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Help me top configure my new system

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by conan, Oct 4, 2003.

  1. conan

    conan
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    Hi all, I'm in the process of building and HTPC and would appreciate some recomendations on the spec of the rig. So far, I have a pretty Coolermaster desktop case with 2 front 5.25" drive bays waiting to be filled. Also have Asus A7N266 mobo XP2000+ CPU and Zalman 300W quiet PSU.

    I want to use the rig as a full media centre, including watching movies, from DVD, VCD and Hdd, listen to MP3 collection and a radio tuner. I have NTL cable so don't need a digital receiver. Also I need to make it very user freindly as the missus isn't PC literate at all. So, the plan so far is,

    Seagate cuda IV or V HDD (for silence)
    Pioneer DVD120S, Slot load DVD
    Matrix Orbital display
    M-Audio Revoloution 7.1 Sound Card
    Not sure on the Speakers, maybe Creative 6.1 or 7.1?
    Not sure on the Graphics, thought about a Radeon AIW?
    Would welcome any suggestions for the radio tuner.

    Give me the benefit of your experience please
    ;)
     
  2. conan

    conan
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    Well, gotta say guys I'm disapointed by the overwhelming response:(

    Anyway, got the speakers sorted, got a set of Videologic Digi Theatre 5.1's. I guess the next stage is the sound card, should I connect via the Co-ax?
     
  3. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    I'd reccommend the Radeon 9600 (non pro - it's fanless and quiet), not sure how good the AIW is though.

    I'm using a Soundblaster 4.1 via spdif coax, and that works just fine via a 75ohm phono to phono cable. I was thinking of trying the Asus on-board 5.1 sound, so I've got the bits for that too.

    Gary.
     
  4. owenw

    owenw
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    Have you considered a remote control for your HCPC?

    If not check out Philips Pronto remotes / Girder and IRMan.

    Girder is a program which allows you to control any Windows applications you can think of. Users have already created files for such as TheatreTek, WinAmp so you only have to down load them and load the config file into the pronto remote and you're off.

    Plenty of info on this site www.girder.nl, www.evasion.com for IRman infra red receivers and www.remotecentral.com for all things Pronto related.
     
  5. Epithet

    Epithet
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    I note you have selected the Pioneer 120S. As supplied this can be a noisy drive. Download the speed control utility from Pioneer's European website to silence this drive for HTPC use.

    I have 400gb of Barracudas in my system and the "noisiest" item is still a silenced Pioneer 106.

    Epithet
     
  6. conan

    conan
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    Gary, I thought about the 9600np, just that I was swayed to the AIW so I could use the remote. By the way, I've used the 5.1 output on my main tig, which has a A7N8X with onboard 5.1 and I have no complaints at all. Just that the mobo I have for the HTPC only has stereo output. I was going for the M-Audio really from just rwading up on these forums.

    owenw, I haven't heard about the girder so I'll do some reading up, thanks for that:)

    Epithet, I use the silencing software on my Pioneer DVD117S but I know what you mean, it may still be a problem. I don't know of any quieter solution though?

    Thatnks for the input:)
     
  7. BBD

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    What screen are you using? If it's a projector I would recommend feeding the NTL box into a capture card so that you can scale the video to match the projector res. I'm happy with my Medion 5044 (SAA7134 based) card and DScaler which I use with a Sky box but there are other solutions mentioned here.

    If you use Creative speakers rather than a decent speakers with an AV amp the soundcard isn't going to be the limiting factor!

    For remote control I would recommend NetRemote. This is better than a Pronto setup. For less money than a colour Pronto you can buy a pda with blue tooth or wifi. As well as being wireless so no line of sight or pointing required you will also have 'feedback'. This can be used to select media via the pda without viewing your PC. It takes a bit more effort to get into but it's well worth it. Once you've seen feedback in action you will never go back to a standard remote setup.
     
  8. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    If you can get away with 5.1 speakers, the Logitech Z680s IMHO can't be beaten in the "PC speaker" stakes. :) Can be fed by coax/optical SPD/IF or 6-channel analog. IMHO the better quality sound from these 5.1s beats the lesser sound of a Creative 6.1 system.

    For disks my HTPC uses Seagate Barracuda IDE 7200.7 120Gb, not the fastest but way quietest.
     
  9. conan

    conan
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    For the screen it's going into my Sony Wega 32" TV. I'll probably go with either the Seagate cuda or Samsund HDD. I think I've got the sound sorted now, the mobo has a SPDIF digital out which I can run to the digital input on the 5.1 decoder/amp on the video logic.

    Next thing to get sorted is the picture/graphics. I have a GF3 card which I plan to use to start with but need to get a PVR card ideally. Still not sure how I'll run the NTL box through this setup though.

    I've had the Hauppage 350 recomend as it has the tuner onboard as well, anybody used this?

    Software is planned to be Windoze MCE, managed to get a **cough**backup**cough** for trial.

    Thanks for the input:)
     
  10. BBD

    BBD
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    If the Sony Wega is a standard interlaced only TV you're not actually going to achieve anything in the way of improved picture quality by going for a HTPC.

    I would use windows XP for the operating system. It's actually very stable and driver support etc is better.
     
  11. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    Not sure why ... no part of the MCE package is as good as what you can obtain separately, eg. DVD player, and since M$ don't support the MCE O/S on non-MCE hardware you're going to have problems keeping it up to date ... that's what people find when they use backup copies.
     
  12. conan

    conan
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    As I said, I'm only going to give MCE a trail. I want a front end that controls everything from a menu, it has to be like this so the missus can/will use it. Don't want to have to open up different packages to play a movie, listen to the radio, record through the PVR etc...Once it's up and running I don't plan to use it for anything exept media. I just haven't seen any one software package that will do all I want yet. Any suggestions welcome:)
     
  13. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    Nope :) ... I doubt there's a single package that contains "best of breed" of all the various applications, granted separate apps. are less convenient but on M$ past performance I'm sure MCE will be little better than mediocre at most things it does ... Media Player being a pretty good example when used to play DVDs as compared to, say, TheaterTek.
     

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