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Upgrading HTPC

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Pulsar, Feb 1, 2003.

  1. Pulsar

    Pulsar
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    Hello.

    I have only recently joined the HTPC ranks, but am addicted already. I have decided to upgrade from my Shuttle SS51G to a full size case. This is beacuse I want to use a better sound card than the built in audio on the shuttle, and it will give me a better upgrade path with more PCI slots drive bays.

    I currently have a Radeon 9700, an LG dvd drive, 512 MB DDR 133 RAM, 40 GB Maxtor HD and a Leadtek Winfast 2000 XP tv card with capture.

    My Shuttle system was based on a Pentium 4 2.2 Ghz which I was happy with in performance terms, but I think I may try an Athlon now mainly due to its lower price. I want the system to perform for 3D games, so am looking at a Athlon XP2100+. Is there a recommended motherboard that would partner this potherboard well, preferably with built in LAN?

    My next question is how do I keep this thing quiet? I don't want to spend mega bucks on water cooling (Comer?) but don't mind buying high quality fans if they help.

    At the moment I use the onboard optical digital output built into the Shuttle to feed my Av amp, and am more than happy. I see alot of people use M-audio soundcards, why is this? Would a Soundblaster Audigy 2 give me good results?

    I would also like some help in sourcing these components, can someone suggest anywhere? I use www.ebuyer.com quite a bit and will probably buy most of the bits from there.

    If anyone can think of anything I have missed then please give me a shout.

    Cheers

    Rob
     
  2. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    A good mod that is relatively cheap and works, is to replace the PSU fan with a 19db Papst fan from www.quietpc.co.uk.

    No one here was brave enough to risk the 12db fan, but maybe you'd like to be the first? :cool:

    You'll need a quiet fan for the cpu, so that'll be the next mod, and then maybe the DVD drive - how quiet is the LG? The Liteon 163/165 were pretty quiet during playback, and a few of us here have got one.

    Seagate Barracuda drives are silent, so if the Maxtor was noisy, then that would be another option.

    Hopefully someone else can fill you in with the sound card info.

    HTH

    Gary
     
  3. nutcase_1uk

    nutcase_1uk
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    Hi pulsar, I have used all of these places several times:

    http://www.dabs.com/
    http://www.overclockers.co.uk/
    http://www.novatech.co.uk/
    http://www.ebuyer.com/
    http://www.komplett.co.uk/

    Dabs always seem to have a very wide choice, ebuyer as you probably know are usually cheapest, and voerclockers tend to get the latest stuff quickly.

    Regarding soundcards, I use an M-Audio delta410, and I have a revolution on its way. I used to use a SB Live but relegated it to the ranks of my normal PC. I found the delta 410 to be much more stable and had a better sound quality. I've not tried an Audigy 1 or 2 card, but most people who have compared them favour the m-audio cards.

    And of course there's the 'rarity' factor :)
     
  4. Pulsar

    Pulsar
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    Thanks for the replies so far, very helpful.

    Does anyone know where I can get a M-Audio sound card from?

    Also, how hard is it to replace the PSU fan?

    Cheers

    Rob
     
  5. nutcase_1uk

    nutcase_1uk
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    I *think* I got my Delta410 from here

    These people sell it too.

    My revolution is coming from here though.

    Changing a PSU fan should just be a case of opening the PSU up, unscrewing the old one, and disconnecting it, then fitting the new one and conecting it up. HOWEVER make very sure that the capacitors inside are fulyl discharged, as you can get a very powerful shock off of them. Many ppl say make sure the PSU is unplugged for 24 hours before opening it. I can't say how long is needed, but 24 hours would seem safe.
     
  6. Pulsar

    Pulsar
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    Hi

    Those cards seem very expensive to me, except from America. How reliable is the service from the US site? Are they really that much better?

    Cheers

    Rob
     
  7. nutcase_1uk

    nutcase_1uk
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    When the revo hits the UK, it should be around £100, it's so new at the moment it's only available in the US.

    Digital Connection emplys someone called CLiff Watson, who has had a very big input ont eh development of teh card, and I ordreed it from there as a thanks for his efforts. So far their customer support seems pretty good. I'll be testing it soon though as they've charged me for the theatertek bundle and not sent it :)
     
  8. JohnS

    JohnS
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    Hi Pulsar,

    As far as motherboards are concerened it depends on quite what you want from it, if you want to use your existing ram and just need a couplke of extra pci slots then the PC Chips 810 is alright although how compatible with your 9700 is unknown, but its only about £40 from ebuyer and has onboard lan etc,

    To spend a bit more they have tha Asus A7V333 which I heva in my HTPC which proves nice and stable and takes DDR upto 2700 which is reasonable at the moment.

    For a higher spec gaming machine then the nforce boards are suppose to be good and allow easy overclocking if thats the route you want to go.

    Bear in mind that the XP2100 will produce a lot more heat than the Intel chip although they happily run a lttle hotter, if silence is important then its easier going with Intel. The case is also going to make a difference here at how well air flows through it.

    Bit more to ponder!
     
  9. Pulsar

    Pulsar
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    Hi John.

    I have been thinking long and hard, and I don't think I can justify the upgrade to myself. I have only been using the Shuttle as a HTPC for a few days, and am more than happy with its performance. I think for now I will stick with the Shuttle and tweak like hell. ;)

    I have 5 days to decide if Theater Tek is worth £45, so I need to do some major tests. I am currently trying my HTPC in the viewing room, and it is quite out of the way, and can't really be heard, (Especialy over the HS10)

    Cheers for all the help anyways.

    Rob
     

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