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Budget HTPC

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
So, my mom just sold our house and she's got a wad of cash and she wants me to build a HTPC. I know they're basically like regular PCs, but I'm not too sure about the video/TV situation. But what do you guys think about the hardware I have picked out? Remember, this is for my mom. She is no hardcore gamer. I think that about all she'll do with this is browse the internet, watch tv, watch DVDs, and other media stuff.

I will be using the motherboard and PSU in my sig for this HTPC.

Case - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811163055

Processor - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819103537

RAM - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820223030

Motherboard - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813127221

The AN8 is almost identical to this one.

PSU - http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/Produc...uctCode=370875

HDD - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822144238

DVD Drive - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16827131031

HSF - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835118112
I already have one of these that I can use.

Winders - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16832116049

Alright this is where I have a question. I was thinking about getting an ATi All- In-Wonder card, but they seem to be kind of buggy. I have no idea what to do about video on this HTPC.

This HTPC will have to work and have clear picture on a 27" Sanyo CRT TV. It has Analog in, RCA jacks, s-video, and composite jacks. It HAS to work with digital cable. I mean getting ALL channels, not just the analog ones.

I dunno, will an all in wonder work? Or do I need a TV tuner and a seperate video card? Could I get my monitor signal to go out the TV tuner card so that I won't have a video card? Remember, this is my mom. She does no gaming. She's coming from integrated on an intel 845G

And what about remotes and keyboards? I'm sure I'll have more questions, but this about does it for while

Thanks!
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post #2 of 14
Thread Starter 
Anybody know anything about HTPCs?
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post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Nobody?
Hatredcomputer
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post #4 of 14
To your question about the video, I would get a decent on with the vivo feature then add a tv card so that you could watch and record two different channels at once,

Try the logitech harmony it looks pretty decent and go wireless for keyboard and mouse
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devil's canyon
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presler
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post #5 of 14
For video on my HTPC I just use an old 9600 pro. I have even disconnected the fan to keep noise to an absolute minimum. I use it solely for home theater purposes. I run a gig of RAM on the old socket 754 with a 2600+ Sempron. It has plenty of power to do anything I throw at it.

Now if mine has plenty of power then the 3000+ you are thinking of using will do the job no worries. You will need a TV tuner also, there is plenty available that will suit you just fine. A descent size hard drive for recording purposes is also very handy.
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post #6 of 14
I have the 9800 All-In-Wonder, and it is a bit buggy. The x1900 AIW is supposed to have fewer problems. For decent picture, you really don't need a great video card. In most cases, on-board video will do the trick. Even if you want a sepate gpu, you can get an inexpensive one with a good tv tuner for less than the ATI option.

Look at this tv tuner. I made sure to choose one with a remote:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814122200

You could pair it with a 7600GS for better graphics overall, and that would be another hundred bucks. You might consider sinking that cash into a good htpc soundcard instead, such as an Auzentech.

A soundcard makes sense if you plan on phasing out that tv in the future and setting up a good monitor with decent computer speakers, or especially if she will be using this system for music as well.
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post #7 of 14
That's going to be a very powerful HTPC with the specs you have there. If you have that mobo and are already set to use that mobo and case then that's cool but if you are planning to buy new stuff, I recommend looking at the microAtx stuff just because the microAtx cases will be roughly the same size as dvd players, receivers, etc. whereas the regular ATX case will be longer so make sure it doesn't jut out of the shelf. If you are going with ATX, check out this case:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811204014
Designed to camoflouge in with the rest of the home theater electronics.

I have a HPTC built at home that is using an AMD XP 2600+ with 512mb RAM and it is more than enough. As for connection to the TV, make sure that you get a card that has at least composite out or s-video out and maybe even HDTV out if your TV has the inputs for it.

I'm not sure about the Ati All-In-Wonder cards as I don't have any experience with it but I'm pretty happy with my dedicated TV tuner card and dedicated vid card. Dedicated TV tuner cards tend to have more integrated features on it. If you're worried about not getting all of your channels on the card, then instead of running the cable TV straight to your HTPC, you can run it to the cable box and then run it to the HTPC. That way you can also use the remote for the cable to surf channels on the HTPC.

I also recommend getting a much bigger HD. I bought a tiny 250gig and figured that it'll take me a while to load it up. Because of the convenience and ease of recording shows, I record almost everything I watch now and it rapidly fills up the HD. If you have it in your budget, you should definitely think about a HD in the hundreds of gigs.

As for mouse and keyboard, I really like the Gyration wireless mouse I have. You wave the mouse in the air and the cursor follows. Gets rid of having to use a tradional mouse on a flat surface. You can also get the wireless keyboard as well. The mouse has a charging cradle and the keyboard fits right over the lap. They also make a full-sized keyboard as well.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16823172006
    
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post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys!

I pretty much have to use that ATX motherboard, and my mom has her mind set on that silverstone case.

Wait! I'll just put this 160GB HD in the HTPC, because im upgrading to a raid configuration soon.

Ok so, let me get this straight. I can get a tv tuner, and my coax goes into the TV tuner, and the TV signal goes out my video card to the TV?

Oh yeah, and I hooked my video card up to the TV the other day using S-video and it looked like CRAP! It could only do like 1024x768. Please tell me I won't have to get a LCD TV... Actually, I'm a bit confused on how you actually get the HTPC connected to the TV now that I think about it.

EDIT - remember, my TV has the composite inputs too.
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post #9 of 14
Yup, the coax goes into the TV tuner card and the video is output to the TV. Is your TV capable of displaying HD content? You have to adjust the display properties to display the correct resolution of the TV or else the picture will look choppy. Standard TVs display 640 x 480 while HD is 1024 x 768 (1280 x 720 wide) or 1920 x 1080. Standard TVs are also usually spitting images out at 60 hz.

To hook up the TV to the computer, you use when ever input you have on the TV. This could be S-video, composite, or component video (Y, Pb, Pr). You just have to check what outputs are available on the vid card. S-video and composite are very commonly seen on vid cards nowadays. If your vid card and TV supports it, component video is even better. So the cables plug into the TV inputs and you use your Video mode to view the content of the HTPC, just like you would for any VCR, DVD player, gaming console, etc.
    
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post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheetos316
Yup, the coax goes into the TV tuner card and the video is output to the TV. Is your TV capable of displaying HD content? You have to adjust the display properties to display the correct resolution of the TV or else the picture will look choppy. Standard TVs display 640 x 480 while HD is 1024 x 768 (1280 x 720 wide) or 1920 x 1080. Standard TVs are also usually spitting images out at 60 hz.

To hook up the TV to the computer, you use when ever input you have on the TV. This could be S-video, composite, or component video (Y, Pb, Pr). You just have to check what outputs are available on the vid card. S-video and composite are very commonly seen on vid cards nowadays. If your vid card and TV supports it, component video is even better. So the cables plug into the TV inputs and you use your Video mode to view the content of the HTPC, just like you would for any VCR, DVD player, gaming console, etc.
Well, my TV is a regular old 27" flat screen CRT. Will it be limited to 800x600? Because that's the highest I was able to get it the other day. And it still looked real bad. You couldn't even read the "start" button. Is this project going to require a HDTV? If it is I've got to cancel. Just can't afford one.
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Hatredcomputer
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