HTPC noobie question

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Allen Longcor, Dec 10, 2002.

  1. Allen Longcor

    Allen Longcor Supporting Actor

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    I've been reading the FAQ's which are very helpful but I have some specific questions that perhaps you guys can answer.

    1. Is a 1.2Ghz Athlon beefy enough to use in a HTPC? I'm thinking of retiring my current PC in the future and just using it as a HTPC. Also, would 256MB of PC133 RAM be enough, or should you use 512MB?

    2. What type of outputs do you need on your videocard? Do you just need that monitor output (can't remember name for it), or should you look for something else? If so, does this relegate you to basically getting an All in Wonder card from ATI? I do realize that I'm going to need a newer card regardless of the answers as older cards aren't going to cut it.

    3. I've read you can use your HTPC as a PVR, can anyone provide a link or a quick breakdown of how this works?

    4. I've been to the M-Audio site, but I'm not sure which model sound card that most people use. Can someone tell me the most popular model.

    5. Finally, what is a good internal DVD player to use? There are a lot of inexpensive players now, but what are some specs I should look for and some quality brands.

    Thanks in advance for helping out a HTPC noob =)
     
  2. Andrew Chong

    Andrew Chong Supporting Actor

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    Addressing number 1.: as a comparison and keeping in mind that I'm using hardware decoding, not software decoding, I'm still using a Pentium II 400Mhz with 256 MB (still excellent playability with even 128 MB; I noticed no DVD improvement with the increase) to play DVDs with no difficulties or hiccups whatsoever.
     
  3. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    I like Pioneer. Some folks swear by Toshiba.

    Pioneer has slot drives (which i think look more tech)-- and their stuff [up until recently] could be made region free rather easily. I would say that doing a little research on region free firmware flashing and seeing what drives do what you want them to do (and even decide if region free ability matters to you).

    -Vince
     
  4. Chad Ellinger

    Chad Ellinger Second Unit

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    1. I think it depends on what you want to do with your HTPC. If you are only going to use it for DVD playback, then 1.2 GHz should be more than adequate. However, as your uses for it grow (PVR, HDTV, etc), you may want more horsepower.
    2. To get the maximum benefit out of an HTPC, you'll want to the VGA (RGB) output on your video card. You can connect this directly to your HDTV or projector, or you can use a breakout box to convert the signal to component video cables. While you can use the S-Video output on a video card, you're really not taking advantage of the benefits that HTPCs offer over conventional HT components.
    3. Sorry, can't help you :b
    4. The Audiophile 2496 is the one I've heard mentioned the most.
    5. For hardware, Pioneer DVD drives are excellent and can be found in slot and tray forms. For software players, the TheaterTek DVD software comes highly recommended on this forum.
     
  5. Allen Longcor

    Allen Longcor Supporting Actor

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    Wow thanks a lot for all the responses. I still have a lot of research ahead of me, but now I have some direction. My question regarding the outputs on the video card was asking if I needed DVI. I should have made that clear. I'm not a computer novice, but I feel like one now that I am researching this stuff. I also wasn't sure if the VGA monitor output was used for HTPC. I'm a computer guy first, so my best system is going to be my desktop and then I'll worrry about my future HTPC. Thanks for clearing everything up! One last question before I hit the search function, what series or model of ATI cards are popular (7500, 8500, 9000, etc.)? I know the original 64MB ATI 8500 cards can be found VERY cheap online now. Which ones seem to be more popular?
     

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