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Media Centre

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by zeon_5*, 8 Jun 2006.

  1. zeon_5*

    Associate

    Joined: 3 Jun 2005

    Posts: 22

    I am considering building myself a media centre pc, and wondered if anyone new of a minimum or recommended spec to run it? and if i could put sky through it?

    Any help is much appreciated
     
  2. Phil99

    Capodecina

    Joined: 29 Oct 2004

    Posts: 10,898

    Minimum spec entirely depends what you want to do with it, in some cases you can probably get away with using a Pentium 3!

    Sky you can use via S-Video/Composite inputs however you'd lose a bit of quality if you already use RGB for Sky.
     
  3. zeon_5*

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    Joined: 3 Jun 2005

    Posts: 22

    Basically i want to use it, to watch tv, dvds, play music, i want to use really how u would normally use your tv, dvd player stereo etc. But im after keeping in one box rather than a load of different ones
     
  4. Rokusho

    Gangster

    Joined: 23 May 2005

    Posts: 302

    Location: In my chair

    Well to start off with you'd want at least 250Gb of hard drive to record on

    Probably a graphic card such as the 7300 from nVidia, cheap and does a good job. 1Gb of ram would be nice, but 512Mb would do it though. Try to use a low power processer probably from AMD. A good cooler would be essential too, so you can run it quiet.

    Any fans you use need to be designed for quietness, for everything. Replace the graphic card one is usually suggested as they are the noisiest I find.

    Really, how much are you wanting to spend on it? The more the better and eaiser it will be to produce a decent HTPC
     
  5. Amp34

    Caporegime

    Joined: 25 Jul 2005

    Posts: 28,867

    Location: Canada

  6. squiffy

    Banned

    Joined: 17 Mar 2006

    Posts: 9,155

    yup that Asus CSM mobo fine for HTPC, use on myself with a 3700+, pretty cool also, with a quiet Seasonic PSU- plays and scales to 1680x1050. Don't forget a IR remote/receiver combo, and XP + front end or Media Centre OS. Hardest is setting it up, codecs, IR registry toggle bit fix, FFDSHOW, scaling options etc.

    Browsing music via MC is rubbish though, I would have a mouse connected and use Winamp instead (drop back to desktop) apparently Media Portal will work with Winamp.
     
  7. Amp34

    Caporegime

    Joined: 25 Jul 2005

    Posts: 28,867

    Location: Canada

    Are you going to network it with other PC's in the house? If so you may want to consider just having a small Hard Drive (say 80GB) in the htpc and using the other computer to stream media from.

    Also if you already have a spare copy of xp have a look here for some media center software. Its free and vey good.

    How much are you thinking of spending and what sort of case do you want?


    Something like this may be the sort of thing you could look for:-

    HD-023-SA Samsung SpinPoint P HD080HJ 80GB SATA-II 8MB Cache - OEM (HD-023-SA) 1
    £29.95 £29.95
    CP-117-AM AMD Athlon 64 3000+ Venice 90nm (Socket 939) - Retail (ADA3000BPBOX) (CP-117-AM) 1
    £61.95 £61.95
    MB-119-AS Asus A8N-VM CSM Micro ATX (Socket 939) PCI Express Motherboard (MB-119-AS) 1
    £46.95 £46.95
    MY-005-GL GeIL 1GB (2x512MB) PC3200 Value Dual Channel Kit CAS2.5 (GE1GB3200BHDC) (MY-005-GL) 1
    £54.95 £54.95
    CD-043-LG LG GSA-H10ABAL 16x16 DVD±RW Dual Layer ReWriter (Black) - OEM (CD-043-LG) 1
    £21.95 £21.95
    HS-010-ZA Zalman CNPS7700-CU Ultra-Quiet CPU Cooler - Retail (HS-010-ZA) 1
    £19.95 £19.95
    CA-011-SV Silverstone Lascala SST-LC11M HTPC Case (Black) (CA-011-SV) 1
    £139.95 £139.95
    GX-074-LT Leadtek Winfast DTV1000-T Digital TV Tuner Card (GX-074-LT) 1
    £32.95 £32.95
    Subtotal £408.60
    VAT £71.51
    Total £480.11


