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Re: [vox-tech] HTPC/Media Center build questions
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Re: [vox-tech] HTPC/Media Center build questions

Aaron Brayton wrote:
> Bill,
> Wow.  Lots of info. Thanks!
> I've focused on a few of your points...
> You don't like Intel or ATI for GPU.  I'm a fan of nvidia myself.  
> However, I'm also a fan of Asus and I can't seem to find a good nvidia 
> HDMI mobo from Asus .  Gigabyte seems to only work with ATI. I'll keep 
> looking.  (Asus and Gigabyte are the only two mobo brands I've worked 
> with.  I know there are others, are there brands you recommend?) (My 
> current compromise, to have a quad core CPU is 
> http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128397 but it 
> has ATI graphics.)

I often just go with the one that gets the best reviews.  Certainly I'd pick
asus if there was an equiv.  The first HTPC motherboard I found was:

$80, nvidia 9300 on board, HDMI, socket 775, gigE, microatx, no fans and 6
SATA.  46% gave it 5 stars which seems pretty good to me.  Especially since
some of the most negative comments are about lack of overclocking which is not
something I care about at all.

> I have to claim ignorance about the real time encoding.  Do you have any 
> more information on it?  How is real time encoding 
> implemented/where/when would it be used?  I'm not sure if this will be 
> something I'll need or not.

It would be for something like receiving a video stream (via the pcHDTV, or
video in) and instead of streaming it to disk (which gets big quickly) apply
the compression in real time.  I've seen setups that spool to disk then
compress later, and others that do it in real time.  I don't recall at the
moment if the pcHDTV card gives you access to the compressed bits or uncompressed.

This was for instance the difference between the original tivo (which
compressed an uncompressed video stream) and the, er, umm, I think it was the
direct TV version which actually just recorded the compressed packets directly.

So basically you'd have to look at your video sources and pick a set of
software to help you manage it.

Basically real time is hard with HDTV and would like require a quad core if
not a core i5/i7 or GPU support.  Realtime compression is easier for SD/DVD
type quality (and fast dual or slow quad) and very easy for tv quality (most
duals, maybe not the atom).

BTW, GPU decode is very common, there are patches and/or software available
for most programs to do it.  GPU encode is much rarer, I've only heard of some
commercial products to do it.

> I'll look into the ION2.
> The Intel atom ITX boards you mentioned.  Can you give me some 
> examples?  (The boards have little or no expansion....for a TV tuner card.)

Ah, there's quite a few, but indeed the pci-e does limit the selection.
Here's one with the quad core, nice nvidia, and hdmi:

> Thank you for your help, please forgive my ignorance.

Heh, alas doing what you want isn't easy, it's going to be a compromise.  I'm
interested in similar, but trying to hold off on something like the ROKO that
buffer.  My DSL connection is limited to 768 kbit or so 8-(, and it's not
always *gasp* idle.

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