• We've upgraded our forums. Please post any issues/requests in this thread.

Building a media center PC?

Joined
Jul 17, 2005
Messages
461 (0.10/day)
Likes
45
Location
Peterborough, UK
Processor Intel Pentium Dual Core E2160
Motherboard ASUS P5E3 Deluxe
Cooling Akasa EVO 120
Memory 2 x 1Gb OCZ Gold DDR3 1066Mhz 6,6,6,18
Video Card(s) GeCube ATi X1950Pro 512Mb PCIe (Accelro X2)
Storage Samsung 320Gb SATA2
Display(s) Samsung SM206BW 20" Widescreen TFT 1680x1050
Case Coolermaster Centurion 532
Audio Device(s) On board AC'97
Power Supply Hiper Type-R 580W
Software Windows Vista Home Premium
Benchmark Scores See my OC Blog @ http://www.rowan-house.net/
#1
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:
Joined
May 27, 2005
Messages
3,651 (0.80/day)
Likes
341
Location
Little Rock Arkansas, United States
System Name Monolith
Processor Intel Xeon E3110 Wolfdale@3.5GHz
Motherboard MSI P35-Neo
Cooling Active Air
Memory 4GB DDR2 800
Video Card(s) Sapphire HD 3850 512MB PCI-E
Storage 1 x 80GB Internal, 1 x 250GB Internal, 1 x 40GB External
Display(s) Acer X203w
Case Generic black case with locking front bezel
Audio Device(s) Creative SB Audigy 2 ZS
Power Supply 500 Watt Seasonic M12
Software Windows 7 Ultimate x64
#2
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
 
Joined
Jul 17, 2005
Messages
461 (0.10/day)
Likes
45
Location
Peterborough, UK
Processor Intel Pentium Dual Core E2160
Motherboard ASUS P5E3 Deluxe
Cooling Akasa EVO 120
Memory 2 x 1Gb OCZ Gold DDR3 1066Mhz 6,6,6,18
Video Card(s) GeCube ATi X1950Pro 512Mb PCIe (Accelro X2)
Storage Samsung 320Gb SATA2
Display(s) Samsung SM206BW 20" Widescreen TFT 1680x1050
Case Coolermaster Centurion 532
Audio Device(s) On board AC'97
Power Supply Hiper Type-R 580W
Software Windows Vista Home Premium
Benchmark Scores See my OC Blog @ http://www.rowan-house.net/
#3
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?