of a HTPC is that you can upgrade parts as you need. You have total control on how the system looks on the screen (skins), as well as how it behaves. For tweakers and fidgeters this is a dream machine!

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#128365 - 02/22/06 09:24 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
bridgman Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 5408
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
Randy hit the nail on the head. A modern PC with a medium to high end shader-based graphics card has an immense amount of video processing capability, far more than a typical DVD player. Every time the processing power goes up, there are more things we can do to improve video quality.

Historically the video I/O capabilities of PCs were below the best consumer equipment, particularly in terms of controlling noise, but (a) there has been a big push in raising the video quality bar over the last few years, and (b) moving to a digital video output (DVI or HDMI) takes away a lot of the noise issues anyways.

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#128366 - 02/22/06 09:31 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
INANE Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/04/04
Posts: 1665
Loc: Omaha, Nebraska
Exactly what sirquack said. To take the movies thing a step furture... you can encode the DVD's into mpeg4 (divx, xvid, etc) to shrink them to ~1.5gig size and store them for 'online' access. I've done this and its really cool to simply open My Movies in MCE (its a plugin), browse all your movies by title, search by actors, directors, if you've watched it recently, etc. If you don't want to shrink your movies you can still use that plugin as a database but tell it the movie is offline, so if you click on it, it will pop up saying you need to find disk X (if you choose to label your DVDs).

Computers rule. Basically the only limitation to a HTPC is what you choose to not figure out how to do. If that makes any sense.
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HT v2.0 !
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#128367 - 02/22/06 10:17 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
SirQuack Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 13333
Loc: Iowa
Inane, what is your opinion on the quality when compressed to the smaller file formats? I usually just burn the movie only, so they average around 4gb a piece.

I've been testing Media Portal, which is very very close to MCE, in fact they have an MCE skin that you'd swear your using MCE. Their application ties in with the IMDB and pulls down movie description/actors/etc... It is so cool AND free. I've also looked at XLobby, which is also free....
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#128368 - 02/22/06 11:34 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
Just in from the garage, spent the day building cabinets for the racks and seems a few have had time to post.

Along with the reasons for HTPC that others have posted, I'll add a couple more of ours, Matt and his PC gaming on the big screen and sound system, also the C2 and a couple of other components need a computer for updates and programing the readout panels with text.

Wiith computer geeks here, it's another toy to play with. lol

Progress for today.



Tomorrow the plan is to wrap the cabinets with the oak skins and prep for staining.



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#128369 - 02/23/06 07:19 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
MarkSJohnson Offline
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Registered: 09/27/04
Posts: 10886
Loc: Central NH
Looks great, Dennis!

Is that MDF? Are the backs closed?

Waiting for the final photos....(!)
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#128370 - 02/23/06 10:52 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
Yeppers it tizz MDF and the cabinets are fully enclosed, I will be cutting out the openings for the two top mounted vent fans in the racks today.. I usually use oak ply but because of the dimensions of the racks there was going to be considerable waste, and at HD cost of $ 54 per sheet there is about a $ 22 per sheet savings by going with MDF and just laminate oak skin over it. A bit more labor intensive offset with the advantage of having a better looking finish when done becasue the oak skins have a much tighter grain than oak ply.

With no longer having room for a nice cabinet grade table saw and just using straight edges and a skill saw for cutting sheet goods, the MDF is nice to work with and has the 49" x 97" dimension. First time I have seen this available in HD, its a special size used mostly by cabinet shops. Actually had a good day yesterday as once the cabinets were finished, the dimensions of each were within 1/64"of each other and perfectly square, which was critical for the racks as I don't want more than about 1/8" distance from the rack rail to the finish trim on the opening.................so I screwed up some how. lol

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#128371 - 02/23/06 06:54 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
Did not get both cabinets skinned today, only one. The stain was not completely dry, so the color is a few shades lighter than it will be.




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#128372 - 02/23/06 10:00 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
INANE Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/04/04
Posts: 1665
Loc: Omaha, Nebraska
In reply to:


Their application ties in with the IMDB and pulls down movie description/actors/etc... It is so cool AND free. I've also looked at XLobby, which is also free....




The My Movies plugin uses IMDB as well (its free as well). As far as PQ I'm still using a SDTV so its impossible to tell the difference. My friends who do the exact same thing do say they can tell the difference on their HDTV's. One of them tells me he is going to start use DVD Shrink to just rip the mpeg2 off the DVD onto the hard drive. My Movies is very flexable, doesn't really care what format the video is in.

