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Thread: Can a laptop be a decent HTPC solution?

  1. #1
    KFlint's Avatar ... BT Rep: +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35
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    Hey,

    Most people build there own HTPC with silent parts and stuff and probably end up paying more than 1000$ for an HTPC and that made me wonder, wouldn't a laptop with an HD video card and HDMI output be just as good?

    I saw some laptops sold under 1000$ that have a Blu-Ray drive, a decent ATI HD card, 4 gigs of RAM, 320 gigs HD

    Laptops are silent as well and you can move them to watch stuff away from home. The only downside I see is the small HD, which would require an external USB or eSata drive to make it a nice storage solution.

    I might be wrong regarding the pricing of regular HTPC setups though, it may be cheaper than I think it is

    what do you think, are laptops fine for that?
    Last edited by KFlint; 04-06-2009 at 02:54 PM.

  2. Software & Hardware   -   #2
    tesco's Avatar woowoo
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    320gigs is plenty of hard drive.
    Just store stuff on your other PCs. For the rare occasion that you need to access something that doesnt fit in the space on the laptop it won't be much of a pain to go turn your pc on.

    Anyway as for the original question, I'd never spend $1000 on an htpc. You don't need top of the line to play movies. Just buy any cheap modern components and then explore some passive-cooling options to make the pc silent. Case is up to you, some people spend over $1000 just on the case but that's personal preference...for me a $50 case would do.
    I think you should really try pricing out a pc first before buying the laptop, unless you're heart is set on buying a laptop. It's nice for portability and might be useful for more than just use as a htpc.

  3. Software & Hardware   -   #3
    KFlint's Avatar ... BT Rep: +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35
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    I haven't made my choice yet, it's just that I'm annoyed that my actual PC (Pentium 4) can't play Blu-Ray disc and 1080p x264 correctly and thinking of upgrading. 720p files are playing just fine though.

    I don't care about having a super cool case either. Just to get the job done

    How much would cost a decent HTPC custom build to play blu-ray disc and stuff, around 500$ ?
    Last edited by KFlint; 04-07-2009 at 02:14 AM.

  4. Software & Hardware   -   #4
    manu1991's Avatar Ancient Philospher BT Rep: +3
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    You can easily have a cheap HTPC if you go the AMD route since you wont need a separate GFX card

    hec Black SECC 7K09 Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case ~ 50$
    AMD Athlon 64 X2 7750 ~ 64$
    GIGABYTE GA-MA78GM-US2H Micro ATX ~ 70$
    Seagate / WD 500 GB HDD ~ 70$
    Corsair 2*2 GB PC2 6400 Kit ~ 25$ (after rebate)
    Sony OptiArc BlueRay reader ~ 90$

    There you go

    * All prices from newegg

  5. Software & Hardware   -   #5
    tesco's Avatar woowoo
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    Quote Originally Posted by manu1991 View Post
    You can easily have a cheap HTPC if you go the AMD route since you wont need a separate GFX card

    hec Black SECC 7K09 Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case ~ 50$
    AMD Athlon 64 X2 7750 ~ 64$
    GIGABYTE GA-MA78GM-US2H Micro ATX ~ 70$
    Seagate / WD 500 GB HDD ~ 70$
    Corsair 2*2 GB PC2 6400 Kit ~ 25$ (after rebate)
    Sony OptiArc BlueRay reader ~ 90$

    There you go

    * All prices from newegg
    That looks like a good board. Has HDMI.

  6. Software & Hardware   -   #6
    KFlint's Avatar ... BT Rep: +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35
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    Thx guys! This listing seems affordable enough

    You sure the onboard video card is good enough to run 1080p mkv and blu-ray? I want to invest mainly to resolve this problem
    Last edited by KFlint; 04-07-2009 at 10:31 PM.

  7. Software & Hardware   -   #7
    Artemis's Avatar ןɐɯɹou ǝq ʎɥʍ BT Rep: +3
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    If you are unsatisfied with the playback from the onboard card there is the upgrade path with the PCI-e 2.0 slot later on. This is the big difference with a desktop over a laptop solution, the upgradability of the components. You can change and or add more storage space with the HTPC solution as well instead of having to purchase more expensive external enclosures.

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  8. Software & Hardware   -   #8
    BANNED BT Rep: +18BT Rep +18BT Rep +18BT Rep +18
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    Quote Originally Posted by KFlint View Post
    Hey,

    Most people build there own HTPC with silent parts and stuff and probably end up paying more than 1000$ for an HTPC and that made me wonder, wouldn't a laptop with an HD video card and HDMI output be just as good?

    I saw some laptops sold under 1000$ that have a Blu-Ray drive, a decent ATI HD card, 4 gigs of RAM, 320 gigs HD

    Laptops are silent as well and you can move them to watch stuff away from home. The only downside I see is the small HD, which would require an external USB or eSata drive to make it a nice storage solution.

    I might be wrong regarding the pricing of regular HTPC setups though, it may be cheaper than I think it is

    what do you think, are laptops fine for that?
    you seem to be talking about my new lappy
    http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/tr/tr...5-3822940.html

  9. Software & Hardware   -   #9
    manu1991's Avatar Ancient Philospher BT Rep: +3
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    Quote Originally Posted by KFlint View Post
    Thx guys! This listing seems affordable enough

    You sure the onboard video card is good enough to run 1080p mkv and blu-ray? I want to invest mainly to resolve this problem
    Yes , it can do it very well , however after reading this :
    http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=3430&p=5
    it seems that the for an HTPC , onboard nVIDIA 8200 is superior , so get MSI K9N2G Neo-FD / ASUS M3N78-VM , both retail for ~ 75$

    both these have 8200 onboard
    Last edited by manu1991; 04-08-2009 at 06:43 AM.

  10. Software & Hardware   -   #10
    I decided to go for a new general usage (usenet/gaming) PC rather than an HTPC at the moment, but if you check anandtech.com forums, you'll find a lot of great info about building an HTPC, which can be done for under $500 easily enough.

    If you want a cheap solution, why not go for one of the media players? Popcorn Hour, Western Digital, etc. are all reasonable solutions for playing this content. I have a WD Media Player which I use in combination with my WD External and it works well enough for now.

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