HCPC recommended configuration with links

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Stuart Wright, Aug 18, 2001.

  1. Stuart Wright

    Stuart Wright
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    This thread is intended to be a continually updatable reference for HCPC enthusiasts.
    It lists the recommended hardware and software together with useful links.
    If you wish to contribute, please post a reply with your suggestion and provided they are relevant, I will edit this first post with the details.

    ****** Video Cards ******
    Highy recommended are the Radeon cards. Check out this Radeon Guide

    ****** DVD ROM Firmware ******
    The Farenzo site is excellent for information and downloads relating to making your DVD ROM drive multiregion. You also need DVD Genie to make the software DVD player multiregion.

    ****** Remote controlling your PC ******
    IRMan is a Infra Red reciever which plugs into a serial port http://www.evation.com/irman/index.html
    to get it to work you need software called Girder http://www.girder.nl/ {thanks to GarryF}

    ****** Software ******
    DVD Genie software to make your software DVD player multiregion downloadable from here. You also need to make sure the DVD ROM drive is multiregion. See the firmware link above.
     
  2. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    I make no claim for any of these but here is a list of some favourites, patches etc.

    Windows ME

    Detonator drivers 12.0
    www.the-ctrl-alt-del.com

    Intel ATA100 6.10 drivers http://support.intel.com/support/chipsets/storagedrivers/ultraATA

    http://support.intel.com/support/chipsets/storagedrivers/ultraATA

    Creative Live! 5.1 drivers (standard CD drivers)

    Critical updates applied
    http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com

    Directx 8.0a
    http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com

    Internet Explorer 6 preview
    http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/download


    WinDVD 2.64 (www.intervideo.com (WinDVD 2.3) &
    ftp://206.112.112.157/patch/WinDVDEnglishPatch.exe)

    DVD Genie 3.86 (or 4)
    http://www.inmatrix.com/files/dvdgenie_download.html


    XYX
    http://www.keohi.com/keohihdtv/htpc/yxy_windvd.html

    Asus CDSpeed ftp://www.asus.com/pub/asus/cdrom/cdspeed.exe

    http://www.naiobrin.f2s.com/cdromtool/

    Powerstrip
    http://www.entechtaiwan.com/ps.htm

    Audio sound cards (
    http://www.makingwavesaudio.co.uk

    DScaler
    http://deinterlace.sourceforge.net/

    Video cards. Radeon or Nvidia
    Intel CPU and chipset
    Fortissimo sound card (cheap option for digital out)
    ATA 100 HD (I did like IBM but mine blow up!) now using Seagate Baracuda
    Icy Dock HD cradles.
    NEC LCD black (as an extra monitor)
    Mission X Space for extra speakers

    Think about sound. check out www.quietpc.com
    Black components are difficult to get but nice to look at.
    IR Keyboard with built in mouse
    Cases are a problem, especially in black. I went for a cube which makes it look like a sub.
     
  3. Mark Grant

    Mark Grant
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  4. Jenz

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  5. Rob.Screene

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    Can I add to the recommendations:-

    +Enermax EG365P-VE Whisper Quiet Dual Fan PSU

    I read a comment from the http://www.digitalconnection.com guru on AVS that this gives significantly cleaner power for the price. They appear to use these on their systems now.

    I realised I had one in a new Desktop., so last night I tried swapping this PSU in place of the "quality 300W powersupply" I had in my HTPC.

    +The reduction in video noise on the S-Video input of the Pinnacle PCTV Rage PCI capture card into dScaler is quite significant. :)

    I was mainly using this for just Playstation2. The input was usually too noisy for most Laserdiscs, certainly looking at a Playstation2 played DVD film showed enough noise to put me off.

    Now with this PSU, I looked at Star Wars I DVD via the Playstation2 and the noise was at quite a low level. I'd even say I may find the lower noise less offending than the software players I'm running at the moment:-

    a) WinDVD 3.0 no hardware decode - background macro blocks creeping about, dimming of dark scenes. :mad:

    b) Win DVD 3.0 hardware decode/radeon 7189 driver (no DXVA support) - occasional error on player startup which needs an OK click to then run fine. :confused:

    c) Zoomplayer 2.3/ATI5.0/radeon 7189 driver. Juddery pans, lip sync issue after playing a while or pausing. :rolleyes:

    I will definitely connect up my domestic Sony 725 player via S-Video into dScaler now, plus try a good few Laserdiscs. :cool:

    I'll then decide between an ~£185 IDS Falcon capture card (about the cleanest S-Video into a HTPC; http://www.iste.com/video-capture/videocapture.html#falcon) or trying the £70-100 TheatreTek software player/filters. Anyone know of a Component or SDI dScaler input solution for sensible money?

