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building computer for playing DVD's

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May 13, 2003 4:21:22 PM

Okay, here is the situation. I am going to purchase moviemask software so I can watch edited DVD's, and also for my family. Anyway, I could use it now on my current PC, but I would like a quieter system, with better TV-out, and with better sound.

So, my question is, what would you recommend? The computer would just sit by the TV and do nothing but play DVD's and connect to the Internet to download mask files.

I was thinking the following:
CPU: Duron 1.0 GHz - cheap, quiet and fast enough.
motherboard: ??
video card: some Matrox card - for excellent TV-out
DVD-ROM: no ideas... just want something quiet.
hard drive: quiet 5200rpm drive 20-40GB. (only need 5GB, but the older drives aren't as quiet).
sound card: I have a sound system that has 5.1 channel input (analog, not digital). So the sound card would need to decode dolby digital sound and and have 5.1 analog output.
Monitor: I don't want any monitor, I would just use the TV.
Case: would prefer to go microATX, but depends on the motherboard

As you can see, I have a lot of questions. I am not sure if I am really going to do this, it mostly depends on how cheap I can do it for. The other question I would have is what software to use that never skips, but that would belong in another thread. Thanks in advance for any advice.

My other option is to wait for a DVD player to come out that has a built-in hard drive and also an internet connection. Unfortunately, I don't see any with Internet connections and the only ones with hard drives right now are DVD burners which are very expensive and something I don't need.
May 14, 2003 1:00:14 AM

CPU: Duron 1.0 GHz - cheap, quiet and fast enough.
motherboard: ??

Work, however, you could save a bit of money and get a VIA eden Ghz, basically it's not very good for much, but as they showed here, it does play DVDs well. Alternatively, there's a pretty nice Thermalright heatsink on newegg that will prolly cool that duron passive.

video card: some Matrox card - for excellent TV-out

I'd go ASUS or ATi All in wonder for better performance

DVD-ROM: no ideas... just want something quiet.

Toshiba, Pioneer and Sony are the best

hard drive: quiet 5200rpm drive 20-40GB. (only need 5GB, but the older drives aren't as quiet).

Don't know much about HD noise, Arent Seagates usually good for this? RPM has little effect on noise afaik, it's mostly the radial head motion that causes the clicking. RPM is for the disks.


sound card: I have a sound system that has 5.1 channel input (analog, not digital). So the sound card would need to decode dolby digital sound and and have 5.1 analog output.

Default in nForce2 is good, aside from that, would a SBLive 5.1, or Audigy work?

Case: would prefer to go microATX, but depends on the motherboard

Checkercube would be good (Mini ITX, very small). If you do this, you'd prolly want the MiniITX eden and a SB Live/Audigy.

With the Checkercube, DVD, HD, Board/Proc and Memory, you should be able to get a good system for under $400

Athlon XP 1600+, MSI K7T PRO2 RU (POS), 2x256 MB CRUCIAL PC2100 CL2.5 memory, Asus V6800 DDR Delux (GF 256) video card, 6.4GB+27GB WD HD, 40GB IBM HD (all 7200RPM). My computer is an acronym
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May 14, 2003 3:13:42 AM

Yeah, LiteOn is one of the few drives that plays DVD video at 1X speed, you won't even hear it's running. This should fit your requirement of a quiet optical drive for playing DVD's.
a b à CPUs
May 14, 2003 7:25:53 AM

The Duron is still a bit hot, I'd go with a Tualatin Celeron myself. But if you really want the Duron:

nForce2 board
ATI All In Wonder 8500DV (great for games on the TV too)
Lite On LTD-163 DVD-ROM
Seagate 40GB drive (with rubber isolator)

MSI has an mATX nForce2 board with onboard TV-Out etc, but the video card is a better solution. Biostar has an nForce2 board with nForce APU (audio processing unit) and I think a digital output as well.

I'd go with an mATX desktop, because cases that lay down fit entertainment systems better. Watch out for cases with half-height slots though.

Several reasons for the choice in card...for one, with AIW 8500DV, you get enough performance for games on the TV. And you get TiVO like features which come in handy. TiVO features are why I suggested the 40GB drive.

