Creating ne HCPC.Advice for newbie!



Dear all. I have the following kit and wanted your opinion as to whether it would make a good HCPC.
Marantz SR5200
AMD Thunderbird 1200
Lite-On 16x48 DVD
GeForce 2, 32 DDR
1024 MB memory
20.4, UDMA 66 Seagate
Live 5.1 Soundblaster
Mission 771e front
Mission 77c1 centre front and centr back
Mission 77DS for surround
Looking to acquire a Panasonic PT-AE100E projector
Speaker Cable QED original throughout

My question is do you think it is a good system and will it perform better than a dedicated DVD player? What will I need extra and do you feel that I should get different processor, card etc? Also how will I configure the system? Thanks a lot guys. Please feel free to send me suggestions from your experiences etc.

Peter Parker

Distinguished Member
Looks good, but the only think I would suggest changing would be the graphics card for a Radeon (any one).

Try it with the GeForce first though, and only upgrade if you really feel you aught to. If the machine seems a bit noisy while watching films, pop back here for various tips on how to make it quieter.

I reccomend the ATI dvd player 5 for it's excellent picture, and something like WinDVD 2.8 + for the sound - then combine them using Zoomplayer (DVD player front end with loads of features). Thiss'll give an excellent picture and sound.

Otherwise use WinDVD and YXY (aspect ratio control software).

I think you'll need PowerStrip for the correct timing/resolution to match the projectors native resolution - it's something like 856 x 480 IIRC. I don't use it myself so hopefully someone else will jump in and help you there.

Do some more reading/research on htpcs and pay a visit to as there's tons of info over there too.

You're amp and speakers seem a good set up, so you should concentrate on the htpc for no imho. :)

And yes, it will be better than any dedicated player will be on a front projector like the AE100.




Was looking for some small form factor PC cases for my home DVD/PVR machine and stumbled across this UK site . Looks really cool, I think it’s based on a Shuttle case but modified to be living room friendly. Does everything I want it to do and it also runs Show Shifter, the PVR software I currently use on my normal PC.



Active Member
Definitely get a radeon 9000 if you are looking for a dedicated dvd machine (ie no games). 60 quid for the best picture quality available. I also recommend a lite-on 16x dvd drive and the seagate barracuda IV hard drive as being very quiet while playing dvds. That processor will be plenty, and you might want to add a tv capture card so you can watch normal tv on your projector.

Your memory is way over the top for a dedicated system, you only really need 256 (unless you want your machine to record tv programs).

Essential software is powerstrip (for getting the best Picture quality out of your projector), DScaler(For watching tv on the projector) and a good DVD playing software (Powerdvd, TheaterTek or Zoom seem to be best).

I have a radeon powered HCPC and it beats the pants off a real dvd player. and mine only cost about 350 quid to put together.



Thanks very much for the advice. I think I will built a second spare PC as I have an additional Abit KT7 Raid. I will take your recommendation to buy a Radeon. Seems like the darling of the forum. Thanks again, Dimitris

Peter Parker

Distinguished Member
I went to today and put together a very cheap and basic htpc for £250! It doesn't include software of course. Prices certainly have dropped...

No capture card or quiet components (apart from the Liteon), and it was just a basic 3rd party Radeon 7000, but it just goes to show how cheap it can be done.

If you want to make the pc quiet, you can swap out the psu fan for a Papst quiet fan which'll reduce the noise by over 5dbs. It's cheaper than bying a complet 'quiet' power supply too (some of which aren't that quiet..) Maybe more if you go for the 12db fan. Remove the finger guard for better and quieter airflow. A quiet cpu fan will probably be needed too. You'll then notice the fan noise from the pj though...

I only have 128meg of ram in my htpc, and even DScaler works fine with that and a Duron 950.

Chris: would you say the 9000 is noticeably better than say a VE or 7000?

Dixons are doing the Pinnacle PCTV Rave for £29.99 down my way at the moment, and it works fine with DScaler. My card is a little too noisy for my liking, but I haven't tried version 4 lately, which has much better noise filters.



Active Member
I would say that the radeon is a step up from the 7000 series and the ve, however, I`m not sure its enough to make me want to go out and swap if I already had a card. For 60 quid though it isn`t that expensive.

My pinnacle Rave is much better with DScaler 4.0 than 3.1, but still a bit noisy, maybe due to my crappy cables I think at the moment. However, anything less noisy is likely to set you back much more money

Gary, could you please post some details of this example HCPC config you mentioned. I'm looking to build an HCPC too (another one being convinced by these new projectors!), but am searching for scraps of info from about 100 different threads! :confused: If there was a decent HCPC-dedicated config (probably around £500 all in) that could be recommended from an experienced user, I'd really appreciate it.


Peter Parker

Distinguished Member
Here's a very basic HTPC from

Motherboard: ECS K7S5A £48.91
CPU: Duron 1.3 £34.41
Fan: Coolermaster DP5-6I11A £3.79
Hard Drive: Ebuyer 20GB 7200rpm £40.75
Floppy Drive: Panasonic £6.28
Keyboard: Ebuyer Multimedia/internet £2.70
Mouse: Memorex MX4100 £1.76
Case: JNC 8484H(A) £15.86
memory:128Mb PC133 £13.38
DVD: Liteon LTD165H-03VHC £30.34
Graphics: Innovision RadeonVE APG 32MbDDR £26.11
Sound: Creative labs 4.1 £26.79

Total: £251.08

You can make it quieter by using a Seagate Barracuda hard drive: ST320011A £60.75 (adds £20), and by replacing the cpu and psu fans with quieter ones from This will add a further £52.88 to the cost.

My htpc is similar to the quiet spec, but is using a cheapo Aureal SQ1500 soundcard and a Supergrace Radeon VE graphics card.

Keyboard and mouse extension leads or a wireless solution may be needed if you don't want the pc near the seating position.

You could fit a capture card for £30 so that you can view external sources such as Sky or laserdisk in conjuction with DScaler software for a deinterlaced image which should be better than plain s-video.

The tricky bit is installing all the software and getting it to work so that you get a glitch free image with full DD/DTS pass through. Once done though, you should just be able to pop in a dvd and it'll automatically play. I reccommend the ATI dvd player 5 software in conjunction with WinDVD 2.8 or higher with Zoomplaayer as the front end for ATI video and WinDVD for audio.

Theatertec is another software player that gets good reviews.

Read the hcpc forum for more info there.


Cheers Gary. Although I've never built a PC before, this looks like a better (and cheaper!) idea than buying a cheap one and modifying it. Will probably try the Seagate HD and QuietPC bits too, and also put in a Radeon 9000 graphics card for the DVI compatability with the Sony proj.

Thanks! :D

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