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Nearly decided to get a hcpc but need help!

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by fred123go, Dec 18, 2003.

  1. fred123go

    fred123go
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    Hey there guys,
    In about 3/4 mnths i will start building a hcpc, but i would just like to know a few things first:
    for £700 could i get a kinda stylish hcpc that gives uncomprimised dvd playback performance?and one that is better pq than a Denon 2900
    i want it to:
    -play dvds to feed my Sanyo Z2 via Dvi input and via a high quality scaled up 720p signal and give very good pq, better than any sub 1000 quid dvd player
    -Feed my Lexicon processor via coaxial and give a very good sound performance, better/comparable to dvd players.
    -pretty quiet
    and thats it and also simple to start up.
    I am not going to use it for gaming/work or excel or what ever.
    so a hcpc that is better than any sub £1000 dvd player, sound and pictue quality are equally important to me, and thats it for around 600/700.
    what components do you guys recommend for my above needs?
    cheers guys
    Fred
    p.s. oh yeah and something that outperforms my Pioneer DV-656 by miles!
     
  2. philipb

    philipb
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    Whether or not PQ from a HCPC via DVI is better than a good set top also via DVI, or SDI, is a matter of opinion. Personally I prefer my 2900 via SDI.

    There are now several DVI equipped players sub £1000 which output excellent PQ, and they are in most respects more convenient than HCPC. But the latter is more flexible.

    IIWY I'd try to eke out £1400 for the Denon A11 with DVI, but it is a lot of money.
     
  3. CrispyXUK

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    yes you can fred
     
  4. fred123go

    fred123go
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    i am 16 and have spent, up to date, probably around £5500 on my present set up, £700 is really pushing it!
    I think i may wait for 'mid-randge' dvi ready dvd players, the £300-£600 range.
    When i went to Matt's, smurfins, house he gave me a demo of his set up. His Z1 was not far off my Z2 atm, although he did have a 1 grand arcam dv88 plus dvd player. The pq was really great, and so smooth.
    I know hcpcs are more flexible but i think for what i want, uncomprimised dvd playback a dvi equiped dvd player or a high end progressive scan dvd player such as the arcam is the way to go.
    cheers
    fred
     
  5. CrispyXUK

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    HTPC going in classified forums, start from that and add stuff to it when you can afford it
     
  6. Kramer

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    Software & setup are probably more important than the hardware in a HCPC.

    Not an "out of the box" solution like a DVD player - something you should consider.

    :smoke:
     
  7. CrispyXUK

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  8. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    You only need a 950 Duron for DVD playback, so a 1.3 is more than enough as you can't get any slower now.

    A Radeon 7000 (with DVI) will do the job very well, but the 9600 (non pro model is cheaper) has better mpg deblocking in hardware mode.

    I've used ECS K7S5A, K7S5A pro motherboards (£25ish), and they've worked well for me. I also use a cheap Soundblaster 4.1 for spdif output (around £12 for the OEM model).

    128 meg of ram will do, and a Seagate Baracuda drive is quiet and reliable. The Liteon 165 is a quiet DVD drive that can be made region free if needed. Use Region Killer software for transparent region changing.

    The rest can be bought very cheaply, and as you aren't going to be using it very often compared to normal PCs, cheap keyboard and mouse will do the job. Total cost from £200 to around £350 IIRC.

    To get you going, WinXP and PowerDVD XP or version 5 will give you a great picture, and all you have to do is ensure that the soundcard is set to digital output for full DD/DTS output (inc ES/EX), and that hardware acceleration is ticked in PDVD. You should get fantastically detailed image on your pj, with sound that should be as good as your current player.

    I would get a large heatsink and fan so that you can replace the fan with a quiet one, or slow it down with a resistor - see www.quietpc.co.uk for more info, or ask here. I also replaced the power supply fan with an 80mm quiet one (20db) and that has reduced the sound considerably. It's been running fine for well over two years like that.

    I get a lot of my stuff from www.ebuyer.co.uk and I've had no problems with them at all.

    I'm currently using an Asus board with 2600+ so that I can run Hi Def clips from the hard drive, but if you aren't bothered about a few HD clips, then you don't need a fast pc. Many will take a 2400+ CPU anyway, so you could upgrade later when the CPU prices are cheaper (idealy including a 9600 and 256ram).

    HTH

    Gary.
     
  9. andy572

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    Have you had to return anything to ebuyer, Gary?

