The motherboard in my current system is beginning to fail so I was already planning on rebuilding soon but then I thought since I have to replace most everything anyway maybe this time I should try building an HTPC. It seems the only things I would have to do different are change the case and get a TV tuner. Problem is I'm not sure how realistic this is since I can't afford to build two systems it would have to replace my current system and I would want it to do everything an HDD DVD recorder, like the Philips DVDR3575H37 can do, since that's the one I would get if I don't build the HTPC. I just have basic cable, no cable box but I do get some digital channels so I would want a card with a hybrid tuner NTSC/ATSC/QAM. There don't appear to be any tuner cards that can pass through the signal to a TV? Not a huge problem but it would be nice not to have to use a splitter. Can an HTPC record straight to DVD or only to the HDD? Again not really an issue since I never do that but just curious. I've read that some video cards can pass though audio to the HDMI in on your TV but none that I've seen for sale in the US make any mention of that in the specs or manuals. The big question is how much am I likely to be able to do at the same time I'm recording live TV without ruining the recording. It wouldn't have to be perfect or a super high resolution for stuff I'm not planning to keep, just watchable. Here's what I was thinking so far, I'd reuse a few parts from my current setup but not much...
Case: Cooler Master CM Media RC-282
PSU: Corsair 520HX
Heatsink: Thermalright SI-128
MB: Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L
CPU: Intel Quad Core Q6600 (overclocked to 3GHz)
RAM: Crucial Ballistix 2 x 1GB DDR2 800
VGA: Any passively cooled 8600GT or GTS
Tuner: ATI/Visiontek TV Wonder 600 PCIe
Audio: On Board
HDD: (2) WD 320GB 7200rpm SATA WD3200AAKS
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You might look at this MB with on-board HDMI: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128063
As for a pass through on a video card, that's just a splitter anyway, so I wouldn't worry about using a external splitter.
For a tuner card, maybe something similar to these: http://www.hauppauge.com/pages/compare/compare_hvr.html
I definitely don't want to use on board video because I will be using this system for more than just recording and watching video. Not that I do a lot of gaming but I want the option.
The thing I like about the ATI card is it doesn't have separate tuners for analog and digital. I realize that might be preferable for most people but not in my case.
An HTPC that is used as your general computer can be a challenge. The biggest consideration is your living space - can you tollerate the computer being in your TV viewing environment? Will it be too loud encoding a DVD while you try to watch MNF? Will it look like it belongs next to your expensive TV and Audio set-up or will it be an eyesore? Does anyone else use the space and how will they like it being there? If your computer is encoding with the fans a swirling and someone else is trying to watch TV, they may get fed-up and turn your computer off...and not in a nice way.
HTPC cases tend to be highly restrictive in their size. Power supply, optical drives, HD's are all wedged around and over the MB and in many HTPC cases it is a MicroATX board. Airflow and cooling become the challenge especially if you are trying to keep the system quiet. Many people wish to place their HTPC in an AV rack and this just adds to the problem. You wish to use your OC'd quad and a passive video card. That could be a challenge right there.
For recording TV you would want to record to the HD first. Let's you edit out any unwanted bits if you wish to keep it. When watching live TV I have it record to the HD so that I can pause live TV and catch up at the next commercial, much like a Tivo.
Not certain if anyone is making an HDMI that passes the audio through. One of the advantages of HDMI is the integrated audio so there probably is a solution available. I currently just pass digital audio via SPDIF to my amp - the speakers on my TV are turned off as I always use the surround sound system.
You probably would not want to be doing too much intensive processing during recording. Encoding would probably cause alot of dropped frames. It would also depend on the quality you are recording at - I always record at DVD quality and have never had any problems. And my processor is not anything near yours although my HTPC is a dedicated media centre.
Sound like an interesting build, good luck.
I'd suggest getting the CORSAIR TWIN2X2048-6400C4 DDR800 2 X 1GB Memory which currently has a $40.00 mail in rebate.
Make sure you check out the GIGABYTE website for the memory support list. I have the same mobo that you're thinking about getting but I have a ALLENDALE E2160 processor which is currently overclocked to 2.00ghz. I'm limited since I'm only running 2GB of DDR 667 Kingston memory. I also have the GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3R mobo with a CONROE E6400 cpu overclocked to 2.6ghz with 2GB of CORSAIR DDR 800 memory. Both mobo's are great for overclocking.
There's a reason Corsair can't give that RAM away. They use cheap Promo chips. Crucial uses Micron chips.
I have had no RMAs with Corsair RAM, but several with Crucial. I guess results can differ.
Originally Posted by Bondiablo
I wouldn't be surprised you hadn't had problems with Corsair in the past, they used to stick with higher quality chips like Hynix, Iinfineon, Micron, Samsung, at least for their XMS series, but recently seem to be moving to the cheap stuff. I think even the first revision of that model used Micron chips. Just check the reviews at Newegg or the Corsair forums and you'll find a lot of complaints about quality lately. At least with Crucial you know what you're getting because Crucial and Micron are part of the same company it's unlikely there will ever be anything but Micron chips on Crucial RAM where other RAM makers switch suppliers all the time.