Poofyhairguy's HTPC Recommendation Thread

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aoaaron Offline
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Post: #196
how do you guys rate the mac mini (2011) or 2010 or 2009 models.

the mac mini seems a really attractive purchase for myself ATM since I have all apple devices (airplay compatible), have a bunch of apple remotes lying around which I love, etc, 3 years warrantee and student discount bringing the price down to £480 or so.

I do worry about:
1) 10bit media
2) longitivity

my best xbmc experiences have been on my MBP.

Major Props Poofy and Eskro! Check out their sigs for the best help/advice.
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eskro Offline
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Post: #197
i say not so prime time anymore...
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aoaaron Offline
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Post: #198
'prime time'? could u expand/explain plz?

Major Props Poofy and Eskro! Check out their sigs for the best help/advice.
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eskro Offline
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Post: #199
old stuff, better options out
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Beer40oz Offline
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Post: #200
Poofyhairguy...... we miss you! I hope you are alright..... hope everything is well....
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eskro Offline
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Post: #201
yeah man, what up Poofy?
Hope all is well too!
No PM reply ever since Sad
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Beer40oz Offline
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Post: #202
Not recommended drives:

1. Samsung drives (especially F4s) - they have data loss issues and updates that you can't confirm


Well mine was made on 03/2012.....

Hope they really fixed the issues.. Smile

THE SAMSUNG FIRMWARE PATCH DOES NOT CHANGE THE FIRMWARE VERSION NUMBER (Believe it or not!). Yup! this is right!
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Dougie Fresh Offline
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Post: #203
Yeah, you have to love the Samsung firmware tool. The only way to know you don't need to upgrade is to run it and see if it does anything. Horrible.
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poofyhairguy Offline
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Post: #204
Honestly if Samsung drives reported correct temps I could stand the firmware issue.

Mini/Micro ITX Frontend (with SSD) + Mediaserver/NAS + Logitech Harmony + LCD/LED/Plasma TV + Nice AV Receiver + XBMC + USENET + sabnzbd + sickbeard +couchpotato

My Setup--HTPC Building Guide- Start Here--Advice on Hard Drives and SSDs--Mediaserver Guide--Harmony Guide
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Beer40oz Offline
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Post: #205
(2012-06-07 20:39)poofyhairguy Wrote:  Honestly if Samsung drives reported correct temps I could stand the firmware issue.

Gotcha! if my WD (EARS) on top says 29C and the Samsung says 26C under it you think it is off?

maybe they fixed that issue too... Wink
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poofyhairguy Offline
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Post: #206
It is a little off it seems. The few I have had have all been off about 4-5C. That would be right for yours too. As long as you know that (like a clock that you set ahead in time) you are fine.

Mini/Micro ITX Frontend (with SSD) + Mediaserver/NAS + Logitech Harmony + LCD/LED/Plasma TV + Nice AV Receiver + XBMC + USENET + sabnzbd + sickbeard +couchpotato

My Setup--HTPC Building Guide- Start Here--Advice on Hard Drives and SSDs--Mediaserver Guide--Harmony Guide
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greenep48 Offline
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Post: #207
Hi - new user here. You might want to update the NAS hardware recommendation links - the stuff listed is DISCONTINUED. Just for fun - before getting into HTPCs I was using a WD TV Live box. Turns out it also works as a NAS interface for any USB interface storage device. Right now I have my music library on an 16G thumb drive in the WD machine and everything works fine.
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Dave_qp Offline
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Post: #208
Does anyone have any experience with a USB3/eSATA to 5 SATA?

