With my Marantz DVD player failing (used to be rock solid, lately skipping quite a bit and opening it up to clean the laser had little effect), and my backup work computer on its last legs, I'm leaning toward consolidating both into a HTPC. I have a few questions before diving in:
The output setup is RGB to a Barco 708s projector, although that also has some servicing to-do issues so the current output is composite video to a borrowed, lower-end Sony projector. I use a H/K Signature Series 2.0 preamp that does not offer the necessary video switching. From what I've been able to gather, HTPC output will be a bit complicated, with HDMI/DVI being purely digital and not offering an easy adapter method. What are my options here? VGA could be converted, but I don't think I'm likely to have that on any new-ish cards?
The MSI R6450-MD1GD3/LP Radeon HD 6450 video card on special for $15 at Newegg is a no-brainer of a starting point, given its glowing reviews for HTPC usage. However, I've been reading the Linux threads and would likely go that route (not 100% decided yet). I'm not having much luck determining if that card is Linux compatible... I've found some unclear listings that show just PC compatibility, and I haven't figured out how exactly to use the Ubuntu hardware compatibility checker.
Obviously, having used the Marantz DVD player up to this point, sound quality is of equal concern as video. Any suggestions for what hardware to look for there so as to not sacrifice [much] in this area?
I'm sure I'll have other questions, but those are the essential ones for deciding if I should even go ahead with the project.
edit: Oops, the MSI card has D-SUB which is the same as VGA, so I guess that option is there. Probably no significant loss in picture quality, being as it's an analog connection to the projector, anyway? Also, I've done a moderate amount of work under the hood of computers before, but never built one from scratch.