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The Desktop PC Building Thread

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by AR_Six, Jul 23, 2010.

  1. whiteslashasian

    whiteslashasian Senior member

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    Only thing really holding me back from a HTPC is that my home theatre receiver isn't high def. Old TEAC 100 watt heh, cost me 100 bucks off Ebay refurbed years ago.

    I have a high def TV, but am connected with red, yellow, white cables lol


    My receiver doesn't process HDMI sound either, thought it has a built in HDMI switch. What I do is run my HDMI straight to the TV (like my HD DVR or PS3) and then run the optical TOSLINK out from the TV (most have this) to my receiver. So whatever sound is sent to the TV is relayed to my receiver, I just mute the TV and use the receiver for sound. It's not 7.1 sound but 5.1 dolby digital or whatever is fine for me.
     
  2. Ace Rimmer

    Ace Rimmer Senior member

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    What chip are you considering for your HTPC? AMD has a single core socket AM3 chip for like 30 bucks.

    I haven't done a lot of research yet but I am most certainly going with AMD as I don't need a ton of CPU power and would like to keep costs down.

    Maximum PC Magazine's Ultimate 3D HTPC build article has a build ... for $1,800. [​IMG] I don't have a 3D display so I'm definitely not going to spring for all their bells and whistles.

    What I want is a solid system that I can use to playback standard def DVDs (ISO format) from internal hard drives located in the HTPC ... and that I can use for light gaming. My condo is not wired for more than one internet connection and I haven't been able to use wireless reliably.
     
  3. otc

    otc Senior member

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    I was assuming someone would use it standalone, not connected to a server. Also I would rather record things to watch later in the night then wait the next day to download which would require some processing power and hard drive use (heat).

    Shows usually get posted an hour after they air...combine that with a torrent client w/ RSS and its about the same thing as recording (unless you watch your recorded shows at almost the exact time they air [​IMG] )

    I don't use mine connected to a server, but when I first got it, most of my stuff was still stored on my desktop so I streamed it. I have been thinking about getting some sort of networked storage unit and I would probably then store all media on there.

    What I do is run my HDMI straight to the TV (like my HD DVR or PS3) and then run the optical TOSLINK out from the TV (most have this) to my receiver.

    I did this until I set up my center/surround speakers and it worked fine. One thing to watch out for though is that many TVs (like mine) do not pass 5.1 signals from HDMI...If I watch TV from the antenna, it outputs in 5.1 but if I watch something from my htpc, it would only be in stereo (so I am now using toslink from the pc straight to the receiver until I find a new receiver)
     
  4. whiteslashasian

    whiteslashasian Senior member

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    I haven't done a lot of research yet but I am most certainly going with AMD as I don't need a ton of CPU power and would like to keep costs down.

    Maximum PC Magazine's Ultimate 3D HTPC build article has a build ... for $1,800. [​IMG] I don't have a 3D display so I'm definitely not going to spring for all their bells and whistles.

    What I want is a solid system that I can use to playback standard def DVDs (ISO format) from internal hard drives located in the HTPC ... and that I can use for light gaming. My condo is not wired for more than one internet connection and I haven't been able to use wireless reliably.


    If you have a micro center near you, you can get a Phenom II X2 555 and a mATX mobo for $93. Can't beat that. I'm actually getting that combo for my dad this weekend. Maybe it will unlock to a quad [​IMG]

    Alternatively Newegg has the Ahtlon II X2 245 for $58 with free shipping. Quite a bit more processing power than the Sempron which frankly I wouldn't use for anything other than email and word processing. You could also get the the Sempron on the hopes that it will unlock to an Athlon II X2...

    *EDIT*
    Shows usually get posted an hour after they air...combine that with a torrent client w/ RSS and its about the same thing as recording (unless you watch your recorded shows at almost the exact time they air [​IMG] )

    I don't use mine connected to a server, but when I first got it, most of my stuff was still stored on my desktop so I streamed it. I have been thinking about getting some sort of networked storage unit and I would probably then store all media on there.

    I did this until I set up my center/surround speakers and it worked fine. One thing to watch out for though is that many TVs (like mine) do not pass 5.1 signals from HDMI...If I watch TV from the antenna, it outputs in 5.1 but if I watch something from my htpc, it would only be in stereo (so I am now using toslink from the pc straight to the receiver until I find a new receiver)


    Interesting points. I always did torrents the manual searching way. I'm not home but I'm guessing utorrent can utilize RSS feeds to automatically download new torrents for a series? That would be helpful. Though sometimes I watch a show that is recording half an hour after it starts so I can fast forward through the commercials and finish the show right around the time it normally ends too.