    I am cautious about TheatreTek because some are reporting issues with it in the avs and immersive forums and that I begrudge having to have software shipped from the US with potential vat&duty costs without a trial evaluation.

    I also noticed the Desktop PC with my HTPC's old 260W power supply was running a cpu (Athlon 1900+) temp of 50c at idle where is was around 44c with the Enermax in place. Airflow out from above the cpu is abviously improved with the Enermax's second temperature sensitive fan. I also think the fan is nice and quiet.

    I think I'll buy another one to go back into the desktop, this one can stay in the HTPC. I got the first one from http://www.scan.co.uk/products.htm for 350W Enermax EG365P-VE Whisper Quiet Dual Fan PSU AMD Approved / P4 £44.36inclusive+£10 shipping or
    http://www.dabs.com/products/prod-s...=773&mid=079&ob=manufacturer&obd=asc&stab=ref
    for £55.22 delivered. I have used Scan for years, they are usually a good supplier but the Returns phone line can queue a long time before being answered.
    [Update: get a Zalman 300W quiet psu from aria.co.uk for £47 plus vat, it's quieter and as-good if not better quality than the Enermax's]
    cheers,
    Rob.
     
  6. Guest

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    Spectre,
    For the 11ht what Radeon card do I need for support of custom resolutions-I already have powerstrip.Is there any a.i.w.that has the res`s...or will I need to plump for a 8500 and seperate t.v.tuner(which will give me the best t.v.and sattelite picture into the Sony?)
    Can I achieve 1366 x 768 without fiddling with the windows registary?
    Thanks,
    Doug
     
  7. Stuart Wright

    Stuart Wright
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    douglas. I don't know. My first Radeon is on order.
     
  8. Neil Watson

    Neil Watson
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    I have bought the above card for £52 and it quire happily supports all the widescreen resolutions up to 1280*768 I have tried so far. I don't know above that as the Screen I'm using can't go beyond that but for the price it is a crakcing card. (even whips my GF2 pro in 3d games). You will need powerstrip or as I did 1t or hack the registry as they don't appear in the slider bar.

    The name is a bit misleading though as it is a 64mb DDR card so has more memory than the original radeon ve. The fact that the drivers recognise it as a Radeon 7000 probably backs this up.

    The best thing I have seen yet is the triple display. I.e desktop across two screens and the tv-out going at the same time.
    :D
     
  9. Guest

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    look for black cases and components here

    www.kustompcs.co.uk

    damn good range and some real quality gear, and they're very helpful as well
     
  10. Squid Bubbly

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    Hi

    I can't beleive none of you guys have heard of ShowShifter (www.showshifter.com), it not only does DVD but also TV, Time shifting, EPG, CD and MP3 Jukebox, but the best thing is that it is designed to be used on a TV, from a distance, every aspect of the program is remote controlled too, you can even turn off your PC with your remote.

    It has an independent codec engine too so you can still use the DVD genie software, just with a better interface, trust me, it's extremely cool
    :cool:
     
  11. Spooge

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    Since you mentioned showshifter Ill drop this link (I posted it in some other topic too..) which appears to be a company building HCPC's based on Shuttle case and Shoshifter software, they even bundle an RF remote and optical speakers.

    http://www.boxability.com/
     
  12. cybersoga

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    I can reccomend this card for recording (and watching) free to view digital terrestrial televison strait onto your hard disk, it's miles better than any other DVB-T card currently on the market! The MPEG2 data is recorded as it is being broadcast without degredation, so it's DVD like quality (when there is a reasonable bitrate - varies between 4 and 6 mbps, sound is mpeg 2.0 256kbps) . The files can then be burned to DVDR. Just wish there was something decent on TV!
     
  13. craigizmo2k2

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    Anyone who wants freeview digital tv on there hcpcs should try the Hauppauge DEC200t. (http://www.hauppauge.co.uk/dec2000t.htm )

    I have one of these for my laptop and recording the tv programs to the hard drive results in great quality playback :D

    It also plugs into a normal scart socket on a tv.
     
