Ultimate HTPC

Tomas_S

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Ok, what's everybody's suggestion for the ULTIMATE HTPC. No restrictions... c'mon fellas!
 

TerryC

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Although there is no best, here are two that I built that I would consider near the top of the game. Although they have different cases they are rather similar. They are used to provide the Video for high end Front Projection systems and have high end audio cards to do the Stereo Systems they are attached to justice.
http://terryctheater.tripod.com/brucehtpc.jpg
Asus CUSL2 Motherboard
Pentium III 866MHz
128MB PC133 Cas2 Memory
80gb Maxtor Diamond Max Plus 7200RPM Drive, ATA100
ELSA Gladiac GeForce2 GTS 32MB Video card(RF mods performed)
M-Audio 24/96 Audio Card
Black Desktop Case with 330W Power Supply
56KB Diamond Supra Internal Modem
3com Network Card
Pioneer 16x Black DVD
Sony Black Floppy
Airboard Wireless Keyboard
Windows ME
PowerDVDTe
http://terryctheater.tripod.com/richcomputer.jpg
Asus CUSL2 Motherboard
Pentium III 866MHz
256MB PC133 Cas2 Memory
45GB IBM 75GXP 7200RPM Drive, ATA100
ELSA Gladiac GeForce2 GTS 32MB Video card(RF mods performed)
MidiMan Delta DIO 24/96 Audio Card
Black Rackmount Case with 330W Power Supply
3com Network Card
Pioneer 16x Black DVD
Sony Black Floppy
Airboard Wireless Keyboard
Windows ME
PowerDVD
Regards
Terry
 

Julian Data

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Nice Job Terry!

I am still in the process of doing mine.. hung up on the soundcard dilemma.
Here's my layout:
MOBO: Microstar K7t PRO2
CPU: AMD Thunderbird 1.2GHz
Video Card: Guillemot 3d Prophet II 32MB
Sound card: - was going to use an old Turtle Beach Montego II Quad.. thought otherwise..
NIC: Intel
Memory: Crucial PC133 256MB
SCSI CARD: Adaptec29160
SCSI HD: 2 - Quantum Atlas IV 18.2GB
DVD ROM: My old trusty Pioneer 6x SCSI 305S
CDR: Plextor 8X
.. Any other suggestions or comments on what I need? I wouldn't mind doing some PVR though...
Julian
 

Mike Cohen

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I've never heard of those two sound cards, what do they offer that Creative's or Philips' do not?
-Mike
 

TerryC

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Mike, they are considered audiophile sound cards. I'd guess all their spec's beat the Philips ands Creative cards.
Terry
 

Andrew Hornfeck

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So what's the COST of one of these babies? I'm considering it with a Sony 10HT or a JVC G11 on my proposed new Theater. Do you make 'em up yourself or is there a site who does? I've seen HiRez and their's start at $2700. WOW, that's expensive in today's computer market!
Thanks
Andrew
 

Cliff Watson

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Andrew,
Actually you can purchase a fully functional HTPC with all the upgrades including the rackmount case and Audiophile 2496 soundcard from Digital Connection for less than $2400. It’s called the DC Marquee HTPC.
 

Steve B

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I like mine - THX certified Dell Dimension 8100
Pentium IV 1.4 Ghz
WinDVD
GeForce Ultra
Turttle Beach Santa Cruz Sound Card
16x DVD-ROM
Wireless Logitech Optical Mouse
 

Brian J Roberts

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Thanks for posting! I'm just getting started spec'ing out my HTPC. I really like the black cases you found (especially the rack-mount). Can you recommend a vendor? How's the noise level on both of them? That's one think that concerns me about a HTPC- I want it to be as quiet as possible. Also, I'm impressed that you even found black faced drives. Any recommendations on vendors/vendor websites would be appreciated.
On PC archetecture... I'm considering going with a 1Gig Thunderbird and I think I want to move into the DDR Ram world, but I really don't know a lot about it. In addition to HT, I also plan to do Digital Video editing in the future from this machine. I've read that the Pentium 4 has advantages over AMD in Digital Video applications but It's out of my spending range right now, so I'm hoping the Thunderbird configuration with DDR will suit my needs. Any thoughts?
On Digital Monitors... Again, to stay in my price range and get the biggest screen possible, I'm looking at HD Ready Rear Projection systems... but I really want to find one with SVGA input. So far, I've only found a couple tubes (32-36 inch) that have SVGA. Aren't there any Rear Projection systems out there with SVGA??? or am I completely off base thinking I need this.
Brian
 

Steve B

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Are you sure a PIV is out of your price range? The Dell I have if very quiet and excellent for Video editing where, as you stated, it excels (supposdiely no better for business stuff, but who cares). The Dell can be had for as little as $1500 if you skip the monitor and I can't emphisize enough the fact that you will have the best support available from any computer company. I know a lot about computers, but the support is a big deal for me. I know if I have any problm for 3 years, they will replace parts and fix the problem. By the end of that time, I will surely need a new computer.
I don't work for Dell, they just have a great product here.
 