<font color=blue>Watts mean squat if you don't have quality!</font color=blue>
May 14, 2003 11:23:16 AM

Here's something I found on newegg, it's small, shoulnd look too bad, and should be quiet:

case: Casetronic CheckerCube-2215 (Black) Mini ITX with 200W P4 Power Supply - RETAIL. Small, looks good, 2 60mm case fans built in.
$85

DVD: SONY DDU1621/B2 BLACK 16X DVD ROM Drive (48X CD-ROM Speed) - OEM
$39, least expensive of the ones I like, you can go for a LiteOn, but actually, I'm specing out a system myself (webserver/linux box)

HD: WESTERN DIGITAL WD400EB 40GB 5400RPM CAVIAR - Hard Drive OEM
$59 - shouldn't be too loud, should work well for most purposes

Mem: CORSAIR MEMORY 256MB PC2100 VALUE SELECT. DDR RAM - OEM CL2.5
$29.50

Video, CPU, Mobo, Sound: VIA Motherboard and Integrated CPU Model# EPIA-M9000 - RTL [933 Mhz C3]
$139


Total
$351

This should make a nice DVD player, has video out, and with the setup equip, should play DVDs fine. You may want to get an add on sound card though, not sure- haven't heard how the onboard sounds.


[Edit: you will need a sound card it seems-
Creative Labs Sound Blaster Live! Dolby Digital 5.1 SB0220 - OEM
$33]

Under $400 and should suit your needs, and then some hopefully. I believe you can remove the CPU heatsink and fand, and use a larger passive heatsink, but not sure. You'll have to find out where to get one and what will fit.

Athlon XP 1600+, MSI K7T PRO2 RU (POS), 2x256 MB CRUCIAL PC2100 CL2.5 memory, Asus V6800 DDR Delux (GF 256) video card, 6.4GB+27GB WD HD, 40GB IBM HD (all 7200RPM). My computer is an acronym<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by jimstapleton on 05/14/03 07:27 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
May 14, 2003 4:14:57 PM

Quote:
The Duron is still a bit hot, I'd go with a Tualatin Celeron myself.

I am not against the Celeron. I just haven't ever built a system with them. If I went with a Celeron, what motherboard would you recommend?
Quote:
Several reasons for the choice in card...for one, with AIW 8500DV, you get enough performance for games on the TV.

That would be nice to play games on the TV, but I can do that with my current setup and video card (GF4Ti4200). I still usually just play on my 21" monitor though so I was looking for something that is cheaper. It doesn't need to play any games at all as it would only be used for playing DVD's... and maybe a few DivX movies or VCD's I have.
Quote:
I'd go with an mATX desktop, because cases that lay down fit entertainment systems better.

That sounds good, I'll have to look for some. It could then take the place of my current DVD player. Did you have any suggestions for what make?

As for the sound card... I was thinking about going cheap and that is why I was considering a cheap motherboard which would rule out the nForce2. But, maybe it would be worth it for what I'd save on a sound card. If I went with Intel, I would definately need a sound card to go with it. I just wanted to repeat that any suggestions need to have analog outputs (either 6 RCA outputs, or 3 3.5mm stereo outputs that I can split). Having a digital output doesn't do me any good because my receiver doesn't take digital.

Thanks for your replies. I might be able to get it if I can stay under $400.00

Right now I am looking at the following:

Still undecided between Celeron or Duron, which would also mean no idea on the motherboard.
Video Card: Possibly an ATI 8500, but looking for something cheaper and I just heard that Matrox has even better TV-out than ATI... if there is one cheap enough.
DVD player: leaning towards a LiteOn
Hard drive: Seagate 40GB
Sound Card: looking at SB Live! 5.1
Case: I would prefer a mini or micro ATX desktop case so it would fit in my entertainment center instead of beside it, but don't know where to look for them.
May 14, 2003 4:21:36 PM

For sound card get a Sound Blaster Audigy 2
it has a built-in DTS decoder.
For DVD playback, it's the best sound available.
May 14, 2003 4:25:21 PM

Quote:
however, you could save a bit of money and get a VIA eden Ghz, basically it's not very good for much, but as they showed here, it does play DVDs well.

Does it also play DivX movies well, or VCD's? And where are they sold? What motherboards do they use? I have never looked at them... do they take their own motherboard or do they use a socket 7, socket A, or something else?
Quote:
I'd go ASUS or ATi All in wonder for better performance

I don't need any more performance than to be able to show movies without skipping. So as long as a card is adequate for that, I would prefer to go with whatever had the best quality picture using TV-out.
Quote:
Checkercube would be good (Mini ITX, very small)

thanks, I'll look into them.
May 14, 2003 4:41:14 PM

Quote:
For sound card get a Sound Blaster Audigy 2
it has a built-in DTS decoder.
For DVD playback, it's the best sound available.

