PC for watching DVD's

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by rob, Aug 26, 2003.

  1. rob

    rob Guest

    I've been asked to spec and find a price for a new pc for a friend who has
    very simple requirements, a bit of email, minimal web surfing, the odd
    letter.
    But a low budget.
    He also thought he'd like to be able to watch DVD movies on it sometimes.
    I have no experience of DVD watching on anything, let alone a pc but have
    noticed quite a lot of discussion here.

    Could anyone pls suggest a minimum spec and suitable DVD drive for such a
    machine?
    He's not fussy, particularly as he'll be upgrading from a 100MHz laptop

    I had thought something like a low end Athlon or Celeron
    256MB RAM
    40 GB HD
    on board sound and graphics
    cheapo 17" monitor (as seen discussed here recently)

    All advice gratefully received.
    thanks
    Rob
    rob, Aug 26, 2003
    #1
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  2. rob

    T.N.O Guest

    "rob" wrote
    > I've been asked to spec and find a price for a new pc for a friend who has
    > very simple requirements, a bit of email, minimal web surfing, the odd
    > letter.
    > But a low budget.


    Go for pretty much the cheapest low end duron you can get, anything above
    500mhz(being very lenient here) will be suitable for watching DVDs, checking
    email etc.

    > Could anyone pls suggest a minimum spec and suitable DVD drive for such a
    > machine?


    I had a DVD player in a Celeron 300/128MB ram here, and it went just fine
    unless it was doing other things aswell, after throwing another 128MB ram
    into it, it was then fine

    > He's not fussy, particularly as he'll be upgrading from a 100MHz laptop


    Anything will fly compared to that machine.

    > I had thought something like a low end Athlon or Celeron
    > 256MB RAM
    > 40 GB HD
    > on board sound and graphics
    > cheapo 17" monitor (as seen discussed here recently)


    Yup, sounds good. Should be able to do it for around $1200 tops(again being
    very lenient).
    T.N.O, Aug 26, 2003
    #2
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  3. On Tue, 26 Aug 2003 23:09:13 +1200, "rob" <> wrote:

    >I've been asked to spec and find a price for a new pc for a friend who has
    >very simple requirements, a bit of email, minimal web surfing, the odd
    >letter.
    >But a low budget.
    >He also thought he'd like to be able to watch DVD movies on it sometimes.
    >I have no experience of DVD watching on anything, let alone a pc but have
    >noticed quite a lot of discussion here.
    >
    >Could anyone pls suggest a minimum spec and suitable DVD drive for such a
    >machine?
    >He's not fussy, particularly as he'll be upgrading from a 100MHz laptop
    >
    >I had thought something like a low end Athlon or Celeron
    >256MB RAM
    >40 GB HD
    >on board sound and graphics
    >cheapo 17" monitor (as seen discussed here recently)
    >
    >All advice gratefully received.
    >thanks
    >Rob
    >



    For a 3D card use a MX440 as it has some DVD decoding built in.
    Robert Kramer, Aug 26, 2003
    #3
  4. On Tue, 26 Aug 2003 23:09:13 +1200, "rob" <> wrote:

    >I've been asked to spec and find a price for a new pc for a friend who has
    >very simple requirements, a bit of email, minimal web surfing, the odd
    >letter.
    >But a low budget.
    >He also thought he'd like to be able to watch DVD movies on it sometimes.
    >I have no experience of DVD watching on anything, let alone a pc but have
    >noticed quite a lot of discussion here.
    >
    >Could anyone pls suggest a minimum spec and suitable DVD drive for such a
    >machine?
    >He's not fussy, particularly as he'll be upgrading from a 100MHz laptop
    >
    >I had thought something like a low end Athlon or Celeron
    >256MB RAM
    >40 GB HD
    >on board sound and graphics
    >cheapo 17" monitor (as seen discussed here recently)
    >
    >All advice gratefully received.
    >thanks
    >Rob
    >



    The Other thing would be a Nforse 2 MoBo as it has a MX420 on the board and
    are reasonable cheap..
    Robert Kramer, Aug 26, 2003
    #4
  5. On Tue, 26 Aug 2003 23:55:43 +1200, "rob" <> wrote:

