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  Topic Review (Newest First)
2012-02-07 01:42 AM
ScaryBob All SandForce based SSDs need to be updated to the latest firmware. Newer ones should be OK but any older than a few months likely have a serious bug that causes data corruption and an eventual disk crash. I got hit with that on a Vertex 2 and it corrupted the O/S, making a restore from an older disk image necessary. That said, the Vertex Plus is Indilinx based so it won't have that particular bug. Indilinx based SSDs have their own issues though.
2012-02-06 11:10 PM
Wayne That's the same SSD that I have but I was having some issues with it initially as after a few days my system would crash and refuse to boot. I upgraded the firmware and all is well but with older firmware these SSDs had the tendency to have corruption issues.
2012-02-06 10:57 PM
redzone for windows 7 32 gb is enough on my 60gb ssd with media portal installed i still have 48gb free.

that said i havnt seen the 32 gb ssd's for that much less then the 60 gb ones. i got the ocz vertex plus 60 gb for 39.99+shipping(9.99) after a mail in rebate (that has been accepted just waiting for it in the mail)

an aftermarket fan is a great idea. definitely can reduce the noise. i think the main one everyone recommends is the hyper 120 but i wouldnt buy it untill after you build the pc. see if you even notice the fan noise first. i personaly find the fan in my powersupply to be louder then my cpu fan lol
2012-02-06 05:26 PM
JJMoney I'll likely add a couple fans. The case has slots for up to 4 80mm fans down the right-hand side - I doubt it would need all 4 though. I had left that for the time being until I got the rest of the build ordered and put together.

The Shuriken is an interesting idea though that I hadn't really thought about. How much of an improvement would it be over the stock heat sink? Is it worth the $30-$35?
2012-02-03 01:45 PM
ScaryBob That looks like a very nice build. My only concern is the high TDP of the CPU but that should not be an issue unless it is driven continuously at 100% load for an extended time. The slightly slower A8-3800 would do the job for HTPC. I would also add a couple of low noise, low RPM fans in the side, near the CPU, to increase ventilation. I wouldn't go with a smaller SSD since Win7 and Win8 will need the extra space. A low profile Scythe SCSK-1100 Shuriken CPU heat sink would also be a nice addition.
2012-01-31 06:03 PM
JJMoney Just thought I'd follow up and post what I ended up going with. I passed on the Ideacentre due to the questionable Atom processor and decided to build something custom instead. It ended up being a little more expensive than I was hoping (approx. $540-$550 + tax) but this thing is going to fly.

I've ordered everything over the last week or so - still waiting on a couple pieces to arrive. Here are the specs that I went with (and prices):

AMD A8-3870 Quad-3.0Ghz 4MB + Radeon HD6550 $140
ASRock A75M microATX motherboard $95
Silverstone ML03B case $56
Seasonic SS-400ET power supply $47
Corsair Vengeance 2x4GB RAM $45
Crucial M4 SATA3 64GB SSD $95
250GB HDD (old drive - will replace with large 2TB+ drive once prices drop)
Lenovo Enhanced Multimedia Remote $32
DVD Drive/Burner $22
In most cases I was able to do in-store pick-up so there were only minimal shipping costs (about $15 in total).

I know some of this is a bit overkill for an HTPC but it was worth the added cost to me. In my case, I want to have some extra flexibility if I need to re-purpose the machine as more than an HTPC in the future. (If not, I might have went with an A6-3500, 2x2GB RAM and a 32GB SSD (Patriot Torqx2) to save about $100 - I doubt there would be much difference between the two builds when using it strictly as an HTPC.)
2012-01-06 09:27 AM
roger1818 ^ From what I have read, yes.
2012-01-05 07:28 PM
das75 ^ would this concern also apply to the Atom D525 Dual Core that's in the Asus EeeBox PC EB1501P?
2012-01-05 04:23 PM
roger1818 The main concern with the Atom for an HTPC is that it is not powerful enough to do an HD software decode if the hardware decoder is not compatible with the codec required. This may not be a problem in the short term, but websites are constantly changing codecs and if AMD doesn't keep up, you could run into the same problem all over again.
2012-01-05 04:05 PM
JJMoney A little background on my situation. I am an OTA user and I've streamed the rest of my web content through my PS3 for about the last year or so. But I'm very disappointed in the web browser because it seems that about half the sites that I try to stream are not compatible with the PS3 browser and cannot be played. The last straw came a couple days ago when I wanted to stream the Canada/Russia game from tsn.ca but naturally the PS3 browser failed.

