What Specification?


Established Member
Aug 27, 2005
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St Albans
Hi there,

I hope this is the right forum for the below if not please move it. I'm in the planning stage for my new lounge (when I move in a few weeks). I'm going to be getting a pioneer 436XDE which has both hdmi and analogue rgb (PC Input) connections. My intention is to get a small / slim PC tower along with a wireless mouse, keyboard and internet connection to enable me to use the PC through the plasma tv display.

My main uses for the PC in the lounge will be internet browsing and showing some video's / photo's from the PC. It will also be connected to my AV system for accessing music from the hard drive. It may also get occassional gaming use. At the moment I've no real desire to use the PC as a 'proper' HTPC.

My budget is fairly tight and I'd like to know what people would recommend I get PC wise. I know I want at least a 40Gb hard drive to cover all the content I'd want to store on it. What speed processor and how much RAM would I need? I've seen some old Pentium III systems on ebay that are pretty cheap.

Also for my intended uses would it be worth investing in a graphics card that has hdmi output or would I be better staying with the analogue rgb? I suppose a new graphics card with that capability could be an upgrade at a later date?

Thanks in Advance,

Some thoughts ..

These days entery-level PCs most often have 100gb or larger drives, prices are so cheap anything less is a waste.

A P3 will not be sufficient for many HTPC uses, pretty much any entry-level PC will be more than enough though in theory you want equivalent to a 3GHz P4. 512mb of memory is more than enough, HTPC applications don't require a lot of memory, indeed 256Mb would be sufficient but given the low cost get 512mb to allow for unknown future needs .. eg. Windows Vista (what a pathetic name!) will likely need at least that.

There are no current video cards offering HDMI, these are on the way but not for a little while, for now you'll want a DVI-equipped card, something like an NVidia 6600 is probably the current favourite, though an ATI 9600 or better is equally useful (and cheaper) unless you start wanting to get into hidef captured stream playback .. note that at present there are no hidef DVD players available so it remains unclear what processing power such media will require.
Given the very basic requirements for the PC, you probably needn't spend a great deal. How much memory type questions become a little irrelevant when all you want is to surf and play some music.

I think you probably don't need to worry much about the PC spec - just make sure that the gfx card has a TV out that you can work with. This is probably the 'mission critical' bit of the PC for you.

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