That sounds great... except for the price. I am aiming for under $400.00. Anything higher than that just doesn't allow me to justify the cost. I have everything now to play movies on my TV, I would just like to have less background noise, better sound, better picture, and more convenience. I don't know how I could fit the Audigy 2 in my budget... but if I could, I definately would. I guess I could check the local pawn shop for a used one. I once got a zip drive for $5.00
May 14, 2003 6:13:42 PM

If you're any good at handcrafting stuff and/or have the tools you can save on the case by making your own out of plexiglas. I don't remember what modding site I saw this on but they used a heatgun to bend it and put a Flex-ATX board in it. For this I think an nForce2 IGP with Soundstorm should be good.
May 15, 2003 12:39:28 AM

Quote:

I am not against the Celeron. I just haven't ever built a system with them. If I went with a Celeron, what motherboard would you recommend?

You can buy an AXP 1700+ (t-bred "B"). It should run cooler @ stock speed, will run much cooler when underclocked to 1100 MHz (100 MHz FSB)

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a b à CPUs
May 15, 2003 12:47:46 AM

First of all, forget the MORON who suggested the VIA Eden and a cube case. The price to performance ratio is terrible, and the cube looks bad in a stereo rack. You can find several black ATX desktops (and Micro ATX desktops) at Newegg.

But if you REALLY want to save money, buy <A HREF="http://www.softwareandstuff.com/ATXEMAblue.html" target="_new">This Case, and paint it Black!</A> It's fairly close in size to a full sized stereo reciever, and should fit most racks nicely!

Also, if you really like saving money, contact me about my old platform (use the "Send Private Message" button on the right). I'm selling it next week. It's a top quality Asus P3B-F motherboard (BX chipset, which is the most reliable), with a Slot-T adapter, Celeron 1100 Tualatin at 1466MHz (retail boxed with Intel warranty and cooler). It can be PASSIVELY COOLED at stock clock (1100MHz) and 1.3v core.

<font color=blue>Watts mean squat if you don't have quality!</font color=blue>
May 15, 2003 11:53:03 PM

I'm not sure how well the Eden does with DivX and Other stuff, it does have a built in MPEG2 decoder. It can be found at newegg, under via motherboards.

You can use the built in VIA tv out on the board, should be fine if it plays.

Also, there are miniITX boards for the P4, so you could use the checkercube on one of them as well.

Athlon XP 1600+, MSI K7T PRO2 RU (POS), 2x256 MB CRUCIAL PC2100 CL2.5 memory, Asus V6800 DDR Delux (GF 256) video card, 6.4GB+27GB WD HD, 40GB IBM HD (all 7200RPM). My computer is an acronym
May 16, 2003 12:03:23 AM

Ahh, civilized arguments are not your forte are they?


If you noticed, he was looking for cheap, and small. Not performance, or even price performance ratio. Yes the Eden boards lack the Price to Performance ratio. However they are about as cheap as it gets, barring getting something used, or seriously old. Additionally they should do what he needs, in the size he wants. Finally, I stated that I wasn't completely sure how they would perform just that I suspected it should do what he needs. As for the checkercube, that isn't the only option, but I do think they look nice. I'm not familiar with all the mini itx cases, but there are several on newegg that castronix makes, and there are probably other mini itx manufacturers (just not that I know of). Finally, if you are going for price performance ratio, why did you suggest a celeron?

Please read and analyze before calling other people morons.

Athlon XP 1600+, MSI K7T PRO2 RU (POS), 2x256 MB CRUCIAL PC2100 CL2.5 memory, Asus V6800 DDR Delux (GF 256) video card, 6.4GB+27GB WD HD, 40GB IBM HD (all 7200RPM). My computer is an acronym
a b à CPUs
May 16, 2003 4:10:27 AM

Cubes are taller than Desktops, and narrower, they do look stupid in a home theater or stereo rack, and they do take up more space! You can fit an ITX board into an mATX or ATX desktop and get a better looking solution, but if you use one of these cases, you might as well get a better board!

Price to performance, Tualatin Celeron 1100 goes for around $40. Throw in a $50 board, and it's far cheaper than an Eden platform. Yes, socket 370 boards are CHEAP now.

