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To HCPC or not

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Colonel Burton, Jul 13, 2004.

  1. Colonel Burton

    Colonel Burton
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    Hi all, I’m toying with the thought of jumping in to the HCPC world but not sure whether it’s worth the cost (performance wise like harddrive accessing,pausing stutering and so on as i have never seen one up and runing) speaking of which ill have about 800 squid to play with or just go and buy a 5.1 cinema system instead what would you do? cheers
     
  2. Jeff

    Jeff
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    It depends on the display, if it's a regular TV I wouldn't bother, if it's high resolution display then yes its probably worth while. £800 is plenty.
     
  3. Colonel Burton

    Colonel Burton
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    ok thanks, i`m getting a plasma screen soon so thats not a problem so what would you suggestion for my budget i have a m/board and cpu if i wanted to use them amd xp 2400 and a Asus A7N8X or should a go the intel route thanks
     
  4. Colonel Burton

    Colonel Burton
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    So would someone please be kind enough to spec me a system for £800 as i`m not to sure as to what i need and which hardware is the best for this type of application cheers
     
  5. Colonel Burton

    Colonel Burton
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    Anyone pretty please
     
  6. Brogan

    Brogan
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    This question gets asked a lot (I myself asked the very same question) which is probably why you haven't had an answer.
    I'm not an expert but the most important thing for an HTPC is that it is as quiet as possible.
    This means using hardware without fans wherever possible (e.g. video card) and having efficient cooling with heatsinks.

    Do a search as there are tons of threads recommending HTPC setups.
     
  7. David PluggedIn

    David PluggedIn
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    or if you want to get an off the shelf unit then contact Uvem or EntertainmentPC, both of whom have an excellent range of HTPCs.
     
  8. Colonel Burton

    Colonel Burton
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    Thanks for the replys and i am now search the forums and picking little bits of info up
    yeah i did contact EntertainmentPC but there prices are well above my £800 budget :(
     
  9. owain_thomas

    owain_thomas
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    If money is really an issue it would be a good idea to have a look at the various things a HCPC can do and decide which are for you. Some examples are dvd, cd audio, mp3/ape/flac audio, internet radio/tv, DVR, PVR, internet access, pisture viewer, DTT, digital satellite, the list goes on.

    When you know exactly what you want you can concentrate on the exact components you need. If you ONLY want to do DVD there are a couple of options. You can go for an ultra low-end spec and probably only spend a few hundred quid.

    A step up from this in terms of quality would be using more exotic hardware (such as a sweetspot card and sigma Xcard) to get a pure digital, hardware decoded picture to your plasma.

    Another option (the one I've gone for) is to do all the dvd decoding in software but use something like FFDSHOW (a quick search will tell you loads about this incredibly versatile video processor) to scale and improve the perceived quality of your dvd images. This second option is cheaper in terms of not needing two extra PCI cards but you would need a better general system (faster CPU, more memory).

    This is why it's important to look carefully at what you want to achieve with it beforehand, there's so many options it can be a bit bewildering at first.

    hope this was helpful,
    Owain
     
  10. stuartam_81

    stuartam_81
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    what about this:

    MSI Mega 180 Deluxe Barebones System - £226.78 - ( link )
    AMD Athlon "Barton" XP2500+ - £52.82 - ( link )
    Zalman Flower CNPS6000-Cu Silent Socket A CPU Cooler - Retail - £26.44 - ( link should fit in the case but not 100% )
    GeIL 256MB PC3200 Golden Value CAS2.5 - £33.49 - ( link )
    Western Digital Caviar Special Edition 200GB 2000JB ATA-100 8MB Cache - OEM - £82.19 - ( link )
    Sapphire ATI Radeon 9200 64MB DDR TV-Out/DVI - Retail - £39.89 - ( link )

    i think thats it except OS and a TV card but for £421.72 thats not bad, you can spent loads more on better / bigger case's, cpu's etc.

    anyway just my ideas ;)

    best regards
     
  11. Colonel Burton

    Colonel Burton
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    Thanks for your help owain_thomas it`s most appreciated to tell you the truth i would really like it to do just about everything play dvd`s,music cd/mp3 record tv/digital tv and so on and have good 5.1 sound i could go up to £1000 but thats about may lot and this is where it does get bewildering as to know what i need to do the things above

    stuartam_81
    Thanks for taking the time and effort to post a reply with suggestions and links it all does help much apperciated
     
  12. owain_thomas

    owain_thomas
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    Ok, if you want good quality video and audio output then you can't go far wrong with a radeon 9600SE (about £45) and an MAudio Revo (£75). From there think about a case, you can save a load by getting a cheapy (£30) or go for a thing of beauty like a strata (£300). Athlons could be good value, something like a 2500+ would be a good start. If you want DTT then there's only one choice, a Nebula (£120).

    Have a look at some of those things, the rest you can just tailor to your budget I suppose. For £1000 you can get a great setup as long as you don't mind a crappy case. My setup (see the sig) was about £1400, but that was with a strata case and nice gyration wireless keyboard, if you went for cheaper options, under £1000 shouldn't be a problem.

    Owain
     
  13. Colonel Burton

    Colonel Burton
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    Thanks again owain case wise i`ve been looking at the Accent HT-400 as for the other items you suggested i`ll look in to those but will most likley go with them :)
     
  14. The Dude

    The Dude
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    Hi Colonel..

    Using Owain's setup as an example..

    if you swap the p4 for an athlon (barton) and the Strata case for the accent you mention, you should manage it for £1000.

    You'll have a nice looking case, full of good quality parts, and it'll do anything you've mentioned very well..
     
  15. Colonel Burton

    Colonel Burton
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    Thanks The Dude would it be the M-Audio Audiophile 2496 soundcard i`m after? and what silent/quite hsf would i go for with a barton? cheers
     
  16. The Dude

    The Dude
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    I've got the 2496, which is a 2ch card with digi out for DD

    the revo has 5.1 outputs and digi out for DD


    I doubt there is much of a difference between the two, although i'd guess the 2496 would be slightly better quality as it's less channels for the same money..

    what sort of Amp/speaker setup will you be using? this determines if you need the 5.1 outputs of the Revo...

    I use the Scythe Kamakaze ( samurai is their new model ) cooler, as it's quite a bit smaller than the zalman flower. Accent cases ( I've got the HT201 ) aren't all that roomy around the cpu..

    It's just as quiet, abaout the same price, but guaranteed to fit in your case..
     
  17. Colonel Burton

    Colonel Burton
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    Well that is something else i would need help with the Amp/speakers i want 5.1 and needs to be decent sound my current all in one system is alright but the front speaker is with some dvd`s lacking volume
     
  18. Colonel Burton

    Colonel Burton
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    Could i use the Logitech Z-680 THX 5.1 for my amp/speakers or would this not cut it?
     

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