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Who has built a dedicated computer for their entertainment center?

Old 09-10-02, 07:04 PM
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Who has built a dedicated computer for their entertainment center?

I am thinking about doing this to at least have something I've ripped all my cd's to and can play through my home theater system. If it could do other things, that would be great, too. I'd like to do this on a budget and since it will be in the entertainment center it doesn't have to a be a top of the line computer, right? Please describe such a system if you have built it, along with the software you use to rip and play mp3's.
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Old 09-10-02, 08:18 PM
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You'd probably get more responses over at www.anandtech.com forums.
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Old 09-10-02, 08:54 PM
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Originally posted by bill_n_opus
You'd probably get more responses over at www.anandtech.com forums.
Thanks for your confidence in our forum.

I've done it, my thread is here - http://www.dvdtalk.com/forum/showthr...hreadid=165811

Sonicflood has done it. His thread is here - http://www.dvdtalk.com/forum/showthr...hreadid=233732 (BTW, he sends people to AVS for "more responses")

I decided to leave my rips in wav file form. I have a dedicated home theater computer in my stereo rack that outputs from a very good audio card into my receiver. I stored the music on a fileserver that's always on so that the music can be played by any computer in the house at any time. The music from the computer sounds better than from my standalone CD player. I've heard that you would need a CD player costing over $4K to equal the quality of sound available from this type of setup.

The home theater computer is my major DVD player as well. It's much better than my standalone Sony player. The video out goes into the RPTV, the audio out goes into the receiver. The integration of the computer into the multimedia center provides great versatility. TV can be recorded to disk, burned to CDs, and DVDs can be "timeshifted" too if you have enough storage.
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Old 09-10-02, 09:46 PM
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Thanks, X, for the links. Can you tell me the spec's on your machine, i.e. type of video card, sound card, OS, etc.?
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Old 09-10-02, 10:18 PM
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Sure. It's not that much of a machine. 800MHz P3, 512MB, 100GB (a 40 and a 60) storage, M-Audio Audiophile 2496 soundcard, ATI 7500 video card, ViewSonic wireless keyboard and mouse, Pioneer and Toshiba DVD drives, Lite-on CD-RW, Pinnacle PCTV Pro TV tuner card.

I have Win98, Win2K, and WinXP on it. The Win98 was just for testing and possibly to be able to use 1080i interlaced resolution on the RPTV. I never use it, but it would support everything just fine if I could stand using it.

Win2K was fine for all apps and my OS sensibilities.. WinXP is all I use now since its multimedia abilities are just a little better than Win2K's, particularly in the area of dual monitors. I use a computer monitor to control the computer and the RPTV to watch movies. If I want to play music I don't have to turn on the RPTV since I have the computer monitor available. (I'm kind of looking for a nice DVI LCD.)

I only do multimedia on this computer. No Office, Outlook, etc.
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Old 09-10-02, 10:45 PM
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Originally posted by X
Thanks for your confidence in our forum.

I've done it, my thread is here - http://www.dvdtalk.com/forum/showthr...hreadid=165811

Sonicflood has done it. His thread is here - http://www.dvdtalk.com/forum/showthr...hreadid=233732 (BTW, he sends people to AVS for "more responses")

X:

Please don't bash me! I REALLY don't appreciate being treated in this way! Just because you wield the mighty admin sword is no justification to post negative remarks about me! You already stated your dissatisfaction in another thread, can't that be enough???

I'm really SORRY that I posted a link to another forum for someone to obtain information!!! Your assistance/response was FAR better than my attempt. I've learned from you as well. There, now I've apologized (and truly mean it), will you please ease up with the bashing???

I've been a member here for quite some time and have ALWAYS tried to be a positive influence among the many forums. If you just don't "like" me then that's ok, just try to move on to something more positive than bashing me, please!

Again, I'm truly sorry if I offended you, or anyone else here @ dvdtalk by posting a link to another forum!!!! I just want to help if I can!

[extending hand to shake]PEACE BUDDY! [/extending hand to shake]

X: How do you like your M-Audio card? I'm considering the M-Audio Sonica.

Alvis:

Sorry I replied to X in your thread, I felt as though I needed to respond to his direct reference to me. I'll be most happy to share any knowledge and/or pics of my machine(hardware), software, tips & tricks (less any competitive links) if it's ok with X and I don't get banned for defending myself & my apology!

BTW, I'm building another system this weekend. Much more power & memory. I'll be taking pics of the build if anyone cares to see them.

