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Which would you choose for a HTPC card

Old 05-24-03, 01:38 PM
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Which would you choose for a HTPC card

Pretty limited funds so here are my choices (getting it for DVI):

ATI 9000 PRO

Or this one

http://www.bestbuy.com/detail.asp?e=...t=521&scat=522

eVGA.com e-GeForce FX 5200 128MB AGP Graphics Card

Gaming is secondary... Reliability and stability is important.

Thanks!
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Old 05-24-03, 03:58 PM
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Apparently the other one was mismarked as DVI and doesn't have it. Went with the 9000 PRO.
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Old 05-24-03, 04:01 PM
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Good choice.

The ATIs are still the preferred HTPC card. Especially with the new Catalyst 3.4 drivers that actually mostly work right.
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Old 05-24-03, 08:35 PM
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Thanks Almost ready to order the projector.
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Old 05-24-03, 10:35 PM
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Judging from the number of responses, there are not many HTPC people here. The ATI is a good choice though. You're probably aware, but AVSForum is a pretty good resource on this stuff.
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Old 05-29-03, 11:34 PM
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Hey X, what connector do I need to connect the DVI card to the projector?

I ordered it today for $1830. Not shabby... Getting a nice audio system with speakers at the same time, I can't have my HT sound like crap.
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Old 05-29-03, 11:45 PM
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What projector? I assume it's DVI->DVI?

I've never had to buy a DVI cable, my LCD came with one and I'm using VGA to my RPTV.

I believe there's two flavors of DVI. I guess you'll need to find out which one your projector uses and get that kind of cable.

An all-digital connection to the projector should be very nice!
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Old 05-30-03, 11:48 AM
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If you can spare $900 or so, I'd wait for the Holo3D v.2, which will be a fully self-contained hardware solution, with no data sent over the machine's PCI bus. It will also have provisions for an HD daughtercard (which will be available later at an additional cost of $300).

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Old 05-30-03, 12:26 PM
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Originally posted by X
Good choice.

The ATIs are still the preferred HTPC card. Especially with the new Catalyst 3.4 drivers that actually mostly work right.
Unfortunately the gaming portion of those dirvers took a huge step back and really sucks.
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Old 05-30-03, 01:24 PM
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I just ran across some info that says later model ATI cards are DVI-I. The other format of DVI is DVI-D and that was probably the format of earlier ATI cards, like my 7500. There's a DVI-HDCP that involves copy protection, but I don't think it has anything to do with your situation.

Here's an interesting post...
The ATI cards have a DVI-I output (at least that's what my 9700 AIW has). This means you can hook it up to all forms of DVI on the projector/TV side: DVI-I, DVI-A, or DVI-D. The latter two are simply subsets of DVI-I. For DVI-A the analog part is used (regular RGB, that's how the 9700 provides an analog video signal through a simple connector that breaks out the analog part). DVD-D is the digital part, that's what my GWII uses.

That means you don't need a DVI-I cable if your TV has a DVD-D input. Just a DVI-D cable will do (fewer leads since the analog part is missing, therefore cheaper). Of course, a DVI-I cable would work fine too, but a DVI-A cable won't (if such a thing exists, never seen one that only passes the analog part).
Here's more than you'll want to know: http://www.sigmadesigns.com/support/DVI_HDMI.htm

It appears you can tell what format your card puts out by looking at the DVI connector. You should only need DVI-D from what I can tell. You just might want to check the connector on the projector -- I don't know for sure if a DVI-D cable will fit on a DVI-I connector, but it looks like it will. However it appears a DVI-I cable won't fit on a DVI-D connector due to the extra analog signal pins.
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Old 05-30-03, 10:56 PM
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K, I went with the Panny L300U, the specs say it's a DVI-D, and I think my ATI is a DVDI-D so hopefully that'll be OK.

Thanks!
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Old 05-30-03, 11:46 PM
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I just looked up the ATI and it's a DVI-I connection, so if I get the DVI-D cable I'll be money.
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Old 06-01-03, 01:08 AM
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Update on my situation: Strongly considering going with an alternative audio solution.

First I couldn't find a mini-jack digital S/PDIF to digital coaxial anywhere. While searching I did some research at AVS forum and read about how bad the SB series is considered for HTPCs, even the Audigy. M-Audio kept popping up as the better solution. Soo.... now I'm grappling with what to do. Now I think the Sonica by M-Audio might be the best solution. I like the Audigy because it has firewire built in which I use, and also it's a good gaming card which I don't mind having. I don't want to spend $110 just to lose good functionality & gaming prowess. So the Sonica looks like it would do the trick and it's only $70.

What do you guys think? Bear in mind I'm only trying to pass to a nice receiver and not using the audio card for any decoding.

Should I

A. Take back the Audigy ($55), get a FireWire Card ($20) and then get the M-Audio Revolution ($120).... $140 solution

M-Audio Revolution: http://www.m-audio.com/products/cons...tion_page1.php

B. Keep the Audigy, get the Sonica ($70).... $125

Sonica: http://www.m-audio.com/products/cons...nica_page1.php

If the Sonica does what I want it to (just pass the signal to my receiver), then it seems like I'll have all the bells & whistles of the Audigy and high quality audio for the HT.

What I'm confused about is how does the Sonica actually work? I mean, with the internal soundcard you connect the DVD to it via the Internal digital S/PDIF. The Sonica is external and only plugs into the USB. How does it find the signal? What is it actually passing?