    >
    >"Robert Kramer" <> wrote in message
    >news:...
    >> On Tue, 26 Aug 2003 23:09:13 +1200, "rob" <> wrote:
    >>
    >> >I've been asked to spec and find a price for a new pc for a friend who

    >has
    >> >very simple requirements, a bit of email, minimal web surfing, the odd
    >> >letter.
    >> >But a low budget.
    >> >He also thought he'd like to be able to watch DVD movies on it sometimes.
    >> >I have no experience of DVD watching on anything, let alone a pc but have
    >> >noticed quite a lot of discussion here.
    >> >
    >> >Could anyone pls suggest a minimum spec and suitable DVD drive for such a
    >> >machine?
    >> >He's not fussy, particularly as he'll be upgrading from a 100MHz laptop
    >> >
    >> >I had thought something like a low end Athlon or Celeron
    >> >256MB RAM
    >> >40 GB HD
    >> >on board sound and graphics
    >> >cheapo 17" monitor (as seen discussed here recently)
    >> >
    >> >All advice gratefully received.
    >> >thanks
    >> >Rob
    >> >

    >>
    >>
    >> The Other thing would be a Nforse 2 MoBo as it has a MX420 on the board

    >and
    >> are reasonable cheap..
    >>
    >>

    >
    >Thanks for the help TNO and Robert
    >
    >any ideas of a reasonable and cheapish drive suitable for viewing movies or
    >are they pretty much of a muchness?
    >also any advice on software vs hardware decoding would be appreciated too.
    >
    >rgds
    >rob
    >



    Nothing at all wrong with software decoding and a lot is done in the 3D card,
    unless you are referring the a Hollywood type Decoding card..

    Thats extra card on top of the 3D card, just more money and to me not really
    needed.

    I still prefer a Branded drive, Not Korean or Chinese..

    This has been referred to as a good drive and can change rejoins


    Asus E616 16x48x Retail DVD-Rom Drive 12 Months $90 inc

    from pp.
    Robert Kramer, Aug 26, 2003
    #5
  6. rob

    GraB Guest

    >Nothing at all wrong with software decoding and a lot is done in the 3D card,
    >unless you are referring the a Hollywood type Decoding card..
    >
    >Thats extra card on top of the 3D card, just more money and to me not really
    >needed.
    >
    >I still prefer a Branded drive, Not Korean or Chinese..
    >
    >This has been referred to as a good drive and can change rejoins
    >
    >
    >Asus E616 16x48x Retail DVD-Rom Drive 12 Months $90 inc
    >
    >from pp.
    >


    While software decoding is good I found an improvement when going to
    an ATI Radeon 7500 (cheap) with its built-in DVD decoding.
    GraB, Aug 26, 2003
    #6
  7. rob

    rob Guest

    "Robert Kramer" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On Tue, 26 Aug 2003 23:55:43 +1200, "rob" <> wrote:
    >
    > >
    > >"Robert Kramer" <> wrote in message
    > >news:...
    > >> On Tue, 26 Aug 2003 23:09:13 +1200, "rob" <> wrote:
    > >>
    > >> >I've been asked to spec and find a price for a new pc for a friend who

    > >has
    > >> >very simple requirements, a bit of email, minimal web surfing, the odd
    > >> >letter.
    > >> >But a low budget.
    > >> >He also thought he'd like to be able to watch DVD movies on it

    sometimes.
    > >> >I have no experience of DVD watching on anything, let alone a pc but

    have
    > >> >noticed quite a lot of discussion here.
    > >> >
    > >> >Could anyone pls suggest a minimum spec and suitable DVD drive for

    such a
    > >> >machine?
    > >> >He's not fussy, particularly as he'll be upgrading from a 100MHz

    laptop
    > >> >
    > >> >I had thought something like a low end Athlon or Celeron
    > >> >256MB RAM
    > >> >40 GB HD
    > >> >on board sound and graphics
    > >> >cheapo 17" monitor (as seen discussed here recently)
    > >> >
    > >> >All advice gratefully received.
    > >> >thanks
    > >> >Rob
    > >> >
    > >>
    > >>
    > >> The Other thing would be a Nforse 2 MoBo as it has a MX420 on the board

    > >and
    > >> are reasonable cheap..
    > >>
    > >>

    > >
    > >Thanks for the help TNO and Robert
    > >
    > >any ideas of a reasonable and cheapish drive suitable for viewing movies

    or
    > >are they pretty much of a muchness?
    > >also any advice on software vs hardware decoding would be appreciated

    too.
    > >
    > >rgds
    > >rob
    > >

    >
    >
    > Nothing at all wrong with software decoding and a lot is done in the 3D

    card,
    > unless you are referring the a Hollywood type Decoding card..
    >
    > Thats extra card on top of the 3D card, just more money and to me not

    really
    > needed.


