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Re: [vox-tech] HTPC/Media Center build questions
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Re: [vox-tech] HTPC/Media Center build questions


Wow.  Lots of info. Thanks!

I've focused on a few of your points...

You don't like Intel or ATI for GPU.  I'm a fan of nvidia myself.  
However, I'm also a fan of Asus and I can't seem to find a good nvidia 
HDMI mobo from Asus .  Gigabyte seems to only work with ATI. I'll keep 
looking.  (Asus and Gigabyte are the only two mobo brands I've worked 
with.  I know there are others, are there brands you recommend?) (My 
current compromise, to have a quad core CPU is 
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128397 but it 
has ATI graphics.)

I have to claim ignorance about the real time encoding.  Do you have any 
more information on it?  How is real time encoding 
implemented/where/when would it be used?  I'm not sure if this will be 
something I'll need or not.

I'll look into the ION2.

The Intel atom ITX boards you mentioned.  Can you give me some 
examples?  (The boards have little or no expansion....for a TV tuner card.)

Thank you for your help, please forgive my ignorance.


Bill Broadley wrote:
> I'm interested in a HTPC, and I figured I'd pass along a couple related pieces
> of info.  Alas in summary there's no great solution IMO that does all that you
> would hope.  Being realtime encoding of 1080p, fast decoding, nice GUI,
> multiple sources, can hook up big disks, universal remote, quiet, and of
> course cheap.
> But I can offer some guidelines:
> * AMD vs intel doesn't matter, picking a performance and price point usually
>   swings one way or the other, but not by much.  Often it's going to be
>   decided by other things like say the embedded gpu, on board HDMI, nice
>   sound card, motherboard size, and etc.
> * If you want real time encoding I'd strongly recommend a quad core
>   CPU unless you are sure a GPU based encoding solution will work for
>   you (not common or free).
> * intel embedded video sucks, ati is so so, the standard for GPU assisted
>   playback is nvidia.  If you only want playback then any cpu works,
>   as long as you get the nvidia and your system can use the GPU (mplayer,
>   xine, vlc, and related have patches).  Specifically VPVAU works quite
>   well.  GPU acceleration allows even the slowest cpus to playback 1080p.
> * I'd consider a roku/xbox360/ps3 for netflix, it's not slick but it does work
>   a universal remote can hide much of the pain.
> * Quiet is relatively easy, avoid tiny fast fans (especially north bridge
>   and gpu variety), there are stereo cabinet like cases with 120mm fans,
>   if needed replace said fan with one with a reputation for quietness.
>   Don't buy the fastest/hottest CPU/GPUs and you should be fine.  Clock rate
>   doesn't get you much anyways.  A 2.4 GHz vs a 3.0 GHz cpu can be
>   substantially cheaper and mostly as fast, and more importantly much easier
>   to cool.  DDR3 is cooler than DDR2.  I'd get a dual core if you want
>   playback only and a quad core if you want real time encode.
> * http://silentpcreview.com/ is a great place for quiet reviews, and useful
>   forums.  HTPCs are often discussed.
> * http://www.pchdtv.com/ is popular, common, well supported and cheap $99.
> * The lowest power solutions are atom based, fine for playback, assuming you
>   get the nvidia GPU (embedded or on a card).  I'd consider the upgraded dual
>   core/quad thread just in case.  I often see combos with a single core/dual
>   thread + GPU mini itx for $130, and the dual core/quad thread for $160.
>   With encoding, decoding, and handling multiple streams (say recording one
>   and playing a second) I think the upgraded CPU would be well worth the extra
>   $30.  With that said, just about any dual/quad core amd/intel cpu will be
>   substantially faster and still be easy to cool.
> You didn't mention timing, but if you can wait a bit the ION 2 (nvidia's
> embedded chipset+gpu) is just hitting the market.  I expect it to hit easy to
> find motherboards in the next month or two.  IONs current generation is a bit
> spotty on quality, apparently manufacturing defects are causing high return
> rates on numerous video cards and laptops that's only exposed after a bunch of
> heat cycles.  Apple in particular seems to have gotten a fair number of these.
> BTW, many folks end up with a 2 tier solution, a server somewhere with a bunch
> of disk space, then thin networked clients for playback only.  If you haven't
> seen the linuxmce video I strongly suggest torrenting one.
>   http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Video#Getting_the_video_in_high-def
> IMO the google video one is mostly useless, definitely get the 720p version.
> The two tier version while more expensive has a couple handy features:
> * video playback is easy, cheap, and silent
> * Easily supports multiple locations
> * With the right software it enables home automation, migration video
>   between clients, on screen called id and related.
> _______________________________________________
> vox-tech mailing list
> vox-tech@lists.lugod.org
> http://lists.lugod.org/mailman/listinfo/vox-tech
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