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Old 08-06-08, 11:59 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Nashvegas
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Default Building Another HTPC

As some of you may know, I built a HTPC earlier this year and it just wasn't the best time to build one (expectations were too high and I was pretty darn broke then lol). But now, I have a great job and some extra money to burn. I've been trying to find a good storage solution to back up important docs, movies, music, game patches, etc AND that has the possibility to expand later on down the road. Sounds like a good opportunity to build a new HTPC!

This time around, here is what I want to accomplish:

1. Be able to backup all DVDs.
- Haven't really decided on what method I wanted to use. I think I'm wanting to just backup the movie itself, 5.1 audio track, no subtitles, no languages, no menus or special features. It would be really cool to have the main movie with close to DVD quality (visually) in a plus/minus 700MB AVI, MPEG or DIVX file.

2. Watch all backed up DVDs.
- Whether I decide on using Vista Media Center or XBMC, I want to be able to watch my backed up AVI, MPEG or DIVX files with ease. A simple point and click will do.

3. Music backup storage for my fiancee and myself.
- I've been a little paranoid that something may happen to my or my fiancee's music collection (iTunes) so I really want some place to back it up and have it secure.

4. Easy to use jukebox for all of our music.
- We probably won't use this much, but it's always nice to have. Something simple.

5. Easy to use center for our pictures.
- Same with the jukebox.

6. XBOX 360 Extender Access
- My 360 is setup in my office so I'll have access to all my media from there.

7. Blu-Ray Playback.
- Not sure on this one yet but with everything else setup, I can always buy a BR-ROM drive and just go with it.

Screw TV recording and all that. We have DirecTV now and with digital boxes, there's no way of really recording anything. Why even bother? With all my media on a seperate box, my main gaming rig will have many, many GBs of space freed up.

So what components am I going with this time? Since I do have extra cash to spend on this project, I don't have a ton to throw at it. I'm actually going to buy parts over the next three months to build this just to keep on my financial toes. But I do need a few suggestions on some of the components:

EDIT - I will not be ordering from NewEgg since they will charge me sales tax.

- Case
Silverstone LC13B-E

I didn't want to just get a regular tower case this time, I want to get something that goes with my entertainment center decor and looks good . . . not to mention having plenty of room to work and great airflow. This case matches perfectly with my living room furniture and looks pretty awesome. 4 HDD bays, 2 bays for DVD drives and room for everything else I need.

Cooler Master 500-Watt

Should be enough power for what I want. I haven't really found any other good brand PSUs that are around $50-$70.

AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ 2.6GHz Brisbane AM2

Like I said before, I want something good, but I don't want to spend a ton of money. The lowest priced Intel C2D was around $130 and I can't do that. Wouldn't this AMD CPU do just fine for HD playback?

Corsair XMS 2GB Kit (PC2 6400/DDR2 800)

I've got 4 sticks of this in my main rig, works perfect. And with the rebate, it's pretty darn cheap. This may change due to the motherboard I'll be buying.

- Video Card
eVGA 8600GT

Should be good enough for what I need. Will keep my eye out on better deals too.

- Motherboard

Ok, so this is where I need help. With a HTPC case like I want, should I get mATX or ATX? I'd like to buy a Gigabyte board since they are pretty darn reliable. Any suggestions?

- Hard Drive

Can't go wrong with WD. If I need more space, I'll just add another 500GB drive as they are reasonably priced now.

- Remote Control
Microsoft Media Center Remote Control

Reading the reviews, it looks like this works perfectly with Vista. Now the question is, does it work with XBMC?

I'm currently experimenting with different DVD ripping methods to see which one is the best on hard drive space and video quality. I want to have great looking movies ready to go, but I don't want my hard drive to be filled with just 6 movies. Any suggestions here as well?

Thanks in advance for your help guys.
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