Build Your Own HTPC

Clint DeBoer

Clint DeBoer

Banned
<font color='#008080'>This is a &quot;coming soon&quot; announcement. I will be doing a start to finish, comprehensive piece on building your own Home Theater PC.

I will start with bare components and build the entire box from the ground up, explaining the pluses and minuses of each component as well as providing helpful tips and guidelines for what to look for in a fully functional unit.

My goal? To build a very functional HTPC unit for under $750, not including software. At the end of the article, you'll know how to do it yourself, and where to buy the parts.

If you have no idea what an HTPC is, and would like to &quot;bone up&quot; on some background info, take a look at this thread to get the basic gist of the HTPC craze.

The difference between the Audioholics article and everyone else's take, is that our product will be reproducible by you... step by step, part by part. If you want to build an HTPC, this will be the definitive guide. And as we upgrade, we'll add addendums to the article.

Remember, there are 100 ways to build an HTPC box, and we'll pick just one, but our guide willl enable just about anyone to do it themselves.

Coming in early August!</font>
 
G

Guest

Guest
<font color='#000000'>Way to go !!!

I can't wait it!
Best Regards!</font>
 
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Clint DeBoer

Clint DeBoer

Banned
<font color='#008080'>Just an update. The HTPC has been assembled, the photos taken... all that's left is for me to experiment with some additional software and write the lengthy article.

More to come...</font>
 
B

brent

Enthusiast
<font color='#000000'>Excellent! This is most timely for me personally as I am recovering from a devastating house fire that destroyed my modest and ecclectic audio component system and rear projection TV. So I am starting over and unfortunately dealing with the loss of my three beloved dogs while hassling with homeowners insurance over replacing components that are no longer available such as a Micro Seiki DD 40 turntable that they want to &quot;replace&quot; with a plastic $150 Denon turntable- quite another story in itself. As some of you know, I've already replaced the receiver and tv I lost and am leaning toward the Axiom 80 HT speaker system reviewed by Clint(?) I recall. In any event, I await this article with keen and focused interest and will be tuning in frequently. Thanks for a wonderful forum here that has been a therapeutic and informative diversion.

Brent</font>
 
gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
<font color='#000000'>Brent;

I am very sorry to hear about your misfortune.  However, to be positive, I am sure things will only get better for you going forward.  The loss of your animals may be irreplaceable, however if you are looking to replace your vintage audio gear, may I suggest one of the following:
http://www.audiogon.com
http://www.audioweb.com

I am glad you find our forums a good diversion and appreciate your contributions.  Good luck and good fortune for you going forward  
</font>
 
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Clint DeBoer

Clint DeBoer

Banned
<font color='#000080'>My condolences as well. I don't often hear about things like this so 'close to home'. I am very glad you and none of your family was injured in the fire. I'm sure your dogs were like family, though and that must have been tough.

May your future be bright!</font>
 
B

brent

Enthusiast
<font color='#000000'>Thanks to both of you for your kind words. My dogs were very special to me, especially my German Shepher/Blue Heeler mix that I rescued from the streets as a stray when she was 2 months old-she was incredibly intelligent and stopped people in theie tracks with her beauty. I'd trade all my past and future audio equipment and everything else I own to have them back and there's not a day that I don't think about them but I rescued all three and they had a better life than what they had previously experienced-so, life goes on and I'll have to get over it. Maybe hassling with insurance will be a galvanizing and diversionary exercise. In any event I do appreciate the empathy that only dog lovers can fully understand and communicate.

I look forward to computerizing my HT so this future article will be a great learning experience. I am about 95% certain I will purchase the Axiom 80 HT speaker system in the next few months and probably a Dell laptop PC to replace one that disappeared in the fire so I will be soaking up this article like a sponge.

Thanks again for the kind words.

Brent</font>
 
gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
<font color='#000000'>Brent;

Glad to hear you are getting back on your feet.  Don't forget to mention Audioholics for a discount should you choose Axiom Audio as your new speakers.  We are working with other online audio manufacturers to get our members discounts as well.  Stay tuned...</font>
 
Khellandros66

Khellandros66

Banned
<font color='#000000'>First off Brent I and my family are very sorry for the lose of your three dogs. And no piece of audio equipment or money can ever replace such loyal companions.

Coinsidering that I go to a technical institute for multimedia, this is right up my alley.

Righ now if I were to put together an HTPC for I'd use these components.

