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newbie plans need feedback

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by echo3, Feb 14, 2005.

  1. echo3

    echo3
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    Before I spend any money on this, anyone want to comment on this prospective set up, and how it might compare to a bespoke DVD recorder system like Panasonic DMR-E series.

    I currently have a Panasonic SC-HT520 Home Cinema System and I'm thinking of buying a Panasonic TH42PW7B for about £1400 quid with a Scart Board. I then need a DVD recorder to link to my Freeview box, but as one with a HDD is looking like being the best part of £350 I thought this set up might make more sense:

    Case
    Antec Aria Case - £65.22 is supposed to be quiet and looks okay - also small enough to fit in my cabinet and has front SD card reader and Firewire for my Camcorder.
    http://www.ebuyer.com/customer/prod...2hvd19wcm9kdWN0X292ZXJ2aWV3&product_uid=61065
    M/board + Processor + RAM
    Gigabyte GA-7VM400AMF with on board Firewire, with AMD Athlon XP 2800+, with 512MB PC3200 DDR RAM - £160 from www.dabs.co.uk
    Graphics Card
    Sapphire Radeon 9550 256MB DDR AGP8x - £52.99 is this any good?
    http://www.ebuyer.com/customer/prod...2hvd19wcm9kdWN0X292ZXJ2aWV3&product_uid=62209
    HDD
    Seagate Barracuda 160GB - £54.15 is supposed to be one of the quietest HDDs at this price and capacity.
    DVD Writer
    NEC 3520A - seems to be a good spec for £40
    TV Card
    The DigiTV card from nebula has won a few awards, but what are the alternatives? How will the picture compare to a Freeview Digibox?
    http://www.nebula-electronics.com/

    Plus a wireless Keyboard and Mouse/Trackball and obviously software.

    The total cost of the above would be £500 and would give me far more flexibility than just having a DVD Recorder. I'd appreciate any advice on the compnents I've selected and also general advice on software (like is XP mediacentre edition worth the xtra?)

    TIA,

    echo3.
     
  2. e365user

    e365user
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    athlon xp is no good. Buy athlon 64 or p4 instead.
    as for dvd writer, got nec3520a, its allright. make sure you put modded firmware on it(region free+ riplock remove).
     
  3. mjn

    mjn
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    Why use P4 over Athlon XP?
     
  4. lisag

    lisag
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    Hi,

    Everyone is going to have different opinions about this, I have a similar spec machine in a shuttle case with an Athlon XP 2700 and never had any problem with lacking processor power.

    Not familiar with that graphics card, does it have a fan? If so it may be noisy, I use a Nvidia FX5200 128mb - fanless. Actually what about the PSU they can be very noisy, you may need to find a quiet one, the shuttle uses a silentx, which is very quiet.

    I have already filled my 160gb hdd, and am getting an additional 300gb drive, so might need more storage than you think, depending on what you are planning to do.

    Also, what software are you planning to use?
    If it is MCE 2005 or DScaler you might want to check that the hardware, particularly tv/capture cards is on their supported list.

    Good luck
    lisa
     
  5. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    No problem with an XP but you may want to look at something a bit higher, say a 3200+ depending on cost as a 2800+ could be a tad limited for post-processing should you ever want to do some larger scaling .. just a thought.

    Instead of the 9550 I'd say go with a 9600 fanless in the ATI range, you don't need 256Mb, 128Mb is fine for an HTPC graphics card. Good choice of disk, suggest 200Gb given the relatively small increase in cost. Excellent choice of DVD burner. ;)

    'Fraid I can't comment on TV cards, not something I know anything about, but the reast of the system would make a good HTPC I think.
     
  6. echo3

    echo3
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    Thanks for the speedy replies. I'll change for a 9600 g-card (fanless) and less memory, and look at a larger HDD, may consider spending xtra £20 for a 3200+ Xp if m-board supports it. Case/PSU is xtra quiet apparently (made by same company that makes the Sonata - 20.4dbA if that means anything).

    Any advice on software?

    echo3.
     
  7. hoyin

    hoyin
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    If you want to use MCE2005 I don't think the Nebula card will work.

    However I am using the nebula card. I have it connected via DVI to my LCD TV. I have compared it to my Netgem iplayer via Scart and the quality improvement knocks the spots off my freeview box.

    Also the EPG and program recording and remote control works very very well.

    Also does the P4 not produce less heat?
     
  8. RobsterD

    RobsterD
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    Buy an athlon XP2600 mobile chip and wap it up to 2.4g on a 200FSB :smoke:
     
  9. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    Outside of MCE there are several popular players, personal preference plays a large part in determining which you choose: TheaterTek, WinDVD and PowerDVD. A more involved solution is to use ZoomPlayer (the 'Pro' version is needed for DVD playback) and then maybe the freebie DScaler 5 codecs, be warned though the ZP route will require some understanding of how video playback works on a PC in terms of how the decoders are used.

    No idea about PVR, ShowShifter seems to be popular.
     
  10. echo3

    echo3
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    Anybody got any opinions on SFF cases. It looks like a toss up between Antec Aria, that accepts any micro ATX board, or a Shuttle XPC SK43G or Biostar I-DEQ 210V. The latter is about £20 cheaper than the shuttle, but is VIA KM400A as opposed to the shuttles KM400.

    I have no data on sound emissions from any of these sets? anyone own one?

    echo3.
     
  11. lisag

    lisag
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    I have the shuttle sn41g2v2 with the silent-x power supply, very quiet. You can gear the hard drive spin on start-up but once running it is very quiet - if the room is silent you can make out a slight hum, but hardly noticeable
    lisa
     
  12. e365user

    e365user
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    Read the articles on the net.
    Generally speed ratings(especially for games):
    1. Amd64
    2. P4
    3. XP
    Video Editing and is an exception where p4 is a true leader. So if you are going to to run CCE or divx a lot get a p4.
     

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