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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,


I'm replacing my AMD 450MHz PC in the next few weeks prior to my 3 year work assignment in Germany, and was hoping to get comments/suggestions from some of you who are up-to-date on the latest PC hardware. I've looked at the HTPC FAQs and "Best in Class" posts, but I don't really have the time or inclination to buy individual components and build my own PC, and many of these posts go back a year or more so I don't know how current some of the info is.


An independant PC company in NJ has been recommended by several coworkers as selling reliable PCs with good after sales service.


I asked them to quote a machine for

1) digital video editing

2) web surfing

3) occasional gaming.


I am quite happy with my Panasonic RP-56 DVD, so I really don't see the need right now to use a PC with my front projector, but if it will be suitable as such all the better.


Here's exactly what I was quoted. I am not familiar with any of the model numbers, so if anybody can take a minute and post any bad experiences with this hardware I'd really appreciate info and suggestions:

$758


AMD 1800XP CPU (1.8 gHz)

ASUS A7V333E Motherboard (new model)

40 GB WD HDD, 7200 RPM

256MD DDR RAM, PC266

1.44MB FDD

DVD/CDRW Combo Drive (12x8x32)

ATI 64MB Radeon 7000SD with TV out [note: the Best in Class post recommends the ATI 7200 - I will enquire about this from the PC builder but if he can't/won't get one is this one still a "good" card?

3D Sound On Board

56k V.90 Modem

Mitshumi PS2 Keyboard

MS Trakker Mouse

Mid Tower Case w/ 400w power supply


upgrades I'd likely buy:

80GB HD (+$40)

512DDR (+$60)

separate Sony 16x DVD & 24x10x40 CDRW (+$30)

total: $888


I priced a similarly equipped P4 1.7gHz machine on Dell's website at $1,088 +S&H


I hope to get a DVD burner within the next 6 months so I can burn edited video and send DVDs home to family and friends. DVD burners are about $400 at the moment from what I can find, so I'll wait a little while before getting one.


ideas, comments, suggestions, jokes, criticisms, lay it on me!


thanks much in advance!


[email protected]
 

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You might want to consider a second hard drive for doing backups of the system partition (which should be kept less than 4GB). I've found that being able to restore the system quickly (Ghost usually takes less than 15 minutes) makes a big difference when new software has thoroughly trashed things unexpectedly.
 

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Funny, but as I read ur list I was thinking

80gig HD (Seagate Barracuda IV is real Quiet)

512 DDR (Name Brand, Micron, Samsung, Infineon, Mitsubishi, Hitachi, NEC, etc.)

Get 2 drives DVD & CDrw.... (2 places 4 data, easier CD copying, etc)


then I come to the UPGRADES..... seems ur already ahead of me


MS Intellimouse- Optical w/ extra side buttons 4 surfing the net... (my Favorite UpGrade $25-35)

Fujitsu Keyboard 4725 (larger with SOLID feel just like IBMs old Selectric $30-35)


Have some FUN in Germany
 

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To my knowledge, the Radeon 7000 is the same as Radeon VE, which is said to have lower quality than the 7200/7500. You should look at getting one of these 2 cards instead.


Krishna
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the input people!


Seldon - great advice - I'll be putting my old 10GB drive in as a second and will looking into the Ghost backup thing you mention.


Mouw - thanks for the info - considering the *cough* hours I spend on the net chinzing on a mouse is dumb. Do you know of any reason (besides the $20 price difference) no to go with a wireless Intellimouse? Are these any less reliable than the corded version?


Thanks I plan on having lots of fun over there!


Krishna - cool - I just used www.pricewatch.com and see the 7200 is only about $40 more than a 7000VE, so that's not an issue.


Again thanks guys - looks like I'm on the right track, that's really what I was hoping to confirm.


ciao
 

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Hi Kedelbach:


___I would stay completely away from what ever local shop is recommending the HW listed above for an HTPC. An AMD on a VIA … Right there is a precursor to problems to come. If you cannot build your own, spend a bit more and get one properly configured so that you will not have the mess you are headed for. An HTPC from a std. builder is not an HTPC but an ill-configured PC that you will be ripping its guts out and rebuilding form scratch anyway. I wish I had better news for you but a few quick questions to your shop of choice should dissuade you from looking in their direction for a properly configured HTPC …


1. What manufacturer is considered to offer the best line Audio solutions available for an HTPC today? Now ask them why.

2. What is the problem with the Radeon 7000 VE vs. a Radeon 7200 for example in terms of display quality?

3. What is the problem with VIA based chipsets for HTPC use?

4. What is the biggest problem when using an AMD CPU in an HTPC?

5. What custom T&R are you going to setup to synch to my display? What refresh rate are you going to use as well? What monitor inf are you going to use and why?