I don't have kids but several of my friends who do this do, and it sounds like it is really good for keeping their little hands off the DVDs, plus makes it easy for them to find what they want to watch.
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HT v2.0 !
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#128373 - 02/24/06 09:22 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
SirQuack Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 13333
Loc: Iowa
I sometimes will use shrink to rip only the movies with or without compression, depends on the situation. The problem is the development stopped on Shrink over a year ago, however, it still works fine for most DVDs.
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#128374 - 02/28/06 12:33 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
The custom rack mount for the HTPC arrived today, one minor issue is the front frame was suppose to be the brushed aluminum. A replacement is being shipped so decided to assemble it, the frame seems to have been laser cut and fits the MCE601 perfectly. Included were a pair of rear brackets to keep the unit from sliding back.


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#128375 - 02/28/06 08:54 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
skyhawk669 Offline
devotee

Registered: 01/23/06
Posts: 436
Loc: Austin, TX
That looks great!

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#128376 - 02/28/06 09:45 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
SirQuack Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 13333
Loc: Iowa
It appears your restricting air flow from the sides of the HTPC when you consider the special mount/enclosure and wood rack?
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#128377 - 02/28/06 10:02 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
skyhawk669 Offline
devotee

Registered: 01/23/06
Posts: 436
Loc: Austin, TX
That's very true, didn't think about that...
Maybe Tharkun is planning on having some fans sucking the hot air out? He hasn't cut any openings yet.

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#128378 - 02/28/06 10:29 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
SirQuack Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 13333
Loc: Iowa
Heat is a computers worst enemy. Also, not all computer fans are created equal on cooling ability and noise level.
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#128379 - 02/28/06 10:33 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
In reply to:

It appears your restricting air flow from the sides of the HTPC when you consider the special mount/enclosure and wood rack?



I don't think so, if so I will not be happy.

In reply to:

Maybe Tharkun is planning on having some fans sucking the hot air out? He hasn't cut any openings yet.




The HT case has additional cooling fan/vents on the top, and any componets above it will be shorter in depth, such as the Velodyne unit or the Polk XM unit. I have one fan for each rack which will be on a controller with a temperture sensor, the fan will change air in the rack approx 3 times every minute. If I need to add a second fan to each rack it will be no problem to do at a later time.




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#128380 - 02/28/06 10:36 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
SirQuack Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 13333
Loc: Iowa
Looks very well planned Dennis, I'm sure you'll be fine. Your one talented craftsman..
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M22-OWM22-VP100-Denon2805
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#128381 - 02/28/06 10:54 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
Thanks for the compliment Randy, but I will be less stressed once everything is in place and working. I spent most of the yesterday tearing down the entire system down. So at the present everything is stacked in the solarium and not operational.




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#128382 - 02/28/06 07:39 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17775
Loc: NoVA
Why, a non-operational Rock'n'Haxiom home theatre is just wrong!
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#128383 - 02/28/06 09:11 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
Progress for today, took care of a lot of stuff that is not visible and the first cabinet is secured in place. The rack is not yet installed, just another one of many trial fits. lol


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#128384 - 02/28/06 10:26 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
Ya it is no fun, will be working long days to get everything back in place and working again.
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#128385 - 02/28/06 11:04 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
INANE Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/04/04
Posts: 1665
Loc: Omaha, Nebraska
Looking good... very jealous.


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HT v2.0 !
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#128386 - 03/01/06 11:17 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
Thanks............just returned from Home Depot with more oak veneer, quiting for the night I think.
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#128387 - 03/04/06 11:55 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
The replacement piece arrived yesterday, think it looks a lot better than the balck.


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#128388 - 03/04/06 12:38 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
danmagicman7 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/16/05
Posts: 1467
Feedback Destroyer Pro?

Do you have mics or something?
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#128389 - 03/04/06 01:05 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Ajax Offline
axiomite

Registered: 12/30/03
Posts: 6250
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
The BFD, Behringer Feedback Destroyer (although, for reasons which I myself do NOT understand, whenever I see the acronym all I can think of is Big F***in' Deal ), is a parametric equalizer often used to flatten the frequency response of subwoofers.
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"People generally quarrel because they cannot argue." - G. K. Chesterton

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#128390 - 03/04/06 01:12 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
As Jack explained I used it for tweaking the twin EP600s, but it will be going on eBay since it has now been replaced with the Velodyne SMS-1 unit.
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#128391 - 03/07/06 11:12 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
Just an update on the progress if anyone is interested, this pic was taken early Monday morning, have made more progress sine that time but still going to take another week I think.


