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Antraman

[Proposal] New subforum - "HTPC's" in the Bits section

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Hi,

 

Atomic magazine has prided itself at being at the forefront of tech developments in the PC world, and has kept abreast of shifts in trends and fashions within the PC industry. Case modding, overclocking, extreme systems, and gaming etc. are but a few example that spring to mind at the moment.

 

One area of computing that I believe is growing recently, yet being overlooked by Atomic is the topic of HTPC's, and I am proposing that we create a new Forum sub-forum that focuses on tech and OS developments, and build techniques etc. A quick perusal of the Bits and Box sections shows that there is an increasing trend in the number of topics on home theatre PC's, and recent products from big name manufacturers of gear that can be used in HTPC builds has already caught the eye of Atomic reviewers here. HTPC building is a new and growing field of computing, and it is evident there is still some confusion and inquiry about building machines and utilising software focussed on this specific area of computers.

 

If we do get such a section added to the forums, I also propose that we shift our approach to reviewing tech for HTPC's to less of an overclocking, extreme speed/power and gaming capability towards another extreme, one dictated by goals and ideals that would be determined by what makes a good home theatre machine. These factors would be, but not limited to:

 

Size.

Looking for smaller and more compact parts and builds, that would fit in lounge room space, rather than the standard desktop size.

 

Heat Mitigation.

Looking for components that have a focus on improvements in lessening heat output while still offering performance, rather than looking at faster CPU's and GPU's without concern for heat output.

 

Power consumption.

Looking for components that require less power, so as to foster energy savings as well as help mitigate heat generation in components.

 

Features.

Looking for components and builds that offer a wider range of features related to home entertainment systems, rather than those better suited to gaming or workstation type builds.

 

Costs.

Looking for comparably performing components but with better cost efficiency.

 

Looks.

Looking for cases and boxes which focus more on style and integration with lounge room or home theatre components, rather than sticking with the desktop/laptop paradigm.

 

Operating systems.

Looking at standard retail as well as home brew operating systems designed with home theatre operations in use, rather than standard computing.

 

Building techniques.

Looking at methods of building HTPC's with the above points in mind, also things like, compatibility with HTPC related parts, ease or trickiness of building smaller units etc...

 

Capabilities.

Looking for components and builds that keep uptodate with developments in entertainment media formats, such as audio/video encoding and parsing advances, HDMI iterations, etc.

 

Review Approach.

I propose also that Atomic changes is review approach (if it needs changing...) to that geared towards looking for the best in HTPC tech based on the criteria I outlined above, when reviewing HTPC tech...not saying that Atomic should change its review focus for ALL tech. Just that which is related to HTPC's.

 

Why do I want to do this?

 

There are several reasons...I think HTPC tech is a new and exciting area of computing that is yet to catch on in the public eye, but it is growing. I also think Atomic needs to adapt to changes in the industry...after all, we have had big discussions in the Feedback section about how the forums are stagnating etc...this could well be one way of helping inject a bit of energy back into the forums. It is also entirely in keeping with the Atomic ideal of going for the best, the newest, and the most extreme in Tech...its just that I think HTPC is a different angle in extreme to that of gaming or desktop computing which Atomic has been doing. Finally, I'd like a place close to home, so to speak, where we can focus on this type of tech in discussions and sharing of info etc.

 

What say you, o gods of Atomic?

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I just gave a bunch of reasons why we should.

 

Give me some why we can't.

Because all those can be covered in the Building section.

 

Edit : except Review Approach, which can be covered in Feedback

Edited by spyder

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"Need" ? No, maybe not. But if you're going to take that line, you should probably also combine Unix, MacOS and Windows, since they're all OSen.

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I just gave a bunch of reasons why we should.

 

Give me some why we can't.

Because it'll be a low traffic section which has no benefit over the existing building forum. The people in the existing forum are more than capable of handling HTPC builds. Otherwise we'd have a section for servers, overclocking rigs, office PCs, gaming PCs, etc. There's nothing overly special about a HTPC that warrants another section.

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I just gave a bunch of reasons why we should.

 

Give me some why we can't.

Because it'll be a low traffic section which has no benefit over the existing building forum. The people in the existing forum are more than capable of handling HTPC builds. Otherwise we'd have a section for servers, overclocking rigs, office PCs, gaming PCs, etc. There's nothing overly special about a HTPC that warrants another section.

