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HTPC Beginnings.... a brave new world

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Antpink, Jul 18, 2005.

  1. Antpink

    Active Member

    Jan 18, 2004
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    Here goes – I am thinking of moving into the wonderful world of HTPC. I have a few questions that I hope someone can help me with. I have done some research around the web, and at this site, and have put a few home PCs together, but never for HT application.

    My thinking is to get a basic setup to suit my basic needs, with the absolute benefit of HTPC being that as I improve in other areas, the PC can be upgraded to suit. Living in Singapore, unfortunately I can’t really control the TV channel selection easily from a PC, so the PC is really going to be a media (DVD video and music) storage and playback, with ability to browse net and record occasional TV channels by recording whatever comes in through a video input card. My display will be a 32” WS Loewe CRT. So, with this in mind, I was thinking of the following:

    - AMD Socket 754 or 939 64 bit 3000+ processor in either an Asus, MSI or Gigabyte m/board.
    - 512 MB RAM (DDR 400) possibly up to 1 GB, as this RAM is pretty cheap at the moment, and it never hurts to have more RAM
    - DVD R/W dual layer – any good makes for quiet and quick drives – Samsung/NEC?
    - 2 x 200 GB SATA Seagate HDD for storage, with a view to adding up to 2 x 200 GB drives in a RAID 1 configuration for data protection. I was thinking of sticking a 160 GB IDE drive in for OS and programs.
    - Graphics – passive cooled ATI 9600 with component out seems to be a popular choice.
    - Some sort of video capture card
    - Wireless LAN etc..
    - OS – I can go for MS XP 64 bit edition for virtually no difference in price to XP Pro 32 bit. Do not know if MCE will be any good for me (have heard that it is restrictive, and is basically same as XP anyway).
    - Meedio as a frontend? Opinions please.
    - some form of IR enabling device and/or SW
    - DVD Decryption and Stripping (removing unnecessary languages, extras etc) suggestions?
    - Zoom Player for DVD/HDD playback, with suitable DVD codecs. Assume I will not need the likes of FFFDShow and Powerstrip type programs until I get a better display resolution than the Loewe, but this is one of the future upgrade issues on a long list.
    - Also looking for a reasonable case.

    I have considered AMD over Intel as it seems the general consensus is that they meet the needs, run cooler, less power. Also less expensive. Probably don’t need as much speed as this but I’d rather be underworking the CPU if possible.

    Not sure if I should stick with AGP or look at PCI-X, but for the purposes of this application, most AGP cards are going to be more than sufficient, I should think, and anyway I’m trying to keep cooling requirements to a minimum so I can keep everything nice and quiet. ATI vs NVidea – who knows - seems like everyone has an opinion, but I figure I'll start with ATI?

    Any comments muchly appreciated.

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