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Hardware Support Discussions related to using various hardware setups with SageTV products. Anything relating to capture cards, remotes, infrared receivers/transmitters, system compatibility or other hardware related problems or suggestions should be posted here.

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  #1  
Old 11-04-2010, 02:20 PM
Matt314159 Matt314159 is offline
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Building an i3-based HTPC for SageTV - Component Recommendations?

Continuing from my R5000-HD Jittery/choppy playback thread, I've decided to hold a fire sale with all my current media components, and go ahead and build an i3-based PC to use as a SageTV PC. Later, I might buy some extenders and go with a client/server approach, but for now I just want to get it working flawlessly on our main tv in the living room.

Goals:
- Low power consumption
- Full graphics capabilities...by this, I mean that the eeeBox I bought for the last thread only plays smooth video if you use the standard overlay video processing, but I really do like all the pretty 3d/advanced graphics.
- HDMI for simplicity of combining audio and video.
- I estimate my budget will be around $350. I need to keep some set aside for the actual Sage license.

Stuff I already have in my quad-core that I'd be willing to add into the new one: Blu-Ray / DVD-R drive, and an SATA, 7200rpm Seagate 1.5TB HDD. So really all I need is barebones with mobo, video, case, ps, and ram.

I'm all ears for any suggestions fo hardware that is particularly well-reviewed as being a good value. I don't need top-end performance, but I want it to run SageTV with server and placeshifting enabled, plugins like comskip, etc, fine. I have an R5000-HD with Dish Network, btw, but I don't think it will really affect this build.

Thanks in advance! Rest assured I will also be reading and researching the boards as well, but with PC components changing in price on a daily basis, a thread from even a month or two ago might be rendered irrelevant.
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  #2  
Old 11-04-2010, 02:31 PM
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Fuzzy Fuzzy is offline
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Pretty much anything with an H55/57 chipset will work well. for a server, I'd look for something with a couple extra pcie x4 or better slots, so over time, you can add storage (which you WILL do).
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  #3  
Old 11-04-2010, 05:19 PM
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mayamaniac mayamaniac is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt314159 View Post
Later, I might buy some extenders and go with a client/server approach, but for now I just want to get it working flawlessly on our main tv in the living room.

Goals:
- Low power consumption
- Full graphics capabilities...by this, I mean that the eeeBox I bought for the last thread only plays smooth video if you use the standard overlay video processing, but I really do like all the pretty 3d/advanced graphics.
- HDMI for simplicity of combining audio and video.
- I estimate my budget will be around $350. I need to keep some set aside for the actual Sage license.
If you want a flawlessly working client that is low power consumption with HDMI, then what you are describing is the HD300 extender. Why go server+extenders later, do it right from the start.

As for server, your quadcore should be fine.

If you need a PC for your main TV, use the EEEBox or buy a cheap Zotac ZBox or Acer Revo for PC stuffs, but use the HD300 extender for SageTV.
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  #4  
Old 11-04-2010, 06:22 PM
Matt314159 Matt314159 is offline
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Well there are a few factors that I thought through that led to me decide to build a new PC.

1) the quad-core is out because it is used by various family members on a fairly regular basis. This doesn't seem conducive to a reliable situation from a server standpoint.

2) lack of wired connectivity in that corner of the living room. If I set up a server somewhere, it would have to either run via wireless N, or be hooked up right next to my TV. As it stands with our WDTV media player and a wireless N bridge, I have to reboot our DIR-655 router on occasion, sometimes the throughput dips to unacceptable levels, etc. I don't think it's anything wrong with my hardware per se, but it seems to just be the nature of the beast when dealing with wireless. Not a good option for full-time HD streaming. So, again, reliability goes out the window if I choose that option.

3) If the living room TV is going to be my sole client for now, then I hate to buy a HD300 and then hook up a PC right next to it to be its server, especially one of the power-hogging Pentium 4's I have. At that rate, I would rather just build a power-conservative PC capable of being a HTPC for now, then if next summer or some time further down the road, I want to wire up some ethernet through the attic into the living room, and add a client in the bedroom, etc, I can expand at that point.

Sure, I could keep the eeeBox (which is really the same as the Acer Revo, in different clothes...I was originally looking at the revos before I landed on the eeeBox) but then I'm still spending another $200 (for the sage software + extender combo) on top of the $280 i spent for the Asus (which included me adding the ram and hard drive), so again I'm back up to $500 all-in. Not to mention that I listed the ASUS setup for $380, so I'm making $80 or so in profit on it if it sells, and that will help a little with the cost of the new PC. It seems to make most sense to me to build a new PC that can replace the extender, and buy the regular sage license.

If that sounded like a logical mess, well, welcome to the world inside my brain.
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  #5  
Old 11-04-2010, 06:36 PM
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mayamaniac mayamaniac is offline
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You should make that EEEBox the family computer, unless your family members need a quadcore for gaming or something. And make the quadcore the server and you can use that to hook to the TV for PC stuffs. The HD300 will set you back an extra $150, but I think that is worth it since it is less of a headache to deal with compare to a PC client.
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  #6  
Old 11-04-2010, 07:05 PM
Matt314159 Matt314159 is offline
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In addition to the family using the quad-core for general light-duty stuff, I use it pretty often for photo editing and video editing/rendering of HD h264 AVCHD files out of my camcorder. I'm pretty sure the eeebox would cry if I tried that on it!
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  #7  
Old 11-04-2010, 10:01 PM
Spectrum Spectrum is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt314159 View Post
In addition to the family using the quad-core for general light-duty stuff, I use it pretty often for photo editing and video editing/rendering of HD h264 AVCHD files out of my camcorder. I'm pretty sure the eeebox would cry if I tried that on it!
Not true! The eeeeeee would sweat and YOU would cry
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  #8  
Old 11-05-2010, 01:45 PM
Matt314159 Matt314159 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spectrum View Post
Not true! The eeeeeee would sweat and YOU would cry
lol, I don't get sad, I get even. I'd lose my cool one time, unhook it, and shot put it right into our swimming pool.
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  #9  
Old 11-05-2010, 04:22 PM
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evilpenguin evilpenguin is offline
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Good deal

