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Money No Object !!!!

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Dibble123, Dec 9, 2003.

  1. Dibble123

    Dibble123
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    What would be the best setup for a HCPC???

    I am not saying dosh is a plenty but if you had it what would you spend it on (in the HCPC world).

    Best Display Card.......
    Best 5.1.............
    Best Motherboard for the Job.......
    Best CPU............

    You get the idea:D

    I would not want to throw cash in the bin so if a product is overkill please let me know.... For example All in Wonder cards - are they worth the cash?????

    many thanks, Dibble.
     
  2. Tempest

    Tempest
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    Although I know virtually nothing regards the HTPC world, from what I have found out the hardware for a normal HTPC seems very dull indeed.

    Almost any half decend motherboard, A cpu around 1Ghz sounds plenty, a Radion 9000 or better graphics card and a Creative Labs Live sound card perhaps.

    It appears playing DVD's is not exactly a heavy task for any resonably modern PC.

    The software always seems to be a BIG part of the answer to good playback.
     
  3. CrispyXUK

    CrispyXUK
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    I wouldnt quite say that
     
  4. amordue

    amordue
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    If you've gopt the cash go with a Hush Technologies ATX PC, best thing about them, they have no fans, so less dust inside them and more important for movies and music, they are almost silent (only HDD and DVD-ROM making any noise). Also they look right at home in a home cinema setup.

    You can get a nice P4 2.8GHz config, 1G Mem, 120G HD with an ATI 9800 AIW for around £1200

    http://www.hushtechnologies.com
     
  5. alexs2

    alexs2
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    Dibble...you may also want to take a look at UVEM's HCPC's....both my self and a work colleague have one of these,and both of us are very pleased with the results.

    Quiet,fast,nice looking(unusual for PC's that have to sit in the living room)and work without either software or hardware problems.

    The owner,Phil Hale,is also a very helpful guy.
    www.uvem.com
     
  6. Dibble123

    Dibble123
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    Thank you all for your comments above.........:smashin:

    I would realy like the challange of building a system. it looks like this can be done quite cheaply.

    I would like to mount the PC away from the viewing area so noise will not be a problem.

    Can I control the PC from two places??? Say with two keyboards sat on USB or do they conflict?

    If I do build the PC have you any preference on the components??

    Thanks again, Dibble
     
  7. alexs2

    alexs2
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    Certainly can be done relatively cheaply...on the subject of noise,it may be worth having a look at www.quietpc.com for some the fans etc available,and noise dampening kits for cases....mine has a Zalman flower cooler and runs at the minimum speeds for a pretty noise free system,with the CPU still only hitting 45C most of the time.

    If you plan to use the HCPC for DVD replay to a TV,then the Sigma Designs X-Card is a very good solution for that,and has virtually no processor overhead,thus reducing the need for a fast CPU.
     
  8. Mr THX

    Mr THX
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    Hi
    Being interested in the subject myself I'm keeping an eye on this thread :smashin: one question of my own though - what softwars is best to use?? sure Power DVD gives me a good enough picture on an 18" TFT but does it hack it for a Plasma / Projector ???
     
  9. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    Specing an HTPC like a normal PC is all about what you want it to be capable of.

    Graphics card...a Radeon of some description is your best bet : if you need games spend as much as you feel able to. If its just for playing back dvd and TV then any Radeon will do to be honest.

    Mobo /CPU probably better of going for a P4 again of decent speed : especially if you want to handle HD at some point. Again if you want games get as fast as you can afford, if its just for 2d playback you can under spec a little. However if you are planning to use the HTPC for deinterlacing and scaling other sources then you probably need a fairly pokey cpu .

    Soundcard . recommend a decent "audiophile card" unless you want to play games again in which case a few of the audophile cards are not very useful. Think an audigy is recommended as being a decent card that can handle games. the maudio and RME cards are favoured by the audiophile people. Again for dvd playback you can make do with a very cheap card as long as its got a reliable spdif output ( think there is a cheap philips one that seems to be ok).

