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Thread: Recommend me a Media Center PC spec

  1. #1
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    Recommend me a Media Center PC spec

    Hello,

    I'm a total newbie here and would like some advice from the experts, regarding getting a media pc. My budget is £250, although i can stretch it to £300 tops.

    I'm looking for a pc which:-

    1. Has wireless keyboard/mouse/remote
    2. Is fast enough to play divx movies, browse thr internet, play some old games such as retro and at the very most UT2003 on my TV....hdtv is a bonus, but not required at the moment.
    3. Has a case that is within the dimensions of 21cm x 53cm x 45cm as this is the space i have in my cabinet.
    4. Can record TV programs and playback from my dbox.


    I DO NOT want a monitor. Also I don't know if you need this information, but my TV is 32" CRT and it has a 100Hz capability.

    If i remember anything else then i will let you guys know.

    Thanks very much

    Mediapc

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    £300 might be tight, especially if you need a TV tuner as well. I would look at a uATX board, minimum 1GB RAM (if you're running XP MCE), 250GB HD (plenty of space for recording TV). I don't know what your processor preference is, but my 3Ghz P4 runs like a dream (it is P4 3Ghz, 2GB RAM, NV 8500, 250 GB SATA, Gigabyte 915 uATX based board and haupauage TV tuner, in a Coolermaster ATCS case). You will need S-Video out to connect it to the TV, adn it would be ideal to conncet the audio to an amp rather than the TV.

    I think Antec make a nice case NX2400 with a decent PSU, but I think it's uATX only.

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    have you got any spare pc parts that could be reused?

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    @ kunpo - why do i need a TV card mate? The dbox allows me to record programs via its RJ45 connection, so all i will need is a motherboard with nic, which comes standard nowadays.

    @ frazered...sorry i don't have any spare pc parts...although i do have a P4 laptop with 512mb ram and 80gb hdd...but it has a faulty keyboard and i don't know how to fix it..can i fix it and use that instead???

    So can you experts come up with a system spec for me?

    Many thanks for helping
    Last edited by mediapc; 21-06-2007 at 09:50 PM.

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    • kungpo's system
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    Sorry - I have no experience of a dbox...you'll have to tell me all about it.

    OK...good spec would be:

    C LN16281
    Gigabyte GA 965GM-S2 iG965, S775, PCI-E (x16), DDR2 533/667/800, SATA II, SATA RAID, uATX, VGA £51.49 £60.50

    LN17304
    Intel Core 2 Duo E4300, Socket 775, 1.80 GHz, 800MHz FSB, Allendale Core, 2MB Cache, Retail £61.89 £72.72

    LN16906
    Antec NSK2400 Desktop Case uATX, has Hi-Efficiency 380W ATX12v v2.0 PSU - Black/Silver £49.99 £58.74

    LN12200
    2Gb (2X1GB) Corsair TwinX XMS2, DDR2 PC5400 (667), 240 Pin, Non-ECC Unbuffered, CAS 4-4-4-12 £41.54 £48.81

    LN18053
    250 Gb Western Digital WD2500AAJS Caviar SE, SATA300, 7200 rpm, 8MB Cache, 9 ms £36.37 £42.73

    Not perfect, but built-in VGA on the mobo, and under £285

  6. #6
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    thanks for that spec kungpo...a dbox is similar to a cable/satellite receiver. The only difference being is that you can network it to your pc/internet, which allows you to see the latest RSS News ticker, weather etc on TV. But the main reason is that you can record your TV channels straight to your PC HDD as well as access music/movies from your pc.

    The pc spec is good mate. My only reservation is that am i not better off getting 1GB Ram and a graphics card instead as i can always upgrade later? Also why intel? AMD is good enough isn't it?

    thanks

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    Anthropomorphic Personification shaithis's Avatar
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    For a cheap HTPC, I would definitely take a peek at the AMD side of things, although with those new cheap C2Ds out (E21xx), I am not sure if its worth it anymore =/
    Main PC: Asus Rampage IV Extreme / 3960X@4.5GHz / Antec H1200 Pro / 32GB DDR3-1866 Quad Channel / Sapphire Fury X / Areca 1680 / 850W EVGA SuperNOVA Gold 2 / Corsair 600T / 2x Dell 3007 / 4 x 250GB SSD + 2 x 80GB SSD / 4 x 1TB HDD (RAID 10) / Windows 10 Pro, Yosemite & Ubuntu
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    • kungpo's system
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    yeah - I thought that later. Go with 2x 512mb, and a cheaper c2, such as the 2160. And an 8500 is a great card for dealing with HD material.

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    • tinners's system
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    Intel E2160 Socket 775 Pentium Dual Core 2x1.8Ghz 800FSB Retail Boxed £57.79
    ABIT Fatal1ty F-I90HD Socket 775 Radeon Xpress 1250 onboard VGA 8 channel audio mATX £66.58
    2GB (2x1GB) CorsairTwinX XMS2, DDR2 PC2-6400 (800), LN11596 TWIN2X2048-64005-5-5-12 £66.55
    Add a drive of your choice & keyboard / mouse

    You prob wont need a Gfx card with a CRT as the board has HDMI / DSub onboard or you could drop the memory down to 667 and save 15 quid.

    You can put in it an Antec NSK2400 case all for less than £300
    Last edited by tinners; 22-06-2007 at 11:49 AM.

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    @ shaithis - So it seems to come down to AMD vs INTEL??? So what do you or anyone else recommend , considering my limited budget?