I've analysed your suggestions extensively far before you suggested them. What you are proposing is a settup that would give him less for more. While it might look good to him NOW, what happens if he decides he wants more LATER? He would have to buy an entire new system! And he would be thinking how stupid it was to limit himself like this.

You see, what he wants is a system to play video. Fine. But the TV is right there, and it doesn't take a super powerfull card to play games at TV resolutions, so he might as well be prepared in case he ever decides to try it! As for CPU power, Tualatin Celerons are 2x as powerfull as anything VIA has to offer.

Now consider the "lowely" XP1700+. It cost only $43 new right now. With it's 11x multiplier, at 100MHz bus it would run 1100MHz and provide slightly better performance than a Tualatin Celeron 1100. And it would probably run about as cool, if you undervolted it. The platform I offered already allows for undervolting, and the CPU I offered is verified stable at 1.3v using a large passive cooler. The only better alternative would be an underclocked/undervolted XP1700+, but I don't know of a motherboard that will allow the voltage drop.



<font color=blue>Watts mean squat if you don't have quality!</font color=blue>
May 16, 2003 9:59:54 AM

What about onboard video and other periphrials? The Eden admittedly seems more expensive than that at first, but the only card he would need is a sound card.

As for upgradability:

"That would be nice to play games on the TV, but I can do that with my current setup and video card (GF4Ti4200). I still usually just play on my 21" monitor though so I was looking for something that is cheaper. It doesn't need to play any games at all as it would only be used for playing DVD's... and maybe a few DivX movies or VCD's I have."

Looks like he really doesn't care/want/need it. Give a person what they want, not what you think they want.

Athlon XP 1600+, MSI K7T PRO2 RU (POS), 2x256 MB CRUCIAL PC2100 CL2.5 memory, Asus V6800 DDR Delux (GF 256) video card, 6.4GB+27GB WD HD, 40GB IBM HD (all 7200RPM). My computer is an acronym
May 16, 2003 11:26:57 AM

I had a though though. An ATi All in Wonder 7500 or 8500 would probaby be nice for this (i.e. no eden since it lacks AGP). In this case, you'd spend more money, but it comes with a remote control, and has pretty decent video playback (including DVD), and can take most video input types, allowing you to hook just about any video into your TV.


At newegg, there are lot of options for a socket A motherboard for under $65 (microatx)

I'm not exactly sure if they are compatable but an athlon xp mobile is "socket a", so you could use one- but it's expensive, so that's probably not what you want.

In all honest, any Duron they have there should work for watching videos, so the 1Ghz for $40 shouldn't be bad

As far as fans go, you can use the Thermalright SLK-900-U, though really expensive ($46), get a case where the fan blows towards this, and you can probably go passive cooling. Alternatively, it uses a larger than normal fan (you have to buy separately), and that would be quiter per unit airflow.

All in wonder 7500: $123

Creative Labs Sound Blaster Live! Dolby Digital 5.1 SB0220 - OEM: $35
-or-
CREATIVE LABS SOUND BLASTER AUDIGY WITH 1394 - OEM: $64

LITE-ON XJ-HD166S 16X DVD ROM Drive - OEM: $32

CORSAIR MEMORY 256MB PC2100 VALUE SELECT: $29

Seagate 40GB 7200rpm EIDE Hard Drive OEM Barracuda 7200: $67
-or-
WESTERN DIGITAL WD400EB 40GB 5400RPM CAVIAR: $49
-or-
MAXTOR 20GB 5400RPM Hard Drive: $55



Pick the case that looks best for your entertainment center, and you are ready.

Obviously you can go elsewhere, and find better prices, but this is just what I found real quick, as something that should be quiet, and hopefully not cost *too* much.


Athlon XP 1600+, MSI K7T PRO2 RU (POS), 2x256 MB CRUCIAL PC2100 CL2.5 memory, Asus V6800 DDR Delux (GF 256) video card, 6.4GB+27GB WD HD, 40GB IBM HD (all 7200RPM). My computer is an acronym
a b à CPUs
May 16, 2003 9:56:21 PM

No, giving a person only what they want is never a good thing, because they usually want more later. That system you suggested in your next post would be adequate, in that it does what he wants now and allows him room to change his mind later.

<font color=blue>Watts mean squat if you don't have quality!</font color=blue>
!