    I believe my TV (samsung LNT4069fx) outputs in 5.1 but I am not 100% sure now. I might have to go back and take a look at my set up to confirm. There's a possibility that I have my PS3 and DVR plugged straight into my receiver for sound after determining that I didn't get surround coming from the TV Optical, it was a while ago....
     
  5. javyn

    javyn Senior member

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    Ace, shit I didn't even spend half that on my workstation build!


    whiteslash, Have you ever seen a Sempron in action? I haven't, but based on the descriptions it seems made for an HTPC, low power needs, cheap, etc. Does it not handle full screen video well or something?

    Only reason I really want a HTPC is to play my Xvids on. Not into turning DVDs into ISOs...seems a bit silly. If I was going to put my DVD collection on the HD, I'd surely convert it to Xvid to save space.

    Anyway, it's a want, not a need, the WD TV I got is serving me quite well so far.

    Perhaps if I can quit smoking for a year, I'll look into an HTPC more, or one of those Acers.
     
  6. Listi

    Listi Senior member

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    Just saw this post on the front page, haven't really looked through too much but thought I'd post my build.

    Case: Lian-Li PC7-B
    Processor: Intel i7 920i OC@3.6ghz
    Cooling: Scythe Mugen II
    Mobo: ASRock X58 Extreme
    GFX: Sapphire Radeon 4890 Vapor-x
    PSU: OCZ ModXstream Pro 650W or 700W (I forget)
    HDD: Seagate Barracuda 1.5TB
    RAM: OCZ Gold 6GB DDR3 1600

    Planning on adding an OCZ Revodrive 128gb for my OS and programs when prices drop a little or on a black Friday sale or something. I need a soundcard, but I've been doing okay with onboard sound optically routed to a receiver. Hooked up to a 1152p Samsung 23" monitor at the moment.
     
  7. CMD.EXE

    CMD.EXE Senior member

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    Interesting thread, I haven't done something like this since a very long time ago, when 8gb ram was unheard of and america online was new.

    Questions:

    What OS are you guys running? Anyone using an open source OS? Anyone "illegally" using OS X?

    Have you had any firmware issues? It used to be a lot less complicated to build a system yourself. Not the actual construction, but integration was a lot more straightforward. Simpler parts for simpler OS.

    Another Q: Is it true some manufacturers produce more efficient parts? For example is there any truth to say, Samsung RAM working better than a cheaper ram of the same spec?
     
  8. CMD.EXE

    CMD.EXE Senior member

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  9. Ace Rimmer

    Ace Rimmer Senior member

    Messages:
    757
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    Location:
    Philadelphia PA
    If you have a micro center near you, you can get a Phenom II X2 555 and a mATX mobo for $93. Can't beat that. I'm actually getting that combo for my dad this weekend. Maybe it will unlock to a quad [​IMG]

    Alternatively Newegg has the Ahtlon II X2 245 for $58 with free shipping. Quite a bit more processing power than the Sempron which frankly I wouldn't use for anything other than email and word processing. You could also get the the Sempron on the hopes that it will unlock to an Athlon II X2...


    Yeah there is one within 30 minutes of me (St. David's, PA). I will have to check them out. I bought my Core i7 920 from the same store. I just haven't figured out what specs to put in my HTPC. I'm gonna rifle through my stack of Maximum PC magazine to see if they've got any cheaper HTPC builds.

    I'd love to be able to play games on my HDTV but it's no big deal if I can't. My current PC monitor is a 27" LCD so it's plenty big enough when you're sitting 2 feet away. [​IMG]
     
  10. javyn

    javyn Senior member

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    I'm running Ubuntu 10.04 and Windows 7 on my box I built back in April. I have to disagree though, it is way less complicated to build a new computer nowadays than it was back then. I had no problems with firmware or anything like that. As a matter of fact, my Gigabyte motherboard came with an app called @Bios that allows you to update your bios from within Windows, very easy. Also, hard drives and optical drives being SATA now also makes things way easier. No more need to worry about ribbon cables or master/slave jumpers.
    Interesting thread, I haven't done something like this since a very long time ago, when 8gb ram was unheard of and america online was new. Questions: What OS are you guys running? Anyone using an open source OS? Anyone "illegally" using OS X? Have you had any firmware issues? It used to be a lot less complicated to build a system yourself. Not the actual construction, but integration was a lot more straightforward. Simpler parts for simpler OS. Another Q: Is it true some manufacturers produce more efficient parts? For example is there any truth to say, Samsung RAM working better than a cheaper ram of the same spec?
     
