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Recommendations for a new HTPC
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AnalogRocks
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Joined: 08 Mar 2006
Posts: 25185
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

TV/Projector: Sony 1252Q, AMPRO 4000G


PostLink    Posted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 1:03 am    Post subject: Recommendations for a new HTPC Reply with quote


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I have built 2 HTPC's recently using mostly ATI's line of video cards. Their drivers are to say the least CRAPTASTIC. Riddled with bugs, and prone to crashing.
I've tried snapstream (didn't like it )
EDIT: Bought it, works ok, SURPRISE it was an ATI driver not working right causing it to crash.

wouldn't run smoothly on an AMD 3200XP chip with 2 gig's of ram. I've also tried Chris TV lite. That didn't work either.

I will be building a small form factor computer that will do double duty as a PC gaming box and HD & NTSC pvr.

The case has 4 slots on the back. It will be in this case:
http://aspireusa.net/product.php?pid=185&xcSID=3af35ca5dfa0a8c49a18f1c755bf6b5c
I need a recomendation for a mini ATX motherboard. I'd prefer one with a 16x PCI video slot and 3 regular PCI slots. AMD or Intel which ever is better. I need it to support 2 Gigs of ram preferably in a dual channel configuration.

I'm ordering this sound card:
http://sewelldirect.com/HDA-XPlosion-DTS-SoundCard-AZT.asp so the sound side is covered.

Also a Real Magic Xcard for hardware DVD play back.

Which video card should I get? Preferably nothing ATI. I need regular 15pin VGA output and a component out as well.

That leaves one PCI slot for a capture card.
I need an ATSC card with a QUAM cable tuner with hardware encoding and an NTSC tuner. FM radio would be a nice bonus. I prefer a remote too.
Is there a hardware card that can do ATSC OTA, unencripted HDTV cable and NTSC with FM?
Any sugestions to get me away from this ATI broken driver hell would be apreciated.


Last edited by AnalogRocks on Sun Feb 11, 2007 7:45 am; edited 1 time in total
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jmurjr



Joined: 08 Mar 2006
Posts: 45



PostLink    Posted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 3:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Get a NVIDIA Quadro® FX 4500, but i hope you have deep pockets!
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JustGreg



Joined: 07 Mar 2006
Posts: 3098
Location: Kenosha, WI


PostLink    Posted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 4:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like this one is in OverClkrs arena for sure. Wink 5 years ago I would have had some very concrete suggestions but alas, management had other plans for me after Y2K remediation that I was responsible for came and went without so much as a minor meltdown.
I'm sadly out of the loop. I loved puters. I started with them before DOS 1...it was called CP/M then...Billy G bought CP/M for $50K and look at him now. Richest man in the world! Take THAT King of Bahrain! (oil) But they have Michael Jackson so they have...well, erm, .............I got nothing. Wink

_________________
Greg

"Is it ignorance or apathy? Hey, I don't know and I don't care!" --Jimmy Buffett
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linecircle



Joined: 07 Mar 2006
Posts: 72
Location: Toronto, Canada


PostLink    Posted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 4:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PCI-E and 3 PCI on a mATX board would limit your selection to near 0. Do you really need to have the mATX case?

What are you doing for cooling? I would be a bit concerned when you're putting all those gaming/video processing components into a small box like that.
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AnalogRocks
Forum Moderator


Joined: 08 Mar 2006
Posts: 25185
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

TV/Projector: Sony 1252Q, AMPRO 4000G


PostLink    Posted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JustGreg wrote:
I loved puters. I started with them before DOS 1...it was called CP/M then...


I didn't play with that much but I started on a Comadore PET
Game play went something like this:
LOAD *.*(can't remember exact command anymore that was 23years ago)
PRESS PLAY ON TAPE ONE
(wait 15 minutes )
use 3k racing game made from asterickses(sp?)

