Author Topic: HTPC/Server for my house  (Read 428 times)

jwrober

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
HTPC/Server for my house
« on: September 14, 2016, 11:10:54 AM »
Howdy Forum Members

This is my first post. I stumbled on Ari's website while doing some research via google and am quite impressed with the quantity and quality of the content. I am trying to piece together an HTPC/Server for my house. What is a bit unique about my build is that it seems most folks want more of a specific use case.  I am looking for a box that can be multi-purpose and still perform reasonably well. I currently have way too many single purpose devices in my media rack... and it is seriously confusing my non-techie wife. I want to reduce the number of total devices, make it easier to use and support mobility options that are quite needed in today's mobile world. Success to me is that my lovely wife can use the setup with minimal effort when she wants to watch something without me around.

Here are my requirements:
- Support 4K @ 60Hz or higher video output
    - I have a Samsung UN55JU6500FXZA TV
    - No sound to TV, only video
   - HDMI 2 and HDCP 2.2 are simply a PITA IMO.  I plan to decouple video encryption via component cables to TV through my stereo receiver
- Home Theater features (primary function)
    - Media Center (Kodi or equivalent)
    - CD/DVD and Blu-Ray Disc Playback
    - High quality Dolby Digital 5/7.1 sound output to stereo
    - Play from streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc.
    - PVR/DVR functionality
        - Save content from AT&T Uverse DVR
        - Save content from streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc.
        - Save content from my X Box
    - Allow other devices on home network (phone, tablet, other TVs) to stream off the HTPC
- Home “server” for shared storage (secondary function)
    - Want to go RAID for redundancy if possible.  Lots of storage!
    - Wireless network 802.11ac support (I'm close to the router, but trying to reduce cables)
    - Media card reader to easily get pictures off my cameras
    - Can host home intranet and other applications as needed
- Can use IR remote control for most functions
    - Prefer an internal IR controller and not an external USB one
    - Especially for Home Theater and PVR/DVR’s functions
- Play some games (tertiary function)
    - This is not a gaming system, but should support some halfway decent games

I like Barry's High End Build [http://techbuyersguru.com/barrys-high-end-home-theater-pc], however these are the concerns/issues I have with it for my setup.

1. It's older DDR3 based, want to go with current Skylake processor of some kind (don't want to wait for Kaby Lake)
2. The capture card is really a TV Tuner, I think I need something more like a pure play media capture card
3. No IR controller built in
4. OS is Windows 7, would go with Windows 10 or potentially a Linux Distro
5. Not a fan of the case.  SilverStone's current lineup does not really "do it" for me.  Their legacy cases were much nicer looking and felt like they belong in a media cabinet (plus a good number of them came with media card readers and IR built in)
6. Need/want more storage capacity
7. Can't tell if the video card would support the 4k output to my UHD TV
8. No media card support

I also like the $650 HTPC Build [http://techbuyersguru.com/650-home-theater-pc-build], but like Barry's there are missing pieces

So this is what I am thinking and am looking for opinions/guidance from the group:

- Processor: Intel i7-6700K
- Motherboard: Potentially the MSI B150 Gaming M3 (I am going to need multiple SATA, USB Heads and PCI-e expansion slots)
- Video Card:  EVGA GeForce GTX 950 and an Accell B086B-011B DisplayPort 1.2 to HDMI 2.0 Active Adapter
- Memory: Crucial 2x8GB DDR4 2133 CL15
- Solid-State Boot Drive: SanDisk X400 512GB
- Storage Hard Drives: Western Digital Caviar Green 3 TB SATA III (4x of these would give me 9TB at RAID5)
- RAID Card: Included in the MB
- Case: Fractal Design Node 605
- IR Controller: Inteset USB Internal Infrared (IR) Media Center Receiver (I'll have to custom mount it in the case)
- Wireless NIC: TP-Link Archer T8E AC1750 PCI Express
- Power Supply: Corsair CX450M
- Optical Drive: Panasonic UJ-265 Slim 6X Blu-ray Writer SATA Slot Load and a StarTech 6-Inch Slimline SATA to SATA Female/Male Adapter (SLSATAADAP6)
- Capture Card: Hauppauge Colossus 2 PCI Express Internal 1080p HD-PVR
- Sound Card: Included in the MB (Realtek ALC1150 7.1-Channel)
- CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-L9x65
- Case Fans: Comes in Case
- Operating System: Windows 10 Pro 64bit

Thoughts?  What am I missing?  I have an older stereo receiver, so I could use some recommendations on one as I am sure I will need to upgrade.

