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Discussion Starter #23
By using my Windows Home Server to store my songs and pointing iTunes to the WHS, I can now put the HTPC on a Power plan that will hibernate the PC.

BUT I still want to shut it down completely and restart so hopefully the UEFI will be updated with that functionality (doubtful but one can hope)
 

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Decide what components you want and then go to a shop like NCIX or Canada Computers. I have had most of my recent computers built at Canada Computers. For my latest build a few weeks ago I went with NCIX as they had some components that I wanted that CC didn't have - NCIX has just opened stores in the GTA recently. I was very happy - their customer service was excellent at their Scarborough store.
 

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Hugh, did you get the motherboard mentioned at the beginning of the thread? I'm interested in the Dolby Home Theater capabilities.

On my current HTPC, I just discovered that similar capabilities driven by DTS Connect only work when routing audio through the Realtek S/PDIF output. When I switched it to HDMI, the audio all went through the AMD HDMI Audio driver which brought everything back to the standard 2-channel PCM audio or pass-through AC3/DTS.

So the question is... on that new Sandy Bridge board are the Dolby Home Theater capabilities available when audio is connected via HDMI?
 

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Discussion Starter #27
Whoops, thought I published what I got.

I ended up with the Asus P8 H67M Pro with B3 revision.

One of the reasons I went Sandy Bridge is that Dolby Digital, TrueHD (up to 7.1), DTS, DTS-HD MA (up to 7.1) can all be bitstreamed over HDMI.

One funny issued I've encountered that is detailed here

Just a heads up. Media Player Classic Home Cinema doesn't currently play well with Sandy Bridge. Enabling DXVA acceleration in MPC-HC will cause stuttering and image quality issues during playback. It's an issue with MPC-HC and not properly detecting SNB as far as I know. Intel has reached out to the developer for a fix.
I hadn't seen this before. It took me a long time to fix but found the fix on Codec Guide.
 

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Anyone have any suggestions on a small form factor case to use with a Sandy Bridge with a mini-ITX board? The Antec ISK-100 is about the size I would like but the reviews on this case are not so good.

I am looking for something quite small - this Antec case is 7cm thick, 25cm high and about 22ch deep. A little thicker is fine but I don't want it too big. The only drive I plan on including is an SSD and I will use the integrated GPU.

For Mobo I was going to use a Zotac H67-ITX, Asus P8H67-i or Gigabyte GA-H67N-USB3
 

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Discussion Starter #30
I got the Silverstone Grandia HTPC Case which is a recommended case on the link from pnear. Obviously this is not what Wayne is looking for but I quite like it since it's a black horizontal case that will look good in a HT rack.
 

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The only case in that list that really is the size that I am looking for is the Morex T160. I don't know why we don't seem more really small cases since the capabilities of the integrated GPU on Sandy Bridge are really quite good and the processors don't need a gigantic heatsink.

Why do you need a case bigger than a couple of litres when you all you want inside it is a mini-ITX board with a Sandy Bridge i3 2100 with a small heatsink and an SSD? With a properly configured case you could have the fan blow right onto the heatsink - kind of like the Antec ISK-100 but it seems to have some other issues which are noted in the SPCR review of the case. And this would make a great HTPC playback client and Netflix/Hulu client.
 

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Gigabyte is using a hybrid BIOS.

Hybrid EFI Technology combines the benefits of GIGABYTE's mature BIOS platform including stability and compatibility with 3rd party products with 3TB+ HDD support from EFI technology, allowing GIGABYTE to offer the best of both worlds through a quick and easy BIOS update using GIGABYTE's @BIOS utility that is freely available from the GIGABYTE website.

Main part is still good old BIOS.EFI is used mostly for 3TB+ HD handling.

http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=3698#ov
 

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Why do you need a case bigger than a couple of litres when you all you want inside it is a mini-ITX board with a Sandy Bridge i3 2100 with a small heatsink and an SSD?
I started out that way, using an AsRock HT, small form factor, squeezed in 1x 64GB SSD (boot) + 1x 650GB hdd (OTA pvr storage).

Later I wasn't getting great transfer speeds from my NAS (Dlink-323), so I decide to consolidate the two, and got an i3 and m-atx case. I currently have 1x64GB (boot), 1x640GB (pvr), 2x1.5TB('nas' storage). Drives spin down when not in use.

So far, so good, and I already have a suitable system to inherit the i3 + MB in 6-12 months if/when i replace them with a low watt sandy bridge + MB.
 

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Discussion Starter #35
So Hugh ... status update

Is it built and running?
Power comsumption?
Noise?
Does it do everything you need (and more)?
So far I am very disappointed.

The fan and case is very loud. I simply refuse to put it in my family room or home theatre. Second, getting Bluetooth to work has been a nightmare. I had the keyboard working then it stopped and now I am at a standstill.

I have had codec issues and so on.

Sad to say but so far this is very much a work in progress
 

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Discussion Starter #37
I use remote HD and Wake. I don't see how an app can power up your pc? certainly it can wake it up from sleep mode.
 

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Try chaning the case fans to a low rpm version. There are many 800/100o rpm fans that are virually silent.

I have tried blue tooth in the past and find that you always need to reconnect them. I and currently using the Logitech AirMouse and MS Arc keyboard ... great combo for me with the Logitech One remote.

I usually use VLC for playing any downloaded stuff. Has played everything I have thrown at it so far.
 

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Discussion Starter #40
I am now using Wake, Remote HD, Boxee and VLC iOS apps for controlling much of the PC since my Bluetooth has been a failure. I also moved the HTPC into the room behind my projector so their is no noise.

I tried connecting the PC to my 4x2 matrix so it could service my family room and home theatre but it simply refused to work.

I've ended up buying a WDTVLive Hub for my family room and the HTPC is used for the Home Theatre. If I don't use it much, I might just convert the HTPC into a desktop for the kids.

Time will tell.
 
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