New build

I’m going to put together a media pc for the living room and i wanna put a blu-ray player in it. Should i go with a cheap quad core processor or would a dual core do?

This is the video card i plan to put in if it fits http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130334

and would 2gb of ram do or should i just go for 4

lol, yeah quad core would be a bit of overkill. 2gigs of ram is plenty also. Although when it comes to image [I]quality[/I] ATI/AMD has had the edge for a while. You also have the choice of getting a video card or getting a 780G chipset motherboard that is capable of HD decoding through the chipset. If you plan on playing games then getting a decent video card is the way to go. Whats your budget and do you prefer AMD or Intel, the 780G is only with AMD its very popular and economical.

So here is more of a budget build that is capable of decoding HD with the onboard graphics, has a HDMI connector with audio passthrough. Has a DVI output, but for hooking up to a tv the HDMI is better since it has the audio going through it. If your reciever needs its own digital audio input, then getting another board might make things better, but a modern receiver should be able to pick up the audio through the HDMI, the board also has SPDIF header on it. Seasonic PSU is the best, a HTPC uses very little power (under 100W), so the 300W model is perfect. 4gigs of ram in case you run Vista. The cpu/MB is a combo deal so you need a quiet low profile fan to go with it, enter XIGMATEK which is a little more than free when you figure in the combo discount. And a lite-on Blu-ray and dvd-rom reader driver. Its up to you if you want a HTPC case or a regular computer case, and whatever size HDD you want to go with it. 1TB drives are getting pretty cheap now if you plan on storing movies on the drive.


AMD is a bad choice since they doesn’t support PAP (Protected Audio Path) at all, Intel’s G45 chipset supports PAP but there’s no software available yet. What it means is that without PAP the best audio formats you’ll get is 5.1 using Dolby Digital (non HD) or DTS (non HD) which is a shame. I looked around at Newegg and managed to put together this setup over at Newegg (ITX!). You probably should do some research whether the PSU is powerful enough to drive everything though. Keep in mind that since G45 sports both HDMI and hardware acceleration there’s no need for a separate video card at all. The reason I went with a beefy CPU is because if you want to play 1080p clips which doesn’t use the L4.1 profile (this applies to all chipsets/video cards) you will need a beefy CPU since you’ll have to do software decoding and it requires quite a lot CPU power.
Ends up at 830$ at Newegg.
//Danne


That 80W PSU might be pushing it a bit don’t ya think? between the G45 chip and the E8400? Also that sony slim drive is EXPENSIVE ouch 330$, for that you can get a regular blu-ray drive thats a BURNER lol, and get a bunch of blu-ray blank media. Dizzy, that board has IDT audio chipset, isn’t that sacrilege for you? And no board reviews either.

Ok, now ditching the on board video for some more 3D performance and still maintaining HDMI output, with more audio outputs. (still several hundred dollars cheaper than dizzys system).


whats the difference between the 780g boards and the ones that are gforce8 series like this one, and my budget is amd, and im goin for a small htpc case. and is the cpu+mobo combo really not compatible like the person claims in the review?

I don’t know which review your talking about, how about quoting it here, or linking to it. From looking at some of the ‘small’ htpc case reviews, they are not very compatible will all MB’s, so thats going to be something that you have to pick. For image quality the 780G will be best.


thanks for the info, i’m going to go with something along the lines of the last set up you showed

@ eric93se
Why would audio codec matter when you use the chipset to output audio via HDMI? :slight_smile:
I never said that it was a budget system, just that is was tiny with very good performance.

@ adrian089

As for memory you’re better off with these Mushkin RAM which is cheaper and runs at stock 1.8v which the PQI Turbo doesnt (you may/may not run into compatibility issues).
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820146692

Step up to the AMD Athlon X2 4850e it’s 10 bucks more (even less if you go with the Mushkin memory) and it’s 400Mhz more per core. It would be highly unwise to pass on this one.

I’m not sure why this PSU got recommended but for gods sake get one with 120mm if you’re going to build a HTPC that’s silent. If you want Seasonic (which makes really good PSUs) I’d recommend the “SeaSonic S12 II SS-330GB” which is ~13 bucks more expensive but does feature a 120mm fan (rotates slower which means less noice) and has a 6-pin PCIe connector in case you want to add a video card later on.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817151035

Also, when choosing a HDD go for one with two platters or less to keep down the heat and of course noise.

Keep in mind that you will not be able to take fully advantage of Bluray when going this route.
//Danne

The PSU fan is on its lowest speed when using less than 100W, a similar model is reviewed at silentPCreview and is a whisper 23db.

[QUOTE=DiiZzY;2124711]As for memory you’re better off with these Mushkin RAM which is cheaper and runs at stock 1.8v which the PQI Turbo doesnt (you may/may not run into compatibility issues).
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820146692[/QUOTE]

What’s more, that PQI Turbo does not specify an operating DIMM voltage. In other words, you might get one which runs just fine on the standard 1.8V, or one which requires 2.0V just to run reliably… :rolleyes:

[QUOTE=DiiZzY;2124711]Step up to the AMD Athlon X2 4850e it’s 10 bucks more (even less if you go with the Mushkin memory) and it’s 400Mhz more per core. It would be highly unwise to pass on this one.[/QUOTE]

Seconded.

