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new to this.. what to buy ?

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by eddiewww, Apr 24, 2003.

  1. eddiewww

    Active Member

    Nov 14, 2002
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    Blackheath, SE London
    hi guys...

    new to this..but i have some major kit HT wise (Meridian digital theatre into Panny 42 ") i have a PC conected, and mainly use it for web access, but it is on its last legs and if i am going to buy a new PC i should look at the options !!
    couple of points:

    1. I need it to be a proper PC too... i will be using Office etc to do some work..
    2. I need it to look good !
    3. I want the best possible kit, within reason !

    I have some kit that may be superfluous after i get the HTPC, but need advice on this.... for example my Sky+ box outputs RGB into a Dr J Simm RGB to YUV convertor into a IScan Ultra box which feeds a VGA signal into the plasma....phew !
    i also have a DVD-R which has become almost redundant since the birth of my Sky+ box and a motorised Sat system... cant all these units be rolled into one...a HTPC.... not only that, but will it take all my other kit... PS2, X Box, GameCube and output them Progressive doing away with my IScan Ultra...but also a shiny new PC that i can surf the web with !! less boxs...less connections etc..

    Assuming the answer to the above is YES... what do i get.. i can drive a keyboard and do a bit of jiggery pokery but i'm no computer geek... whilst i probably could chuck together all the various elements into a suitable chasis i imagine that all the tweaking and latest drivering etc would drive me mental.. so i would prefer to go to a HT "boutique" and have them build it for me... the ones in this forum and therefore the ones i assume are the ones to have are the Uvem and LMP ... i like the look of the Uvem III...any thoughts ?

    On the PC side of things i would like it to be super fast...have Bluetooth... Massive HD, bags of RAM be everything and more i would get from buying a good Dell or whatever...am i asking too much ?

    BTW i know there is a thread for recomendations, but that seems to be the various elements... i want the whole shootin match delivered to me ready to go !
  2. Rob.Screene

    Active Member

    Sep 29, 2001
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    Berks, England
    Hi eddiewww,
    Don't expect a multi-function HTPC to be transparent and seamless to use if you want to do video recording and DVD playback with it. It sounds like a pre-build machine will probably require massaging from time-time time, as there's always something to fix/patch/tune or upgrade.

    There are so many possibilities with a HTPC...
    Surf web on to the Plasma Y!
    Play PC Games? Y/N
    DD5.1 S/PDIF bitstream output for PC games?
    Terrestrial Digital Tuner? Y/N
    (i.e. nebula no other Digital tuners available that I've heard of)
    S-Video input for scaled playback? Y/N
    (i.e. pb tv-100 or any saa731x card)
    Component input for scaled playback? Y/N
    (i.e. holo3dgraph or h3d2)
    High quality PCM CD/MP3 jukebox S/PDIF bitstream output? Y/N
    High quality DVD playback and S/PDIF DD5.1 DTS output? Y/N
    7.1 channel analog DVD output straight to power amps? Y/N
    Timeshift/backup DVD's on to hard disk? Y/N
    Personal Video Recording? Y/N
    Create DVD-Videos and write to DVD blanks? Y/N

    If you can decide what you'd be interested spending time doing from the above list, I think it'll help define what you are going to enjoy in a HTPC. You might find with your existing scaler, you only really need it to boot fast and browse the web!

    Generic Component specifics:
    A P3 3GHz processor includes hyperthreading and may boost performance, boot time, video processing and the like. As it pretends to be 2 cpus to Windows it may cause issues with some software at present. Q: Anyone know specifics?

    I have a Dign case and love the look of it as it matches my gold Denon bits, but the LMP case also looks very very nice.

    Storagereview.com rates the 180GB IBM and 200GB Western Digital drives as very fast and almost as quiet as the infamous Seagate Barracuda 120GB. Western Digital also appear to do a 250GB drive, but it's at a big premium.

    SerialATA (SATA) connections are available on some drives in place of the old, large IDE parallel ribbon connection. These streamline the inside of the case and give a slight performance boost, but only slight at the moment because almost all drives are still using SATA bridges internally. "It's the future Barry."

    A Radeon 9700 Pro is easily the fastest card for 3D games and apparently is great for software DVD picture quality too. Factor in a Zalman vga heatpipe passive cooler to replace the fan and make it quiet though. One manufacturer make a Radeon 9700 with this added as standard, so perhaps you can specify that.

    Many custome pc "boutique" can pre-install and soak test, but I'd say getting a high-end Dell will probably be less risky for something to have been missed.

    You'll probably also want a quiet psu power supply, see the Zalman quiet on or the recent threads on choosing a psu for more detail.

  3. pthompson

    Standard Member

    Feb 28, 2003
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    Give Phil a call at UVEM. He'll sort out all your requirements and build exactly what you want. The biggest prblem with hcpcs is all the comptability issues with hw and sw. These can take enormous amounts of time to research and fix. Phil has done it already.


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