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I need your input concerning HTPC (Home Theater Personal Computer)

How many of you are using your Dell PC in a HTPC (Home Theater Personal Computer) environment?

If you are, please list all of the hardware you are using and the pros and cons of your setup.


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Re: I need your input concerning HTPC (Home Theater Personal Computer)

I have a dimension 8400 with 3 gigs of RAM, a 3.0 dual core CPU and a 6800 PCIx video card.  I have 2 400GB HDDs in a RAID 0 as my secondary drive and it is used exclusively for recording HDTV from my 1)USB Cats eye HDTV capture card and my 2)PCI Avermedia 180 HDTV capture card.  I also have a dual SD Angel captire card that records SD programming.  I also have a 500GB external WD mybook HDD for DVDs and videos.  I use this to stream media to my 2 XBOX360s in HD in both my living room, and bedroom.  I also use it to play HD-DVDs in my home theatre(projector).  This is connected via Spdif to a Pioneer Elite THX 7.1 surround sound system(awesome).  The only draw back to this setup is its limited room for upgradability.  It has a PCIx slot, and 3 PCIslots(all full).  It also has limited internal SATA HDD options.  Other than that, it has been AWESOME.  I would recommend using this with a Windows Home Server(when it is released later this year).  This provides you the security of not losing your TV shows when your HDD gets full.  It would be nice if Dell would release a smaller(home theatre style) case with a super quiet PSU and a fanless video card for those who want this to be stored in their living room.  Mine is in a compartment in my home theatre so the size and noise to not bother me. 
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Re: I need your input concerning HTPC (Home Theater Personal Computer)

Hi,
I am using my XPS 700 as my gaming computer as well as my home theater system. I have a NEC VT695 projector mounted on the ceiling and a 6' 4:3 screen mounted on the wall. Since the screen is mounted on the opposite wall from the computer monitor, I have installed a splitter to the two sets of speakers so that I can turn one set on while I play games and the other while I watch my shows.
The XPS 700 is a E6600, 2GB, 2x GS7900, 24' Flat panel, and  4, 250 GB drives, two mirrored as the boot drive and two are spanned as 500GB video storage. I find I don't need to keep the shows for too long as by the time the drive is full I don't want them anymore, so I slick the drive and start over. The only real pain I have is switching SLI on and off as you cannot have cloned outputs while in SLI mode. I tried Vista on this configuration but quickly switched back to XP as there was too many  issues with Media Center and the TV tuners that came with the computer. I would like to replace the TV tuners with digital ones, so I am waiting for someone to come out with a dual digital TV tuner.
 
FYI, I have been beta testing Windows Home Server and it is awesome. This is one piece of hardware I think many enthusiasts will love,


Message Edited by Vwc Comp Tech on 04-16-2007 09:04 AM

Message Edited by Vwc Comp Tech on 04-16-2007 09:09 AM
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Re: I need your input concerning HTPC (Home Theater Personal Computer)

I've got a xps 410 e6700, 2 gigs mem, raid 0 boot drive raptors nvidia 7900gs.  I use an ati 650 tv wonder HD to record off air programs.  I record them to a 320gb drive using media center edition. 
 
 
In terms of pointguard's comment, I put a zalman vf-900cu heatsink on my nvidia 7900gs to quiet it down, now I can never hear it. 
 
I use a Diamond 24 bit sound card using opical out to my 5.1 logitech speakers.  It is a great set up.
 
 
XPS 410
Pentium C2D E6700 2.66
2 GB @ 667mzh (2 dimms)
Dual 80GB Raptors @ 10,000 RPM in RAID 0 (silenced)
320GB hdd
160GB hdd
NVIDIA 7900GS Zalman VF-900cu
ATI TV Wonder 650 HD
Diamond 24-bit 7.1 surround, w/ dolby digital live
2407 & 2001 monitors
logitech G7 mouse, G15 keyboard

----------------------------------"GAME ON"-------------------------------
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8 Krypton

Re: I need your input concerning HTPC (Home Theater Personal Computer)

When I received my XPS 700 I moved the 8200 to the media room. I am very pleased with the continuing performance of this system

Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2 (build 2600)

DEll Computer Corporation Dimension 8200 Enclosure Type: Mini-Tower

2.25 gigahertz Intel Pentium 4 8 kilobyte primary memory cache 512 kilobyte secondary memory cache

Board: Dell Computer Corp. Bus Clock: 133 megahertz BIOS: Dell Computer Corporation A09

