Mass consolidation project

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by waynster, Dec 29, 2006.

  1. waynster

    waynster
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    Hi there

    Long time reader, first time poster. First off thanks for all the great information I have learned.

    Well my story is, that I live in a small appartment in Amsterdam, and my living space is an odd L-shape - in there I have a multitude of peripherals doing various things, and its all a bit much really - HiFi sperates, 2 PCs + 1 laptop, TV, DVD, Sky, Video Recorder, three sets of speakers - it's all a bit much really. So I have decided on a mass clearout/upgrade project.

    The DVD player, a Sony DAVS-300 is on its last legs, poor thing (it is from last century after all!) but it still sounds great. The TV is the landlords, and thus also from last century. So both are being replaced.

    I'm planning to take most of kit and replace it with a HTPC which I am self building with the following spec:

    Silverstone LC16 Case
    2 x seagate barracuda SATA 320 GB
    LG DV/RW
    AMD Athlon™ AM2 64 X2 5200+
    ZALMAN CNPS 9500 AM2 2 Cooling Fan/Heatsink
    GIGABYTE GA-M57SLI-S4 Socket AM2 NVIDIA nForce 570 SLI MCP
    Corsair XMS2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC26400) 1GB x 2
    Zalman (psu) zm600-hp 600w
    Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic 7.1 channel
    eVGA 7950GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 (HDCP Compliant)
    Logitech® diNovo™ Media Desktop™ Laser Keyboard & mouse
    MicSidewinder 2DX (If I can find one)
    Skystar 1CI sattelite card

    - I've based it roughly on a machine I found in the states, but sadly one they do not export it appears.

    I was just wondering if anyone had any criticisms - perhaps suggestions of alternative components? The plan is to run it through an 1080p LCD TV, and use it as a PC as well as for Media use. It should replace all of the HiFi components, The DVD and the video, and hopefully, the skybox (and save me having to get an upgrade to HD). I'm going to run it through a decent 5.1 Amp (Denon/Sony - not decided for sure yet - shopping tomorrow).

    Also, whilst this may not be the right forum, I'm looking into speaker options for the Amp - I have a pair of good Kef Crestas - I was thinking of maybe adding a couple more and maybe a subwoofer for the surround sound. As the flat is oddly shaped and not really ideal for home cinema, I can compromise some on the sound.

    Budget for it all is around 4000 quid, including the TV - its one of the biggest investments I will have made so would like to get it as near as dammit right first time, so I really would appreciate any advice you can give.

    Thanks
     
  2. jezzer256

    jezzer256
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    Hi there

    Welcome to the forums :thumbsup: . I've just been thinking of a few suggestions for your PC, which I will talk about below.

    The spec looks good, however at the moment I would suggest you buy Intel Core2 Duo CPUs rather than their AMD equivalents. They are the ones to beat at the moment. Considering the X2 5200+ costs around £200 (GBP), you may be able to consider the E6600 - otherwise, the E6400 at around £145 is a bargain.

    Obviously you will need to change the motherboard if you were to swap to a Core2 based machine - The Asus P5W series is a brilliant choice - however if you want to spend a little less, then go for an Asus P5G series. If you're a fan of gigabyte, their 'GA 945PL' is a steal at about £60.

    Also, if your funds allow, a Western Digital Raptor hard drive would also be a great investment. However, they're expensive at around £150, for only 150gb of storage space. They'll be nice and fast though :smashin: .

    Finally, you mentioned connecting the PC to an amplifier - this may be tricky with the X-Fi, as it outputs via 3.5mm jacks. You may want to find a sound card with an optical output - I know there are some out there - or maybe one that outputs the analogue red & white phonos.

    Hope this helps, and hopefully it doesn't sound too muddled!

    Jezzer

    P.S. The HDCP 7950gt is a nice card, so I wouldn't change anything there :) .
     
  3. waynster

    waynster
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    Hi Jezzer

    Thanks for the input. I might go for an Intel Chipset - its what I have used on all my other machines, but I was lead to believe that the x64 AMD Duals were the mutts nuts - I'll look more into it. Also I think I read something about the vii chipset being more media compatible - as this is ultimately a media PC things like that I should give priority

    I'm going to be feeding the audio out through a Sony 1200ES amp and probably a set of Wharfedale diamond 9's - I can get the sony for about 300 quid here in Holland and it looks perfect, plus What Hifi say its the best for the price. I didn't realise the card had no decent audio outputs on it, so that is definately a weak link in the chain - the original PC spec I borrowed it from had the connects on the back, so I guess I will definately look at replacing that.

    Thanks again
    Wayne
     
  4. jezzer256

    jezzer256
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    Yeah, I think you should! :thumbsup: , the Core2s are easily beating AMD CPUs in terms of performance at the moment. See http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/cpu/charts.html?modelx=33&model1=430&model2=464&chart=165.

    I think you meant Intel Viiv. If so, this is just a marketing scheme for Intel, not a chipset. It just means the PC comprises of several key components to make it a good media PC. For more information, checkout http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viiv.

    I'm not saying 3.5mm jacks are bad, its just that having them is inpractical as the 1200ES (and basically all other receivers/amps) does not have them as inputs. A more dedicated home cinema sound card would be a better choice, although I don't really know about these.

    Hope this helps

    Jez
     
  5. Decadent Fool

    Decadent Fool
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