Steve B

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Brian,
On your other topic, I don't know which RPTV take SVGA or 5BNC, but for about the same money as a good RPTV, you can get a used FPTV. Way better picture with huge size/impact factor. These will take the output from an RCA DTC100 and your future HTPC.
Just a thought!
 

TerryC

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Brian,
Mitsubishi's higher end models have SVGA inputs and they are really nice RPTV's.
As per the case, I got mine from Digital Connection as mentioned by cliff. Be prepared to spend some money on them as they get them customed made and aren't the typical $50-80 price you tend to find. They are worth it though as they feature all metal construction compared to metal/plastic of the $50-80 beige cases that are everywhere. They do indeed feature quiet fans but you'll see the Hard Drive and fan on the processor do make up the bulk of the noise. I wouldn't want one of these located too near the seating area.
Here are their links:
Click on cases: http://www.digitalconnection.com/Components.htm
http://www.mitsubishi-tv.com/platinumplusTV.htm
PS-Cliff why did you guys raise the price of that black desktop case so much? I only paid $199 and its $379 now?
 

Cliff Watson

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"PS-Cliff why did you guys raise the price of that black desktop case so much? I only paid $199 and its $379 now?'
Terry,
The desktop case now includes a per-installed Pioneer Slot-loader DVD drive. We did this because HTPC builders (retailers) were using our custom cases to build clones of our DC brand HTPCs using inferior internal components. We did it to price the “for profit” builders out of our market yet provide a high quality case for the individual builders such as yourself. We also have a “barebones” system that includes the desktop case, Asus CUSL2 motherboard, 1 GHz CPU, 128 Meg CAS-2 memory, DVD drive, and black floppy drive.
Best Regards, Cliff
 

Brian J Roberts

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Thanks Steve,
But buying 'used' technology scares me a lot more than buying a used car.
Where do I go to look for a used FPTV and what are the key features/technologies to look for so I know this will meet current and future needs and standards???
Any brands or models to stay away from? About how much would I expect to pay?
Brian
 

Steve B

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Brian,
Sorry I was too busy to respond right away. There are a number of sources for used FPTV. If you are worried about used equipment, stick with folks that back their equipment (See www.avscience.com and others). I bought mine from:
http//www.hometheatervillage.com
I was very happy with the transaction. I have not needed support, but others have been happy with them as well.
On eBay, Henry Fu has been said to be reputable, but many are worried about buying this way.
Another thing to consider is a new DLP or LCD (such as the Sony VW10HT ~$5000). Very low hassle/easy set up with a with a good picture. DILA is closer to $10,000.
If you stick with low hour equipment and reputable dealers, you will love your projector.
Keep watching this forum and www.avsforum.com.
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David A. Frattaroli

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While I certainly would prefer an FPTV with HTPC, they are not close in price as previously stated in this thread. The two used FPTVs cited were 5 and 10 thousand dollars. Plus, they're much harder to setup and tweak. Probably too much for the average HT hobbyist. You can get a 56" Toshiba HDTV for less than $3,000 so RPTVs still beat the crap out of FPTVs as far as price, ease of setup and performance (for the price) is concerned. Plus, I'll take any CRT based RPTV over the current crop of DLP and D-ILA displays. Bigger isn't always better.
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TerryC

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"Plus, I'll take any CRT based RPTV over the current crop of DLP and D-ILA displays. Bigger isn't always better."
That is until you see a Dukane 9015 D-ILA on a 12 to 13' screen. Just no going back to a typical 50" to 60" RPTV after that IMO. It's bad having friends with gear like that.

Terry
 

David A. Frattaroli

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You're probably right Terry but my point is that the two are not close in price. And so often, someone will ask about RPTVs and someone else will say: "Hey, for about the same money, you can go FPTV". That's just crap. Any new projector in the $2 to $4k range is low end. And used CRTs are still way more expensive than 50 - 60 inch RPs.
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Bill Lucas

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David,
I'm not sure where your pricing for used CRT projectors originates. I know of several sources for CRT projectors for well below the prices you've stated. In fact, if you are interested I have access to several NEC 6PG Extras for around $3000. They will put out an image that will put ANY RPTV to shame. Steve's link to HomeTheaterVillage points to Electrohome Marquee 8501LC projectors that are all available for $4000 or less. These projectors are among the best available...period...and will output an incredible image. You are using harsh words about pricing and performance and, no offense, but you don't seem to be aware of current pricing and availability of CRT projectors. Granted, you WILL need a scaler or HTPC and a screen to complete the package along with a ceiling mount but the overall price is reasonable given the level of performance and the size of the image that is displayed. As to the difficulty of the setup? I'm no engineer and with common sense and the help of the kind folks at AVScience I am now quite knowledgeable about CRT projectors and ther setup of CRT projectors. Regards.
 

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