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#128392 - 03/07/06 11:21 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
pmbuko Online   content
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16274
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
Hey, you missed a spot over there.
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#128393 - 03/07/06 11:46 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
SirQuack Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 13333
Loc: Iowa
This is what you need. Up to 5.5TB of protected storage using 500GB hard drives.


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#128394 - 03/07/06 11:57 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
Well that is one reason I'm not adding DVD storage to the HTPC, depending on what happens there may be a need for a substantial investment in computer room.
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#128395 - 03/17/06 01:45 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
el_giovato Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/05/04
Posts: 96
Loc: Northern Ontario
Any more progress to report? I'm building an HTPC in a few weeks, and am still trying to decide on a case. I considered the one you have, but am a little concerned regarding the proprietary PS. I'm not sure of the replacement cost and downtime in the event of a PS failure.
What's the noise level like with the box up and running?

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#128396 - 03/18/06 10:42 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
The HTPC project has been on hold for the last couple of weeks well making the new cabinets for the rack systems. As for the PS issue I was not really concerend about it as there is a company that makes an adapter mount for a standard PS. I plan on being able to finish up the HTPC in another week or so and will post more about it once it is online.

Once the Sony HD is in place the last of the trim will be put in place, for now back to the re-wiring of the system.


First rack with all components in place and power cables in place.



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#128397 - 03/18/06 12:35 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Lorenzo1000 Offline
aficionado

Registered: 02/07/04
Posts: 537
Loc: Winterpeg
Looks great Dennis.

Good grief, I could only dream to have the where with all to build and afford something that nice.
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#128398 - 03/18/06 01:16 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
danmagicman7 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/16/05
Posts: 1467
Ahh, I like your wiring, man after my own heart.

My motto, "You can never have enough zip ties." I'm enfatuated with making the inside of computer cases/other cables looking really neat. The cables look very neat, nice how you moved the power cables all to one side.

That kinda reminds me of when I was working at a computer shop, they had me wire a huge server cabinet, almost looked like that, with all the power cables all zip tied together in a neat little bundle. For some reason, I think doing that is sorta fun.

Anyways, it looks fabulous!

Are you only going to have one halo controller, and move the balanced outputs to the other 2 halo amps on the other side?

P.S. I just realized how sweet that rack design is. You can, slide it out turn it, that is REALLY nice man.


Edited by danmagicman7 (03/18/06 01:19 PM)
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#128399 - 03/18/06 01:48 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17775
Loc: NoVA
That's gorgeous, man. Inside and out. Really, really nice work.
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#128400 - 03/18/06 02:28 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Zarak Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/09/03
Posts: 1849
Loc: PA
Wanna make me one when you are done with yours?

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#128401 - 03/18/06 02:41 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
F107plus5 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/24/05
Posts: 2034
Loc: Fla. Orig. Mich.
Why,...makes me proud to think that something like our basic humble ol' Axioms can go into such gorgeous surroundings!!

Lookin' good indeed!!
Rich.

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#128402 - 03/18/06 02:46 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
el_giovato Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/05/04
Posts: 96
Loc: Northern Ontario
Thanks Denis,
Your set-up looks great, very clean. That is an insane amount of power!!!

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#128403 - 03/18/06 02:55 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Ajax Offline
axiomite

Registered: 12/30/03
Posts: 6250
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio

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Jack

"People generally quarrel because they cannot argue." - G. K. Chesterton

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#128404 - 03/18/06 03:02 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
HomeDad Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/29/05
Posts: 3301
Loc: Central,California
Great job Dennis, looking forward to more pictures when you have some time.
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#128405 - 03/18/06 11:10 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
In reply to:

Are you only going to have one halo controller, and move the balanced outputs to the other 2 halo amps on the other side?




Yep.......have to order several new cables on Monday, was waiting till both racks were in place to get final measurements.

In reply to:

Wanna make me one when you are done with yours?




Don't think I would have the patiecene to build another one like this. lol

Apprecaite all of the positive comments, has been a long two weeks of work and still have a lot of hours to put in before it is all finished and working again. Took several hours today just to install the fan controller and the cooling fans, finish up the triggers for the amps, did manage to get the 110 volt line, speaker wire, and woffer cable to the left front main, tomorrow the right side and may have at least stereo working again.
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#128406 - 03/20/06 09:37 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
A couple pics of the weekend of fun, decided since the side and rear speaker wires needed to be relocated, I may as well run them in schedule 40 conduit. Down to only 3 days before we have a house guest from the east arriving and all I have left to do is re-run the satellite feeds, the antenna for the XM radio, sub cable, and all of these need to go through the same area in conduit. Finish up the cabinet, order new cables from BJ and finish connecting evrything................no problem.