Argh, I dunno. I shoulda had this squared away sooner.
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Old 06-01-03, 07:06 AM
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Originally posted by Gallant Pig
What I'm confused about is how does the Sonica actually work? I mean, with the internal soundcard you connect the DVD to it via the Internal digital S/PDIF. The Sonica is external and only plugs into the USB. How does it find the signal? What is it actually passing?
I would not keep two soundcards in the HTPC. Too much potential for conflict. Your motherboard doesn't have onboard sound, does it?

Isn't the mini-jack connector/cable something many other people would need? Why is it so hard to find? You might ask people here where they got their cable.

Your Audigy shouldn't be bad for passing DD or DTS to a receiver, it can't really do anything to the encoded streams going to the receiver or they wouldn't play. Playing CDs or non-encoded sound is another matter and that's why I won't touch SB products.

In terms of how the sound gets anywhere, it is not done by any internal cabling of the DVD-ROM to the soundcard. All the sound is passed over the PCI bus. When listening to CDs the computer is doing realtime DAE. When playing DVDs the software player handles getting the sound to the card.
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Old 06-01-03, 12:15 PM
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X!!!

You are my HTPC Hero!

Apparently it's sold at Radio Shack.

A guy at AVS forum says the S/PDIF for SB products and probably the Audigy is out of spec. Now that I'm buying a pretty expensive receiver for this setup, I don't want it to get damaged by anything.

I think what I'll do is this: get this cable for now and stick with the Audigy. Then when I build a new PC which I'll probably use for gaming more, put the Audigy in that and then get M-Audio internal card for the HTPC.

Do you think an out of spec SPDIF could mess around with a receiver?
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Old 06-01-03, 01:43 PM
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Jeez, are they still doing that out-of-spec crap? The original Live card had that problem, it was something like 5 volts instead of 0.5 volts, and was burning out receivers. Another company made an add-on board to fix the problem.

If it's just a matter of it working or not, and not a problem with a huge voltage differential, I'd give it a try. There's always the alternative of getting an inexpensive coax->optical converter and running optical to your receiver to be safe.

What motherboard do you have?
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Old 06-01-03, 04:00 PM
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That coax->optical sounds good. Places like best buy ought to have that right? Would it degrade audio at all? Just bought a $300 pioneer for this setup cuz I didn't want crap sound. Safe better than sorry.

I have a real cheeseball no-name motherboard. Can't recall the name, will have to reboot to see it in the bios.

Picked up the 3.5mm to coaxial at ratshack! Got the wireless kb today too.

HTPC's = $$$$
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Old 06-01-03, 04:08 PM
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http://www.radioshack.com/product.as...5Fid=15%2D1228

This is kind of expensive, but it's local and you can return it if it doesn't work ok. I've seen them at online places for less than $15. There were a couple of threads about them 6-12 (or more) months ago in the Home Theater Forum.
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Old 06-01-03, 04:57 PM
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A guy at AVS forum says the S/PDIF for SB products and probably the Audigy is out of spec.
That's one of the reasons I decided to buy an M-Audio instead.

Digital Connection is an online home theater supply store, and has all sorts of specialized goodies for HTPCs.

RD
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Old 06-01-03, 11:07 PM
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Got my wireless kb solution take care of.

I think I'll probably get that converter, X. If it would safeguard my receiver, I'm all for it.

So here's the sitch:

Got a set of speakers coming tomorrow. The receiver should be here by Thursday. I also ordered a DVI-D cable which will hopefully be here by Thursday. The projector itself will come possibly tomorrow? The tracking shows it left a couple of days ago, but stops showing what happened since then. Think I'll get speaker stands for the rears, the fronts have a place to sit. Not sure about the center.

Now I just need to get the right software... Will probably check out AVS to see what's good to use.

Then down the road, I'd love to get an HDPC card. An M-Audio card is probably in the works as well.
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Old 06-01-03, 11:50 PM
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Get a trial version of Intervideo's WinDVD to start.

Didn't any of your parts come with PowerDVD or WinDVD?
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Old 06-02-03, 10:32 PM
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I think ATI comes with one of those I just haven't installed the works yet.

Eh, I broke down and bought the M-Audio Revolution today. I had some extra money in the projector budget I saved by getting the price down and I figured if I spend $30 on a converter, I might as well plunk down $70 and get the right product. Damned Creative Labs. :middlefinger:

The Audigy will be a good soundcard for the future.
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Old 06-03-03, 12:22 AM
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Eek, I'm getting buyer's remorse again, would the M-Audio 2496 be a better solution than the REVO? Now I'm reading about latency and it can be set manually on the 2496, but not the REVO. For the $50, I'd splurge if it's worth it... have 14 days to take the REVO back to CompUSA.
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Old 06-03-03, 12:39 AM
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I haven't used the REVO. I think it's especially good for gaming. The 2496 isn't.

I believe it also has better specs than the 2496, which of course matters most if you're doing D/A or A/D on it. Just going to a receiver for DD or DTS decoding doesn't matter. I have a 2496 and am very happy with it.

How about trying it out and see how it works within the 14 days?
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Old 06-05-03, 01:04 PM
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The projector (PT300U) came last night! Hooked it up and it looked Only problem the computer wouldn't go into 960x540 resolution. It had a higher widescreen resolution, but trying to go into that didn't work (just fell back to the regular 4:3 resolution).

Vid Card is ATI 9000 Pro. Using latest drivers + DVI cable.

Weird.
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