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What's worth salvaging?

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by zAndy1, Mar 27, 2003.

  1. zAndy1

    zAndy1
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    Hi all,
    I'm about to embark on another attempt to get a HTPC up and running and was wondering if anyone could advise me as to whether my current PC would be up to the job and/or which components would be worth keeping and which have to go...

    Current config

    Asus A7A266 motherboard with AMD Athlon 1.3Ghz CPU
    512MB DDR2100 RAM
    40GB HD (7200 rpm)
    Pioneer DVD116 DVD Rom (I've flashed this to make region free)
    SB Live soundcard
    Geforce 2MX graphics card (gotta go!)

    I guess the main issues are whether the CPU is fast enough (I suspect it will be fine) and what graphics card to get (Radeon 9500?). Then it's a case of quieting things down and getting a nice case but apart from that I'm not far away hopefully. I've got Power DVD installed at the moment but it crashes everytime I try and use it (not a good start!). Will get Theatertek as I believe that's the best software DVD player around. Oh and is ME better than XP or should I upgrade to XP (already got the disc btw). Oh and as for the soundcard, has anyone experience of the PURE Digital SonicXplosion DVD card?

    Cheers,
    Andy.
     
  2. zAndy1

    zAndy1
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    Well, I've decided to upgrade my soundcard to the M-Audio Revolution 7.1 which comes with WinDVD 4 which by all accounts ain't a bad DVD player anyway. What I'm unsure about is the graphics card, narrowed it down to either the Radeon 9000 or the 9500. Would it be better to go for the Pro versions of these cards? Is the 9500 a lot louder than the 9000 (I presume it has a fan but I also presume the fan can be replaced for a silent cooler? Any recommendations?). I was tempted to go for the Audigy 2 purely cos it does DVD-Audio but M-Audio have a good audiophile reputation and it looks like DVD-Audio support will be available in the future.
    I've already upgraded to Win XP Home edition, seems to be working ok so hopefully I haven't made a bad move there as far as the HTPC performance is concerned.
    Any advice gratefully received as I shall be ordering said components shortly...

    Cheers,
    Andy.
     
  3. GaryG

    GaryG
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    As a comparison, my HTPC only has a PIII 600, 1gb HDD, 64mb ram, old Radeon VE and an M-Audio 24/96. If you only want to play DVD's then a more suitable sound and graphics card are all you need.
     
  4. theritz

    theritz
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    Hi,

    Currently running a Duron 1.3 and Radeon 9000 (silent, comes with heatsink, no fan) and it's fine - prefer Powerdvd picture to Windvd, but prefer Windvd sound, messing with zoomplayer to mix). So would recommend Radeon 9000. Higher Radeons better for gaming, but not sure whether there's a "night and day" diference just for dvd playback.


    Still haven't sorted my soundcard, work keeping me too busy, but hope to get a result later this week.


    Sean G.
     
  5. JohnS

    JohnS
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    I've got noth 9000 non pro (fanless) and a 9500. The upgrade to a 9500 was a small improvement but not pro rata expenditure (as usual:rolleyes: ).

    The fan on my 9500 was LOUD when i bought it so swapped it for a Zalman heatpipe passive cooler but that was an extra £27ish.

    The 9500/9700 range are fully DX9 compatible and again this offers a subtle improvement. Unless your gaming dont bother with the 9700. The difference between the 9500 pro and non pro is not relevent for HTPC use.
     
  6. Underscore

    Underscore
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    Incidentally, it looks like the obvious upgrade from the 9000NP is on the horizon: ATI have recently annouced the Radeon 9600. Apparently this is basically a 9500 but produced using a 0.13 micron process - meaning that it runs cool enough that passive cooling is realistic. Watch this space...

    _
     
  7. zAndy1

    zAndy1
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    I've gone for a 9500 PRO with Zalman heatpipe, went for the 9500 as I would like to play some games on it and the direct9 support will keep it up to speed for the next generation of games. What's involved in replacing the standard 9500pro fan then? Is it glued on or screwed on or what (no idea what kind of DIY job I've let myself in for here!).

    Cheers
    Andy
     

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