Budget HTPC help please!

Anh N.

Gawd
Joined
Feb 3, 2007
Messages
868
Hi! I am trying to build a budget HTPC for my brother (with a budget of under$300). I already have a copy of window 7 home premium, so the budget is just for parts. I ran across this combo from newegg for a relatively low price of $235. Would this be sufficient? Is there a better alternative? The requirements are to be able to do 1080p playback (from local external) and has both video/audio through HDMI. Thanks ahead for your time and suggestions. :D

This SuperCombo includes:
AMD Athlon II X3 445 Rana 3.1GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Desktop Processor (Model: ADX445WFGMBOX)
ASUS AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX Motherboard (Model: M4A785-M)
G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory (Model: F2-6400CL5D-2GBNQ)
RAIDMAX Tornado Black SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case w/ 450W Power Supply (Model: ATX-238WRP)
 

Zachstar

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 27, 2005
Messages
1,407
Sorry AMD chipsets currently can only do 2.0 Through HDMI audio. This is insanity in my view as otherwise AMD chipsets would be the big boys of HTPC work.

You will have to budget for an ATI 5X series card low end will work for just 1080p but for 1080i and deinterlacing you want a more powerful card. Like the 5670
 

xrintrahx

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 13, 2008
Messages
258
I'd go for a 45W or 65W dual-core CPU. And I second getting a low end 5xxx graphics card.
 

Anh N.

Gawd
Joined
Feb 3, 2007
Messages
868

SJetski71

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Sep 6, 2002
Messages
15,941
The same seller has a bundle deal where you get the slim optical drive for just another $15 or so, everything shipped free, here's the link: http://cgi.ebay.com/New-Mini-ITX-Case-w-220-Watt-Power-cables-DVD-RW-/120581788500

That Lite-on optical drive you linked comes out to $38 total with shipping, so you would save $23 or so by going with the bundle deal i linked.

It's a really nice case by the way, even in person, looks and feels high quality.
 

xrintrahx

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 13, 2008
Messages
258
5450 should be fine for most, if not all HD content. If you want to turn on image enhancements or special deinterlacing options, a 5570 or higher may be needed. There is no AMD motherboard that passes lossless multichannel over HDMI, see http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/show...mponent Selection: Graphics and Sound Devices, though they can pass basic DD and DTS (just not the latest HD codecs.) If you have software process the sound, you can still get surround sound over HDMI, but your receiver won't have the fancy lights come on (sound quality will be marginally worse, but may not even be noticeable on your average set up). If you want a motherboard that does the latest codecs over HDMI, you'll need to go intel, say an I3 with a H55. But it's most likely cheaper to buy a $30 5450 graphics card and add that to your AMD build, than go for an intel motherboard and CPU.
 

Zachstar

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 27, 2005
Messages
1,407
What?


This isn't true.

Yes it is.

You need the more powerful card because the good deinterlacing systems require the extra oomph of the 5670. The lower cards can only use the basic deinterlacing options which suck.

5450 should be fine for most, if not all HD content. If you want to turn on image enhancements or special deinterlacing options, a 5570 or higher may be needed. There is no AMD motherboard that passes lossless multichannel over HDMI, see http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/show...mponent Selection: Graphics and Sound Devices, though they can pass basic DD and DTS (just not the latest HD codecs.) If you have software process the sound, you can still get surround sound over HDMI, but your receiver won't have the fancy lights come on (sound quality will be marginally worse, but may not even be noticeable on your average set up). If you want a motherboard that does the latest codecs over HDMI, you'll need to go intel, say an I3 with a H55. But it's most likely cheaper to buy a $30 5450 graphics card and add that to your AMD build, than go for an intel motherboard and CPU.

The i3 or i5 is nogo due to the frame jitter issue. Too many people notice it to be just considered a barely noticeable effect.

7.1 LPCM is for the most part on par with Dolby TrueHD yes a bitstream can beat it but from what I read you have to have about 1 thousand USD worth of speakers and a 500 USD plus receiver to hear even a small difference and even then it is because the bitstream enables enhancements that can be done for certain room types.

Also the big mama jamma a stand alone player will beat a HTPC 90 percent of the time for Blu Ray playback. Its just simple design. Current playback software sucks. You get Bitstreaming and these days netflix and all that jazz for around 20-40W total. The player makers have learned from having their butts handed to them by the HTPC setups.
 
Last edited:

Verge

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
May 27, 2001
Messages
7,366
Yes it is.

You need the more powerful card because the good deinterlacing systems require the extra oomph of the 5670. The lower cards can only use the basic deinterlacing options which suck.


I'm not aware of any GPU accelerated deinterlacing filters out there. Which one exactly are you referring to that takes advantage of the graphics card?


I had a single core celeron that could play 1080i content just fine, i'm really not sure what you are referring to here.
 

Activate: AMD

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Nov 6, 2004
Messages
1,994
nothing wrong with this build. Add a cheap 5450 and it'll be a pretty nice setup. They can be had for like, 30 bucks after MIR, maybe less.
 

