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Buying a lot of things soon...


chris82
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So I'm probably getting a fair amount of money soon, what with my legal ability to hold a job coming up, so I was thinking about turning my PC into a media center. I currently have a 19'' monitor/TV/whatnot. It's high-definition but the problem is that it's 4:3 so anything that is high-definition is letterbox.

So I was thinking of just getting a widescreen dedicated monitor, connecting the computer through DVI and the Xbox 360 through VGA. But then I would need to get a TV tuner card because the monitor I want doesn't have TV inputs. However, this isn't an issue because I need to do it anyway; AT&T U-Verse is a silly sausage and only allows 1 DVR, which is currently located in the family room. Therefore I can bypass that restriction and have widescreen as well.

So as far as all this shit goes,

22'' Acer LCD monitor Seem nice, has the inputs I need for this, big, nice specs and cheap as balls

Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Professional Creative makes wonderful audio-related products and I need one of these--sure dropping over $100 on a sound card is ridiculous and I originally wanted the cheaper one but...64MB of RAM dedicated to sound?? Not only that, but it has optical output for the 5.1 speakers I'm getting.

Creative Fatal1ty Gaming Headset My current headset is...falling apart and shitty at best, I want one that fits around the ears nicely.

Logitech 5.1 Speaker System For movie/TV/Xbox output, Creative sells a similar product but it's $20 more. I might be a Creative fanboy but not enough of one to spend $20 more on something that does the same thing.

Hauppauge External HD PVR I have a cable box, I should be able to plug it into this and have it receive the HD signal from the box.

I also plan on picking up another 250GB drive for all my media.

Anyone with a widescreen monitor or Creative audio products can vouch for their awesomeness? Or other recommendations?

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read the comments on the sound blaster x-fi ? some guy said he couldnt actually get 5.1 with optical connection, and someone else said it stopped working after 2.5 weeks.

monitor looks nice :)

headset looks pretty cool

i think with the speakers, its not true 5.1 surround sound, it has like a "matrix" mode which will create virtual 5.1 out of stereo. thats what my friend said.

the hd recorder thing looks pretty cool, make sure to use component for high def of course.

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read the comments on the sound blaster x-fi ? some guy said he couldnt actually get 5.1 with optical connection, and someone else said it stopped working after 2.5 weeks.

i think with the speakers, its not true 5.1 surround sound, it has like a "matrix" mode which will create virtual 5.1 out of stereo. thats what my friend said.

Never trust Newegg comments. Ever. You wouldn't believe how stupid some people are.

It is true 5.1 surround, but only on applications that support it. As in most games (irrelevant as I'm using the headphones for that). I'm only getting the speakers for movies/TV and the Xbox 360.

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read the comments on the sound blaster x-fi ? some guy said he couldnt actually get 5.1 with optical connection, and someone else said it stopped working after 2.5 weeks.

i think with the speakers, its not true 5.1 surround sound, it has like a "matrix" mode which will create virtual 5.1 out of stereo. thats what my friend said.

Never trust Newegg comments. Ever. You wouldn't believe how stupid some people are.

It is true 5.1 surround, but only on applications that support it. As in most games (irrelevant as I'm using the headphones for that). I'm only getting the speakers for movies/TV and the Xbox 360.

ahhah lol. i bet.

ah well cool. just out of curiosity, did you buy the hd-dvd addon for 360?

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Acer monitors are as sexy as sex itself, kinda.

The onboard brightness / contrast setup and all that is utter jizz, but I'm gonna assume you have an Ati program to deal with that.

Having surround sound also really does make a nice difference in games... grab a chair in gmod, throw it up and close your eyes, the, guess where it lands through sound :P

Other than that, no comment.

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Anyone with a widescreen monitor or Creative audio products can vouch for their awesomeness? Or other recommendations?

Widescreen fucking owns. I absolutely cannot stand 4:3 anymore. Every TV show movie you watch is widescreen, so it looks fucking ugly with HUGE black bars, if you see it on a 4:3 screen. Human eyes naturally see more lengthways than they do height, so it's much more natural to look at things on a widescreen monitor.

Oh and I have Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi XtremeMusic and can also vouch for it's awesomeness. I also have Logitech 5.1 speakers. They are also awesome.

