AVS Forum banner
1 - 3 of 3 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just acquired a a Precision 650 workstation (XP Pro w/Xeon single) with a 128mb quadro card, 1 gb RAM, and some other goodies (wireless keyboard, etc). The quadro card has VGA and DVI-I outputs and my PJ has DVI-I in. I'm looking at various playback software but will this be enough to start? I'll up the ram in the near future and integrate it into my existing network, possibly with some larger SAN disks for media storage, but what else would be good for this rig? Thanks in advance for some advice....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
I think there's a good chance you'll get good playback at 480p or 720i on DVDs or via a tuner card, but this will depend as much on the nature of your projector as your machine. Most problems with overscan, timing, ect...can be overcome with the right freeware, research on what output settings work best with your particular display and enough time to dial it all in.


But - and I don't want to seem negative - if you plan to upconvert to 720p or 1080i you may need a video card with 256MB RAM. Pricewise, though, a 7600GS or ATI equivalent with 512MB would be a safer bet for smooth playback [and would likely handle 1080p also (though this would again depend on you're TV supporting it and also on having software that can upconvert to 1080p convincingly)]. And if you plan on eventually adding a Blu-ray or HD DVD drive to play high def movies, a GeForce 7600GS or better is essential both because no GPU I know of will send out 1080p decoded from either format (especially over DVI-I since that is a digital signal from port to port) without being licensed to do so by either Sony or Toshiba, respectively, and decoding those bastererbastions of Digital Rights Management takes more processing power than the Mars Rover - personally, I'm waiting until bi-format HD drives drop down to the price point of mere mortals such as I (call it a year if you're an optimist), but that's just me. Upconversion apparently requires a Core Duo or Athlon X2 CPU to church the numbers. I say apparently because I never tried it myself until I had a dual core processor, but by all accounts it won't work very well (subjective term, I know) with a single. For 480p, though, Xeon should get the job done (as far as I know, and based on my experience playing 480p DVDs on my old Pentium 3 laptop without a hitch).


Before upgrading the video card, though, you might want to think about getting a motherboard with at least one PCI-E slot if your current one doesn't have one, since a beefier GPU needs more bandwidth to run all out. Again though, if you're not doing high def for a while, I'd wait until the Core Duos drop down in price. If and when you do this, check that you have a powerful enough power supply. Most PSUs that can handle 400W or more will run a 7600GS or even a 7950GT (highly contingent on what else is in the system), but the newest GeForce 8 series cards will pull a couple hundred watts all by their lonesome, making any PSU less than 550W inadvisable if you plan on using them.


If you're planning on recording high def to you're hard drive(s) for playback, it may behoove you to go with SATA for the same reason as the PCI-E, IDE cables are lower bandwidth and may cause a bottleneck. For 480p I doubt this will matter and it may not even at 720p, but I'd bet on lag at 1080p. If you already have SATA hard drive(s), potential problem solved.


Regarding sound, are you running computer speakers or exporting audio to an external DAC such as a receiver or preamp/processor to pipe it though hi-fi speakers? If the latter, I'd suggest exporting it digitally if you're sound card has a digital out. Most are optical or coax S/PDIF, but I've seen some with phone jacks (1/8th inch miniplug jack) like the Creative Labs cards that seem to come with every computer that doesn't rely on the motherboard for sound processing. Not knocking Creative, I have an X-Fi and consider it a great value; but frankly, as long as you're exporting the audio digitally, you could have micro sized gerbils doing the footwork, for all it matters, because no actual sound is being decoded in your soundcard - all gets done in the external DAC.


If you're interested in advice on what hi-fi speakers to look at, you'll get more different answers than if you asked for an opinion on what car to shop for. That said, and at the risk of being flamed, I would not personally buy Bose speakers. Bose are not crappy speakers, but you can get more for less in both computer speakers and hi-fi. Bose Lifestyle systems have the handy feature of a built in music server, but this would be completely superfluous on a HTPC setup. Granted, I have less experience auditioning computer speakers, but I do know the serious contenders are fewer in number than those in the hi-fi realm: Altec Lansing, Harman Kardon, Logitech, Creative Labs, Bose (but you'll pay more for the brand), Klipsch (can sound a bit shouty in the midrange and highs) and probably a few others I've never heard of.


Last but not least, another Gig of RAM can never hurt with video decoding, but I'm not certain you'll see a huge boost in performance at 480p.


There are at least a dozen other things you could add or upgrade (cables, PC remote control, cortical transceiver) but those are the high points I can think of off the top of my head. Just out of curiosity, what PJ are you using?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It's an Optoma HD72 and I should be able to output 720p on the DVI connector (at least I have that rez available). Powerstrip just came to mind....hmmmm. And I was looking at the Audiophile 192 for a sound solution. I might be doing some recording in the future and this card seemed like it would get the job done. I'll have to check on the PCI-e slot tho. I did try an experiment with a SATA card but it didn't work out too well. I think I didn't really invest enough time in it- kids....oy....so I went with a larger IDE for a quick storage solution. Thanks for the advice. Then there's the new Gefen box, some cables, the rest of the fireplace, an IR fix, a badass remote.....quite the money pit! It should be an adventure. I gotta dream though!
 
1 - 3 of 3 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top