Originally Posted by p3Orion
I have been admiring your screenshots for a while. They are quite impressive. I'm not too familiar with how HTPCs compare to gaming rigs, but I was wondering if upgrading my graphics card and maybe adding a Blu-Ray player would give me similar results on my recently purchased 429UK. I have a gaming rig that's approaching four years old. It has an Intel Pentium 2.8 ghz processor, 512 MB memory, ATI Radeon 9700 Pro video card, Western Digital WD800JB 7,200 rpm hard drive, NEC ND-3520AW DVD-RW, Sound Blaster Audigy 2. Would I need to upgrade other parts? Any added software? If I held off on purchasing a Blu-Ray player for a while would I still get images that exceed a stand alone upconverting DVD player using my PC with just an ATI X1950XTX? I'm also wondering if the 429UK will have compatibility issues, or a significantly inferior PQ in a HTPC setup considering its 1024 x 768 resolution. Currently my PC is located quite far from my 9UK and it can't be moved since other family members use it. Therefore, I would have to purchase a 50 ft DVI cable. I wonder if that would result in any appreciable signal degradation. That's quite a few questions, but I turn to you since you have a lot of experience with the commercial Panasonics and HTPC combo. Any input on helping me decide if this is a viable option would be appreciated. And keep those screenshots coming.
The couple old gen P4 cores are a bit slow so even at 2.8 ghz it might
suffer playing high def encoded files like VC-1, H.264, or the like. It'll play, but I think at times you may experience slow downs or stuttering.
My suggestion is to opt for any Core Duo processor or Core 2 Duo processor. Something like Intel Core 2 Duo E6400, which has good price.
That means a new motherboard. Not only the CPU but the new motherboard will boost the performance gradually too.
ATi Radeon 1900 series are nice cards for HTPC.
nVidia GeForce 7600GT also seem very good, from what I heard. They provide nice, vibrant, colorful pictures but they have tendency to have a little too much saturation and loss of detail in the dark. But of course if you tune the color/contrast settings will make it nearly as good.
As for an Upconverting SD-DVD players vs. an ATi X1950XTX, it really varies.. Some external DVD player don't do very good job in upconverting but I have seen some that are good. An high-end 1080i/p upconverting DVD player(like Denon or the like) will probably outperform ATi X1950XTX in scaling SD contents. A nice external DVD player and a 42" plasma TV should work fantastic. I get really good sharp and detailed pictures due to DVI connection and at 1:1 pixel mapping.
I'm really not sure if DVI-D connection will give you 1024x768. My gut feeling tells me it will work. You will lose slightly in text quality but when rendering picture I don't think you'll notice any to be bad. Increase the sharpness setting and you are set.
Yes, the longer the cable, the data transmission can be lost. It is highly noticeable if you use cheap quality cable. Go with the high-end DVI or SVGA cables, something like bettercable silver serpent or AViC cables. They can handle long distance without a hiccup.