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Thread: PC as Media Extender / HTPC <£250

  1. #1
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    Question PC as Media Extender / HTPC <£250

    Hi Chaps,

    Looking for some advice on best way forward here...

    My main rig is for gaming with P5K / E8200 @ 3ghz / BFG 9600GT / Vista Home Premium on a wireless-N network. This is in our office.

    I want to stick a box under my telly 32" 720p HD in the front room that can:-

    1/ Stream Video & Music from my main rig
    2/ Access the internet for email / Web / Online movie rental (iTunes / Amazon in 2009?)
    3/ Connect to wireless printer
    4/ Connect directly to 720p HD telly (Via VGA or HDMI (no DVI slot)

    I would like this all to sit in a HTPC style case prob on a mATX board. (I have 2 x 1gb DDR2 667mhz RAM)

    Would need to be a board that has good integrated graphics OR a cheaper board + GFX card - which is better???

    Lower power consumption is preferred also, as this will be on most of the time.

    I would like it to come in for <£250.

    I have been looking and current setup idea is:-

    Intel Pentium Dual Core E5200 2.5GHz £64.86
    ASUS P5QL-CM iG43 Socket 775 £71.39
    Antec Micro Fusion Remote VERIS Media Center Case - With 350W PSU 140998 £77.99
    Western Digital WD1600AAJS 160GB Hard Drive SATAII 7200rpm 8MB Cache - OEM £30.56

    £244.80 - NO OS!!!

    Is UBUNTU any good for media centre extender work?

    Thanks for any comments, advice, critisism, etc!!!
    Main Rig
    P5K / E8200 @ 3ghz / 2gb / BFG OC2 9600GT / Arctic Cooler Pro / Vista Home Premium
    DIY Media Extender
    TBC - Please help!

  2. #2
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    Re: PC as Media Extender / HTPC <£250

    Ubuntu or other variations of linux can be used for HTPCs, yeah, although it'll be harder to set up with a windows computer over a network I believe.

    AMD is better for HTPCs, something like this would be fine for 720p and web browsing -

    &#163;60 - AM2 Mobo with HDMI out
    &#163;50 - Dual core 2.7GHz AMD Processor
    &#163;60 - Blu ray reader
    &#163;20 - 80GB samsung spinpoint
    &#163;80 - Antec case and psu

    I'm sure somebody will give you a better suggestion, if you keep an eye on today only you'll get a good deal

    It's 4.98*

  3. #3
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    • admur's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus P5K
      • CPU:
      • E8200 @ 3GHZ
      • Memory:
      • 2gb DDR2 @ 800mhz
      • Storage:
      • Samsung Spinpoint 250gb
      • Graphics card(s):
      • 9600GT
      • PSU:
      • Antec 500 Watt
      • Case:
      • Lian Li A05b Silver
      • Operating System:
      • Vista Home Premium
      • Monitor(s):
      • 22" Acer P223WD (DVI)
      • Internet:
      • Orange @ 4 meg

    Re: PC as Media Extender / HTPC <£250

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterStoba View Post
    AMD is better for HTPCs, something like this would be fine for 720p and web browsing
    Thanks Peter, why do you say that the AMD is better? Are the C2D not more efficent / less heat?

    Will prob add Blu-Ray later in the year, but happy with DVD player at this stage - would standard DVD player be OK, and let the TV do the upscaling?

    Any suggestions on a slot loading DVD player???

    Smaller drive is probably good saving too! Thanks!
    Main Rig
    P5K / E8200 @ 3ghz / 2gb / BFG OC2 9600GT / Arctic Cooler Pro / Vista Home Premium
    DIY Media Extender
    TBC - Please help!

