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Spec me a budget HD media PC plz!

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by spartagates, 1 Aug 2006.

  1. spartagates

    Gangster

    Joined: 16 May 2006

    Posts: 152

    Would like a media pc to go attach to my plasma so I can play Hi-Def stuff from it on the panel. As cheap as possible would be great, but I do understand that playing HD stuff needs a bit of grunt! Thanks!
     
  2. Joe42

    Mobster

    Joined: 18 Jan 2005

    Posts: 4,172

    Location: Northants

    Where are getting the hd stuff from?

    The only way to get it in a media centre pc is via satelite i think, so you would need a dish and a card.
     
  3. spartagates

    Gangster

    Joined: 16 May 2006

    Posts: 152

    There's plenty of legit stuff out there such as HD trailers, samples from M$ and I have a sony hdr-hc3 which I can shoot my own 1080i stuff on (one hell of a cam btw!). There are dedicated newsgroups which carry masses of HD aswell, although some of their copyright material may be a grey area and is open to possible legal question and an issue I would leave to yourself to debate!
     
  4. squiffy

    Banned

    Joined: 17 Mar 2006

    Posts: 9,155

    Look into a 3000+ and Nvidia 6150 at the very least, these cope with HD. What's the native rez of your Plasma panel?

    1GB RAM, big HD, quiet PSU (Seasonic), passive motherboard.
     
  5. spartagates

    Gangster

    Joined: 16 May 2006

    Posts: 152

    its a hitachi which has res of 1024x1024 (so no upscaling for 1080i!)
     
  6. Joe42

    Mobster

    Joined: 18 Jan 2005

    Posts: 4,172

    Location: Northants

    I thought you were looking for perminant hd tv channels, sorry. I downloaded a sample from ms and it just about runs on my pm 1.7 laptop.
    I'm looking at getting a similar thing, and i've heard that the 6150 struggles with hd.

    If your interested this was my first spec:

    -Case: Antec NSK2400 Case (inc psu) £58
    -Motherboard: ASUS M2NPV-VM NF430 £57
    -CPU: AMD Sempron 64 2800+ Socket AM2 £32
    -Ram: 512MB Corsair Value Select, DDR2 533 £27
    -DVD reader/burner: LG GSA-H10NBAL Black £22
    -Tv card: Terratec 2400i DT MCE Edition £70
    -Graphics: Onboard (DVI and hdtv out)
    -Sound: Onboard 5.1
    -Harddisk: HGST 250gb £54 [3gb/hour]
    -Network: Onboard wired, Netgear wireless.
    -Remote Ms MCE remote £24
    -Misc (postage etc) £15

    Total: £359

    Now i think i have decided to avoid the terratec card as its got buggy drivers, and i might get a graphics cards and a board without onboard graphics. I was intending to clock the 2800 up a bit as i've found semprons overclock like hell.
     
  7. squiffy

    Banned

    Joined: 17 Mar 2006

    Posts: 9,155

    Nope, copes fine. But I would fit a faster CPU than that Sempron. Fit 1GB, only a few more quid and worthwhile onboard GFX uses system memory (deduct 64MB)
     
  8. Joe42

    Mobster

    Joined: 18 Jan 2005

    Posts: 4,172

    Location: Northants

    As i said, that sempron will probably overclock to 3200 speeds with stock volts if its anything like the 745 ones. And the 754 one never got hotter than 38 with the stock cooler even when overclocked by 200mhz.
    So i reckon that a sempron 2800+ could do 3500 speeds, a 400mhz increase no bother. Although perhaps better to get a 3000+ with extra cache an overclock it to 3600+ speeds.
    That would be fast enough wouldn't it?

    Although now that A64s are so cheap getting one of them might be better.
     
  9. squiffy

    Banned

    Joined: 17 Mar 2006

    Posts: 9,155

    I guess, but my Asus MATX doesn't OC very well. I would buy a 3700+ OEM and a quiet HSF. HD 1080P material is around 85% CPU max usage, if I recall correctly, 65-75% average.

    My HTPC is a 3700+, Asus 6150, 1GB. Not overclocked.
     
  10. Seft

    Mobster

    Joined: 18 Sep 2003

    Posts: 4,105

    Location: Radlett

    If you want to play AVC/H.264 content, then dual core may be worth looking into (CoreAVC Pro is multithreaded)
     
  11. Joe42

    Mobster

    Joined: 18 Jan 2005

    Posts: 4,172

    Location: Northants

    Whats the board like, in the way of bios and overclocking options?

    I'm on a £500 budget for the whole thing including £100 of tv card, so i'll get dual core and ideally a low end core 2 if i can afford it, but i probably can't.

    As there aren't really any hd tv channels anyway there isn't much point tho. By the time we get hdtv over freeview i'll probably need a new tv card with an mpeg4 decoder anyway.
     
    Last edited: 2 Aug 2006
  12. squiffy

    Banned

    Joined: 17 Mar 2006

    Posts: 9,155

    Asus A8N-VM CSM- Pretty limited, don't think I could get it more than 300mhz OC. Value RAM. Doesn't have near as many OC options like the one in my sig. .

    As you said, by the time everything is HD and slow down looking at a new rig anyway. But 1080P plays fine, so 730P which'll be more common.
     
    Last edited: 2 Aug 2006