Good luck, it's a great thing to build!

Sonicflood

Last edited by Sonicflood; 09-10-02 at 10:51 PM.
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Old 09-10-02, 11:03 PM
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Originally posted by Sonicflood
X:

Why do you have to continually bash me???...
I said one thing about your sending people to another forum for an answer to the question they posted here. One thing: http://www.dvdtalk.com/forum/showthr...hreadid=233807.

If that seems to be "continually" bashing you I just don't know what to say. But I must say I looked and looked for your thread over at AVS as I frequent that forum, but I never saw it. I was curious as to what the response would have been. But I also must say that your response to me in that earlier thread here was not one of the nicer ones I've received when someone disagreed with me. And I'm not going to "wield the mighty admin sword", as you put it. I never do when I'm posting as a member.

So I refer Alvis to the same place that you referred someone else and mention that that's where you would refer him. Not a big deal to me as I think the reference was even more appropriate in this case. It appears to be a big deal to you and I'm sorry to have offended you. But I really did not mean any offense to you by that and would not have even brought up your name or thread if I had any bad feelings about it.

And the M-Audio card is great. Extremely quiet and wonderful sounding.

PEACE.
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Old 09-10-02, 11:35 PM
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Just one other comment, Sonicflood. If you want to continue to debate your posts and my responses to them, please lay off the editing. It's hard to respond to what you write when you keep changing it. "Why do you have to continually bash me???" now becomes "Please don't bash me!" Quite a difference.

I quoted your original post and responded to it. You edited your original post just as you did the one in your earlier thread.
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Old 09-11-02, 12:21 AM
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What I meant to say was:

"Search for X's thread on this very topic or go to Anandtech"

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Old 09-11-02, 12:38 AM
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Originally posted by bill_n_opus
You'd probably get more responses over at www.anandtech.com forums.

booo
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Old 09-11-02, 02:07 PM
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"Boo" what?

As much as I like dvdtalk.com you should realize that there are other resources out there.
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Old 09-11-02, 02:56 PM
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Originally posted by bill_n_opus
"Boo" what?

As much as I like dvdtalk.com you should realize that there are other resources out there.
I just hate anandtech
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Old 09-11-02, 03:53 PM
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Originally posted by X
Just one other comment, Sonicflood. If you want to continue to debate your posts and my responses to them, please lay off the editing. It's hard to respond to what you write when you keep changing it. "Why do you have to continually bash me???" now becomes "Please don't bash me!" Quite a difference.

I quoted your original post and responded to it. You edited your original post just as you did the one in your earlier thread.
Yeah, but unless there's something screwy going on with the forum clock, he edited it only 6 minutes after he posted it and presumably while you were writing your response. That doesn't seem chastisement worthy to me.
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Old 09-11-02, 04:25 PM
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Argh!!! Everyone, can we get back to the thread topic??? I was really looking forward to reading a bit more about this until it diverged into something completely different.

Thanks all for the helpful links. Once I start to build my own HTPC, I'll be sure to check them out.
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Old 09-11-02, 04:32 PM
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Originally posted by Aghama
Yeah, but unless there's something screwy going on with the forum clock, he edited it only 6 minutes after he posted it and presumably while you were writing your response. That doesn't seem chastisement worthy to me.
Thank you for your unsolicited comment. However I fail to see any value of your inserting yourself into our discussion of a perceived "continual bashing". And I really don't care how "chastisement worthy" this seems to you. Even if it were a "chastisement".
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Old 09-11-02, 04:34 PM
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Originally posted by Lampei
Argh!!! Everyone, can we get back to the thread topic??? I was really looking forward to reading a bit more about this until it diverged into something completely different.
You should know better. It's rare that any thread stays on topic!
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Old 09-11-02, 04:39 PM
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Originally posted by Nazgul
You should know better. It's rare that any thread stays on topic!


I'd like to get this back on topic myself. I just haven't figured how. And now with a third party inserting themself into a minor disagreement/misperception and reconciliation between two people...

Maybe we should lock this one up and start another?
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Old 09-11-02, 04:58 PM
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Just delete all the threads with personal attacks in them or whatever.

Does your video card output in s-video? I would assume so. I am thinking about getting a new dvd player, but might switch to building a home entertainment pc. Also, is there a sound card that will output through optical or digital coax for 5.1?
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Old 09-11-02, 05:04 PM
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Originally posted by Alvis
Does your video card output in s-video? I would assume so. I am thinking about getting a new dvd player, but might switch to building a home entertainment pc. Also, is there a sound card that will output through optical or digital coax for 5.1?
I would strongly consider using the computer as your DVD player. The quality is amazing, especially if you have the equipment capable of seeing how good it is. I'd love to have a projector to make full use of it. You get great progressive output scaled to practically any size you need. And it's easy to make region-free.