*(this was a wall) *(this is the car) *(this is the other wall)

Don't hit the wall as it shifts side to side. What an incredible gamming experiance.
End of 1982 computer gamming.

Today we spend $59.95 and get cartoon graphics and a little better quality walls and cars Smile

But I digress, back to the HTPC talk. Let's stay on topic in this off topic post Smile

---------------------------------------------------
Life long CRT lover...but not like that
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AnalogRocks
Forum Moderator


Joined: 08 Mar 2006
Posts: 25185
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

TV/Projector: Sony 1252Q, AMPRO 4000G


PostLink    Posted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jmurjr wrote:
Get a NVIDIA Quadro® FX 4500, but i hope you have deep pockets!


Just looked up the price on that bad boy. $1699-$2000 USD!

Ok let me clarify. I should have added my budget is $1200 -$1500 CDN

My projector is a SONY 1252Q which seems happiest at 1024 x 768 @72Hz

I love gamming but I'll be doing that on a SONY 21" G520P monitor at 1600 x 1200 @100 hz or so. (By the way HDTV looks incredible on the G520P, leterboxed on a screen resolution of 1920 x 1400 @ 60hz)

----------------------------------------
I love CRT monitors...yes like that
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Mark_A_W



Joined: 15 Mar 2006
Posts: 3068
Location: Sunny Melbourne Australia


PostLink    Posted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't have any trouble with Ati cards in 3 computers, but that said I'd probably buy a Nvidia 6600GT right now.

My Quadro 4500 gets dropped off to me tomorrow....for my CAD workstation at work...doh.

But I don't think it's worth it for a HTPC - just BNC mod the regular video card.
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AnalogRocks
Forum Moderator


Joined: 08 Mar 2006
Posts: 25185
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

TV/Projector: Sony 1252Q, AMPRO 4000G


PostLink    Posted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

linecircle wrote:
PCI-E and 3 PCI on a mATX board would limit your selection to near 0. Do you really need to have the mATX case?



What are you doing for cooling? I would be a bit concerned when you're putting all those gaming/video processing components into a small box like that.


Yes I like the size of this case. A little bigger than the Shuttle PC I just built so I can fit 2 DVD drives in the case and 2 hard disks, but it's still small enough to be portable to take to a friends house with a 17" CRT monitor in tow for the lan party.

I keep finding mini ATX boards with one AGP slot and 3 PCI. I'm just trying to make this system somewhat future proof so I can upgrade it for the next 2-3 years with faster video cards and faster processors. Hence the search for a PCI-E video slot and a current motherboard socket. I still see lots of AMD Socket A boards around but that's already 3 years old.

Does anyone make a capture card that will fit the new funkey short PCI slots?
EDIT: YES! But, not for another 4-5 years after I posted this!
I'm also doing custom paint on the case and most likely the monitor too. I deal with a shop for our fleet services that does hot rods too. They can layer on the paint so smooth you feel like you can step into it. I didn't include the cost of paint in my budget that's seperate.

As for the cooling it's a fairly large case inside. I don't overclock so I don't think cooling should be to much of an issue. I can always run with the case open if it runs hot or get the mesh side pannels and a fan or two.

---------------------------------------------
Life long CRT lover...but not like that


Last edited by AnalogRocks on Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:14 pm; edited 1 time in total
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God_TM



Joined: 13 Mar 2006
Posts: 122
Location: Hillsboro, OR


PostLink    Posted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why not use a Shuttle product? I have a sn95g5 which is fairly old, but they're tiny, easy to transport and very, very quiet.

I just went to their site and they have many, ranging from a VIIV platform, Pentium M system and even an SLI SFF...

I'd skip the hardware DVD acellerator card as most current graphics chipsets will do equivalent work and have more flexibility.

