Newbee building first HCPC - Recommendations?



Hi everyone.... Have just received by new AE500 and would like to build an HCPC to go with it as I understand I can get a better picture this way. I guess I can also sell my exsiting DVD player to part finance it (Toshiba SD-900E if anyone's interested).

My existing pc is a shuttle xpc, with nboard nforce 2 video/audio, Athlon 2600, multi-region dvd (via region genie) and 512md ram.

With picture quality in mind, what the best components to buy. I am an experienced PC builder, so I have no concerns with assembly, but I don't know what to buy and what software to run. I've read a little about Sweetspot, Real Magic X-card and DScaler, and how that can improve icture quality, and that the Radeon 9600 seems to be a popular choice? Do these complement each other or do I need one or the other? Assuming I will get a better picture from putting it through an HCPC, I'd like to connect my Sky digital box as well. How best to do this... S-Video or RGB Scart? Does this affect my choice of video card? P4 or Athlon? How fast does the processor need to be? is 512mb ram sufficient? I don't want to do anything other than watch sky and DVD's perhaps a PS2 in the future. I think I'm OK with the audio aspects of it all (just use the digitial out from the sound card to my av receiver, right?). Help me someone please!!! I have a plasterer comming over in a week's time tobed all the cables into the walls and I want to make sure I have everything covered.


Established Member
Lots of questions .. some answers:

1) Radeon 9600 non-Pro, ie. fanless.

2) X-Card only useful in lieu of a software DVD player, I preferred TheaterTek which is IMX the best quality DVD playing software for projector/large-screen use, far better than PowerDVD XP 5 from personal experimenting.

3) Sweetspot takes RGB/component/S-video and puts the signal through DScaler as a way of displaying Sky/NTL/younameit on the projector/plasma.

4) P4 or Athlon is a personal choice, no impact on HCPC, I prefer AMDs 'cos they're not made by Intel. ;)

5) Best connection to pj is via DVI, use RGB for your Sky box if possible, via Sweetspot perhaps, S-video is lesser quality.

6) You're right, audio via SPD/IF to a/v receiver. If using AMD get an nForce2-based system, I use ASUS A7N8X there are Shuttle equivalents. nForce2 SoundStorm has a Dolby encoder which is nice for feeding digital sound from non-DVD sources.

HTH. :)


Distinguished Member
Perhaps the Nebula for Digital Terrestrial TV Viewing/Capture/Playback (Tivo-style functionality).

I'm discovering you need a fast CPU for hi def material, and high rate Mpeg4.

The latest video from AVForums

Sony A84L/A80L BRAVIA XR OLED TV Review - COMPARED to LG C3, Samsung QD-OLED & LG G3
Subscribe to our YouTube channel
Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom