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Old 09-11-2006, 01:58 PM   #1
Matir
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Home Theater PC Reccomendations?


So, I've begun to look at building a home theater PC. While the software side of things is something I understand well (MythTV, etc.) I haven't figured out what hardware to run it on. I have read the guides on the MythTV website and wiki and a number of success stories, but I'd like some input from people who know hardware better than I or who have done a HTPC before.

General Considerations:
  • I'm a 21 year-old college student. Price is, therefore, a very significant consideration in all aspects.
  • Along with the above, I'd like a bit of a future upgrade path.
  • As an additional cost consideration, this machine would be running 24/7, so low power consumption would be nice. Definitely under 4 Amps (480W)... that's about $30/mo in electricity bills around here.

Motherboard and CPU:
  • I'm not a devotee of either AMD or Intel, so my question is: bang for the buck?
  • Is dual core worth the money at this point?
  • If AMD, a lot of AMD mobos use the nForce 4 chipset. I've heard mixed reviews on Linux on this chipset, but I'm not sure if support has improved.

Graphics Cards:
  • I need good quality TV-out. I don't, at present, have an HDTV, so that's not much of a concern to me. I would much prefer NVidia over ATI.
  • I plan to use a WinTV-PVR 500 card for video capture because it has two tuners on one card.

Storage:
  • Obviously, video takes a lot of storage. I'm probably looking at 300-400 gig hard drives (sweet spot in $/gb). Losing video, while not detrimental, would be annoying. Is RAID reccomended? (I.e., RAID 5)

That's about it for basics. Any thoughts are welcomed.
 
Old 09-12-2006, 11:47 PM   #2
Penguin of Wonder
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I personally feel like AMD makes the better CPU these days, but Intel CPUs remain cheaper (because of Intel massive capability to produce).

I would recomend a VIA chipset on an AMD AM2 board if your looking down the road. A moderate powered processor on an AM2 socket shouldn't suck much juice. Obviously the 5000+ dual core is, but a 3700-4800 isn't going to be that bad.

nVidia is the only way to go for graphics in Linux. You'd probably want a PCI-e card though. I'm biased here though I've never owned anything but nVidia, so I can't honestly say ATI sucks. PCI-e is the best option for upgradability though. PCI-e cards are dropping price to as motherboards with PCI-e slots grow in number.

People compalain about Maxtor drives. I would go Seagate or Western Digital SATA2 (if you can afford it), SATA1 at least though.
 
Old 09-13-2006, 12:02 AM   #3
Matir
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Thanks for the help. A few responses interspersed below.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Penguin of Wonder
I personally feel like AMD makes the better CPU these days, but Intel CPUs remain cheaper (because of Intel massive capability to produce).

I would recomend a VIA chipset on an AMD AM2 board if your looking down the road. A moderate powered processor on an AM2 socket shouldn't suck much juice. Obviously the 5000+ dual core is, but a 3700-4800 isn't going to be that bad.
Think Dual Core has reached it's price point?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Penguin of Wonder
nVidia is the only way to go for graphics in Linux. You'd probably want a PCI-e card though. I'm biased here though I've never owned anything but nVidia, so I can't honestly say ATI sucks. PCI-e is the best option for upgradability though. PCI-e cards are dropping price to as motherboards with PCI-e slots grow in number.
I currently have an ATI Radeon 9200SE, and it is less than impressive. It works, but isn't anything to get excited by.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Penguin of Wonder
People compalain about Maxtor drives. I would go Seagate or Western Digital SATA2 (if you can afford it), SATA1 at least though.
Yeah, definitely SATA.
 
  


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