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[Build] New HTPC Upgrade/Build - Pics included (not 56k friendly)

post #1 of 67
Thread Starter 


Current Setup
Updated May 22, 2011

COMPUTER SPECS:
GIGABYTE GA-MA78GM-S2H 780G Motherboard
AMD Athlon X2 BE-2350 Processor - 45 watt
G Skill 2GB Memory
430 Watt Mad Dog PS
500 gig SATA hard drive
320 gig SATA hard drive
250 gig IDE hard drive
160 gig SATA hard drive
120 gig IDE hard drive
SATA DVD writer
Hauppauge HVR-1800 HD tuner
Hauppauge PVR-150 tuner with IR receiver - just use the IR for the remote.

SOFTWARE:
1) Windows 7 Ultimate 64 Link
2) Boxee Link
3) Hulu Desktop Link
4) Unified Desktop Link - used to control my HTPC with my Android Smartphone.
5)Tversity - Link - used to stream media to the Xbox 360 located in a bedroom.

1) Windows 7
I finally decided to upgrade my HTPC to Windows 7 64. I felt like Vista was just holding it back. I would get video stutter when trying to get Hulu Desktop to work. I didn't have nearly the problems getting my remote control to work like I did with Vista. In Vista I had to install the drivers in a certain order. In Windows 7 I installed the software for the IR receiver, copied over the irremote.ini file (it has my key commands) and it worked right away.

I setup keyboard shortcuts and added them to my irremote.ini so that I could launch Boxee and Hulu from the desktop with the Harmony remote. I don't care for using a keyboard with my HTPC when I don't have to.

2) Boxee
I decided to go with Boxee this time for ease of setup and the ability to watch other programming. It was setup and running in less than 5 minutes. I also use it to play my movies, tv shows, music and pictures.

Many times I use the Boxee Android App to control Boxee.



Link to App

3) Hulu Desktop
Adding this app was a no brainer. Hulu is no longer supported in Boxee. It's great to watch your favorite shows in HD. Very easy to setup as well.

4) Unified Remote

This a little piece of software that allows me to control my HTPC with my Android Samsung Fascinate. I use the Boxee app just for Boxee and this one for controlling everything else. That is when I'm not using my Harmony remote. I usually always have my phone on me and use it when I'm too lazy to get the remote.

DVR
I finally made the jump to Dish Network and now use the DuoDVR ViP 722k HD DVR. It's nice to finally see TLC, Discover, Discover Science...etc in HD. And I was able to combine my phone, cable and internet and save money. I also like having all digital channels.

HDDVD
I now let my XBox 360 play my HDDVDs. Still haven't decided if I want a blu-ray player.

TV AND SOUND SPECS:
42" RCA 1080P LCD HDTV
Pioneer Receiver and surround speakers
Sony Powered Subwoofer - just used for movies.
Harmony 550 remote control - USB port stopped working so I just use this for the HTPC now.

HTPC SOFTWARE I'VE USED IN THE PAST

1. Yahoo Go! TV
2. Meedio
3. XBMC

You can scroll down to see pictures of the build.

Screenshots

Desktop Wallpaper


Boxee Home Screen


Boxee My Movies


Hulu Desktop




------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Original 780G Setup
Updated March 29, 2010
Built March 2008

My Goals All Accomplished
1080P (HDMI) output
DVR with recording 2 shows at once (Beyond TV)
DVR Record HD Clear QAM (Beyond TV)
Commercial Skip (Beyond TV)
Music Jukebox (XBMC)
Photo Album (XBMC)
Play ripped .ISO dvds (XBMC)
Play avi files (XBMC)
Show Weather (XBMC)
RSS Feed Ticker (XBMC)
Play HD DVDs (PowerDVD)

TV AND SOUND SPECS:
42" RCA 1080P LCD HDTV
Pioneer Receiver and surround speakers
Harmony 550 remote control

COMPUTER SPECS:
GIGABYTE GA-MA78GM-S2H 780G Motherboard
AMD Athlon X2 BE-2350 Processor - 45 watt
G Skill 2GB Memory
430 Watt Mad Dog PS
500 gig SATA hard drive
320 gig SATA hard drive
250 gig IDE hard drive
160 gig SATA hard drive
120 gig IDE hard drive
DVD Rom IDE drive - unplugged for now
Hauppauge HVR-1800 HD tuner
Hauppauge PVR-150 tuner with IR receiver
Xbox 360 HD DVD player
Linksys RangePlus 802.11B/G Wireless PCI Card, WMP110 - not in use

