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Discussion Starter #1
hey there guyz, I am looking to build a HTPC for my home theatre, now Im not the most techy guy when it comes to computers,but Im not a newb either, so I am looking for some advice and help on putting one together, I would like to start from scratch, what I would like to have is a bluray player an ripper, @ least 2tb HD, windows vista cause Im not digging win7, a champ video an audio card, that can support good HD and audio of all formats, I know I will need a case, power supply, mother board, video an audio card, network card, HDD, Bluray ripper, not sure what other components I will need, so if there is any HTPC dudes here that have one or have built one that would like to help or chime in would be great, thanx guyz !
 

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There are some builds near the end of this thread. See post 713 in particular. Also check this thread for other possibilities. I prefer AMD based builds, mainly due to their lower cost and some very good Gigabyte motherboards that are available. Intel builds based on the i5 and newer chips with built in graphics are very good choice as well but cost a little more.

Win7 is probably the best choice for a Windows based HTPC. It's much more stable and capable than Vista or XP. Plus, MS support for Vista and XP ends much sooner than for Win7. With a little luck, you won't see the Win7 interface very much anyway.
 

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you don't need much horsepower for a HTPC, just a decent video card that will decode your files in hardware

I've got a pair of almost identical boxes, that are pushing 5 years old

only updates I've made have been to go from XP to win7, and to upgrade video graphics from the onboard nvidia 6150 (which will do 720p) to ati 4350 (which will do 1080p easily)



imo, the best way to do it is to have a simple fileserver somewhere. something with a ton of space, and then ethernet connection to your front end at the tv
all heavy lifting done at the front end
 

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Don't confuse an HTPC with a desktop PC that can play video. An HTPC is most often a dedicated PC that is part of a home theater system and used only for media playback or other simple tasks. HTPCs often present only a dedicated media player interface instead of the Windows (or Linux) desktop. If you want a desktop PC that can play video and perform other tasks, that is a completely different PC with different hardware and software choices.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
So after alot and I mean alot of reading Ive finally put something together, heres what Ive got, I picked up a mobo and cpu combo, Asus mobo and AMD Phenom II X4 955 CPU, 8Gigs ram, but no video or sound card yet, using the onboard audio an video to start, I was using my laptop as a HTPC before and was using XBMC to play content to my LCD which was great, now trying to do this with the comp Ive put together is not working right, Im playin large MKV's and I get not audio and video is lagging, slow and choppy, Im asuming this is because of the onboard audio and video chipsets, before I dump for a good video and audio cards, or can I get a audio an video card in one, I jus wanna comfirm this is my prob, my 2yr old laptop is handling this task like a walk in the park, any input would great please and thanx !

and any video or audio card feedback please and thanx !
 

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More than likely is related to ur choice of codecs.
Play around with various codecs, etc. They all have their uses for various scenarios. And there is no one size fits all codec choice.

If ur using Win7, Microsoft DTV codec that comes with WIN 7 seemed to work the best for me with the software I was using. No longer using Windows here though.
 

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using the onboard audio an video
That depends on the motherboard hardware. Some are designed for HD video and audio playback and others are not. It doesn't take a lot of muscle to payback HD video/audio but not all video chips can do it. I've seen gaming cards that do a poor job compared to some lightweight motherboard chips tuned for HD video.

It could be a codec issue. OTOH, XBMC should have just about all the necessary codecs included. Another player to try is VLC. It also includes built in codecs. If neither XBMC or VLC work correctly, I would be looking at something other than codecs to fix the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
the one board video is ATI Radeon 3200, OTOH whats this ? will check out VLC, what would you look @ other than codecs if that is not the problem, I honestly thought it was the onboard graphics, I was going to get a video card sooner than later, but was hoping i could get by like this for a bit, thanx for the help guyz will give these tips a go 1st and see how it goes !
 

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The onboard 3200 should be adequate but there better chipsets available. You might want to grab the latest 10.x driver from ATI. It fixes a couple of bugs. Not sure how the 11.x drivers are since I haven't tried them but they should not be necessary for the 3200 either.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I believe I have the latest drivers, is there a read me for sharks codecs pack, will look around and give it a try, the only thing that bothers me is that my older laptop can use XBMC with no probs and the new builld is having probs, thanx guyz !
 

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Codec packs will not help with your XBMC problem. It might help to adjust the video settings in XBMC. I find that codec packs often cause more problems than they solve. Most are designed for a particular software and operating system combination and they often require fine tuning to make them work correctly. Just install the best in class codec to decode any files that will not play correctly in XBMC. (That should not be many. I've never had to add a codec to XBMC.) Either do not install or uninstall the rest.

If you have the latest 11.x video driver, it may help to remove it and install the last 10.x driver. Other things to look at would be real time virus scanners, firewalls and other installed software that may slow file access, load the CPU or slow network access.

Another possibility is insufficient RAM. 3GB/4GB is the minimum for Win7 32/64 on a system with shared video RAM. Turn off paging as well and make sure there is enough video RAM allocated in the BIOS (256 or 512MB.)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
OK will try and unistall the codecs packs I have tried, I have searched and read about the same video probs i have with others and made adjustments to the settings with no luck, I have the latest 11.x driver will try some older ones to see if that helps, Im not using a virus scanner firewall yes, and the load on the cpu is low. I have 8gb ram so this should not be an issue, how do I turn off paging, and I have allocated 512mb in the bios already, pretty much at witts end here, but I really appreciate all the help, thanx guyz !
 

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how do I turn off paging
Start > Right Click on Computer > Advanced system settings > Advanced > Performance > Advanced > Virtual Memory > Change > No paging file.

or...

Start > Control panel > System and security > System > Advanced system settings > Advanced > Performance > Advanced > Virtual Memory > Change > No paging file.

Phew?! :D
 

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MKVs are not playing in XBMC, but are they in VLC or WMP?

For HW, set memory to Ungangged in bios; should allow faster access to memory.
 
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