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19 posts

Geek


# 40685 2-Sep-2009 01:07
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I don't know if this is the right forum to start this topic.

My situation is that I have a year or two old PC lying around ever since I got my laptop. I want to change it into a file server/htpc(?).

The spec is atm:
Core 2 E6550 (i think... haven't turned it on in a while)
6600GT
2GB Ram
Asus P5K SE Mobo
Quite a bit of hard disk space

And an Asus U3100 MyCinema Mini for TV Tuner

My home theatre has a Sony PS3, Bravia and 5.1 Channels Amp setted up.

If I use it as a file server, I can transcode files for my PS3 using a software called PS3 Media Server. However, for higher quality transcode like 1080p, the Core 2 probably doesn't suffice (My P8400 struggles a little with external subtitles). One pretty nice solution is to use CoreAVC codec, which offloads some of the work through CUDA. Unfortunately, the 6600GT doesn't support CUDA, which means I would need a new graphic card?

But if I get a new graphic card (with HDMI out probably), then I may as well set it up next to my TV and ignores my PS3 :S?

The other option would be to leave it as a file server and have another computer (like my laptop) doing the transcoding...

Now, for recording Freeview... is the current spec enough for recording at whatever freeview is broadcasting at? And what if I want to reencode the video (cut out the ads, etc.)? I suppose there isn't really a way to view recorded TV on PS3 atm either...

So yeah, just a few dilema, any advice or help would be much appreciated. (Mainly, I have no use for the old 6600GT, don't want the power bill to be too high with a new GPU, and ignore my PS3's "entertainment center" ability, etc...)

Also I am not limited to Windows 7, I was deciding between Windows Server but it doesn't have Media Center. I am open to any linux variants too.

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1539 posts

Uber Geek

Trusted

  # 252445 2-Sep-2009 07:20
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If you want to decode freeview HD you will need at least a 8600 video card.



19 posts

Geek


  # 255956 15-Sep-2009 21:04
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So I have been doing some research for a bit now... (with no haste lol..).

So far, I have decided to upgrade my power supply to the Corsair VX450W series for better energy efficiency and for when I decide to add in more drives (Apparently, my current power supply, which is a Thermaltake is quite inefficient and its power is overrated, i.e. it delivers 350W at 65% efficiency at best, while it is rated at 430W...).

As for graphic card, I think I would like to play a few games on the HDTV at full 1080p, so I have decided to upgrade it as well.

For convinience, I am probably looking for one with HDMI with audio since I have an amp setup. My choices are: Radeon HD 4670 (Power efficient), Nvidia 9600GT (Slighly faster) or Radeon 4770 (Good balance of both?). The 4850 is faster than 4770, but is definitely too power hungry to my liking. Hence, at the moment, I am leaning towards buying a 4770 for my setup. Is that a good choice?

Also I see that some 4770 cards have dual DVI and a HDTV rather than HDMI/DVI, can I use that version and get the audio out somehow or would the HDMI option be easier?

 
 
 
 


1006 posts

Uber Geek


  # 256108 16-Sep-2009 13:04
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From what I've read around here, I would go with Nvidia if you want to decode freeview HD. I'm not sure if the situation's changed recently or not people were definitely having issues with Radeon cards and Freeview HD up until not long ago.

I have an 9600GT which works fine for Freeview and plays games fine on my 720p TV. You might want a little more if you want to game at 1080p though, Im not sure. Thing is if you go to a higher spec card you start getting hot and noisy... My 9600GT is passivley cooled. I dont think that many higher spec cards are (prob a couple out there) so you'd get noise/heat. Whether or not thats an issue for you is another story

160 posts

Master Geek


  # 256328 16-Sep-2009 23:33
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boby55: If you want to decode freeview HD you will need at least a 8600 video card.


I was using a silent 8500GT which worked fine (9400GT is the same card rebranded which I would recommend as a minimum on the nvidia side).
I swapped for a 4670 with inbuilt HDMI though to get the HD audio. This has been working flawlessly for me in XP/Mediaportal and also doubles up for light gaming.

I believe you could even use a ATI 4550, although if you may want to check this I haven't done any testing myself.
I know the 4650 had issues with decoding, but that may have been fixed with recent drivers.

160 posts

Master Geek


  # 256329 16-Sep-2009 23:48
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hmpws: So I have been doing some research for a bit now... (with no haste lol..).

So far, I have decided to upgrade my power supply to the Corsair VX450W series for better energy efficiency and for when I decide to add in more drives (Apparently, my current power supply, which is a Thermaltake is quite inefficient and its power is overrated, i.e. it delivers 350W at 65% efficiency at best, while it is rated at 430W...).

As for graphic card, I think I would like to play a few games on the HDTV at full 1080p, so I have decided to upgrade it as well.

For convinience, I am probably looking for one with HDMI with audio since I have an amp setup. My choices are: Radeon HD 4670 (Power efficient), Nvidia 9600GT (Slighly faster) or Radeon 4770 (Good balance of both?). The 4850 is faster than 4770, but is definitely too power hungry to my liking. Hence, at the moment, I am leaning towards buying a 4770 for my setup. Is that a good choice?

Also I see that some 4770 cards have dual DVI and a HDTV rather than HDMI/DVI, can I use that version and get the audio out somehow or would the HDMI option be easier?


The 4670 is fine for gaming at 720P for the majority of titles out there. If you want to play at higher res though (like 1080p) I would definitely recommend the 4770 and upward as the 4670 won't manage that resolution with decent framerates. I suggest you check some graphics card reviews and see if they can manage the games you like at the resolution you want to play at before investing. HDMI option is easier in many respects for HD audio, DVI connectors need an spdif connector on the video card so you're not getting real LPCM (rather Dolby digital or DTS)- although I have heard of video cards having special DVI/HDMI adapters that enable LPCM. I swapped to a Sapphire 4670 Ultimate to get the HD sound, while staying completely silent.




19 posts

Geek


  # 256470 17-Sep-2009 12:56
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what about the driver support issues with freeview that some people seemed to be having? has that been resovled?

160 posts

Master Geek


  # 256476 17-Sep-2009 13:12
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hmpws: what about the driver support issues with freeview that some people seemed to be having? has that been resovled?


Depends what OS and card you are talking about. I'm using a 4670 on XP with mediaportal and I'm not having any issues. I was trying to use a IGP (onboard) HD3200  though and I couldn't get it decoding 1080i from tv3 correctly, although others have had success. I tried up to version 9.6 of catalyst with the HD3200 before changing to the 4670. I am using CC9.9 now but haven't had any issues from 9.6-9.9 for freeview decoding.


 
 
 
 


25 posts

Geek


  # 256503 17-Sep-2009 14:08
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HD3200 onboard works very well on win7 for tv3 freeview

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