    You mention 3D card, are you saying that a 3D graphics card would be
    required rather than bog std onboard graphics?


    >
    > I still prefer a Branded drive, Not Korean or Chinese..
    >
    > This has been referred to as a good drive and can change rejoins
    >
    >
    > Asus E616 16x48x Retail DVD-Rom Drive 12 Months $90 inc
    >
    > from pp.


    thanks I'll check that drive out
    rob, Aug 26, 2003
    #7
  8. On Wed, 27 Aug 2003 00:18:01 +1200, Robert Kramer wrote:

    >
    > Nothing at all wrong with software decoding and a lot is done in the 3D
    > card, unless you are referring the a Hollywood type Decoding card..
    >


    Ever tried to get Win2k/XP drivers for the hardware DVD decoder cards?
    Uncle StoatWarbler, Aug 26, 2003
    #8
  9. > Could anyone pls suggest a minimum spec and suitable DVD drive for such a
    > machine?
    > He's not fussy, particularly as he'll be upgrading from a 100MHz laptop
    >
    > I had thought something like a low end Athlon or Celeron
    > 256MB RAM
    > 40 GB HD
    > on board sound and graphics
    > cheapo 17" monitor (as seen discussed here recently)
    >


    I have DVDs that will not play on my Toshiba Satellite 750DVD, and others
    that will not play on Philips DVD 955. Have not tested everything on this
    Toshiba Satellite A10. The only DVD I tried has a special function
    substituted for what would be the 'menu' button on a remote control. That is
    a bit hit and miss.

    I suggest he try the type of DVD he intends to play on the intended
    purchase, since there are hardware and firmware issues. The Satellite 750DVD
    has a software DVD implementation that cannot be upgraded. Toshiba do not
    provide an upgrade, neither will the supplier of the DVD playing software
    'because each version is specific to the hardware and operating system'.

    Henry
    Henry Falkner, Aug 26, 2003
    #9
  10. rob

    rob Guest

    "Henry Falkner" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    <snip>

    > I have DVDs that will not play on my Toshiba Satellite 750DVD, and others
    > that will not play on Philips DVD 955. Have not tested everything on this
    > Toshiba Satellite A10. The only DVD I tried has a special function
    > substituted for what would be the 'menu' button on a remote control. That

    is
    > a bit hit and miss.
    >
    > I suggest he try the type of DVD he intends to play on the intended
    > purchase, since there are hardware and firmware issues. The Satellite

    750DVD
    > has a software DVD implementation that cannot be upgraded. Toshiba do not
    > provide an upgrade, neither will the supplier of the DVD playing software
    > 'because each version is specific to the hardware and operating system'.
    >
    > Henry
    >


    thanks for the warning Henry
    rob, Aug 26, 2003
    #10
  11. rob

    KS Guest

    rob wrote:
    > I've been asked to spec and find a price for a new pc for a friend
    > who has very simple requirements, a bit of email, minimal web
    > surfing, the odd letter.
    > But a low budget.
    > He also thought he'd like to be able to watch DVD movies on it
    > sometimes. I have no experience of DVD watching on anything, let
    > alone a pc but have noticed quite a lot of discussion here.


    Wouldn't it be easier to get a low end spec machine ($707 incl GST at
    www.lcqcomputers.co.nz) for email, www, etc and another $130 for a dvd
    player to plug into the tv ?

    Watching dvd's on tv does mean you can sit on the couch, feet up and relax.
    And if the dvd player dies in 2 years, so what ? Buy another one. At $130,
    it's still cheaper than spending big bucks for one now.