Thanks



Ari Altman

  • TBG Founder
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1669
    • View Profile
Re: HTPC/Server for my house
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2016, 05:31:17 PM »
Hey there jwrober, and welcome to The TBG Forum!

Hopefully some other folks will chime in here, but I'll just give you a few pointers right off the bat:

(1) I can understand your frustration with HDMI 2.0, but trying to get around it with component cables is not going to be the solution. Component cables can't carry 4K video. That unfortunately is the whole reason behind the security features of HDCP 2.2 - so you don't access 4K content any other way!

(2) You won't need an Accell Displayport to HDMI 2.0 adapter if using a GTX 950 video card, as the GTX 950 has HDMI 2.0 out. The Accell adapter's target scenario is when you're using Intel onboard video with a motherboard with Displayport out and want to connect to an HDMI 2.0 TV. The problem is that motherboards with DisplayPort typically cost quite a bit more than what you're looking at, so if you want a video card for gaming anyway, there's no sense in upgrading the motherboard in order to use the adapter.

(3) The Intel Core i7-6700K cannot be overclocked on a B150 motherboard, and that means you'll miss out on part of its appeal. That being said, it's quite a bit faster out of the box than the Core i7-6700, so perhaps that's why you chose it.

(4) I'm not sure what you mean by an internal IR controller, but if you mean an internal card with an external receiver, I'm not sure such a device is any better than a USB-based model on an extension cord. Also, I'm not familiar with any such products. By the way, cases with built-in IR were phased out years ago.

As for a good, modern surround sound receiver, I'd take a look at Yamaha's lineup, including the RX-V681. I personally run a Pioneer SC-81 from model year 2014, which is really similar to the new SC-LX501. The sound quality is fantastic, but the HDMI switching is bad on the SC-81 (long blackouts when input switching). You might want to see what the reviews say regarding the newer model.

jwrober

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
Re: HTPC/Server for my house
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2016, 06:53:00 AM »
Thanks for the quick feedback.

(1) I'll guess I just have to deal with it then.  I am just not a fan of all the closed standards and lockout techniques.  I think it stifles innovation and prevents different options.  I like having it my way!  lol.

(2) Ah, now I see based on your post to the such on the main pages. So now I am wondering if I need the full external video card at all.  The Core i7 on board GPU can put out 4096 x 2304 resolution.  4k is 3840 x 2160 on my TV.  What I can't tell is if the HDMI out on the main board supports the HDMI 2.0/HDCP 2.2 spec.  I guess I could find a DVI to HDMI converter.  If I don't need a secondary video card, now I'm wondering if I can goto a smaller main board and not use the full ATX size.  Give me some more wiggle room in the case.

(3) I was originally thinking of not really worrying about overclocking to the max 5GHz the K chip can support and was just looking at the 600MHz difference in base clock speed.  In looking further it looks like the plain 6700 runs cooler and uses less power so I will go with that.

(4) You have what I mean about an internal IR controller.  It's not so much about what is better/worse per se.  I just don't want an extra cable lying around with a dongle on the end.  Its more of an aesthetics thing for me.  I'm looking for a clean look, which is why I like the FD 605 case.  The little receiver can be installed in the case and I can drill a slight hole for it above the power button.  Any insight as to why the cases with built in IR were phased out? 

(5) I'll take a look at those receiver's.  I have a Yamaha now (crica 2005) that works great as I put LPCM into it from the cable box and WD TV Now box I have. It just does not support any HDMI, just component and old school S video.

jwrober

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
Re: HTPC/Server for my house
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2016, 06:58:26 AM »
Update to (2)

I posted too soon.  Looks like I do need the external video card.  Here are spec notes on the main board

Onboard Graphics

• 1 x HDMI™ port, supports a maximum resolution of 4096x2160@24Hz, 2560x1600@60Hz
• 1 x DVI-D port, supports a maximum resolution of 1920x1200@60Hz

the 4096 x 2160 is only at 24 Hz.  Yuck.

Ari Altman

  • TBG Founder
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1669
    • View Profile
Re: HTPC/Server for my house
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2016, 09:05:36 AM »
Update to (2)

I posted too soon.  Looks like I do need the external video card.  Here are spec notes on the main board

Onboard Graphics

• 1 x HDMI™ port, supports a maximum resolution of 4096x2160@24Hz, 2560x1600@60Hz
• 1 x DVI-D port, supports a maximum resolution of 1920x1200@60Hz

the 4096 x 2160 is only at 24 Hz.  Yuck.

That's right, you can't use onboard HDMI 1.4 for serious 4K content. The refresh rate is too low.

Intel's Kaby Lake family of processors is rumored to be arriving in early 2017, and they'll have 4k/60Hz support. But until then, HTPC users either need a Displayport motherboard with Displayport-to-HDMI 2.0 adapter, or an add-in video card.