    Following some saving, I am considering a self-build PC or upgrading of my present system (a P2!). ebuyer are frequently, perhaps always, at the bottom of the price scale for the parts I price-check; but having read a lot of bad feedback re: returns, I have my reservations.

    In anyone's opinion, is it just a matter of those who've had bad luck shouting the loudest or can eBuyer be difficult when a return becomes necessary?

    The delivery system is a little odd too, isn't it? Should the dates be taken as a guide (i.e. the order could well arrive earlier) and are such dates generally reliable?

    Hope it was okay to ask :)

    Thank you.
     
  10. zAndy1

    zAndy1
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    I've always found Ebuyer to be fantastic, they've always delivered when they said they would, do the majority of my PC shopping with them (and microdirect).

    Cheers,
    Andy.
     
  11. JohnS

    JohnS
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    I've returned stuff to ebuyer and after they check it (a couple of days) issue the refund no problem.
     
  12. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    Same here - for example their 'ebuyer' brand memory is a bit suspect, and on behalf of both friends (who I've ordered for) and myself, I've had to send it back on a few occasions. They've always replaced or refunded for me with no quible, including one stick that was just a compatability issue - memory that I later bought wouldn't work in a Gigabyte board, but did in the ECS one.

    Gary.
     
  13. SimonInd

    SimonInd
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    I found myself in a similar situation, wanting to replace my aging Sony 725 and get a better picture on my AE100. A month ago I bought the misses a cheap PC off the Dell Outlet ( P4 2.24, 256MB, 80GB, CDRW/DVD and 64MB nVidia card for £500 delivered with a 15" LCD screen ). Plugging this into the projector and setting the mapping to 1:1 using Powerstrip gave me richer colours, more detail and less smearing/digital noise.
    I have now ordered myself a higher spec machine ( although again for less than £500 ) which I will use to replace my DVD player. There was really no comparison and I would be surprised if any DVD player at this price could come close. The Dell's come with on-board 5.1 support for DD but I'll be getting a card with SPDIF out to connect to my receiver. The HTPC option is much more upgradeable and, this is what swung it for me, has the benefit of being able to add PVR functionality. I'd love to plug in a 2900 and see how it compares but for less than the cost of one I'm going to have a player with a 120GB HD to record TV and a much more flexible upgrade path.

    Cheers

    Simon
     
  14. fred123go

    fred123go
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    i think i may order one from the Dell outlet, but with the new ATI Radeon 9800XT, that should look brilliant. Or do you reckon for watching films i should save my money and get a 128MB nVidia GeForce FX5200 with DVI. I want the best picture possible from my hcpc, so would getting the best graphics card mean an improved pq for dvd. Gaming is not important for me, why else would i have a ps2.
    cheers
    fred
     
  15. fred123go

    fred123go
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    and is there any other company that build you a customised pc online?
    f
     
  16. KraGorn

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    If that's your only choice, take the Radeon for better MPEG decoding .. but a 9800 will add nothing at all over a 9600 .. also better support from TheaterTek if you choose to use that player, and Powerstrip likes Radeons too. :)
     
  17. fred123go

    fred123go
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    excuse my ignorance, but do hcpcs offer progressive scan or is there no need?
    cheers
    Fred
     
  18. SimonInd

    SimonInd
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    but a 9800 will add nothing at all over a 9600

    But will it be better than the 128MB nVidia card that DELL ship their machines with?
    From what I've read the Radeon will be better if you use the hardware MPEG decoding but for software decoding there's nothing in it and software decoding is very popular. I'm going down the nVidia route for the time being.....

    but do hcpcs offer progressive scan or is there no need?

    Video cards in PCs can output either progressive or interlaced signals.

    Cheers

    Simon
     
  19. KraGorn

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    Without doubt it will .. hence my comment: "If that's your only choice, take the Radeon for better MPEG decoding" :smoke:
     
  20. KraGorn

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    As Simon said, it can be either.

    However, the major reason for using an HCPC is its' better ability to re-scale images into the native resolution of the display device, pj/plasma/whatever, bypassing the on-board scalers that are often not so good on lower-end pjs.
     
  21. CrispyXUK

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    At least get a Radeon 9600, then you will be able to play half-life 2 & doom 3 on an 8ft screen should you feel the need.
     
  22. KraGorn

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    A few but Evesham are the only one's I've ever bought from, good service at the time, not dealt with them recently.
     

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