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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been trying to use an older dell computer I got and make it into something that can be hooked up to my HDTV, sadly it has died. I guess thats why I found it in a garage.


So I have been looking to buy a cheap computer. I just need something that can output 1920x1080 via HDMI to my HDTV. It wont play HD content, just be used as a normal PC for everyday use.


So what should I look for in an older PC. I am hoping I can find something that I only need to upgrade the video card to something that can output DVI or HDMI.


I am looking for the cheapest possible PC, I've seen some on craiglist for $50-80 but sometimes missing a HDD or has a problem that seems like it would be fixed by a fresh OS install.
 

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For as cheap as the ATI 5450 cards are (around $40-$60) all it needs to have is a PCI-E x16 slot and you'd be set. If you are just wanting to surf the web and such then even a single core PC would get you by (my grandmother is still using an AMD socket 939 single core and it works just fine with Win XP). If you intend to add a blu-ray player to it later on down the road then I would suggest looking for a dual core, like an older Core 2 Duo or AMD Athlon II x2 (AM2 or greater chip). In the end, to display on your tv all you would need is either a card that has an HDMI out on it already, or DVI and then a DVI to HDMI cable/adapter. Some TV's will even take VGA (or D-Sub) as an input.


If you aren't doing any HD content in the future at all then any card made from about 1997 on up has the capabilities of displaying a desktop resolution of 1920x1080. Gaming and watching HD.264 etc.. is another story all together.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ok, when I look up some of the model numbers the spec sheet just says PCI.


If it has PCI-E x16 it'll say it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well I found someone who is selling a pc for $150 but has a monitor and other crap i dont want. So I'll see if he'll let it go for less and just the pc. Seems like a good fit.


it has an ATI RADEON X300/X550/X1050 which I think is PCI-e and has DVI already. I'd just need to put my own HDD in it
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well I got the guy to sell me the PC for $115 alone. If it has PCi-e x16 then I might go for it. But how can i tell if ti has PCI-E x16?


the video card is ATI RADEON X300/X550/X1050 can anyone verify that it is


ehh, I'm gonna get it. Seems like a steal for that price. I googled and found the x300 listed as a pcie x16 card so I am pretty sure it is.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrOldboy /forum/post/18160979


Well I got the guy to sell me the PC for $115 alone. If it has PCi-e x16 then I might go for it. But how can i tell if ti has PCI-E x16?


the video card is ATI RADEON X300/X550/X1050 can anyone verify that it is

Those are three different cards. The seller is just looking at some setting and seeing that it is a card in that series. I think that series is from 2005 so you will probably struggle with anything HD. I guess the card doesn't matter if you plan on replacing it, but I imagine you'll have to keep throwing money at that PC to make it do what you want.
 

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You can get reputable refurbs from various places for about $200 with everything you'd need. Hell, you can get a new Revo/nettop that will work as an HTPC for that. I wouldn't buy something old and used from a guy that doesn't even know what he's selling.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelWill /forum/post/18161369


You can get reputable refurbs from various places for about $200 with everything you'd need. Hell, you can get a new Revo/nettop that will work as an HTPC for that. I wouldn't buy something old and used from a guy that doesn't even know what he's selling.

+1


With new components being so cheap, it's ridiculous to pay for something so old that you'll just have to dump more money into. $100 for a junker which will certainly need a new video card and more RAM (and will still be dog slow) is $100 thrown away. You can build a very respectable HTPC for under $300 with all new components, and it will run rings around anything you get second hand off of craigslist.

 

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Dont know why all this talk about PCI-E. OP is NOT playing HD, so a machine with AGP slot would do fine. As long as no HD, a single core cpu would also be ok, which would be a lot closer to his original stated budget!


OP - If you are planning on using XP, look for a P4 with at least a GIG of ram. You may even be lucky and find one that has DVI out on a dedicated GPU.
 

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I'd just refer to my first post. If you don't need to play HD material, you just need a DVI or (depending on your TV) D-sub (VGA) port. Any video card made from 1997 will be able to run a 1920x1080 desktop. As long as you don't want to run alot of stuff in the background it won't be all that slow. Again, my grandmother's PC has a single core socket 939 (built it almost 10 years ago) with one GB of ram in it and it will surf the web and access spreadsheets just as fast as my Core 2 Duo @ 3.2Ghz. with 4GB of ram will. It will also support a 1920x1080 desktop resolution. Now, will it play back blu-rays? No, but for average surfing etc. you don't need a monster. Granted the $300 for a brand new PC isn't a bad idea either.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Natedog51 /forum/post/18159961


If you are just wanting to surf the web and such then even a single core PC would get you by (my grandmother is still using an AMD socket 939 single core and it works just fine with Win XP). If you intend to add a blu-ray player to it later on down the road then I would suggest looking for a dual core, like an older Core 2 Duo or AMD Athlon II x2 (AM2 or greater chip).

A single core is fine for Blu-ray, provided the appropriate video card is used.


My 2600+ AGP plays Blu-ray fine with the help of an XFX 4650 card.
 

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I'm sure a SC CPU could do it fine but considering you can find P4 dual cores for super cheap. Either way, he doesn't need a beast of a machine to do what he wants right now. Just a DVI or HDMI out which could be provided by a $40 video card.
 

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you don't need dual core.

you don't need a PCI-e slot.



i have a old dell 4600 (single pentium 2.8 ghz) that i added a ASUS 3650 AGP card to, that works perfectly as a HD HTPC. It handles 1080P, no problem.


i suspect you can pick up a Dell 4600 for next to nothing.
 

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Hi all. This is the closest thread that I could find that is in relation to my question, and I don't know how to make a new thread yet...sorry.


So the dumb question I have is this: are there restrictions on how powerful a video card can be in relation to the motherboard being used? The mobo that I have is an ASUS P5N7A-VM, which has built in graphics, but I want to upgrade, but I don't know if my mobo can handle new, powerful video cards. I'm running currently running it with a Core 2 Quad Q9550, 2 sticks of 1 gig RAM, and windows XP (will be going to Windows 7 soon). Thanks for putting up with the craziness.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by doit_ron /forum/post/18166946


Hi all. This is the closest thread that I could find that is in relation to my question, and I don't know how to make a new thread yet...sorry.


So the dumb question I have is this: are there restrictions on how powerful a video card can be in relation to the motherboard being used? The mobo that I have is an ASUS P5N7A-VM, which has built in graphics, but I want to upgrade, but I don't know if my mobo can handle new, powerful video cards. I'm running currently running it with a Core 2 Quad Q9550, 2 sticks of 1 gig RAM, and windows XP (will be going to Windows 7 soon). Thanks for putting up with the craziness.

That motherboard has a PCI-E X16 slot for graphics so any modern graphics card will work fine in it.
 
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