One external eSATA or USB3.0 host port can access 5 units of SATA drives with Hardware RAID R0, R1, R3, R5, BigDrive supported

http://www.scan.co.uk/products/lycom-ub-...ck-mount-)

[Image: 1569721-a.jpg]
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riteshraja Offline
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Post: #209
I plan on buying a HTPC for the sole purpose of running XBMCBUNTU on it. I have experience or rather nightmares with getting display,networking etc working in Linux because of drivers. Is there a particular model of HTPC that is the most common right now and compatible with XBMCBUNTU? I was considering going withAcer Revo RL100-UR20 route.
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srj1209 Offline
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Post: #210
(2011-02-15 09:58)poofyhairguy Wrote:  [HTPC's]

Many people are looking for recommendation of what to buy in a HTPC- no one wants to waste money. For that look here:

[url=http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=94199
http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid...?tid=94199
[/url]

Everything on that thread has been worked over by eskro and myself and we (mostly him) have done our best to present good options for our fellow XBMCers.

The following is advice about deeper issues with HTPCs: why or not to get a SSD, and how to have storage capacity for your new HTPC.


[SSD's]

First of all I often advise people to use SSDs as their OS drive because they cut boot times, heat, and they make the interface snappier in some cases due to faster access to fanart and the database if you host them on the client. Any SSD 8GB and larger will work for XBMC Live and any 30GB model will work for Windows 7. Intel is the best brand overall.

[BASIC HDD ADVICE]

As far as hard drives go, I think any hard drive less than 2TB is a waste. When you figure out the slot costs and compare that to the small price difference between 1, 1.5 and 2TB drives it is obvious that 2TB drives the only value worth pursuing. High Def data takes up a LOT of space, even single 2TB drives are nothing.

Never buy more than one of the same HD from a vendor at one time!!! If you do you might be buying part of the same batch and if its a faulty batch no RAID in the world can help you. Mix and match drives vendors when building an array to pull from many separate batches.


[ON HTPCS + NASES]

In the issue of local storage vs a NAS, I ALWAYS think a NAS-type device is better. HTPCs + NAS combo machines are a cheaper option at first, but the combined heat of 1080p playing GPUs and the working HDs means that either the box will be loud with fans, or you will be killing hard drives (unless they are all WD Greens). Benefits of pure NASes include being able to use NAS specific OSes with special features (more on that later), the ability to easily have multiple clients, and the ability for your NAS to do other things for you in some cases.

If you must put storage space inside your HTPC, the only drives I recommend are WD Green drives. They are the only drives on the market that stay cool enough that I feel safe recommending them in HTPCs. WD Green drives (and all 2TB Green drives on the market) are fast enough to host full 3D Blu Ray 1080p rips, so save your power by going green. Try to limit it to about three or so though.

[NAS's]

Which brings me to NASes. There are two paths on this: build or buy. Buying gives you an easier path with more support and possible power savings, building gives you more customization and lower per slot costs. If you are gonna buy, here are my recommendations:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.as...6822107034
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.as...-_-Product

As far as building a NAS goes there are many different methods. Many people use older hardware they have laying around, some build from scratch. The four most common custom NAS OS options are Linux software RAID 5/6 (Ubuntu), FreeNAS (ZFS), Windows Home Server, and Unraid. The latter two are pay for software, the first two are free. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. If you want to learn more about these different options in detail read this thread.

[unRAID]

My favorite option, and the only one I use, is Unraid. You have to pay money for this software, but I think its very much worth it because its the only NAS software on the market which is pretty much designed for mediaservers. I don't have any affiliation with Limetech, but their software Unraid is strongly supported by some in the XBMC community because it has high compatibility with all OSes and all types of media.

Advantages of Unraid
-Allows you to mix and match drives of different sizes and makes into a single "User Share" of pooled storage (one big folder across drives)
-Allows you to pull the drives of the array out and read the data on them on another computer
-Allows drives to spin down if they are not being accessed, saving power and possible prolonging their life
-Unraid allows for the growing of the array in size by replacing one drive at a time with full use of that drive after addition and no data loss
-Unraid is easy to install, runs off a pen drive to save sata ports for data, and is configured by and easy to use web interface