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#128407 - 03/20/06 09:40 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
pmbuko Online   content
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16274
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
What a slob! I honestly don't know how your housemates put up with you.



[disclaimer: i am joking, of course]
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#128408 - 03/20/06 11:44 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
This is the organized area, you should see the garage and the Axioms....covered in dust from wood working.
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#128409 - 03/20/06 11:08 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
INANE Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/04/04
Posts: 1665
Loc: Omaha, Nebraska
Never having a nice setup, its not so bad during contruction cause you're just excited... but taking down a working setup to improve it. Well I can only imagine how insane you must feel right now being without.


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HT v2.0 !
HT v1.0

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#128410 - 03/21/06 12:38 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
Just finished for the day and its starting to get close, last of the rack mount pieces arrived so all components are in the racks and powered. Directv/tivo is working and two channel stereo for the Squeezbox. Need to order a bunch of cables from Blue Jeans tomorrow so the right side amps can be powered and the rest of the components connected up.

Will post a few pics in the next days, hope to have the Sony HD up in place tomorrow evening, but after almost three weeks of having the system down it will be nice when it is all finished.



Edited by Tharkun (03/21/06 12:40 AM)
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#128411 - 03/21/06 11:47 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
A couple of pics as of this morning, will be running a few more cables and hope to set the Sony unit in place this evening.




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#128412 - 03/21/06 01:16 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
HomeDad Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/29/05
Posts: 3301
Loc: Central,California
Dennis, looks great, can't wait to see the final product, but I figure your wishing the same thing by now
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#128413 - 03/21/06 01:29 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
You have that right............running out of time since we have a house geust arriving Thursday and a b-day BBQ on Sunday for about 20.
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#128414 - 04/08/06 10:51 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
As usual this project has taken longer than expected................but this post is being made from the HTPC. The last of the hardware was installed last night, installed MCE 2005. Today I'll be re-installing it in the rack and connecting it into the system, hopeflully the new Mits arrives on Wednesday as promised so we can see how Olorin looks on it.

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#128415 - 04/08/06 06:09 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
INANE Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/04/04
Posts: 1665
Loc: Omaha, Nebraska
Gratz!

Be sure to give us your input once you'd had a chance to really dig into the HTPC (obviously you may stumble across some questions too, love to help fellow MCE'rs).

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-Ben
HT v2.0 !
HT v1.0

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#128416 - 04/08/06 06:20 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
Will do.....for the last few hours it has been busy tranfering 45 gigs of MP3 files, looks like it may take another 7 or 8 hours till finished. So thinking about taking the rest of the day off. LOL
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#128417 - 04/09/06 05:39 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
jmone Offline
veteran

Registered: 01/08/06
Posts: 158
Loc: Sydney Australia
I've started with a basic MCPC which is based on a Dell Power Edge Server (purchased for only US$350!) with a:
1) Motherboard / Case: mBTX Motherboards are the newest format and are very quite thanks to a massive CPU Heatsink and slow fan. I'd suggest the Intel D945GBO as a great value alternative as for US$150 it also has Raid 5 and S/PDIF. The case is a black mini tower format that is very quite and hids nicely behind my black EP500 / MT60.
2) Processor: Intel PentiumD280 Dual Core grunt came with the box!
3) Memory: 256MB Mem came with the box, have ordered 1Gb for $100 (expensive as the Dell server uses ECC memory). though I've had no probs playing everything with the std 256!
4) HDD: Got the 250GB SATAII drive and can add at least 3 more for around $100ea but would like HW RAID 5 (note: may use the following XP Hack for SW RAID 5 (http://www.tomshardware.com/2004/11/19/using_windowsxp_to_make_raid_5_happen/)
5) Control: I've spent another $20 for USB keyboard/mouse (and 5mtr cable) but am on the lookout for the Microsoft Infrared keyboard & receiver
6) Sound / Video: Spent $15 for secondhand S/PDIF soundcard (all the decoding is done by the Yami V2600) and $50 for a fanless Video card that supports S-Video/Component to connect to the Yami V2600 as I wait for the first of the new HDMI based cards to arrive!
7) Software: I just use XP as the OS and find I have been using both Media Player (mainly to Rip CD's) and Nero Home as the GUI (come bundled with Nero so for me the costs = $0). Also tried Media Portal and even considered using just Media Player (but would need to buy the DVD Decoder).
8) File Formats: I'm ripping all my CD's as "Lossless WMA". Yes they take 35MB not 5MB per song, but disk is cheap and to me the difference is very noticable on the Yami/Axiom setup. No point in have good equipment if you feed it crap. With the right S'W running in the background you can also just copy the DVD's across to the the HDD then rename the VIDEO_TS folder as the DVD Name - simple, easy and perfect quality.

