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Some scepticism and many questions....

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by MerMan, Jul 30, 2002.

  1. MerMan

    MerMan
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    I have been contemplating a projector purchase for some time now for mostly dvd playback (spouse and room constraints not withstanding).

    Playback was always going to be my Meridian 596 via component cables (see current equipment list below).

    That was until I discovered these forums and specifically the HTPC one!

    Am I really reading correctly that an HTPC is the best way to drive a projector? Even over a high-end non-progressive or progressive DVD player? Is this due to the fact that the resolution can be matched exactly to that of the output device?

    Anyway I was already in the process of buying the bits and pieces to put together a PC and would like some advice on the remaining components I need before I commit any further. A nr silent running pc was always desirable as well.

    1) What DVD Rom drive to buy
    2) What Sound card to go for
    3) Would two graphics cards be better than one?

    The rest of the spec I have purchased is listed below.

    The PC would not be solely dedicated to HTPC use initially, although it may make sense to build a unit dedicated to it.

    All the software questions will come next i'm sure.


    Thank you in advance.




    ------------------
    HTPC SPEC (so far)
    ------------------
    a) Windows XP Professional
    b) Gigabyte GA 7VRXP ATA133 SktA
    c) AMD Athlon XP2000+ 266MHz FSB Processor
    d) 512MB PC2700 DDR (PC333) Memory
    e) Seagate ST380021A Barracuda 80GB 7200rpm
    f) Radeon 8500
    g) ATX Ultra-Quiet 300W PSU from Quietpc.com
    h) Flower CPU Cooler from Quietpc.com
    ------------------


    ----------------------
    CURRENT EQUIPMENT LIST
    ----------------------
    a) Meridian 596 DVD player
    b) Sky Digital (Sony)
    c) TIVO PVR
    d) Meridian 561 Surround Controller
    e) Meridian 557 Stereo Power Amplifier (Fronts)
    f) Arcan Alpha 10P 3 Channel Power Amplifier (Centre and Rears)
    g) Dynaudio Contour 1.8MkII (Front Speakers)
    h) Dynaudio Audience C40 (Centre Speaker)
    i) Mission FS2 (Rear Speakers)
    j) Audio Quest Indigo+ Speaker Cable (Fronts speakers)
    k) Chord Prodac Digital Cable (DVD player to processor)
    l) AudioTruth Jades Interconnects (Processor to all power amplifiers)
    m) Loewe Aconda 9381W

    Currently contemplating the following changes:

    1) Change to a 5CH Amplifier (Meridian 558?) and standardise on speaker cable
    2) Upgrading 596 DVD Player with progressive upgrade option or to Meridian 598

    --------------
     
  2. Kramer

    Kramer
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    I'd be worried that the Zalman Flower HS will not cool the XP2000 sufficiently, even at stock speeds.

    Taken from here . I know it was a T/Bred @2200, but still?

    Your original question?

    It depends on the PJ.

    Some scale better than others, so a HTPC will not be such a big improvement here.

    But for all around flexibility, & the ability to output any PJ's native resolution, a HTPC is the only choice.

    Using HTPC with my AE-100, & wouldn't have it any other way :eek:
     
  3. RichardH

    RichardH
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    DVDrom - the usual recommendation is for a Liteon 163 - try here - £32 inc VAT for the retail box including a copy of Power DVD (probably an old version, though).

    Sound card - with the set up you have, I'd suggest you get a decent one, even if you're simply outputting via the SPDIF to your processor. The MAudio cards are the ubiquitous choice here - the 2496 is available for £150 here - or for around £15 more you can get the Delta 410 (with 8 analogue outputs if you fancy using the HCPC as a processor) from http://www.digitalconnection.com - and that's including shipping, VAT and import duty.
    If you don't fancy a fancy soundcard, then you could try a cheapy that has SPDIF output, like this - the Creative Audigys are meant to be a little better, too.

    HTH
     
  4. MerMan

    MerMan
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    Kramer

    I have bulilt the pc with the Zalman Flower for the time being. The CPU runs at around 56 degrees with the System at around 45 degrees.