    And you could probably get an even cheaper pc thru trademe (2nd hand).
    KS, Aug 26, 2003
    #11
  12. On Wed, 27 Aug 2003 00:48:33 +1200, "rob" <> wrote:

    >
    >"Robert Kramer" <> wrote in message
    >news:...
    >> On Tue, 26 Aug 2003 23:55:43 +1200, "rob" <> wrote:
    >>
    >> >
    >> >"Robert Kramer" <> wrote in message
    >> >news:...
    >> >> On Tue, 26 Aug 2003 23:09:13 +1200, "rob" <> wrote:
    >> >>
    >> >> >I've been asked to spec and find a price for a new pc for a friend who
    >> >has
    >> >> >very simple requirements, a bit of email, minimal web surfing, the odd
    >> >> >letter.
    >> >> >But a low budget.
    >> >> >He also thought he'd like to be able to watch DVD movies on it

    >sometimes.
    >> >> >I have no experience of DVD watching on anything, let alone a pc but

    >have
    >> >> >noticed quite a lot of discussion here.
    >> >> >
    >> >> >Could anyone pls suggest a minimum spec and suitable DVD drive for

    >such a
    >> >> >machine?
    >> >> >He's not fussy, particularly as he'll be upgrading from a 100MHz

    >laptop
    >> >> >
    >> >> >I had thought something like a low end Athlon or Celeron
    >> >> >256MB RAM
    >> >> >40 GB HD
    >> >> >on board sound and graphics
    >> >> >cheapo 17" monitor (as seen discussed here recently)
    >> >> >
    >> >> >All advice gratefully received.
    >> >> >thanks
    >> >> >Rob
    >> >> >
    >> >>
    >> >>
    >> >> The Other thing would be a Nforse 2 MoBo as it has a MX420 on the board
    >> >and
    >> >> are reasonable cheap..
    >> >>
    >> >>
    >> >
    >> >Thanks for the help TNO and Robert
    >> >
    >> >any ideas of a reasonable and cheapish drive suitable for viewing movies

    >or
    >> >are they pretty much of a muchness?
    >> >also any advice on software vs hardware decoding would be appreciated

    >too.
    >> >
    >> >rgds
    >> >rob
    >> >

    >>
    >>
    >> Nothing at all wrong with software decoding and a lot is done in the 3D

    >card,
    >> unless you are referring the a Hollywood type Decoding card..
    >>
    >> Thats extra card on top of the 3D card, just more money and to me not

    >really
    >> needed.

    >
    >You mention 3D card, are you saying that a 3D graphics card would be
    >required rather than bog std onboard graphics?
    >



    Most cards are now 3D, and the one that is fitted to the Nforce 2 MoBo is
    excellent.


    >>
    >> I still prefer a Branded drive, Not Korean or Chinese..
    >>
    >> This has been referred to as a good drive and can change rejoins
    >>
    >>
    >> Asus E616 16x48x Retail DVD-Rom Drive 12 Months $90 inc
    >>
    >> from pp.

    >
    >thanks I'll check that drive out
    >
    >
    Robert Kramer, Aug 27, 2003
    #12
  13. rob

    rob Guest

    "KS" <> wrote in message
    news:bigjch$msh$...
    > rob wrote:
    > > I've been asked to spec and find a price for a new pc for a friend
    > > who has very simple requirements, a bit of email, minimal web
    > > surfing, the odd letter.
    > > But a low budget.
    > > He also thought he'd like to be able to watch DVD movies on it
    > > sometimes. I have no experience of DVD watching on anything, let
    > > alone a pc but have noticed quite a lot of discussion here.

    >
    > Wouldn't it be easier to get a low end spec machine ($707 incl GST at
    > www.lcqcomputers.co.nz) for email, www, etc and another $130 for a dvd
    > player to plug into the tv ?
    >
    > Watching dvd's on tv does mean you can sit on the couch, feet up and

    relax.
    > And if the dvd player dies in 2 years, so what ? Buy another one. At $130,
    > it's still cheaper than spending big bucks for one now.
    >
    > And you could probably get an even cheaper pc thru trademe (2nd hand).
    >


    I agree, but the person who's asked me to sort this out doesn't have a TV...
    the DVD option was a bit of an afterthought I think.
    thanks
    rob, Aug 27, 2003
    #13
  14. rob

