1. Welcome to TechPowerUp Forums, Guest! Please check out our forum guidelines for info related to our community.

Mussels media PC clubhouse

Discussion in 'techPowerUp! Club Forum' started by Mussels, Jun 19, 2008.

  1. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2004
    Messages:
    41,705 (11.96/day)
    Thanks Received:
    9,222
    yes, a new clubhouse no one thought of!

    This clubhouse is for those people with a dedicated media PC, advice and tech support for such setups.

    Anyone can post, to become a member we simply need a basic list of your media system (PC, sound system, and screen/HDTV) - pictures preferably too (my sig has a link to mine, but its so ugly right now i'll wait til its upgraded before posting images)


    As a very good example of the kind of rare info, i provide info for all samsung HDTV users:

    Samsung HDTV's in the lower price ranges, use the 1360x768 resolution.
    My model (and many others) include 3 HDMI ports - HDMI 2 is listed as DVI compatible in the manual, and on the back of the TV. HDMI 1 and 3, only support 720p and 1080i (1080i distorts badly, and 720p blurs for text) more or less, HDMI 1 and 3 are useless. This problem occurs on HDMI adaptors AND with native HDMI devices.
    if you werent aware of this, you'd never get your devices looking clear or stable at all, as they could not detect the displays native resolution. you cant force it, either :(
    If you have a device that only does 720P... hit the "P.Size" button on the remote until it goes to "just scan" mode. That will let you use the somewhat fuzzy 720P mode for say, a PS3.

    This problem isnt contained to just samsung... in fact, several brands dont provide a DVI compatible port at all, and tell you to just use analogue VGA... moral of the story is get a 720p or 1080p screen, avoid 1360x768 where possible unless you can verify a DVI compatible port.

    My current media system:
    Pentium 4 3GHz (skt 478) @ 2.5Ghz (passive cooled by a Thermalright 92mm... something)
    1x1GB 400MHz (@ 350) DDR ram.
    Radeon 9250 PCI 64MB (passive cooled) (DVI and VGA - using VGA due to HDMI issue mentioned above)
    FSP 220W PSU
    40GB 2.5" IDE HDD
    160GB 3.5" IDE HDD

    Sharing with my main system:
    Samsung 40" HDTV (1360x768 @ 60Hz, using analogue)
    Logitech Z-5500D 5.1 Speaker system (analogue to onboard sound)

    Upgrade (in progress) for new media PC
    Socket 939 athlon x2 4200+ (OC's to 2.75GHz stable)
    4x512MB DDR 400MHz
    Radeon 3450 PCI-E 512MB (asus, passive cooled model)
    40GB 2.5" IDE drive (OS drive)
    60GB 2.5" 7,200 RPM IDE drive: SATA adapter for extra convenience/media storage.
    FSP 220W PSU or coolermaster 450W. we'll see how the FSP fares, as its quieter.

    Sharing with my main system:
    Samsung 40" HDTV (1360x768 @ 60Hz, using analogue)
    Logitech Z-5500D 5.1 Speaker system - Coax digital audio from onboard sound - 2.0 unless pre-encoded, but that's fine for media.


    List of members

    1. Mussels - 40" HDTV, logitech Z-5500D DTS speakers, silent/low power 24/7 HTPC
    2. Energy FX - Dell XPS 420, Xbox 360 - 42" HDTV, sony DTS 5.1 speakers.
    3. Rampage - custom mATX HTPC, 42" LG HDTV, LG 5.1 DTS speakers.
    4. Psyko12 - Custom HTPC - 32" HDTV, 5.1 Kenwood DTS sound system.
    5. Jrracingfans wife - custom HTPC, 37" HDTV
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2008
  2. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2004
    Messages:
    41,705 (11.96/day)
    Thanks Received:
    9,222
    lol so far this is a flop :D

    I'll start taking pics soon as the new media PC is up and running.
  3. EnergyFX

    EnergyFX New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2007
    Messages:
    1,554 (0.66/day)
    Thanks Received:
    340
    Location:
    Annapolis, MD
    Hell count me in. I went with a Dell XPS 420 for my theater mainly so that I could use ATI cable tuners to watch HD and subscriber cable.
  4. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2004
    Messages:
    41,705 (11.96/day)
    Thanks Received:
    9,222
    care to list the main parts? like the other clubs, i intend to have a list of members.
  5. EnergyFX

    EnergyFX New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2007
    Messages:
    1,554 (0.66/day)
    Thanks Received:
    340
    Location:
    Annapolis, MD
    Quick list is E8500, 3GB PC 6400, Palit 9600GT Sonic 1GB version, Dual ATI cable tuners, Auzentech Prelude, and Blu-Ray on the HTPC itself. The rest of the setup is an Olivia 47" LCD, X-Box 360, and an old Sony 5.1 DTS receiver.

    I'll get some pictures of the setup and update this post with them.