  14. Paul O

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    Hi everyone, hope you don't mind me adding a suggestion.

    If you want to build a HTPC, but don't have a lot of cash to spare, then I'd recommend a mini-ITX board. They are flippin' marvoulous.

    OK, so the picture quality won't win any awards, but I think its more than satisfactory.

    I have got the 600mhz version, which is fanless and thus practically silent. Love it. It has an MPEG2 decoder chip on board so that DVDs and SVCDs play flawlessly. Only drawback I found is that some (not all) DivX is a bit choppy unless you turn the quality down. It also comes with coax out for digital sound, TV out, audio out, Ethernet, USB2 and the processor all on the one board. Fantastic.

    They have just released a 1ghz version which should play Divx fine as well.

    Oh, and you can fit them into almost anything. Check out the site for some crazy projects. Mine is built in a black box and sits under the telli, with the hard disc full of films.

    Software - showshifter is the one! Only discovered it last week, and has saved me having to code the interface. :clap:

    www.mini-itx.com

    Cheers,

    Paul.
     
  15. rod

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    People like choice so....

    Just a quick post to let people know about this Unique product,
    We actually manufacture this range of enclosures designed specifically to fit into an Audio-Video hi-fi system at any level.
    The CLARITAS range was developed by people who are enthusiasts for enthusiasts. These are extremely high quality, machined and finished by the same finishers who supply the high-end hi-fi industry in the UK. It is designed to look like a peice of hi-fi/AV equipment rather than a PC.

    We are currently doing a great deal with AVforum members
    in the power buys section http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=107254

    If you've any questions please ask.

    Rod
     

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  16. swin70

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    If your looking for a very quiet, very powerful, very well built, very inexpensive Power Supply, try the Tagan TG480-U01 (www.tagan.com) bought from www.scan.co.uk for around £50.

    This is one one the best power supplies I have come across in all aspects. It's total continuas power rating is 480W, split 235W on the 3.3v. and 5v rails and 336W on the 12v rail. Twisted cabels, shethed, SATA conectors, Active PFC ....... and get this, only 21db at normal load!

    It tool me a long time to find this, it's well workth looking at.

    Chris
     
  17. TV-Cards

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  18. Dean Roddey

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    CQC allows you to convert your PC into a powerful control and automation system, and provides slick front end capabilities as well, so it's a very interesting choice for folks who are looking for a nice front end for their HTPC, but also want serious control and automation functionality. Most other products require that you buy and learn and integrate multiple applications together in order to do this, but CQC provides it all in one package.

    (In case it's not obvious, this product is from my company. But it is relevant to this topic because it's one of the most powerful tools available for HTPC users who are looking for a big picture product.)
     
  19. nicp01

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    Hi
    I'm now thinking of converting my PC and bits (9800 prophet & PCsender) into a single HTPC under the TV... I dont as yet know much about an all in one but am just starting research...anyway to help me...

    Anyone know if such a beast & software already exists:- not in any particular order of must haves:-

    large quiet HDrive 240Gb or more, good sound card
    10/100 even better 1000 ethernet to connect back to house PC router and broadband..
    CDrom to read all CD formats and to write to most formats,
    USB2 on front to plug in 1Gb pen drive (I'm saving for a 5Gb one)
    2 tuners is there a sky board?..
    as well as the usual recording to hdrive...be able to copy from cd to hdrive and back...trsfr files to and from hdrive to house PC and to stream direct from internet 1Mb/s connection..

    My main expected use is videoconferencing the killer APP, I have tried most software and kit but need a bigger window than netmeeting (ie tvscreen)

    Thankyou to all replies and pointers...
    Peter
     
  20. pigboy306

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    cannot see any mention of the attractive MSI MEGA series. They have a radio tuner which can be used standalone with pc off or when on and have card reader and cd player in standalone aswell.

    Mine is the base mega651 but hey it works for me (The brown is a bit off though)
     
  21. dapex

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    Nicp01. regarding your desire for big screen video confrencing, I would have thought the biggets problem there would be bandwidth. these like netmeeting etc are limited more by the average 256upload of most homebroadband users. even if you have 2meg down, if the other end can only send you 256k then you are not going to get good quality and a big picture.
     
  22. HitmanIP7

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  23. Acecross

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  24. meansizzler

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  25. Barbarosa

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    Nice looking case http://www.mcubed-tech.com/eng/hfx.htm and well built - but there is not a lot of space inside, so take care with specifying your internals.

