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Advice on my spec for a media PC

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by stoner, Sep 1, 2005.

  1. stoner

    stoner
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    Hi all, I'm new to this forum I was directed here by a friend.
    I was looking for some advice on building my own media PC. I have looked into it and have prepared a buying list. Being a Paddy its totted up in Euro, but I've included £stg also.
    I have some concerns
    1) I want to match a thermaltake psu cooler to the case, i've mailed em so they will recommend on for a socket 939, hopefully they'll get back to me.
    2) The MB i'm looking at has 8 channel sound. I have recently bought a new speaker system, the sub plugs in (230Vac) and all the speakers are hooked up to it, you link the sub to a dvd etc. I was wondering how to link the PC to this system, is there a card i can get?
    3) It's also going to have to be Battlefield 2 ready thats why the Graphics card looks highendish, I am trying to keep it quiet with silent PSUs and the case has vents to directly pull air from the CPU and g card.
    4) I have an NTL digital top box. It has a scart output to TV and also an analogue connection ( we get about 15 analogue stations on the analogue connections and about 100 digital stations from the digital scart connection) Essentially I want to record from the digital side, I'm lost when it comes to tuner cards what do i need etc this is one of my biggest issues, how to record digital TV.
    If there is a better system out there please give me the nod

    Thanks in advance.

    Stoner :smashin:

    Final note a DVI input for my panasonice 42 plasma is available I'm expecting that all the signals from the MEDIA PC will use this interface, IE I dont want to have to switch inputs on the screen as i swop from DVD to TV etc , will this be an issue?
     

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  2. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    Some friend.
    What do you want your media PC to do? If you want it to play dvds, the standard method would be to hook the SPDIF (digital audio connection) from your motherboard to an external amplifier, which connects to your speakers and sub, and you would connect your PCs graphics card to your screen (VGA or DVI, or whatever).
    Which graphics card looks highendish? You could get a fanless graphics card (eg gigabyte GeForce 6600GT, uses a radiator to cool). And you can get all sorts of quiet coolers (search on here) - eg, Zalman Northbridge heatsink (to replace motherboard fan, £5) Zalman or other cpu cooler (£20-£30), quiet case fans, in and out.[
    QUOTE]4) I have an NTL digital top box. It has a scart output to TV and also an analogue connection ( we get about 15 analogue stations on the analogue connections and about 100 digital stations from the digital scart connection)[/QUOTE]Scart isn't digital, it's also analogue. NTL digital presumably refers to the signal it receives, or the sound it outputs (which may well be digital), but the video it outputs is analogue.
    To record the audio, you will probably want a soundcard (eg M-Audio Audiophile 2496, £50, or RME if you want to spend a lot to get near the best), unless there's a motherboard that will cover all your needs. You need a capture card for the video side of things (I'll let someone else give details, as I have no idea).
    Yep, no problem.

    PS - I haven't looked at your spreadsheet
     
  3. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    Right, looking at your spec now.
    Motherboard is same as mine - I think you'll want a soundcard if your taking digital sound in.
    CPU is more powerful than you need, you could save quite a bit by going for a 3500.
    You don't need a 7800GT GC. A 6800GT would be enough for games and Video (7800 will obviously play games further into the future, but you'd pay a premium for a top card).
    Burner - I'd recommend NEC 3540A - cheap, and good.
    I'd recommend a SATA HDD to go with your motherboard (Seagates are popular for HTPCs).
    And for keyb/mouse, consider Gyration - something with more than a couple of feet range, and possibly a mouse that can be used from the sofa (without a surface).
     
  4. Xelon

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    Tha Asus Mainboard is known to have a very loud chipset fan, also I'd stay away from ATI's AIW X800, I have an older 9800pro AIW and although MCE now supports them, compatibility issues are known, instead I suggest you go for 1 or 2 PCI DVB-T MCE cards (Nova, Terratec, Black Gold etc.).

