i would like to thank this forum for making my installation as painless as possible especially wayne who answered my countless questions...
when i decided to build my first htpc, i did my research by reading lots and lots of wonderful posts in this posts... i would easily put the number to several hundred posts... as a result, my first installation is near perfect... no blue screen and zero conflict!!
and when i finally put it up against the so called high end 9000 es dvd player, my htpc passed the first test with flying colours...
i intend to build 2 htpcs, 1 athlon and the other intel based...
athlon 900 mhz
256 md pc 133 infineon ram
abit kt-7 mb
seagate ata-100 hdd
asus dvd-12x multicode
radeon 32mb ddr 4.13.7103 driver
m-audio dio 24/96 s/card
intel 10/100 pci nic
windvd 2.3 multichannel
powerstrip 3.0 beta
digital coaxial out via audience au-24 i/c
black 19" server rack casing with twin side flip silver cover (looks like a krell amplifier)
win98 with latest fixes and ie 5.5
1280 x 720 @ 91Hz
barco cine 7 with lido
stewart studiotek 82" 16x9 screen
mirage om-5 main speakers (bi-wired with ecosse s/c)
mirage om-c2 centre speaker (bi-wired with ecosse s/c)
mirage om-7 surround with qed silver s/c
b&k ref 30 pre
b&k ref 7250 5ch amp (modified)
audience au-24 i/c (all)
audience power chord (all)
i played around with many screen resolutions and frequency settings before settling on 1280 x 720 @ 91Hz. at this resolution, everything seems to click.
initially i tried 1024 x 768 and even 800 x 600 but the result was terrible...
when i played fifth element, it simply blew me away... the details and colour is so real and accurate that it makes me feel like putting the sony away permanently. next, i put on the corrs unplugged... i ended up watching the whole thing...
maybe i was drooling too : )
i love corrs and my htpc makes me wanting to love them even more... so much details that i could even see the musical notes on the music sheet...
sony 9000es is a good machine, but my htpc simply blew it away out of this world... even my wife agrees that the video playback quality has improved by leaps and bounds...
next, i tried the audio... the difference is not that great when compared with the sony. i still couldn't say which is better, dio or sony... what i will do is to run it in for couple of hundred hours before any serious comparison... this is to make it fair since the sony has been run in thoroughly...
noise level from the htpc is very low, it is even quieter than my barco cine 7... i believe the cine 7 is rated at 42 db at 1 metre... that will make the htpc in the less than 40 db region... i do not have a spl meter to measure exact value... personally i feel it is quiet enough to make me feel comfortable...
my next project would be tv tuner + dScaler... i don't i'll be using my htpc to listen to audio cds cause my modified rotel 951 cd player is doing that very nicely now...
last but not least, i love my htpc especially my casing... my friends couldn't figure out which is my htpc cause it doesn't looks like a pc at all... like i've said earlier, it looks like a krell amplifier...