    Hints:

    The case stops you using the outer expansion slot. So if you use a PCI-E mother board, you may only have 2 standard PCI slots free. Consider an AGP motherboard until PCIe cards become available. (Edited to say) You can use the outer slot if you don't want a floppy drive - I got the wifi card to fit but had to cut down the back plate.

    The case is low - so over height cards like the passively cooled Gbyte 6600GT graphics card will be too tall.

    Internal drive bays (2) are both 5.25", so you need an adaptor or mCubed's av mounts.

    Watch out for the borg GPU cooler - it blocks another pci slot!

    Spec the northbridge cooler as well.
     
  26. edward

    edward
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    It is probably fair to say that these are the best built cases available but, honestly Rod, the face plate looks so DIY I wouldn't have it anywhere near my kit. I'm sure these things sell well, so surely there must be the funding available to make the face plate look more professional and feature-rich.

    It doesn't have enough slots in the front. It needs at least two - one for DVD and another for a removable HDD caddy (possibly with the option of a spring-loaded cover flap). It also needs USB and Firewire connectivity through the front panel, possibly also with a flap. And how about VFD?

    You're providing a valuable service but I think a decent front panel would provide an even better one.

    What do others think about STRATA's front panel?
     
  27. rod

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    edward

    Information on the Claritas (formerly known as Strata) enclosures is held on the PC Power buys section http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=107254
    this is where its best to place posts and opinions on these particular products and hopefully get answers.

    you can't keep everyone happy all of the time - but we try.

    Cheers
    Rod
     
  28. edward

    edward
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    Thanks Rod,
    I looked at the cases a while ago (take me time to make some purchase decisions) but that front panel and lack of the desired features told me to continue my quest elsewhere.

    I accept that it was designed by enthusiasts for enthusiasts but these guys were DIY enthusiasts, not HT enthusiasts with wives who have a say in what gets admitted to the family areas of the house. My wife wouldn't let one of those out of the workshop.

    Too many people vote with their feet and don't tell you why. I'm not trying to highjack this thread but I'm hopeful that we'll get some other views on the case and what sort of functionality buyers look for in a front panel. Learning from the mistakes made by others is less painful and costly so I'm keen to read what other think.

    I think the there are potential benefits for a wider readership of this thread than just you and me, so... readers, views please.

    Incidentally, Rod, are there plans for a front with extra features any time soon from Claritas?

    Regards,
     
  29. rod

    rod
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    Hi edward

    To try to back up our clean 'non-PC like' looks concept I can say this;

    If you look at the top current H-Fi / AV magazines around you will see that the Uvem Digital Media Server which uses our enclosure exclusively has just been given a five star review in What Hi-Fi Sound & Vision on looks as well as fuctionality, Digital Home Magazine has recommended it as well as Home Cinema Choice. Stuff magazine this year rate it as the 83rd most desirable product to own in the world, this list includes speed boats, cars etc. and it was the only media server on the 100 most desirable.

    IntelGB acknowledge the Claritas as their favourite high-end enclosure and have stated they would prefer not to see any other connections on the front, the design is minimilist and does not look like a PC but rather like a high-end power amplifier, after all Stands Unique are a well established Hi-Fi /AV company (they make the enclosure btw).

    At present 'if it aint broke don't fix it' applies but at the same time we are open to any suggestions. That said, there are plenty of other enclosures which have the flashing lights and many options on plugging cables & extra drives, into the fascia if this is what you want. I find a neat hub tucked out of sight but in easy reach a much better solution myself along with external drives for added flexible storage. I'm sure if you saw one of these Claritas enclosures in the flesh you would see why they are so rated.

    Thanks for the input anyway, if any one else wants to chip in please do, I'd be most interested, but as I stated, there are many opinions by people who have similar types of sytem to edward on the Claritas thread.

    Cheers
    Rod
     
  30. bbq

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    Actually - I think the Claritus case is pretty close to perfect. The only change I'd think of (and this requires a change to MCE & to the case) is a slightly more obvious ON/Recording for high light areas.

    I prefer the simple front, and while it is my humble opinion, I certainly don't want extra sockets that are used rarely or drive caddies. Perhaps USB/Firewire on the side would work. But I use external disks caddies that I have have out of sight (and reduce the noise)
     

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