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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm in the process of converting my old PC into a HTPC, and I have a few questions and concerns I'd like to get cleared up. First, the specs of the PC are:

CPU: AMD Athlon XP 2800+ 2.08GHz
MOTHERBOARD: Asus A7N8X Deluxe
MEMORY: 2x1GB Kingston PC2700 DDR Ram
GRAPHICS: ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 128mb
HDD: 150GB WD SCSI HD
SOUND CARD: Creative Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 (however I use onboard sound as it has S/PDIF)
CASE: Generic silver one?
DISPLAY: 47" Olevia HDTV 1080p
OS: Windows XP SP3


There are few things I would like to change/have in this machine:

1. Smooth playback of 1080p HD content.

-as of now, my PC can play 720p files just fine, and some lower bitrate 1080p content. But most of the time, 1080p files are choppy, and it seems to be my CPU that can't handle it (100% usage in task manager). I'm using CoreAVC which was better than ffdshow, but still choppy with some movies.

So which is the (cheapest) processor that will allow me to play 1080p content stutter free? And will my motherboard even support such a processor (Asus A7N8X deluxe)? Also is it necessary to upgrade my video card (ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 128mb)?

2. A quieter machine

-what options do I have to make my PC quieter? Right now I have some big silver generic case.

If I get one of the cases recommended in the stickied guide to building an HTPC, will it make the machine more silent? Also, I'm not really sure but are cpu coolers alternatives to fans? Would this help the noise problem at all?

3. New case (related to #2)

-one requirement I'd like to have in a new case is the ability to turn the PC on from a shut down/hibernated state. Apparently my motherboard (Asus A7N8X deluxe) does support this, but I'm having trouble setting it up, but I can look into that later. I'm planning on picking up a Logitech Harmony 520, so I'd like to be able to start up the PC using it.


That's all I can think of right now.


Any help is appreciated.
 

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Well...


Your going to need to upgrade your video card and it will cost around $100, and I highly recommend an AMD HD36xx series card -

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...HD+3000+series


Outside of that, a larger or additional hard drive because HD content is huge.


You didn't mention if your watching TV live or not and you didn't mention what Front End or OS your using, I would assume this is Windows XP.


All I know is on a P4 2.4Ghz with 1GB of RAM, ATI AIW 9600Pro and anything more than 1080i would cause the system to studder. You need husky CPU power or hardware assist. I opted to build a new system for around $450 with dual CPU power and 3GB of RAM and it smokes my old Dell 4550 which had served as my main source of watching TV for over 3 years, had it for 4.


1080i takes my CPU load up to around 50% on both cores via Vista Media Center. I can knock than down to 10-20% with an outboard video card, I am using just the IGP currently.


You can build a new system using the new AMD 780G chipset, use an older (cheaper) 64x2 CPU, plus case, fans, CPU cooler and case; come out to around $350 or so.


It would eat you old single core CPU alive, add new meaning to multi-tasking, I haven't experienced any slow downs yet, watching FOX's F1 Coverage Windowed and surfing the net, downloading via Vuze and goodness knows what else in the background and it doesn't hit 80%..... I have a 24" monitor, on your 42" you could do the same just a larger Live TV window.


But the cheapest route would be upgrading the video card and maybe the power supply but if you get a new case then you would have a new PSU.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by pakaveli /forum/post/14175605


2. A quieter machine

-what options do I have to make my PC quieter? Right now I have some big silver generic case.

If I get one of the cases recommended in the stickied guide to building an HTPC, will it make the machine more silent? Also, I'm not really sure but are cpu coolers alternatives to fans? Would this help the noise problem at all?


Any help is appreciated.


A good silent case plays a big part of the quiet machine, but it is not the only parts. Every moving part (CPU fan, HD, Video card, PSU, ...) in the computer also affect the overall quietness. Silent PC Review is a good place to get started.



Vince
 
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