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a PC to only play DVDs (what spec and price?)

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by jon smith, Aug 29, 2001.

  1. jon smith

    jon smith
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    Right, i've just bought a Davis 450 projector and everyone says it would be better through my pc.

    I have a PC with DVD rom, but would prefer to keep this in other room.

    What sort of spec would I need for a PC that is only used for playing DVDs (and what sort of price would I expect to pay). Does anywhere in UK sell such a PC online.

    jon

    [ 31-08-2001: Message edited by: jon smith ]</p>
     
  2. TWD

    TWD
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    Yes to both.

    From what I gather you would also be best using a progressive scan signal i.e. through the VGA output rather than s-video etc to gain the most benefit. Best to wait for someone who's clued up on this sort of thing to respond - I'd like to learn a bit more about this too.

    As for the amp you will need a digital out either coax or optical (depending on amp inputs) from your soundcard to enjoy DTS or Dolby digital.
     
  3. jon smith

    jon smith
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    thanks, have now changed header title to reflect this.
     
  4. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    Hi Jon,

    You should be able to build a bare bones HTPC for about £400. I've got a DLS8, and I'm using an old Mpact2 mobo combo and that cost me about £650 15months ago. PC stuff is a lot cheaper now.

    You'll need a reasonably fast PC using something like an 800mhz Athlon or faster, a Radeon DDR graphics card (VE is OK apparently) and of course a DD/DTS capable sound card (Asus do one for £20). By shopping around using Micro Mart or computer fair, you should be able to make a dedicated HTPC which'll give your Davis the best input, and an excellent picture.

    You can also use a Pinnacle PCTV Rave card with DScaler software to turn the PC into a scaler, so even your old VHS tapes will look better than you thought. Some even use this method to play their standalone DVD player through (for ease of use) and even claim up to 95% of the quality of using a PC DVD with WinDVD player software. The Rave card will cost about £30.

    HTH.

    Gary.
     
  5. mjwhitehouse

    mjwhitehouse
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    I put together a decent spec for you

    900 MHz Duron - £54<br />Matsonic Motherboard - £47<br />CPU Fan - £7<br />512 MB 133 RAM - £35<br />DVD Rom - £40<br />GeForce2 MX 200 - £41<br />Quantum Fireball 10 GB Hard Disk - £52<br />ATX 300 W Case - £24<br />Keyboard - £3<br />Mouse - £2

    Total price for a decent spec machine ( like mine)<br />£305

    All of these were from EBuyer at <a href="http://www.ebuyer.com" target="_blank">www.ebuyer.com</a><br />Hope it helps. Obviously you can buy more expensive stuff but if it is only for DVD then this will be more than enough.
     
  6. Stuart Wright

    Stuart Wright
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    Mark, is the RAM bog standard or the more reliable CAS2 type?<br />Is the DVD ROM drive multiregion?<br />Is it a quiet CPU fan?<br />Is it a quiet Case fan?<br />Is the motherboard a mature, reliable make?<br />What about an IR keyboard & mouse?<br />and a sound card?
     
  7. mjwhitehouse

    mjwhitehouse
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    You know these are all very sensible questions to which I have to say I do not know. What is CAS2 memory? I have never heard of that, it seems reliable enough to me. The fan on both the CPU and Case are probably of average noise but are quieter than the Ellie so I don't hear them when they are on together. That and the fact that the PC is 6 feet away helps. The sound card is built in to the motherboard. I only have Region 1 DVDs so I have never had to try to hack it. The motherboard is Matsonic but the chipset is very well know (VIA KT133), an ASUS board is £65. An RF mouse and keyboard is £43 and IR keyboard is £20 and a mouse is £8. All of this is on EBuyer's website but I am not trying to promote them, the question was about what sort of price you could do a bog standard PC for DVD and nothing else setup and this was about as cheap as I could see it. The DVD Rom is an Artec and if you are really worried about Region coding then at £40 buy two and make 1 R1 and 1 R2. I think this should work?
     
  8. Stuart Wright

    Stuart Wright
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    Sorry, my poorly put point is that my minimum spec HCPC would pobably cost nearer twice yours without the software (including Windoze) and Win TV type card.<br />But it would still be worth it.
     
  9. mjwhitehouse

    mjwhitehouse
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    I get your point and if I had the money I would put together a much higher spec machine costing nearer £1000, but this would be completely wasted as just a DVD watching machine. You may as well buy a good prog scan DVD player at less price. I was just trying to show what you could get away with and still have a machine that runs really well as I think mine does. As for the IR keyboard and mouse, again if Jon only wants to use it as a dedicated DVD machine then he can set up windows so that he only needs to use the mouse and the keyboard can be a cheap £3 affair. I have an IR mouse and leave it by the machine as you can't use it like a remote because a remote doesn't need a flat surface to roll on like a mouse. Your knee just doesn't cut it in my experience.
     
  10. tryingtimes

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    Come on Spectre, you can't leave this thread without writing YOUR 'minimum' spec.

    I ran through a price list in Micro Mart the other night and came up with a figure of £550 to £650 depending on graphics card.<br />Unfortunately they never give info like noise of fans so I just factored for the most expensive!

    If I have time I may post the list up here (even though I'm a complete HCPC beginner).

    mjwhitehouse <br />Surely the whole point is that a good HCPC will wipe the floor with just about any other solution when fed into a projector that can cope with at least 800x600@72/75Hz. At least that is what I was hoping!
     
  11. mjwhitehouse

    mjwhitehouse
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    Personally I found that 800 x 600 was worse than 640 x 480 as the picture was softened by overlapping lines. What you really need is a projector that can cope with odd resolutions that better match the DVD output. A word of caution on fans, the more expensive ones are sometimes those that cost more which probably means they run faster and therefore may sound louder. PC manufacturers are not overly concerned with the amount of fan noise, certainly not as much as DVD owners are. As far as Jon is concerned I think he is getting the idea that you can go as low as about £300 and get a decent spec but if you want class then you can go as high as you like.
     
  12. mjwhitehouse

    mjwhitehouse
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    Obviously I didn't mean to say the more expensive ones cost more, I mean cool more . It is just my England spooling agon.
     
  13. Guest

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    I have mentioned this before,but if 720 x 576 is th pal resolution,then surely this is the best setting for output to a projector?
     
  14. Jeff

    Jeff
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    You should match the resolution to what the display is best at, not the source.

    Jeff
     
  15. mjwhitehouse

    mjwhitehouse
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    In this month's PC Plus there is an article on building a home entertainment PC and it talks about how to lessen noise , especially fan noice from the box. It also gives addresses of PC custom box manufacturers etc. It also has a free PC VCR software on the box. Issue 182 Autumn 2001.<br />It basically says the fans are incredibly noisy and it will cost you to get rid of this, but not excessively.
     
  16. GaryG

    GaryG
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    Jon

    I have a PC as a dedicated DVD player. Spec:

    PIII 600mhz running at 450mhz because of a mother board fault.<br />64mb ram<br />1Gig HD<br />Radeon VE graphics card<br />Pioneer region free DVD<br />M-Audio 24/96 sound card<br />Remote keyboard<br />ATI software player.

    Works fine, cost wasn't an issue, built it mostly out of bits left over from previous upgrades. If I needed more power I would upgrade it but it isn't necessary at the moment.
     

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