Downsides:
-Unraid costs money for real versions
-Unraid's write speeds are pretty low without a cache drive
-Unraid's read speeds are slightly lower than the drives by themselves, but still more than fast enough for media
-Unraid is a dedicated NAS OS, meaning that it can't easily do other server stuff for you

In the end Unraid gives you a media server that is grown periodically as storage is needed, one cheapest disk available at a time, yet it can easily stream mutliple HD movies to multiple (I have tested up to 5) clients on your network. Here is a recommended Unraid build:

http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid...ght=unraid

As far as what hard drives to buy, I have tried almost all consumer 2TB drives and here is my order of preference. All can handle full 1080p files:

1. Hitachi 5950RPM HDs - Excellent drives. Cheap. Buy them.
2. Seagate 7200RPM HDs - super fast but expensive, I have this as a parity drive. Also would be a good cache drive.
3. Hitachi 7200RPM HDs - cheaper than Seagate but nearly as fast, they run hotter than green drives though so use them for something other than media storage.
4. Western Digital Green HDs - NOT for RAID or ZFS, but great for Unraid as they are fast enough and they are the coolest drives. Best for media storage.
5. Seagate 5900 RPM drives- if you are willing to make sure the one you buy has new firmware they are great

Not recommended drives:

1. Samsung drives (especially F4s) - they have data loss issues and updates that you can't confirm

[EXTERNAL HDD's]

Please note that USB2 lacks the speeds needed
for playing Full unCompressed 1080P movies!!

As long as the 1080P movie is 15GB's or less, it should play fine from USB2. I like WDs the most because WD Greens are inside them often and those are great drives.

@Poofyhairguy:
Since your last post on HTPC configuration is more than a year ago, I have a a couple questions for you on this subject.
My present HTPC configuration is -
1. I plan to use an existing laptop (hp8440p - core i5 with 4 Mb RAM and a Nvidia 3100M Video built-in). This laptop has a display port in the rear. I have a displayport-to-HDMI adapter and a HDMI cable which I will use, to connect the laptop to the HDMI port on the receiver (Pioneer SC-1222K). The receiver is connected to the TV.

2. I have installed Windows7 X64 Ultimate, XBMC Eden. I have also installed HD Audio patch over Eden. This HTPC will stay close to the TV in the living room. I control the XBMC on laptop from an iPad, using the free app. provided by XBMC.

3. I am presently building a NAS server to stream my movies & music. Most of the movies are HD with HD audio. This NAS will stay in a different room. The NAS configuration is intel Celeron G530 (dual core - Sandybridge), 8Gb G-Skill RipJaws RAM, EVGA LGA1155 and P67 motherboard. Since the idea is only data streaming, I do not have a video card. If the onboard dual LAN ports become a problem/bottleneck, I plan to add a intel Gigabit CT PCI-E network adapter. The audio receiver, HTPC and NAS are all on a Gigabit network with gigabit switch and gigabit router.

The points I am not decided about and need your help, are -
1. Hard Drives - What types of HDs (rpm, sata2 or 3, make and capacity i.e., 1 TB or 2TB) do I buy? I keep hearing that any make tends to have problems and one is no better than the other. Other articles also say that buying sata3 drives really doesn't help and as the transfer speeds of the drives 6 Gbps cannot be utilized by the current hardware (mobo I guess) and a 3 Gbps (sata2) is good enough. Question is do we really get those theoretical speeds in real life for either a sata2 or sata3 drive? Bottom line, which drives to buy?

2. OS - Many people use WHS, FreeNAS or unRaid. I know your preference was unRaid. Have anyone tried Windows7 or Windows8 as a server? I read that Win7/8 seems to be having the mechanism to create pools of space (which may not exist in reality), to which a physical HD can be assigned later. How is this different from the unRAID approach? Since my HTPC is Win7 based, which OS do you suggest for the NAS server?

Appreciate if you can read through this long winding message and send your comments / suggestions.Big Grin
(This post was last modified: 2012-11-05 02:45 by srj1209.)
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