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HTPC - what do i need?

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by rdt123, Jan 23, 2005.

  1. rdt123

    rdt123
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    Any advice appreciated,

    Firstly i am in ICT and built a PC a few months ago for home use so anything that needs doing i should be able to do myself. Problem is that i don't know HTPC at all. If i could list what i have maybe you can advise me how to transform it into a HTPC


    Athlon 64 3400+
    1GB DDR400
    200GB SATA
    Ati X800XT PRo 256mb DVI
    SB Audigy LS
    ASUS K8 MB
    NEC DVD-R/RW Dual layer

    Pretty strong PC. I will feed this into a Pio435XDE via DVI>HDMI. I will need a case that takes this board because the current case is loud! I presume i'd need a sound card with a optical out and then some software to run things?

    Any suggestions

    Cheers
     
  2. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    I use on-board S/PDIFs, coax preferably, and they always suffice for my needs.

    The software you get depends on just what you want the PC to do, ie. DVD playback, PVR, TV, etc. I only use a PC for DVD playback and use TheaterTek, but if you want more functionality then you may want to look at 'user friendly' front-ends of which there are several .. again, what you want to do with it determines the sort of package you may want to look at.

    The remaining component will be a remote, wireless or IR, there are many, as usual :), from the simple to the highly complex programmable, again depends on the software you want to drive.
     
  3. rdt123

    rdt123
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    Thanks for that. After further research it seem i really need to know the following:

    1) A HTPC case that will hold 2 200gb SATA drives, my agp x800xt card and my asus atx board

    2) a sound card that will output a coaxial digital signal to my denon 3805 receiver

    3) a way to connect my sky+ box to it, not for recording as it's sky+, just for switching, hopefully improving pq

    4) a remote and front end software

    Any advice on these points would be appreciated greatly

    Rob
     
  4. jont

    jont
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    The HT400 Accent case I bought from quietpc.com did all of that ... look at the sweetspot card for RGB input from sky+ ... I got the audigy 2zs card for £50 - has 7.1 and co-ax output ...

    Jon
     
  5. rdt123

    rdt123
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    What would you recommend as regard software?
     
  6. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    Some suggestions :) :

    1) How long is the X800? I have a gold Accent HT-200 which matches my 3803, trouble with that is full-length cards (my 6800GT was 220m) make installing hard disks in the 3.5 bay a tight fit, depending on where the aux. power connector goes. That apart, I think the Accent cases are very nice, especially with a Denon receiver.

    2) I can't advise on a sound card, I use the on-board coax output on the ASUS boards I use .. the M-Audio 7.1 I think is a popular card judging from comments here from time to time.

    3) The Sweetspot is popular for capturing Sky/NTL/etc, works with ShowShifter for PVR if you ever decided to try that.

    4) There are many remotes, mostly IR one or two wireless .. I use an ATI Remote Wonder, a cheap and cheerful wireless one that works great with TheaterTek (the DVD player software I use), it's not easily programmable for software it doesn't support or for which modules aren't supplied, it needs a DLL compiling from C code, which is not really great. Accent cases come with an iMon, check the page of cases I linked to in (1).

    Hope these give you some ideas to look at. :)

    [edit]

    Beaten to it on the Accent .. shows how popular they are :), just take care to note which variants can take 2 disks and which are restricted to just one due to height reasons.
     
  7. sticker

    sticker
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    Also have a think about noise, especally from the PSU, Video card, case fans and CPU fan
     
  8. rdt123

    rdt123
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    Well, i have oredered:

    Accent HT-400 case with imon and VFD

    Zalaman cooler

    Gyration Kb and Mouse

    400W Ultra quiet Qtec PSU

    Hopefully with the X800 card a gig of DDR400 and a A64 chip it should run well. I would be interested how the picture quality will compare to the image from a 2910/3910.

    Can anyone from speak from experience of HTPC and mid-high end dvd player and give an idea of the difference in PQ?

    Rob
     
  9. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    I have an HTPC based on a Radeon 9600, was an nVidia 6800GT but won't go over old ground again ;), and a Pioneer 868 (which I think counts as mid-range at least) .. both feed an Optoma H77 DLP at 1280x720.

    The PC runs TheaterTek 2.06 with FFDSHOW resizing using Lanczos 4 and also Sharpen using Unsharp Mask at 20-30 (more extreme than many users I suspect, I like some sharpness).

    The image from the 868 is very good, though a trifle soft for my liking, the PC gives me the extra sharpness .. the down-side of course is some increase in noise due to ringing so I sometimes knock off the Sharpen, when I do that the images are very close but the PC is still a bit more detailed, though sometimes that isn't good on less than pristine transfers (the H77 tends to show-up artifacts a bit more than is ideal, but that's the price of the image it produces).

    Although the PC gives an improved PQ I'm moving away and probably going to get an external scaler, comparing that to the PC could prove interesting I think .. but of course that's a similar price to the PC.
     
  10. rdt123

    rdt123
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    Great info. thanks KraGorn
     

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