  4. #4
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    Re: PC as Media Extender / HTPC <£250

    This is the best I good do including Vista from Ebuyer with the free Supersaver postage option:

    AMD Athlon X2 5050e Socket AM2 45W Energy Efficient Retail Boxed Processor 149212 &#163;49.63

    ASUS M3A78-CM 780V Socket AM2+ onboard graphics 8 channel audio mATX Motherboard 150281 &#163;53.02

    LiteOn DH-16D2S 16x DVD-ROM Serial ATA Internal - OEM 152517 &#163;8.00

    Seagate ST380815AS 80GB Hard Drive SATAII 7200rpm 8MB Cache - OEM 129414 &#163;23.86

    Antec Minuet 350 Piano Black Slimline MATX Case - With 350W PSU 141001 &#163;59.82

    Microsoft Windows Vista Home Basic -SP1- Licence and media - 1 PC - OEM - DVD - 32-bit - English 123059 &#163;64.68


    Total: &#163;259.01

    The 780 series AMD motherboards have very good integrated graphics which includes acceleration for HD video,HD-DVD and Blu-Ray.

  5. #5
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    Re: PC as Media Extender / HTPC <£250

    Bear in mind that if going with Vista Home Basic does *not* have Media Centre.

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    • CAT-THE-FIFTH's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Less E-PEEN
      • CPU:
      • Massive E-PEEN
      • Memory:
      • RGB E-PEEN
      • Storage:
      • Not in any order
      • Graphics card(s):
      • EVEN BIGGER E-PEEN
      • PSU:
      • OVERSIZED
      • Case:
      • UNDERSIZED
      • Operating System:
      • DOS 6.22
      • Monitor(s):
      • NOT USUALLY ON....WHEN I POST
      • Internet:
      • FUNCTIONAL

    Re: PC as Media Extender / HTPC <£250

    Vista Home Premium will cost another 20 quid:

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/123052

  7. #7
    Splash
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    Re: PC as Media Extender / HTPC <£250

    I'm not saying that you'd *have* to splash the cash on Vista. I'm pretty certain Hexxeh did a guide to building a media centre PC based on Linux a while back...

  8. #8
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    • CAT-THE-FIFTH's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Less E-PEEN
      • CPU:
      • Massive E-PEEN
      • Memory:
      • RGB E-PEEN
      • Storage:
      • Not in any order
      • Graphics card(s):
      • EVEN BIGGER E-PEEN
      • PSU:
      • OVERSIZED
      • Case:
      • UNDERSIZED
      • Operating System:
      • DOS 6.22
      • Monitor(s):
      • NOT USUALLY ON....WHEN I POST
      • Internet:
      • FUNCTIONAL

    Re: PC as Media Extender / HTPC <£250

    You maybe thinking about MythTV:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MythTV

    However the OP may want to add a Blu-ray driver later on so I am uncertain if Linux is compatible with Blu-Ray?!

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    Re: PC as Media Extender / HTPC <£250

    I use Ubuntu for my HTPC and didn't bother with MythTV as Movie player and VLC play everything fine and I didn't end up losing the functionality of having a full OS. However as already said networking with Vista may not be the easiest (best to try try before committing to buying Vista though).

    If you are going to run linux you don't need very high spec hardware so you can spend money on a nice looking case and save on the components
    HTPC1 - Coolermaster CM330, E2180 + Zalman 9500AT, GA-P31-DS3L, 2x1Gb PC6400 , Antec Earthwatts 430w , Fujitsu 2.5" 40gb HDD, 8600gt, Hannspree 32" LCD TV - Kubuntu 8.04

    HTPC2 - Silverstone TJ-08, Asus 690g, Athlon LE1300 + OCZ Vanquisher, 2x512mb PC5300, Dell 350w PSU, Fujisu 2.5" 40gb HDD, 8600gt, Toshiba 33" CRT TV - Ubuntu 8.04

    Laptop- Lenovo T41, Pentium M 1.6ghz, 768mb PC2700 RAM, 40gb HDD - Ubuntu 8.10

    NAS - Dell Case, Jetway J7F5 Mini-ITX, 1gb PC5300, Enermax Pro 82+ 425w, 1TB Hitachi - FreeNAS 0.69 on 256mb CF

  10. #10
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    Re: PC as Media Extender / HTPC <£250

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    You maybe thinking about MythTV:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MythTV

    However the OP may want to add a Blu-ray driver later on so I am uncertain if Linux is compatible with Blu-Ray?!

    Not *quite*, but I believe Myth was involved in some way.

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