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I hate the Optiplex 745

A while back, I purchased a Dell Optiplex 745, and I guess I just needed another reminder of why I hate Dell. I purchased this compute to serve as a cheep home-theater PC. It came with Windows XP Pro, which is good, because I hate that Windows 7 crap. I threw in a Geforce 8600gs and a DVI to HDMI cable to connect to our HDTV. Of course, Dell is crap, so I got no post. I published all the details of this problem to the Dell support forums a long time ago here. Basically, the Optiplex 745 needs a BIOS update to fix an EDID detection problem at post. Dell has had this same problem on other models and published BIOS updates to fix it, but the Optiplex 745 was never patched, and of course, Dell support ignores my requests. Here’s what my work around was: Disconnect the Wii from Component and put it back on Composite (this really ticked me off). Disconnect PC from HDMI and put it on Component. This is not ideal solution, but it works. The Optiplex 745 served as out entertainment system. It has Boxee for Internet TV and VLC for DVDs.

Problem is that the DVD drive that came with this machine has been problematic, and I decided to replace it with a Blu Ray burner I bought for a steal on Black Friday. Of course, VLC can’t play Blu Ray discs (no free/open software can), but the drive comes with PowerDVD. I haven’t received the drive yet, but I decided to try out PowerDVD with the old drive. Here’s the problem: “CyberLink PowerDVD cannot play back the content unde your monitor’s current resolution. Change to a lower resolution. – (Error Code = 0124)”

From what I’ve found, there are two solutions to this problem. (1) Lower the screen resolution, or (2) Switch to DVI/HDMI. I cannot do (1) because I am already using 720p; cannot go lower. I cannot do (2) because the motherboards in Dell computers are crap and Dell support is even worse.

I may have to buy or build a new home theater PC in order to resolve this issue. Which means I may give the Optiplex 745 to my parents. The computer they have is old as dirt anyway.

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