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Home Theatre PC - not so much the theatre bit, tho

TyrantCowTyrantCow Registered User regular
Okay, so I'm looking to put together a computer to hook up to a TV. I'm looking to keep it small and quiet, ideally. It's going to run (I think, boxee or something) an OS and streaming video from other computers on my network and maybe playing hulu (software dependent).

MSI Wind PC Intel 945GC 1 x 200Pin Intel GMA 950 Black Barebone - Retail
1.6Ghz Intel Atom Processor
Intel GMA 950 Onboard Video
Onboard Gigabit NIC
$134.99 ($119.99 after $15.00 Mail-In Rebate)
In all honesty, it's about as small and un-expandable as you can get. Only VGA out - but, I plan on keepin' this with an old sony of mine, and provided I can convert that correctly it'll do what I want. Supposedly quiet, and a SD card reader (I'm going to start with a HDD). A few reviews talk about maxing out processing speed at 720p; but, others state that if you run it dedicated and with 2 gigs of RAM it should do 720p flawlessly. Once, again the sony is the bottleneck if I want to do anything crazy like 1020i anyway, it suites my needs.

G.SKILL 2GB 200-Pin DDR2 SO-DIMM DDR2 533 (PC2 4200) Laptop Memory - Retail
2GB Stick - nothin' special
Customer reviews report working flawlessly with the MSI Wind.

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250410AS 250GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM
250 GB HDD - nothin' special
Simply the highest review/price on newegg at the moment. I plan on starting with a HDD and fiddling with the SD card reader - I don't have a USB reader or anything so I might as well use the one on the new machine. I'll then throw this HDD in to my main machine which will serve as file server until I get a SAN/NAS together.

Remote Control -- I had planned on putting in the info for this old Microsoft remote here; but, when I was transcribing the price I noticed the 'No longer available'. So, the remote is still up in the air - the ease of the USB receiver on the MS one is not to be easily (or cheaply) matched, it seems.

VGA to Component Video Cable - 6ft - Gold Plated Pro Grade RCA Connectors
VGA to Compenent Cable.... err...
So, I don't really know if these will work. What I've read on converting VGA confused the fuck outa me. So, I plan on gettin' this first, testing with my computer, and proceeding as appropriate.

That's not a bad media center - should be damn silent as well (if you can boot, etc. from the SD card). The sound is nothing to write home about; but, I'll probably just piping that in to the TV, too.

What I'm really confused about is if any of you have any insight in to converting to component, or have suggestions for remotes.

here's the closest thing to a tutorial I could find -
- but, it's not at all what I wanted to do. I'm looking for more of a low profile, dummy client to just hook up to the network and stream from a file server. Still good info (the newer stuff harder to glean).

TyrantCow on


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    EgoEgo Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    I don't think the VGA to component cable will work, those are reliant on your video card being able to output component over VGA. Your HDTV only has component input? If so you'll need a transcoder to turn VGA into component. Google '9a60'. Also, check what formats your HDTV can display, you might not even have 720p as an option.

    I would opt for the ion platform for atoms (newegg has the zotar ones now.) Much more robust for HTPC duty since you get a 9400m for video, you get VGA/hdmi/dvi, and have the option of getting a dual core system. They are more expensive, but the GPU means 1080p is an option, ditto playing actual bluray discs.

    It's not for everyone but I think I'm going to use a wiimote when I do my next htpc. Right now I just use a wireless mouse.

    Ego on
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    TyrantCowTyrantCow Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    it's not an HDTV(?)

    It's an old Sony Trinitron - component's the newest thing it's got.

    - I have plans to buy a new TV in a year or so; but, this was going to be my run at network and software compatibility. I was hoping to do the hardware cheap.

    TyrantCow on
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    CrashtardCrashtard Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    I don't have any advice on the comp hardware, but check out for your conversion cables. You'll save a lot of money.

    Crashtard on
    I pinky swear that we will not screw you.

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    Serious_ScrubSerious_Scrub Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    I might as well ask this question here
    I happened to get a hold of a free Intel Conroe motherboard (a free, crappy one they gave out with a processor in Fry's), and I'm thinking about adding a 40 dollar celeron (one of those core 2 duos with a core disabled), to make a combination of a server and HTPC
    How would I approach such a task? As a server, it's going to be pretty light, primarily used as a file server for my roommates, but occasionally for SVN, and playing around with Apache, Rails, and other web stuff. As a HTPC, I don't imagine using it for anything more intensive than playing 720p video, since I don't want to use more than the integrated graphics on the mobo. I'm thinking about using Mythbuntu, and adding in features as needed, but I'm not too familiar with MythTV or the various linux distributions. Would this probably be good enough?

    Serious_Scrub on
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    1ddqd1ddqd Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    The most important thing about an HTPC is whether or not you want to playback Blu-ray.

    If you do, you'll need a video card that can do the grunt work. If you want an onboard solution, the Zotac 9300 boards are awesome for this. Small, cheap, quiet, but powerful. You will need a Core2Duo or Athlon X2 for CPU work (since the onboard chip will be maxed).

    If you want a video card, get something in the Radeon 4000 range, or the GeForce 9000/8000 range.

    File servers don't need a hefty processor or RAM - whatever chip you get to playback the video files will be enough to handle file server capabilities. Ideally, gigabit router/connections are preferred if there is going to be more than 1 PC using the file server at once.

    If you're going to run Vista, get at LEAST 2GB of RAM. If XP, get 2GB anyways.

    Those are the basics. I wouldn't worry about TV Tuners - any show you might want to watch should be available online.

    1ddqd on
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