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HTPC specs

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by onefivenine, Nov 29, 2003.

  1. onefivenine

    onefivenine
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    .... or "how much £££"!

    I mean, could I buy a Meridian DVD player for the same price as it would cost to build a HTPC of the same quality?
     
  2. CrispyXUK

    CrispyXUK
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    dvd drive £40, RME soundcard, + standard pc £300 + Radeon 9600/Matrox £110 = quality, but only with a display that excepts pc signals
     
  3. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    You can build a basic pc using cheap parts ( like I did at first), and it'll cost you £250 or less (no software - I used what I already had).

    Prices from ebuyer:

    Radeon VE or 7000 - <£30
    SB 4.1 oem - £12 (from Scan)
    PC chips mobo - £22
    CPU - £25
    HS & Fan - < £4
    HDD - £40
    KB & M - £5
    Memory 128meg - £17
    Case - £15
    DVD rom - £25

    That's les than £200. :)

    For DVD playabck, you don't need anything faster than 1gig, but a 1.3 Duron doesn't cost much.

    For Hi Def playback, you'll need a 2600+ CPU, and a mobo to match. Idealy you'll need a Radeon 9600 non pro and 256 meg memory instead of 128.

    ALl this will only really be of benefit via vga (or DVI) as Crispy has already said, as none of the benefits will be seen via s-video or composite.

    Further mods can be made to make it quieter as well.

    Gary.
     
  4. james.miller

    james.miller
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    I agree with the above, however you dont need 256mb of vram on a graphics card under any circustances at this point in time. vram only benifits gaming, and even then the benifit is less than 5%.
     
  5. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    I was refering to system memory, not graphic card memory. Sorry for the confusion.

    You need a minimum of 128 graphics memory for hi def though.

    Gary.
     
  6. james.miller

    james.miller
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    ahh. why do you need 128mb though?
     
  7. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    This is from Microsofts site:

    No real explanation though..

    The 9600 pro and non pro fit the bill for that spec.

    Gary.
     
  8. james.miller

    james.miller
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    well, i really can't see why you'd need 128mb. i think the only realy reason they recommend 128mb is becuase 128mb is only really availble on the faster cards.

    I have no doubt that a 64mb gf4 mx would be more than enough though.
     
  9. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    You could well be right.

    Given the choice, I'd personaly use a 64meg Radeon though, as they give a better image from DVDs, and will probably be better for HD playback too

    Gary.
     
  10. nfordenfield

    nfordenfield
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    A 64mb can not handle 1080p, drops frames and is not smooth.

    A 2400+ will handle hidef though
     
  11. james.miller

    james.miller
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    says who? i need some proof of that. Are you telling me a 9500np 64mb wouldnt handle 1080p?
     
  12. nfordenfield

    nfordenfield
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    I have and had a 9700 pro and a 9000 radeon, the latter could not handle a 1080p clip on my barco crt.

    If it was o/c may have done better

    says who? is not the most polite opener!!!!!!
     
  13. james.miller

    james.miller
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    im sorry, its just that saying you need more than 64mb is like saying a particualr game "needs" a 2ghz cpu - theres a hell of a differnce between a 2 ghz celeron and a 2ghz a64 for example. Likewise, there is a hell of a difference between a r9000 64mb and an r9500np 64mb.

    As i understand it, playing hi-def is almost totally cpu-intensive, since there isnt currently any hardware that can decode it. That to me says the graphics card isnt as inportant. M$ saying you need a 128mb card means nothing to me - they also said halo only needed an 800mhz cpu;)

    All i really want to know, is why.

    To confuse matters even more, microsoft ALSO says this:
    they say 32mb there, not 128mb.
     
  14. Jeff

    Jeff
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    They say at least 32MB, the speed and perhaps quantity on video card memory might be very important, I would expect the demands on CPU would go down if there is plenty of fast video memory to play with. less time wasteing cycles waiting for things to happen.
     
  15. james.miller

    james.miller
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    the problem is that memory is only used for 3d. when in 2d all it really does is store the image for displaying on a t.v.

    the only real reason that i can think of, is that 1080p (something like 1940x1080) takes up a lot of ram in itself which could well cause the system to slow down when the card runs out of ram.


    thats the best answer i can find anyway, and ive been searching for a while now.
     
  16. Jeff

    Jeff
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    With VMR9 its not really 2D anymore.
     
  17. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    For optimal playback, 128meg is required, Microsoft themseleves say so (my earlier quote) otherwise you could get dropped frames. It may well run with 32meg, but you're more likely to have stuttering - it'll still play, but won't be ideal. My system drops frames ocasionaly if I've been running other programs, but if I run it fresh from boot up, it's fine.

    For 720p, my 1.3 Duron and 9600 played them OK, but with the odd stutter. 1080 was like a slide show - no motion, just still images. Upgrading to 2600+ fixed that.

    I never tried them with my old Radeon VE with 64meg, but thatwould have been a good test as a comparison.

    Gary.
     

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