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My Second HTPC (2007), Lessons Learned

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
Dec 07 2007 06:38 pm

It’s been almost three years since I built my first HTPC. Seems so long ago, but back then, dual-core processors were just coming out. Here are the components I bought for my second HTPC:

  1. Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 2.66GHz Dual-Core Processor
  2. GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3P Intel P35 Intel Motherboard
  3. XFX GeForce 8800GTS 320MB Video Card
  4. Western Digital 250GB 7200 RPM 16MB (x2 for RAID-0)
  5. Western Digital 500GB 7200 RPM 8MB
  6. Crucial Ballistix 2GB (2 x 1GB) SDRAM DDR2 800
  7. SeaSonic S12 Energy Plus 650W Power Supply
  8. LITE-ON Black 12X DVD-ROM 32X CD-ROM SATA Blu-ray DVD-ROM

I kept my case, DVD writer, and HDTV capture card from my original HTPC, and used them for my second HTPC. The two 250GB drives are for my RAID-O configuration with Window’s XP, while the 500GB drive is used to play around with Ubuntu and LinuxMCE. My last power supply was louder than I would have liked which is why I went with SeaSonic’s power supply. After two month of testing the system, SeaSonic’s power supply is as quiet as all the reviewers say. Last, but not least, is the addition of a Blu-ray drive. So far, the Blu-ray movies I tried with it work, but I am worried about the BS BD+ encryption starting to show up on some movies.

Performance wise, this HTPC screams. I run games such as BioShock and Call of Duty 4 at maximum settings and get no glitches or noticeable frame drops. DVD upscaling with ffdshow is around 40% CPU usage using only one processor. Also, my family and I have found ourselves using the HTPC more with the additional online video content. NBC and ABC have started streaming their shows online, and ABC’s quality is impressive as it looks near HD. Even Netflix started streaming select movies online with high quality video and basically no wait to start. Netflix will also send out Blu-ray movies at no additional charge, which is where the Blu-ray ROM has come in handy.

So far, so good. Hopefully this HTPC will last us another three years.

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