 

Well, see...this is where I think you're wrong. In the build section, there is a particular type of mentality of people who frequent there, that is along the lines of looking for better performance in terms of speed, power, cost etc in relation to mainly gaming PC's, and general purpose desktops. Benchmarks are performed which pit various cards, CPU's and motherboards against each other in relation to ability to play various games, overclockability, and extremes in terms of computing power etc.

 

This type of attitude I do not think is compatible with that of a group of enthusiasts concentrating solely on HTPC machines. I'm sure I don't need to spell it out to people, but in my mind, the measure of a good HTPC is looked at in different terms to those of a gaming PC or a workhorse desktop etc....in this respect one would be looking for small size and compactness, low power requirements, video and audio performance geared towards Full HD rendering and theatre sound emulation rather than framerates for a game, and perhaps aesthetic styling, etc. Having its own sub-forum I think would tell visitors that there is a different type of mentality in the HTPC area...and that way there would be less flaming and arguing over whether such a board either overclocks well, or plays whatever game etc...when those things aren't relevant at all to an HTPC.

 

There was a time when GPU's were still part of another section, I forget now what it was, but it has grown and received its own sub-forum. I mean, sure, *everything* could be considered belonging to the Build section, depending on how far back in detail you want to step from the topic. HTPC's are new, and haven't been widely accepted yet, so I can see why there is resistance now to giving it a separate sub-forum, but I am telling you now, home theatre and HTPC's are on the rise and we will be seeing and reading a lot more about them in the future. Its a market waiting to explode. I'm proposing that Atomic gets ahead of the wave by trying this new idea...the result may possibly even be that Atomic plays a part in its development.

Edited by Antraman

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Well, see...this is where I think you're wrong. In the build section, there is a particular type of mentality of people who frequent there, that is along the lines of looking for better performance in terms of speed, power, cost etc in relation to mainly gaming PC's, and general purpose desktops. Benchmarks are performed which pit various cards, CPU's and motherboards against each other in relation to ability to play various games, overclockability, and extremes in terms of computing power etc.

 

This type of attitude I do not think is compatible with that of a group of enthusiasts concentrating solely on HTPC machines. I'm sure I don't need to spell it out to people, but in my mind, the measure of a good HTPC is looked at in different terms to those of a gaming PC or a workhorse desktop etc....in this respect one would be looking for small size and compactness, low power requirements, video and audio performance geared towards Full HD rendering and theatre sound emulation rather than framerates for a game, and perhaps aesthetic styling, etc. Having its own sub-forum I think would tell visitors that there is a different type of mentality in the HTPC area...and that way there would be less flaming and arguing over whether such a board either overclocks well, or plays whatever game etc...when those things aren't relevant at all to an HTPC.

Look at any one of the current HTPC threads and you'll see that the builds consider many of the factors you stated in the OP.

 

There was a time when GPU's were still part of another section, I forget now what it was, but it has grown and received its own sub-forum. I mean, sure, *everything* could be considered belonging to the Build section, depending on how far back in detail you want to step from the topic. HTPC's are new, and haven't been widely accepted yet, so I can see why there is resistance now to giving it a separate sub-forum, but I am telling you now, home theatre and HTPC's are on the rise and we will be seeing and reading a lot more about them in the future. Its a market waiting to explode. I'm proposing that Atomic gets ahead of the wave by trying this new idea...the result may possibly even be that Atomic plays a part in its development.

GPUs got another section because they're a popular component in terms of discussion. HTPCs are neither single components nor popular.

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this could well be one way of helping inject a bit of energy back into the forums.

I disagree. Building a HTPC is almost exactly the same as building any other PC.

 

When you build a PC you have certain requirements about speed, power, size, heat, etc. and that is what you post about in Building.

 

Rob.

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I've read all the HTPC threads. They are all over the place, in Memory and Motherboards, Tech Talk, GPU's, Building and Modding, Overclocking and Cooling, unix/Linux/Oppen Source software...it seems to me that it would be better to have all this info in a single forum so people don't go chasing all over Atomic forums for info they are looking for.

 

Not popular? What was that comment someone made in the 1950s about there never being a computer in the home because they were too large...?

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this could well be one way of helping inject a bit of energy back into the forums.

I think it would split up a section that's small enough as it is.

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Not popular? What was that comment someone made in the 1950s about there never being a computer in the home because they were too large...?

Ok, we'll make a section for flying cars since in 60 years time, they might be popular. Much like the person who made that comment, we can't predict the future, nor do we have to - we act when necessary. Regardless, HTPC builds are a part of 'Building, Troubleshooting & Modding', so it looks like we're all set for the HTPC revolution. Edited by .:Cyb3rGlitch:.

