Your Very First HTPC? But Where do You Start?

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fredphoesh Offline
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Location: South of London North of Brighton
Post: #1126
Hello guys,

I have two Asrock 330HT machines both with bluray players... they play XBMC ok, but are terrible at streaming HD off sites like Amazon Prime / Netflix / TennisTV.com and even YouTube.

I noticed Opera was noticeably faster than Chrome, but still very stuttery...

TIME TO UPGRADE OR SELL... I would appreciate advice as I would like to avoid spending a huge amount, I have legal copies of Win 8.1 in each of these. Ubuntu 14.04 is no improvement with the speed of web video streaming to browser. I have got a small android tv box, but Flash is a hassle (puffin helps) and Amazon Prime is Silverlight only in the UK... no go on andriod.

So I'd love advice on what mobo/processor/ram combo i should get for that box, it is a Mini ITX board, but I dont know if all 3rd party boards would fit the box I have WRT back output configuration... and if anything else would be more advisable.

Thanks,
Mark.
(This post was last modified: 2014-04-28 20:32 by fredphoesh.)
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joecon Offline
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Post: #1127
Hello,

Newbie here. Going to try to build an HTPC and hoping that it performs much better than my Midnight MX2. Would like an opinion on what I am planning for the build to see if it will work well. At this point I am unsure on the Mobo (Wifi vs Not and Brand) and what OS to use.

Here is the build:

Mobo- Gigabyte GA-H87N-WIFI or Gigabyte GA-H81N
ASRock Z87E-ITX or ASRock H81M-ITX

Processor- Intel I3-4330
Memory- Corsair 4GB (2 x 2GB) 1600
Case- Coolermaster Elite 130 Mini ITX
Power Supply- Seasonic 360W 80PLUS Gold ATX12V

Not sure if I need anything else because besides replacing a few parts in older computers have not done this before. Maybe some of this is overkill but would like a fast system and be ready for future needs. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks!!
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woodensoul2k Offline
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Post: #1128
(2014-05-04 19:27)joecon Wrote:  Hello,

Newbie here. Going to try to build an HTPC and hoping that it performs much better than my Midnight MX2. Would like an opinion on what I am planning for the build to see if it will work well. At this point I am unsure on the Mobo (Wifi vs Not and Brand) and what OS to use.

Here is the build:

Mobo- Gigabyte GA-H87N-WIFI or Gigabyte GA-H81N
ASRock Z87E-ITX or ASRock H81M-ITX

Processor- Intel I3-4330
Memory- Corsair 4GB (2 x 2GB) 1600
Case- Coolermaster Elite 130 Mini ITX
Power Supply- Seasonic 360W 80PLUS Gold ATX12V

Not sure if I need anything else because besides replacing a few parts in older computers have not done this before. Maybe some of this is overkill but would like a fast system and be ready for future needs. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks!!

Your build looks solid and should work great. The first Gigabyte and Asrock mobo's both look the best but all of them should work fine. I used the same case but went with an AMD APU with a Gigabyte motherboard. Intel should be even easier to work with. Just a note the case fans are a bit loud, I replaced mine with some silent fans to help reduce noise (you may not even need all the fans on, I am just being paranoid). I would recommend using XBMCbuntu or Openelec from a USB3 stick as both boot really fast and you can save a few bucks without buying an ssd.
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Timster Offline
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Post: #1129
(2014-05-06 15:36)woodensoul2k Wrote:  [quote='joecon' pid='1698790' dateline='1399224430']
I would recommend using XBMCbuntu or Openelec from a USB3 stick as both boot really fast and you can save a few bucks without buying an ssd.

Anyone got a link to how you install TO a USB Openelec from this stick (and run from a USB stick). I’ve searched and can only find instructions for using a PI.

On x86 please.

Thanks
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woodensoul2k Offline
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Post: #1130
(2014-05-07 14:34)Timster Wrote:  
(2014-05-06 15:36)woodensoul2k Wrote:  [quote='joecon' pid='1698790' dateline='1399224430']
I would recommend using XBMCbuntu or Openelec from a USB3 stick as both boot really fast and you can save a few bucks without buying an ssd.

