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2 Rigs - HTPC & Media Storage

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Old 08-01-07, 09:19 PM Thread Starter   #1
leftheaded
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2 Rigs - HTPC & Media Storage


second attempt.. 3 machines now lol

my current P4 is way too noisy to be the HTPC. and it chokes on HD playback


photo/video editing & gaming:
Vista Ultimate 64bit
GIGABYTE GA-P35-DQ6
Xeon X3210
Crucial Ballistix - BL2KIT12864AA804 4x1GB PC6400 at 4-4-4-12 (2 kits)
4x250GB Matrix RAID 0 Seagate 7200.10 ST3250410AS (bels 2.7/2.8)
eVGA GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB 640P2N821AR
Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme
Pioneer DVR-212D
Corsair HX520W
P180
TOTAL $1600


htpc:
Vista Ultimate 64bit
GIGABYTE GA-G33M-DS2R
C2D E4400
Crucial Ballistix - BL2KIT12864AA804 4x1GB PC6400 at 4-4-4-12 (1 kit)
500GB Samsung SpinPoint T166 HD501LJ (bels 2.7/2.9)
Sapphire RADEON HD 2600XT Video Card GDDR4
Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme (this actually won't fit in the NSK2400.. alternatives?)
Pioneer DVR-212D
Antec NSK2400 (w/SU380 power supply)
TOTAL $900


media server (my existing machine):
P4T-E
P4 1.7GHz 478
1GB RAMBUS
1TB of random IDE 7200
128MB GeForce4 Ti4600
with some upgrades:
P180
hotswap bays
1TB SATA/II for total backup
SATA controller
TOTAL $350


and here is the original post...

Alright, what do you guys think? The main reason I'm trying 2 machines is because I want performance, but I want it quiet since the HTPC will be in the living room. Seemed like too many HDDs, and I want to work in a 2 generation hot swap somehow. Plus, I definitely want to OC both of these to ~ 3-3.6GHz depending on how noisy it gets. I'm not as worried about noise on the media server since it will be in another room.


Maybe something like this:
HTPC - 33% htpc, 33%media editing, 33% gaming
Server - 75% server, 25%media editing or gaming if the other pc is in use


The components I'm MOST undecided about are the RAM and the motherboards. Not just how well they will OC together, but with the RAM, 4x1 or 2x2 with the idea of getting another 2x2 down the road.


Which brings up the question - which one should I put double duty on for gaming and photo/video editing? the HTPC or the media server? Since I want WHS on the storage box, I opted for the HTPC on this first attempt:



The HTPC:
Vista Ultimate 64bit
GIGABYTE GA-P35-DQ6
Intel C2D Q6600 B3/G0
Crucial Ballistix - BL2KIT12864AA804 4x1GB PC6400 at 4-4-4-12 (2 kits)
4x250GB Matrix RAID 0+5 Seagate 7200.10 ST3250410AS (bels 2.7/2.8)
Sapphire RADEON HD 2600XT Video Card GDDR4
Corsair HX520W
Water Cooling (no details yet)
Pioneer DVR-212D
P180
TOTAL $1870

The Media & backup Server:
Window Home Server
GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3R
Xeon X3210 (alt E2140)
Crucial Ballistix - BL2KIT12864AA804 2x1GB PC6400 at 4-4-4-12 (1 kit)
OS = 250GB Seagate 7200.10 ST3250410AS (bels 2.7/2.8)
Storage RAID 1 or 5? = 3x500GB Samsung SpinPoint T166 HD501LJ (bels 2.7/2.9)
Hot swap bay for 2-gen weekly, duplicate backups (not sure which yet)
*waiting to see the 500GB Seagate 7200.11 ST3500320AS (bels 2.5/2.8)
GIGABYTE GeForce 8500 GT GV-NX85T256HP 512MB
Corsair HX520W
Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme
Lite-On LH-20A1S
P180
TOTAL $1250

A note on the backup strategy. I don't have the specifics down yet, but what I want to do is have a drive (or drives) in hotswap that backs up all pertinent data. I'll keep duplicates of those in my office and rotate the hotswap once a week. Something like that

Last edited by leftheaded; 08-02-07 at 05:29 AM.
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Old 08-01-07, 09:40 PM   #2
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Wow thats way overkill for a storage system. you need no where near that amount of power for storage system.

for the HTPC you dont ned that much power either. As for the case i would recommend buying a media case and do some customizing to the fans and such to make it quiet.


The HTPC:

You dont need quad core for a HTPC. In fact you can easily get away with a Dual Core. You can easily save a few bucks but cutting down to a C2D. 4GB is alright but 2GB will surfice for a HTPC. The hard drives look perfect altho you could probably go with 3 320gb Perp Seagate drives and save power and heat.

As for vista it your choice but its not really necessary for a htpc.

my suggestions...

Operating System: Decent Vista Ultimate 64bit OEM ($199)
Motherboard: Gigabyte DS3 ($130)
Processor: E6420 ($180)
Memory: 4x2GB Gskill ($160)
Hard Drives: 3 Seagate 320 Perp Drives ($300)
Video Card: 2600XT ($115)
Power Supply: HX520W ($115)
Case: ($150?) Anything you enjoy..

