Well, I've been following a few threads for the last couple of months. My situation is basically:
I moved from the UK with the following HTPC:
ASRock AGP Motherboard
Nebula DigiTV tuner
PNY NVidia FX5500 Video Card
DVine HTPC Case with VFD display
ATEC AV370D 37" LCD
Marantz SR6200 AV Receiver - fed optical digital via cheap soundcard
Cabasse Ki 5.1 Speaker System
When I was in the UK using Media Center and their DVB-T transmission my system worked perfectly. It was brilliant! Unfortunately, with NZ transmissions my current rig struggles. With the correct drivers for my tuner, PowerDVD ultra and GB-PVR I managed to pick up the freeview channels here in Dunedin. The PC obviously couldn't handle them, the picture was very stuttery and broken up - but it was there! The HD test channel looked pretty good (when it flicked on and off the screen!)
So, I looked at upgrading my video card - but I only have an AGP slot, so it looked like that wasn't going to work.
So, then I saw the 780g motherboards - using the onboard HD3200 graphics card. Very nearly bought a motherboard, CPU and Ram to drop into my case. But then I got cold feet after reading a number of concerns with the catalyst drivers, and the stability of the ATI card when changing HDTV channels... I want this to be stable and functional - like it always has been...
I want to find the cheapest, stable upgrade to my current system. It's frustrating, as it used to work perfectly!! It's really only used as a media centre.
Now, I've found a series of new motherboards, based on NVidia's Geforce 8200 chipset. These seem like they might be the answer?! Unfortunately I can't find anyone retailing them in NZ yet, but I've found a few retailers out of the US (www.partspc.com) who will send them over for a reasonable price.
So, what I've found is an ECS motherboard - ECS GF8200A
This has the NVidia Geforce 8200 Graphics chipset and VGA and HDMI output. Unfortunately it doesn't have optical out (like the Gigabyte 780g) but it does have 3 PCI slots, so I can install my current sound card. The other two PCI slots will be for my tuner card, and wifi card. There are some other 8200 offerings from Asrock and Asus but these only seem to have 2 PCI slots (and no optical out either).
If I order:
- The ECS GF8200A Motherboard
- an AMD Athlon64 X2 4400+
- and 2gb DDR2 800Mhz Ram
It looks like I could have it all delivered here for around $NZ290
My 37" TV only has
1 x DVI-Digital ( 24 PIN Digital DVI )
1 x VGA input ( 15 PIN HD D-Sub (HD-15)
So I guess I'd either run it via VGA or and HDMI to DVI cable.
Right, I know a little about computers, and this all looks like it would do the trick. However, I would really appreciate some experienced, knowledgable feedback (or even just some comments!) to confirm that I'm not making a mistake - on any of the above!!
Looking forward to some feedback ;)
Cheers and thanks in advance,