by Caleb Denison
My computer is 2 years old. By today's standards, that makes it about as up to date as an 8-Track cassette deck. It's time to upgrade.
Yes, my friends, another opportunity to geek out over parts, specs and other technological minutiae! Not only that, but I'm shooting to build a computer that will offer me all the cool functionality of a home theater PC. I'm not a PC guru by any means so, in addition to all the research I've been doing, I consult with a few buddies of mine.
In speaking with my friends about the latest trends in home computing, I've learned that this market is not at all dissimilar to the one I work in. It's filled with industry jargon and technical requirements that, to the uninitiated, will make your head spin and may just turn one off of the idea of a home built PC entirely. For instance: I knew that I would need a strong, capable audio card if I wanted to get Dolby Digital and DTS passthrough using a digital connection. Ha HA... Pretty smart, right? No... not so much, it turns out that I need to make sure that the motherboard I have can support PCI-X2 something or other. What? I'm starting to feel like the PC guy in those Macintosh commercials.
This hub-bub made me realize two things:
- When you're getting involved with something technological and expensive, consult an expert, and
- As experts in our particular fields, we have a responsibility to make sure that needed information is offered in a clear, concise manner that is not ulteriorly motivated by making a sale.
That's why I love what I do here at Aperion. I help people put their hard earned money where the value is. What good is a tower speaker on a surround channel in a 12X15 room anyway? It's nice to have friends who will do the same thing for me as I build my home theater PC.
In the weeks to come, I'll describe the equipment I'm picking up, how the assembly is going and, most important, what the end results are. I can tell you that, by the time I'm done, I will have HD DVD running through my PC giving me 1080p resolution on a flat screen with 7.1 channels of kick-butt audio (that's one of those technical terms I was talking about). That's not all, though!
This system will serve as the bench gear for a series of A/V receiver reviews that I will start publishing in a couple of months. Keep an eye out for those, too!