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Anyone with a widescreen monitor or Creative audio products can vouch for their awesomeness? Or other recommendations?

Widescreen fucking owns. I absolutely cannot stand 4:3 anymore.

Quoted for truth. When I got my first widescreen I laptop I didn't like it. Now I absolutely love widescreen. Looking to replace my 17'' 3:4 with a widescreen.

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I didn't want widescreen at first, but all 22" were widescreen. Boy am I happy I got it. Love it.

For your soundcard, barely any games actually support that X-RAM. Just UT3 and a handful of some other titles. I wouldn't take that card for it's X-RAM.

I bought a X-fi XtremeMusic not all that long ago (didn't like the XtremeGamers halve PCB, although it actually is a bit more practical). It's a PCI card, not PCI-E. It has the same stuff like that fatality version, except it doesn't have X-RAM, which doesn't really make a difference these days. It used to, a few years ago, but not anymore.

Anyway, I hate my X-Fi. Spent 70 EUR on it ( 105 USD) and the damn thing is hopeless. It was a pain getting it working in the first place and when it does it will stop working every so often. I'll sudenly get a very high pitched sound from my speakers and I'll have to change 'mode'. Changing mode will make all applications using sound at that moment to stop (the sound). So if you're gaming, you have to restart. Many times I'll have to even reinstall the drivers after switching mode, because they'll just mess up. Don't have that problem with the new drivers though, now the card will just stop fully, or only work in 2.1, which sucks.

If you've got 64bit Vista, do not get it (yet). I know other vista users (32bit) with this card and it works for them, so my card might just be broke or I've got faulti PCI slots.. One thing is that I just can't get the card fully into the slot in the first place. Those pin like things still are a bit visible and the right side of it (the side facing front of your PC case). I'll attempt to get it working later in the day, again...

I should add that when it does work, you've got some very good sound. Music sounds better, games sound a bit more 'full' and surround is much more accurate. Also, it upscales your music from mono/stereo to surround, which IMO it very nice. That's the main thing I'm actually missing now.

The headset is great, I've heard. So that's a good buy I think.

The speakers... I went for a G51, which is a great set, but though I can't say anything bad about it and I love it, I could have gone a bit cheaper.

I've got a friend with the stereo version of the X530 and that one sounds quite good too (powerful bass BTW), and I was considering buying this one too. But after reading reviews and stuff, it seemed getting the X-540 would be a bit better buy. Just 10 EUR more (here. Don't know the US prices). But there isn't really a big difference. X-540 is a bit louder and has a bit better bass. But they fail in the looks department.. I like the style of the X-530.

So, boils down to this:

All looks good, but you might just want to go for the XtremeGamer or XtremeMusic instead, since that X-RAM is barely going to help at all.

And 22" is a very good choice for a monitor. Personally I could have gone for 24" too (thought it was a bit too big when I was in a shop). But these 24" displays are much more expensive too.. So probably wouldn't have done that. Also bare in mind the maximum reso for these 16:9 displays (22") is 1680 x 1050. You won't be able to get these full HD reso's. Doesn't really make a difference though.. Thing is, I'd think 22" is a little small for TV and console games (unless you stay at your desk). I wanted to make my monitor a TV too, but decided to get a 40" LCD TV instead and hang it up on some wall in my room (I'll be buying it Q1 2009). But that's only for watching TV at a distance. If you're going to stay at your desk doing that would just be insane, though I'd in that case still go for 24".

Really depends on how much money you're willing to pay. If you've got a limited budget and not planing to use your monitor you'd use an actualy TV, 22" will be enough. But I like the idea of watching TV from my bed before sleeping, so I'll need an actual TV for that.

I watch movies on my 22" and I've got one of these gaming monitors and that isn't actually the best thing to take for things like movies. So just mind that when you're buying your monitor.

But it looks all good though. Main concern would be that X-Fi.

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Also bare in mind the maximum reso for these 16:9 displays (22") is 1680 x 1050. You won't be able to get these full HD reso's.

1680x1050 is 16:10, which I want anyway because more height as well as the width. So more fov while computing/gaming and still generous use of the screen space while watching media. Also I don't care, all TV stations in the US either broadcast in 720p or 1080i, so the 1080i will be scaled nicely anyway.

