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Sweetspot/Xcard setup 4 uncompromised performance?

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by probeski, Jul 30, 2004.

  1. probeski

    probeski
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    Hi, i plan on building a new HTPC with a sweetspot and xcard using Dscaler. I want it mainly for scaling DVD and Foxtel Digital (Australia) to a HD plasma, PVR, and music playing. Can i get some hardware suggestions for uncompromised performance?

    1) CPU & Mobo. I was planning on an Asus A7NX-Deluxe with Athlon XP 2100+; will this be enough or maybe even overkill?

    2) Ram. I was thinking 512MB of Dual channel DDR 333 or 400Mhz. Is memory speed especially important in a HTPC such as mine or for other HTPC setups; how so?

    3) Hard disk. In my HTPC I will use one fixed HD for XP but also an external removable HD which i can use for PVR. The external Hard drive should have enough space to record at least a couple to several movie length shows using showshifter. It can be modestly sized because i plan to transfer the drive to my P4 2.8C with 80GB which i can use to compress files and/or burn to dvd etc. Please let me know how big my external HD should be or just how many MB are used when recording an uncompressed movie length show to hard disk?

    4) DVD/CD drive - Just a quick and probably silly question, but is a DVD-ROM just as good for playing back audio cds or will a CD-ROM only drive do a better job?

    Thanks heaps.
     
  2. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    Personally whilst I think the sweetspot is great ( I have one) I'd be inclined to use it just for analogue capture. I'd use a standalone software dvd player such as theatertek for dvd duties.
     
  3. probeski

    probeski
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    Why is that i thought one of the main benefits of HTPCs was their superior scaling capabilities? Foxtel Digital is limited SDTV and i want to scale it to HDTV.
    I'm hoping that after feeding RGBS to sweetspot and DVI to plasma that the quality will be much improved than connecting Foxtel directly to the display.
    After rading many posts I'm still not sure if theatretek is better than the Xcard for PAL DVD playback.
     
  4. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    A sweetspot and Dscaler will provide you with the ability to take SDTV material deinterlace it and scale it : effectively turning your PC into an offboard scaler. The Xcard is not necessary for this function.

    The Xcard passes decoded dvd data to the sweetspot which effectively lets you use Dscaler to display dvd material without resorting to a standalone player. Whilst this is a good approach for video based dvds I'm inclined to say a standalone software dvd player : not a standalone seperate hardware dvd player, will offer better functionality and potentially better picture quality(less overhead on the cpu as well I suspect). Given the choice of shelling out for an Xcard or theatertek I'd go with theatertek ( maybe wait for version 2 though)
     
  5. probeski

    probeski
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    So then, will a Asus A7NX-Deluxe with Athlon XP 2100+ be okay with theatretek or should i forget the Xcard and get a P4 2.8c?
    I also want the DVD to be used easily for my parents; which is easier Xcard or Theatretek (i will get girder and remote)?
    I've read Xcard has stable pans and very good picture quality anyway, epecially for PAL DVD. Is there still judder issues with Theatretek (considering my hardware)?
     
  6. RobsterD

    RobsterD
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    I've tried the Xcard and Sweetspot PDI DVD route and am at the moment using Theatertek,the dscaler option was just too much a pain to get right def not parent friendly,TheaterTek on the other hand should be OK.
    I'm using a A7NXDeluxe with an XP2600 + 512m,TT and reclock and I'm reasonably happy with PQ at least I've stopped tweaking for the time being.
    Rob
     
  7. Scotty

    Scotty
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    That’s two votes for Theatretek, it is good but the sonic filters are showing there age Ver2 is a whole different ball game though can’t wait to see that.

    But just before we dismiss the X-Card, PDI Dscaler combo and btw there is virtually nothing between these two on picture or sound quality.

    The biggest headache I found with this option was the interface, messy and unreliable, that was and until I found JovePlayer form www.8dim.com.

    It’s a front end that allows web browsing, play music, videos and DVD’s and at the heart of this is the X-Card. It uses the remote control from the X-card to navigate the very friendly menu system so its easy to use by any member of the family.

    As for hardware requirements, the x-card is hardware decoding so uses very little in the way of processing power, however Dscaler can be very processor hungry, I use an Intel 865 chip M/b(Asus) with 2.6ghz P4 512mb Ram.

    Maybe the lads over at Pluggedin.tv could give you a more conservative list of requirements

    For an all round multimedia PC the x-card combo gets my vote :smashin:
     

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