Do my HTPC plans sound ok?


Standard Member
Hi everyone,

I’m thinking about building a new PC and would like to run my current plan past you guys…

If possible it would be used as a desktop (surfing/email/ maybe gaming) and also as an HTPC (PVR/music library). The desktop part would get the majority of the use over the HTPC part. My TV area and computer desk are in the same room so having 1 pc to do the lot would be preferable more acceptable to my other half.

I would like it to be able to do both of these things at the same time. Eg output Vista/XP MCE to the TV and a normal windows desktop on the LCD at the computer desk. The PC desk is about 5m from where the TV is so I would need some long cables to get the output to the TV and a receiver for the MCE remote. Having the PC itself away from the TV area means that noise is less of a problem too.

The thing I’m not too sure about is how I can display different things on 2 different displays. Do graphics cards allow me to do this kind of dual displaying and would it be easy to configure? The TV is a 32” CRT widescreen so it wont need to handle HD at the moment and I have a 5.1 amp under the TV for audio.

It doesn’t need to be based on MCE, I’ve used GBPVR in the past with an Hauppage MVP. This worked well, but the interface was not very responsive due to the client/server design. Are there any other applications I should consider?

Does this all sound too complex? And would I be better off building 2 dedicated PCs? I’m would rather have 1 high spec PC than 2 low spec ones. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and if you have done anything similar.

Many thanks


Well-known Member
Shouldn't be a problem running dual displays, most, if not all, modern graphics cards have dual outs. Don't run as clones though, run as an extended desktop. Having one PC for general use and media is no problem at all. If you go HDTV and you're not gaming then I'd suggest getting a Sapphire HD2400XT and running a HDMI cable to your TV. You can invest a small fortune for a HDMI cable or just pick up a budget one on fleabay. I have a 10m HDMI off fleabay, cost less than £15 and does it's job. For a CRT it will depend on what sort of inputs you have on the TV but you can get a component adaptor that fits DVI and will cost less than £10 off ebay.


Active Member
DVI needs to be DVI-A (analogue) and not DVI-D (digital) to use with component.

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