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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, I think I have finally decided to take the HTPC pluge. I have started research on a system. Preliminary results provide me with the following system specs:


Motherboard: Asus P4T533-C

CPU: Intel Pentium 4 'B' (2.0 GHz)

Memory: 512 MB 1066 RDRAM

Hard Drive: Maxtor 160 GB 7200 RPM ATA 133

DVD-ROM: (Unknown)

Floppy: Who cares

Video Card: ATI Radeon 8500 DV

nVidia GeForce 4 ti (possible later addition)

Sound Card: Maudio 24/96 Audiophile

Keyboard: Logitech Cordless Freedom Pro

Mouse: Logitech Cordless Trackman FX

Case: (Unknown)

Ethernet: (Integrated on Mboard)

HD Tuner Card: (Unknown - HD not available in my area yet)


I would like feedback from anyone who cares to give it. I'm experienced in the computer field, but not so much the home theater one. I already have a 5 disc progressive scan (+mp3) DVD player. I'm not sure if this needs to hook up to the HTPC or if I should just scrap it and use the HTPC for everything, or bypass the HTPC for DVD. One of the main uses for the system will be gaming on the HDTV (and websurfing and probably a little work as well). I'm also a little concerned about my selection of motherboards. The one I've chosen will support the newest Pentium 4 chips, but if I'm going with a 2 GHz one, this may be overkill. I currently plan to hook this machine to the HLM507W by samsung when it is released. I do not currently have an HDTV.
 

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Looks good, if overpowered :) Also, why do you need the DV edition of the 8500? Those are expensive and you will not be able to use DScaler. Unless you need it specifically for 3d games, I would go with a low-end 8500 + DScaler compatible card. You have no use for the onboard sound since your M-Audio will handle that better as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm not quite up to the expert level on HTPC video. I chose the 8500 DV because I heard it was the top of the line, and it appeared to have every input and output known to man coupled with decent 3d gaming performance. I am a gamer at heart, so I would rather go with an nVidia solution but am skeptical with how compliant such a card would be with hooking up to a television at HDTV resolutions (mainly 720 p for now, 1080 p eventually) via component cables or DVI (assuming the television's DVI interface works like I am expecting it will). I'm not sure what DScaler is and why I would need it.
 

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DScaler is a very big thing around here...try searching for it or checking out the website:

www.dscaler.org


Note, this will NOT work at all with your 8500.


Basically, the 8500DV is packed with features you don't need. You won't use the audio, the tv tuning can be done better by other parts, and the video quality for 2d is the same on any 8500 card (including the $100 ones.)


The new GF4 cards are supposed to have a better DAC now finally with 10 bit output that the Radeon has had for awhile. Not many people have played with them though, so you will not get as much help.
 

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Glad I read this, I almost took the plunge today with the DV for the same reasons. Good to know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So, why is DScaler incompatible with the Radeon 8500 DV? Is it something I need to look out for in other cards?
 

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DScaler is made to only work with video input / tv tuner only cards based on Brooktree/Conexant chipsets. It has direct hooks into the hardware that don't work over something like WDM right now.


Most cards you'll find that are video capture like from Hauppauge, Zoltrix, ATi (the TV Wonder) are compatible...the website can give you more information.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ok, their site was a little confusing. It seemed like on one hand they were saying that you could pretty much use any AGP card you wanted for output. On the other hand, they listed a requirement that you use a card with the conexant chipset for the video input device. Is it best to have these be two separate cards? Is that the more normal setup?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I've been doing a lot of looking for a good case for HTPC and have yet to find one. Does anyone have any ideas where I could look? (I've already checked colorcase and colorcases).
 

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Hi MidniteArrow:


___The P4T533-C may be a problem as well … You do know that Intel has not certified PC1066 RDRAM in any I850 board to date, right? Watching the tech sites, I have seen a few posts in regards to individuals seeing not so great stability while running the Samsung or Kingston spec’ed PC1066 at 133/533 MHz FSB synchronously and above. There is also the little advertised 90 MB/s bandwidth limitation on the I850’s that Intel has failed to correct with the latest chipset update from my reads as well. They are however fast as lightning with particular gaming benches.


