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Theatre PC

Last response: in Home Theatre
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April 24, 2010 7:36:52 AM

I'm just searching for a pc or mini pc that i can surf the web with and stream hi def movies and shows to my 47 in flatscreen, i'm not going to use it for gaming or anything like that. I just need it to efficiently play hd on my tv with minimal stutter and good sound, im getting overload searching the net, i understand all the specs and don't need a sales pitch from a guy @ best buy, just a good pc, decent hd space & ram, any suggestions?

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April 24, 2010 3:47:00 PM

I'd probably start with this combo and go from there.

-Wolf sends
April 24, 2010 7:52:52 PM

TravisS said:
I'm just searching for a pc or mini pc that i can surf the web with and stream hi def movies and shows to my 47 in flatscreen, i'm not going to use it for gaming or anything like that. I just need it to efficiently play hd on my tv with minimal stutter and good sound, im getting overload searching the net, i understand all the specs and don't need a sales pitch from a guy @ best buy, just a good pc, decent hd space & ram, any suggestions?


is better to use a quad core processor, motherboard with DDR3 memory
External video card.
motherboard with built in video is not as good as using an external PCI 16X card.
You should have at least 3 GB RAM memory and 500MB memory on the video card. The video card should be direct X 9 or 10 compatible.
Suggest Gigabyte socket AM3 motherboard, not Asus. Suggest AMD Phenom processor.
Expect to pay about $1000 for the parts to build it yourself. You can spend less, but it will not be up to the current standard for picture and sound quality.
You should also have cable internet with a speed of 5MBPS or higher. Don't expect good streaming with DSL connections.
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April 27, 2010 1:53:20 PM

soundguruman said:
is better to use a quad core processor, motherboard with DDR3 memory
External video card.
motherboard with built in video is not as good as using an external PCI 16X card.
You should have at least 3 GB RAM memory and 500MB memory on the video card. The video card should be direct X 9 or 10 compatible.
Suggest Gigabyte socket AM3 motherboard, not Asus. Suggest AMD Phenom processor.
Expect to pay about $1000 for the parts to build it yourself. You can spend less, but it will not be up to the current standard for picture and sound quality.
You should also have cable internet with a speed of 5MBPS or higher. Don't expect good streaming with DSL connections.


A quad core processor is not necessary for HD video or web surfing on a T.V. A modern dual core processor will work just fine. Paired with a low powered video card such as an ATI Radeon HD 5450. 3GB of RAM is also overkill. 2GB is just fine. As for processor brand it really does not matter either. Intel or AMD will both work just fine. $1000 setup is overkill for just HD video and web surfing. Playing games on your HDTV will require a much larger investment though.

As for internet cable is not required. DSL offers faster speeds these days. I myself have a 6Mbps DSL line at my house.
April 29, 2010 12:41:27 AM

I use my laptop or my cell for all of my daily internet use, I was looking at the dell studio and their mini but all the reviews are mixed. I checked into the Zotac products and Valore Ion as well, it would be awesome if i could just take those machines home for a day and see if it suited my needs. I'm definitely not into pc gaming and I've even been looking at a regular dell pc with 6GB of ram and a 500GB hd, it's only $500 for the tower at bestbuy & i'm not concerned about the look of it in my living room, i'm just a little ignorant to the video and sound cards necessary to handle my needs. Thanks for the help.
April 29, 2010 4:09:48 PM

You are really better off building your own, from off the shelf parts. You can get far better performance for less money AND the parts are interchangeable.
You might become aware that several manufacturers are selling systems with proprietary parts (like Dell) that can only be replaced or upgraded with certain proprietary replacement and upgrade parts. You can't use off the shelf parts to upgrade or repair (Dell) systems sold by these manufacturers.

I'm going to stick with my recommendation of a quad core processor, not only do you get far better cache memory (the processor never overloads), but reserve capacity to run media and other applications all at the same time. As you add more and more in the future, the system does not become obsolete for several years. It's a better long term investment.

I would rather spend $1000 now to find a state of the art system, rather than buy a system that will shortly become obsolete, or will easily cache/RAM overload, causing frequent buffering pauses while watching streaming video.
If you can watch an entire movie without any buffering pauses or freezing / jittering of the HD video, then your processor / cache / RAM might be adequate.

The audio quality of the quad core boards is also superior. You will find true surround / sub woofer outputs already on the board, that make a home theater system much easier to construct, without adding audio cards.

3 GB ram is not unreasonable, especially if you like high speed computing. The more the merrier, and again this gives you more buffering, and less buffering pauses. You can use 6GB if you care to move into a more expensive operating system such as Win 7. I will stick with XP for my own reasons, and economy.

The better video card costing around $150+ takes the load off the system resources, giving you higher resolutions in video, giving you true HD, allowing a number of software upgrades over the next many years, again avoiding obsolescence, regardless of whether you are a gamer or a media enthusiast. A good media system IS also a gaming system.

Therefore, it's better from a long-term standpoint and a audio video quality standpoint, and a anti obsolescence standpoint to save up some cash, wait a bit, and buy a better system which will be enjoyed for many more years, compared to a "minimal package" type system.

Speaking of 6 mbps DSL, It's the bandwidth of the phone line wiring that prevents it. Can you watch an entire streaming HD movie without buffering pauses? Well then, DSL might be OK for you. But where I live, DSL promises 1 mbps or 2 mbps and delivers 100 kbps on a good day.
All I have seen from DSL is wildly overstated claims of speed.
April 30, 2010 2:13:20 PM

Yea, I can watch an entire HD movie without buffering pauses. Only reason I stick with DSL is because the cable company is over priced and unreliable.

You do make a valid point for looking at future compatibility with all of that higher end hardware. But also thing of the power consumption. A beefy quad core CPU and video card with suck up a lot more juice than a decent speed dual core CPU and reasonable video card.

My system runs a core 2 duo and a decent video card. I have never had any issues with buffering. It has worked just fine since I set it up. Everyone will have their own opinion though. Im just watching the electric bill.
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