Suggestions for MP3 & DVD box
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    University of Warwick, England
    Posts
    270

    Lightbulb Suggestions for MP3 & DVD box

    Hi,
    I have the following part-system sitting around, and I'm thinking of moving it into my bedroom (my main box is in my converted loft, lest you wonder) for the purpose of playing MP3s and DVDs:

    AMD K6-2 500
    VIA Apollo-based mini-ATX mobo
    128mb SDRAM
    S3 Trio 2x AGP
    SB-16 ISA
    6 GB Fujitsu HDD
    4 GB Fujitsy HDD
    FDD
    Dodgy midi tower in beige

    No display, no USB ( i think the header is fried) and no CD-ROM drive - it's in my machine along with my CDRW.

    Suggestions for upgrading as cheaply as possible! No SB-Live's either please; the mobo has the annoying hissing and crackling bug.

    As for display, a TV is probably my best bet, wouldn't you say?

    See what you think,
    Chris
    Athlon XP Barton 2500+ @ 2,075 GHz
    MSI K7N2-Delta ILSR
    2x SATA 80GB Maxtor Plus 9 in a RAID Mirror
    512 MB Crucial PC2700 DDR
    ATI Radeon 9000 Pro 64MB
    Logitech Z-560
    Relisys TL766B 17" TFT
    Windows 2000 Professional

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Location
    Lakewood, CO
    Posts
    3,604
    The motherboard is AT right, or is it ATX?
    Athlon 64 2800+
    1xWD 1200BB, 1xMaxtor 200GB SATA
    Asus K8N-E
    2x512MB Corsair XMS3200
    Klipsch Pro Media 2.1
    Radeon 9800 Pro, Dell 1801FP - WinTV Theater
    Sony CRX320E Combo Drive, Pioneer A04
    Microsoft Natural Keyboard Pro - Microsoft IntelliMouse Optical
    Win XP Pro SP2

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Location
    London, United Kingdom
    Posts
    4,325
    I have a similar machine which I'm going to use as a router, and a DVD box.

    similar specs -

    K62-500
    128Mb RAM
    Voodoo3 3500 (tv-out)
    3Gb hard drive
    Aureal Monster Sound card.
    DVD drive

    Most of the hardware is woefully outdated (sound card in particular), so I'm having to run Win98se on it, which is fine for the purpose of the box - it seems happy with 2k, but I don't have 2k sound drivers...

    Anyway, I reckon you should buy a new ATi vid card with TV-out (Radeon 7000's are incredibly cheap). If you can't stretch to the Radeon, a Rage128 should suffice, just make sure it has tv-out.

    Not sure about soundcards...maybe a cheap 5.1 card would be good - you could buy the 5.1 speaker setup at a later date if you wanted to.

    ...and of course a DVD drive.

    Size of the HD is irrelavent, and the 128mb RAM should be enough on a Win98 box.

    If you find the K6-2 too slow, you could ditch the board and Chip, and pick up a microATX and Duron or something. I'd personally try the setup with just a new vid card, then get the sound card later, just in case you have to pick up a new board.
    Main PC: A64 3200+ | 1024MB Kingston RAM (Dual Channel) | WD 160GB | Seagate SATA 160GB w/NCQ | Asus A8N-SLi Deluxe | Connect3D ATi X800XL Pci-E | Coolermaster ATC-710 case | Antec NeoPower 480w PSU | Toshiba 27wl46 27" TFT

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    high wycombe, UK
    Posts
    676
    i've got a similar machine that I use for mp3 playing, dvd, vcd in the den/shed/games room