  11. whiteslashasian

    whiteslashasian Senior member

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    I'm running Windows 7 on all my machines (except my 7 year old Thinkpad) and I'm very pleased.

    Hardware has become easier to install and manage, however you have to make sure that all the hardware is compatible, such as knowing if you need DDR2 or DDR3 ram based on your Motherboard or matching your mobo and CPU sockets; those are the big ones, pretty much everything else is standard across the board right now.

    I'm not saying the Sempron can't do HTPC duties, it's just that he said he wanted to do some gaming as well and I don't think the Sempron can really handle that well unless he plans on playing SC1 or D2. Considering the Sempron plus a mobo will run him around $70-80, he's best off going for the Micro Center deal with the Phenom II X2 555 and free mobo for $93. That phenom chip is incredible; it's very, very fast and I was able to unlock my brothers to a quad core and OC to 3.6ghz with the unlocked multiplier. A lot of bang for buck there.

    As far as hardware efficiency, most components come with wattage use numbers, or you can find real world power usage in reviews online. Most CPU's will come with a TDW Watt number which will give you an idea of the power consumption and heat generated at max load. Some ram requires higher voltages to run, but these are usually higher speed chips too. New video cards like the Nvidia Fermi line (460 excluded) are VERY power hungry and generate a ton of heat. In general the ATI cards are cooler and less thirsty. Some hard drives are marketed as "green" or "eco" tend to use less power, quieter, and last longer in theory, but they're also a bit slower in the benchmarks. It all depends on what you value and you can build a system from there.
     
  12. otc

    otc Senior member

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    7 on my desktop...its great. I jumped from XP (which I still use at work...not a big deal) and it is quite a nice system. Gotta be the best windows ever--it is fast and works right.

    Ubuntu 10.4 on my netbook...I actually just upgraded it and am not sure what is different from 9.10 other than the color scheme but I wanted to try it out for:

    Ubuntu 9.10 on my HTPC. I want to switch this to 10.4 (10.4 is a LTS release which means patches and support for many years) but I have to make sure all of the tweaked A/V stuff works right. It has some custom scripts for auto-sleep (based on torrent, network share and XBMC activity rather than the standard mouse usage metric) and has working VDPAU and HDMI audio. It took a little while to get everything worked together and displaying perfectly on my TV so I am afraid to change it up. I really should switch to 10.4 though so that I can just leave it alone with patches for the life of the machine (and I should do this before the next version comes out so there is still good support if I can't get it to work).

    OS X 10.5 on a old G4 ibook...I actually have not turned this on in months. It was set up as a party-computer...removed file menus and hid the dock from itunes and required a password to run any other programs (kept random people from opening youtube and breaking the flow of music). Since I am not in college (and neither are my class of 2010 friends...and I broke up with my class of 2011 girlfriend...), I don't really see any parties filled with people I don't know in my near future. I should probably sell it while it still has some value...but isync+missing sync (symbian) is the only way I can figure out to sync my phone with google contcats.
     
  13. javyn

    javyn Senior member

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    Ubuntu 10.04 is the best yet. 9.10 was a disaster. I'd can't recommend enough wiping your HD clean and installing 10.04 (clean install, never 'upgrade' an OS).

    It's not much in the way of new features, the but the LTS releases are more focused on stability. A LTS will be supported with updates for 3 years.

    Even if you don't like 10.04 for some odd reason, I'd go back to 9.04 rather than 9.10. 9.10 has wayyy too many broken apps, bugs, etc. that have been hammered out in 10.04.

    Also, regardless of version, all Ubuntu users should periodically go in the Synaptic manager and delete the old Linux kernels. It can really junk up your GRUB boot menu if you are dual booting. If you aren't dual booting, you probably won't notice but those old kernels will still be there taking up space.

    I leave the two most recent kernels in case the newest one is screwey, I can always boot into the older one. But if you do updates regularly, chances are you have 5 or 6 old kernels that are just sitting there taking up space.

    edit: What I do is make a text file with all my commands/tweaks/setups/etc so when I upgrade the OS, all I have to do is paste that text file into the command line. All of my apps and settings are loaded with one command.
     
  14. otc

    otc Senior member

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    Ubuntu 10.04 is the best yet. 9.10 was a disaster. I'd can't recommend enough wiping your HD clean and installing 10.04 (clean install, never 'upgrade' an OS).

