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Building a media center PC?

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by EnglishLion, Oct 15, 2005.

  1. EnglishLion

    EnglishLion New Member

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    I'm considering building a media center PC from a PC I was given.

    It's a P4 1.7Ghz, 256Mb, 20Gb drive.

    1. The psu is dead and the case is ugly so, I'll need a new case & psu - any suggestions
    2. To minimize space, I'm looking at a AIW card, what's the lowest (i.e. cheapest) spec that I can use with Win Media. Also the Mobo is an Intel D845GRG http://www.intel.com/design/motherbd/rg/ so it's only a 4x AGP! Will this be a problem? Can I use a 8x card at 4x speeds or will it just not work?

    I'm planning on adding it to my wireless network and storing the media networked if possible. So I'll keep the 20gb drive.

    any other suggestions - are there any other media center software packages that would be better than microsoft?
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2005
  2. Thermopylae_480

    Thermopylae_480 New Member

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    First, I guess all you will be using this PC for is recording TV and listening to music. So you will definetly need a larger amount of hard drive space if you plan on recording and storeing more than two TV shows at a time. At bare minimum 80GB I would recomend 160GB and 200 would be really nice.

    Second, since you probably won't be playing any high end games on this computer you want to get a low end AIW, you don't need anything flashy to watch movies, television, and listen to and record music. Plus windows will run fine on the most god awful video card if you turn down some of the flashier stuff, I have it running on an 8Mb ATI Rage Pro Turbo. I would recomend a 9200-9600 AIW. I like this one it has passive cooling so it is quiet which is a plus for a media centerhttp://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814102345. But if you really want to get something better than a 9600 most video cards are 4x/8x so you could still put one in. Just make sure you get an ATI card that is manufactured be a legitmate partner of ATI. They are ususally a little more, but don't die as easy. Case in point, my brother bought a 9800 pro from Rosewill and had to send it back twice because of fan problems. He finally just got a different brand.

    I decent sound card would be nice if you want to watch any movies in surround sound, Plus they just sound better than integrated (If you have it).

    Fourth, get a decent brand power supply. I know you pick one up from 10-20, but so many of them only last a few months or don't even work when you finnally get it. Thermaltake and OCZ both make resonalby priced PSUs. With surpiseingly high wattage and low noise http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16817153023

    Fifth, Case just a matter of personal taste. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Showi...ower Computer Case 200W Power Supply - Retail
     
  3. EnglishLion

    EnglishLion New Member

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    Unless someone convinces me otherwise, I'm set on getting a Silverstone LC11M case which comes with a quiet PSU, VFD, IR remote and multi-median software.
    http://www.silverstonetek.com/products-lc11m.htm

    I also looked at the new thermaltake mozart case but I can't find it advertised for sale anywhere yet in the UK.
    http://www.thermaltake.com/xaserCase/Mozart/mozart_vc4001sns.htm

    I've changed my mind about getting an AIW because they're all analogue and I need a DVB card. So I heard good reports of the Black Gold DVB card. It's also fairly cheap and supported by MCE2005.

    Then when I've put it all together I'll see what else I need. I'm thinking of trying the multi-median software that's included with both cases and then decide whether there's any advantage to getting MCE2005.

    Has anyone seen or tried these cases?
     

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