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New PC build/Play HD movies on my new TV (LC-37LE320E)

I am looking to build a new pc that I can use to watch HD 1080p films directly from my recently purchased Sharp AQUOS LC-37LE320E TV.  I assume that the main ingredient here would be the graphics card.  So my question is:

Which graphics card should I buy and which connection to the TV should I use to get the best quality experience when watching these films? and to compliment this card, which other components should I buy (Mobo, processor etc).  My main requirments of the pc are as follows:

I mainly will use the pc for internet and watching films (no games)

I want the pc to run fast.

I want a quiet case.

I don't mind spending a bit to get a decent machine but I'd like to keep the cost of the box under a £1000.

Thanks in advance
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Darren Sharples
Asked:
Darren Sharples
2 Solutions
 
Cesar AracenaPHP EnthusiastCommented:
Hi sharpting,

You could go with a Nvidia 200 series or 400 series without being too specific about the exact model. All of these have HDMI port (which you want to use) and are very quiet compared to AMD cards.

For mobo and CPU, just go with anything you want from the Intel i series (i5 or better) and 6GB or DDR3 RAM memory.

Regarding the case, I would go with anything that has a brand on it. All you have to have in mind is that the more coolers, the more noise and you wont be doing overclocking in there so you don't need lots of coolers. A small Thermaltake or Cooler Master will do the trick for under $100.

I've wrote a small article about choosing the right graphics card. I still have to update it but it could serve you as a guide: http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Components/A_3717-Computer-Components-Explained-Graphic-Cards.html

Cheers,
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droydenCommented:
I would go for a Acer Revo, they have dedicated NVidia GPU and are running a dual core atom processor. All decoding/playing is pushed onto the GPU. They are also very small and quiet.

You can install xbmc on these and they are great HTPC's (www.xbmc.org)

Unless you are planning on gaming etc on this PC you do not require anything more than one of these.
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CHutchinsCommented:
IMHO i would fall between both of these suggestions.  I have a nettop and it doesnt quite handle everything I throw at it video wise.  The top one is over kill for video.
I have used a Core 2 Duo laptop with 4 GB of ram and it played 1080 video with no issues.  There is no need to drop 6 GB of ram in a video machine unless you are planning on ripping video.  

To save money I would honestly fall more toward running AMD hardware as it is more than adequate for your needs.  A dual core will work but the quads are so close in price its a no brainer.  

As for the card...  Go with a 1GB card.  The ATI and Nvidia PCIe offerings will not give you much difference in video quality.  As for the connection HDMI is the best to use but VGA is an option as well

I would look to have a dedicated sound card like the Asus Xonar or the high end SB

A TV Tuner card if you intend on Video capture from a source like cable or dish.

For the Case there are a lot of choices.  As above I would recommend a name brand case, and even look more toward a HTPC case as they tend to be quieter and match equipment.  They are more expensive but worth the investment.

As for Hard Drive.. this is where you can go several routes.  You can do a SSD a Hybrid or just a large single drive.  This will usually be one of your biggest causes of heat and need for more fans and acan be a b ottle neck. The hybrid is still on the new tech and sees some problems and the SSD is still high priced per GB.  The 1 TB 7200 drive is the best bang for the buck.  If you shop around I imagine you can come in well under 1k.
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droydenCommented:
Revo + XBMC has a huge support community, I run xbmc on a custom built AMD (AM2) HTPC. If I was to do it again I would get a revo without a second thought.

The Revo will of course not capture TV although I'm not sure if that was a pre-req. It will push audio out over hdmi and I believe it has spdif for optical if you have an amp
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Darren SharplesSystems SpecialistAuthor Commented:
Thanks for your suggestions guys.  Lots to think about.

The revo looks to be a bit too purpose built and low spec.  I am hoping for quite a good spec pc so I'm much more drawn to a HTPC with something from the "i" range of processors and an nvidea graphics or similar.

I will have a shop about and see what kit I can get hold of within my price range.

Thanks again
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droydenCommented:
The Revo pushes the video decoding onto the GPU, which is why a i-series processor is overkill. good luck in your build tho
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