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Thread: Pre-built desktop PC/HTPC upgrade advice please?

  1. #1
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    Question Pre-built desktop PC/HTPC upgrade advice please?

    Hi, first post here...

    Have two Dell Dimension desktop PC's and a Sony VAIO HTPC (specs as per signature) that I'd like to upgrade.

    The first upgrade planned for each is the RAM memory. A friend of mine who has an older version of my Sony VAIO HTPC (P4 2.8GHz HT) has kindly offered to swap his OCZ PC5400 5-5-5-15 2GB memory kit value series (PN OCZ26672048 vdc-k) for 2GB of my PC4200 RAM as that is the fastest RAM his mobo actually supports (maximum of 2GB supported by his mobo). So I thought I'd remove the two sticks of 512MB matched pairs from both my VAIO and my Dell business machine and pop his 2GB OCZ RAM into my HTPC. Would it make much difference to running speeds, adding an extra 1GB of similar RAM (3GB is the maximum my mobo supports) for playback of HD avi/xvid files and HD-DVD/Blu-Ray movies?

    Next, I thought I'd remove the 2GB PC4200 (2 x 1GB matched pair) RAM from my Dell main machine and pop that into my business machine.

    I would then be in the market for some decent quality/fast(ish) RAM to go in this main machine. Everyday uses include lots of multitasking including e-mail, internet, playing HD avi/xvid files, photoshop and video encoding etc (don't play any games on PC).

    In order to feed the lossless Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD audio tracks from HD-DVD/Blu-Ray movies from my VAIO into my Denon AVC-A11XVA amp, I believe the only way is to install a soundcard with analogue 5.1 outputs which my amp would then recognize as LPCM multi-channel sound? So would be after a suitable soundcard too.

    Don't think the graphics card in my main Dell machine is great so was thinking of putting that in the business machine and purchasing myself something better. nVidia GeForce 7600GT or similar was what I had in mind (looking to spend upto £100).

    Last but not least was considering adding a 5.25" HDD rack mount to my main Dell machine so as to avoid having to purchase a bunch of external SATA HDD enclosures for when I want to transfer files from one HDD to another. Anyone use these? Saw an IcyDock one for under a tenner which seemed great value compared to a half decent external enclosure.

    Recommendations/advice greatly appreciated please?

    Hope to order all the bits from one place such as Scan with their excellent free delivery offer for forum members.

    Thanks.

    Cheekster.
    Last edited by cheekster; 19-03-2007 at 10:45 PM.

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  2. #2
    Senior Member GSte's Avatar
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    For the graphics card spend just over the 100 and get this:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Produ...oductID=481911

    or this:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Produ...oductID=499273

    Far, far, far better than a 7600GT

    Don't know anything about soundcards or HDD racks sorry. If you're going with Scan all the way then this RAM would be good:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Produ...oductID=402849

    or Microdirect has this which is £30 cheaper:

    http://www.microdirect.co.uk/(14777)...l-Channel.aspx

    I've got this RAM and it's solid.

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    Thumbs up

    Many thanks indeed for the reply (was starting to think I had posted it in the wrong section after receiving no hits!).

    Both gfx cards look good although both state they do not support HDCP. Whilst there is software available to work round this I would prefer having a HDCP compatible card seen as HD video playback is one of my planned main uses.

    Will probably go for the RAM memory from Micro Direct and save myself a few quid, also notice Scan are still awaiting stock on theirs.

    Thanks again.

    Cheekster.

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    Senior Member GSte's Avatar
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    None of the cards below an 8800GTS seem to support HDCP.... you may have to spend a bit more than anticipated.

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    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by GSte View Post
    For the graphics card spend just over the 100 and get this:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Produ...oductID=481911

    or this:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Produ...oductID=499273

    Far, far, far better than a 7600GT
    Overall which is the better gfx card of the two, ATi or nVidia?

    Ta.

    Cheekster.

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    Pretty sure the x1950 is better buddy. Check out the VGA charts at tomshardware.com if you want a better analysis!

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    AKA daniel.phillips Sprite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GSte View Post
    None of the cards below an 8800GTS seem to support HDCP.... you may have to spend a bit more than anticipated.
    My X1950XT I have up for sale does

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    I notice that Scan's advanced search feature includes hdcp as a search item for graphics cards.

    They list this as not in stock yet, but this is passive cooled 7600GT so looks directly aimed at the media PC market:

    Linkety link!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanceswithUnix View Post
    I notice that Scan's advanced search feature includes hdcp as a search item for graphics cards.

    They list this as not in stock yet, but this is passive cooled 7600GT so looks directly aimed at the media PC market:

    Linkety link!
    Nice spot!

    Seen as I don't play games this will probably be good enough for what I want, good price too and I'm sure it will be a lot better than the existing X1300 in my main Dell machine?

    Anyone able to recommend a suitable sound card now please?

    Thanks.

    Cheekster.
    Last edited by cheekster; 26-03-2007 at 08:48 PM.

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