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Q:-Modifying HTPC with WMP/HDTV in mind

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Mark Ward, Jun 23, 2004.

  1. Mark Ward

    Mark Ward
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    Currently running

    A9N8X Deluxe Mobo Rev 1.06
    Athlon 2400+
    512MB PC3200 Ram (2X256)
    128MB Sapphire Radeon 9500(Non-pro)
    My GFX card CAN be software modded to Radeon9700 but haven't worked out the RivaTuner settings yet.

    What would be the most effective upgrades for getting Hi-Def stuff working well? Is more Ram or CPU or GFX Power more important?

    With My Mobo in mind what's the optimum CPU to go for?

    Thanks,

    Mark.
     
  2. Pulsar

    Pulsar
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    Mark,

    Have you tried playing some HDTV? If so what happens?

    I have seen people with lower spcs than yours say they can run 720p stuff fine, and most 1080i stuff also.

    WRT an upgrade, I would investigate that soft-mod, or look at the radeon 9800 pro for about £130. You should look whether you can overclock your processor by raising the FSB. If you can hit 400 Mhz, maybe reducing the multiplier to say 11.5 or 12, you will have the equivelant of a XP3300. Hard drive speed may also be an issue? Your RAM is plenty for HDTV, as I have 512, and can play everything fine.

    HTH

    Rob
     
  3. Mark Ward

    Mark Ward
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    Thanks for the reply

    Most 720P seems ok, but a little "choppy" 1080i WM9s really don't work too well. I was considering a complete re-install just to remove verious things I've tried over the years. Thinking about it I still have reclock installed, maybe that's got something to do with it.

    .ts stuff is generally fine with VideoLan, but rubbish with MediaPlayer.

    I'll look at the softmod again. I did lots of searched on howto config with RivaTuner but really didn't unserstand which was relevant to my situation.

    What about the CPU upgrade option? That seems to be a cheap solution right now, though obviously if it's not going to help too much I'd rather stay where I am an try a little harder to overclock. Mind you I'm running at a high CPU temperature already (50-52 idle :eek:) since I overclocked a bit (was low 40's).

    I doubt hard drive speed is an issue, I have a 120gb Seagate Barcuda in there which is regularly degfragged with diskkeeperPro.

    That's good to hear, I really didn't want to throw too much more money at this machine.

    Thanks for the pointers,

    Cheers,

    Mark.
     
  4. rOAdeh

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    Mark,

    From what i understand the requirements for HD material are mostly CPU based and thus a new processor might well give you the extra oomph you need. The graphics requirement is just a 128mb dx9 card i think and so your current card should qualify for that.

    512MB RAM should be more than enough for a standard HTPC imo as well. In terms of CPU upgrades, you can obviously look towards the 3200+ XPs etc without needing an upgrade for your motherboard. However as a cost effective measure i personally would recommend the "Mobile" processors that OcUK (and maybe others) are currently selling. The 2500+s go for about £60 each and should easily overclock to 3000+ speeds if not higher and because they are designed for mobile use they run at a lower voltage which means less heat and therefore less cooling.

    If you managed to sell on your current processor it should mean that your no more than £30-40 out of pocket especially if you pick up a new processor second hand.

    HTH,

    Ben

    p.s. Am enjoying the BenQ immensely :D - its all syncing up nice and neatly at a 720p DVI input from my htpc too.. shall report my findings in a couple of weeks when i have had time to fiddle about with it :)
     
  5. Mark Ward

    Mark Ward
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    I think it looks as if the CPU is the only thing I need to do then? Having uninstalled FFDShow & Reclock I'm doing fine with 720p stuff, though 1080i is still maxing out the CPU.

    So.. It HAS to be a CPU for my A7N8X, I want to keep the heat down as much as I can, but from what I gather there's a direct link between CPU speed and heat.

    What's the one to go for, hopefully the best pricepoint for performance option I reckon. But how low can I go to get true performance from 1080i sources?

    Cheers,

    Mark.
     
  6. The Dude

    The Dude
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    I run a stock xp2800 barton on the same board as yours, which stays suprisingly cool all things considered (case chock full of hard-drives and fully soundproofed), my peak temp is 50-52, (idle 36) and these are fairly cheap these days.. can't help you with min HDTV requirements though.. :confused:
     
  7. Mark Ward

    Mark Ward
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    Went with this:)

    New CPU, combined with a bigger(92mm)&quieter fan on the heatsink should do very nicely I reckon.

    I had no idea how overclockable those mobile chips are.

    Thanks,

    Mark.
     
  8. james.miller

    james.miller
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    mobile chips are very overclockable. 2.4ghz is a real possibility with 95% of them.

    as far the softmod, well thats easy. just download the omega drives. onces they are downloaded, uninstall your current graphics card drivers and reboot. Install the omega drivers and it will give you the option of installing the softmod :thumbsup:
     
  9. Mark Ward

    Mark Ward
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    Well my 2500+Mobile chip has arrived.