SOFTWARE USED:
Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate
Beyond TV DVR software with custom skin- $69.99 (price at the time I got it)
XBMC PC(Atlantis) with Confluence- Free
PowerDVD - For future HD DVD and future Blu-ray - $99.95
AutoIt - wrote script so that when XBMC closes, Beyond TV starts and vice verse - Free
GFI Backup Home Edition - free software I use to backup my music and photos from one hard drive to another - Free


FUTURE UPGRADES:
Blu-ray drive
Corsair Power CX400W Power Supply or equivalent.

DETAILS ON SETUP
XBMC

XBMC was pretty easy to setup. The only plug-in I added was the one that allows you to launch external applications like PowerDVD. Link. I added some shortcuts in the Keymap.xml file that is located in the XBMC/system folder.
Code:
<y>XBMC.System.Exec("C:Program FilesSnapStream MediaBeyond TVBTVD3DShell.exe")</y><t>XBMC.ActivateWindow(MyMusic)</t><u>XBMC.ActivateWindow(MyPictures)</u><n>XBMC.ActivateWindow(MyVideoLibrary,movietitles,return)</n><g>XBMC.ActivateWindow(MyVideoLibrary,tvshowtitles,return)</g>
This added shortcuts for Music, Pictures, Movies, TV series. The first shortcut is a direct link to launch Beyond TV from the remote control. You can make remote shortcuts to launch any program. I could have did one to launch PowerDVD and still may in the future. Don't get this confused with the launch external applications plug-in above.

Beyond TV

You just use the Beyond TV setup shortcut to setup Beyond TV. Very simple to setup. The only things I did with Beyond TV was with the appearance. I installed the widescreen icons that someone made on the Snapstream forums. I also made my own custom skin for Beyond TV that resembles MCE.
Widescreen Icons Link


PowerDVD8

I use PowerDVD to play my HD DVDs. If you have upgraded to the newest version, you'll notice there is no support for HD DVD. Luckily there is a mod to get this to work. Link for HD DVD support. I just read where this don't work for the latest version. I believe it only works for the first version that came out after they quit supporting HD DVD. I backed up my Cyberlink folder and tried the updated and sure enough it didn't work. Here is the cool part. I was able to just rename the original folder and now I can still use PowerDVD to play my HD DVDs.

GFI Backup

GFI Backup is one of the greatest backup services I have used. I chose this one because it allows the software to send you an email once a backup is complete. This is great because I never actually see the desktop of my HTPC. I have GFI setup to backup my music and photos 3 times a week onto a separate hard drive.

The Remote Setup


For my remote I use the Hauppauge PVR-150 IR receiver. It's so easy to customize for any program. At one time I even had it customized for a screensaver. I'm not going to go into detail here on how to customize the buttons because it's going to take a lot of space. I'm just going to put a link that I made on another forum.
How to setup the Hauppauge 45 button remote to work with other programs link.

To get my Harmony 550 remote to work with my receiver all I had to do is program it to work with the 45 button Hauppauge remote. For the TV,Radio,Music,Pictures and other button that aren't on the Harmony 550, I created shortcuts for the LCD window and then edited it in the remote.ini file for the PVR-150 receiver.

I also setup a shortcut for the remote to launch XBMC when it's on the Windows Desktop. To do this I edited one of the default buttons in the remote.ini file to launch a autokey script shortcut that I made to start XBMC. I had to do it this way beause the remote.ini file does not allow spaces when launching a program. You can see me launching XBMC from the desktop in the video.

LINKS
Beyond TV
XBMC
XBMC Confluence Skin
GFI Backup
Old PVR Budget Build (No Longer In Service)


Old Video

XBMC Screenshots - with Confluence skin - actual screenshots as of 3/29/2010




Beyond TV Screenshots - with my own custom skin - actual screenshots as of 3/29/2010 - old setup




THE BUILD - this is from the original post from March 2008.

Just got the Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H (780G) motherboard in. Should get the rest tomorrow.



Rest of the parts are in.



------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Got it setup on the table and have Vista Ultimate installed. Next will be Beyond TV and Meedio. My son is helping out.