    So far the only complaint I have about the setup is that I can't overclock it... but that really isn't an issue considering it's purpose.
  6. rampage

    Joined:
    May 31, 2007
    Messages:
    1,050 (0.42/day)
    Thanks Received:
    69
    Location:
    Port Fairy, Victoria, Australia
    Add me, pc is in my sig but i may as well wright up the specs again

    Name: HTPC
    OS: Vista X86
    Mpbo: Asus p5e-vm HDMI
    CPU: E6750 + Thermalright ultra 120 + idle temp +4c above ambient
    RAM: 2 gig 5-5-5-15
    HDD: Samsung 200 gig
    PSU: OCZ stealthXtreme 600
    CASE: Generic micro case
    TV: LG 42" 1080P LCD
    AUDIO: Onboard ? (will update)
    Speakers: LG 5.1/DTS speaker set

    video is outputed by the onboard HDMI and audio is outputed via onboard coaxal

    currently this pc is underclocked/ under volted to 250*8 = 2 ghz @ 1.1v, and is completly passive (execpt psu) with a ton of sound absorbing foam to reduce HDD noise, also ram is at 750mhz? 5-5-5-15 but i will be replacing this ram cos it is crap and is causing boot issues

    the system before underclocking/ undervolting used 60 watts at idle and 90 at load (tested with watt meter) i am asuming it will use aprox 45>55 watts at idle and i am unsure about load

    i will update with pics when i ge back from work (7 hrs)
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2008
  7. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2004
    Messages:
    41,705 (11.96/day)
    Thanks Received:
    9,222
    i edited the first post with some of that info... trying to keep it brief.

    Anyone else who joins in, look to the two examples up the top for what you want me to enter - its a lot neater, and easier to see that way.
  8. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2004
    Messages:
    41,705 (11.96/day)
    Thanks Received:
    9,222
    added you too rampage.
  9. psyko12

    psyko12

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2007
    Messages:
    1,859 (0.74/day)
    Thanks Received:
    168
    Can I join?

    Current Config:
    Pentium 4 3.20ghz
    2x1Gb 400Mhz DDR
    Palit 7600 GS 256 mb (cooled by custom cooler)(DVI/S-Video, to 32" Panasonic TV)
    Unknown TV Tuner Card (Cable)
    550W PSU
    2x120 Gb IDE
    1xDVD-Combo Drive SATA

    Sound:
    5.1 DTS speakers Kenwood with edifier sub woofer

    it ain't much but it's ok
  10. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2004
    Messages:
    41,705 (11.96/day)
    Thanks Received:
    9,222
    sure i'm adding you in now psyko12.

    One thing i'm particularly looking for, is advice on things that have gone wrong, or worked well for the media PC - i had hell with my samsung screen and only one HDMI port supporting the native res, as well as finding out that digital audio is only 2.0 sound by default.

    Information like that isnt easy to come across for a newbie, so i think we should share that kind of info here.
  11. JrRacinFan

    JrRacinFan Served 5k and counting ...

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2007
    Messages:
    19,414 (7.48/day)
    Thanks Received:
    4,483
    Location:
    Youngstown, OH
    Can my wife join Mussells?

    She has -

    Celeron D 347 @ 4.4Ghz on stock
    Asus P5RC-LE (STB -My old AW9D)
    Visiontek HD2600 Pro 512MB @ 700/500 w/VF900
    1x512 1x256 PC3200 DDR (STB- my old OCZ ram)
    1x Aopen 8x DVDRW 1x LG 32x CDRW
    1x80GB 1x20GB
    400W FSP(still researching) built Dynex PSU
    Dynex Midtower case
    Toshiba 37" HDTV


    I am going to pickup an HDMI cable for it soon so she can enjoy her Sims 2 in 1080p. :p
  12. EnergyFX

    EnergyFX New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2007
    Messages:
    1,554 (0.66/day)
    Thanks Received:
    340
    Location:
    Annapolis, MD
    Here is one of the bigest challanges for HTPCs right now:

    How to get sound from your HDMI port. What answers/solutions have you come up with? One of the main reasons I went with the Auzentech Prelude sound card is because there is supposed to be an HDMI extension card for it in production (estimated release is late 2008). Currently I use RCA cables from the Prelude to my receiver's 5.1 input. Auzentech is supposed to be releasing DTS Interactive drivers for the Prelude any day now (they claimed Q2 2008, but they are late) which should at least get me full time DTS from the optical port.

    My plan/hope is to eventually get to only 2 cables running from the HTPC., a power cable and a HDMI cable.
  13. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2007
    Messages:
    7,043 (2.85/day)
    Thanks Received:
    909
    Location:
    Sector ZZ₉ Plural Z Alpha
    well, there's a couple of soundcards in the works that will support HDMI, you can view the links to the announcements here at TPU:

    Auzentech X-Fi Hometheater 7.1 HDMI - news is still a bit sketchy, but it doesn't look like it'll support ATI adapters
    ASUS Xonar HDAVI1.3 - supposedly will cooperate with any ASUS video card . . . not sure if it'll work with other brands


    I haven't tried, though, but, IIRC the HD3000 series have an onboard audio DSP - I've never tried installing any drivers for them (which I only found through MS Update), or using the HDMI adapter as I don't have a capable monitor/screen
  14. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2004
    Messages:
    41,705 (11.96/day)
    Thanks Received:
    9,222
    i've done it.

    nvidia cards have an optional two pin SPDIF input, you connect your soundcard upto that and then the digital audio gets passed through the HDMI cable.

    ATI cards have a built in realtek HD digital soundcard.

    However, both are limited to 2.0 channel audio unless its pre-encoded into dolby digital or DTS, and you have a suitable decoder hooked up to the TV's/receivers output. Nvidias option requires a soundcard with SPDIF output, but you can always use a card such as the auzentech i have and get it that way - with ATI you dont require a soundcard and its easier to setup (simply choose that card in windows) but games and so on are stuck with 2.0 sound.

    I have it setup for Nv and ATI here, but my TV cant output multichannel audio... it downmixes to PCM 2.0 audio, so i get no benefits from using HDMI Audio.

    Edit: oh and you dont need a special HDMI adaptor. I have a 'special' Nv one, a generic one from a local store, and one that turns the HDMI port on the TV into a DVI port (so that you use a DVI cable to the PC) and all three provided audio.

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guest)

Share This Page