advice for a noobie

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by paul1672, Apr 6, 2004.

  1. paul1672

    paul1672
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    hi there.
    i'm currently looking into building a hcpc and was wondering if someone could tell me if these specks would be ok?

    ATHLON 2400XP, SIS748 400FSB MOTHERBOARD 1X 8XAGP SLOT 5X PCI SLOTS, 40GB HD 7200RPM, 256MB "CRUCIAL" PC2700 RAM,10/100 LAN,PIONEER 121 16X DVD-ROM TRAY OEM ,XP HOME,128MB RADEON 9500 GRAPHICS CARD,CREATIVE PCI AUDIGY 2 ZS 7.1.
    I WANT TO HOUSE ALL THIS IN MAYBE A STRATA CASE???
    WILL IT BE SUITABLE???

    if i have missed something please do let me know.
    i really am completely new to all this so any help would be massivly appreciated.
     
  2. Yandros

    Yandros
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    Ok, lets see now....

    I wouldn't go for the SIS chipset. I'd opt for the nForce2 chipset, which is generally regarded as both better performing and more stable. At the end of the day, you want your HTPC to cause you as little grief as possible, so I'd say something like the

    MSI K7N2 Delta ILSR - £78 inc VAT

    Note that is doesn't have a fan on the mobo - less noise!

    AMD XP2400+ CPU is ok. For another £8 you might consider the 2600.

    For RAM, I've had Kingmax "Turbo" 2700 DDR recommended for a similar MSI board (and it worked perfectly). (£31 inc VAT). If you want to spend a little more, the Corsair XMS 2700 is usually a safe bet. If you choose a difference mobo, the safest thing is to ask the mobo supplier what RAM will work.

    Dont' forget a CPU cooler - and be careful because not all of them fit on AMD boards. I recently used the Arctic Cooling Copper Silent 2, which fits all mobos, and true to the name, is almost totally silent. You'll need thermal paste too - Arctic Silver 5 one of the best.

    HDD- I'd say Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 - I think its the quietest drive on the market. If your budget will run to it, I'd put in 120GB or more, since HDD prices are just silly right now!

    Audigy 2 ZS is good.

    Try to find a QUIET DVD drive. If you've chose your other bits carefully, this will now be the noisiest part of your HTPC!

    XP home is fine

    You don't need a lan card, it's onboard.

    I'm not sure on the graphics card, since I tend to go high end nVidia for games use, but I gather that the low end Radeons are the best for HTPC purposes.

    Your Strata case will probably have 60mm fans. If these are noisy, replace them with Papst low noise versions.
     
  3. paul1672

    paul1672
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    many thanks mate.
    you've helped me immensely.
    right,i'm going to take the plunge.
    is there any chance you could post me some links for the things you've priced up?
    just so i make sure i'm getting exactly the right things.
    for example,i looked up the seagate barracuda h/drive and it gave me several versions (two being udma and sata)?
    your help is really appreciated.
    just got to convince me mate to help me build it all now.
    paul
     
  4. Yandros

    Yandros
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    I think all the kit I mentioned is available from:

    www.chillblast.com and www.aria.co.uk

    I've used both of them 3 times now, and had no problems. Chillblast in particular have a good rep for service and support. Allegedly Aria isn't so good for returns, but I've had no problems. A guy at Aria recommended the Kingmax RAM, and has the MSI board himself and was very knowledgeable. On the only time I've had need to phone Chillblast, the guy spontaneously enthused about the case I'd just ordered (a Coolermaster Wavemaster), so sounds like they've got some pretty keen folks there.


    Regarding the HDD, there are two cable types available now, the older IDE sort, and newer SATA which has a different power and data connector. I think that MSI board is old style non-SATA. SATA is more future proof, but there aren't huge performance differences between the two technologies.
     
  5. whistlingDogg

    whistlingDogg
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    take care with the seagate! They may have been the quietest, but their 7000 drives has terrible seek noise
     
  6. paul1672

    paul1672
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    seek noise?
    whats that?
     
  7. CAS

    CAS
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    If you're getting a 400FSB board, consider the Athlon XP 2500+ Barton. They run at 333MHz but (most) can easily be overclocked to 400MHz giving you a 3000+ for 1/3 the cost. You will need to get PC3200 memory to do this but it won't cost you much extra.

    Even without overclocking the Barton 2500 will significantly out perform a 2400 thouroughbred (again with very little - if any - extra cost)



    CAS
     
  8. Yandros

    Yandros
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    Well, if the Seagates are noisy, I'd say go for Maxtor then, or the fluid bearing Western Digitals. I've not had a problem with a Maxtor recently, so they'd be top of my list.

    Don't touch IBM/Hitachi - I've still got a cupboard full of dead IBM Deskstars aka Deathstars.
     
  9. paul1672

    paul1672
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    right,finally ordered all the components and after speaking to the guy who makes the strata cases i have had to make adjustments due to the case size.
    my list of components are now as follows:

    http://www.ebuyer.com/customer/prod...2hvd19wcm9kdWN0X292ZXJ2aWV3&product_uid=60559

    going together with a amd athlon 2600+ cpu

    one of these to cool it down:

    http://www.chillblast.com/customer/product.php?productid=245

    the strata 260 av pc case seen here:

    http://www.standsunique.com/

    a 256mb radeon 9600 ddr tv out with dv-i

    a 120mb seagate barracuda h/drive

    pioneer 107 dvd drive (not totally decided on this)

    512mb ddr memory

    and finally i'm still udecided on which sound card to get.
    it must have 7.1 surround sound capabilities thouh as it will be connecting up to a pioneer vsx-d2011 thx amp.
    so,any suggestions would be most welcome.
     
  10. Big Adam

    Big Adam
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    You don't need 7.1 capabilities!

    You want a bog standard card that will send a raw digital signal (via co-ax or optical link) to the Pioneer. The receiver will do a far far far better job of decoding the signal than the card will.

    Fortunately, the Asus mobo you have ordered has an SP-DIF header so that you can connect directly, bypassing the need for a separate card. This will also free up a PCI slot. You'll need to buy the little SPDIF bracket separately though. It costs about £11.

    Komplett used to sell them but I don't think they do now.[​IMG]
     
  11. paul1672

    paul1672
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    cool,thats the best news i've had all day.
    i don't suppose anyone knows where to get the said bracket,or what i need to search for as i've had a look around and can't seem to find one.
    unless either of these would do:

    http://www.komplett.co.uk/k/ki.asp?sku=112518&cks=ASS&assoc=D8029637-0DDA-48DA-9BA1-03B0D58EDEA7

    or

    http://www.dabs.com/uk/productview?quicklinx=2BT4

    also,will the bracket have a coaxial connection to connect to the pioneer amp as that's the way i want to go?
    if not,i take it i should just look to buy a bog standard sound card that has optical/coaxial out on it?
    would the TRUST PCI 5 CHANNEL soundcard priced at £25 do the job?
    this is the last piece of my jigsaw.
    many thanks in advance.
    paul
     
  12. paul1672

    paul1672
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    one last question,can anyone point me in the right direction for all the software needed to enable me to get pal/ntsc progressive scan and 3:2 pulldown capabilities from the hcpc to my hs-10 projector and which dv-i lead i need to purchase to connect the hcpc to the hs-10?
    many thanks
    paul
     
  13. tHatDudeUK

    tHatDudeUK
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    I recommend getting an Nforce2 soundstorm certified motherboard such as the Abit NF7-sv2.0. I got a receiver recently and when I popped in a DTS title I was surprised to see popup on my receiver the words DTS and it sounded wonerful.

    Nforce2 audio is widely regarded as the best onboard audio.
     

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