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X51 as HTPC -- best way to connect to TV?

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X51 as HTPC -- best way to connect to TV?

  • Hey all, I just ordered an X51 with the Nvidia 555 card in it.

    I see that there are two HDMI outs on this system: one from the motherboard and one (a mini-HDMI?) from the card itself.

    I'm connecting this to a home theater system and I want to make sure I have everything I need when the new machine arrives.

    Can someone explain to me how I'm going to do this? Does the HDMI port on the motherboard get graphics passed through from the video card in some way, or am I going to need a mini-HDMI to HDMI cable and use the port on the card itself? 

    Would also be interested in hearing what other X51 users are using for couch-based keyboarding and mousing. 

    Thanks in advance for any help.

  • I spoke to Dell chat and then they transferred me to Dell Tech Chat.  Both agents assured me that a regular HDMI cable will pass the audio and video to my stereo system.  I do have both HDMI to HDMI, along with HDMI to mini-HDMI cables, so that won't be an issue.

    As far as keyboard/mouse,  Logitech Wireless Wave Combo Mk550 With Keyboard and Laser Mouse (920-002555) is what I ordered for mine.  I won't receive my x51 until the end of this month :(

    The HDMI port is disabled, from my readings.  That would mean that I would need to use the mini-HDMI port on the video card.

  • I checked Monoprice and they have mini-HDMI <-> HDMI cables for the grand total of $3.20 so I'll order one just to have all my bases covered.

    I was thinking about the Logitech Cube (www.logitech.com/.../cube) for when I'm using the machine as a media player but man...$70 is a lot for such a niche purpose.

    Was also looking at this mini-keyboard with a trackball: www.amazon.com/.../B002H0BOBA

    I'll have a full size wireless keyboard and mouse around for when I'm gaming but I'm looking for options to use when I'm just surfing around YouTube or Hulu or whatever..

    Thanks for the reply!

  • I use one of these. Works well and the price is right. support.lenovo.com/.../detail.page


    This is the new version that has a backlit keys. http://www.officedepot.com/a/products/630826/Lenovo-N5902A-Device-Remote-Control/?Channel=Google&mr:trackingCode=CB0CBCFD-1341-E111-870B-0019B9C043EB&mr:referralID=NA&cm_mmc=Mercent-_-Googlepla-_-Technology+Monitors_Projectors-_-630826&mr:adType=pla


    Area-51 Cosmic Black/Windows 8 64-bit Pro/BIOS A11
    Intel Core i7-980x Extreme Edition @ 4.0 ghz/Intel 160gb X-25M SSD Raid-0
    6GB Corsair Dominator GT 1866 DDR3/PNY GeForce GTX 680 SLI/ATI TV Wonder


  • Oh that looks perfect! Thanks!

  • pasmith1234, When is your system scheduled to arrive?  Mine is the 27th.  If you get yours before mine, would you let me know if the mini-HDMI cable is all you needed?  I will do the same, if I receive mine before you do.  Thanks.

  • Mine is the 27th too!! But yup, if somehow I get mine first I'll definitely report in.

  • The 3rd port on the nVidia card is DisplayPort not HDMI

    As recommended by the quick start guide (support.dell.com/.../Alw_dt_x51) you should connect to your TV/AVR via the main HDMI port so that the system will switch between the onboard Intel HD 2000 and nVidia card as needed (or by using right-click "Run on GPU..."). Works just fine on mine, it's seemless and better than the clunky GPU switching on my M17x laptop.

  • Taomyn, thanks for the info.  Does the audio pass through the HDMI as well, or will I have to use the digital optical/coax?

  • Yes, it's HDMI 1.4 so should be good for 3D if that's your thing - my AVR is still only 1.3 so even though my TV is 1.4 with ARC, I can't direct connect to it to use the 1.4 additions. A new AVR is next on my list.

  • Taomyn - Thanks for the update and correction. That's what I get for trusting reviews (which call that a mini-HDMI port).

    Is it the 27th yet?

  • As  mentions the HDMI port is not disabled.  It uses Nvidia Optimus graphics switching technology for desktops to give you full discrete card performance via that HDMI port.  There are some reviews out there that incorrectly state the port is disabled.  It's not.  The other advantage of the HDMI port is that the system uses the Sandy Bridge graphics for less intensive things and this makes the discrete card go into low power state until you need it.  That means lower power draw and a quiter system overall.

    The third port is mini-HDMI  not display port..  

  • Hey folks, I'm back. The X51 arrived today!

    I have a few questions now that I'm hooking it up. First, the desktop was overscanning the TV display.Er, does that makes sense? I could see the very top of the task bar and the very right edge of the icons running down the left side of the screen. I used the Nvidia software to cut the scaling, both horizontal and vertical, to 60% (!) and now I can see everything. Is that the 'correct' fix for this issue?

    Second, if I right click on the desktop and bring up the screen resolution panel, it shows two displays connected, although I have only 1 (the TV). I'm not sure if that's hurting anything but it kind of bugs me. I just know at some point something will wind up on this phantom 2nd screen and I won't be able to get it back. Any suggestions as to how to convince the X51 that only 1 display is connected?

    TIA for any help/advice.

  • Yes that is the correct way to adjust your screen for overscan.

    2 displays is an optimus side-effect some people are seeing.  It is not hurting anything and you won't get lost in a phantom screen.

  • Sorry but using the nVidia card to fix overscan is a last resort for when there's no other way to do so on your TV. All you've done is shrink the outgoing image to fit an undersized display which means losing detail. It's the equivalent of digital zoom on cameras and always avoided.

    First set the nVidia back to normal then make sure your X51 is outputting your TVs native resolution, I can only speak for 1080p displays and that should be 1920 x 1080. If it's still overscanning check your TV for a setting that stops it doing this - it's normally buried in the picture settings, depending on make it will be called "Just Scan" or "Pixel Fit" or "1:1" or something similar. My old Samsung I had to set this each time I switched on, though with a Harmony remote it was easy to fix, but my new Samsung the setting is fixed.

    Have a quick read of this: hd.engadget.com/.../hd-101-overscan-and-why-all-tvs-do-it

    Only if you can't get the TV to play ball then what you've done is the only thing to do and you'd best start saving for a new TV ;-)