I have been doing some reading about the issue and I came to the following conclusions as the perfect system for a 100FSB user...
- Processor: Pentium or Athlon? I went for the Pentium 1Ghz 100Mhz FSB, because it's cheap (under 200USD) and works on my existing Slot 1 motherboard... noone has reported improvements in playback quality from 1 to 1.7 Ghz, till then, I'll stick with it...
- Motherboard: Asus Slot1, rock solid, but others I guess could be as good, I never had a problem with it
- HD: dual disc with a decent RPM and access speed (40Gig drives seems to give a good speed-performance-cost relationship)
- Videocard: ATI Radeon All in Wonder... everyone seems to complain about drivers issue for the Radeon VE version, I had none, but I didn't have a chance to really tweak it. Radeon or Radeon 8500DV technology? Any improvements in video quality? Nothing reported yet that I could find... Reasons why I went for the All in Wonder solution:
a) no need for a dedicated TVcard; I will connect my VHS recorder to it, so I can watch on PC and project satellite channels (two different systems) and old VHS'.
b) apparently the SPDIF output for the AIW outputs DD and DTS... to be tested
- Soundcard; weather it does or not, I want the best for audio reproduction to output to my Denon 3802 and my KEF Q55.2 6.1 surround system. Apparently only one choice: M-Audio Audiophile 24/96, with the correct voltage. Other cards will work, but the sound purity from this little gem seems to be the best.... you should notice it when run it through a decent amp & speakers
- RAM: where is the limit? Can anyone report improvements between 256Mb and 512Mb? I stuck with 256 for now.
- Case: does it matter?
- Screen: CRT or DLP.... we don't even want to start here.. wrong forum (NEC LT150 is what I would say... eheheh)
- Mouse and keyboard? Wireless is the way to go, I would go for Logitech cordless mouse & keyboard. IR control is easily possible with a $35 IRMan and Girder (free) SW... Takes a little setting up but the whole box can be Pronto controllable... (for HTPC)
- DVD drive Pioneer 114, firmware makes it region free, looks cool but is a tad noisy...
- DVD writer Panasonic LF-D311, writes on DVD-R and DVD-Ram disks, ideal for your little hobbies that require 4.7Gb of space on one disk (425$). Specs:
2.6GB/5.2GB/4.7GB/9.4GB DVD-RAM Disc Write/Read
DVD-R (4.7GB General) Disc Write Capability
- Operative System: Windows? Which Windows? I am going to stick my neck out here, and say that I have Windows XP and no problems with it for now... will let you know
- DVD Player sofware: ATI for DD movies, WinDVD for DTS.... great debate about those two... ATI best picture, WinDVD best sound... can't comment on that yet, read more about it here
- ATI MultiMedia Center
- YXY (programme for aspect ratio)
- latest version of Microsoft DirectX
- DVD Genie to change the region on your DVD player
- PowerStripTM Software for Display Timing and Resolution Control (just for the Radeon VideoCard)
- Dscaler for line doubling (expecialy for those that use HTPC with a projector)
Please could you provide us with some feedback in terms of what I am missing, and in general, can HTPC be built better than this? Let's be realistic, naturally there are more expensive components, but how much more performance do you get out of them?
Looking forward to your replies...
Roland of Gilead