HTPC: Antec Fusion

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gadgetzilla
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HTPC: Antec Fusion

Post by gadgetzilla » Thu Feb 28, 2008 7:07 pm

Fellow SPCR’s – With the help of this website and your excellent responses over the course of past several months, I too am now a proud owner of my very first HTPC. Prior to reading all the posts and the extensive research, this was just a dream. Though I’ve put together PC’s in the past, HTPC requirements are unique. Noise and proper heat dissipation is the key element of any HTPC. That being said below is my component checklist.

I can't figure out how to u/l pics to this thread - can anyone please advise?

Update: here's the link to pics: http://www.flickr.com/gp/24246388@N06/Zf6Ju8

Purpose for HTPC:

I'm a huge music/movies fan with a massive collection of CD's and DVD's.

• MP3 Jukebox and to d/l music selection to 30Gb iPOD
• Watch DVD’s – original and ‘ripped’ onto Hard Drive
• Watch Blu-Ray DVD’s

1 Case – Antec Fusion: both stock fans replaced with Noctua 120mm fans
2 Motherboard – Gigabyte: S – Series microATX supporting Core2Duo
3 CPU: Intel Core2Duo 2.66 Ghz clock speed
4 CPU cooler: Thermalright XP120 with 120mm Noctua fan
5 RAM: 2Gb Corsair
6 Storage: Samsung 500Gb 2 drives – configured RAID 0 = 981Gb available storage
7 Optical drive: Pioneer Blu-Ray ROM BDC-2202
8 Video: Powercolor HD3650 passive HDCP ready 512Meg DDR2 RAM
9 Audio: Integrated – utilizing SPDIF for Optical Audio (5channels)
10 Input device: Logitech DiNovo Edge wireless keyboard
11 Network: 3COM wireless PCI “Gâ€
Last edited by gadgetzilla on Fri Feb 29, 2008 12:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.

surfntom
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Post by surfntom » Thu Feb 28, 2008 10:28 pm

i highly recommend not wasting your time ripping to 192 kbps as mp3's are a dying format in terms of quality. At the price of storage now, you should easily be able to rip them to flac or another lossless format with 1 TB of space. If not another 100 bucks buys you another 750 GB.

Does the vid card always do video acceleration, do you play any pirated hd files in the *.mkv container?

yamahaSHO
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Post by yamahaSHO » Fri Feb 29, 2008 2:53 am

I'd like to see the pics! To get them to show up, you'll need to host them somwhere else and then use the image code to display them here.

Just do a search on picture hosting to upload. Once you've done that, you'll just insert your link.

[img]link%20here[/img]
Jason

Click [url=http://hosting.superhighoutput.com/yamahasho/index.php?showdir=/Computers]HERE[/url] to see my computers.

gadgetzilla
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Post by gadgetzilla » Fri Feb 29, 2008 8:54 am

Link to pics has been posted in the original post

Thanks,
Gadgetzilla

yamahaSHO
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Post by yamahaSHO » Fri Feb 29, 2008 10:05 am

I cannot see the pics from work, so I'll look when I get home. Which Noctua fans did you go with. I just purchased the NF-P12 fans for my NSK-2480 in hopes of cutting down on the sound and keeping great airflow.

Depending on how I like these, if they're that good, I may replace the YL's I have in my P180B.
Jason

Click [url=http://hosting.superhighoutput.com/yamahasho/index.php?showdir=/Computers]HERE[/url] to see my computers.

gadgetzilla
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Post by gadgetzilla » Fri Feb 29, 2008 12:30 pm

yamahaSHO wrote: Which Noctua fans did you go with. I just purchased the NF-P12 fans for my NSK-2480 in hopes of cutting down on the sound and keeping great airflow.

Depending on how I like these, if they're that good, I may replace the YL's I have in my P180B.
Yes, I did use three NF-P12 fans. Two on the case, the other on the CPU. Running them straight, connected to the Power Supply, they are at full speed. I tried the provided connector that slows the speed but for me, the noise level drop net change was minimal so opted for full speed to gain better cooling.

yamahaSHO
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Post by yamahaSHO » Fri Feb 29, 2008 4:43 pm

I'm pretty sure those are not the NF-P12's as the NF-P12 is the newer style fan.

Image

It looks very good though. How's the BD drive working for you?
Jason

Click [url=http://hosting.superhighoutput.com/yamahasho/index.php?showdir=/Computers]HERE[/url] to see my computers.

gadgetzilla
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Post by gadgetzilla » Fri Feb 29, 2008 11:17 pm

The blu-ray drive is working out just fine. I had a bit of an issue initially as the video was very choppy. I went to ATI's website and downloaded the latest drivers. After that, it was just fine.

I ran into a a bit of a hurdle this afternoon. My display is a Sharp Aquos 26" TV. I wasn't able to find the right resolution but with experimenting, its now working fine. The TV needed to be set as 'digital' PC signal. I had it set at 'analog'.

