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HP Pavilion Slimline s3330f, is it a good prebuilt htpc?

post #1 of 336
Thread Starter 
Hi im going to be buying a pc in the near future and seen this pc on the cc website. I dont really need the combo player since i have stand alone units for both formats, but i wouldnt mind it. The computer will mainly be used for internet, playing backed up dvd's, music, and as a hd pvr. so for the price what are the pros and cons to this set up. can i do better for the price range?
post #2 of 336
If you have two stand-alones for HDM, the lower-end versions of that slimline box (s3200, s3020, s3100) can all handle HDTV. I have the s3020n, and I love it. You can find those very cheap on the interwebs.

Edit: forgot to mention I added an NV8400GS to allow it to do HDTV.
post #3 of 336
Gadget websites reported that the HP s3330f has a dual format HD-DVD + Blu-Ray drive. However, I can't find any seller that shows anything other than a standard DVD drive.

oops. I'm now seeing websites list that a HD-DVD and Blu-Ray *player* is included with a DVD drive. Apparently HP marketing thinks a player is hardware. Usually the term refers to software. Yet another example of a well spec'ed product suffering from poorly written marketing information. HP is particularly bad with this but, as we know, many other companies do it too. Seems like marketing departments frequently don't understand what is significant about a product. The s3330f is only significant because it has a dual format drive. Otherwise, why pay extra?
post #4 of 336
I've read that the hd player that comes with these is pretty spiffy. Seems to be based on powerdvd with hp's gui built in. Just going on what I've read. i'm also considering these slimlines....although still undecided if i need the hd drive, I'm thinking I might just go with the stand alone players for that and use the HP for everything else.
post #5 of 336
J&R has it for sale now also. So what do you people think on it? Is it a good value for the specs? I like the dual format drive, IR remote included and the PC capabilities of course. It'd be great to have something that just plays everything and not need to worrry about it. Would this be powerful enough?
post #6 of 336
If you don't want to build your own, go for it. It's a good value.
post #7 of 336
I've owned a s3330f for about ten days. It's a fantastic, really tiny machine. I use it for HD-DVD and BD playback and, in short, it plays both formats very very well, as well as isos from the hard drive.



I output 5.1 audio via coax spdif to a non-HDMI Denon 5800 reciever, so I don't know how it does with the various audio options that are available on HDMI.

The HP DVD Play (Power dvd) that comes with this mahcine supposedly has an upgrade option that, once downloaded, activates the software's "zoom" feature. I'd like to have a zoom feature, so I wonder if anyone here has upgraded their standard version of HP DVD Play to the Deluxe version, and, if so, does the zoom actually work and how much does it zoom the image on the first click of the zoom button?

Thanks.
post #8 of 336
Herve

Can you also plug in earphones in the front jack and get stereo output out of there while outputting 5.1 through your Denon? It really impacts my current plans for the device.

Ken
post #9 of 336
Quote:
Originally Posted by KensingtonPark View Post

Herve

Can you also plug in earphones in the front jack and get stereo output out of there while outputting 5.1 through your Denon? It really impacts my current plans for the device.

Ken

While using S/Pdif I cannot get audio through the headphone jack. This is in both the OEM play software - HP DVD Play BD HD-DVD (Pdvd) - and the same in MediaPlayerClassic.

Sorry about that.
post #10 of 336
Herve:

Thank you very much! That was very useful information!

How about the standard stereo line out while using S/Pdif?

Charles
post #11 of 336
No audio there, either, Charles.

Do you have a reciever that has a headphone jack that does not shut off speaker output when you plug in headphones?
post #12 of 336
Quote:
Originally Posted by Herve View Post

I've owned a s3330f for about ten days. It's a fantastic, really tiny machine. I use it for HD-DVD and BD playback and, in short, it plays both formats very very well, as well as isos from the hard drive.



I output 5.1 audio via coax spdif to a non-HDMI Denon 5800 reciever, so I don't know how it does with the various audio options that are available on HDMI.

The HP DVD Play (Power dvd) that comes with this mahcine supposedly has an upgrade option that, once downloaded, activates the software's "zoom" feature. I'd like to have a zoom feature, so I wonder if anyone here has upgraded their standard version of HP DVD Play to the Deluxe version, and, if so, does the zoom actually work and how much does it zoom the image on the first click of the zoom button?