What ATI cards have you used in the past? The latest ones have been getting decent reviews. I'm not sure I'd go with nVidia... they're misinterpreting a lot of their line as acellerating this and that (pureVideo) when only very specific chipsets do the trick (and unfortunately I have a 6800GT which is great for gaming but sucky for media).
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AnalogRocks
Forum Moderator


Joined: 08 Mar 2006
Posts: 25185
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

TV/Projector: Sony 1252Q, AMPRO 4000G


PostLink    Posted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

God_TM wrote:
Why not use a Shuttle product? I have a sn95g5 which is fairly old, but they're tiny, easy to transport and very, very quiet.

I just went to their site and they have many, ranging from a VIIV platform, Pentium M system and even an SLI SFF...

I'd skip the hardware DVD acellerator card as most current graphics chipsets will do equivalent work and have more flexibility.

What ATI cards have you used in the past? The latest ones have been getting decent reviews. I'm not sure I'd go with nVidia... they're misinterpreting a lot of their line as acellerating this and that (pureVideo) when only very specific chipsets do the trick (and unfortunately I have a 6800GT which is great for gaming but sucky for media).


I've had ATI cards starting with a massive 512K card (expandable to 1 meg!) that had 800x600 output and a CGA port c.1988 on the ISA slot
(that was very expensive back then the 512k memory upgrade was$800! lol) and just about every other generation of ATI card in between. Mach 32,64, 8meg PC to TV Rage II+ withe the optional ATI ISA tv tuner card, Rage 128, Xpert at Play 98 then I jumped ship to Matrox G400 Dual Head Max *best 2D I have ever seen* then Nvidia GF4600 (crappy 2D awsum 3D for it's time) and now the ATI 9600XT AIW (in the shuttle PC) and the 9800 Pro AIW (in my now non working PVR because of ATI's crap ass drivers)

(geeze I forgot a couple of 3Dfx cards from Canapus, Diamond and the 3Dfx 3500TV with ViVo and a variaty of Trident 1 meg PCI cards)
I have built way to many computers. /END RAMBLE

I just put together an older Shuttle SN41G2 with an AMD 3000+, 2 gig's of ram and an ATI 9600 XT AIW card with an ATI HDTV wonder in the PCI slot. Combo DVDRW/CDRW drive and a combo floppy + 6 in one card reader and a 320GB hard drive.

It runs to hot and there's no room for two DVD drives or two hard drives.
Plus ATI's wonderful software has drop outs in the HD signal and if you have it close the software after recording something or schedule a digital then an analog recording back to back it crashes. Every time you close the ATI recording software it crashes. I tried the lattest software from ATI and that just took out my other PVR box so I didn't update this one and kill it too.
I was looking at the HORNET PC's seems to have some of what I need but to expensive and not the exact parts I want.
Thats why I chose the Aspire case. Still small enough to be portable but has room for more stuff.

Now does anyone know which Nvidia cards have all the features for driving the projector and can still play games with a decent frame rate? Anyone try a Matrox card recently?


Last edited by AnalogRocks on Sat Mar 18, 2006 6:22 pm; edited 1 time in total
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AnalogRocks
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Joined: 08 Mar 2006
Posts: 25185
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

TV/Projector: Sony 1252Q, AMPRO 4000G


PostLink    Posted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark_A_W wrote:


- just BNC mod the regular video card.


Does the BNC mod make a huge difference to picture quality?
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jmurjr



Joined: 08 Mar 2006
Posts: 45



PostLink    Posted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 3:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you have full control over resolution try 1184 X 666 @60. It makes the best pic for me on my 1252 imo. Yeah that graphics card is pricey the quadro I just purchased the lesser model 3450 I think. Gonna try to blend G70's on it.
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AnalogRocks
Forum Moderator


Joined: 08 Mar 2006
Posts: 25185
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

TV/Projector: Sony 1252Q, AMPRO 4000G


PostLink    Posted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 4:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jmurjr wrote:
If you have full control over resolution try 1184 X 666 @60. It makes the best pic for me on my 1252 imo. Yeah that graphics card is pricey the quadro I just purchased the lesser model 3450 I think. Gonna try to blend G70's on it.


