TechSpot

case, MOBO, vid card combo

By toolmanmatt
Mar 11, 2005
  1. Hi everybody, I am building my first computer and would like to get some feedback about the particular combination of components I am thinking of buying. I like the ANTEC Piano Black Slimline MicroATX PC Case with 220W Power Supply, the MSI "RS480M2-IL" ATI Radeon XPRESS 200 Chipset Motherboard For AMD Socket 939 CPU, the ASUS ATI RADEON 300 SE 128MB DDR Video Card, the DVICO FusionHDTV3 Gold tv card, and a AMD 64 chip. I read good things about the seagate baracuda hard drive. The AMD 64 , 939 socket , and the PCI express 16X are the main features I have been looking for. I hope to multitask with the computer but use it mainly as a DVR (aka TIVO machine) media center I can watch tv with. thanks in advance for your input!
    matt
     
  2. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 8,165

  3. toolmanmatt

    toolmanmatt TS Rookie Topic Starter

    thanks a lot, I will definately upgrade the powersupply
     
  4. shadow_29

    shadow_29 TS Rookie Posts: 252

    since you sound like a video enthusiast,I would suggest you check out htpcnews.com,dvdhardware.com and google around for htpc advices,since thats pretty much what you are trying to build.first of all the antec piano black is an expensive case with a weak psu its only ideal for its looks so you'll have to get a hefty psu,i would suggest not skimming on this and get a good 350w+ psu from antec or something.two the video card you are getting might be a little weak if you ever plan to do some gaming on it since you are paying 70-80$ for it i would suggest going a little higher and thinking of a geforce 6600 gt for about 140$+ range(ddr2 memory AND pci express)from newegg.com.ati mobo is fine but if you want tons of feature than look at nforce3 or 4 series mobo's ..they are awesomemight want to check for a 939 pin version though.dvico fusion hdtv is great-has a lot of feature and is mce 2005 compatible and can capture and convert videos in divx format but check that you get a strong hdtv signal in your locality.baracudda is great but there is a bigger following for western digital caviar line so you might want to check that.remember 7200 rpm only nothing below that no matter what you get,get 100 gb+ atleast for this setup.a couple of other suggestions you might want to consider another video capture card for non-hdtv recording...if so then a hauppauge(win tv)pvr 150 or 250 is the way to go.also you didnt mention anything about a soundcard or speakers they are a very essential part ina htpc.amd 64 is great processor but if you are thinking of multitasking while recording hdtv then slim chance as its done through software decoders and might put stress on your system but besieds that everything else is fine.

    well thats it hope this helps.

    good luck
     
  5. toolmanmatt

    toolmanmatt TS Rookie Topic Starter

    wow, thanks. I was interested in the antec case for it's looks and size . my whole idea for this machine was built around the divco HDtv card. It is a low profile card with relatively low system requirments. I chose this PCIe video card because it appears to be low profile as well. The divco card works with both HD and analog signals so I figured that i could get by with the pci3xpress vid card, Divco card and a sound card. The MOBo was the only microatx board with PCIexpress 16 I could find, and from what I read the 939 socket will be around long enough for me to upgrade my chip in a year from now. I figured that with the 939 socket and 4 RAM slots (max 4 gig) this machine could last me a few years. My current systen is a p3 850 mhz and does 75% of the things I'd like it to do. I'm not much of a gamer. The only games I play are nes emulations. I pretty much want a machine that is small, sleek and can replace my TV, Computer, stero, and DVD player.
     
  6. jeff blake

    jeff blake TS Rookie

    getting and using the PCI-E

    This is what I did:

    ATX case w/5 fan mounts and top vented (has top mounted handle for traveling). 35.00.

    PSU - Aspire MR500W, 24 pin (34amps on +12 circuit)(Graphics card requires minimum of 24 amp on +12 circuit). Also controls 5 fan speeds. 50.00

    Motherboard - Asus A8V-E Deluxe w/ 939 upgradeable socket and Asus VIA chipset. Supports 1-PCI-E (x16), 2-PCIx1, 3-regular ole(sic) PCI's. This "over the top" board has many cool features. 140.00.

