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  1. #1
    AR Newbie Registered Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    Sound Cards and PC as DVD player

    I'm building a new computer with HT interaction in mind. I've read suggestions here on sound cards and most of them tend to be external cards. When I read articles on building your own entertainment or dual purposes PC they use internal sound cards. Are there advantages/disadvantages to either?

    At the moment I don't have a real DVD player, I just use my xbox. Is anyone using their PC as their DVD player? When you do that do you need a graphics or tv card?

  2. #2
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    Feb 2002

    Thumbs up no worries..

    Having a graphics card designed for hometheater use is helpful but not absolutely necessary. A good coice is the ATI All In Wonder series. I don't have an opinion about external vs internal. I have a Shuttle box with an internal ATI 9600 All In One and it works great. Great sound and video quality. A PC is great way to go as a hometheater processor, dvd player and so on. Needless to say, a PC offers a lot of functionality. I'd make a couple suggestions if you're starting from scratch. Using Windows Media Edition 2005, a case designed for hometheater use and a very quiet power supply will go a long way towards making this an enjoyable, long term piece of equipment. If you have a Fry's Electronics in your area (their online outlet is, you can pick up a copy of media edition for about 150 with the purchase of hardware. If Fry's or outpost isn't an option, try Maximum pc reviewed power supplies recently.For hometheater the Antec Phantom 350 would be a good choice for a power supply. At 350 watts, higher end choices like SLI, multiple hard drives and so on wouldn't be recommended but for home theater use, 350 watts is more than enough. The Phantom is fanless power supply which means virtually no noise. For a case, Silverstone is a good choice.

  3. #3
    Forum Regular royphil345's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Most people would recommend an external sound card because the internal ones tend to pick up more noise from the computer components. I've had good and poor results using internal ones. Some of the motherboards out there now have very acceptable and quiet onboard sound believe it or not.

    Don't skimp on the motherboard either. Cheaper boards tend to transmit more noise to the sound card. Would try to get one with an Intel chipset for an Intel processor or an AMD chipset for an AMD processor. VIA chipsets especially are known to cause noise problems with some sound cards. Though some boards with VIA chipsets have very nice onboard sound these days.

    I agree that an All-In-Wonder video/capture card is really cool to have on an A/V computer. I have the old Radeon 7500 and it still does everything I need it to do. Even a little gaming. The analog capture might be sort of outdated now if you don't need to capture from an analog camcorder or VCR. Could still use it to record shows though (comes with good VCR software). And it also comes with a RF remote that may come in handy on an AV computer system. (Can do anything you can do with your mouse on the computer + shortcuts for media players and the ATI All-In-Wonder TV Tuner)

    Another thing to consider is finding a sound card with a digital out that you could hook straight to an AV receiver, or a device like this. The advantages here would be less noise keeping the signal digital until it gets to your sound system. Also, solves connection problems. Many sound cards use all of the available jacks (line in etc..) as output jacks in 5.1 or 6.1 output mode. Also can be a problem hooking up to your sound system AND computer speakers.
    Last edited by royphil345; 01-18-2005 at 05:34 PM.

  4. #4
    Forum Regular royphil345's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002

    Oh... and

    All you really need in a video card for home theater is one with a TV out jack.

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