Build Your Own Silent HTPC – Blu-ray, HD DVD and HDTV Combined

Motherboard – MSI K9AG Neo2-Digital

Silent HTPC Blu-ray HD-DVD DVB-S2

Now that we’ve decided on the AMD platform, we need a fitting motherboard. MSI’s K9AG Neo2-Digital is a good fit, as it is inexpensive and comes equipped with a long list of features. The board costs a mere €60 and even sports an HDMI interface. This is where we hit our first snag, though. Originally, we wanted to do without a dedicated graphics card altogether, using the integrated graphics unit and the boards HDMI connector instead.

Until just before the deadline for this article, the tests showed this solution to be more than sufficient, with the platform completing virtually all of our Full-HD video tests without stuttering. All but one… Once we received out HD DVD / Blu-ray drive, we were suddenly faced with a dilemma. We discovered that the Blu-ray tests only ran successfully (read – without stuttering) if the material was not copy protected. As soon as we played copy protected discs, the CPU load would quickly jump to 100%, reducing the quality of playback. Apparently, copy protected HD DVDs are less complex to decode, as the CPU had no trouble at all with these discs. With a heavy heart, we found no other solution but to install a dedicated graphics card.