___The Radeon 8500 will soon be fixed of its gamma bug but these drivers have not been made available to the public just yet. The DV portion of this card has already been discussed and is a poor solution at best. DScaler uses will need a Brooktree based chip which the ATI cards lack.


___The USB based Logitech HW appears to have caused some problems for HTPC’ers in the very recent past as well. Just another heads up …


___Good Luck


___Wayne R. Gerdes

___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.

___ [email protected]
 

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Might I suggest getting a GF4 ti200 ($150-$220) and a PCI Radeon 32MB ($50). With windows 2000/XP you can switch between the two as the primary display in about 4 clicks of the mouse without rebooting. Add a $50 BT8x8 card and you have a PC capable of great gaming/HT performance for equal to or less than the price of a 8500 DV. I have a similar setup with the a GF3 TI200 and PCI Radeon AIW.
 

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Dscaler confusion: Most people have a TV tuner card, a seperate pci card for video input.


"any agp card for output" means that dscaler needs a vga video card to output the de-interlaced video.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So it is starting to sound like I will want some sort of HDTV tuner card, such as the MIT MyHD MDP-100, and a nice gaming card such as a GeForce4 ti.
 

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I am considering the same issues:


I have a

1. brooktree compatible card

2 MyHD HDTV Capture Card

3 Matrox AGP400


I bought the Dish 5000 with HDTV modulator for $850.00


So I want to deinterlace the NTSC channels using Descalar and I am concerned about the Matrox's ability to handle 1080i. I assume I can reroute the Video signal from the myHD to the brooktree for the non-HD channels.


From what I have heard the ATI Radeon 8500 is the most widely supported card for HT that is also powerful enough for games.


However if you are doing HT based games won't you be better off buying an XBOX rather than a Geforce4 ? An XBOX is a Geforce4 with an entire system attached....


by the way: The total cost for one year of HDTV recording and playback via HTPC was:


1. Dish 5000 receiver with HD MOD: 850.00

2. Dish Basic Package (Includes the dishes and the installation) 22.00 a month plus 13.50 for CBS LA HDTV and HBOHD package.

3. MyHD card 350.00 (missed the Powerbuy).


So you might consider what your priorities are. BUT the Dish 5000 may become obsolete sometime around the end of the year.. many discussions about this. If untrue, it is putting downward pressure on the prices. I think you can get the HD mod Dish 5000 now for around 750)



Alex
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Oh.... I already have one of those. But, while I love the Xbox, the best MMORPG games and FPS games will be on PC, not Xbox (or possibly both, but when on both, a high end PC will outperform the Xbox).


I have had difficulty verifying that the GeForce4 ti 4400 or 4600 cards actually output 480p, 720p, and 1080i signals via the DVI interface. I guess I'll be calling nVidia this week. Has anyone actually verified this ability? (a dongle outputting yPrPb would be acceptable as well).
 

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I did call NVIDIA and they said it would work. But until the advanced members buy in I think their will be more support for the Radeon...the 2D video community will offer more tricks and tweaks for this platform for the forseeable future.. (speculation).. I would prefer to got the Geforce4 because of its amazingly advanced ASIC (66 milllion transistors)...
 

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Further point of clarification for anyone else still considering the 8500DV - the 8500DV is actually *slower* for gaming than either a standard retail or OEM 8500. The core and memory clock speeds are slower.


My opinion is that the GF4 cards' fps advantage isn't worth the price. I think the 8500 at around $100 is about the most fps you can get for the buck right now, though the ti4200 is also a good option. And if you want a monster performing cost-no-object flagship card, there's bettter stuff coming out in 1-3 months.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Ati cards have never been good for gaming according to their reputation in the gaming community. They've always promised and never delivered. When they have come close to delivering, any performance abilities were not able to make up for their poor driver support and incompatibility issues. Granted, this is due in large part to the gaming developers not properly testing their software on the ATI hardware, but it is still an issue even if ATI is not to blame. From a gaming standpoint, I am very skeptical when it comes to ATI.


Maybe I should just wait for the new Matrox card and hope it delivers...
 
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