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Thread: HTPC/ media centre

  1. #1
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    HTPC/ media centre

    Righto guys thinking bout building/buying one of these for my lounge. It has to be quiet obviously. I will probably spend about £300. I wont need lots of storage as thats all on my other pc. So basically what the pc will be doing is streaming movies/music etc from my main pc upstairs and outputting it on my toshiba 37WL56.

    What i need to know is what specs am i gonna need to achieve this task with no problems and also be able to decode more complex codecs in the future. And is it possible with my budget?

    Thanks

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    What size of case are you looking at - this will determine your build more than any other factor (including the noise it produces).

    The thin DVD style media case (such as the Hiper one), or a slightly larger uATX type like the Antec Aria (or the Aspire Q-Pack or the Casecom clone)?

    Edit: Within £300 should be do-able

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    Sorry should have mentioned. Would prefer something slimline and dvd style. Are there any cases that allow me to have the remote sensor installed inside the case, rather than tacked on afterwards?

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    Yes - Zalman, Coolermaster & Silverstone make some of their cases with an inbuilt sensor. Problem is they are expensive, so it might be a struggle making the £300.

    Anyway, here goes (from www.scan.co.uk) Prices include VAT:

    LN9957 HiperMedia Chassis, Small Form Factor (AMD Validated) Matt Black Finish, for uATX/Mini-ITX MoBo £50.47

    LN14012 Abit NF-95 S939 uATX NV6100 DDR400 OnBoard NV6100 VGA SATAII Raid Lan USB2 5.1Ch Audio £41.70

    LN9707 80 Gb Samsung HD080HJ SpinPoint P80, SATA300, 7200 rpm, 8MB Cache, NCQ, 8.9 ms £30.66

    LN13720 Toshiba SDR6472U Black Slim Notebooks DVDRW with RAM £46.78

    LN10138 Akasa AK-350-2 Low Profile Copper Cooler for Socket A - Specially designed for Hiper Media Chassis £8.80

    LN10546 AMD Athlon 64 3000+ Socket939 , Venice Core, 1.8GHz , 512KB Cache, Retail £58.73

    LN11237 512MB Corsair Value Select, DDR PC3200 (400), 184 Pin, Non-ECC Unbuffered, CAS 2.5 £34.45

    Grand total : £271.58.

    Above does not include an OS (you didn't mention if one would be required). You might need to go for a USB TV reciever, as that is a pretty thin case and probably won't fit a standard PCI card or even a half height one.

    One final note: ASUS make a pretty neat S754 barebones that is DVD style thin, but scan & ebuyer seem to have stopped stocking it.

  5. #5
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    • schmunk's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Abit NF7-S v2.0
      • CPU:
      • AMD Athlon-M 2500+
      • Memory:
      • 1GB of Corsair BH-5 and 512MB of something else
      • Storage:
      • 160GB Seagate Barracuda
      • Graphics card(s):
      • ATI Radeon X800Pro, flashed to XT
      • PSU:
      • Hiper Type-M ~400W
      • Case:
      • Antec cheapy
      • Monitor(s):
      • AG Neovo F19 LCD
      • Internet:
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    Thanks guys. Thats given me some food for thought. You picked the athlon 64 3000+. Why do i see so often posts and people saying you should definetely have dual core, blah blah blah?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snaga
    Thanks guys. Thats given me some food for thought. You picked the athlon 64 3000+. Why do i see so often posts and people saying you should definetely have dual core, blah blah blah?
    Budget = £300. Dual Core = £150, so no go until dual core prices drop some more. Dual core is overhyped IMO, unless you are doing serious multitasking.

    Edit: You might want to go for the 3200 instead of the 3000, as its only a few quid more.

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    Thanks guys. I suppose with the socket 939 i can grab myself a cheapo x2 at a later date.

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    Senior Member Rack's Avatar
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    The pentiumD 805 makes it feasable, but you need a good cooler, and in that case you wouldn't have a chance. The 3800+ might drop around the £100 in a couple of weeks, so would be worth waiting for.

    Dual core is nice because if you are receiving HD signal your processor needs to be able to handle it. My 3.0 P4 isn't keeping up with BBC-HD (not sure how Dual-core would help though). But a new gfx might sort that out, apparantly is a big contributor.

    I have one on my HDTV at home, and being able to play games (or upgrade to play games) is very nice, so keep it in mind. I have a saitek wireless keypad with mine, playing NFSU-MW from the sofa is awesome.

  10. #10
    A shadowy flight. MSIC's Avatar
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    • MSIC's system
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    I agree with most of the above and think that Scrandman has done a good job - my only concern in that the HSF is 'Socket A' but the processor isnt.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSIC
    I agree with most of the above and think that Scrandman has done a good job - my only concern in that the HSF is 'Socket A' but the processor isnt.
    Yeah i had noticed that. Didnt see any alternative though.

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  13. #13
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    That's £155!!!

    If your willing to spend that on the case & PSU alone, there are much better options available. I'd also recommend going slightly larger that the DVD size case as it will allow for a better PSU and room for a better CPU cooler. You will also be able to use a standard DVD drive which will cost about 1/2 the one I posted earlier.

    For example:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Produ...oductID=163210

    or

    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/produ...oductID=437556

    both are available on "Today Only" for a fiver less.

    PS. Sorry about the cooler being socket A - it was early

    If going for a slightly larger case, you'll be able to use one of these:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Produ...oductID=377055

  14. #14
    sneaks quietly away. schmunk's Avatar
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    • schmunk's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Abit NF7-S v2.0
      • CPU:
      • AMD Athlon-M 2500+
      • Memory:
      • 1GB of Corsair BH-5 and 512MB of something else
      • Storage:
      • 160GB Seagate Barracuda
      • Graphics card(s):
      • ATI Radeon X800Pro, flashed to XT
      • PSU:
      • Hiper Type-M ~400W
      • Case:
      • Antec cheapy
      • Monitor(s):
      • AG Neovo F19 LCD
      • Internet:
      • Virgin Media 4MB/s
    Quote Originally Posted by scrandman
    That's £155!!!

    If your willing to spend that on the case & PSU alone...
    That's for a complete PC, not just a case.

    A good buy if you can get it at anything near the current price.

  15. #15
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    Thats what i thought schmunk, as it was quite close to the spec that scrandman gave me!!

  16. #16
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    I got one of the LC-11 cases with the VFD and remote ... not really within a £300 budget if you're buying all the parts. In my case it's more that my gaming rig is getting old so I've put it in the silverstone case where it will eventually become the home media centre once I buy a replacement gaming rig

    ...I got the silver case (the black one has a "faux wood" panel on the middle front ... ugh) ... it's like a VHS player in size, but then you get to have a decent cooler (zalman 7000b) and up to 3 cards (AGP+2PCI in my case)

    mobo 50, cpu 70, ram 50, hdd 50, DVD 25, ... puts you at about £400. Hipermedia case looks small but needs more expensive drives.

    my 2c anyway

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