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I really don't see why this needs its own section either. Building and troubleshooting is nice at the moment with the traffic its getting. Lets not add another sub forum that will get a post once a month.

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^

 

Creating a sub section is seen as a waste of time, and when you have sites dedicated to nothing but HTPCs or silent PCs...

 

Wait, why is the site not gaining traffic again?

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If you want to have a forum for HTPCs then head on over to http://www.xpmediacentre.com.au

It is hands down the best Australian resource for HTPC information.

Thanks for the link Twinair, I wasn't aware of that site..

 

Well, I think I argued my case as best I can, so thanks all for the feedback.

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Hi,

 

There are several reasons...I think HTPC tech is a new and exciting area of computing that is yet to catch on in the public eye, but it is growing. I also think Atomic needs to adapt to changes in the industry...<snip>...its just that I think HTPC is a different angle in extreme to that of gaming or desktop computing which Atomic has been doing. Finally, I'd like a place close to home, so to speak, where we can focus on this type of tech in discussions and sharing of info etc.

Hi Antraman!

 

HTPC tech is definitely an exciting area of computing: fitting a real PC into a smaller space and using it to digest all kinds of media is something most PC enthusiasts want. But unfortunately, it's not particularly new (and indeed uses standard components, same as any desktop), nor is it a hugely growing market especially when you take into account the PVRs and media players that are now being released in droves. They can be had for under two hundred bucks.

 

I'm not saying that HTPCs don't have a place - the fourth build in the magazine version of KitLog in #117 is a brand-spanking new HTPC build - but they're not big enough at this point in time to demand their own subforum.

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fwiw, I like Antraman's suggestion. A place where people can discuss the merit of tech with regard to HTPCs, front-ends, maybe even the storage end of things. And sure, there are areas where these things could go already, but having one area where people can easily see a range of HTPC threads would be nice.

 

Of course, perhaps what I really like the idea of is a dedicated HTPC forum.

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wow

 

lot of diverse attention here

 

HTPCs are becoming popular, and it's a legitimate Atomic interest. I know Justin has done some HTPC stuff for Kitlog.

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Hi Antraman!

 

HTPC tech is definitely an exciting area of computing: fitting a real PC into a smaller space and using it to digest all kinds of media is something most PC enthusiasts want. But unfortunately, it's not particularly new (and indeed uses standard components, same as any desktop), nor is it a hugely growing market especially when you take into account the PVRs and media players that are now being released in droves. They can be had for under two hundred bucks.

 

I'm not saying that HTPCs don't have a place - the fourth build in the magazine version of KitLog in #117 is a brand-spanking new HTPC build - but they're not big enough at this point in time to demand their own subforum.

Good points, well put, although I would continue by arguing against 1 point or 2 you raised (bolded)

 

Some of the tech is new, like the latest Zotac boards, and the Gigabyte one recently released...but more importantly, there is some tech which is more geared towards an HTPC that would not be ideal on a desktop...such things as small form factor/low wattage PSU's, low power draw CPU's, low profile and silent video cards, micro-ITX boards as well as cases designed for compactness etc.

 

I saw the kitlog build and am pleased to see the new inclusion. A step in the right direction, I say.

 

You make a good point about competition from PVR's and set top boxes etc, but there are some issues with these that I think need to be addressed, (and which would suit well in an HTPC subforum, btw 8-]), mainly surrounding various technical and media limitations to the services that these cheap units provide. One of my focus points mentioned in my OP, Capabilities, would address this issue, by showing how HTPCs can offer a full range of capabilities without the limitations that PVR/STB's are let down by.

Edited by Antraman

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What I think people are really after is some kind of forum tagging, so that you could use a 'HTPC' filter to find all posts that were tagged as relevant to such ; )

 

With how mainstream and componentised case modding has become, I would have thought that HTPCs and SilentPCs would have enough interest to warrant some kind of more inclusivity. A section for silent computing, theatre-based computing, and theatre-based components would at least be more on-spec than a photography forum : )

Edited by Nich...

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What I think people are really after is some kind of forum tagging, so that you could use a 'HTPC' filter to find all posts that were tagged as relevant to such ; )

 

With how mainstream and componentised case modding has become, I would have thought that HTPCs and SilentPCs would have enough interest to warrant some kind of more inclusivity : )

Tagging could work. It would help those posts that could fit into any number of sub forums.

 

Much like googles approach to organising emails- an email can have multiple labels, but it can't be in multiple folders.

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