Just saw this Core i3 combo deal on techbargains, looks like it'd make an excellent Sage Server.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboB...t=Combo.543776

Quote:
Intel Core i3-540 Clarkdale 3.06GHz Dual-Core Desktop Processor (RETAIL)
Lian-Li PC-K58W ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Rosewill Green Series RG700-S12 700W ATX Power Supply (80PLUS Bronze, ActivePFC)
G.Skill Ripjaws 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3-1600MHz PC3-12800 Dual Channel Desktop Memory
ASUS P7H55-M PRO Intel H55 HDMI LGA 1156 Micro ATX Motherboard
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  #10  
Old 11-05-2010, 04:47 PM
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Fuzzy Fuzzy is offline
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I really the an H55 based i3 would make the ideal sage server, because it combines very low power consumption, with full hardware accelerated video (Ion is on the bleeding edge of being able to handle everything - i3's integrated GPU has no problem).
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unRAID Server: i7-6700, 32GB RAM, Dual 128GB SSD cache and 13TB pool, with SageTVv9, openDCT, Logitech Media Server and Plex Media Server each in Dockers.
Sources: HRHR Prime with Charter CableCard. HDHR-US for OTA.
Primary Client: HD-300 through XBoxOne in Living Room, Samsung HLT-6189S
Other Clients: Mi Box in Master Bedroom, HD-200 in kids room
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  #11  
Old 11-05-2010, 07:01 PM
Matt314159 Matt314159 is offline
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evilpenguin, that does look like a fair price for everything, and would be a time-saver instead of having to spec it out piece-by-piece. Gotta get my eeeBox to move before I can afford it, unfortunately. That might be tomorrow, might be a week, I might have to lower my price. What I did for the eeeBox was went to the lowest-priced listing for the built-out eeeBoxes with 160gb and 2gb, and stuck it right in that range, which should give me the advantage, since mine has the 250g/4g installed instead. But I think the target market for people buying this kind of machine is the kind who would prefer to buy the barebones one and add their own stuff to it. I might lower my price a bit on it and see if that speeds it along. I'm admittedly rather impatient when it comes to this stuff, I want it built yesterday!

*eta*...did they forget to include a CPU fan for that kit or am I missing something?

Last edited by Matt314159; 11-05-2010 at 07:04 PM.
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  #12  
Old 11-05-2010, 07:11 PM
Matt314159 Matt314159 is offline
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Here's the other hardware kit I kinda halfway had my eye on:

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...892331&SRCCODE

Quote:
* Asus P7H55-M LE Motherboard
* Intel Core i3 550 Processor ( Ci3 550 / 3.20GHz)
* Corsair CMX4GX3M1A1333C9 XMS3 4GB DDR3 RAM
* Seagate Barracuda 1TB Low Power Hard Drive
* Lite-On iHAS524-98 Internal DVD Writer
* PowerUp G54-8019 Executive ATX Mid-Tower Case
* Power Up LT 400-Watt ATX Power Supply
It was on slickdeals last week as being $369-$20 rebate, now it's $389-$20, but still seems fair for what you get. In the opinion of the foremost experts around here, does one kit win over the other? Looks to me like the tigerdirect one might beat out the newegg one, since it comes with a little faster processor, a 1TB HDD and DVD Burner. Not terribly important to me since I have a 1.5TB here and a Blu-Ray /DVDR combodrive I can put in it, but the extra storage would be nice, and, ceteris paribus, I would go with that one, unless I'm overlooking something big.

Last edited by Matt314159; 11-05-2010 at 07:27 PM.
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  #13  
Old 11-06-2010, 12:33 AM
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Fuzzy Fuzzy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt314159 View Post
*eta*...did they forget to include a CPU fan for that kit or am I missing something?
Retail packaged CPU's include a fan/heatsink combo.
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unRAID Server: i7-6700, 32GB RAM, Dual 128GB SSD cache and 13TB pool, with SageTVv9, openDCT, Logitech Media Server and Plex Media Server each in Dockers.
Sources: HRHR Prime with Charter CableCard. HDHR-US for OTA.
Primary Client: HD-300 through XBoxOne in Living Room, Samsung HLT-6189S
Other Clients: Mi Box in Master Bedroom, HD-200 in kids room
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  #14  
Old 11-06-2010, 01:23 AM
Matt314159 Matt314159 is offline
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Gotcha. Honestly, it's been like 10 years since I built my last PC. I've been buying my computers at dell outlet pretty much ever since. Either things have changed since then, or I bought an OEM CPU the last few times.
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  #15  
Old 11-06-2010, 01:28 AM
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Fuzzy Fuzzy is offline
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That's one of the things people overlook when they see the 'cheaper' prices for OEM cpu's.
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unRAID Server: i7-6700, 32GB RAM, Dual 128GB SSD cache and 13TB pool, with SageTVv9, openDCT, Logitech Media Server and Plex Media Server each in Dockers.
Sources: HRHR Prime with Charter CableCard. HDHR-US for OTA.
Primary Client: HD-300 through XBoxOne in Living Room, Samsung HLT-6189S
Other Clients: Mi Box in Master Bedroom, HD-200 in kids room
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