Anyone got a link to how you install TO a USB Openelec from this stick (and run from a USB stick). I’ve searched and can only find instructions for using a PI.

On x86 please.

Thanks

Here you go: http://wiki.openelec.tv/index.php/HOW-TO...g_OpenELEC
(This post was last modified: 2014-05-07 15:19 by woodensoul2k.)
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Timster Offline
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Post: #1131
(2014-05-07 15:14)woodensoul2k Wrote:  
(2014-05-07 14:34)Timster Wrote:  
(2014-05-06 15:36)woodensoul2k Wrote:  [quote='joecon' pid='1698790' dateline='1399224430']
I would recommend using XBMCbuntu or Openelec from a USB3 stick as both boot really fast and you can save a few bucks without buying an ssd.

Anyone got a link to how you install TO a USB Openelec from this stick (and run from a USB stick). I’ve searched and can only find instructions for using a PI.

On x86 please.

Thanks

Here you go: http://wiki.openelec.tv/index.php/HOW-TO...g_OpenELEC

Thanks. Yes, already done that.... but it doesn’t explain how to install “to” a USB drive ie. Run the OS from the USB drive. Just shows how to create the install “key” (for installing to a HDD).
Have tried the same approach but using 2 USB sticks..... never installs to the USB stick (always freezes at about 87%).

..... unless I’m being blind / stupid.
Cheers.

EDIT: Yes... I was being an idiot. It does indeed install to USB stick (just very particular about what kind). I eventually found one that works (Sandisk).
Thanks again.
(This post was last modified: 2014-05-07 17:30 by Timster.)
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nextbones Offline
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Post: #1132
I'm trying to build myself a fanless OpenELEC rig on the cheap. Would greatly appreciate critique of my plans, since I'm fairly new to this (although I've used XBMC/openelec for ~5 years on AppleTV & RPi, this is my first self-build system). Can anyone help?

Here are my primary requirements:
  • Fanless (silence is important)
  • Powerful enough for a basic skin, reasonably quick boot, must handle 720p output (although 1080p is probably better, eventually)
  • Must work with my TV remote (I already do this with my RPi, so I guess I just need the Pulse-Eight CEC thingy?)
  • Easy to build (I have two toddlers, so I have very little free time to screw with stuff)
  • Cheap (improves Wife Acceptance Factor)
Here are my don't-cares:
  • Hard drive space doesn't matter. My media is on a NAS.
  • Don't need optical drive. Everything comes from my NAS.
  • Don't need wifi. My house is wired for GigE.
Here's my parts list:
  • OS: OpenELEC 4.0
  • PC: SHUTTLE DS437T, Celeron 1037U/1.8GHz/DDR3/HDMI/DVI/USB3.0 PC Barebones System ($220 shipped from SuperBiiz)
  • RAM: 2GB DDR 1333MHz ($22)
  • HD: 120GB SSD ($60 on sale) – I could save a bit here but (1) I like the speed of SSD, and (2) $60 seems to be kind of an inflection point for SSD prices.
  • Pulse-Eight CEC Adapter ($56 w/ shipping)
Total Cost: approx. $360

Is that a decent bang-for-buck system?
Is there any hope of getting the price down further while staying fanless?
Could I save a bunch of money by building it entirely myself instead of getting the Shuttle? (Not that I probably want to since I have no free time, but I'm just wondering.)

Thanks!
(This post was last modified: 2014-05-09 07:10 by nextbones.)
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Dasiyes Offline
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Post: #1133
If I read your requirements, could be the Intel NUC is a good match.
The last generation is having inbuilt IR and you buy RAM and HDD as per your needs. It is al also easy to asseble it.
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daveumbc Offline
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Post: #1134
OK complete newbie here. Got a tivo (modified to 1TB) and fios TV/internet currently.

Maybe I'm thinking wrong here but if I build a HTPC box, don't I want a big disk? To store shows and such?

Does xbmc function as a DVR?

The best thing I like about our Tivo is, we can watch when ever we want and can fast forward through commercials.

I was going to pick up a roku to get better netflix performance, But I'm realizing that this can do all that. What am I missing here?