BTW - you are right, My 120mm fans don't have as many blades as the one you posted in the pic. Sorry, I threw the box already and thought it was the model you had mentioned. The CPU fan is a clear picture which should tell the type of fan it is.

gadgetzilla
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Post by gadgetzilla » Fri Feb 29, 2008 11:22 pm

surfntom wrote:i highly recommend not wasting your time ripping to 192 kbps as mp3's are a dying format in terms of quality. At the price of storage now, you should easily be able to rip them to flac or another lossless format with 1 TB of space. If not another 100 bucks buys you another 750 GB.

Does the vid card always do video acceleration, do you play any pirated hd files in the *.mkv container?
Thanks for the reply about the different formats. I too thought the same BUT..not sure if the iPod can handle anything other than what apple creates and mp3. I'll have to research that further. You are right, the prices are dropping for hard drives however, I cannot install another one in the case. Only two fit. 1Tb ought to be enough for all my CD's and a bit of room to grow.

Yes, the video card seems to be always 'on' for video acceleration. No, I've not done any experimenting with .mkv HD files. I'm still new to doing HD on HTPC. Presently, only playing Blu-Ray discs.

gadgetzilla
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Post by gadgetzilla » Sat Mar 01, 2008 9:49 am

I was able to find a discarded box of the 120mm Noctua fan.

The model of the fan is NF-S12

pingu666
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Post by pingu666 » Sun Mar 02, 2008 3:50 pm

i use eac for ripping cd's, you should be going for higher than 192kbs, especialy on your favourite stuff.

most people have /artist/album (year + quality optional)
[size=75]hardware [color=red]Killer[/color] and teddy giver. P.I.N.G.U.: Positronic Intelligent Nocturnal Gratification Unit
main rig:q6600, 4 gig ddr2, 3870, x fi, modded akasa psu, 4+hd's
leechbox, p3 something, 80gig hd, soundproofed case[/size]

surfntom
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Post by surfntom » Sun Mar 02, 2008 9:07 pm

[/quote]I too thought the same BUT..not sure if the iPod can handle anything other than what apple creates and mp3. [/quote]

i believe you can do lossless files for the ipod as well or if not much closer than mp3. acc or something is the file extension...im not sure i dont use ipods

Justchill
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Post by Justchill » Mon Mar 03, 2008 4:35 pm

Great pics! I love when people post their setups!

However..

2 bad you didn't research more about HTPC hardware.. Your hardware is a little overkill and you could easily done it cheaper / better. Why intel btw?

What PSU did you use?

What software are you using?

And why is the WLAN for? Streaming at WLAN speeds is not a good idea, perhaps for music..
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gadgetzilla
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Post by gadgetzilla » Wed Mar 05, 2008 8:25 pm

Justchill wrote:Great pics! I love when people post their setups!

However..

2 bad you didn't research more about HTPC hardware.. Your hardware is a little overkill and you could easily done it cheaper / better. Why intel btw?

What PSU did you use?

What software are you using?

And why is the WLAN for? Streaming at WLAN speeds is not a good idea, perhaps for music..
Thanks for your input. I'd be interested in knowing the details of cost saving/improved system.

The PSU came with the case. I chose to use Vista Home Ultimate. WLAN is mostly for web surfing.

gadgetzilla
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Post by gadgetzilla » Wed Mar 05, 2008 8:33 pm

surfntom wrote:
I too thought the same BUT..not sure if the iPod can handle anything other than what apple creates and mp3. [/quote]

i believe you can do lossless files for the ipod as well or if not much closer than mp3. acc or something is the file extension...im not sure i dont use ipods[/quote]

I'm currently experimenting with FLAC format. It offers lossless audio. I believe there are converter programs that will convert FLAC to MP3s. I'm pretty there's enough Hard drive space to store my music in that format and if need be, I'll convert the music to put onto the iPOD.

Justchill
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Post by Justchill » Thu Mar 06, 2008 12:11 am

Do a research on

AMD 780G chipset => no need for seperate graphics card!
AMD BE-2350 processor
Seasonic PSU's
74Watts only when watching bluray...
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cbutters
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Post by cbutters » Thu Mar 13, 2008 12:11 am

Gadgetzilla, Quick Question, I just purchased a Powercolor passive 3650 from newegg.com, and it didnt say if it came with a HDMI adapter or not. However powercolor's website says that it comes with an HDMI adapter. Where did you get your powercolor and did it come with the HDMI adapter?

