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Complete HCPC system for LCD Projector

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Anim, Feb 5, 2002.

  1. Anim

    Anim
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    Hi

    I am looking at building a cost effective pc built to serve a PT-AE100 projector.

    So far this is what I have come up with, please correct me if I am wrong or will need something extra, I know a system can be built cheaper but I want a PC that can act as a PC too.

    1. Graphics Card (32Mb ATI Radeon DDR AGP without TV Out)
    Process full-frame rate, full-screen DVD or MPEG-2 video
    Hardware DVD saves the expense of buying a separate MPEG-2/DVD decoder card Integrated iDCT and motion compensation allows for DVD decoding with minimum CPU usage HDTV ready

    I assume this is the card everybody else gets?

    ...£111.00 (www.scan.co.uk)

    2. DVD Drive (Pioneer x16 Speed (40x CD) SLOT IDE)
    slot drive would be easier to manage in the dark too. Mini discs won't work tho but Ive never had one.
    ...£56.00 (www.scan.co.uk)

    3. Hard Drive (40Gb IBM 120GXP "Vancouver" ATA-100 (7200rpm, 2MB Cache, 8.5ms))
    I chose a 7200 drive as its generally quicker, if I ever start trying to record stations then this extra speed would help greatly. I would also partition the drive and have a dedicated chunk of space for streaming to. IBM are IMO great drives too.
    ...£88.00

    4. Processor (1.13GHz *266FSB* AMD Athlon SoA CPU)
    No real reason for this one, has 266FSB and is cheap.
    ...£74.00

    5. Motherboard (Chaintech 7KJD DDR Athlon Mobo - 266FSB - ATA 100)
    Cheap, has all the features I need.
    ...£89.00

    6. Cordless keyboard and mouse (Logitech Cordless Desktop Freedom)
    Cordless is a must have, there is also a Cherry cordless setup that looks nice but I want to trim the cost down.
    ...£45.00

    7. Memory (256Mb PC2100 DDR Memory (Major Branded)
    Nice and fast, Didn't opt for Crucial or another known brand as tbh I havent seen much difference.
    ...£60.00

    8. Network Card (3-COM 3C905-C-TX -M 10/100 Mbit PCI NIC PnP)
    This is to connect to my mini home lan so C&W broadband internet and email can be viewed on the big screen, can also transfer my DivX media down the network to view on the projector. I use Sygate Home Network to connect the PC's together and also SyGate Firewall. I already have a 5 port switch so the new HCPC can just plug in and go. I can also mount a webcam above the projector screen if I want to have a laugh talking to a 2 foot face of my sister in Australia as long as she can see me in the dark :)
    ...£34.00

    9. Sound Card (Video Logic Sonic Fury (6 Ch DSP))
    Versatile analog and digital output options SonicFury features a unique VersaJack which, in addition to the front and rear output connectors, enables you to switch between coaxial digital output, six channel analog output and even quad recording. Output DVD digital audio streams to 5.1 decoder/speaker systems such as VideoLogic's DigiTheatre and DigiTheatre DTS; drive a centre and subwoofer for 5.1 analog audio from a suitable software DVD player; or configure as a secondary stereo line input which can also be used, with suitable software (not supplied), for true quad recording.

    Is there a better choice?
    ...£51.00

    10. Case (Suntek TH-769 Black/Silver ATX)
    http://www.microdirect.co.uk/products/cases/suntek/suntekth769.htm
    Looks about the best for the cheapo price
    ...£58.00

    Now the stuff that needs to be quiet....

    11. PSU (ATX Ultra-Quiet PSU 300W AMD Approved)
    http://www.quietpc.com
    ...£54.00

    12. Processor Fan (AMD Socket A - Radial Fin Cooler)
    http://www.quietpc.com
    £28.00 <---- expensive but worth it i hope

    Delivery of all parts will come to 30 quid due to the different companies.

    Total Cost: £748 Inc VAT + Delivery for a system that will be a very capable PC

    DVD
    Sky
    PC games + its on the home LAN so multiplayer games to the other machines would be quite fun, hell I could even send a message from work to my wife via MSN and it would pop up on the screen lol
    Play Station Emulator (ive used the conectix one and its fine)
    Broadband connection to the internet, email.
    DivX movies on other PC's on the LAN can be happily fed down the network.

    If I wanted to be really extravagant I could get a Monitor switch box and plug a Flat Screen TFT panel into this kit (mounted on the wall) for about an extra £250 (inc switch box), these are the small 6" screens you see in airplane seats. I would also need a no fuss setting that the wife can use too, maybe use WinXP and use the "switch user" feature e.g create a user called "Instant TV" and have the required software in the startup folder.

    So, am i crazy, have I got it all wrong? comments please.

    Thanks
    Anim
     
  2. eeek

    eeek
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    The Radeon VE with DVI out is probably a better (and far cheaper bet). For reference the driver believes its a Radeon 7000. Price is approx £35 + VAT.

    from
    http://www.ebuyer.com/customer/prod...2hvd19wcm9kdWN0X292ZXJ2aWV3&product_uid=27680

    Actually my last two IBM drives have been faulty and their customer support is dire.
    There are quieter drives around see the avsforums.com for details.

    Most people seem to use MAudio cards. They can be a pig to find in the UK tho (I think someone bought one recently for £150.

    I'm not sure about these. My feeling is that with enough case cooling (I recently added two case fans) a Volcano 7 (from dabs £10) will be quiet enough (the internal case temperature maxs out at about 24C).

    Also look at a 1.1 or 1.2 duron compared to the Athlon, those older Athlons have a tendency to run warmer than the equivalent (modern) duron.