Thanks.

can you post a pic with the drive open just want to see what the combo drive faceplate looks like. Thanks.
post #13 of 336
I was looking at this thing myself. The cost seems as cheap, or cheaper than the build your own HTPC, all in a nice small package. How loud is it when it is turned on?? Does it have HDMI out??

Would the video/processor be enough to play HD without issue??
post #14 of 336
Just went to the HP web site. $629 is you go without the HD DVD player. Would love an "experts" view on if this unit would make a good HTPC for just playing back ISO's. Can anyone comment if the processor/video is up to the task of playing back Standard resolution DVD ISO's?
post #15 of 336
Quote:
Originally Posted by kevekev30 View Post

can you post a pic with the drive open just want to see what the combo drive faceplate looks like. Thanks.




Quote:
Originally Posted by windycitycouple View Post

I was looking at this thing myself. The cost seems as cheap, or cheaper than the build your own HTPC, all in a nice small package. How loud is it when it is turned on?? Does it have HDMI out??

Would the video/processor be enough to play HD without issue??

I could not build a HTPC that has all of this one's features for anywhere near the cost of this standalone. It's not very loud. I cannot hear it from about 6 feet away - where we normally sit.

Yes, it has HDMI out. At present, our's is connected to an RS1 projector - 1080p 24 fps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by windycitycouple View Post

Just went to the HP web site. $629 is you go without the HD DVD player. Would love an "experts" view on if this unit would make a good HTPC for just playing back ISO's. Can anyone comment if the processor/video is up to the task of playing back Standard resolution DVD ISO's?

Using the OEM software (HP DVD Play BD & HD DVD), it plays back both format HD ISOs from a virtual drive as well as it plays back the original disks from the ROM drive - perfectly.

The same OEM software also plays all sd ISOs from DVD-r disks that I've tried, including split-to-2-disk movies. Some it plays as well as our Oppo, a very few, not as well.

BTW, the media center remote for this thing works great.
post #16 of 336
Quote:
Originally Posted by Herve View Post





I could not build a HTPC that has all of this one's features for anywhere near the cost of this standalone. It's not very loud. I cannot hear it from about 6 feet away - where we normally sit.

Yes, it has HDMI out. At present, our's is connected to an RS1 projector - 1080p 24 fps.


Using the OEM software (HP DVD Play BD & HD DVD), it plays back both format HD ISOs from a virtual drive as well as it plays back the original disks from the ROM drive - perfectly.

The same OEM software also plays all sd ISOs from DVD-r disks that I've tried, including split-to-2-disk movies. Some it plays as well as our Oppo, a very few, not as well.

BTW, the media center remote for this thing works great.

thanks.
post #17 of 336
Quote:
Originally Posted by Herve View Post

No audio there, either, Charles.

Do you have a reciever that has a headphone jack that does not shut off speaker output when you plug in headphones?

Herve:

Thank you very much. I have a secondary need to plug into a sound mixer that is unrelated to HD-DVD/Blu-Ray/DVD play. Oh well, it's still a great machine. Enjoy!

Kensington
post #18 of 336
From reading the specs, this has DVI and HDMI outputs. Can you output both simultaneaously? I want to use DVI to a touchscreen monitor, where I use software that controls my entire theater and use the HDMI output to my projector for actual viewing of HD DVD's.
post #19 of 336
This PC's GeForce 8500GT card has no problem with two "monitors". I have used an RS1 projector 1080p @ 24, while simultaneously using a 19" Samsung CRT monitor (connecting via the included DVI to VGA adapter) 1024x768 @ 60Hz.

I don't know how touchscreen monitors connect or function, so I'm not sure if one will work with this PC.
post #20 of 336
Quote:
Originally Posted by Herve View Post

This PC's GeForce 8500GT card has no problem with two "monitors". I have used an RS1 projector 1080p @ 24, while simultaneously using a 19" Samsung CRT monitor (connecting via the included DVI to VGA adapter) 1024x768 @ 60Hz.