Maybe I should clarify. I'd like to get rid of the tivo and fios tv. I love having a DVR

Update:
So as far as I can tell, the PVR component is under development?
(This post was last modified: 2014-05-15 14:37 by daveumbc.)
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vineet381 Offline
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Post: #1135
Hi,
I am new bee to this forum and need assistance.
My situation- currently using Synology NAS 212 hooked to my network, my soundbar only supports Dolby Digital over optical output. I use WD TV Live (not great interface) to play my files thru NAS but dont get surround sound on anything beyond DD files.
Solution- Looking to build HTPC that can bitstream DTS, DTS HD, DTS ++ files stored on my NAS/ PC into Digital Dolby by using XMBC.

Would like recommendations for low power, noise HTPC that can suffice my above requirements.
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Dasiyes Offline
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Post: #1136
In your post there are matters that need to be clearly separated. One is to improve your user experience with the media center and I trust XBMC is the right choice for this. I personally like Intel NUC for HTPC.
The other question is about the sound. XBMC will not decode the high resolution audio, but can passthrough it to capable AVR hardware. Or alternative is to downstream it to sterio signal, but this is not what you want I guess.
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heyted Offline
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Post: #1137
(2014-05-14 17:53)daveumbc Wrote:  Does xbmc function as a DVR?

Does Fios in your area have CCI set to copy freely for all channels that you want to watch?

Also, these threads may be of interest to you:
http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/sho...p?t=512890
http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/sho...p?t=510235
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david1337 Offline
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Post: #1138
Hi guys

My HTPC (Laptop) works perfectly with XBMC - HD Movies / TV Shows and older emulation games.
Specs are:
HP Elitebook 8530w
Intel Core2 Duo CPU T9600 @ 2.80GHz 2.80 GHz
4,00 GB RAM
NVIDIA Quadro FX 770M


But yesterday I discovered the great Dolphin emulator for Gamecube and Wii, and my HTPC has no chance of running the games. They lag so hard.
The laptop lacks of both CPU and Graphic card.
Since Dolphin has the option to enhance games so much in graphics (Internal Resolution, Anti-Aliasing, Anisotropic Filtering), I guess that requires a powerful graphic card?!

I would like some help with building my new HTPC!
What I want: (Almost everything Smile)

- An HTPC that is able to play full HD movies and emulation games like the gamecube games in the Dolphin emulator.
- A nice looking cabinet like the ones from http://www.silverstonetek.com/ , with enough room for a powerful graphic card.
- A perfect airflow, to keep the HTPC cool, but with absolutely minimum noise from the fan (of course it will be more noisy in games when it's performing)
- Must have HDMI (duh) and optical S/PDIF output
- The HTPC will be turned on 24/7, so maybe a machine that isn't too much power consuming! (Not sure this is a realistic demand though Big Grin)
- I've already got an SSD harddisk, so I could save some money there at least!
- I will install it with Windows 7 x64

Thanks in advance! Smile
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mulliganman Offline
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Post: #1139
Thinking about building my first. If I do, I will likely use either this model: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Sandisk-SDSA3DD-...460da1c9b6

or this one: http://www.amazon.com/Intel-DN2820FYKH-C...=intel+nuc

Which one is most recommended? I want to be able to play 1080p videos without issue and will run Openelec. Can anyone also recommend a good build with RAM and SSD options since I really know very little about this?
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leoajax Offline
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Post: #1140
Hi guys, newbie here...
I have a question that tell you the little knowledge I have, so please understand.
I'm kind of a videophile, but with extremely limited budget, but happen to have a 7.1 denon receiver, so I'm interested on playing the most popular video formats (usually high bitrate x264 or MPEG-4 AVC Video) and any kind of lossy and looseless audio format, including DTS MA & dolby True HD Passthrough.
So I want to build the cheapest HTPC possible without sacrificing performance=audio/Video reproduction quality (may use Internet browser and stuff, but no games nor any demanding app other than the player).
So my question is this:
knowing you can boot Linux from a pen drive, Can you build an HTPC without a Hard Drive or RAM memory using only 1 or 2 pen drives I already have and never use?

Thanks!!!
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