    For Sky you will also need a video input card. Theres not many options and the Falcon while expensive does seem to get the better reviews.

    hope that helps.
     
  3. Anim

    Anim
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    Thanks for replying, those are good points.

    I wanted to avoid the duron / celeron route as the power isn't in them, I have a unclocked Athlon 1 Ghz in a box upstairs, it runs at about 45c - 50c and doesnt crash / lockup due to over heating. If I wanted to drop the price a bit, make it even quieter and spend the extra cash on the sound card you mention then that might be a good comprimise.

    Is it possible to ask SKY to replace the set-top box with one that has S-video out ?

    Cheers
    Anim
     
  4. cinemad

    cinemad
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    Anim, or anyone....

    You made the statement that "Athlon 1 Ghz in a box upstairs, it runs at about 45c - 50c and doesnt crash / lockup due to over heating".

    Could you please comment on that: does the CPU lock up? Do Durons suffer as well as Athlons? Are the 1GhHz devices paricularly prone?

    It could be of great help to a problem I have.

    Thanks

    Steve
     
  5. Mark Grant

    Mark Grant
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    Hello Anim,

    You should really have a look here before buying parts for your new HCPC.

    Lots to read in that thread.

    Stability and silence are more important than speed, as long as it is fast enough to playback DVD, IMHO.

    I would go for an Asus TUSL2 series motherboard, Celeron 1.1/1.2 gig (cheap and fast enough), Radeon 7200 with TV out (Cheap and no fan so silent and fast enough).

    Seagate Barracuda IV drives are probably the quietest at the moment.

    It is possible to get a HCPC just about silent with carefully chosen parts.

    You will want an IR keyboard, so you can teach a Pronto the keys for play, stop, etc.

    RF keyboards are not much use for HCPC.

    Good luck,

    Mark.
     
  6. Anim

    Anim
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    Hi All

    Mark,
    Yea found that post and it is most execelent

    cinemad,

    My pc upstair is a 1ghz athlon that sits in a room that I keep warm all the time. most people can't stand it in my room because of the heat but I love it. The CPU has reported heats of 55c before now and a friend I know says his runs at 60c (which I think is dangerous). If your PC is fine after a cold boot for a few hours then starts locking up and freezing then its usually an overheating issue, try it with the case off as you may have bad air flow in the case itself.

    I have many other solutions to freezes and lockups if you care to be more specific. I built this pc from the ground up and boy was it a nightmare.

    Cheers
    Anim
     
  7. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    Just to add to benjis comment about the Radeon from e-buyer - I got that exact same card and it will certainly do the job. I'm very pleased with it.

    The mobo I'm using is the ECS K7S5a (£53 from ebuyer) and a 950Duron does the job for DVD and DScaler (£43).

    I use my HTPC to run my old Davis DLS8 in 800 x 600, and I'm using Zoom player with the ATI video filters and WinDVD 2.8 audio filters for DD/DTS playback. The image quality is far better than the MPact2 motherboard combo I was using.

    I recently bought a Soundblaster 4.1 (ebuyer does them for about £26) and this does DD/DTS pass through with an adapter (got mine from Maplins). It's not in my HTPC (using Aureal SQ1500), but some people are using this card with good results. It seems to be better at it than the 5.1 live player cards.

    HTH

    Gary.
     
  8. Baggy

    Baggy
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    Hi guys,
    I've ordered one of the Radeon cards.At £35 +VAT I thought I've little to lose.
    The webpage states it supports multi-display.Does this mean I can use both the VGA & DVI outputs at the same time like on my G550.
    What drivers are you using?

    Kevin
     
  9. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    Hi Kev, I think the drivers that come with that card are 7093. not the latest ATI (which I don't think install with this card as it doesn't recognise the hardware), but the picture quality is excellent.

    I'm not sure what the later 7199 drivers would offer over these ones, but I can't see any need to update them.

    I downloaded the drivers on the Supergrace page for the card, but they appear to be older than the ones on the CD!

    Gary.
     
  10. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    Anim,
    a) I recently bought a m-audio Audiophile 2496 to replace my SBlive Player.

    The SPDIF difital output is definately a step-up from the Live's digital output through my Denon AVC-10SE (integrated THX Ultra processor/amp). Atmosphere and bass are surprisingly improved on both Music (MP3's at 256Kbps high-quality, and tried CD uncompressed .WAV files) and Movies (not tried much yet.)

    Reasons for going for an m-audiophile:-

    +Good driver support, unified professional quality Delta drivers.

    +Can often cure lip sync issues which appear with other cards (untested by myself, I should try a build I was using with ATI5/ZoomPlayer; that was awful for lip sync problems).

    +Lots of people here and on www.avsforum.com use them and can help with any niggles you come-up with. Also seems to be included on Digital Connection PC's who seem to be a high-end HTPC supplier.

    +Internal Crystal to control, digital output and no internal mixer for digital output if desired nor 48Hz internal conversion; contributing to the the better sound.

    It certainly has bought back some of the quality I was vaguely aware was missing compared to when I was running the sound from my Sony 725 domestic DVD player.

    b) Although I've not compared them, from what I've read the power quality from a Enermax Whisper PSU may be better than that from a quietpc PSU? Anyone care to compare them?

    regards,
    Rob.
     
  11. jrwood

    jrwood
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    Yep one of the main things for your HTPC/HCPC is for it to be quiet, I used my very old pc (p3-550mhz) with ATI AIW and neither sport fans and dont get hot. Ideally I would like a p3-1ghz in the future for dscaler but at the moment its fine for dvd/movie/tv playback.

    However I will only upgrade if its ultra quiet, at the moment my HTPC is quiter than my video recorder and even my laptop!.

    James
     

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