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opinions on www.crayston-web.co.uk

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by johnMason, May 14, 2002.

  1. johnMason

    johnMason
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    Has noone actually bought of these HCPCs? I know there has been a thread in the past about it but... They have reduced their prices a bit now so it seems like they might be a bit better value. id be interested in your opinions or if anyone has a link to a review pllleeaase reply.
     
  2. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    I don't know what's in them, but they seem very expensive. Nice looking though. :)

    You can build a htpc for around £300 and get excellent results, so paying over an extra £1000 for the build and tweaking seems a little excessive.

    Have you thought of going the d.i.y route?

    Gary.
     
  3. Stuart Wright

    Stuart Wright
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    Gary, I don't think it's possible to build a home cinema PC for 300 quid. Not a reasonably good one, anyway. Definitely not if you actually pay for the Windows OS and all the software.
    And it's probably not the very cheapest crap put into that Crayston PC, anyway. There's probably a £150 audiophile sound card and £150 capture card for a start. Quiet CPU fans, quiet HDD enclosures, quiet HDDs etc. It mounts up.
     
  4. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    Well, I managed to build mine for around £350 using:

    ECS K7S5A mobo £51
    Duron 950 £36
    fan £4 (£19.50)
    memory 128 100 £17.34
    case £18 (£16.45)
    floppy £7
    HDD £49 (26)
    DVD £36 (multiregion)
    Radeon VE 32meg £36 (64ddr £10)
    KB/Mouse £4.50
    SB 4.1 £24

    All prices are from ebuyer.com, and you have to add the bracketed price for a quietpc (except in the case of the Radeon, which I added just for the sake of it).

    Hardware = £285 to £360.

    The above quietpc spec is more or less the spec of my machine except I'm using an Aureal SQ1500 instead of SB 4.1. The Aureal was £18 including postage from the USA.

    I used my existing copy of WinMe, the free copy of WinDVD 2.3 that came with a DVD player (free web upgrade to 2.8), and ATI MMC 7.5 which is a free download. I just installed the DVD player software and used Zoom Player as the front end (free) to use the ATI video with WinDVD audio.

    I sometimes just use the ATI player combined with YXY (free) for those occasional titles that don't play well under Zoom.

    OS can be boughty from computer fairs for less than £60 if you really need to buy it.

    So you see, a functional htpc can be made on the cheap, and will give you excellent picture quality combined with DD/DTS pass through.

    I don't know how much better a £100 or £200 sound card will be, but even adding one still comes a lot cheaper than £1400. I don't think I could make a htpc for over a £1000 unless I used all the very top components and very fastest processor. All unnecessary to play DVD and run DScaler though.

    Adding a PCTV Rave tv card for DScaler (free) adds a further £30 btw.

    Making an ir receiver costs less than £5, and a remote for it costs around £20. That's my next project so I'll let you know the results. I'll probably need some help with girder I have to say! :)

    Gary.
     
  5. Branxx

    Branxx
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    Crayston markets its HTPC as high end audio/DVD player (server) products.

    Although, the cost of individual components may not exactly add up to £1,450, as a high end DVD player this is cheap considering that there are further uses to it.

    Those of us who build own HTPC have actually acquired top-end gear at extrimely low prices. An equivalent quality audio/video solution consisting of traditional high-end separates will cost several times more. Comparing to that, Crayston PC is an excellent value.
     
  6. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Can I add that I some comment....

    I am not exactly PC illiterate and I've spent almost a week of my free time trying to set up my own. This is with help from guys who do know and using proven parts. It is still not close to the performance I know is achievable although I know many folk would think it great....

    My point is that the parts are often not the problem.....the configuration and tweaking is the bit that's equally, if not more, important. I've also seen quite a few HTPC's and they are all not created equal....

    If the Crayston thing works to the level they suggest then it should offer pretty good value for money.....if....


    Gordon
     
  7. Jeff

    Jeff
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    Gordon,

    Just spotted your ad banner :cool:

    I take it you finally got TheaterTek running?
     
  8. Gary Lightfoot

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    I totaly agree with you Gordon..

    I did have some teathing troubles with my current htpc, so I reinstalled the OS and then just the stuff that would get it up and running and playing DVDs via Zoom Player.

    I then copied it across onto my new quiet hard drive, and made a ghost image too. ( the reason I had to reinstall was because upgrading IE caused issues with YXY and then with the sound),

    Now if it goes wrong for whatever reason I can quickly just pop the old hard drive back in, or do a quick reformat and restore the ghost image.

    I'd reccommend two partitions on a htpc so that ghosting can be done quickly, though my bare bones working set-up goes onto a single CD.

    HTH

    Gary.
     
  9. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Jeff:

    Kinda groovy banner add....I like it!

    I have TT working now....Just need to work on custom timings then have another look at Dscaler. The new drivers for radeon (well older ones actually) have caused the capture card image to look a bit iffy..

    One thing at a time though. It'll be next week before that happens I think though. Probably Monday. Expect a call about that and the O.S. issue.

    Garry: Ghost image is exactly what's on the agenda for Monday, along with creating a new partition for it.

    Gordon
     
  10. johnMason

    johnMason
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    Thanks for the help;
    I decided to get one anyway and am quite impressed with it so far.
     
  11. JSW

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    The following components are used in the Crayston:

    Processor : AMD Athlon XP 1600+
    Motherboard : Soyo Dragon K7V +
    Memory : 256mb DDR
    Graphics : ATI Radeon 7200/7500 GPU
    Storage : 40gb Seagate Hard Drive
    LiteOn DVD Drive
    Sony Floppy Drive
    56K Modem
    Control : Logitech Cordless Desktop Optical (Keyboard + Mouse)

    Not ground breaking or high end in my opinion and I build lots of pc's

    The above spec with a Dign case can be done for a little over £500

    No mention of a soundcard so assume they are using the inbuilt 5.1 audio of the motherboard a review of which can be found here
    http://www.amdmb.com/article-display.php?ArticleID=137

    The software is not special either:
    The following software is preinstalled with the Crayston AV:

    Microsoft Windows XP Professional
    Powerstrip 3.15
    Girder 3.0.25
    PowerDVD XP 4.0
    Crayston AV Support Software
     
  12. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    If you buy one, it looks like you'll be spending over £1000 on support then...

    Looking at the spec, I can safely say that it won't produce images any better than the machine I've built, or give noticably better sound.

    Powerdvd XP will probably give a better image than WinDVD 2.6, but I believe that the ATI player still gives the best images available for DVD playback - which is why the TheaterTec player uses them, and why many people use them with Zoom Player.

    I think I may have to go into the htpc business...;)

    Gary
     
  13. salty5000

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    Sorry to rescue this thread but....
    Does anyone have anything to say about the new version of this HTPC? Its cheaper at £649 which seems like better value if it will save me making my own machine .....
     

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