[WINDOWS] Is my current computer good enough?
#1
Hi there,

I have a desktop that I currently use as a video editing station. It is pretty powerful, but getting a little old.

XBMC caught my eye as I have been trying to find ways to set up a HTPC and was wondering if my current desktop could be used for the task already (without affecting my video editing work).


I plan to rip my bluray and dvd collection to a hard drive. My goal is to get these playing on my big screen TV from the files themselves (instead of my discs). Most of my rips will be entire 1:1 copies. I am NOT looking to encode the movies to save in space. I want these files to play with the same pristine video and sound that the actual discs do, as well as contain all the same menus, etc. So for blu ray, this means smooth 1080p footage, 5.1 surround sound.

If I am understanding XBMC correctly, I can put the software on my computer and then somehow stream the movies to my big screen TV? (Assuming my computer is powerful enough to handle this.)

This is my current computer:

Mobo: Intel D975XBX2 LGA 775
CPU: Core 2 Duo E6600
Video Card: EVGA 640-P2-N821-AR GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB 320-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card - Retail
Hard Drive #1: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3500630AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive (Perpendicular Recording)
Hard Drive #2: Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
RAM #1: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-4GBPQ
RAM #2: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-4GBPQ
Power Supply: OCZ GameXStream OCZ700GXSSLI 700W ATX12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
Cooling: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 compatible RR-B10-212P-G1 120mm "heatpipe direct contact" Long life sleeve CPU Cooler
Case: COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail



Right now, hard drive #1 is used for Windows 7 64 bit and programs. Hard drive #2 is used for my video editing work (aka capture and editing scratch disc). I plan to buy another 1TB+ hard drive for storage/backups, which is hard drive #3. It is on this 3rd drive that I figured I could put all of my bluray/dvd rips.


So my question is two-fold:

Is my computer powerful enough to stream 1:1 copy bluray rips to my TV without any hardware upgrades?

And if so, what needs to be done with this XBMC software to get this process set up? (Should I just install it on hard drive #1 with the rest of my programs and then keep my bluray rips on hard drive #3? Do I need to partition a space on one of the hard drives for XBMC specifically? Is it possible to stream wirelessly from my computer to TV yet? If not, what hardwire connection needs to go between my computer and TV?)


Thanks in advance for any help! I am not the most computer savvy person out there, but I play one on TV. Wink
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#2
yes
OpenElec Standalone --> Asus Chromebox 'Panther' --> Onkyo TX-NR709 --> Sony 55" X85C Android TV (also with Kodi!)
Asus Chromebox EZ Script
Kodi on Sony Bravia Android TVs
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#3
Easily.... reads more like a games rig...
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#4
Alright, so knowing that my computer is powerful enough for bluray streaming, can any of you assist me with how I connect my PC to my TV?

My home theater setup is:

TV: Panasonic TC-P50G10

Sound system: Onkyo HT-S6200


If I wanted to use my sound system, I would need to have my computer connected to my receiver, right? Unfortunately, my computer is about 50 feet away from my home theater. What are my options here?

Also, what type of wire am I physically connecting my computer to my receiver with? HDMI? Ethernet? (Sorry, I'm a noob, here.) My MoBo does not have any HDMI outputs.

Below is what I copy/paste'd from its details page:

Onboard Video Chipset: None
Onboard Audio: 8 Audio Channels
Onboard LAN: Max LAN Speed 10/100/1000Mbps

Rear Panel Ports

PS/2: 2
COM: 1
LPT: 1
USB 1.1/2.0:
4 x USB 2.0
IEEE 1394: 1 x IEEE 1394a
S/PDIF Out: 1 x Optical, 1 x Coaxial
Audio Ports: 5 Ports
Onboard USB: 4 x USB 2.0
Onboard 1394: 1 x 1394a

Thanks again for the help!
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#5
Magic815 Wrote:Is my computer powerful enough to stream 1:1 copy bluray rips to my TV without any hardware upgrades?

I must admit, the only thing that makes me nervous is the GPU. That older model doesn't do well with x264. A $40 210 GT would be WAY better.