It has all taken a bit of fiddling around and is not the most stable so I will reinstall the system once I've got it going how I like it.

Nathan
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#128418 - 04/09/06 11:09 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
pmbuko Online   content
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16274
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
In reply to:

The case is a black mini tower format that is very quite and hids nicely behind my black EP500


I'd be a bit concerned about the proximity of hard drives to an unshielded subwoofer. Are they really as close as it sounds?
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#128419 - 04/09/06 05:41 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
jmone Offline
veteran

Registered: 01/08/06
Posts: 158
Loc: Sydney Australia
Yup, pushed up right behind the sub and no probs (so far) that I can attribute to the sub (but who knows, I have had some probs with stability but it is more likely driver related!)
_________________________
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#128420 - 04/09/06 08:28 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
pmbuko Online   content
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16274
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
Well, the magentic field is most likely strongest radially (in the EP500's case, it's vertically), so you probably have enough distance at the back to be safe.
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#128421 - 04/10/06 02:06 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
dakkon Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/08/04
Posts: 1846
Tharkun, what kind of cat is that again, i tried searching but couldnt find it....



found this, though it would help with information relavint to this thread

http://www.denguru.com/2006/04/06/confessions_of_a_serial_htpc_builder_part_2/






Edited by dakkon (04/10/06 02:12 AM)

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#128422 - 04/10/06 01:28 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
The cats we have are one of the exotic breeds, they are Bengals and are very differant from the normal domestic cats. Both are about 4 years old now and a favorite spot for laying around is on top of the twin 600s.

Bengal Link
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#128423 - 04/10/06 01:39 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
HomeDad Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/29/05
Posts: 3301
Loc: Central,California
Beautifull cats, I always wanted a Silver Tabby, but my dog is not that cat freindly, we have one cat left only because it has been smart enough to stay clear of the dog.
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#128424 - 04/10/06 08:34 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
dakkon Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/08/04
Posts: 1846
i remember you educating everyone about them a while ago, was thinking about getting one for the parents, but couldnt remember the damn name

is it best to get 2 of them? or will 1 cat + 2 dogs be good?


o btw, not wanting to hijack your thread....


Edited by dakkon (04/10/06 08:38 PM)

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#128425 - 04/10/06 10:04 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
pmbuko Online   content
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16274
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
It's usually best to fully involve the gift receipient(s) in the choice of pet. I don't want to assume anything on your part, but I wanted to make sure you weren't just going to appear on their doorstep with a feline or two that's much closer to wild animal (relatively speaking) than your average house cat.
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#128426 - 04/11/06 11:05 AM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
Tharkun Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 1039
Loc: Tracy, California
I would agree with Peter as to not just giving a Bengal to your parents without involving them in the decision making. The Bengal breed can make great pets/companions for the owner, but also they can be a lot differant than a regular feline. I would recommend finding a Bengal breeder that is in your area and not go with online ordering, we needed to travel over a 100 miles for each of the two breeders we dealt with. A reputable Bengal breeder will do a interview with a persepective owner to aid them in the decision making of becoming a Bengal owner, and if you do purchase a Bengal, the breeder will have a list of requirements you must agree with and abide by. Bengals are rather expensive and breeders want the owner to undestand the Bengal temperment and that these are not just the typical kitty cats that after a few months the owner decides to just drop it off at a animal shelter.
If your parents are lovers of cats, and want a feline that is highly intelligent ( we have learend to never walk out of the house with out keys, as the Bengals will flip the dead bolts on us) and do have many of the characteristics of "big cats" I would recommend doing some reasearch on the Bengal line.
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#128427 - 04/11/06 05:07 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress
freesey Offline
local

Registered: 06/19/02
Posts: 248
Loc: London, Ontario
Dude. Your HT is GODLY. I pee a little everytime I see how you upgrade it.
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#128428 - 02/10/07 03:08 PM Re: HTPC Build In Progress [Re: danmagicman7]
spiffnme Offline
axiomite

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 5214
Loc: Los Angeles
Quote:

Oh, and Tharkun. If you want a 160 GB HD for $40, here you go.

Link




Oddly enough this link is still active a year later...but the price has gone up to $110!
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