[QUOTE=DiiZzY;2124711]I’m not sure why this PSU got recommended but for gods sake get one with 120mm if you’re going to build a HTPC that’s silent. If you want Seasonic (which makes really good PSUs) I’d recommend the “SeaSonic S12 II SS-330GB” which is ~13 bucks more expensive but does feature a 120mm fan (rotates slower which means less noice) and has a 6-pin PCIe connector in case you want to add a video card later on.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817151035[/QUOTE]

True. Seasonic makes a few different lines of power supply units. Some of their lower-end units use smaller, noisier fans in order to save themselves money. But such units aren’t all that much less expensive than their 120mm fan-equipped cousins.

[QUOTE=DiiZzY;2124711]Also, when choosing a HDD go for one with two platters or less to keep down the heat and of course noise.[/QUOTE]

The 640GB WD drive recommended above uses a two-platter design. The currently available 1TB drives, on the other hand, all require three or more platters in order to achieve this capacity point.

PQI states 2.1V on their website which is really poor…
//Danne

[QUOTE=DiiZzY;2124862]PQI states 2.1V on their website which is really poor…
//Danne[/QUOTE]

This combination (higher-latency, 5-5-5 specs @ DDR2-800 combined with the higher voltage) is a throwback to the early days of this speed, when most DDR2-800 DIMMs were made of native DDR2-667 parts. (I remember very well my old OCZ Vista Upgrade PC2-6400 memory kit, which needed 2.1V when the memory had copper heat spreaders. But when OCZ switched to black heat spreaders for the Vista Upgrade memory line, the modules were revised to run at the standard 1.8V.)

In this case, I’d agree with you: Buying memory modules made of native DDR2-800 parts should cost the OP no more money than those DDR2-667 parts masquerading as DDR2-800 memory.

[QUOTE=eric93se;2124546]Dizzy, that board has IDT audio chipset, isn’t that sacrilege for you?[/QUOTE]

In this case, I’d agree with DiiZzY. The audio codec chip affects only the analogue and the SPDIF outputs. When audio gets routed through HDMI, on the other hand, the codec chip is bypassed.

Its not an issue anymore for modern systems to boot up with fast ram, the ram has a JDEC table that the bios picks from to get the system started. Then the user can go into the bios and set the required timmings for faster memory and to test to what voltage is needed to run it stable. Also when a manufac. states a voltage its not the required voltage to make the ram run, its usually a maximum voltage, so most likely that ram will run at 5-5-5-18 with 1.8V, its simply not an issue anymore. I’ll look for the jdec table for that ram.

to get PAP (and 8 channel audio) over getting better onboard video is not an option IMO. When you think about it, if the OP ever gets a receiver that can handle and decode 8 channels of audio then he can simply add a capable sound card. 780G still performs way better than G45.

[QUOTE=DiiZzY;2124426]AMD is a bad choice since they doesn’t support PAP (Protected Audio Path) at all, Intel’s G45 chipset supports PAP but there’s no software available yet. What it means is that without PAP the best audio formats you’ll get is 5.1 using Dolby Digital (non HD) or DTS (non HD) which is a shame.[/QUOTE]

There is a lot more to PAP than you seem to be saying and TBH I would try to build a system that sounds good without its use, because if PAP takes off then we will be stuffed, one of the downsides often not said it that if you try to rip some of your OWN music via a PAP/Vista system it will become encrypted and only playback on that machine will be possible, breaking things like Creative Commons !

Then there is the .wma Vista only fact, I also love the way that the term HD has been corrupted to make people think that it has something to do with sound :slight_smile: its a video only thing.

When I built my HTPC encoding box AMD/ATI vid cards are much better for video, even my x1650xt has much hardware enc/decoding ability than any nVidia card (at the time and I still think holds true), which you have to pay more for and is mpeg2 only, where as I have GPX hardware backing for h263/4, wma, mpeg1/2/4 (ASP/ASV) all for free without needing and other 2nd party software.

  1. He’s building a HTPC not a gaming, G45 will have more than enough power for this usage.
  2. Just because there is support for PAP doesnt that everything will use it, you can play sound without it…
    Your X1650XT does [B]NOT[/B] have hardware encoding nor decoding of H.264 (and you’ll hardly need it for H.263), WMA (audio?).
    You’re mixing it up, X1000-series have hardly any hardware acceleration at all and most if it is only partial.
    //Danne

From http://www.sapphiretech.com/us/products/products_overview.php?gpid=170
For the x1650XT (RV560) video card

Accelerated MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, WMV9, VC-1, and H.264 decoding and transcoding

Its a very underrated and powerful video card, I say video because I dont play games.

Your X1650XT does NOT have hardware encoding nor decoding of H.264 (and you’ll hardly need it for H.263), WMA (audio?).

From this Anandtech review, compare the jaggies in the G45 to those in the 780G along the hoizontal and vertical lines.
First is G45

EDIT: MY BAD, THIS G35 NOT G45. And zooming in on the picture of dave mathews head (500% just on his head) looks pretty bad on the 780G, but the reviewers liked it.