    @ kungpo - cheers mate - the 8500 is expensive isn't it? won't it push me over budget?

    @ tinners - many thanks for that recommendation mate..it does seem to be a good choice, although i don't see why such a huge 2gb is needed as i'm only using basic stuff. Also what hdd and wireless keyboard/mouse/remote do you recommend? Lastly will i be able to record TV programs on this setup?

    To everyone...just a thought, but why doesn't anyone recommend AMD as its much cheaper than the intel and is fast enough if not faster...would this not be powerful enough for playing movies?

    many many thanks for your input

  11. #11
    Anthropomorphic Personification shaithis's Avatar
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    • shaithis's system
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    Well, yea, you have a choice of intel or AMD.....I would recommend intel.

    Core2Duo cpus are clock-for-clock faster then the athlon64 cpus.....and with these newer budget CPUs, theres only a few quid in the price difference. On scan currently, the 2 x 2.0GHz AMD is £41 and the (superior) 2 x 1.8GHz Intel is £51.

    Add to that, the C2Ds run cooler and its a win-win situation for a HTPC.
    Main PC: Asus Rampage IV Extreme / 3960X@4.5GHz / Antec H1200 Pro / 32GB DDR3-1866 Quad Channel / Sapphire Fury X / Areca 1680 / 850W EVGA SuperNOVA Gold 2 / Corsair 600T / 2x Dell 3007 / 4 x 250GB SSD + 2 x 80GB SSD / 4 x 1TB HDD (RAID 10) / Windows 10 Pro, Yosemite & Ubuntu
    HTPC: AsRock Z77 Pro 4 / 3770K@4.2GHz / 24GB / GTX 1080 / SST-LC20 / Antec TP-550 / Hisense 65k5510 4K TV / HTC Vive / 2 x 240GB SSD + 12TB HDD Space / Race Seat / Logitech G29 / Win 10 Pro
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    • tinners's system
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    Quote Originally Posted by mediapc View Post
    @ tinners - many thanks for that recommendation mate..it does seem to be a good choice, although i don't see why such a huge 2gb is needed as i'm only using basic stuff. Also what hdd and wireless keyboard/mouse/remote do you recommend? Lastly will i be able to record TV programs on this setup?

    To everyone...just a thought, but why doesn't anyone recommend AMD as its much cheaper than the intel and is fast enough if not faster...would this not be powerful enough for playing movies?

    many many thanks for your input
    1Gb would be fine, but given current prices just buy 2

    The Samsung Spinpoint 500Gb is a fine drive, I have one in my HTPC.

    AMD are pants ATM sadly compared with Intel and their prices just dont stack up.

    Wireless Keyboard / Mouse - do you mean one you can run from your sofa ? If so then this is superb
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Produ...oductID=370147

    In terms of recording TV you said your box could output to the network. I have no clue how to capture that on the PC.
    For watching freeview you can use the Nova T 500 which allows you to record one channel whilst watching another.

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    Anthropomorphic Personification shaithis's Avatar
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    4. Can record TV programs and playback from my dbox.
    There are ways to record from the dbox but they are more expensive and not as good as buying a cheap digital tuner card and having the HTPC do all the work.
    Main PC: Asus Rampage IV Extreme / 3960X@4.5GHz / Antec H1200 Pro / 32GB DDR3-1866 Quad Channel / Sapphire Fury X / Areca 1680 / 850W EVGA SuperNOVA Gold 2 / Corsair 600T / 2x Dell 3007 / 4 x 250GB SSD + 2 x 80GB SSD / 4 x 1TB HDD (RAID 10) / Windows 10 Pro, Yosemite & Ubuntu
    HTPC: AsRock Z77 Pro 4 / 3770K@4.2GHz / 24GB / GTX 1080 / SST-LC20 / Antec TP-550 / Hisense 65k5510 4K TV / HTC Vive / 2 x 240GB SSD + 12TB HDD Space / Race Seat / Logitech G29 / Win 10 Pro
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  14. #14
    sneaks quietly away. schmunk's Avatar
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    For the sort of thing you are looking to do, an AMD X2 will be perfectly good. Ignore the people saying that C2D cpus are *much* better. X2s are very fast, it's just that C2Ds are even faster.

    The plus side with the AMD chips is that both the CPUs and motherboards tend to be cheaper. Also, look out for the EE versions of the AMD chips, as they use less power than any C2D, so run cooler, so can produce a quieter PC - a VERY important thing for an HTPC.

  15. #15
    Anthropomorphic Personification shaithis's Avatar
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    • shaithis's system
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    As I posted a few posts up.....£10 difference between AMD and Intel at the price point the OP is looking for....

    Would you take the inferior system over a tenner?
    Main PC: Asus Rampage IV Extreme / 3960X@4.5GHz / Antec H1200 Pro / 32GB DDR3-1866 Quad Channel / Sapphire Fury X / Areca 1680 / 850W EVGA SuperNOVA Gold 2 / Corsair 600T / 2x Dell 3007 / 4 x 250GB SSD + 2 x 80GB SSD / 4 x 1TB HDD (RAID 10) / Windows 10 Pro, Yosemite & Ubuntu
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    mediapc: to be honest, you don't need a hugely powerful pc to play video. As you already have a working laptop more than capable could you just buy a USB wireless keyboard/mouse, a VGA-scart converter and and external HDD. Will save you buying a new pc needlessly.

    [edit] realised you may not need a vga-scart adaptor if your TV accepts VGA input
    Last edited by Templar87; 22-06-2007 at 03:23 PM.

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