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Exploding Head!


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Well, gave up on going the HTPC route before, as my head DID explode from all the choices, info-gathering, etc.

Being a sucker for punishment, I'm warily proceeding in the HTPC direction again (what with the Toppy Mirage7000 being likely to be ridiculously over-priced, and the Strong not that much cheaper, and both out "sometime just after hell freezes over"...)

This time, I'm thinking more along the light-weight version, rather than the all-out graphicsDemon, dual xeon, memory-coming-out-its-*rse, kind of machine I usually go for!

Any recommendations:

*Overall & General

*Graphics cards which are great for HDTV but not great for games (I couldnt give a flying *** about bloody games!!! They are killers! Zombie-makers! Widow-makers.....)

*This PCI-express-thingy, or whatever the latest, greatest "gotta wait until XXX comes out" show-stopper is now!

Anything and everything greatly appreciated!

(And PS: I'm in Perth, so now Aldi recommendations :blink: )

Thanks!

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Hi Santa! I thought you were from the South Pole? :P

For xmas I would like:

*Overall & General

- Pentium 4 2.4, 2.6, or 2.8GHz

- Intel Springdale or Canterwood chipset based mobo (Asus, gigabyte, or Abit)

- At least 512MB DDR400 (good brand such as Corsair)

*Graphics cards which are great for HDTV but not great for games

-A Radeon 9200 or GeForce4 MX or Ti4200 will do just fine.

*This PCI-express-thingy, or whatever the latest, greatest "gotta wait until XXX comes out" show-stopper is now!

-Forget about PCI Express unless you plan on doing a heck of a lot of HD editing. Normal PCI does the job fine.

As for the card - you pretty much get what you pay for, the DVICO and Nebula are great cards.

( I recommend the Nebula of course :blink: mainly due to its fantastic set-top box interace and features )

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Hi Santa! I thought you were fromt he South Pole? :P

*Overall & General

- Pentium 4 2.4 to 3.2GHz

- Intel Speingdale or Canterwood chipset

- At least 512MB DDR400

*Graphics cards which are great for HDTV but not great for games

-A Radeon 9200 or GeForce4 MX or Ti4200 will do just fine.

*This PCI-express-thingy, or whatever the latest, greatest "gotta wait until XXX comes out" show-stopper is now!

-Forget about PCI Express unless you plan on doing a heck of a lot of HD editing. Normal PCI does the job fine.

As for the card, the DVICO, VisionPlus, or Nebula are all great cards.

( I recommend the Nebula of course :blink: mainly due to its fantastic set-top box interace and features )

Thanks Anarchi!

I was thinking around the Canterwood, 3.0GHz for price/performance, with 512 or 1024MB DDR. I believe there isnt much effective difference between the higher "bandwidth" memory (500Mz, 800Mhz, whatever) - is this correct? (The moment I kind of get up to date with this type of stuff, something crops up, I look away, and WOOF! I've lost the plot again!!!)

If PCI Express doesn't add much to the cost, I would like high enough performance to do all my real-time trickery and image-processing!

I didnt mention the HDTV cards, as they seem to stir up emotions(!), but any recommendations are accepted gladly, thanks!

I want to hear from anyone & everyone, feel free to call me a dopey-git too, if it helps!

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I believe there isnt much effective difference between the higher "bandwidth" memory (500Mz, 800Mhz, whatever)
No noticable difference what-so-ever between 533 and 800. btw you cant but 533 CPU's anymore.

If you go for a PCI express board:

* make sure you get a mainboard that can take normal DDR400 memory (DDR2 is very expensive and is actually slower than DDR400).

* make sure it has PCI slots for your DVB card.

* Make sure you get a power supply with the extra power connector the new mainboards require.

* The Prescott cpu has the new style Intel socket, you cant use Northwoods.

* You get a PCI-Express 16x Graphics card. AGP 8x wont fit.

I recommend getting the tried and tested Northwood + canterwood combo for DVB. New standards always have issues for the first year.

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I believe there isnt much effective difference between the higher "bandwidth" memory (500Mz, 800Mhz, whatever)
No noticable difference what-so-ever between 533 and 800. btw you cant but 533 CPU's anymore.

If you go for a PCI express board:

* make sure you get a mainboard that can take normal DDR400 memory (DDR2 is very expensive and is actually slower than DDR400).

* make sure it has PCI slots for your DVB card.

* Make sure you get a power supply with the extra power connector the new mainboards require.

* The Prescott cpu has the new style Intel socket, you cant use Northwoods.

* You get a PCI-Express 16x Graphics card. AGP 8x wont fit.

I recommend getting the tried and tested Northwood + canterwood combo for DVB. New standards always have issues for the first year.

And, from memory, the Prescott was a little bit of a dog, compared to the Northwood?

(I've also noticed that I have to pay attention to getting the right connectors on the mainboard for SATA, etc and matching up with the drive(s) themselves... heaps of fun....)

PS: I'm not, repeat NOT, an overclocker!

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Why not go towards Athlon 64? I know for my HTPC (and general use PCs) a quiet machine is a must, and Athlon 64s generally produce even less heat than Northwoods (and many can be undervolted to produce even less heat).

Generally many people overlook the noise from a HTPC when thinking of the configuration. If you need quieting tips, I'm here to help. :blink:

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Guest Gizmomelb

for PCI Express cards it's pretty much only the top of the line (read: expensive) cards out at the moment - the ATI X800 and the nVidia 5750. The nVidia 6600 and the ATI X700 mid-range cards (ie: around $300 Aus.) should be out mid/late next month and they supposedly have accelerated output for HDTV resolutions.

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Why not go towards Athlon 64? I know for my HTPC (and general use PCs) a quiet machine is a must, and Athlon 64s generally produce even less heat than Northwoods (and many can be undervolted to produce even less heat).

Generally many people overlook the noise from a HTPC when thinking of the configuration. If you need quieting tips, I'm here to help. :blink:

I might even do that! I'm just so used to the old Intel stuff, but, hey if there's no reason to stick to it, why not change ships! I've just seen so much more about the pentiums, and all the comparisons/requirements tend to concentrate on them. {And you get the impression that the graphics board makers etc, think of them first? Is that right, not 100% on that - just a feeling?}

On the noise side, yeah, that will certainly be a consideration. I'm not going to go overboard with ultra-expensive IceMaster2000® SilentFlow® systems, but I dont want anything loud (esp the drives - on my current system, the only thing noticeable is a fairly mild high pitch whine from the drives).

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for PCI Express cards it's pretty much only the top of the line (read: expensive) cards out at the moment - the ATI X800 and the nVidia 5750.  The nVidia 6600 and the ATI X700 mid-range cards (ie: around $300 Aus.) should be out mid/late next month and they supposedly have accelerated output for HDTV resolutions.

Aha - to be expected :blink:

I'd love to see a few graphics cards designed for (non-MS-etc-knackered) HDTV and not primarily for games!!!!! I couldn't give a proverbial if a card can do 3 terramorphs/nanosecond or pump out 1000 frames/sec of Doom 5 "Laker's Revenge", etc!

I remember back when I was heavily into the early digital image processing etc, and would have given an arm and a leg for the kind of capabilities the cards have these days (even back when it cost literally a $million+ for an SGI Onyx which would struggle through tasks which barely raise a sweat with today's cards!), but now all I want is a nice cheap card able to laugh at HDTV!

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