Really depends on how much money you're willing to pay. If you've got a limited budget and not planing to use your monitor you'd use an actualy TV, 22" will be enough. But I like the idea of watching TV from my bed before sleeping, so I'll need an actual TV for that.

I watch movies on my 22" and I've got one of these gaming monitors and that isn't actually the best thing to take for things like movies. So just mind that when you're buying your monitor.

I am going to use it for a TV, if I wasn't I'd get a monitor without TV inputs. Keep in mind that my desk is less than 10ft from my bed, and I watch TV/play the Xbox 360 at my desk too, so it's a fine size.

I've also changed my mind on what I'm buying.

Samsung T220 HD 22''

The monitor thinks it's a TV. It has a DVI port (which most TVs with VGA inputs don't), and also has HDMI/Component/Composite/VGA for video input and RCA as well as PC and optical for audio input to its Dolby Surround speakers, eliminating the need for that.

Turtle Beach HPA2 5.1 Headset

True 5.1 Headset, over-ear, force feedback, includes splitter so can connect to speakers from the same sound card.

Creative Sound-Blaster X-Fi XTreme Audio

Cheap, will make use for my PCI-express x1 slot, allows pass through of optical audio, etc...

So basically I will connect my PC to the DVI port, the Xbox 360 to the VGA port, the cable box to the Component port, and use the headphones for gaming/chat/etc...and use the optical out/passthrough for the Xbox 360 and watching media.

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The monitor thinks it's a TV. It has a DVI port (which most TVs with VGA inputs don't), and also has HDMI/Component/Composite/VGA for video input and RCA as well as PC and optical for audio input to its Dolby Surround speakers, eliminating the need for that.

lol cool...uhh RCA IS Composite :P

But that TV would only be virtual dolby 5.1 right, it cant be true surround just from that.

Yeah like Jace said, its good to have the ability to make 2.1 -> 5.1 , that is good for music n stuff that isnt surround sound normally.

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X-fi XtremeAudio isn't an X-Fi ;)

It uses an older chip. Actually it's absolute bullshit that they call it an X-fi, cause it simply isn't.

Yes I have 4GB of RAM. Everything works absolutely fanstastic.

What do you mean it should NOT work? That's the most retarded thing I've ever heard. Explain it to me please.

How long do you have this card? Do you have it under 64bit Vista? (so you're actually using full 4GB)

I've got 4GB under 32bit, so that isn't giving a problem. But under 64bit with 4GB I've understood that they just don't work for some weird reason or the other and as far as I know that hasn't been fixed yet. Might have though, not sure.

Edit: And that's a very nice monitor BTW. Expensive, but then it does function as a TV as well.

And about the reso's. I didn't really like the fact that I couldn't select a higher than native reso. Not sure if that's even good for the picture quality though..

Edit 2: And those headphones look awesome too. 5.1 with headphones is gorgeous.

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I've had the card well over a year now. I have 4GB of RAM on 64bit Windows Vista Ultimate and it works fine.

Creative pulled their heads out of their asses sometime last year, and so all their cards do have drivers for all Windows OS's now. There's no reason why they shouldn't work.

I was originally on XP MCE 2005 when I got the card but soon changed to Vista Home Premium 32bit. For the last couple of weeks I've upgraded to Vista Ultimate 64bit.

No problems with anything so far.

Chris, when you likely to be buying all this stuff?

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Sometime this fall. Likely October or November if God hates me.

You see, I get around $130 for working at the school for a few days last summer, plus $200 for filming an event in October, then an unspecified amount for this website I've been working on.

I'm also getting a minifridge because I'm goddamn sick of warm drinks. (the refrigerator at our house is too full to store our soda, so we put them in the sunroom outside) Disgusting.

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Uh, well some few weeks ago they came with a new driver that solved quite some of their 64bit probs. Might have been just before you switched, cause not all that long ago they didn't have support for it.

*checks*

Uh, turns out that was already solved in March.

Fixes:

Resolves the issue for systems with 4 GB of RAM.

Resolves the Digital I/O detection issue when restarting your computer.

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