Activate: AMD

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Nov 6, 2004
Messages
1,994
I dont know anything about that case's PSU, but a good quality psu of that power rating would be able to handle it. normal HTPC loads would need about 100-120w of power with that GPU, which is about a 50% of the rated capacity. Of course, we all know how some cheaper PSU's tend to exaggerate their capabilities, so I'd definitely consider a slightly uprated unit

the IGP on that board will still do surround sound output for DTS/DD encoded sources, so if you don't want to bother with that whole issue just for multichannel LPCM, I dont think anyone would blame you.
 

unhap

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 13, 2010
Messages
422
Here's my recent build:

Zotac A-U w/ power supply - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813500027&Tpk=zotac a-u - 179$

500GB harddrive 2.5" - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...48371&cm_re=500gb_2.5"-_-22-148-371-_-Product - 55$

mini-box m350 w/o power supply - http://www.mini-box.com/M350-universal-mini-itx-enclosure - 40$

total = 275$ total

you'll need some ddr2 ram lying around. or buy some for 15-40$ http://hardforum.com/search.php?searchid=15905703


Tiny computer, low power, plays HD video w/ sound through HDMI. I am enjoying mine a lot.
 

bastage

Pics of your wife?
Joined
Mar 4, 2010
Messages
12,862
Sorry AMD chipsets currently can only do 2.0 Through HDMI audio. This is insanity in my view as otherwise AMD chipsets would be the big boys of HTPC work.

Lies.. this was jsut discussed in another thread. It can only do LCPM 2.0 via HDMI.. But it can do SPDIF 5.1 via HDMI.. So depending on what there needs are that still may be more then sufficient.
 

grimreeferx09

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 22, 2008
Messages
355
yea, but that sorta defeats the whole point of using hdmi if you dont have any more capabilities than spdif.

i also wanna say that hardware deinterlacing is likely not to be a big issue for most people. I imagine alot of people watch only progressive material.
 

bastage

Pics of your wife?
Joined
Mar 4, 2010
Messages
12,862
yea, but that sorta defeats the whole point of using hdmi if you dont have any more capabilities than spdif.
You still get the capability of using a single common interface for both audio and video. what it comes down to is if you have a very high end home entertainment system you may need more, but those of us with simple systems don't need more.
Posted via [H] Mobile Device
 

Zachstar

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 27, 2005
Messages
1,407
You still get the capability of using a single common interface for both audio and video. what it comes down to is if you have a very high end home entertainment system you may need more, but those of us with simple systems don't need more.
Posted via [H] Mobile Device

Pushing DVD quality audio is not a solution. One of the big advantages of Blu Ray and HD video was the higher bitrate sound.
 

jeremyshaw

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Aug 26, 2009
Messages
12,512
I'm not aware of any GPU accelerated deinterlacing filters out there. Which one exactly are you referring to that takes advantage of the graphics card?


I had a single core celeron that could play 1080i content just fine, i'm really not sure what you are referring to here.

Specifically vector adaptive deinterlacing. You can also watch the content interlaced outright...

It needs shader power, and AFAIK, the HD5550 and up have enough GPU oomph, since memory bandwidth has very little to do with this.
 

Zachstar

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 27, 2005
Messages
1,407
I'm not aware of any GPU accelerated deinterlacing filters out there. Which one exactly are you referring to that takes advantage of the graphics card?


I had a single core celeron that could play 1080i content just fine, i'm really not sure what you are referring to here.

Vector adaptive deinterlacing which is disabled in ATI and Nvidia settings if the card is not powerful enough. And yes it counts in the cheese slices test you can easily tell the difference.
 

bastage

Pics of your wife?
Joined
Mar 4, 2010
Messages
12,862
Pushing DVD quality audio is not a solution. One of the big advantages of Blu Ray and HD video was the higher bitrate sound.

Pushing DVD quality audio is a solution for a very large number of people. Hell I only need stereo from my HTPC..

Did you ever stop for a second & think that maybe not everyone has an HTPC with a 10k+ dollar home entertainment system. My HTPC was connected directly to my LCD via HDMI & it did everything I asked of it just fine. The specs in the top post are well over what I was using as well.

Also did you miss the part of the 1st post that said "budget HTPC".. Your over-complicating shit with stuff that doesn't matter to most average jo's..
 

jeremyshaw

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Aug 26, 2009
Messages
12,512
Hey... some people treat this like audiophilles... set personal quality levels, and they will try everything it takes to raise people to that level. It makes sense. I hate recommending stuff that isn't up to my standards, and as such, I don't recommend sticking to soley an AMD chipset as the end all solution to a HTPC.

A HD5570 has already been proven to work with VA deinterlacing, though the OP doesn't seem to need it (no OTA - which is the primary source of interlaced material).

So a HD5450, if the OP sees the need for it. Otherwise, the onboard served me fine for my HTPC (550BE+HD4200), before I had an itching to up it to a HD5550 to help smooth out OTA material I recieve (not a lot is 1080i, though).
 

Anh N.

Gawd
Joined
Feb 3, 2007
Messages
868
DVD audio quality would be fine for now. If my brother gets a better audio receiver/speakers later on, then an upgrade might be necessary. As long as the HDMI can push DD/DTS 5.1, it should be fine. At a $300 budget, I don't think he would complain too much. Thanks again for all the inputs and help. It certainly helps a lot. :)
 
Top