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Old 08-06-08, 05:00 PM   #13
Monolyth
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Default Re: Building Another HTPC

Quote:
Originally Posted by six_storm View Post
Mono, I totally agree with what you're saying. I'd love to have a file server and a separate HTPC one day, but I'll have to combine the two for right now. What I thought about doing was taking my 74GB Raptor drive to use for the HTPC Vista installation, and then using the 500GB HDD just for music, movies, etc so when I do have a file server ready, I can just plug and play.
Agreed, I would highly recommend splitting your OS/App & storage drive(s). On my main system I try to keep the drive duties as separate as possible (1xOS, 1xGames, 1xStorage, 1xBackup). Also again if you are going to store important documents on there be sure to have some method of backing those documents up. If you do plan to setup a file-server later on I would suggest getting all new drives especially if plan to run some level of RAID.

If possible I would also recommend switching out that 500GB for a WD SE16 640GB. It has much higher density platters (320 vs. 250 per platter) then the 500GB which means faster access times & greater performance. For $10 dollars more you'll get close to Raptor-level performance out of your storage.

If you aren't as worried about noise (from the hard-drive at least). Be sure to disable or turn up AAM (254) using HD Tune Pro or a hard-drive utility app, this will improve your access times by a few ms in most cases.


If you eventually do look at going for a centralized file-storage system there's a few things you want to keep in mind that can be real gotchas if you don't properly plan for them:
- RAID controller performance & fault-tolerance (hardware vs. software raid), expansion support, etc.
- 2TB Volume Limitations on legacy hardware/software.
- Network design to support file-storage/access.

It has literally taken me a good month of solid research to finally get my File-Server specced the way I want it, now I'm just waiting for a few remaining components to hit the price-points I want (not to mention the new 1.5TB drives from Seagate) before I put it all together.
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Old 08-07-08, 09:02 AM   #14
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Default Re: Building Another HTPC

How is everyone else backing their DVDs up? What format are you guys using? What codecs?

I played around with DVDShrink + Nero Recode 2 during my downtime yesterday and I tried ripping a SD DVD episode of Scrubs and then the full version of "The Last Kiss" (16:9, DVD) using two different Video Quality settings. In DVDShrink, I ripped the main movie with no compression into VIDEO_TS and AUDIO_TS. From there, I imported it into Nero Recode 2 and set the "burn" into Nero Digital High Definition.

With the TV show, I tried two burns with an uncompressed rip:

6Mbps Video Quality - 1.09GB MP4 - DVD Quality (A little more crisp)
3.5Mbps Video Quality - 638MB MP4 - Close to DVD Quality (A little more fuzzy)

I'd really like to have DVD quality movie backups but I don't want to waste HDD space. What is the best way to get DVD quality backups, but not take up 4GB for a single movie?
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Old 08-07-08, 09:13 AM   #15
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Default Re: Building Another HTPC

codec wise use H264 with AC3.

few amazing programs to check out
http://www.videohelp.com/tools/RipBot264 <--- mostly for HD, but can take VOB files as well
http://www.videohelp.com/tools/StaxRip

MKV container usually takes up less space when MP4
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Old 08-07-08, 12:32 PM   #16
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Default Re: Building Another HTPC

So I quoted my equipment again and here's what I got:



Now this is without a Blu-ray drive and the case, which ZZF doesn't sell the case I want. So I'm guessing I can spend about $550 and get everything I want. Not bad though! Since I'll be buying this project piece by piece, I'll be buying the case first and then a few parts here and there until I get the whole thing.

Anybody else besides Nekro got any suggestions on the DVD ripping?

nekro - Do you mind explaining your DVD ripping process? Just curious to see how your process goes.
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Old 08-07-08, 01:28 PM   #17
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Default Re: Building Another HTPC

Just a idea.



OR

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Old 08-07-08, 02:52 PM   #18
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Default Re: Building Another HTPC

Quote:
Originally Posted by mullet View Post
Just a idea.



OR

Hmmm. Not bad. I didn't realize the LG hybrid drive was so cheap nowadays . . . I guess I could rack up on some HD-DVDs lol.

One thing that I've had a problem with it the case. I really really like the Silverstone case I picked out but Newegg is the only website that sells it! FrozenCPU has it but they are sold out so I may keep an eye on that. I'd like a HTPC-style case instead of a tower case, but I also thought about going SFF if that falls through. What do you guys think?
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Old 08-08-08, 01:06 AM   #19
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Default Re: Building Another HTPC

I agree dude but I was going for low cost on the case.
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Old 08-08-08, 07:24 AM   #20
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Default Re: Building Another HTPC

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Originally Posted by mullet View Post
I agree dude but I was going for low cost on the case.
I may go for a cheap case right now and wait to buy a better one later. The Silverstone case I picked out is just awesome, everything just looks perfect on it. But for right now, I may just have to go with something basic. I'll keep looking for a case and then start buying some parts.

So I dabbled with DVD ripping some more and found something out. After using Nero Recode with different levels of video quality, I've noticed that the recoded movie always looked blurry . . . when using VLC. I got an idea to open up VMC and play them, just to see if VLC just had poor upscaling. Turns out that I forgot about VMC not playing MP4s lol. I changed it from MP4 to AVI and it finally played, although it wasn't the best quality. Finally, I played the DVD itself and noticed it didn't really look all that better. Maybe my PC just doesn't upscale DVDs that great? Can anybody shed some light on this?
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Old 08-08-08, 08:03 AM   #21
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Default Re: Building Another HTPC

what were you playing them on? HDTV?
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Old 08-08-08, 09:27 AM   #22
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Default Re: Building Another HTPC

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Originally Posted by nekrosoft13 View Post
what were you playing them on? HDTV?
Right now, I'm playing them on my Samsung 22" LCD (1680x1050). Am I stretching the video too much on that res?
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Old 08-09-08, 11:35 AM   #23
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Default Re: Building Another HTPC

I started playing around the with "MyMovies" software that blends with VMC and I can settle with that for backing up DVDs and playing them back. The video quality is 1:1 so there is not compression and no fuzziness . My biggest issue/concern right now is the hard drive space. I ripped "The Last Kiss" and "Batman Begins", just the movie and 5.1 audio via DVDShrink (no compression) this morning. This wound up being 4GB for "The Last Kiss" and 6.3GB for "Batman Begins". So if the average movie is 5GB for JUST the main movie and 5.1 audio, then my configuration below will only allow me to store roughly 120 movies (give or take). I've got a 40GB folder for my torrent downloads (movies, music, programs, etc) and about 25-30GB of that is movies and music. Looks like the 640GB drive won't last long huh?

I also pieced together my HTPC without the case:



As for the case, I'm still trying to find a good looking HTPC case without having to break the bank. I'll keep on looking . . .
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Old 08-09-08, 12:03 PM   #24
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Default Re: Building Another HTPC

I think I have found a case that I like, but I don't necessarily like the price. Oh well, I knew I would be spending some bucks on the case itself.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811163055



It is extremely clean looking, has 6 HDD bays and 2 optical drives; just what I wanted in a case. Also, it looks like the best way on buying this is buying the case from TigerDirect ($152) and everything else from ZZF ($339) which brings my total to $491! Not bad. This will give me plenty of room for massive storage and 1 DVD-ROM drive, 1 BR-ROM drive.

Now I just gotta talk with the future wifey to approve my purchases lol. More than likely I'll buy the case now, and the rest of the parts next month. Guess we'll see on that one . . .
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