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General HTPC questions - Inputs, sound, playback.

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I just bought a 42" 720p Samsung plasma tv and I'd like to build an HTPC to use. I have some spare parts I'd like to use as well to offset costs. First I'll list what I have and what my needs for the HTPC are.

What I have:
-E1200 Intel 775 dual core
-DDR2 ram (being donated, not sure speed or amount. >1GB)
-Old "500w" psu (came with a Zion case. I can use it if I have to)
-I can get a 9800GT from a friend, would that work for now, just playing DVD's/etc


What I want to do with my HTPC:
-HDMI directly to TV
-playback movies from my HDD (regular movie files, some "HD" files from friends. No 1080P or anything extreme def. Probably just want to get the movies onto the tv, lol
-an option of later gaming. NFS, SNES rom, nothing huge.


My big question is what do I need as far as video goes. I've seen some builds on here that use onboard video and some that use graphic cards. I want to get a cheap, used 775 board from OCN. I don't mind getting a GPU if I need one. I just want something cheap really as I don't plan on doing huge video playback, 3D, or intense gaming. Would the E1200 and say a lower level ATI card be fine? I'm thinking I'll use XP Media Center or Linux. And I'll also use the TV's speakers if that info helps. Thanks for feedback guys. I'm just trying to get my bearings on all this.


Edit: Changed info on OS use
Edit edit: Added GPU I have/can use
Edited by repo_man - 3/7/11 at 9:19am
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post #2 of 23
cpu will work. I dont have need for speed so I can not say if an ATI 5450 will play games but it was flawless for movies. In windows 7 2gb of ram is fine for a htpc, again not sure of the gaming...
Please do not use vlc, at least use mpc-hc but I highly suggest looking in XBMC, windows media center (plus media browser) or media portal. XBMC and media portal both have plugins to do roms.
What case do you plan on using (not that it matters just wondering)
Hope that helped.
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post #3 of 23
Certainly the HD 5450 will have no problems with the games you mentioned. I would recommend getting the add-in GPU rather than using the onboard Intel GMA

A 3450 or 4350 would also be a good option
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post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hick View Post
cpu will work. I dont have need for speed so I can not say if an ATI 5450 will play games but it was flawless for movies. In windows 7 2gb of ram is fine for a htpc, again not sure of the gaming...
Please do not use vlc, at least use mpc-hc but I highly suggest looking in XBMC, windows media center (plus media browser) or media portal. XBMC and media portal both have plugins to do roms.
What case do you plan on using (not that it matters just wondering)
Hope that helped.
The video games are a big IF really. Might just hook it up to see how it would look on the big screen. NFS: Most Wanted is most likely. Like I said, very minimal, if any, gaming.

I said Win7 but then I remembered I have an old copy of XP Media and of course I can get Linux. So I'd be using those since they're free for me, lol.

Why should I avoid VLC? Just wondering. I'll look into XBMC, whatever it is.

I'm not sure on case yet. Though I suppose I should have mentioned it. I'd like something that can sit horizontal. Something smaller, not a full form factor. I want it to sit on the shelf under my TV without looking like it's an Antec 300 on its side, lol.

The post did help, thank you! +1






Edit: @ Mitche01 - Thanks for the input! Also +1
Edit 2: I have a 9800GT I can get from a friend. Not sure of the outputs on it (2x DVI?). Would that work for DVD playback? (I know this is a full height card and won't fit in smaller cases )
Edited by repo_man - 3/7/11 at 9:22am
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post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by repo_man View Post
The video games are a big IF really. Might just hook it up to see how it would look on the big screen. NFS: Most Wanted is most likely. Like I said, very minimal, if any, gaming.

I said Win7 but then I remembered I have an old copy of XP Media and of course I can get Linux. So I'd be using those since they're free for me, lol.

Edit: @ Mitche01 - Thanks for the input! Also +1
Edit 2: I have a 9800GT I can get from a friend. Not sure of the outputs on it (2x DVI?). Would that work for DVD playback? (I know this is a full height card and won't fit in smaller cases )
Thanks for the rep!

To add - If you plan on running XP Media, dont bother with the 5000 series as the 4000 will be more than capable for XP)

Also - 9800GT will be also fine for DVD playback.

Heck - i run one of my HTPC with XP (none-MCE) off a 8600GTS on a single core 3700+ with 2Gb DDR PC3200 RAM and DVD playback is no problem at all when i have it hooked up to my 32" LCD with a VGA cable!
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post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mitche01 View Post
Thanks for the rep!

To add - If you plan on running XP Media, dont bother with the 5000 series as the 4000 will be more than capable for XP)

Also - 9800GT will be also fine for DVD playback.

Heck - i run one of my HTPC with XP (none-MCE) off a 8600GTS on a single core 3700+ with 2Gb DDR PC3200 RAM and DVD playback is no problem at all when i have it hooked up to my 32" LCD with a VGA cable!
Awesome, glad to hear. I just want to cheaply put together something with HDMI that can play DVDs. I figure if I'm spending cash on a DVD player with HDMI why not build an HTPC with the spare parts I have. I can then upgrade it for blueray and even host movie files too. Future proof investment.
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post #7 of 23
wowowow if you are thinking of linux i would go with xbmc BEFORE xp. They have a linux, windows, and even a live version. http://xbmc.org . I am a big fan of the nmedia 1080 case, small, attractive and holds an atx power supply. You will need a video card though and with a small case it will have to be a low profile.
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post #8 of 23
For the case , what about a 360 elite.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811119195

It takes ATX, Micro ATX, ATX PSU , and up to 5 case fans.
Just to add, that 9800GT will be ample for what you want to do.
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post #9 of 23
I am partial to the Antec Minuet 350. It has room for a Micro ATX mobo.
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post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by hick View Post
wowowow if you are thinking of linux i would go with xbmc BEFORE xp. They have a linux, windows, and even a live version.
Linux is good if you can live without Netflix (requires windows or OSX). XMBC doesn't support Hulu, but you can use a ubuntu browser to access that.

Cases are really a subjective thing, I can recommend some brand names (lian li, silverstone, antec) and tell you to avoid expensive touchscreen models (better to invest in a good remote/wireless keyboard and mouse). My best guess for your price range is this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811163174

When considering video cards you will want one with an HDMI output. I picked up a zotac geforce 210 last month from fry's for $10 AMIR that works perfectly for 1080p, so it doesn't need to be expensive or AMD/ATI.

For motherboards I would go with a cheap G31 chip set as they are very stable.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813130234

As for blu-ray consider getting a stand alone player before adding a blu-ray drive to an HTPC. While the cost of the blu-ray drive seems like a bargin, the deal breaker is that most require that you buy expensive software to play blu-rays. If you wanna rip blu-rays its easier to use a hardware solution then a software one ....Hauppauge HD PVR.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...ge%20HD-%20PVR
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