Only other thing hardware wise I see as a problem is your theory of putting ripped Blu Rays on one HD. Many of my pure rips are around 40gb. That means only a couple per HD. I have a 16 bay (with 2TB in each bay) Unraid server for the job- one drive is not nearly enough.

Quote:And if so, what needs to be done with this XBMC software to get this process set up? (Should I just install it on hard drive #1 with the rest of my programs and then keep my bluray rips on hard drive #3? Do I need to partition a space on one of the hard drives for XBMC specifically?

Try XBMC Live first.

Quote:Is it possible to stream wirelessly from my computer to TV yet? If not, what hardwire connection needs to go between my computer and TV?)

No, no wireless. The best bet is HDMI, which you get with that $40 Nvidia card I mentioned.

Quote:Thanks in advance for any help! I am not the most computer savvy person out there, but I play one on TV. Wink

I love helping on threads like this.

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#6
Yep, just double checked and that GPU is a no-go:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nvidia_PureVideo

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#7
Man, so my video card can't work due to no HDMI out?

I did some searching for cheap video cards with HDMI and found the following:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.as...6814127436
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.as...6814102829
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.as...6814127412


There are a ton others, but I would like to not spend more than $50 on this. Are either of those good? I just want to make sure that it can play 1080p video and up to 7.1 audio smoothly and with no hiccups. Are you sure these cheap cards are capable of that?

Also, does this mean I need to connect my computer to my reciever via HDMI? Right now, that's a distance of 50 feet, which I think is longer than any HDMI cable I can buy. Am I pretty much stuck with moving my desktop closer?


I also have a PS3 slim, if that helps any. Although I recall seeing something about the slim using a FAT32 hard drive system, so files larger than 4GB are a no go. Just figured I'd throw this out there.

Thanks for the help!


Edit: Also, what do I need to look at to make sure this new video card is compatible with my current MoBo? And what would I be able to do with my 8800GTS? Is there a way to continue using the 8800 for my computer and video editing work, and use this new one for the streaming without having to switch them back and forth?
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#8
wrong about your hdmi cable they make 50 footers
http://www.monoprice.com/products/search...mi&x=0&y=0

I buy all my cables from Monoprice.com
banana plugs
wall plates and adapters etc etc
-=Jason=-
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#9
Magic815 Wrote:There are a ton others, but I would like to not spend more than $50 on this. Are either of those good?

The 9400 was OK, but not quite what you want. DO NOT BUY AN AMD CARD. We are very anti-AMD in these parts for their poor driver support. Here is a card I recommend:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.as...6814127454

$20 with rebate. 8 Channel PCM HDMI support. Supports everything.

Quote:I just want to make sure that it can play 1080p video and up to 7.1 audio smoothly and with no hiccups. Are you sure these cheap cards are capable of that?

Positive. I get by with weaker than what I linked with pure Blu Ray rips.

Quote: Is there a way to continue using the 8800 for my computer and video editing work, and use this new one for the streaming without having to switch them back and forth?

No. Its either one or the other. That 8800 is only good for ebaying.

Honestly, that 8800 is ancient. If you need a card that is as powerful as your old 8800 (but does the HTPC stuff you want) get this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.as...6814127466

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#10
poofyhairguy Wrote:The 9400 was OK, but not quite what you want. DO NOT BUY AN AMD CARD. We are very anti-AMD in these parts for their poor driver support. Here is a card I recommend:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.as...6814127454

$20 with rebate. 8 Channel PCM HDMI support. Supports everything.



Positive. I get by with weaker than what I linked with pure Blu Ray rips.



No. Its either one or the other. That 8800 is only good for ebaying.

Honestly, that 8800 is ancient. If you need a card that is as powerful as your old 8800 (but does the HTPC stuff you want) get this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.as...6814127466


Man, that's depressing, haha. A video card I laid down $370 for 2.5 years ago can be exceeded by a $70 card today. Alas, the pros and cons of technology advances.