    KS Guest

    rob wrote:
    > I agree, but the person who's asked me to sort this out doesn't have
    > a TV... the DVD option was a bit of an afterthought I think.
    > thanks


    Ahh. No worries then. Good luck.
    KS, Aug 27, 2003
    #14
  15. "rob" <> wrote in message news:biff4o$pq$...
    > I've been asked to spec and find a price for a new pc for a friend who has
    > very simple requirements, a bit of email, minimal web surfing, the odd
    > letter.
    > But a low budget.
    > He also thought he'd like to be able to watch DVD movies on it sometimes.
    > I have no experience of DVD watching on anything, let alone a pc but have
    > noticed quite a lot of discussion here.
    >
    > Could anyone pls suggest a minimum spec and suitable DVD drive for such a
    > machine?
    > He's not fussy, particularly as he'll be upgrading from a 100MHz laptop
    >
    > I had thought something like a low end Athlon or Celeron
    > 256MB RAM
    > 40 GB HD
    > on board sound and graphics
    > cheapo 17" monitor (as seen discussed here recently)


    The problem is defining low-end. If you are buying new then all current
    processors are relatively fast - most having been on the market for no more
    than 2 years. I set out to buy just such a new machine 3 months ago in Oz
    (being where I was living at the time) and for $A1100 I got this (DVD
    related specs only)

    Mobo: ASUS A7N266-VM
    Proc: AMD XP2200
    Monitor: LG 700S (17")
    Memory: 256mb
    DVD reader: no-name at around $A60 IIRC
    OS: Windows XP home

    This motherboard has NVIDEA graphics and audio built in but no video card as
    such - detailed specs can be found at www.asus.com. This setup plays DVD
    movies well except the monitor is a tad small as might be expected.

    While others have suggested a much slower processor will suffice, the
    XP2200 and its Intel equivalents are really the entry-level (slowest and
    cheapest) processors available today. The faster the processor the longer
    it will be before performance on future OSs and applications becomes
    intolerably slow.

    HTH,

    --
    Bryan Souster
    For acronyms (IIRC, TIA etc) visit www.acronymfinder.com for the meanings.
    Bryan Souster, Sep 1, 2003
    #15
  16. "rob" <> wrote in message news:biff4o$pq$...
    > I've been asked to spec and find a price for a new pc for a friend who has
    > very simple requirements, a bit of email, minimal web surfing, the odd
    > letter.
    > But a low budget.
    > He also thought he'd like to be able to watch DVD movies on it sometimes.
    > I have no experience of DVD watching on anything, let alone a pc but have
    > noticed quite a lot of discussion here.
    >
    > Could anyone pls suggest a minimum spec and suitable DVD drive for such a
    > machine?
    > He's not fussy, particularly as he'll be upgrading from a 100MHz laptop
    >
    > I had thought something like a low end Athlon or Celeron
    > 256MB RAM
    > 40 GB HD
    > on board sound and graphics
    > cheapo 17" monitor (as seen discussed here recently)


    I set out to buy just such a new machine 3 months ago in Oz
    (being where I was living at the time) and for $A1100 I got this (DVD
    related specs only)

    Mobo: ASUS A7N266-VM
    Proc: AMD XP2200
    Monitor: LG 700S (17")
    Memory: 256mb
    DVD reader: no-name at around $A60 IIRC
    OS: Windows XP home

    This motherboard has NVIDIA graphics and audio built in but no video card as
    such - detailed specs can be found at
    http://www.asus.com/prog/spec.asp?m=A7N266-VM&langs=01.
    This setup plays DVD movies well except the monitor is a tad small as might
    be expected. I went for an AMD-based mobo because of the reduced cost and
    the fact that my other box uses an AMD and has given flawless performance
    for a couple of years use. I am not geeky enough to get into Intel v AMD
    debates.

    While others have suggested a much slower processor will suffice, the
    XP2200 and its Intel equivalents are really the entry-level (slowest and
    cheapest) new processors available today. The faster the processor the
    longer it will be before performance on future OSs and applications becomes
    intolerably slow (I tend to have 5-10 year expectations).

    HTH,

    --
    Bryan Souster
    For acronyms (IIRC, TIA etc) visit www.acronymfinder.com for the meanings.
    Bryan Souster, Sep 1, 2003
    #16
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