I'd go with the video card if I were you. It's a more robust solution. I had trouble with the 7.1 surround output on the Accell DP-to-HDMI adapter in my review, and while the company promised me it was fixed, I did not request another sample to verify that. Too much other stuff to review!

IR was likely dropped from cases as it requires driver support, and I can guarantee you that case manufacturers do not want to be in the business of providing software with their cases. It's a huge burden in terms of support for hardware companies, and most definitely isn't worth it for a niche market like this.

As for drilling a hole through your case for an internal IR adapter, hey, if you can do it and make it look good, more power to you!

jwrober

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
Re: HTPC/Server for my house
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2016, 09:27:44 AM »
I recall reading about the Kaby Lake a couple weeks ago.  Seems like a nice upgrade option down the road.

WRT the IR controller.  The one I have in my build list uses standard eHome Microsoft drivers, so there is no software to install (comes built into windows standard drivers).  I do understand why case manufacturers don't want to be in the software driver business though.  Makes sense.

The IR "window" can be drilled with a 3/64" drill bit.  I have a drill press and at slow rpm should go nicely through the plastic and you won't notice.  ;D

For those reading along and want a updated/complete build list, here it is based on Ari's thoughts:
- Processor: Intel i7-6700
- Motherboard: MSI B150 Gaming M3
- Video Card:  EVGA GeForce GTX 950 2GB SC GAMING
- Memory: Crucial 2x8GB DDR4 2133 CL15
- Solid-State Boot Drive: SanDisk X400 512GB
- Storage Hard Drives: Western Digital Caviar Green 3 TB SATA III (4x of these gives 9TB at RAID5) [note: The 3TB Blue has replaced  the 3TB Green]
- RAID Card: Included in the MB
- Case: Fractal Design Node 605
- IR Controller: Inteset USB Internal Infrared (IR) Media Center Receiver
- Wireless NIC: TP-Link Archer T8E AC1750 PCI Express
- Power Supply: Corsair CX450M
- Optical Drive: Panasonic UJ-265 Slim 6X Blu-ray Writer SATA Slot Load and a StarTech 6-Inch Slimline SATA to SATA Female/Male Adapter (SLSATAADAP6)
- Capture Card: Hauppauge Colossus 2 PCI Express Internal 1080p HD-PVR
- Sound Card: Included in the MB (Realtek ALC1150 7.1-Channel)
- CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-L9x65 + thermal paste [note: included with cooler]
- Case Fans: Comes in Case
- Operating System: Windows 10 Pro 64bit

Sourcing from Amazon w/ Prime shipping, I get a total of ~ $2,000 for the kit.  The Wireless NIC, Video Card and Capture card consume 4 of the 7 available slots on the main board, giving me options for future needs.

Unless anyone else sees any major flaws in my build, I think I am going to go this route.

Ari - If you want, I can send pics when its done.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2016, 11:23:26 AM by Ari Altman »

Ari Altman

  • TBG Founder
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1669
    • View Profile
Re: HTPC/Server for my house
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2016, 11:18:07 AM »
This looks great, jwrober, and yes, I'd love to see pics when you're done. You can e-mail them to theguru@techbuyersguru.com or post them in this thread if you have a third-party file server you can use.

By the way, I've converted your parts list to Amazon links so readers can jump straight to the components. I also made a couple notations in your list, as follows:

(1) the Western Digital 3TB Green is EOL, and has been replaced with the 3TB Blue. It's identical, but with the Blue you know you're getting newer stock. Feel free to go with either of course.

(2) The UJ-265 Blu-Ray burner seems to be EOL, so I linked to the UJ-272. Please be aware that this will NOT play Blu-Ray movies out of the box, as it requires add-on software like PowerDVD, which, I should note, gets very lukewarm reviews. This is just another barrier put in place by industry to keep us enthusiasts from enjoying the content we've paid for!

(3) The Noctua NH-L9x65 is an excellent cooler choice. Note that you don't need to buy thermal paste as it includes Noctua NT-H1 in the box, which is the best paste out there. You also get a low-noise adapter, which reduces voltage to the fan. I highly recommend you use it for HTPC purposes.

One last thing I'll just mention here: the Corsair CX450M is a great low-cost power supply, but you're building a very high-end HTPC. I'd highly recommend upgrading to the EVGA Supernova 550 GS, which is fully-modular, Gold-rated, and includes a zero-fan option for low-load operation. Yes, it's about twice the price, but it's a good investment for an HTPC of this caliber.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2016, 11:29:32 AM by Ari Altman »