Am I on the right tracks for a HTPC?


Active Member
Hi all,

I'm currently thinking of building a new PC, and using it in my AV system.

I'm thinking of going for one of the Silverstone cases, so then I can place it in my HiFi rack, and it will look like an extra bit of kit:)

What I want to do for now, is use it as my DVD player, so basically, I'm looking for a good quality graphics card, with DVi output.

My TV is an Hitachi 42PD6600 plasma, which has VGA and HDMI inputs. Now one problem I think I may come up against, is the HDCP side of things. If I get a converter cable to change the DVi out on the graphics card to HDMI, will I actually see things on my plasma? If not, how far behind is the picture quality of VGA compared to DVi?

Would it be possible to convert DVi to HDMI, and take it through my AV amp which has HDMI switching? Would this get round the HDCP problem?

For the sound card, I'll be using a Creative X-Fi Elite Pro, using the optical output on the outboard console into my AV amp (a Sony STR-DA7100ES).

I'll only be using this for now until we have a nice selection of BluRay/HD DVD players, but I guess it will stay in the system as I can listen to music, and play games and stuff through the HiFi and Plasma:)

So, what graphics cards can you all recommend? I don't mind paying a bit for it, if it brings good things! Also, what DVD ROM or DVD recorder drives do you all recommend? I'm not really that bothered about the recordings it can make, playback is far more important.




Sound card is good therefore I would recommend LiteOn DVD and CDR/RW drives. I have owned a couple and they have never ever gone wrong. They make most of the internals for a lot of the bigger companies like Sony, they also happen to be the cheapest normally. Whatever drive you get won't make a difference to the playback, it'll be your sound/video cards that do. The creative card you mention is perfect for what you want.

As for video I would go for an ATI card, preferably an All in Wonder Card. Here is a review of the latest X1900, great for games and ATI is renowned for having the best image quality.

I have also just noticed this which might be right up your street, no TV tuner or anything and slower than the X1900 but does have HDMI.

As for other bits go for a dual core AMD chip, lots of RAM, as much storage as you can afford on SATA 2 hard drives and in a RAID array. That way you will have either speed and/or backup. I would recommend either A-Bit or Asus for your motherboard, very reliable. Since it is an HTPC make sure you get the quietest fans you can get. Or alternatively buy one of these You get all the fun of building it but knowing it will be quiet and have all the correct components.


Active Member
Ooooh, I love those Ahanix cases, especially the MCE601 case in silver,

So, a Ahanix MCE601 case and Creative X-Fi Elite Pro soundcard, I am definately going to purchase!

What about this card:

It has both, component and DVi, and I've seen it for a shade over £300 including VAT. Not bothered about a TV tuner really, as I have my Sky for that.

I'm thinking about this motherboard:

Does this have enough PCI slots for the graphics card and the Creative soundcard?

I'm not so clued up on computers, so bare with me here ;)

I'll add the AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 3800 for now, as my budget can't really stretch to a more powerful one. I'll add Hitachi SATA II hard drives with some Corsair memory and DVD RW drive.

Which are the best fans to get which are ultra quiet?

Does the above system sound ok?




Active Member
Personally i would say that if you're just using the optical out to pass the signal to your AV amp for processing that you'd be better avoiding the X-Fi and going with something much cheaper.

The Chaintech AV-710 is regularly recommended on but can be quite hard to get hold of in this country, but there are several other card suggestions that can do what you want

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