    I haven't had that much trouble that *I* couldn't solve with 9.10 but I see what you mean about it being a mess...I had to do way too much work to get everything working that worked in 9.04 (on the netbook...I didn't have the revo for 9.04).

    I have always preserved my home directory and done clean installs...but on my netbook I decided to try the dist-upgrade procedure. I figured at some point they must figure it out without breaking things. I have not noticed any problems doing it this way. I won't do it for my htpc but I was mostly lazy (I have had less time/interest in twiddling with these things lately) and wanted to see 10.4 and it seemed to work fine.
     
  15. javyn

    javyn Senior member

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    Heh I'm just happy 10 fixed the Brasero burner. It's been broken since 9.04. K3B is a great alternative, but man, I don't like junking up my system with a bunch of KDE dependencies when I don't have to.

    Also, AVIDemux ROCKS for video editing. I was always complaining that Linux had no good equivalent for VirtualDub, but then AVIDemux came along and answered all my prayers. Even better than Vdub.
     
  16. XenoX101

    XenoX101 Senior member

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    Hey again guys, good news I managed to build the build I posted a bit earlier in this thread. Here's the final build. Case: Coolermaster CM 690 II Advanced - Window CPU: Intel Core i5-760 Heatsink: Coolermaster Hyper 212+ Thermal Paste: OCZ Freeze MB: Asus P7P55D PRO Sound: Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi - Xtreme Music PSU: Antec TruePower New Series 750W - blue led Video: MSI GeForce GTX 460 Cyclone 1GB Overclocked Ram: G.skill Ripjaws 4GB DDR3 1333Mhz (2x2G) F3-10666CL9D-4GBRL HD: Samsung F3 1 TB DVD/RW: LiteOn iHAS-524 No pics or benchmarks yet I'm afraid, but I can tell you it came to around $1370 AU and doesn't include keyboard, mouse or monitor (I had them from my old computer). Some points, firstly the case is gorgeous and very well designed and nice and roomy, everything is pretty easy to get through, the cabling holes help a lot in getting around as does the removable bottom 4 HD trays, which is a great place to store your unused cables. The heatsink is massive and a bit awkward to install as a result, I would recommend installing it after you install the motherboard otherwise it's a bit harder, though still manageable. My Windows XP Install BSOD'd on first attempt with "pci.sys" 0x0000007E error, turns out this is a common error which is easily fixed by slipstreaming SP2 onto your Windows XP install and reburning the installation to a CD or DVD (I used a DVD because I had no CDs, worked great), after this I had no issues. The soundcard, Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi, is a bit of a let down, it makes the odd crackling noise when sound is played, apparently this is an uncomfortably common problem with the X-Fi's, perhaps due to the bloatware drivers that come with it (and unfortunately there aren't any easy to obtain third party ones from my brief research). I'll have some benchmarks hopefully towards the end of the week if the computer is stable till then, so far I've been able to run StarCraft 2 on all highest graphics with not a sceric of framedrop, we'll see how it goes in the tests though. I plan on overclocking it when I have the time, currently just did a 'basic' overclock through predefined bios settings from 2.8 to 2.93ghz, nothing major but its still something for nothing (well, almost nothing). Thanks again for everyone's help and suggestions re: the build, it's much appreciated.
     
  17. whiteslashasian

    whiteslashasian Senior member

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    Any reason you're running XP? That video card is DX11...you're missing out on a lot of eye candy by not using W7.

    I thought the CM 212+ wasn't that cumbersome, perhaps I am just used to handling large heatsinks.

    Otherwise it sounds like a nice build.
     
  18. deadly7

    deadly7 Senior member

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    Any reason you're running XP? That video card is DX11...you're missing out on a lot of eye candy by not using W7.

    I thought the CM 212+ wasn't that cumbersome, perhaps I am just used to handling large heatsinks.

    Otherwise it sounds like a nice build.


    W7 is the sucks. I hate this OS. Granted, I've been spoiled by Linux as of late, but still...
     
  19. whiteslashasian

    whiteslashasian Senior member

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    W7 is the sucks. I hate this OS. Granted, I've been spoiled by Linux as of late, but still...

    "the sucks" isn't really an explanation...

    I haven't had any qualms with W7 whatsoever. I've run linux on several machines and while it's great for certain applications, I think overall W7 is hard to beat, especially if you plan on gaming.
     
  20. Kai

    Kai Senior member

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