Saturday, April 08, 2006

High Definition PC Gaming


Guild Wars running on my PC and displayed on the HDTV.

In my never ending quest to get more use out of my HDTV I've decided to hook up my main gaming rig to the TV. I thought about dropping an older gaming PC next to the TV but it wouldn't be the same.

The goal was to be able to use my latest gaming PC at the desk and also with the HDTV. A few items were required since the two were separated by about 35ft.

- Creative DTS-610 so the sound would come out of the home theater speakers and not the computer 5.1 speakers.
- Wireless Input devices like the Logitech MX 3000 and the Logitech cordless rumble 2 gamepad
- 50ft M-M vga cable from Monoprice.com for only $14
- 3 sets of 50 ft 1/8 mini stereo M-M cables also from monoprice
- 3 sets of 1/8" mini stereo Y adapters. Basically you need to split each of the 1/8" audio outputs from your sound card into two outputs so you can drive your PC speakers and the home theater speakers without reaching behind the pc and swapping cables. You have to watch out how much plastic is around the male plug on the splitter because mine were too wide and would block the adjacent audio out port. What I ended up having to do is use the short M-M 3X1/8" cable that came with the DTS 610 then add 3 F-F 1/8" stereo couplers, then attach the Y's to that, then connect the PC speakers to one set of the Y's and the 50ft cables that lead to the DTS 610 to the other set of Y's.
- I used a cheap 4 way airlink KVM since I like to hook up my X360 by vga. Switches are typically powered by ps2 port but since I was using only the VGA you also need a 9v tip positive 500ma power adapter. Fry's sells a multi tip/v one for around $10
- One 6ft VGA cable M-M to hook up the TV to the KVM.
- Desktop is a dell 2001fp 20" monitor hooked up by DVI so the VGA port is free on the ati x800xl.
- ATI Catalyst drivers make it really easy to setup profiles for switching displays.
- I tested the following games that had great widescreen naitive 1360X768 support: Guild Wars, Tomb Raider Legend, Oblivion, Half Life 2, and Counter Strike Source. Quake 4 has widescreen support and the aspect looked right (flash light made a perfect circle) but no widescreen resolutions were available. I had to use 1024X768 but it still looked and played great.

I was very impressed by the quality. I was worried about shadows etc with running 50ft of VGA cable but I couldn't spot any. It looked very good. The picture might have been a tad soft but other than that it was near perfect. Text was still very legible. X360 still looked very good through the KVM. Sound was very good too. Overall I'm very pleased with the setup.

PC specs

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