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building my first HTPC...advice

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Cam, Mar 9, 2002.

  1. Cam

    Cam
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    My HTPC spec so far is
    Athlon 1Ghz
    Abit KT7 Raid mobo
    512mb pc133
    Ibm 30 Gb HDD 7200rpm ( a bit noisy, may get a barracuda)
    Quiet PC 300w PSU
    Pioneer 106 DVD

    I was going to plump initially for the ATI AIW Radeon 8500DV as it seemed (on paper) to fulfill all my needs as regards capturing/processing and audio output but I have had second thoughts after reading both this and the avs forum.
    I am now thinking of an M audio Audiophile 24/96 soundcard , an IDS Falcon capture card and a lesser Radeon for output duties.
    I am not interested in the games performance only in getting the highest quality movie images and sounds from my HTPC.
    Would a Radeon 7200 be suffice or would there be benefits in going to a 7500 or 8500?
    Also can someone just confirm for me that the IDS Falcon is compatible with dscaler as it is not on the list of cards on the dscaler website.
    Any input gratefully received
    Cam
     
  2. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    The Radeon 7200 should be fine for DVD playback, which is the primary task of a HTPC. I'm using a generic Radeon VE and image quality is excellent.

    DScaler only works with BT8X8 chipsets, so if the card doesn't use that particular chipset, then DScaler won't work with it.

    HTH

    Gary.
     
  3. Cam

    Cam
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    Thanks Gary,
    I have tried to find out whether the IDS Falcon uses the compatible chipset but even on their website there is no mention of it. Is there any benefit in a 64mb Radeon card (or even 128mb) over the 32mb of the Radeon 7200?
    Cam
     
  4. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    There doesn't seem to be any advantage having 64 instead of 32.

    In fact at one time the card of choice in the USA was the Radeon LE which was only available in the States or Asian market, and only had 32 meg. As far as I know, the extra memory is really for buffering textures for games.

    I'm not sure if my card has SDR or DDR or a combination of the two types of memory, but it doesn't struggle at all when playing DVDs. My HTPC is a 950 duron, and works fine for both DVD and DScaler.

    I'm getting a pukka 64meg DDR Radeon card, and I'll probably swap it over with my Supergrace Radeon just out of curiosity. I don't expect to see any image quality improvements though.

    HTH

    Gary.
     
  5. Cam

    Cam
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    Thanks again Gary
    I wondered why i couldn't find a Radeon LE on any UK online shop!
    I took the plunge and just bought an M-audio Audiophile 24/96 from the ever helpfull Millenium Music in Nottingham. Looks like a 7200 Radeon will be winging its way to me asap now, all I got to find out now is if the IDS Falcon frame grabber works with dscaler and I will have all the parts to construct the HTPC.
    Then I will have the fun of getting the thing to work 100% :D
     
  6. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    You should have a pretty good HTPC with that lot - but as you said, the fun'll be getting it all working properly!!

    I found that just installing all the basic bits first - OS, board drivers, Radeon drivers, sound drivers and then the DVD player(s) should get you a working system that plays DVDs with DD/DTS.

    When that's the case, back it up using Norton Ghost onto another partition or CD, then install any other stuff. If anything goes pear shaped, you can quickly get back to a basic working system again. I haven't tried it, but you can Ghost across disks, so you could even try backing up the final installation. Again, this saves alot of time if things go wrong and you have to start from scratch.

    BTW - DScaler should work without installing any drivers/software for the capture card - it does for my Pinnacle PCTV Rave anyway. So when you first install it, just try DScaler with it before you install any other drivers etc and see if it works. It might be a quick way to tell. Not sure if this is the case with all capture cards though.


    Have fun! :)

    Gary.
     
  7. Cam

    Cam
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    I am going for a PCTV Rage as well after reading Rob's reply to my post about the compatibility of the Falcon.Thanks for the advice on installing the software and I am already one of the converted when it comes to Norton Ghost, Its a great app!
    Thanks for your help
    Cam
     
  8. Jenz

    Jenz
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    Just to let you know the IDS Falcon works fine with DScaler :)

    and a very nice noise free'ish card it is.
     
  9. Cam

    Cam
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    Thanks, I got a PCTV Rage card today but I am not all that impressed with the quality of it and I think I may get a Falcon now I know that its compatible.

    Cam

    PS, Great website you have!, I bought the remastered Bruce Lee movies after hearing about them on your site...TOP STUFF.
     

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