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A newbie here...

I'm going to build an HTPC for my 1030Q1, and figured the first step is to ask you guys lots of questions... :D

I focussed and converged it yesterday, and the quality of the image through the composite input blew me away!!

I want to build an HTPC that will do:

Normal native DVD resolution (720x480p) with something like 960p for when i get a better projector.

Scaling of CATV and/or VHS.

Playing Quake II and III with minimal fuss on the projector.

I want use DScaler for all this....


Is all this possible with Windows 2000? (My OS of choice)

What am i looking at? I think i'll need either GeForce 3 or Radeon something... :confused:


Thanks,

Mark :eek:
 

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The way I understand it a MOBO with the NFORCE chipset should be the best solution for games and movies. The board passes digital sound to your surround receiver for both your movies and games through a S/PDIF connection. I have not heard any bad reports about them. The 415 designation is for no integrated video vs. 420 w/video. My next HTPC will use this chipset. I don't know if I want micro atx or not but it is nice to have the choice.


Not MOBO related but do not forget to use a slot load DVD drive. Pioneer makes the only one, I think. You will allways appreciate it when you play DVD's. Plus the added cool factor when people see your setup.
 

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A good choice of components, for a good price, would be:


MB: TUSL2-C

CPU: 1Ghz PIII

Video: Radeon 32MB DDR


For audio, it depends. If you want to do gaming, you might want to get the appropriate SB style card. For a while they were problematic for HTPCs, but I think that those issues are basically ok now. For more HTPC oriented audio, the M-Audio Audiophile 24/96 is very popular, though a bit more pricey.


That will give you a quite nice HTPC, put it in a good enclusure with a quiet PS, and you'll be good to go.
 

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You may also want to take a serious look at the Soyo Dragon . I have the SY-KT333 and it is one of the best mother boards I have ever worked with (and I have built alot of computers). Just about everything except video is onboard including sound (CMI 8738 @ 6 channels), and network, freeing up some of those valuable slots. I have mine paired with an Athalon XP 1800 and 512mb of DDR RAM. I don't overclock on my HTPC, but this board does offer some serious tweaking if you want to do so. Use an ATI Radeon 7000 for DVD and DScaler output, but no games, although with the overclocking capabilities of this board I am sure that it is a good performer in that arena. This board came up perfectly in a fresh install of XP and has passed DD and DTS through the SPDIF outputs on the daughtercard without any incident and with all players (WinDVD, PowerDVD, Ravisent filter pack).


There is a flavor of the Dragon for Pentiums, that I have heard is also a good performer, although I have not used it.
 

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Quote:
What is signifigant about the TUSL2-C?
Not a huge amount, which is good :) Its just an upgrade of the the CUSL2, a very solid, widely used and therefore well tested, Intel chipset based MB that is known to be a good HTPC based system. Its inexpensive and reliable, and has plenty of horsepower with a 1Ghz PIII to make a good HTPC.


Be a little wary of 'everything on the MB' type boards for HTPC uses. Things move fast in the HTPC world, even compared to the computer world in general sometimes, and you will want to upgrade things in bits and pieces along the way, so having the least stuff on the MB possible means you aren't paying for stuff that you might not use for long. So just getting a good quality, reliable basic MB can be the best approach.


If you want to do more than HTPC, then you might have a justification for a more powerful CPU, P4 perhaps, but if its just going to be an HTPC for DVD playback and maybe some standard def Dscaler stuff, then this one will likely give you what you need for a very reasonable price.


Mine is based on the previous CUSL2, as are a lot of other people's here.
 

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Dean is right about things moving fast...however on most "all-in-one" boards you can disable the onboard pieces you want to replace with PCI cards or external devices. If things don't work out with the new card, just reenable the on-board device and you have a failsafe.


I, like most here, fall into the bleeding edge upgrade frenzy that grips one every month or two (or week or two, or day or two...you get the picture), so a whole hog mother board upgrade tends to be a regular event. However, I think it is safe to say that you can expect at least a good year out of any Motherboard before it has been completely been antiquated by the demands of newer technology. Your mileage may vary...greatly!
 

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I should have pointed out that, yes one way or another you end up replacing bits and you can just disable something on a MB and pop something in a slot. However, if you keep it out of the MB, you can pull it out of the machine and put it in another one, instead of just eating it. I've got enough bits that I've pulled out of my HTPC over the last year to build another very good machine pretty much. Pieces that might have fallen off the HTPC performance curve are often still high on the performance curve of 'normal people'.


Also, some 'all in one' type boards might not have a lot of free slots because they don't theoretically need them because everything is onboard. But if you disable that onboard stuff, you need slots to replace that functionality, so be sure to allow for that if you get one.
 
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