200.05 Gigabytes Usable Hard Drive Capacity 180.67 Gigabytes Hard Drive Free Space _NEC NR-7900A [CD-ROM drive] 3.5" format removeable media [Floppy drive]

WDC WD1200JB-00GVA0 [Hard drive] (120.03 GB) -- drive 1, s/n WD-WCALA1338001, rev 08.02D08, SMART Status: Healthy

WDC WD800BB-75CAA0 [Hard drive] (80.03 GB) -- drive 0, s/n WD-WMA8E2185639, rev 16.06V16, SMART Status: Healthy

1024 Megabytes Installed Memory Slot 'RIMM1' has 256 MB Slot 'RIMM2' has 256 MB Slot 'RIMM3' has 256 MB Slot 'RIMM4' has 256 MB

c: (NTFS on drive 0) 80.02 GB 65.90 GB free

d: (NTFS on drive 1) 120.03 GB 114.77 GB free

ALL-IN-WONDER 9600 XT

128MB

32 bit

Resolution 1080i (VGA-TO-HDTV ADAPTER)

Internal DAC(400MHz)

Creative SB Audigy 2 ZS  Coaxial SPDIF Out to Yamaha HTR 5750

Bose® Acoustimass® 6 Series III 5.1 speakers

Hitachi 50VS69A LCD rear projection.

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Re: I need your input concerning HTPC (Home Theater Personal Computer)

Hi Chris, I have my Work/game/and Home Theater setup as followis: Vista Ultimate, XPS700 with 6300 processor and 4 gigs of RAM and a 4 GB Flash disk.  I use it for ready boost. I also have a 500GB external drive to record shows. I love it I just have some issues with booting.. When the machine posts the bios bar goes about a 4th of the way and hangs.. I just reboot like 3 or 4 times and its solved.. it has the latest bios but it did it before also.. So I figure the Motherboard exchange will fix it in the future.. Lets see. I also have two Nvidia 8800 GTS cards in SLI mode and the box works very well.. aside from the boot/bios issue.. but when you all get the exchange ready I would imagin that will fix it.. planning on getting the MB and the highest processor and I will be set for a while! If you have any other questions drop a line.
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Re: I need your input concerning HTPC (Home Theater Personal Computer)

I have a Dimension 8300 with the specs below running the Altec Lansing VS-4121 2.1 sound system.  It's really good and has been for the past 4 years.  I am looking to upgrade toa  new system this summer and potentially new speakers (5.1) come Christmas.
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pdbuzz
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Re: I need your input concerning HTPC (Home Theater Personal Computer)

I'm using a C521, Athlon X2 4200+, MCE2k5, 2GB ram, 250GB HD, Gigabit NIC, X1300 128MB video, SoundBlaster Live 24bit external, (which provides 5.1 via coax to Logitech Z5500 system) DVI to HDMI cable into Dell 37" LCD. This setup is unobtrusive and quiet as well. Silver front panel blends well with the TV and other components. DVD quality video and surround sound, you can't beat it!
I have my movies stored on a RAID 5 array on a gigabit network. I'm using the 'My DVD's' patch that will show the movie info and pic of the DVD case. This allows me to have a single access point for all of my movies from either of two locations in my house (office and living room). This really is the only solution with 3 little ones and mom at home during the day. This keeps all of the DVD's out of little hands and removes the mess of having a stack of DVD cases on top of the DVD player! 😉

Message Edited by pdbuzz on 04-30-2007 12:32 PM
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Re: I need your input concerning HTPC (Home Theater Personal Computer)

I recently read an article on the Green button stating that HP has pulled out of the Media Center HTPC market.  They suggest that with all of Dell's recent struggles, a good move for Dell would be to capture the niche market by introducing an affordable, living room friendly, Media Center PC.  I just wanted to point that out to you.  I also would be VERY interested in this.  I have a Media Center PC that streams media through XBOX 360s to all of my TVs.  Still, the 360 lacks good codec support.  If there were affordable, living room friendly, PCs sold through Dell, I would probably purchase 2-3 of them. 
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Haplessuser
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Re: I need your input concerning HTPC (Home Theater Personal Computer)

Just set up my new xps 410 desktop with ATI theater 650 pro, 2407 wfp monitor, 320gb hd, 2GB RAM, Logitec speaker system.  Works great with basic cable.  I can't get FM reception, so any help with that I would appreciate.  Windows just says "no service".  I plan to upgrade to HD cable box in this room.  Hope that works.  Any plan for a cable card reader for this standard config with internal tuner card?
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