------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I've got Beyond TV and Meedio back up and running. The HVR-1800 tuner works great. Of course the OTA HD programs are shrunk to fit the screen. Everything is working so far. This PC runs cooler than my P4. I post so many pictures because I know I like to see lot of pictures of peoples systems. Here you go.




Currently using my 7600GT with the S-video out. I will be using HDMI when my TV returns.



I love my Harmony remote. That is my old TV.


Feedback welcome. Let me know if you have any questions.
Edited by dhrandy - 5/22/11 at 4:56pm
post #2 of 67
I have the same case, not for HTPC, but I really like it. Sounds like a very capable machine. I've used my HTPC for 5 years now and couldnt imagine not having it.
Main PC
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom 940 Biostar TA790GX EVGA 8800 GTX 768mb 2x2Gb Gskill 5 5 5 15 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
2 WD 500Gb SATA II drives and 1TB SATA II Lite On DVD burner w/ lightscribe Windows XP, Vista 64 Ultimate, OSX86 23" ASUS 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Logitech G11 CoolerMaster 750W NZXT Lexa Logitech MX610 
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Main PC
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom 940 Biostar TA790GX EVGA 8800 GTX 768mb 2x2Gb Gskill 5 5 5 15 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
2 WD 500Gb SATA II drives and 1TB SATA II Lite On DVD burner w/ lightscribe Windows XP, Vista 64 Ultimate, OSX86 23" ASUS 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Logitech G11 CoolerMaster 750W NZXT Lexa Logitech MX610 
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post #3 of 67
motherboard is a very wise choice! should be very happy with it mate!
Desktop Rig
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel C2D E6300 Gigabyte 965p ds3 rev3.3 Nvidia 7800GT 2GB G SKill DDRII 800 HZ RAM 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Maxtor IDE 500GB Pioneer 106 Windows XP 19" Widescreen 
PowerCase
500W Aspire ATX Viper PC gaming Case 
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Desktop Rig
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel C2D E6300 Gigabyte 965p ds3 rev3.3 Nvidia 7800GT 2GB G SKill DDRII 800 HZ RAM 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Maxtor IDE 500GB Pioneer 106 Windows XP 19" Widescreen 
PowerCase
500W Aspire ATX Viper PC gaming Case 
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post #4 of 67
Thread Starter 
Getting ready to order the parts this weeks. Just saw the motherboard is out-of-stock.
post #5 of 67
I wish i had 760 gigs of ram with a P4


Humor aside, looks nice.
The EasyBake Oven
(16 items)
 
   
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom II x6 1055t Asus M5A88-M Asus 470 16 Gigs ADATA (4x4Gb) 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
Intel 730 Segate Baracuda 750 WD 500GB Laptop Samsung 22x DVD+DL LightScribe 
Optical DriveCoolingCoolingOS
Pioneer BD-XL R/RW External Corsair H100 Antek Kuhler 620 Windows 7 U. x64 
MonitorPowerCaseOther
BenQ E2200W OCZ Modx whatever 700w Thermaltake Armor A30 Internal WiFi 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
1.3 GHz Intel Celeron 867 Samsung proprietary Intel HD Graphics 4 GB DDR3 SDRAM 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
16GB Sandisk SSD Pioneer External BR-RW Ubuntu 13.04/ ChromeOS 12.1" 1280x800 
Power
40w 
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The EasyBake Oven
(16 items)
 
   
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom II x6 1055t Asus M5A88-M Asus 470 16 Gigs ADATA (4x4Gb) 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
Intel 730 Segate Baracuda 750 WD 500GB Laptop Samsung 22x DVD+DL LightScribe 
Optical DriveCoolingCoolingOS
Pioneer BD-XL R/RW External Corsair H100 Antek Kuhler 620 Windows 7 U. x64 
MonitorPowerCaseOther
BenQ E2200W OCZ Modx whatever 700w Thermaltake Armor A30 Internal WiFi 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
1.3 GHz Intel Celeron 867 Samsung proprietary Intel HD Graphics 4 GB DDR3 SDRAM 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
16GB Sandisk SSD Pioneer External BR-RW Ubuntu 13.04/ ChromeOS 12.1" 1280x800 
Power
40w 
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post #6 of 67
What cooling?

