Need recommendation for cheap HTPC that can run XBMC 1080p

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aflower Offline
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Joined: Jan 2010
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Post: #1
Hi.

Until september 2008, I used a modded Xbox as a media center. XBMC is great, but since the Xbox couldn't play x264-material, I bought a Popcorn Hour A-110 instead.

Now, the Popcorn Hour is great for video, and I've never had any problems with it, but for playing music, it really sucks.

I'm getting rid of the Popcorn Hour now, and I want a new media center that can run a Linux or Windows of my choice, so I can use the applications I want (XBMC, among others).

I'll try to sum up my criteria:

- Very low noise or noise free (preferrably no fans at all, or at least fans that can be controlled).
- SSD drive or no drive. I don't want to pay for a mechanical harddrive that I won't use.
- Able to playback 1080p without hiccups
- Enough CPU/GPU power to upscale lower quality video (if that really makes any difference, I don't know).
- The HDMI output needs to be able to transport Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD. As far as I know, S/PDIF is not able to do that. I guess you need HDMI 1.3 for that?
- A BD-ROM would be nice, as I buy BD-movies now and then. If I can get rid of my BD-player (Sony BDP-S550), that would contribute to my budget.
- No OS bundled
- Small chassis, I don't want a HTPC that's the same size as my Denon receiver.
- Remote control.

I can either buy a complete system, or I can build it myself. Whatever is the best solution related to price.
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DeadPenguin Offline
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Location: Delaware
Post: #2
I also have a popcorn hour a-110. Nice machine if all you do is watch movies from the internal HD. I was trying to listen to music on it today and forgot how bad the experience was. i ended up using the internet radio.

I recently just got a Revo 3610 off Ebay. I love the thing. It would fit most of your needs except that it has a hard drive, bundled OS, and no BluRay.

If BluRay is that big a sticking point the new Asrock 330HT's have them. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.as...-_-Product
At almost $600 it is out of my budget.
(This post was last modified: 2010-01-03 08:56 by DeadPenguin.)
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joshua.lyon Offline
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Location: North Texas
Post: #3
DeadPenguin Wrote:I also have a popcorn hour a-110. Nice machine if all you do is watch movies from the internal HD. I was trying to listen to music on it today and forgot how bad the experience was. i ended up using the internet radio.

I recently just got a Revo 3610 off Ebay. I love the thing. It would fit most of your needs except that it has a hard drive, bundled OS, and no BluRay.

If BluRay is that big a sticking point the new Asrock 330HT's have them. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.as...-_-Product
At almost $600 it is out of my budget.
I also second the Revo as a great option for a cheap HD HTPC. Check out my blog which talks about the Revo and why it's a great, cheap HTPC. The bottom line is it plays HD video, runs XBMC, and you can extend it to run other software... like SABnzbd+ for usenet downloading, or leave XP on to run anything you want.

(see my other blog post for details on installing SABnzbd+ on XBMC Live).

The Revo comes with Windows XP, but you can use the XBMC Live installer which I mention in the first blog post to quickly and easily get XBMC up and going.
(This post was last modified: 2010-01-13 04:43 by joshua.lyon.)
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MaxHeadroom Offline
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Location: Australia
Post: #4
I got myself one of the Asrock HT-BD's for Christmas and am loving it. I have dual OS with Win 7 and Ubuntu. Am running under Win 7 while I work out how to use Ubuntu. You need Linux to properly use the GPU hardware acceleration but as I have never touched it before I find it a bit daunting. I am also using a Harmoney One remote which was relatively straight forward to set up (under Windows - much more effort required for Linux). One of the great features of the Asrock is that it has a low power standby mode and can boot into Win 7 in about 4 seconds. I have seen others comment about the noise but I have mine in the lounge room and have not heard the thing when idle and sure can't hear it over a movie or music.
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boykster Offline
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Post: #5
I second the Asrock 330 ION - I have 2 of them running XBMC Live installed to the HD and they are awesome.
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