1. Join Now

    AVForums.com uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

HTPC Newbie

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by captbearuk, Jan 30, 2002.

  1. captbearuk

    captbearuk
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    I've been sitting back, quietly reading the messages here for some time, in the hope of gaining some knowledge before I dip my toe in the HTPC side of things. I've even taken advice and read the great chunks of information across on the AVS Forum. But I expect the steepest part of the learning curve comes with owning the equipment as I don't understand some of the questions posted, let alone the answers.

    I know that asking "What is the best" this or that piece of equipment is very vague and subjective but if anybody could post the current spec for their own HTPC, with good or bad comments, then I'm sure that many lurkers would appreciate it.

    The guide in the AVS Forum although thorough, is a bit dated (May 2001) and as with all things PC, nothing is the best for very long. Compatability of parts is my main worry and if I get what 'most' people have then any problems can hopefully be sorted here. However, I am a bit concerned with all the messages of problems with individual set ups. Would you say that I could get an acceptable picture relatively soon and that it's the further enhancements that are the main subject of this forum, or, is a lot of tweaking involved before something watchable appears?

    My hope is that when I get my CRT I can get the best picture possible but meanwhile I might have to get a stand alone DVD player to use while I'm elbow deep in the PC tower.

    Thanks for 'any' help or suggestions

    Glyn
     
  2. jlcrawford

    jlcrawford
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2001
    Messages:
    487
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    NE England
    Ratings:
    +3
    Glyn
    I am only slightly ahead of you in the HTPC quandry I bought a Radeon 7500 and a M Audio 2496.I already have a Pioneer dvd drive and today I spent an hour hooking it up to my Barco CRT through my Rock Scaler.
    The picture without tweaking was good and once I used powerstrip to match the 1280x720p@72hz that i had previously used on the rock the picture was great and the denon amp i use reported 6.1 channels on Gladiator.
    My next task is to learn how to control this with my Pronto and Girder
    Cheers
     
  3. tryingtimes

    tryingtimes
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2001
    Messages:
    4,094
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +548
    Glyn
    It's worth noting that Xcel's guide (the best in class on avs) has been pretty much rewritten twice - once in september and once this Jan. It is therefore very much up to date and you should use that as a useful guide.

    Pretty much everyone here has used advice from Xcel at some point and the shear number of pc's he builds gives him a clear advantage when it comes to testing things like reliability, history of companies and other long-term and volume issues.

    My spec is on my site (link below).
    The only things I'd change are the graphics card from Supergrace to a genuine ATI, a slightly less conspicuous case and I'll look into making it more user-friendly using a Pronto/Girder combo rather than the Marantz/Airboard

    Other than that I'm very happy indeed!

    Good luck!
    Alex
     
  4. captbearuk

    captbearuk
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Jeff,

    Thanks for your comments. If you don't mind I'd like to ask you a couple of questions about your setup.

    First of all did you assemble it yourself and if so what parts (motherboard, CPU, OS [XP?] ) did you use? I'm looking through various computer parts magazines and there is just so much to choose from.

    You say that you have the Radeon 7500 and an M Audio 2496. Now the Radeon is a graphics card but does that use a PCI slot or an AGP slot? If it is an AGP slot does it need to be a x2 or x4 slot. I did read somewhere that the x4 slot may cause problems. I also thought that the Rock is an external scaler and that getting a HTPC in some way would enable you to do away with that.

    The M Audio 2496 is the sound card, yes? So where does the AVR come in? I was looking at the Denon 3802 before I started down this HTPC road - maybe I've misunderstood you but will I still need that Denon?

    There is also a great deal of debate on how quiet things run, for obvious reasons. Did you make any special effort to obtain a quiet power unit, DVD player or cooling fans? I'm sure all this is clear once you've done it, but it's muddy waters for us beginners.

    Again any comments are much appreciated.

    Thanks

    Glyn
     
  5. captbearuk

    captbearuk
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Alex,

    Sorry I was typing as you were posting. I will take another look at Xcel's guide, thanks. I will also drop by your homepage to check on your system spec.

    I live in Liverpool and you live in Manchester I would be interested in where you obtained most of you parts from. Any particular supplier that you would recommend for various components. or not recommend, come to that?

    Glyn
     
  6. tryingtimes

    tryingtimes
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2001
    Messages:
    4,094
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +548
    Most of my parts came mail order. I needed a few things in black which the local guys just don't do.

    If they have what you want I wouldn't have any problems using Micro Direct or Aria both in MicroMart they are both just south of the city centre and are reasonably priced.
    Ram and Planet Micro have both given me grief but others like them.

    I used
    http://www.overclockers.co.uk/
    http://www.kustompcs.co.uk
    http://www.ebuyer.co.uk
    http://www.crucial.com/uk
    http://www.quietpc.com

    and one other that had the word overclock in the titlebut can't find it.

    All were superb - crucial and quietpc being the slowest with about a week.

    Hope that helps

    BTW - with the m-audio card you would still need the denon - the m-audio just outputs a nice clean spdif to pass to your amp.

    Any questions, just ask
    Alex

    EDIT - it was nicer dealing with the little guys like the overclocking places - they knew their stuff!
     
  7. captbearuk

    captbearuk
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Alex,

    Took a quick look at your site, very impressed. I'll take a further look at your spec list with a copy of Micro Mart at hand. I see you have 512Mb RAM. Is there an amount where there is no noticable improvement or should I go for as much as possible?

    Thanks

    Glyn
     

Share This Page

Loading...