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Discussion Starter #1
I am thinking about upgrading my current HTPC to make it Blu ray/HD-DVD capable in the near future. I have parts to build either an intel or AMD based machines. Here are hardware parts:

Intel machine:
  • P4 D930, dual core - overclocked to 3.4 GHz
  • Asus P5WD2 premium motherboard with 955x chipset
  • Corsair DDR2 2x512 PC 5400 memory

AMD machine:
  • Athlon 64 X2 4400+ (5% overclock)
  • ABIT KN8 939, Nforce 4 chipset
  • Kingston PC3200, 1 GB dual channel memory

Video card:
  • Gigabyte Radeon X1300 PCIe

Sound card (optional):
  • Via Envy 24PT, 7.1 channel sound


Please recommend which CPU/motherboard combo I should choose to upgrade my current HTPC. Will I sacrifice any potential capability if I stick to the hardware that is available to me (i.e. not buy the core 2 duo). Should I consider adding more memory, expanding beyond 1 GB? How much more? Additionally, what video card I should buy (if any) so that I can make this machine capable of blu ray/HD-DVD which I intend to buy in the near future.


Many thanks.


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I would rec you go with the AMD setup since it will prob run cooler. Therefore you can use less noisier fans to cool it. The 4400 will run fine with no OCing. I am using a 4200 and it runs HD DVD fine with the 360 addon drive. Just get a good aftermarket cooler. I am currently using Thermalright SI-128's with very quiet vs airflow Noctua NF-S12 (120mm) fans.


To run HD DVD or BD thru digital, you will need to get a HDCP vid card. I don't think your X1300 is HDCP. Even thu many HD DVD's can run via component with no HDCP required, but not all do. Since both mobo's can take PCI-E then just pick a HDCP card that works. I been using a few MSI NX7600GT Diamond Plus cards with HDMI/DVI HDCP and they work great and they'r not that expensive. But if you are into gaming then maybe a 7950GT or the 8 series cards, Don't let pple tell you that these are loud cards. Yes they might get a little louder when stress for 3D gaming but in most HTPC setup they run quiet. I have an 8800GTS in a test setup and it's quiet when doing HT stuff.


EDIT: the best CPU right now for HTPC build are the Intel C2D's. I am currently running two systems with C2D's (6400 HTPC and 6600 gaming rig) and they are better then the two HTPC AMD systems (4200 and 4800). Lot less CPU usage when playing HD DVD's thru PDVD Ultra.
 

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Discussion Starter #3

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinker /forum/post/0


I would rec you go with the AMD setup since it will prob run cooler. Therefore you can use less noisier fans to cool it. The 4400 will run fine with no OCing. I am using a 4200 and it runs HD DVD fine with the 360 addon drive. Just get a good aftermarket cooler. I am currently using Thermalright SI-128's with very quiet vs airflow Noctua NF-S12 (120mm) fans.


EDIT: the best CPU right now for HTPC build are the Intel C2D's. I am currently running two systems with C2D's (6400 HTPC and 6600 gaming rig) and they are better then the two HTPC AMD systems (4200 and 4800). Lot less CPU usage when playing HD DVD's thru PDVD Ultra.

Thanks. Yes, I want a quite PC. Do you see any other difference between Intel 6400 and AMD 4400+ besides CPU usage? Any video stutter or drops with the AMD? Is AMD 4400+ good for blu ray too? Any potential decoding advantage with Intel? How much less would be 6400 in CPU usage for HD-DVD playback...ballpark. I am hoping to spend as little as possible right now and buy the parts that I would definitely need.


My current setup is with the Intel P4/Asus board and it is sweet....amazing SD DVD playback with ffdshow (resize to 1920x1080) and Nvidia pure video decoders coupled to a zoomplayer. The HTPC is connected to a PE VSX-82TXS receiver through a DVI/HDMI cable and a digital optical cable for sound. The receiver feeds video to a 50" panasonic plasma through another HDMI/DVI cable (there is a DVI port on the monitor). In future with blu ray/HD-DVD, I intend to follow the same connection route for video and, in addition, use the 7.1 analog outs on the audio card to connect to the receiver for HD sound. How do you feed the sound in your setup?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinker /forum/post/0


To run HD DVD or BD thru digital, you will need to get a HDCP vid card. I don't think your X1300 is HDCP. Even thu many HD DVD's can run via component with no HDCP required, but not all do. Since both mobo's can take PCI-E then just pick a HDCP card that works. I been using a few MSI NX7600GT Diamond Plus cards with HDMI/DVI HDCP and they work great and they'r not that expensive. But if you are into gaming then maybe a 7950GT or the 8 series cards, Don't let pple tell you that these are loud cards. Yes they might get a little louder when stress for 3D gaming but in most HTPC setup they run quiet. I have an 8800GTS in a test setup and it's quiet when doing HT stuff.

I don't know if X1300 is HDCP compliant. I cannot find it on any of the published lists so it must not be...I will check into MSI 7600GT or a similar card.



Is there a zoomplayer for HD-DVD or blu ray? Can UltraDVD codecs be used with zoomplayer? I use a ATI remote to control the current setup and I would like to keep this is in the future too.


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If you are building from scratch...get an Intel C2D setup. I have had less issues withe the C2D then the X2's with HD DVD playback on a HTPC. haven't tried BluRay since a drive is still too expensive at this time. The cpu usage is about 10% less with the C2D and in some cases the PDVD Ultra seems to work better with vid HW acceleration turn off so a faster/more efficient CPU would help.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
It appears that my intel CPU capable motherboard, ASUS P5WD2 premium (LGA 775) does not accept core 2 duo CPUs thus if I go with the core 2 duo CPU then I will have to spend money in a new motherboard (possibly even memory). Thus, I would like to stick with the hardware I have in hand. I don't mind starting from scratch....although it is not that bad as I know a trick or two to swap the boards/CPU and without a clean OS install.


What issues you have had with the X2?


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Umm does the receiver support HDCP though? I bet you can't go through it for HDCP.


You could always sell your old parts to go c2d, pentium d's used of that speed will be worth about the same as the lowest c2d new. (I think because too many folks just look at Ghz.)


I'm about to flip my d 945 right now for a basically free upgrade. Do it before the next price drop... End of this month...


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Quote:
Originally Posted by Options2000 /forum/post/0


It appears that my intel CPU capable motherboard, ASUS P5WD2 premium (LGA 775) does not accept core 2 duo CPUs thus if I go with the core 2 duo CPU then I will have to spend money in a new motherboard (possibly even memory). Thus, I would like to stick with the hardware I have in hand. I don't mind starting from scratch....although it is not that bad as I know a trick or two to swap the boards/CPU and without a clean OS install.


What issues you have had with the X2?


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For a while with the X2 4200 I would get an occasional stutter/drop frame, but it was not repeatable. This was cleared up when I used reclock. This was just something else that was needed to be added to the mix to work which I didn't want to add. Just adds more complexity to the systems I build. Weird but the X2 runs fine most of the time, but HD DVD of the Eagles using DTS via SPDIF it will stutter like crazy. The C2D does not stutter running the same content with the onboard HD sound. I ripped the Eagles HD DVD concert to my HDD's so I can test all the systems. But the X2s runs all the movies I have fine with the exception of The Hulk which doesnt seem to want to work via the addons on any of my HTPCs.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks Tinker. Based on your input, I have decided to wait for a few months....then upgrade to core 2 duo (or consider new intel cpus if out by then) and a new video card. Hopefully, blu ray/HD-dvd combo drive will be out by then too.


Meanwhile, I will enjoy SD dvd playback on my existing HTPC setup.


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