$1350.. saved almost $500 some odd dollars.


ill add more on the server as i think.

Home server is based off Windows 2000 which means programs and drivers are scarce, unless you absolutely need WHS i would suggest XP or Vista as its easier to maintain and update and find drivers and such for.

Again your going way overkill on the processor. There's no reason to use that xeon processor where a C2D will perform just as well for what your using it for.

Everything else looks decent. you dont need 250GB for a OS drive tho you can easily get away with a 80GB sata drive.

if your going hot swap grab a 4 tier bay device that uses sata and grab 4 500-750GB Sata 2 HDDs and that should surfice.

8500GT is not worth it here, grab yourself a older series card, there's no reason for a DX10 card on a server. you can easily get away with a 7900GS, a 7600GS or even a 6600GT.

Everything else again seems decent tho.,


/my criticism LOL

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Last edited by Fr3@k3r; 08-01-07 at 09:59 PM.
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Old 08-01-07, 10:55 PM   #3
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the media server doesn't even need a graphics card at all, as long as that's all you're using it for. instead, put the money towards getting an Asus 8600gts for the HTPC (absolutely silent), or something better. you definitely want your HTPC doing double duty as your gaming rig; with that Q6600, P35-DQ6, and Crucial Ballistix DDR2-800, you can't really go wrong
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Old 08-02-07, 12:05 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shirker
you definitely want your HTPC doing double duty as your gaming rig; with that Q6600, P35-DQ6, and Crucial Ballistix DDR2-800, you can't really go wrong
how can you be sure when he didnt state he was using it for gaming.

and again a Quad core is damn near overkill even for gaming.

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Old 08-02-07, 12:16 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fr3@k3r
how can you be sure when he didnt state he was using it for gaming.
maybe because he said:
Quote:
Which brings up the question - which one should I put double duty on for gaming and photo/video editing? the HTPC or the media server?
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Old 08-02-07, 12:26 AM Thread Starter   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fr3@k3r
how can you be sure when he didnt state he was using it for gaming.

and again a Quad core is damn near overkill even for gaming.
Actually I did state that, but I just italicized it since there's so much info up there

Photo/audio/video editing is going to be a KEY use for either system. Gaming is not as critical, but i do geek out get my hours logged.

I was thinking something like this:
HTPC - 33% htpc, 33%media editing, 33% gaming
Server - 75% server, 25%media editing or gaming if the other pc is in use


edit: also, the components I'm MOST undecided about are the RAM and the motherboards. Not just how well they will OC together, but with the RAM, 4x1 or 2x2 with the idea of getting another 2x2 down the road.

Last edited by leftheaded; 08-02-07 at 12:36 AM.
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Old 08-02-07, 12:31 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leftheaded
Actually I did state that, but I just italicized it since there's so much info up there

Photo/audio/video editing is going to be a KEY use for either system. Gaming is not as critical, but i do geek out get my hours logged.

I was thinking something like this:
HTPC - 33% htpc, 33%media editing, 33% gaming
Server - 75% server, 25%media editing or gaming if the other pc is in use
sorry i guess i didnt read that part lol.

... well either way a quad core is not being fully utilized even in video/media editing and gaming and windows so there's no real need for a quad core processor unless your gonna do all 3 at 1 time even than u wouldnt utilize the whole processor.

again in the server aspect also. The Xeon is way overkill for a basic server/gaming/media rig where as a regular C2D will work just fine.


think about it this way..

on my HTPC i run a X2 3600+ Dual Core AM2 Processor, 2GB Ram with now 8 400 gb hard drives, and it runs just fine and dandy. when i had a testing 8800gts 320 in there it worked just fine also even playing CS:S, C&C, HL2, STALKER.. so yeah a quad is definitely overkill.


IM just saying dont waste your money on a quad core or xeon processor as you wont get full use of them. IF you are editing and gaming on your HTPC im gonna recommend you either step up to a 2900XT or a 8800GTS 640 or above.

The rest of what i recommend will suit you just fine, and instead of the 6420 you can go up to a E6600 and again you will be just fine.



as for your server dont go with a 8500, you can get a 2400XT or a 2600XT and be just as happy since both can be found for under $100. a basic C2D will work here also. a 80GB os drive is all you will need and since you are doing backup's for your systems and files i would recommend still what i posted in my first reply about a 4 500-750GB in a raid hot swap device.

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Old 08-02-07, 01:37 AM Thread Starter   #8
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I just got an interesting recommendation on another forum where I posted this - "why not build 3 machines? "

1) budget, silent HTPC
2) photo/video editing and gaming
3) budget media & backup server

I might just do some minimal upgrades to my current rig (in sig) for the home server. I have 1TB of IDE drives. This one could just be project I drag on a little longer.. by then WHS might have decent/better support by then too.
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Old 08-02-07, 01:55 AM   #9
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Id say, use your current system as a HTPC, then build a gaming/media/server.