    How does this compare with your system?

    Regards


    HTH

    I purchased the Liteon from Ebuyer. I had already had an order outstanding so I just added it on. Seems a good driver but it certainly can get noisy when it winds up.

    Thanks again.


    I am just waiting on a copy of Windows XP before taking the HTPC setup further.

    Thanks again to both of you.
     
  5. Kramer

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    Are those readings at idle, or under load?

    Either way, your case temp is very high. You definately need some airflow in there.

    What kind of case is it & are there any fans fitted?

    The flower fan (BTW, I assume you've fitted the 92mm fan over the HS, & used some thermal paste, Arctic Silver 3 being prob. the best) is only passing warm/hot air over the heatsink with high case temps.

    To load your CPU, run SiSoftware Sandra Burn in for a while, or Super PI (both readily available for free download on the net - do a search), monitor the temps, & abort if they soar (CPU >65 I'd be worried).

    56 is fine if under load, but at idle is high.

    Try with the case side off first, & then with a desktop fan blowing air into the case.

    This will clearly illustrate how case cooling affects CPU temp.

    I'm hopefully watercooling in the coming weeks, both CPU & GPU initially - aiming for a practically silent, OC'ed, stable multifunction box.

    :D No harm in dreaming!!:D
     
  6. MAW

    MAW
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    Sound cards, reading beween creative's lines, their cheapy does not pass DD & DTS signals through, search their knowledge base for confirmation. You may think I've lost the plot here, but trust me.... Recently obtained a extigy, cheap thank god, and this is the case here. Luckily it does a pretty good job as a processor.
     
  7. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    I get 44C for cpu and 33C for mobo when idle using the zalman flower.

    This increases to about 50C and 38C after 5 hours of Dscaling (no dropped frames greedy HM adaptive noise filter).

    I'm using a P3 1.1GHz tualatin.

    I recently turned the fan up to max in the hot weather but this only made about 3C difference.

    The HTPC never drops frames or skips. TT can be made to crash if I play around with it but Dscaler is solid as a rock.

    Bout time for a new case methinks!
     
  8. Kramer

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    Nothing wrong with those temps, but your system is far from being under heavy load using Dscaler.

    Try either of the progs I mentioned above & see how hot it will get (& probably unstable):eek:

    Athlons run far hotter than P3s, especially an XP2000+.

    The flower is obviously a comprimise between performance & silence.

    BTW, my case temp is (as I type now, ambient @ 25C), 26C idle - under load 27C (good case cooling, 2x80mm intakes at front, 1x80mm exhaust at rear + Enermax 350w PSU also exhausting. All practically silent running at 7 volts).

    CPU 45C idle, 50 full load (stress testing, 3DMark2001, Burn-in etc..), but that soon drops if I up the fan speed (normally runs at 3650 RPM, but at full chat hits 6700 RPM :eek: ).

    GPU idle 37C, full load 50C.

    This is in an Athlon XP1800+ (stock 1530mHz) running at 1732mHz - 165fsb x10.5 mltp).

    Now where's them waterblocks I ordered :rolleyes:
     
  9. Caveat

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    If all youre doing is DVD playback and DScaler, then the dedicated HCPC starts to look quite appealing. Optimising for noise and heat rather than speed can be cost effective too. Older processors tend to be cheap and cool, and plenty potent enough for these needs - I use my generic higher spec PC to capture. The Radeons without fans are the cheapest ones.

    I use an mATX case (with the PSU fan replaced with a papst fan) and a 1GHz Celeron (again with a quiet fan on it). Im thinking of swapping to a Via C3 cpu (about the same price as a posh heatsink/fan for a fast cpu) which will run without any fan. Its not only the noise, but in this weather the heat too.

    I think the whole set-up could be built for around £350 (+ about £150 for software) which is a nice price for progressive DVD player and high quality scaler in one small box.

    PS After the software comes usability - thats really the tricky bit!
     

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