[WINDOWS] First HTPC build and storage question
#1
Question 
I looked at eskro's First HTPC thread and poofyhairguy's HTPC Recommendation thread, but I still really don't know which one is just enough for what I need.

My main goals for this build are:
1080p Bluray playback (in the form of .mkv and .m2ts files)
Netflix HD streaming
Other online streaming (Hulu, Megavideo, YouTube, etc.)
General internet browsing (StumbleUpon, Facebook, Reddit, email)
If it's powerful enough, maybe some Minecraft or Morrowind
I'd also for sure like to be able to use the Aeon and Neon skins for XBMC

I'd like to connect this to a 46" LCD and an older surround sound set, which only has composite inputs. I'm not sure whether I should run HDMI from the HTPC to the TV and then aux out from the TV to surround sound, or use the headphone jack on the HTPC, if it has one, to plug directly into the receiver, etc.

I currently have just over 2TB of media to use with XBMC, so I'm also unsure how to store it. I am building a desktop later this summer, and I was planning on throwing a couple 2TB drives into that (in addition to the other, primary drive for said desktop), and SMB sharing them on the network; both the HTPC and the desktop will connect to the network via Ethernet cable. There's a possibility I can recycle an old desktop I have (Pentium 4 3.0ghz, 1GB ram, XP Media Center Edition) into a server or NAS, but I was hoping that the SMB share would work. Will SMB sharing allow lag-free XBMC navigation and playback? If that would work, I would probably consider putting an SSD in the HTPC, but I'm not 100% on that, either.

I'm planning on a Micro-ATX build with Windows 7 Professional, and I'd like to be as cost-conscious as possible - broke college kid, here. In a perfect world, that would be about $250-300, but I realize that may be too optimistic.

Thanks, you guys!
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#2
you could probably get my $183 mini-ITX build...
http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?p=7...post727463
then you'd still have to buy at least 2GB of RAM ~$25
and also at least a 30GB SSD if your into those like me ~$75

the Zacate build will play 1080P and HD web content like you want...
regarding the use of AEON skin, they are ways to ease this like
use the lite version of it and use 720P fanarts instead of 1080P...
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#3
durojaiye Wrote:I currently have just over 2TB of media to use with XBMC, so I'm also unsure how to store it. I am building a desktop later this summer, and I was planning on throwing a couple 2TB drives into that (in addition to the other, primary drive for said desktop), and SMB sharing them on the network; both the HTPC and the desktop will connect to the network via Ethernet cable. There's a possibility I can recycle an old desktop I have (Pentium 4 3.0ghz, 1GB ram, XP Media Center Edition) into a server or NAS, but I was hoping that the SMB share would work. Will SMB sharing allow lag-free XBMC navigation and playback? If that would work, I would probably consider putting an SSD in the HTPC, but I'm not 100% on that, either.


Thanks, you guys!

SMB sharing works great...My office desktop does double duty serving bluray rips to my HTPC. If you have uncompressed bluray rips you should probably make sure both the desktop and HTPC have gigabit network cards.
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#4
eskro Wrote:regarding the use of AEON skin, they are ways to ease this like
use the lite version of it and use 720P fanarts instead of 1080P...

What's the cheapest build you would recommend that would be able to handle AEON and 1080p fanart? While I'd like to save some money, I've also spent 30+ hours fixing/finding/creating fanart - all of which happens to be 1080p.

Mallet21 Wrote:SMB sharing works great...My office desktop does double duty serving bluray rips to my HTPC. If you have uncompressed bluray rips you should probably make sure both the desktop and HTPC have gigabit network cards.

Are you able to work on your office desktop and serve blurays at the same time? It'd be preferable if I could work on my desktop even if someone is watching a bluray in the living room. Also, is your entire library on your office desktop (i.e., fanart, poster, etc., plus the actual movie file)?


Thanks for all your help.
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#5
durojaiye Wrote:What's the cheapest build you would recommend that would be able to handle AEON and 1080p fanart? While I'd like to save some money, I've also spent 30+ hours fixing/finding/creating fanart - all of which happens to be 1080p.


ZACATE Build will handle 1080P Tongue
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#6
durojaiye Wrote:I've also spent 30+ hours fixing/finding/creating fanart - all of which happens to be 1080p

It doesn't matter if your artwork is 1080p XBMC caches all the artwork and you can choose the size its cached at in any case you could use dds and keep your artwork 1080p although dds file size are much larger

If you want good skin performance then build something with a decent cpu because I'm pretty sure you wont be happy with the lower spec systems like the Atom or E-350 I've set up a Asrock 330 and wouldn't be happy with performance on a lot of skins even with 720p fanart especially the transition from home menu into Movies or TV

I haven't had any real time use of the E-350 but cant imagin its much different in performance to a Atom Ion ?
Current HTPC Lian-Li PC-C37 • Gigabyte GA-E7AUM-DS2H • Intel C2D E8400 E0 Stepping • OCZ Vertex SSD • 4GB Corsair TwinX XMS2 DDR2 • Corsair HX650W Modular PSU (Free Upgrade) • LG CH08LS10 Blu-Ray Drive • Scythe Big Shuriken • Acousti DustPROOF 70mm Fan
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#7
but the new AEON MQ2 skin has a new LiTE setting thats really meant for low end PC's!

Im even using that LiTE setting myself even tho my HTPC is pretty strong Tongue

If someone could do a test with ZACATE + SSD + AEON MQ2 (lite setting)..

peace
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#8
Like I said I have no experience with a E-350 build but with the Asrock Ion I personally found it was underpowered for a lot of skins even with 720 fanart that's not to say they didn't work just not at a performance level I would like, you can make a skin as lite as you like but thumbs and fanart still require a certain amount of CPU to load

Transition between Home Movies and TV was just a little to long for my liking
Current HTPC Lian-Li PC-C37 • Gigabyte GA-E7AUM-DS2H • Intel C2D E8400 E0 Stepping • OCZ Vertex SSD • 4GB Corsair TwinX XMS2 DDR2 • Corsair HX650W Modular PSU (Free Upgrade) • LG CH08LS10 Blu-Ray Drive • Scythe Big Shuriken • Acousti DustPROOF 70mm Fan
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#9
were you using an SSD also?
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#10
>>X<< Wrote:Like I said I have no experience with a E-350 build but with the Asrock Ion I personally found it was underpowered for a lot of skins even with 720 fanart that's not to say they didn't work just not at a performance level I would like, you can make a skin as lite as you like but thumbs and fanart still require a certain amount of CPU to load

Transition between Home Movies and TV was just a little to long for my liking

One thing I would love to see in XBMC, is an option to cache all images to ram instead of putting load on the cpu.
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