Why that particular resolution? Did you figure that out by trial and error?
What are you using, Powerstrip?

I see by the numbers you are running 16:9 did you just squish the picture using the RGB controls on the projector?

I read the threads about blending on the AVS forums last night. Did Nvidia ever get the drivers just right on those cards?


Last edited by AnalogRocks on Fri Mar 17, 2006 9:29 am; edited 1 time in total
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bomrat



Joined: 10 Mar 2006
Posts: 117
Location: chicago


PostLink    Posted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

htpc recommendations....

nvidia 7800
amd 64bit cpu, for future... socket 939 or 940
2gb ram
2 sata drives striped for os smaller sized ( speed )
1 sata drive for data.
fanless cpu heatsink, 120mm fans for system case.
you can run the fans using the cool and quiet function with amd cpus.


i used a motherboard that had digital coax built in for sound and let my preamp do all the processing, i didn't have to worry about an expensive soundcard.

it all depends on how deep your pockets are though.

i just built a $7,500.00 dual dualcore opteron system. cough cough. its fast
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AnalogRocks
Forum Moderator


Joined: 08 Mar 2006
Posts: 25185
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

TV/Projector: Sony 1252Q, AMPRO 4000G


PostLink    Posted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bomrat wrote:
htpc recommendations....

nvidia 7800

i used a motherboard that had digital coax built in for sound and let my preamp do all the processing, i didn't have to worry about an expensive soundcard.

it all depends on how deep your pockets are though.

i just built a $7,500.00 dual dualcore opteron system. cough cough. its fast


Dam I remember the old days spending $20 000.00 on the companys dime. That was the fastest system I had ever seen for the Y2K upgrade. Dual everything and SCSI. Now it's worth $200 bucks hehe

$7500's a little more than I would like to spend right now. I think if I had that much I would get a G70 and a real scaller or an 9500LC and lunch. Then all the money would be gone.

The digital output does it do Dolby Digital Live or DTS Connect for games or does it just pass the digital stream from the DVD's and Tuners out to your preamp?
That's my reason for the fancy sound card.

What, if any, tunner card(s) are you using?

Are there any drawbacks about the 7800 card? Things it can't do that it sholuld or things it doesn't do to well? How's the 2D output on it?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mmmmm 9"s of CRT ...(insert sound of Hommer drooling)
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Mark_A_W



Joined: 15 Mar 2006
Posts: 3068
Location: Sunny Melbourne Australia


PostLink    Posted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reality check guys - all these recommendations are WAY, WAY over the top for a 1252.

Really, an ordinary PC with a tuner card would be fine. $7500 is MADNESS.

You would be a billion times better off spending half of that on a better pj and then you could still buy a shithot PC with the change.
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bomrat



Joined: 10 Mar 2006
Posts: 117
Location: chicago


PostLink    Posted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

no no no, you don't have to pay 7500 for a htpc, but if you want it to do games and stuff like that you will have to drop something into it. my new system is for gaming and stuff like that, i have a videoscaler for my theater, and i want to pick up an xbox360 for the theater. just hard to find one.

plus i am lucky to get free computer parts on occasion.
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Phil Smith



Joined: 08 Mar 2006
Posts: 6803



PostLink    Posted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark_A_W wrote:
Reality check guys - all these recommendations are WAY, WAY over the top for a 1252.

Yes! This is WAY over the top for any PJ. Might not hurt to visit the AVS HTPC forum.
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Phil Smith



Joined: 08 Mar 2006
Posts: 6803



PostLink    Posted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

God_TM wrote:
...unfortunately I have a 6800GT which is great for gaming but sucky for media.

Actually, that's one of the best video cards for HTPC use.
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God_TM



Joined: 13 Mar 2006
Posts: 122
Location: Hillsboro, OR


PostLink    Posted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What drivers would you recommend for it (the 6800GT that is)?
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