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Thoughts on HTPC hardware spec

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by calvinhobbes, Nov 29, 2004.

  1. calvinhobbes


    Products Owned:
    Products Wanted:
    Would love your thoughts on the following as well as any answers to my questions at the end.

    nforce 4 or Via PCIe AMD 939 motherboard
    AMD64 FX53/55 939 pin processor
    Corsair 1024 MB DDR PC3200 (open to non-XL or XL depending on price difference)

    Storage / Drives
    3 x 160MB Serial ATA Samsung Spinpoint 1614N/1614C hard drive but open to alternative that are equally as quiet - basically looking for 400-500GB capacity)
    DVD Drive capable of dual layer and +- RW (e.g. NEC or plextor)

    ATI X800 XT Platinum PCIe 256MB
    Sweetspot video processing card

    Creative Labs Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS THX
    Yamaha RXV-1500 Integrated Amplifier / Receiver

    1. Is there a wireless keyboard (range up to 20 ft) with built-in touchpad or mini-mouse on the keyboard?
    2. What alternative are there to the Samsung hard drives in terms of quietness?
    3. What is the best cooling system for this set up in the $300 range?
    4. Do I need an Audigy z2 if I'm simply going to digital out to the Yamaha amp? Should I get an Envy-based card instead?
    5. Which one is better for gaming and TV / video: the Radoen X800 XT Plat or the Nvidia 6800 Ultra?
  2. KraGorn

    Active Member

    Aug 30, 2003
    Products Owned:
    Products Wanted:
    Trophy Points:
    To pick up some questions:

    1. While it doesn't conform to your requirement for a built-in mouse, I'd recommend the Gyration radio keyboard and mouse .. range is 30' I believe and the mouse is so much easier to use than anything else I've tried. Unless you expect to use the keyboard a lot, I'd suggest the mouse at least.

    2. Samsung disks are now no longer guaranteed to be the quietest. You'd have to do some digging around here for the references, but it emerged in the summer that Samsung have switched drive motor suppliers and they are no longer as quiet as the previous models were. The Seagate Barracuda, which was the 'quiet drive' before Samsuns first appeared, is now back in that position I would say.

    3. Not sure of the $ price, IMHO the Zalman Reserator is the best due to it being 100% silent, however a 2' high blue, finned cylinder may not fit into everyone's living room decor. ;)

    4. For SPD/IF-only it would seem to me that the Envy-based cards a probably all you need.

    5. Since both cards appear to be much of a muchness as far as gaming is concerned .. some games run better on one, some games on the other, some more pretty even .. then unless there's a particular game you want to play for which one is markedly better then I'd go for the 6800 due to its' superior MPEG and video processing for an HTPC.

    For a DVD drive I prefer LiteOn, nice drives, nice price and you can get a utility that can change region code and reset the counters to give you region-free convenience without the need to flash the drive or use utilities like AnyDVD if all you want to do is play DVDs from more than one region.

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