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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Newbie needs help…again… Let me ask gurus on this forum for advice… My situation is as follows - I was just given an "old" Compaq Presario 1800T laptop which I was thinking of using as a HTPC, after modding whatever can be modded. I want to use this apology of an HTPC primarily to view DVDs on my 16:9 screen (i.e. to drive my CRT projector, and send sound to my dolby digital 7.1 receiver). The specs of the laptop as it exists currently -

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Compaq laptop - Presario 1800T, 500Mhz, Pentium 3, 128MB of RAM, 20G IBM laptop type hard drive running win 98


Video adapter - Rage Mobility-P AGP / 3D Rage LT Pro

Bus type - AGP 1X, AGP 2X

Memory - 8.0M SDRAM

Has "TV out" - output (looks like composite video out)


DVD Rom drive = Toshiba SD-C2302


Sound card - ESS Technology; ESS Solo-1 PCI Audio Drive


It has a PCMCIA slot - Texas Instruments PCI-1211 Cardbus controller


USB connector of speed 1.1


Further info on the laptop is available at:
http://h18000.www1.hp.com/athome/sup...gs/1800t-1825/

My laptop was a CTO (configure to order) machine

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What I want to know is: Is it even possible for me to use this laptop for my intended purpose or is there no way?


Can this laptop be used to get custom configurations using powerstrip?


Can I get SPDIF out to my receiver using the M-Audio Sonica connected thru the USB port (uses USB1.1, which my laptop has).


Thanks in advance for your advice...

I am sure there will be many more questions.....
 

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Hi Doc, well I'm no expert but I don't think you will be able to use Powerstrip on this LT. Not many laptops work with PS. I also don't believe it will perform very well generally speaking. Pretty weak specs. Save yourself some serious stress and build yourself dedicated HTPC.


Eddie (formerly from PA, buy the way)
 

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There would be no harm in connecting your laptop to your projector and just experiment. Use the VGA monitor output not the TV out. It's very unlikely though that you will be able to get a 16x9 resolution to work. And there just isn't much you can do to mod a laptop. I've got a similar laptop that I use to play DVDs on road trips and the like, but have never really tried to use it with the projector, as I have a dedicated HTPC. So Eddie's advice is probably the best.
 

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If the projector has a 15 pin (VGA) connector then use that to drive it and forget about the Svideo or any composite outputs on the laptop. If you need to use Svideo (and have it both places) then check the quality for yourself and see if it's adequate. I find it likely that processor speed is good enough for you as long as the Rage can go fast enough. There's a good chance that at the resolution you need (you'll want to set the laptop resolution to the native resolution of the projector if it can take VGA) the system will be fast enough for what you want to do....


I suggest you go to the ATI site and check the chipset specfication for the adapter (3D Rage LT Pro, as you wrote). There should be a spec there somewhere with a list of supported resolutions. Don't forget that the resolutions indicated can't be relied up unless there's a version of the ATI video drivers that support those resolutions as well. I wouldn't start thinking about Powerstrip at all if I were you. Just see if the chip in the Compaq, in conjunction with the latest available drivers, claim to support the native resolution you want to send the projector. There's no guarantee, by the way, that the latest ATI drivers will work in your laptop. You might need to find the latest available drivers from Compaq (HP)...


It won't cost much (nothing) to download and install the new drivers and see if the laptop will output the resolution you want/need. If you plan of using Svideo (because the projector can't take VGA) then the whole display issue is kinda moot. Just select the display resolution that you're forced to (or the one that looks the best) when you use the Svideo output.


I can't see why you wouldnt be able to use a USB based soundcard if the machine has a USB port. The card shouldn't care that it's a laptop...


I say give it a shot. I would...



Marc



edit: clarifications...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Folks - Thanks for the input. Here are more details. I plan to use the VGA out from the Laptop to 5BNC connector on my CRT projector, which is an electrohome ECP4100 capable of a max resolution of 1280x1024 (horiz scan of 15-80KHz). My laptop is currently capable of resolution of 1024x768 (laptop display). I have connected the laptop to the projector using the VGA connector and have gotten a very nice image to be displayed on the screen. I was just wondering whether further improvements could be made using Powerstrip, etc.... Will get the USB sound card to pass sound to my receiver and see what happens.

ANy further advice?

Thanks
 
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