    Now for Battlefield 2 capability, I would suggest as previously stated a 7800GT, for very little extra above the 6800GT, I have the 7800 GTX and it is awesome, also very quiet, lastly if you want a good onboard sound option try this http://msicomputer.co.uk/Products.aspx?product_id=703526&cat_id=77

    The MSI has 24bit SB Live 7.1 onboard sound solution.

    Good Luck!
     
  5. meansizzler

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    It wasn't suggested though, and you say it's not loud?, well there are loads of version of it, so you cannot justfy saying something like that, anyway which one do you have?

    Oh and for a graphics card he should go with an Ati X800XL, the Sapphire version is good value for money around the £200 mark...pretty much the best value mid range-high performance card...oh and if you want a good dvd writer get an LG 4163B, it's the cheapest out of them all and the pretty much the number one of the best selling drives since last year...but the newer 4165 should be out in a few weeks...
     
  6. Xelon

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    Indeed meansizzler cannot confirm the the noise of the 7800GT as I don't own one, have the Inno 3D 7800GTX, the same as any of the reference Nvidia 7800's and mine is extremely quiet far more so than my ATI 9800 AIW. The Sapphire you mention also comes in a special edition which has an Artic silent cooling device for around the same £'s.
     
  7. Triggaaar

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    It seems my advice is a little out of date - Battlefield 2 appears to be fairly hungry, so you may want a 6800GT. Don't think you'll NEED a 7800 though - depends on price, you may have to pay a lot more for little gain.
     
  8. stoner

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    Ok lads I'm going to spill the beans. I have a 6800GT in my existing PC at the moment, it can play Battlefield 2 very well. However the PC room is beside our bedroom and the sound of me on VOIP telling my buddies to get out of the tank I just drove into the river is keeping my wife awake.
    Also my PVR recorder is wrecking my head, it has a removable HD that I thought would sort out my editing problems but its not, the constant requirement for updating firmware etc has put me off it. So i want a media PC, while I'm at it why not make it good enough to play games on, then i can play late on into the night downstairs without waking the dragon.
    So why not go for a higher spec graphics card. Overall I want to be able to play on each PC as the computer room is more suitable generally etc.
    Essentially building a gaming PC is not an issue, I've always been good to myself in that way. However building a Medic PC is dangerous ground for me, it has to be quiet etc and I dont have a clue about tuner cards.
    To answer some earlier questions
    NTL do not output 5.1, my new tuner box has an optical output and a scart in, scart out also analogue co ax in and co ax out. I want to get that scart out to connect to my pc and record digital channels.
    Next month an EPG for Ireland is due out, this should be great, I'm that ignorant on the issue I dont even know if I have to have the digital box turned onto the correct station for it to record, for example , could i go away for the weekend and leave the Media PC and NTL box on and program an aray of recordings from different digital stations?
    When a Tuner card says Analoge and digital compatable does that mean it will do waht i want. Also with the analoge output on the NTL box I expect to be able to watch the limited stations available on the analogue side while the digital side is recording as Window media edition can handle two tuner cards???.
    I think someone else has answered my sound question on another thread so that issue is closed.
    Thanks everyone for all the advice

    Stoner
     
  9. Triggaaar

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    2 games PCs, cool.

    Let me just make sure this is clear. The scart out will NOT output digital sound or video (you can call the channels digital, because of the way they receive the signal from your provider, but for box - plasma quality discussion, they are not digital.
    Yes you do
    If you can set you NTL box to change channel while you're away, yes - otherwise, no.

    Depends what you want (sorry to be vague, but specify exactly what you want).
     