So it's time for a dedicated HTPC with all the bells and whistles. I've looked through some of the more recently posted builds and to be honest it seems like it could get pricey unless I spend alot of time looking for bargains. I'm not necessarily against putting one together myself but it seems like it could take a fair amount of effort.

Yesterday I came across the Lenovo Ideacentre Q180. It seems to be only available from Lenovo's US site which would make ordering one slightly more difficult.

I'm most interested in the second model (31102BU) - yesterday it had a web coupon on it listing the price at $343 (which seems to have disappeared today as it's back up to $429).

Specs:
Intel Atom Processor D2700 ( 2.13GHz 1MB )
AMD Radeon HD 6450A
4 GB PC3-8500 DDR3 SDRAM 1066MHz
500GB 5400rpm
802.11 B/G/N, 10/100/1000
HDMI out
8 in 1 Card Reader
DVD Drive
4 x USB 2.0 (2 front, 2 rear), 2 x SuperSpeed USB 3.0
Audio - SPDIF output

At any rate, I'm just interested in some thoughts on it. Seems for about $350-400 it would be a decent buy. I'm mainly wondering about the processor though and whether I would regret not going with an i3+ build..
2012-01-04 03:21 PM
OTAJuncqui I did not know that.
looks good
Thanks
2012-01-04 02:37 PM
audacity OTAJuncqui,

Running the chkdsk is still unnecessary, you're probably unaware of NTFS Self-Healing feature that was introduced in Windows 7.

So, if you're running Windows 7 both the chkdsk and defrag in your batch file is unnecessary.
2012-01-04 02:26 PM
OTAJuncqui I run W7 Ult and yes I'm aware of defrag in scheduled tasks. All I'm saying is for easy automated maintenance I run the check disk bat it repairs issues that are not related to bad drives and if my drive does crash and die I couldn't really care because I have two other spare 80gb drives. I too have Acronis and have backup images every six months of my primary drive stored on another drive. The only files on my primary drive are the OS and applications everthing else, saved files, live tv buffer, recorded TV, video, music and pictures is on another physical drive. My computer gets alot of use and runs quite well but as we all know PCs are most vunerable to problems that are caused by a defect in the interface between the keyboard and computer chair (I know this to be very true in my case).
2012-01-04 02:08 PM
roger1818 MythTV can be configured to shut down your PC when not in use and schedule it to power up again in time for the next recording or next scheduled update to the EPG.

While for half the year the heat may not be "wasted," electricity isn't the best way to heat your house and any gain you get from re-using waste heat in that half the year is offset by the energy required to pump it out of your house with your air conditioner in the other half.

While $2.40 a month may not sound like much, that works out to almost $30 a year, so it does add up, especially if you have multiple frontends throughout the house (which definitely only need to be on when you want to watch something).
2012-01-04 12:57 PM
audacity OTAJuncqui,

What version of Windows do you run? Windows 7 and Vista both automatically defrag the hard disk on a schedule by default - and intelligently skips doing a defrag on SSDs if it detects the fact that the drive is a SSD. No need to schedule your own batch file unless you've disabled this feature.

Regarding disk issues (reliability, etc) I recommend that people run a tool to monitor the S.M.A.R.T. status of their hard drives. Windows does monitor this information, but alerts often end up in your Event Log and not quickly brought to your attention so on my HTPC (which has plenty of HDDs) I run Acronis Drive Monitor (its free). If the operating system has trouble with one of your hard drives that information goes into the event log and Drive Monitor will see it and alert you. This is much better than doing a blind "chkdsk /f" in a scheduled task. If you're having a HDD go bad on you, you want to know about it - not mask the problem with chkdsk /f until its too late and the drive dies.

On the topic of tweaks that are helpful, a good idea I saw from the SageTV forum is to format your disks which contain your video files using 64k clusters.
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