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Looking to convert my old PC to HTPC. Some basic questions.

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I'm looking to buy my first HDTV, and want to keep it sub $600. So far it's looking like the Sony EX400 40" fits the bill perfectly with one caveat... it won't let you play an analog sound source on an Input that uses HDMI. So if I hook up my computer up with a DVI-HDMI converter cable, I can't get sound on the same input.

Anyhow, it then occurred to me that the video card on this PC was dated and would probably need to be replaced anyhow. Last I remember it was struggling with 720p MKV files on a 1680x1050 monitor.

So.... if I get a video card with HDMI out, can I get the sound traveling over it in a way that will play nice with the EX400? Can such a card be had for under $100 (I think so, probably.) Any other parts on the computer I will need to update? (Sound card?)

Note that I'm assuming a dual core 2.6Ghz is a strong enough processor, and I also intend to use the TV's speakers. I'm in a small apartment complex with a lot of older neighbors, so spending lots of money on a nice sound system just to annoy them doesn't make much sense.

In the short term I'd like to just have winXP come up and play video in MPC, in the long term I'd like to switch over to a Linux solution. (Want to get my hands dirtier with Linux... but not right this second.)


System specs of machine in question:
Processor Opteron 185 (dual core 2.6 GHz)
Video nVidia 6800GS 256mb (factory over clocked clock speeds)
RAM 2GB DDR1 (2 x 1gb) (I have an extra 2x512 MB I can pop in)
Motheboard Gigabyte K8N Pro SLi
Sound On Board RealTek
OS Win XP Pro / Linux Mint Dual Boot
post #2 of 5
Any of the AMD Raedon 5 series SHOULD work, and the 5450 models can be had for as little as $30. That should be all you need.
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks. Do I have to look for anything special, like a spot on the video card to connect a wire from the sound card in order to get sound over HDMI?

Am I also safe to assume I won't regret buying a card that's s little higher end, or does that model have specific features making it better for HTCP? I noticed some of them claimed to be silent and do not require external power... though I always worry about cards like that over heating under a high load.
post #4 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xerain View Post
Thanks. Do I have to look for anything special, like a spot on the video card to connect a wire from the sound card in order to get sound over HDMI?

Am I also safe to assume I won't regret buying a card that's s little higher end, or does that model have specific features making it better for HTCP? I noticed some of them claimed to be silent and do not require external power... though I always worry about cards like that over heating under a high load.
No, the sound will go over the hdmi, with no extra connections.

No. you wont regret not buying a higher end card unless you plan on gaming. a lot of us here run integrated graphics for htpc since the dont require a whole lot of gpu power for hdtv and bluray.

if you get a passively cooled gpu, it will be silent, but i imagine you wont notice any fan noise above what the tv or surround puts out. and it shouldn't get too hot since it wont be under that much stress.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks that helps a lot.

The last thing I'll ask (hopefully), is how much power is needed for moderate to heavy post processing? Like for up scaling old 640x480 video files and applying a few filters. One rule of thumb I've heard of the years is in an ideal situation you want to us e a resizing algorithm to re size the video to twice your screen resolution, apply your filters, and let the video card scale it back down to your screen size. Though when I imagine the resolution increased to twice 1080p then scaled down.. well that seems a bit excessive.

But in short, does wanting to be able to do a decent amount of post processing change the game at all?
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