CoolerMaster ATC-61-GX1 Case $100
Enlight ATX 300w PS $30
Biostar M7NCG Motherboard $110
AMD Athlon 2200 $80+
Maxtor 80GB ATA133 HDD $100+
Micron 512MB PC2700 DDR 333MHz ($134 for0 2 chips = 1GB), $60+ (1 Chip)
Samsung Black DVD-ROM/CD-R/RW (48x24x48x16x) $70+
Samsung Black 3.5 Floppy $10
MSI TV @nywhere 125ch Tuner $50+

Sub Total=$684

Prices are from New Egg.com, Directron.com and MS4ME.com

Hows That guys?

;)~

Bob</font>
 
Clint DeBoer

Clint DeBoer

Banned
<font color='#000080'>Not bad, though wait until you see the HTPC case I am using! I would actually have to say that the most expensive component could be the case. If, you want a truly stunning device, that is!

There will be two kinds of people who build HTPCs - those who want the functionality for the lowest possible cost, and those who want the functionality with a really cool look. I try to appeal to both in my article.

It's coming along and should be out in a couple weeks.</font>
 
G

Guest

Guest
<font color='#000000'>Although the old Sound Blaster Lives are a good value for coax digital out, the Audigy2 has had some fairly bad reviews. &nbsp;At least from what I've heard from knowledgable people, the card downmixes to 44kHz, then upconverts back to 96kHz... not exactly the true 96kHz that were stated. &nbsp;The price is pretty terrible for what is offered by the card. &nbsp;The software and drivers provided by Creative are very taxing on your computer also.

Another option would be the M-Audio Revolution. &nbsp;It offers almost all of the same options, but at a lower price point. &nbsp;There were some driver issues, but with a new release, it seems as though all of those problems have been fixed.</font>
 
Clint DeBoer

Clint DeBoer

Banned
<font color='#000080'>Good advice. I've added the M-Audio Revo to the article as an upgrade option.</font>
 
Khellandros66

Khellandros66

Banned
<font color='#000000'>You were right about the case it sweet looking, found another for a little less but not the quite same :( Its made by Ahanix and its called the D-Vine

I am in school right so I will read the article more closely later on tonight.

:)~

Bob</font>
 
D

dan_wilkinson

Audiophyte
quiet HTPC components

I would like to point anyone who is interested in HTPCs (or just hates computer noise) to a website which i have been recently enlightened to.
http://www.silenx.com/

This company provides "silent" cooling solutions such as fanless PSU, Passive GPU cooler, HDD cooler/silencer, and very quiet fans of all sizes (14dBA @ 1 meter according to their specs), which are utilised in their PSUs with active cooling, and also sold coupled with the most efficient heatsink availible from Swiftech.

...Coupled with a Zalman Reserator (i do realise most of us have a budget to stick to ;) )http://www.pccasegear.com/prod1345.htm (provided the case has the space to accomodate a water cooling system) would be the ultimate in silent PC cooling.
 
jaxvon

jaxvon

Audioholic Ninja
Ah, yes SilenX. I would also like to make a note that for anyone building an HTPC, make sure you get a big, solid power supply. Many people skimp on this crucial component and then end up with problems down the line. SilenX is a pretty good company, although I would get one of their larger ones to be safe. Also, if you're looking into passive CPU cooling, you may want to check out stuff by Scythe. Provided you have enough room in your case, then it looks like it'd be the ticket to silent cooling.

Also, a list of high-quality power supply makers:

-OCZ
-CoolerMaster
-Antec
-Enermax
-SilenX

And of course, the Best of the Best,

-PC Power and Cooling

If I were to recommend in order of quality, it would go PCPaC, OCZ, CoolerMaster, SilenX, Enermax, and Antec.
 
A

Aslan

Audiophyte
New poster here, but keep in mind that SilenX tend to underrate their fans in terms of noise, and overrate them in airflow. SilenX fans are basically relabelled ADDA fans with a thermistor added onto them and the price jacked up. Although they are very silent, I'm not sure if they are worth the money, especially when compared to 80mm and 92mm Panaflo L1A's (the 120mm Panaflos have more motor noise).
If you wish to blow more money, there's always Papst or Verax as well. :)

As for other PSU manufacturers, also check out Fortron, Sparkle (both the same), and Seasonic. The Fortron and Sparkle PSU's are extremely high quality, low cost, and with their 120mm fan models, quite silent as well. Seasonic are more expensive, but also extremely silent.
SilenX do not manufacture their own PSU's, but they take Fortron models with 80mm and swap the fans with their own.

I'm not sure if I would trust a Coolermaster PSU as well. Their internals look extremely weak for something that supposedly puts out 450W.

http://www.systemcooling.com/images/reviews/PSU/CM_Real_Power_450W/inside2_lg.jpg
 

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