Thread: HTPC processor

  1. #1

    HTPC processor

    I have custom built my machines for a few years now, and I'm getting married in 2 months to a lovely lady who wants a blue ray player (it's like number 1 on her list). I told her that I could build something better (an HTPC) and she's on board with it but I am a little lost where to start. I have no experience with these things but if I could just get some basic hardware/software tips that would be great. I was thinking an AMD e-350 APU, 2g of ram, and what I'd like to do is have 1 or 2 1-terabyte drives to store all of our movies, which is quite a bit, so most the time we would not need the actual disk player making noise. Currently we have a 42-inch 720p plasma display, but will upgrade to a 1080p in the future. I'd also like to be able to watch TV through it (I think this is done, so you don't need a cable box or something?), have it be able to wirelessly connect to our internet for hulu and netflix, I'd like to have like 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound, and to top it off a remote (I assume infrared) to be able to enjoy all of our entertainment!

    I'm pretty sure each one of these features requires a 3rd party or seperate card installed into the motherboard, and I'm worried it will be too bulky or will generate too much heat/noise. What are some good pieces of hardware to use if I want all of that as my end result? I'm searching in the dark on these forums, on google, and on newegg i'm afraid as I've only dealt with high-end gaming systems in the past. Ideally a system with no fans would be perfect, but at the very least something very quiet.

    Lastly, Is there some kind of software I need to buy to get everything running almost like an actual blue-ray player or Mac's Front Row? I'd hate to have to power on my system and load windows, and go to an ugly folder file and search for my movie (but I'd still like the option too, or browsing internet on the tv, or watching youtube...you know what I mean :P ). Thankyou all in advance, and sorry if these things have been mentioned before, I could only find a few HTPC threads on the search and wasn't able to obtain information I'm looking for.

  2. #2
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    Although there may not be a lot differences specc-wise, the e-450 is a much better idea for an HTPC.
    It has an easier time actually playing 1080p, which the e-350 can't at times.

    TV-tuner card is what you'd want, methinks.

    If you have a NAS, you won't actually need more than an OS-drive for your HTPC, and just stream all the content over the network.

    As for software, XBMC is to recommend.

  3. #3
    check out this forum: lots of good stuff http://www.overclock.net/f/237/htpc
    notice the stickies at the top!

  4. #4
    Brewmaster
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    AMD APUs or a low end Ivy Bridge would be great. Surround would be handled via HDMI or SPDIF so you don't need an extra sound card for that. WiFi would be best handled by a USB adapter or Ethernet bridge. Software...in my limited experience Windows Media Center us okay. XBMC is great. Integrating a remote is probably the most annoying part, especially if you're trying to rely on a generic IR receiver and terrible display software like iMon.

    Is much rather just use a Mac mini + XBMC.
    "Wrong. Deterrence deflects 100% of Iron Prison (Not tomb) dmg." -Jaydenkor, 2014


  5. #5
    You do need dedicated program for BluRay playback because of DRM reasons, no dedicated linux distros like XBMC hacks can do it. Also Apple never ever ships a BluRay drive which throws Mac Mini idea right out of the window.

    Sounds like you'd be better off and happier with a real BluRay player that has simple web browser built in instead of full-blown HTPC.
    Never going to log into this garbage forum again as long as calling obvious troll obvious troll is the easiest way to get banned.
    Trolling should be.

  6. #6
    I am Murloc! Cyanotical's Avatar
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    you can use the built in Media Center in windows, it has an autostart feature for HTPCs

    you can use AnyDVD HD to rip ISOs of your Bluray discs and remove the DRM, and then use MyMovies to manage and play ISOs in Windows Media Center

    Media Center is free if you have windows, the other software will run you about $120

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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by tetrisGOAT View Post
    Although there may not be a lot differences specc-wise, the e-450 is a much better idea for an HTPC.
    It has an easier time actually playing 1080p, which the e-350 can't at times.

    TV-tuner card is what you'd want, methinks.

    If you have a NAS, you won't actually need more than an OS-drive for your HTPC, and just stream all the content over the network.

    As for software, XBMC is to recommend.
    Thanks for the reply, looking into the specs I don't see why the 350 would have any problems running 1080p movies? Also, I looked into NAS (never heard of it before) and I get the impression it's basically a storage computer...no operating system, no mouse/keyboard, just control over a network. It seems local harddrives within the HTPC would be cheaper/easier unless I'm mistaken.

  8. #8
    1) There are RF receivers that actually sit in a 5.25" or 3.5" Bay.

    2) I would invest in a 40-50 dollar sound card if you are gonna use a decent sound system. There is a difference in performance that is noticable.

    3) TV Tuner card is necessary but I would invest in a Dual Tuner and would go for a Hauppague Branded Card.

    4) There are ways to soundproof a case that is very inexpensive so going for a blu ray player is possible.

    5) Wireless Keyboard is huge . http://www.logitech.com/keyboards/keyboard/devices/3848


  9. #9
    Browsing newegg, I found this Mother board and I'm loving the fanless design plus the newer technology, such as the 6 gb/s sata connectors and usb 3.0. Is this enough for what I need it to do? I was planning on like 5.1 surround sound and I don't know if you can get that with an hdmi cable or if I need an actual sound card. The only obstacle I see is it only has one pci-e slot. I might forgo the tv-watching with it and just use it for blue ray and dvd movie storage and wireless online video streaming from youtube, hulu, and netflix. Also, if I get a remote (maybe a radio remote?) would it be possible to have it use a usb connector or something...or even a bluetooth remote now that I think about it? I don't know if any of this stuff exists but that would be quite helpful information, thanks!

    Edit: The motherboard has built-in "Antenna Ports". Is that a built-in tv tuner?
    Last edited by Uncle Julian; 2012-04-28 at 07:21 AM.

  10. #10
    Bloodsail Admiral lockblock's Avatar
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    The Antenna ports are for wifi antenna only.
    Also I recommend an I3 sandy bridge itx system over an Amd apu as those processors seem to struggle with netflix hd streams or at least they did when Silverlight 4 was current. Only downside to using an I3 is you will need to use a cooling fan and a case that is slightly bigger.

    Also I highly recommend using using android/ios apps for remotes as they can control most functions wireless through walls and some can even power up your system via Wake on lan. Keep in mind not all wireless adapters support WoL.
    Current Computers: Gaming Rig, HTPC
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