So to run my system unaffected, I would need to get a $70 video card and a $40 hdmi cable. (I see that card you linked is PCI Express 2.0 ... will that run on my D975XBX2 MoBo? My card now is just PCI Express) How much would just building an HTPC from scratch cost? I'm considering upgrading my computer to an i7 build in the next year or two, so I don't know how much more I want to invest in this thing.
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#11
Save your money, put it towards an atom-ion setup.
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#12
Magic815 Wrote:How much would just building an HTPC from scratch cost?

About $250-$450 depending on what you want. Mine ION box was $325.

Honestly if you are planning in upgrading soon, that desktop of yours will make a great HTPC or Mediaserver.

Do what you can afford to do. My signature states what is the best end goal for a setup.

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#13
poofyhairguy Wrote:Here is a card I recommend:http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.as...6814127454$20 with rebate. 8 Channel PCM HDMI support. Supports everything.

WHOA! Hang on for a second... I have and love this card BUT initially it made me pull my freaking hair out.

I never got to the bottom of the issue, but IMHO it was related to the fact that the older motherboard I was using at the time had PCI Express x16 (NOT the 2.0 version) which is exactly what the OP's motherboard has. Basically it took about 15 MINUTES for the board to POST, though it ran fine after that. I eventually bought the mobo in my signature which was more $ than I planned on spending.

Read this and this.

I know it sucks to buy older gen hardware, but trust me, get this 8400 GS. It still supports hardware decoding (although the slightly older feature set), then you just need a DVI to HDMI cable and then use SPDIF from your motherboard for audio (buy all your cables from monoprice.com).

Ok, that was more time than I wanted to spend on this subject, but the thought of the hell I went through with that card initially was evoking an anxiety attack...

On a side note, I use makemkv to strip all the non-English audio tracks, unneeded menus, and subtitles from my Blu-Ray backups and most of the resulting files are roughly 18 GB, not 40.

Happy XBMCing,
NS

edit: Looks like the 8400 GS is roughly the same as what you have. Try out what you already have, then upgrade from there if necessary. Good luck!
Image
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#14
NotShorty Wrote:I never got to the bottom of the issue, but IMHO it was related to the fact that the older motherboard I was using at the time had PCI Express x16 (NOT the 2.0 version) which is exactly what the OP's motherboard has. Basically it took about 15 MINUTES for the board to POST, though it ran fine after that. I eventually bought the mobo in my signature which was more $ than I planned on spending.

Good to know. In that case a 8400 GS or a 9xxx series card is the way to go (I got a pile).

For an equivalent for your 8800 from the same generation as a 8400 GS:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.as...6814125288

That is a 9800 GT (so same fab generation as current 8400 GSes even thought the numbers make it seem not that way) with a HDMI. The HDMI means you can hook up your mobo's onboard SPDIF and it will pass that through HDMI. Will work great with Blu Rays and Makemkv.

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#15
I appreciate all the help you guys have given me.

So in order for my computer to continue functioning as a video editing station, I would need to get the 9800GT video card?

But what about the PCI Express 2.0 thing? Both the 8400GS and 9800GT use that while my MoBo is still stuck in PCI Express 1.0. Will those cards not have the same slow POST issue NotShorty pointed out?

Also, even if I got the 9800GT, it looks like it only has "Partial acceleration for MPEG-1, MPEG-2, VC-1/WMV9" according to that wiki page. Does that mean it won't necessarily decode all the blurays I'll throw at it? Or it just won't do it quickly?


I only want to spend the money on this HTPC once. If all these changes to my current computer wont be a fully functional HTPC that can decode everything, then I'd rather just build a new one from scratch.

Also, it looks like XBMC doesn't have support for bluray .iso's just yet. And doesn't play nice with all the bluray audio formats yet (Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD and Linear PCM), correct?. I'm thinking bluray .iso's will be my storage method of choice and it's not worth all this effort to rip my blurays if I can't get the 5.1/7.1 audio working with the system, so I might as well wait to set up my HTPC anyways.


Edit: Also, poofyhairguy - Looking at your sig, that may be something I might just try to aim for when I build an HTPC from scratch. Do you have any links so I can read up on that type of system or current builds that follow that outline?
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