6. How are the various DVD players going to be setup for a 0 ire overlay with properly adjusted gamma?

7. What brand of DDR are you using and on whose PCB is it placed?

8. What is considered the best HTPC HD available right now and why?

9. What cooling solution are you using and why?

10. What MT case are you using and why?

11. What 400 W PS are you using and why?

12. Why a DVD/CD-RW combo in an HTPC? Why would separates be a better overall solution? Which separates and why?

13. Mitsumi KB and Trakker Mouse? Who are they and why are you placing such cheap HW on my HTPC?

14. What OS are you using and why is it better or worse than WinXP Home/Pro or 98 SE/Millennium depending on what they are installing?

15. What CD-Audio/MP3 player are you using and how are you setting it up?


___Unfortunately, the list goes on and on and on with at least another 30 or so good questions that most PC shops haven’t a clue about … Give their best tech a shot at any of the above and you will quickly find out why you may be making a very large mistake.


___Recommendation … Build your own out of HQ components or contact either Digital Connection or AVScience. AVScience is offering much lower priced HTPC’s than what is listed so don’t let the prices scare you either …


___Good Luck


___Wayne R. Gerdes

___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.

___ [email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Wow, Wayne, thanks much for your well thought out reply. I'm afraid you didn't catch where I wrote that my PC will not be used as a HTPC.... I'm happy with the job done by my Panny RP-56 DVD player, and since I don't even understand many of your questions I'm nowhere near ready to buy an HTPC!!!


Sorry man, I know the thread is in the HTPC forum, but I was just looking for input on this PC, to be used only for video editing/DVD burning, web surfing, some gaming, and occasional Word/Excel use. Figured this is where the PC gurus hung out, and as I visit AVS's Digital Projectors & Software forum every day....


In light of this - do you still think I should stay away from this place?


In any event, your questions are great and hopefully will really help out people interested in a HTPC. In fact I did ask the tech several of them already:



12. Why a DVD/CD-RW combo in an HTPC? Why would separates be a better overall solution? Which separates and why?


*Not an HTPC* Seprates are better since you can copy disc-to-disc, can get faster separates than combo, if one breaks still will have use of second...


13. Mitsumi KB and Trakker Mouse? Who are they and why are you placing such cheap HW on my HTPC?


Tech claimed these both were upgrades from the least expensive. Anyway, from suggestions here I will be buying an Intellimouse & maybe Fujitsu KB from the net or through the PC place. I will be visiting their shop and looking at everything going into my PC. If it seems "junky" or I have serious doubts, I won't buy from them.


14. What OS are you using and why is it better or worse than WinXP Home/Pro or 98 SE/Millennium depending on what they are installing?


This is an open question. I have windows 98 on my old machine, the PC builder is not planning on installing an OS so I guess I have to buy a XP upgrade and do it myself.



Thanks again Wayne - I will be asking for a quote from AVS for an equivalent machine - hey I'd love to throw our gracious hosts some simoleans - last time I tried though it was for 50' component cables. I just couldn't bring myself to spend $300 on AVS cables when I could buy them elsewhere for $60.
 

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Hi Kedelbach:


___I did not realize you were not looking for an HTPC … If it were me, well, HTPC’s are my first and foremost tinkering boxes ;) but a gaming/general use box, can be even more fun! I would still consider an OC’ed 1.6A/1.8A P4 OC’ed to wherever it would go as the performance solution of choice. A 2.0 P4 would be a good choice as far as prices in another week or two. 256 – 512 MB of HQ spec’ed DDR Samsung Original, Micron PC2700, Corsair 3200, Kingmax 3200, Mushkin 3200 … on the appropriate board Epox 4G4A+ or an Asus P4S533 for the OC’ing enthusiast or a P4B533-C for a std. builder would make for a nice killer rig. On the AMD side of the fence … The XP 1800 is the best bang for the buck with an Abit, Asus, Epox, KT333. The upcoming Nvidia nForce 615-D’s would be my all around favorite AMD gaming platform of choice but you will have to wait a few weeks on them … VC’s, A Radeon 8500 LE for an inexpensive but fast gaming card or a GeForce4 Ti 4200 for an even faster and more compatible solution. For HTPC uses, both these cards are really second rate. An all out performance solution …wait a few months for the Nvidia NV30’s, ATI RV300’s, or even the Matrox Parhelia 512 and bring your pocket book because they won’t be cheap. SC, the onboard C-Media solutions may suffice but a Creative Audigy is tough to beat for a great all around gaming card with some extra features. The nForce’s onboard DD encoder is second to none in the gaming arena. An Antec 1030 clone w/ a HQ Antec/Enermax 300 – 400 W PS, Plextor’s latest CD-RW although the Lite-On’s are getting very good press lately, and the latest Pioneer or Toshiba CD/DVD-ROM drive should take care of the box. It will be more expensive than your box above but will be much faster as well.


___Good Luck


___Wayne R. Gerdes

___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.

___ [email protected]
 
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