Building first HTPC -- wondering if it'll do all that i require...

Discussion in 'Computers' started by John Parris, Dec 16, 2003.

  1. John Parris

    John Parris Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, what I've pieced together is as follows:

    Antec Overture (case)
    Athlon XP 1800+
    ECS K7S5A PRO (motherboard)
    256MB Crucial PC-2100 RAM
    40GB Western Digital SE hard drive
    M-Audio Audiophile (sound card)
    Radeon 9000Pro All-in-Wonder (video card)
    Lite On 16X DVD-ROM

    My planned setup integrating it into my home theater is as follows:

    1. Radeon > (DVI or VGA...havent decided) > my Panasonic PT-L300u LCD projector
    2. Audiophile S/PDIF (coaxial) out to my reciever
    3. Digital cable box and VCR (from a external switch) > s-video > Radeon (for capturing)
    4. Digital cable box and VCR > stereo RCA > Audiophile(for capturing)

    I won't really be using my HTPC for DVDs especially (have a standalone DVD player that does the job well enough). I will moreso be using it to play videos and music as well as some light gaming. (read: old games, console emulation, etc. nothing that really requires too much 3D processing) Everything is archived on my current PC and I have tons of hard disk space on it, so that's no issue.

    My main worry is about capturing. I would like to be able to capture in DVD-native video if at all possible (for effortless burning to DVD-R on my other computer). I have a few trouble spots which I need advice about.

    1. What capturing software should I use?
    2. Is the system capable enough to actually handle real-time capturing of 480p video? I assume the video card is more than able, but I worry about having just the one hard drive. Granted it's a little small, too, but I wouldnt be encoding more than 2 hours at a time. If I have to capture as uncompressed and then later compress it to MPEG2, that works, just as long as I don't run out of hard disk space.
    3. Can I actually use the M-Audio card to capture the sound? How easy would it be, in that case, to sync it up with the video being captured? Obviously the Audiophile has much better ADCs and such and is better suited for capturing audio, and I'd like to take advantage of that.

    I'm no stranger to building PCs-- have been doing it all my life, so don't worry about that. [​IMG]

    But if you could answer any of my questions, I'd be extremely pleased. Any other comments or suggestions are welcome as well.
     
  2. PhilBoy

    PhilBoy Second Unit

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    My XP1600 is not fast enough for 480 capture, but it will do 240 (no interlace).

    A good capture freeware is VirtualDub. Combine it with the HuffYUV codec and AVI files will be about 1/3 their normal size after capture.

    I THINK capturing onto a second non-system HD might give you 480 (maybe someone knows for sure).
     
  3. Luis_Cortes

    Luis_Cortes Auditioning

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    How has your HTPC been treating you? I was thinking of building one my self with XP media center, Readeon 9800 pro all in wonder with Audigy media blaster 7.1.. also thinking of dvd drive with power dvd software and codecs. Any opinions on the idea?
     
  4. ChadLB

    ChadLB Screenwriter

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    I will be testing mine this weekend with the Sanyo Z1. No sound card yet but my main concern is to see the video improvement....
     
  5. Brian E

    Brian E Screenwriter

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    The HD is a consideration, but if you're doing a couple of hours & moving it somewhere else it should be ok. As for real time encoding I'm not sure how well a processor that slow with do for you. The AIW's do software encoding IIRC. For top quality you'd want a hardware encoder like the Win-TV PVR-250.
     
  6. Mattak

    Mattak Stunt Coordinator

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    If you haven't already bought it, I'd go with something besides an ECS board. ECS = extremely crappy stuff IMO. MSI makes excellent boards for the price. I also recommend ASUS, although they can be more expensive.
     
  7. PhilBoy

    PhilBoy Second Unit

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    I've had excellent results with my Asus A7V-266E for the past 2 years.
     

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