    The HD may be too small if you dont want to network, if it is look to get the 250GB samsung instead. The case is a slimline one, quite small and expensive but it includes an integrated Ir reciever, software, remote and 300W PSU
     
  8. zeon_5*

    Associate

    Joined: 3 Jun 2005

    Posts: 22

    Wow cheers folks, quite alot of useful info there for me, was looking at cases before and was considering the one below. Im more after a desktop case rather than a tower, so i can put on a shelf to replace my dvd player and video player.

    Antec NSK2400 Desktop Case - 380W SmartPower PSU (CA-053-AN)

    Can anyone recommend a better case or do you think that would be ideal.

    Thanks again folks, very much appreciated and is very useful
     
  9. zeon_5*

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    Joined: 3 Jun 2005

    Posts: 22

    i was looking at that silverstone case, not really too fussed about networking it to another pc, although i was considering putting a wireless adapter in so i could connect to the net on it. ideally i want to spend about 2-300max
     
  10. squiffy

    Banned

    Joined: 17 Mar 2006

    Posts: 9,155

    Double check if that CPU fan fits, it's pretty big, and might overlap memory /mobo and hit casing. Looking into 7000 myself and that looks ok, but 7700 looks a bit too big (Silverstone TJ08) btw that Silverstone HTPC is slimline, so can't add any PCI/PCI-E cards unless you use a riser. The Antec 2400 looks a better design (taller desktop style) and with space for a standard ATX PSU.
     
  11. Mattw

    Gangster

    Joined: 15 May 2006

    Posts: 393

    in regards to softare may i recommend myhtpc, it used to be freeware but got bought by a big company; the freeware version is still available though and you can run emulators etc through it to =D
     
  12. hp7909

    Soldato

    Joined: 8 Jun 2003

    Posts: 5,016

    Simply get a WiFi USB dongle. Quite handy to even just have around :)

    HTPC build guide here: http://sysbuild.corsairmemory.com/report.aspx?id=4 :cool:
     
  13. Amp34

    Caporegime

    Joined: 25 Jul 2005

    Posts: 28,867

    Location: Canada

    Ah yeah sorry, i forgot it was the 7000 not 7700 that fitted, you are right it wont fit. The case comes with a riser provided for pci so thats not a problem, the only real problem is you only have 2 pci slots with the case and they need to be aligned with the board. I cant remember if that boards pci slots supported one pci and one pci-e or 2 pci. :confused:

    If you only have £2-300 how about going for a mini-itx. I dont know much about them but a few people seem to be raving about them. Or a second hand setup, maybe an xp chip and board?
     
  14. Phil99

    Capodecina

    Joined: 29 Oct 2004

    Posts: 10,898

    When you say you want to replace all your other boxes, unfortunately you'll need to keep your Sky box there as although you can get DVB-S PCI cards, you can't decrypt the channels on the PC (or if you can it's probably not legal/easy)
     
  15. squiffy

    Banned

    Joined: 17 Mar 2006

    Posts: 9,155


    You can only add a PCI-E or PCI, you can't have both. So if you want to upgrade the GFX card later, PLUS have a new soundcard and a TV tuner, you're stuffed.

    So best to buy a case that will support all cards on the mobo, ie Qpack cube, Sugo, Silverstone TJ08, Antec 2400 etc, plus support a standard ATX PSU so you can add whatever and not be stuck with propiertary PSU- Considering that Silverstone SST-LC11M is a £165 case not something you want to change again, just to add PCI-E/PCI cards. That Antec 2400 looks great, better value for money than my TJ08. Oh well.
     
  16. Energize

    Caporegime

    Joined: 12 Mar 2004

    Posts: 28,735

    Location: London

    Sky through s-video or composite to a computer looks really bad.