    HD: seagate barracudas are fast and quiet.

    Cooling : lots of near quiet cooling solutions and PSU that won't break the bank are discussed on here.

    Software: you'll need an OS for a start . I use W2K but XP is probably a better bet. Powerstrip is really a necessity for custom resolutions. I use Theatertek for dvd playback and I find it more stable than the others. Dscaler (freeware) for deinterlacing and scaling other sources. Frontend software ( my HTPC to disguise the windows desktop). Multiregion software , Ripping software , Music playback software , the sky is the limit really.

    Analogue capture cards: holo3d , xcapture, sweetspot, pb TV100 depends what you want.

    PVR capabilities : use your HTPC as a VCR. I recommmend the nebula digiTV but there are others available. There is some crossover with the capture card area as you can , with some decent software . use an analogue capture card as part of a PVR

    Cases: I like the LMP but there are a few out there now. Expect to pay quite a bit for a decent HTPC case ( some of them aren't even that decent on the inside)

    Controllers: wireless mouse and keyboard ( gyration is recommended by me) , you can use an IR remote in conjunction with a sensor and girder ( digiTV comes with its own sensor and remote which work quite well ). You can use another PC ( laptop in my case) as a wireless terminal for your htpc with the right software ( Radmin is one) and a wireless nic.

    You can do all the above or just build a decent machine for dvd playback ( I started with just this intention but its hard not to utilise all the potential the PC offers)
     
  10. Dibble123

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    Many Thanks for your comments and time Mr D. :smashin:

    A couple of questions if you don't mind..........

    PVR capabilities : Are there problems with Sky from a protection point of view?? Do you just take in the output from the sky box to the TV card and the card selects the channel????

    Graphics card : Are the All in Wonder cards any good or is it better to select the best individual components???

    All the Best, Dibble
     
  11. Alex Simon

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    Hi Dibble.
    Your TV card (or capture card if it doesn't have a tuner) just outputs whatever is being sent into it so you will still need to control your SKY box to change channel (In practice this is easier than the tv card handling this anyway).

    With regard to ATI AIW cards are no worse than any other radeon when it comes to scaling and output to your display. However for capture, DScaler is the best software and unfortunately doesn't support the AIW cards.

    As long as you can spare the PCI slots, I would buy the best-in-class fanless radeon and a separate capture card supported by DScaler.

    Hope that helps
    Alex
     
  12. Dibble123

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    Thanks for your comments Alex,

    Two questions if you don't mind..........................

    Can you use the setup to record / pause Sky ??

    Is it possible to control the Sky box via a RF controler. The idea being that the Sky box will be situated away from the viewing area ??

    Thanks Again, Darren
     
  13. Alex Simon

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    record/pause SKY - yes
    It's a software thing and there's lots about. Do a search for PVR in this HCPC forum and you'll find lots of ideas.

    RF - not easily, you'd need a convertor from IR to RF.

    Best bet is probably to have a cheapish IR extender that uses wands to take all your IR commands from one central point below your display to the room where all your kit is.

    Have a look on www.keene.co.uk for some ideas.
     
  14. Dibble123

    Dibble123
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    Many Thanks once again Alex,

    I see I have a lot to learn

    I have had a look at Keene's web site. Is it as easy as it looks? I have ordered a catalogue allready.

    I feel you have saved me a lot of time and effort. Many thanks again from a fellow Manchester dweller.
     
  15. Alex Simon

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    No problem Dibble
    IR extenders are pretty easy stuff - nothing to configure, just make sure your IR distributor has enough outputs to cover all eventualities.

    It only get's tricky when you add IR PC control into the mix.

    The easier solution for this (especially if your HTPC is multi-functional) is to get a Gyration keyboard and mouse. Not cheap but very high quality.

    Of course if you've already got an RF keyboard and mouse, that'll do the job.
     

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