  10. stoner

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    ok lol

    I want to be able to schedule recording for a two week period using windows media centre. I want to record these digital programs. For example I want the be out all day on saturday amd I want to record a match on sky sports 2 at say 12:00 later on record a match at 16:00 on skysports 3.
    I dont want to have to pop home to make sure the ntl box is turned on to sky sports 2 and will auto switch itself to sky sports 3 at 16:00 for the other match.
    then i want to come home on sunday and watch both of them. is this possible. otherwise whats the point of a two week schedule? am i over estimating the software, i though it could switch the box , ie NTL has identifiers on the channels and the software could find them and switch the box. thats why there are different EPGs , other wise i could just use a british one? no yes, ?
     
  11. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    I know what you want to do regarding recording different channels. Does your NTL box have an input to allow an external program to switch it's channels? I don't know anything about this.
    Of course you don't. Either you NTL box will switch channels (as per schedule) relialby or it won't. If it does, you're sorted, if not, you need another solution.
     
  12. rdhir

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    when you get MCE with an MCE remote, prebuilt or OEM then the remote comes with an IR blaster. This a device you place in front of the NTL box display which transmits remote codes to the NTL box to change channel. That's the theory anyway, but unfortunately cable boxes have buggy software, so it mostly works.

    Cheers


    Rajiv
     
  13. stoner

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  14. rdhir

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    one thing I should have mentioned, but someone with NTL needs to confirm. I think you will need a Pace 4000 NTL box, check the serial number plate on the bottom of the box for a model number, any 4000 box should be fine.

    This is because Pace 1000 (and presumable 2000,3000 though never heard of these). use IrDA (see the Actisys model in the link you posted) which is not compatible with regular IRBlasters. You can probably persuade NTL to do you a swap if you are nice, but it depends how clever they are, and you need to say it again to the engineer. This is all a bit ancient history for me as I went through this about three years ago when I got my TIVO which operates on the same principle. 4000 series boxes are basically programmed to understand both IrDA and regular consumer IR, but beware that using both can cause confusion for your cable box. Like I said best to check with an NTL user.

    Cheers

    Rajiv
     
  15. stoner

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    Thing is i flung out some NTL boxes about a year ago, (left over from a rented house i was working on) NTL were ment to collect them but never did. one of these boxes had a IR D9 connection. The one i have now is model number DV221KN, part code 541-4905300. I loosly e mailed NTL on Friday about this and asked them to direct me towards a solution, knowing them , who knows. I know a guy whos brother works there I might try him if i hear nothing back. This one i have is very small compared to the big black ones that most people in ireland have. NTL ireland and NTL UK are different companies , its still a pace box, I'm sure they have come accross this before, now at least i know such a device exists so I can have my wording correct.


    Thanks again
     
  16. stoner

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    It took along time, but most of my parts arrived in, got em from scan and DABS, ram is due in tomorrow.

    I have the sound sorted and I think that my video card will take an s video input from the NTL box, as you guys indicated an IR blaster was shipped with the remote control.

    Regarding an Analogue TV tuner card, I need one that is media centre compatable Scan are doing a today only offer on some but they discuss hardware encoders being needed for media centre, also I'd like to run a freeview sat on the system, so it looks like i need an analogue and a free to view card, does anyone know if there is a card to take the place of a digi box?
    I'm hoping the system is going to be quiet, I got the A8N premium MB instead of the ordinary one so that I can use the cool and quiet AMD software application, it has a nifty cool pipe on the chipset that I thought was nice.
    I also got the Tenor case from Thermaltake , its quite big but its nice enough hooked up very easily to the AZUS MB except for the front panel sound and mic but whats new there.
    So there you go , the reason it took so long to put together was techfever etc would not deliver to Ireland in case I used the stuff to make a petrol bomb of mass destruction i think.

    Anyway, anyone any suggestions on the tuner cards i need ??

    Suggestions required for the cards below ( all windows medi centre compatable please)

    1) a card to take an input from a dish to get free to view applications
    2) a card to take in an analogue cable signal
    3) possible a way to hook a digi box up for sky I do in need to keep a digi box on the go?

    Thanks again to all for the help.
     

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