The 45w BE are about $25 more and might be worth it to run near passively.
Once again...
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 920 [4.28GHz, HT] Asus P6T + Broadcom NetXtreme II VisionTek HD5850 [900/1200] + Galaxy GT240 2x4GB G.Skill Ripjaw X [1632 MHz] 
Hard DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
Intel X25-M 160GB + 3xRAID0 500GB 7200.12 Window 7 Pro 64 Acer H243H + Samsung 226BW XARMOR-U9BL  
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Antec Truepower New 750W Li Lian PC-V2100 [10x120mm fans] Logitech G9 X-Trac Pro 
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Once again...
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i7 920 [4.28GHz, HT] Asus P6T + Broadcom NetXtreme II VisionTek HD5850 [900/1200] + Galaxy GT240 2x4GB G.Skill Ripjaw X [1632 MHz] 
Hard DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
Intel X25-M 160GB + 3xRAID0 500GB 7200.12 Window 7 Pro 64 Acer H243H + Samsung 226BW XARMOR-U9BL  
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
Antec Truepower New 750W Li Lian PC-V2100 [10x120mm fans] Logitech G9 X-Trac Pro 
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post #7 of 67
Desktop Rig
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel C2D E6300 Gigabyte 965p ds3 rev3.3 Nvidia 7800GT 2GB G SKill DDRII 800 HZ RAM 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Maxtor IDE 500GB Pioneer 106 Windows XP 19" Widescreen 
PowerCase
500W Aspire ATX Viper PC gaming Case 
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Desktop Rig
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel C2D E6300 Gigabyte 965p ds3 rev3.3 Nvidia 7800GT 2GB G SKill DDRII 800 HZ RAM 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Maxtor IDE 500GB Pioneer 106 Windows XP 19" Widescreen 
PowerCase
500W Aspire ATX Viper PC gaming Case 
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post #8 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DuckieHo View Post
What cooling?

The 45w BE are about $25 more and might be worth it to run near passively.
Stock cooling, it's not going to be overclock, so no need for extra cooling. The case has a 120mm fan in the back, 80mm fan in the front. The PS has a 120mm on the bottom for pulling hot air off the pci slots.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pheonixsingh View Post
The ECS A780GM-A is a full atx motherboard, so that one's out of the question.

The only difference I see in the Asus and Gigabyte is that the Gigabye supports 16 gigs of ram and has an optical output. I have a sound card, so I don't need the optical output. I seriously doubt I will ever use 16 gig of ram. The Asus has 6 sata compared to the 5 on the Gigabyte. That don't really matter because my media is stored on a separate server. I also have the option of just getting the Gigabyte elsewhere. Decisions, decisions, decisions....
post #9 of 67
The Gigabyte 780G: $87.55 + $2.99 Shipped + Free Game.

http://clubit.com/product_detail.cfm?itemno=A4830739
Once again...
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 920 [4.28GHz, HT] Asus P6T + Broadcom NetXtreme II VisionTek HD5850 [900/1200] + Galaxy GT240 2x4GB G.Skill Ripjaw X [1632 MHz] 
Hard DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
Intel X25-M 160GB + 3xRAID0 500GB 7200.12 Window 7 Pro 64 Acer H243H + Samsung 226BW XARMOR-U9BL  
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
Antec Truepower New 750W Li Lian PC-V2100 [10x120mm fans] Logitech G9 X-Trac Pro 
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Once again...
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 920 [4.28GHz, HT] Asus P6T + Broadcom NetXtreme II VisionTek HD5850 [900/1200] + Galaxy GT240 2x4GB G.Skill Ripjaw X [1632 MHz] 
Hard DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
Intel X25-M 160GB + 3xRAID0 500GB 7200.12 Window 7 Pro 64 Acer H243H + Samsung 226BW XARMOR-U9BL  
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
Antec Truepower New 750W Li Lian PC-V2100 [10x120mm fans] Logitech G9 X-Trac Pro 
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Reply
post #10 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DuckieHo View Post
The Gigabyte 780G: $87.55 + $2.99 Shipped + Free Game.

http://clubit.com/product_detail.cfm?itemno=A4830739
I think I might have to go with this site. That's a great deal. I forgot to mention in the other post that the Gigabyte also supports 10/100/1000Mbps, the Asus only has 10/100.
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