So the GeForce is outputting 2 different resolutions at 2 different frequencies simultaneously? 1920×1080 @24Hz to your RS1 projector (HDMI output) and then 1024x768 @60Hz to your monitor (DVI output)?
post #21 of 336
Quote:
Originally Posted by rkhobbit View Post

So the GeForce is outputting 2 different resolutions at 2 different frequencies simultaneously? 1920×1080 @24Hz to your RS1 projector (HDMI output) and then 1024x768 @60Hz to your monitor (DVI output)?

Yes.
post #22 of 336
I'm trying WinDVD8. As far as I can tell, it plays all commercial sd dvds and movies on dvd-r disks as well as our Oppo. It plays these much better than the OEM Pdvd does that came with the machine.

This is one very nice little box.
post #23 of 336
Quote:
Originally Posted by Herve View Post

I'm trying WinDVD8. As far as I can tell, it plays all commercial sd dvds and movies on dvd-r disks as well as our Oppo. It plays these much better than the OEM Pdvd does that came with the machine.

This is one very nice little box.

Then you use the WinDVD for SD DVDs and the included PowerDVD for HD/Blu? What's the difference between sd DVDs and DVD-r disks?

Thanks,

Rich
post #24 of 336
Here's our source-component set-up:

From left to right:
Starchoice HDTV sat. reciever sitting on top of Oppo 981 sd dvd player.
Slimline s3330f dual-format hi def. HTPC (Finally, with the protective film removed.)
Gyromouse with Aktis remote for Denon receiver behind it
Denon AVR5800 audio/video receiver with Paradigm sub interface and PIII HPTC keyboard sitting on top.

I think the little Slimline fits in very nicely. Remarkably, it's only a few inches higher than the 5800.

Because the Slimline now plays all sd dvds as well as the Oppo, we will be moving the Oppo into another room. (Too bad we bought the Oppo just a few months ago.)
post #25 of 336
Quote:
Originally Posted by windycitycouple View Post

Just went to the HP web site. $629 is you go without the HD DVD player. Would love an "experts" view on if this unit would make a good HTPC for just playing back ISO's. Can anyone comment if the processor/video is up to the task of playing back Standard resolution DVD ISO's?

Since this computer can handle Blu-ray and HD DVD, it can certainly handle standard-def DVDs. What's more, if that's all you need, you can save yourself some money by buying a cheaper model Slimline. I bought a refurbished s3020n a few months back for about $350 and upgraded the graphics card and RAM. Today you can find models better than my s3020n for about $350-450 which are faster and/or already come with 2GB of RAM. For standard-def DVD, you wouldn't need to upgrade the graphics card. I upgraded it on mine primarily because I needed HDMI out.
post #26 of 336
How is the termperature on this rig? Does it run hot?

As far as HDMI goes, is it limited to just the video or is audio included with the HDMI out?
post #27 of 336
srauly, what card did you put in? Are you happy with it?
post #28 of 336
amheck, I added the MSI NX8500GT-MTD256EH, which is has an NVIDIA 8500GT chip. It's a fanless model (huge heatsink), so it keeps the box really quiet. Plus, the Slimlines use rather anemic power supplies, so you have to be frugal about power consumption when adding cards, and I imagine that the lack of a power-consuming fan helps out a bit. The heatsink is so big that it encroaches on the nearby PCI slot, so you lose that slot by adding this card. Also, it's a half-height card which is necessary with the Slimlines.

I bought mine as an open-box thru newegg for about $70. They seem to be one of the few places that offers this card and, unfortunately, there don't seem to be a lot of options out there for half-height PCI Express graphics cards with HDMI output.
post #29 of 336
Quote:
Originally Posted by srauly View Post

The heatsink is so big that it encroaches on the nearby PCI slot, so you lose that slot by adding this card. Also, it's a half-height card which is necessary with the Slimlines.

That's what I was kinda worried about. Are you using a TV Tuner? I was trying to find a card with HDMI that didn't make you loose the PCI slot for the TV tuner.
post #30 of 336
Yeah, no TV tuner for me. Others are successfully using a Galaxy 8600GT (with fan). But if you don't already have a TV tuner card, another (probably better) option would be to get an HD HomeRun, which is an external dual-tuner box. I'm thinking of getting one of those myself.
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