Building a Home Cinema PC, suggestions on Sound & Graphics Card, Processor welcome

Thread: Building a Home Cinema PC, suggestions on Sound & Graphics Card, Processor welcome

  1. GETanner's Avatar

    GETanner said:

    Default Building a Home Cinema PC, suggestions on Sound & Graphics Card, Processor welcome

    Brief background.

    I'm looking to add a networked PC to my Home cinema to play mp3 files (jukebox style) and VCD files from the home server while enabling Progressive Scan DVD playback via a plasma at a future date.

    The PC will not be used for any gaming, nor will I be burning CD's etc.

    The PC will initailly be connected to a TV via an S-Video cable but I will be adding a Plasma Screen in the next 12 months and as such would like this option on the graphics card. I will be using the PC as a progressive scan DVD player with the Plasma screen. Again, as the PC will not be used for gaming, a top of the range card is not essential. Ideally, a fanless card would be preferred.

    Though I would need a digital output on the sound card to connect to my Amp for MiniDisc recording of mp3's and DD playback of DVD's, I would like the option to make use of the Pro Logic II option in Power DVD 4 (my amp , a Denon AVC-A10SE, is great but a little too old to have PLII). Hence a sound card which has a 6 channel (5.1) output via phono sockets or at a push 3.5mm headphone sockets would be nice. High quality sound is a must. The minimum though would have to be Digital Audio (either optical or co-axial) output. I am willing to spend a fair amount on the soundcard for good quality stereo sound via it's own DAC's but as mp3's already suffer from compression, it has to be sensible.

    Thirdly, to keep costs down, what would be the minimum (but capable) processor speed to play mp3's, Mpeg and DVD's only.

    I already have the case lined up [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] It can only handle one PCI and one AGP card or two PCI cards but does have 2xUSB 1.1 so that option for a sound card may be an idea.

    Yes I know it is expensive which is why I want to keep processor cost down. The main selling point is that it is very quiet and would not look out of place in my AV rack.

    So, any advice on the following would be great.

    A fanless (or very quiet) graphics card which has S-Video output and that can handle progressive scan (NTSC and PAL) to a plasma screen.

    A sound card with Digital output (either optical or co-ax), good quality sound and 5.1 (via phono if possible) outputs would be nice.

    A processor that can handle playback of mp3's and Mpeg's over an ethernet network and DVD playback via DVD-Rom Drive.


  2. loafer316's Avatar

    loafer316 said:


    : Nice to see another Home Cinema buff here!! hehe

    Anyway i was gonna go the same route...and found excellent info on the HCPC section on [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]

    They tend to use a ATI Radeon card 7000 or 8000 series with the uses of Dscaler and a tool called Powerstrip to adjust screen setup etc. but they also use the Geforce cards too....they also have links on their sticky to hardware and software stuff....also great advice on Plasma and any DVD?HC stuff.

    The same with me i'm gonna make sure i have quiet fans and PSU and hopefully are graphics card w/o a fan. Ppl there are quite comfortably running home cinema setups around 1.2 - 1.8 ghz machines. and the ati graphics cards can be got for around 50.

    Hope that helps..:rolls:
  3. loafer316's Avatar

    loafer316 said:


    HAHAHAHa just saw your identical post in the AVForums..OOPs!! no worries!!
  4. GETanner's Avatar

    GETanner said:


    Cheers for the input buddy.

    It's my first foray into HCPC though I have been browsing the avforum for a while now.

    I've had enough of my Sony DVD player refusing to play SVCD's (unless butchered by TMPGEnc Plus 2.5 first) or VCD's burnt to CD-R. While the mp3 collection is growing daily and it would be nice to be able to listen to them down stairs on the Hi-Fi and not via the laptop.

    I did look at this [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] for mp3 play. The Baycom OSCAR MP3 player but at 500.00, only a 10Gb drive and no network, it would be a waste.

    Creative have launched the Sound Blaster Audigy 2 [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] which has THX certification. Will wait for a demo but it could be what I'm looking for. One problem though is that the card needs a breakout box for the optical in/out and the case i have in mind would not be able to take an external 3.5 drive box. Will need to find a small case to fit this.

    One option I am also looking into is video capture off the Sky+ box. Not sure if I should go down the route of an all-in-one card or use a USB capture device. This would be an extra bonus and not a real requirement.

    Looking at the Matrox 550 card. Seems like a good card, but will have to test drive it first.

    Thanks again for your input.