    One thing that's concerning me...I discussed this upgrade with a few pals, some of whom seem to think that the mobiles run cooler because the are in some way performance limited to keep them that way.

    Now I'm thinking will I be getting ANY boost at all over my overclocked 2400+. Would I be better off with a stock 3.0 Athlon?

    Can anyone let me know some BIOS settings to try with this chip? What FSB? What Multipliers etc. for the A7N8X. The chips aren't that expensive so I'm propeared to chance some hefty overclocking if it's possible.

    What would a setting like that report in the "My Computer" status page? I already get 2.14ghz showing and my CPU maxes out on High Def stuff.

    Thanks,

    Mark.
     
  10. james.miller

    james.miller
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    They are wrong:) mobiles dont actually run much cooler at all compared to a desktop running at the same speed and voltage. What makes mobiles run cooler is that they run at a lower default voltage. lower voltage = less heat, but that goes out the window when you start overclocking.

    Hardly any at stock, but then you bought an overclocking cpu so that isnt really important. TRust me, the 2500+ mobile will do a lot better than 2.1ghz. hell even my 1700+ tbred does 2.4ghz.
    they dont make 3ghz athlons

    It will report the cpu as a 2.4ghz athlon or whatever speed you run at.
     
  11. Baggy

    Baggy
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    Mark,
    Have a look at OcUK's forum there's a thread on overclocking the mobile processor.
     
  12. Mark Ward

    Mark Ward
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    Will do, thanks! :smashin:
     
  13. Baggy

    Baggy
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    Mark,
    What speed did you get the mobile Athlon to run at in the end?

    Did it run WMP/HDTV OK?

    Regards

    Kevin
     
  14. Mark Ward

    Mark Ward
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    Believe it or not I've still not got it sorted satisfactorily:(

    I've reinstalled XP (twice) but don't seem to be able to install any PCI or USB devices (even putting my old CPU back in). A google search for "invalid device pci install" brings up a common problem with a reg hack ,solution however it doesn't cure it fo me.

    I've gone back to my old Radeon9500 and Athlon2400+ but still get the problem. I've updated the Mobo Bios to the latest, back to the previous one I had, then tried the one released between my old version and the latest with no cure.

    Also I don't seem to be able to get the mobile2500 stable on the 200/400FSB option. Basically once I've got my Nebula, TV100 and Gyration keyboard working at stock speeds I'll play with overclocking settings.

    Any ideas??

    Cheers,

    Mark.
     
  15. Mark Ward

    Mark Ward
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    Believe it or not I've still not got it sorted satisfactorily:(

    I've reinstalled XP (twice) but don't seem to be able to install any PCI or USB devices (even putting my old CPU back in). A google search for "invalid device pci install" brings up a common problem with a reg hack ,solution however it doesn't cure it fo me.

    I've gone back to my old Radeon9500 and Athlon2400+ but still get the problem. I've updated the Mobo Bios to the latest, back to the previous one I had, then tried the one released between my old version and the latest with no cure.

    Also I don't seem to be able to get the mobile2500 stable on the 200/400FSB option. Basically once I've got my Nebula, TV100 and Gyration keyboard working at stock speeds I'll play with overclocking settings.

    Any ideas??

    Cheers,

    Mark.
     
  16. Baggy

    Baggy
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    Afraid not.

    I was just curious as to how it was working as I'd like to up my CPU and I'm undecided between a standard Barton or a Mobile.

    Regards

    Baggy
     
  17. Mark Ward

    Mark Ward
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    Believe it or not I've still not got it sorted satisfactorily:(

    I've reinstalled XP (twice) but don't seem to be able to install any PCI or USB devices (even putting my old CPU back in). A google search for "invalid device pci install" brings up a common problem with a reg hack ,solution however it doesn't cure it fo me.

    I've gone back to my old Radeon9500 and Athlon2400+ but still get the problem. I've updated the Mobo Bios to the latest, back to the previous one I had, then tried the one released between my old version and the latest with no cure.

    Also I don't seem to be able to get the mobile2500 stable on the 200/400FSB option. Basically once I've got my Nebula, TV100 and Gyration keyboard working at stock speeds I'll play with overclocking settings.

    Any ideas??

    Cheers,

    Mark.
     
  18. sneaky

    sneaky
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    Why Overclock - Its a recipe for disaster in the end. When you have problems you never know whether it is the overclocking that is causing the problems and you spend more time fixing the thing than actually using it.

    If you can afford a gyration keyboard/mouse and a nebula why dont you just get a pucker cpu 3200 or so and have done with it instead of pratting about.

    Overclocking is for kids and people who cant afford to upgrade.

    Only My Opinion of Course.

    Good Luck
     
  19. james.miller

    james.miller
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    what a pathetic and snobish attitude.

    Only My Opinion of Course.

    'ill tell you why though, because my xp1700 is FASTER than a 3200+. Not only that, but a damn site cheaper aswell. Thats why. As for recipe for for diasaster - somebody who doesnt overclock would say that. let's say ive never had any problems, eh?

    the benifits of overclocking heavily outweight the initial messing about.
     