Also, Justchill,
I agree that the BE Athlons and the 780G intergrated graphics are a great combination, I used the previous generation 690G chipset and have had good results.
However, I don't think you should criticize gadgetzilla too much, and assume he didn't do his research. Core 2 Duo is still a great efficient chip, and can easily compete with the BE athlons on performance per watt with some undervolting with RMclock. Also, gadgetzill may want to do a little video encoding or number crunching in addition to htpc functionality. The BE athlons don't perform nearly as well in those aspects. Depending on his usage, this looks like a great build to me.

jessekopelman
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Post by jessekopelman » Thu Mar 13, 2008 2:39 am

gadgetzilla wrote:
surfntom wrote: i believe you can do lossless files for the ipod as well or if not much closer than mp3. acc or something is the file extension...im not sure i dont use ipods
I'm currently experimenting with FLAC format. It offers lossless audio. I believe there are converter programs that will convert FLAC to MP3s. I'm pretty there's enough Hard drive space to store my music in that format and if need be, I'll convert the music to put onto the iPOD.
iPod can handle Apple Lossless format. However, it is a waste of space. In rigorous testing 9/10 audiophiles could not tell the difference between properly encoded (LAME or recent versions of iTunes) 256 kbps VBR and lossless encoding. And the 10th guy thought the lossy stuff sounded better 8) That method produces files about 1/3 the size of lossless encoding. If you really want to be anal, go for 320 kbps VBR and your files will still be less than half the size of lossless. One thing lossless is good for is archiving. I make two copies of my ripped songs: one using 256 kbps VBR AAC and one Apple Lossless. The AAC version is for playing, the lossless version is an archived copy that keeps me from having dig up the CD if I ever need to redo the song in a different format. I use the AAC instead of MP3, as there is some evidence the iPod gets slightly better battery life when playing that format.

gadgetzilla
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Post by gadgetzilla » Thu Mar 13, 2008 7:17 pm

cbutters wrote:Gadgetzilla, Quick Question, I just purchased a Powercolor passive 3650 from newegg.com, and it didnt say if it came with a HDMI adapter or not. However powercolor's website says that it comes with an HDMI adapter. Where did you get your powercolor and did it come with the HDMI adapter?
Yes, there was a DVI to HDMI adapter in the box.

gadgetzilla
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Post by gadgetzilla » Thu Mar 13, 2008 7:34 pm

jessekopelman wrote:
gadgetzilla wrote:
surfntom wrote: i believe you can do lossless files for the ipod as well or if not much closer than mp3. acc or something is the file extension...im not sure i dont use ipods
I'm currently experimenting with FLAC format. It offers lossless audio. I believe there are converter programs that will convert FLAC to MP3s. I'm pretty there's enough Hard drive space to store my music in that format and if need be, I'll convert the music to put onto the iPOD.
iPod can handle Apple Lossless format. However, it is a waste of space. In rigorous testing 9/10 audiophiles could not tell the difference between properly encoded (LAME or recent versions of iTunes) 256 kbps VBR and lossless encoding. And the 10th guy thought the lossy stuff sounded better 8) That method produces files about 1/3 the size of lossless encoding. If you really want to be anal, go for 320 kbps VBR and your files will still be less than half the size of lossless. One thing lossless is good for is archiving. I make two copies of my ripped songs: one using 256 kbps VBR AAC and one Apple Lossless. The AAC version is for playing, the lossless version is an archived copy that keeps me from having dig up the CD if I ever need to redo the song in a different format. I use the AAC instead of MP3, as there is some evidence the iPod gets slightly better battery life when playing that format.
Thank you so much for the feedback. Very interesting information. Given that I have 1000+ CD's, I definitely need to keep the long term solution in mind.

Gadgetzilla

Justchill
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Post by Justchill » Fri Mar 14, 2008 1:44 am

Why don't you DL music and sell those CD's ?
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nitram_tpr
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Post by nitram_tpr » Tue Mar 18, 2008 12:26 am

Nice build. My black fusion got delivered yesterday.
I have started putting it all together, trouble is I think I've missed something in the manual.
There is a cable coming out of the front panel with a blue and a white wire and a molex connector? Can't for the life of me find this in the manual :roll: What does it do?
Also there is a M/B pwr lead with a GND lead coming from what looks like the VFD, where should I plug this into on the mobo? Apart from that it's all pretty straight forward, pics will be posted when it's all finished.

nitram_tpr
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Post by nitram_tpr » Wed Mar 26, 2008 5:19 am

Well mine is all built now, my digi camera has died so I can't take piccies and my phone camera just won't do it justice.
This case is a beauty, it's blimmin' large and heavy, but very well built.

The 2 cables are for the power to the power LED (the blue and white one) and the other one is to allow the machine to be turned on via a remote. I haven't connected this one up yet as I don't have a remote.

I replaced the stock fans with Akasa 120mm ultra quiet amber series fans. I plugged these into the mobo headers so the mobo will control the fan speeds.
So far all is quiet. the stock Antec PSU is really quiet.
the only gripe I have is that the PSU has one lead with 2 SATA power connectors, the distance between the 2 SATA connectors is not large enough to enable you to use a SATA DVD drive and a SATA hard Drive. I had to buy a molex to SATA power adapter to get around this.

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