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Old 08-02-07, 03:52 AM   #10
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Actually, you don't even need a whole new build for an HTPC if you can get your hands on a Ati All-In-Wonder card and buy a HTPC case for your old pentium 4 rig.
I'm not sure wich is the best AGP AIW but I know for sure the X800 XT is availible as an AGP AIW as I have one myself.
You won't be able to play the latest games on maxed graphics on your HTPC but you can put the money you save towards a very nice dedicated gaming rig with plenty of storage and processing power.
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Old 08-02-07, 06:02 AM   #11
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Why not just spare yourself the HTPC and get a TViX box. Thats what I did and it works like magic. Plays every format I've thrown at it. You could just build a good gaming rig and let the TViX be your media player.

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Old 08-02-07, 12:05 PM Thread Starter   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hyperasus
Why not just spare yourself the HTPC and get a TViX box. Thats what I did and it works like magic. Plays every format I've thrown at it. You could just build a good gaming rig and let the TViX be your media player.
nice, I'll look more into these. it doesn't look like they can play blue ray or hd dvd though. that's not listed in this post, but it is something i plan to add (bd and hd-dvd player(s))


the replies here and other forums have made one thing clear - everyone thinks my specs are overkill for htpc. I didn't make the point very well, but having a beefy photo/video editing machine is really my motivation for purchase. Having an HTPC and media server is just the way this is unfolding. That's because I wanted to use this editing machine in the living room, so HTPC would make sense. But it might be too loud to be a proper HTPC, so I thought I'd offload some noise (HDD storage) over to a second machine, ergo the media server listed. I'm assuming a beefy editing machine will be a good gaming rig too (again, not the primary function, but yet another use for it)

Last edited by leftheaded; 08-02-07 at 12:12 PM.
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Old 08-04-07, 11:32 AM   #13
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I've got an Aquos 52" 1080p LCD in my living room and my gaming rig is also my HTPC. I haven't gamed on any other box in my place since I SLI'd that HTPC. What I am saying is I really don't understand why anybody, who likes to game, wouldn't use their HTPC as their main gaming box as well? People who use HTPCs have the best output display device they own connected to their HTPCs. Why wouldn't you want to use that for gaming as well? Granted, you have to figure out the best way to setup a keyboard and mouse from your couch but its not that difficult, I just use a swing out table I had handmade here, but you can probably find a mass production lap table if you live in the US. Be easier if that Phantom keyboard ever moved out of vaporware.

HDDVD/Blu-ray is a tough one. I've watched almost every release on both formats but *ahem* not from discs I have ever purchased, if you know what I mean. I would be willing to buy them if 1) they were available locally where I live 2) if there wasn't so much stupidity in playing them on a HTPC 3) if I could get a combo drive for a reasonable price and 4) if I didn't believe that this format war was the epitome of dumb and know that 1 will be the victor making the other format obsolete. #2 is the real problem. If that were fixed, I'd import discs from abroad, swallow the price of a combo drive and throw away the discs of the format that looses and not feel too bad about the wasted money.

Ok so on to your topic. I have your exact needs as well and have it all sorted out. I have two storage servers and I think you are definitely on the right track there. Drives are hot and noisy and require big tower cases. Gigabit LAN is very fast and you can watch and edit things remotely. You will want to consider setting up a frame server. Its a bit complicated but once you have it setup its worth the hassle.

I recommend setting up framserver, but I don't know how much video editing you are doing. If you need Quadra cards and such? What I have done is use one of my servers as my quadra box with 2 dual core operons. I also have a 4 drive raid 10 array on that box for serious work. The HTPC I have connected to the Aquos I use for lighter work and it does fine for that.

So for your setup:

1) HTPC/gaming/vid editing (not full rendering)
2) Storage server, PVR capture (SageTV will run on WHS), backup server
3) Frameserver, rendering server, more serious vid editing tasks. This is the box that needs the CPU horsepower.

On the HTPC. I run a few HTPCs as I have a few TVs. The one I refer to above is packed in a HTPC case . It has all silent components and air cooling. I tried liquid but it just didn't work well in those cramped HTPC cases and I have no intention of introducing a tower into my LR. HTPC only needs to run dual core. I run AMD64 X2s on mine so have no experience with Intel setups. X2s have the advantage of being cooler and take a passive heatsink well (I use the thermalright hr-01). It is enough power to do editing, light rendering (just for workspace), playback HDDVD/Blueray rips (so will definitely playback the discs) and transcoded (x264, VC-1 or whatever) 1080p content. I also upscale everything I play on it to 1920x1080 if its not 1080i/p already. Then I would recommend not going with the 8800 card. Instead get passively cooled 8600s and SLI them. It will be quieter and powerful enough to run all the demanding games at 1920x1080 with everything on max. Its what I use and have not had a problem. With my setup I can do overclock and only have 1 120mm fan in the whole case. I got my case from http://www.frozencpu.com (awesome store, they accept payment and ship almost anywhere in the world) and for US$50 they added sound dampening material and my receiver makes more noise than my HTPC.

BTW: WHS is based on Windows 2k3 R2, not 2000. Drivers will not be a problem. However, it is a limited server system.

Last edited by silkshadow; 08-04-07 at 12:05 PM.
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