  20. Mark Ward

    Mark Ward
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    Thanks for the replies guys...

    Why overclock? Because that was the advice I got here. XP2500Mobile produces a LOT less heat than a 3200, and heat isn't your fried when avoiding case fans etc.

    Wasn't a money decision for me.

    To be honest I can't see why you are against tuning a PC to it's optimum performance. If that means a cheaper CPU will do everything I need it to then I'm comfortable with that.

    Anyway... Thanks to a suggestion from Messiah I downloaded & installed XP ServicePack2 and all is now hunkydory:)

    Can't comment on performance yet but everything has installed properly now.

    Mark.
     
  21. Baggy

    Baggy
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    Mark,
    That good news.
    Baggy
     
  22. Mark Ward

    Mark Ward
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    Certainly is :)

    Currently ruuning at 2.25Ghz (Don't know what that is the equivelent of in Athlons or P4's but it is coping with just about everything.

    A very tough 1080P (Yes P) Hi-Def Clip I have and use to test the limits labours at very busy moments but for the most part handles it fine.

    Will try dropping voltage a little tomorrow (Currently 1.7v) to reduce heat (currently 50c=CPU & 37c=Mobo at full load with case on and no fans exept in PSU)

    May just tweak the speed up a little more too to see if that cures the panning with busy picture slight anomolies.

    Very happy right now,

    Mark.
     
  23. james.miller

    james.miller
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    an axp 3200+ runs at 2.2ghz/200mhz fsb :thumbsup:
     
  24. Mark Ward

    Mark Ward
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    That's fantastic! Still, you did say that 2.4ghz is possible with 95% of units of this chip..... Nah! Happy where I am (for tonight anyway:))

    Been running at full load for a few hours now, still same same temps.

    Mark.
     
  25. james.miller

    james.miller
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    im very supried your chip needs that much voltage tbh. hell even my xp1700 can do 2.4ghz but the temps are just too high in this case for that. at any rate, you've just realised why overclocking is so attractive to some people:)
     
  26. sneaky

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    James,

    Whats snobbish and pathetic about why I think overclocking can in certain cases cause problems.

    People overclock for one reason and one reason only - you want it go faster (thats it period) - What you are doing is equivalent to driving 1100 cc citroen saxo at 120 mph down the motorway - The saxo will eventually give up the ghost and burn out - as will your 1700 - it wasnt designed to do that. HOW DO YOU COOL IT.

    You seem like a knowledgeable chap - so you will know that a computers speed is not all about the processor and how fast it runs anyway.

    Like I said before the attractiveness of overclocking is that it saves you a bit of cash and you feel really good that you have achieved something - if thats for you well thats great - Id rather buy the pukka gear and then be using it while the overclocking guys are still messing about.
     
  27. james.miller

    james.miller
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    you honestly cant see what wrong with that statement? overclocking isnt performed by a bunch of kids, neither it is just for people who cant afford it. You do realise some peale spend 4-500 POUNDS on state of the art cooling to aid overclocking attempts - do you still think its only for people who cant afford it?

    overclocking for me is about getting more for your money. it's that simple:thumbsup:

    Thermalright slk800 and an 1800rmp fan. keeps my temps below 50c at all times. If you go and look at the temps of a few dells or other store built pc's, you'll see that my temps are actually lower. That statement of yours just goes to show how much you really dont know about overclocking.

    Did you realise most mobile bartons 2500+ can run at 3200+ speeds using less voltage than a true 3200+? do you still think those overclocked 2500+'s will burn out quicker than the 3200+'s, not forgetting they will be running with less voltage AND running cooler? of course not.

    Honestly you know very little about it, hence your opinion is uneducated. It's fine to state an opinion mate, but they way you put it across is just wrong in so many ways. :)
     
  28. Mark Ward

    Mark Ward
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    1.7V was taken from a couple of threads on overclockers, not because of any specific requirements.

    I think I'll try a lower voltage which will hopefully reduce the CPU temp a bit.

    TBH, I'm not at all worried about 50Deg at full load, but lower with same performance would obviously be preferable.

    As for overclocking burning out the chip quicker, most CPU's are out of date "top-end-performance" wise after a couple of years anyway. So if I leave it at stock speed it may well last longer, but like the old processor I just replaced, it'll be obsolete before it dies of premature old age. Overclock and enjoy I say :)

    Overclocking..Viagra for CPUs;)

    Mark.
     
  29. sneaky

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    James,

    How can you be saving money when it may cost an extra say £75-£100 for a better cpu and £400-£500 for something to cool it.
     
  30. james.miller

    james.miller
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    your confusing elite overclockers with me.
    xp1700+ - £45. slk800 - £30. thats what i paid when xp3200's were still £300. you get me?;)

    [​IMG]

    My temps and speeds. all perfectly within the margins. far within. Also note my cpu voltage - LOWER than a stock 3200+ (1.65v)
     

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