    Its networked to the main machine to share mp3 files and has a 2gb harddrive.
    500mhz k62 with huge passively cooled heatsink
    64mb ram
    5x? slot load dvd
    rage128 vo
    huge old soundblaster 16 plug and play with dsp
    no floppy or keyboard, just a mouse

    plays dvd fine on a tv screen - which doubles as monitor, also used for internet via shared connection through network
    the sound quality is OK, dvd playback took a little tweaking to get the best out of the rage card using rtweaker from www.rageunderground.com and dvd genie

    so if you want it all done as cheaply as possible then an ati rage128 or rage128 pro for about 20, a network card to connect to the other machine and dvd drive would provide you with everything you need. If you need a new sound card get a soundblaster 4.1 or 5.1 for 20 or so, alternatively a phillips prehaps but no point in spending bucket loads as the rest of the machine would be far behind it in specs!

    only other thing might be to invest in decent cooling to eliminate fan noise

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Location
    London, United Kingdom
    Posts
    4,325
    hey weebol, what OS are you using? I'm on Win98se, it seems fine, except the codec I'm using for divx' crashes the machine a lot, do you have any suggestions?
    Main PC: A64 3200+ | 1024MB Kingston RAM (Dual Channel) | WD 160GB | Seagate SATA 160GB w/NCQ | Asus A8N-SLi Deluxe | Connect3D ATi X800XL Pci-E | Coolermaster ATC-710 case | Antec NeoPower 480w PSU | Toshiba 27wl46 27" TFT

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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 1999
    Location
    New London, CT
    Posts
    1,888
    k62-500 is ok for DVD, as long as you use a hardware decoder. the radeon/rage video cards mentioned above are good for that. some even have remote controls so you dont need mouse/keyboard input.

    and unless you are using a decent component stereo for audio output, theres no need to go overboard on a sound card either. you can run L/R channels out to the TV at the very least.

    a TV will be cheaper than a monitor, and is perfectly fine for DVD output. but remember TV resolution is poor and regular windows apps will be difficult to read. dont expect to do web browsing or office applications on a tv output.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    high wycombe, UK
    Posts
    676
    I'm using win98 lite - which is win98 with a shareware utility to strip out all the rubbish and making it a bit nippier especially since I don't use office, embeded internet explorer yada yada

    The ati rage cards are excellant for dvd with hardware acceleration and superb picture quality - floors most cheapo dvd players. Recommend using the Ati dvd player tho version 3 or 4, its much better with old systems, makes full use of the cards features and better quality picture than powerdvd 3.x (dunno about 4, tend to stick to older versions for this machine) and dvdgenie has a few tricks to ease the load + make playing other region dvd's a doodle.

    nb the machine was originally a 350 o/c'd to 400 and was fine then too so a 500 will have a reasonable amount of grunt left over after dvd. The bigger problem is the refresh rate of a tv being 50Hz which slows down the card considerably compared with the normal 85Hz and can cause occansional jerkiness. My sony tv can be forced to run at 60Hz which eliminates this pretty much altogether.

    Browsing is pretty poor but doable, I only really use it for internet radio thro winamp... another very good reason for having it networked.

    I'd buy a decent case too, ideally as small as possible to conceal the system behind, under or in the tv(cabinet)! and it only needs a relatively low (200) watt powersupply. I have mine with a super silent fan in it and no fan on the psu but a hefty copper psu and two large holes in the top of the case for extra cooling. not that it needs it, the cpu's never under full load.

    Thinking about investing in an iatx motherboard and case as next project or moving the components I have into an old hifi case but other projects prevail.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    University of Warwick, England
    Posts
    270
    Thanks for all the suggestions =) I have a few more ideas now, and I'll see if I can come up with something in the next month or so.

    And yes, those miniITX systems look extremely tasty.

    Cheers,
    Chris
    Athlon XP Barton 2500+ @ 2,075 GHz
    MSI K7N2-Delta ILSR
    2x SATA 80GB Maxtor Plus 9 in a RAID Mirror
    512 MB Crucial PC2700 DDR
    ATI Radeon 9000 Pro 64MB
    Logitech Z-560
    Relisys TL766B 17" TFT
    Windows 2000 Professional

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