My ATI 7500 outputs in s-video, VGA, and DVI (digital). I use VGA directly into the RPTV as it has a VGA-in and doesn't require a converter to component video called a transcoder.

The Audiophile 2496 has analog and digital coax output. The digital output handles 5.1. They have other models that have optical as well.
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Old 09-11-02, 05:25 PM
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Sheesh, you guys sure are loyal to this forum! Relax!

Just a though, but is it a good idea to use a PC to out[ut video to a TV for DVD viewing? I mean, don't the temps get pretty high like for example my temps when web surfing is 30C, but when watching a DVD, it will go up to 45-50C. Which seems high to me. Sure, I could just add another fan, but that'd mean more noise.

I just use my stand alone dvd player on the TV and I'm pretty happy with it.

edit: Oh yeah, but it'd still be cool to web surf and do documents on the big TV screen!

Last edited by Ranger; 09-11-02 at 05:28 PM.
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Old 09-11-02, 05:50 PM
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Generally you strive for low temps and quiet running (and stability!) in a HTPC. So you don't overclock and you don't run chips that need lots of cooling. Some people underclock just to keep the temps down.

P3s around 800MHz and above are preferred since they give the most horsepower at the lowest temperature with smaller, quieter fans. I wouldn't use an Athlon.

I got a foam-lined case to dampen the noise and a very quiet power supply. I use the standard Intel P3 fan and the ATI video card has a pretty quiet fan. When I'm a few feet away from the computer I can't hear it running.
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Old 09-11-02, 05:54 PM
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X:

Hows the quality via the S-video out of your Radeon 7500 card? I just ordered the 7500 AIW from New Egg yesterday. The quality from my Shuttle SV24 Mp3 machine via S-video is so-so. I know this is in part that the video is integrated on the shuttle motherboard.

Are you using Dscaler and/or have any experience with it?

The new machine I'm building will serve as my HTPC as well as my main computer. I'm planning to network the Shuttle with the new machine.

I'm also considering the purchase of a Piano Plus HE-3200 projector & would be using a component connection for the best quality.

Sonicflood
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Old 09-11-02, 05:56 PM
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Originally posted by PunkYou
I just hate anandtech
Not flaming or anything but why do you hate Anandtech?
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Old 09-11-02, 06:13 PM
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Originally posted by X
Generally you strive for low temps and quiet running (and stability!) in a HTPC. So you don't overclock and you don't run chips that need lots of cooling. Some people underclock just to keep the temps down.

P3s around 800MHz and above are preferred since they give the most horsepower at the lowest temperature with smaller, quieter fans. I wouldn't use an Athlon.

I got a foam-lined case to dampen the noise and a very quiet power supply. I use the standard Intel P3 fan and the ATI video card has a pretty quiet fan. When I'm a few feet away from the computer I can't hear it running.
Spoken by a man who knows his HTPC!

I admit that most of the noise comes from the PSU, I'll be replacing it with an antec trupower 350 watts. But the DVD drive just seems to vibrate too much, I mean like it is spinning waaay too hard. But probably something is loose. I use an aopen 16x dvd drive.

BTW, where did you get a foam lined case, that seems cool.

edit: Think its possible to mod the case, like put in the foam sheet yourself?
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Old 09-11-02, 06:28 PM
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Ack! I'm pretty busy right now, but I'll try to whip out some responses.

I haven't used the s-video out of the 7500. I did try the s-video out of a GeForce2 and was not impressed.

I use DScaler and have a pretty good amount of experience with it.

You could check out the PC Power and Cooling PSUs. They have some special quiet versions. I forget the brand of mine, it came with the case. It might be Enermax. I got it at Digital Connection but they don't seem to have the same case anymore. I believe it was a black Antec case with foam added to the sides, something you definitely could do yourself. But when I compared their price for the case plus the PSU it was just about what I could have bought them for myself so the foam already installed came pretty cheap. And the PSU had a problem which they handled very well with cross-shipping.

I have the AOpen 16x (Pioneer 105) slot-load drive myself. It is VERY loud and can't be slowed. The 106 can be slowed with software to 1x and is very quiet. I added an old, slow Toshiba which I use when I want it really quiet.
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