    Video card - Radeon X600pro - 256 DDR RAM (for handling the 4G/s multidirectional data coming through the x16 slot). 110.00

    TV capture card - I've got a PCI card but look forward to getting one for the PCIx1 slot. 50.00.

    Processor - AMD 64, 3500+ (w/Winchester core, heat sink, and fan). 330.00

    Computer systems and hardware monitor - Aerocool Gatewatch fan controller - Interfaces with the CPU, AGP, HDD, and the case with temperature sensors, fan speed controlers, and realtime LED monitor. 50.00

    pricegrabber.com and other price search sites, helped.

    have fun,
    I am

    p.s. I use Western Digital hard drives because their Lifeguard software is so easy (Their Co. also has a good rep. I look forward to mounting their "Rapter" in one of my HDD bays.)
     
  7. shadow_29

    shadow_29 TS Rookie Posts: 252

    hey toolmantt,so you want to get a 939 pin today so you can upgrade the cpu later on when you need to,well good idea.well you forgot to mention anything about any soundcard/speaker systems,also if you are considering only nes emulations than a x300 should suffice.for your hdtv a divco is a good choice, dont forget to get A big hdd also whichever one you choose like i said atleast a 100gb+.also you can put ina regular tv capture card if you ever want to capture tv shows,old recorded programs or any old vhs etc.

    I wouls also like to suggest something else here,go and check out crystalfontz.com,they have 2-3 line lcd modules that connect to your pc via the parllel slot and can be customized to display anything from system temp,date/time to the name of the song that is currently being played or the movie thanks to there id3 tag.they come with some pretty nice looking backlights like red and purple and have charcter and visualization just like your wmp or your car stereo.they fit in to any empty slot in front of your case and look very nice and prove to be very useful.they cost areound 20-30$ depending on your choice.worth a look so you might want to check them out.
     
  8. toolmanmatt

    toolmanmatt TS Rookie Topic Starter

    thanks shadow, those LCD modules are exactly what i've been looking for. I debated getting an analog tv capture card but i recently learned that analog tv is being phased out by the end of 2006. The Feds are eager to sell off the UHF and VHF spectrum to wireless companies and are doing everything they can to speed up the process. I have cable television and I think (correct me if i'm wrong) i will be able to capture the analog signal with the fusion card. As far as sound cards go I can't afford a surround sound system that would require anything better than a low end audigy card. Woot.com recently had a great deal on a (mystery brand) 5.1 surround sound speaker set. The reviews i've read said the barracuta HD preformed best compaired to the other major manufactures lines, but i've bought western digital before, and never had a problem. Currently 250 gig drives give you the most memory per $, but I'm looking to get somthing a bit larger, 300 +. I figure when everything goes over to HD i'm going to need the space!
     
  9. shadow_29

    shadow_29 TS Rookie Posts: 252

    toolmant youre right about hd space,250gb would be sweet infact it might be too much but it wont hurt to have extra emory for later,just check its cache size a 16mb cache would be good.I dont think that you would be able to capture analog cable through your hidef card,first highdef uses a separate cable for its signal, its signal can be fed through normal cable wire but that is a different technology.since i am not familiar with fusion i cant be certain as to it doesnt accept cable signal you'll have to check that out yourself.as for analog tv being phased out by 2006 well.....I doubt it,people still use/have vhs tape today and it was supposed to be phased out years ago,also there is still a 2 year time frame even if you do believe them(i dont),consider it only if you have a need for it,if you dont want a regular capture card or already have tivo or something than please dont waste your allocation on this and save up for a 5.1system.like i said sound is a very important aspect of htpc,you dont need a big budget for a 5.1 system today you can easily get a logitech z640 or any other branded 5.1 system today for less than 40-50$,5.1 or hi-def audio is standard in the new chipset so a lot of mobo come with 5.1or 7.1 onboard,even if you dont have onboard a decent 5.1 card range starts at 10$ on newegg with sabrent,chaintech,AOpen to 25-30$ range for a creative blaster5.1 or a chaintech 7.1. even a generic one will do or use your old creative audigy like you said.remeber since you list of peripheral is getting bigger dont skimp on the psu.
     
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