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General Chat Thread, Media PC Specs - Comments? in General; ...
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    Media PC Specs - Comments?

    I did not post this in "hardware" as it's more of a home thing.

    After getting a nice shiny new TV for the front room at christmas, I've decided it's a good time to get a Media PC together. I want to build it myself and it's going be purely for storing my movies, music, some pics etc and be used to watch BBC iPlayer programs on my TV. (32" Sony Bravia). Ebuyer is my preferred source of hardware and I've come up with this:

    Case - Shiny Piano Black/Silver Super Slim Micro ATX Mini Tower Case - With 200W PSU 20+4pin 1x SATA
    Mobo - Asrock K10N78M GeForce 8100 Socket AM2+ DVI VGA Out Gigabit LAN 6 Channel Audio MATX Motherboard
    CPU - AMD Athlon X2 5000+ 2.2GHz Socket AM2+ 1MB L2 Cache Retail Boxed Processor
    Memory - Kingston 2gb Ddr2 1066mhz/pc2-8500 Hyperx Memory Cl5
    Graphics - Inno3D GT 210 512MB SDDR3 DVI VGA HDMI PCI-E Graphics Card
    HD - Samsung HD103SJ Spinpoint F3 1TB Hard Drive SATAII 7200rpm 32MB Cache - OEM
    DVD (Already have a Bluray player btw) - Samsung SH-D163A 16x SATA DVD-Rom Drive Black Bare Drive - OEM
    Bluetooth - Belkin Mini Bluetooth USB Adapter - 2.1EDR / Class 2
    Keyboard/Mouse - Nexos 2.4Ghz Wireless Multimedia Entertainment Keyboard with TouchPad - USB

    Comes to a grand total of £296. Any feedback/comments/alternatives would be appreciated.

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    truslack's Avatar
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    I'd swap out the power supply for one from a more reputable manufacturer (coolermaster, etc) - it is a bit underpowered and it looks to have only one SATA connector.
    (as well as being a no-name brand, and likely to fail)

  3. Thanks to truslack from:

    Rawns (13th January 2010)

  4. #3
    dgsmith's Avatar
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    If you're looking for low-end processors (that AMD is low end), i'd look at the Intel Pentium Dual-Core E6300/E6500 instead - not alot more money but alot better spec (more cache, higher clock speed). That AMD processor is comparable to the latest generation of Intel Celeron processors with the 1MB cache (in fact the AMD may be worse), yet Celeron are "cheaper" than that. You'd need another mobo too but there are plenty of S775 in that price range.

    I also concur with truslack - get a better power supply. Whenever we build computers here with budget cases, we always go for a branded PSU at least 400W

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    Rawns (13th January 2010)

  6. #4

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    If you want a/ a media pc and b/ longer lasting would it be worth getting a amd phenom x4? They should last quite a while, and theyre very good. Also the GFX is a bit low, but if your not playing games you dont need it. Love the 32 inch

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    broc's Avatar
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    Make sure whatever you use is 'quiet', the last thing you need are fans whining away in the background while you are trying to listen to your films. Generally bigger fans running slow are better than smaller fans running fast. Passive cooling is good.... especially on graphics cards as they seem to have particularly noisy fans after a few months use

    Look for low power HDD(s) too, as they run cooler.... and less heat means lower fan speeds.... you may even get away with using 2.5" notebook drives with adapters?

    I have a DELL Optiplex 760 USFF at home, used to serve audio & photos. It is very quiet & has an external power 'brick'. I haven't tried it with video though as I tend to use the PS3.... one of our technicians here swears by his Buffalo Linkstation Live 1tb streaming through his PS3...
    Last edited by broc; 13th January 2010 at 10:12 AM.

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    Rawns (13th January 2010)

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    Yeah a friend helped design my pc, and my cpu fan is actually a case fan? It cools better then a normal cpu fan, and as it operates normally at 600 rpm you can barely hear it

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    Jamie_a's Avatar
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    Daft as it sounds have you thought of a wii, homebrew channel, geexbox and a usb hard drive. That does everything you want and runs quiet etc.

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    My Setup

    Hi,

    My Media Centre Setup is:

    ASUS P5Q-EM
    4 GB Ram
    2 x Samsung 1 TB HDD
    1 x Maxtor 250GB HDD
    1 x HDD 150GB
    LG Blu-ray drive
    DVB-S2 card
    Windows 7 64bit

    As my other half is complaining about the noise and space the unit is taking up, I plan to build a low powered media centre:

    ASUS AT3N7A-I
    4GB RAM
    500GB HDD
    Slim line blu-ray player
    Windows 7 64bit(?)
    BM648 case or similar Case
    DVB-S2


    If all goes to plan I can move the "big" media centre to my study and have the "small" media centre to watch TV and stream DVD's from the big media centre.

    If this set up work's I'll be putting the small media centres in each room in my house. Kinda like media centre extenders with the abilityto watch freesat

  12. Thanks to uk101man from:

    Rawns (13th January 2010)

  13. #9

    broc's Avatar
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    If you want a super-cool keyboard, take a look at one of these, I bought mine from Amazon last year. It's a mad price to pay for a keyboard, but very nice :

    diNovo Edge?

  14. #10

    SYNACK's Avatar
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    The usefulness of this advice depends on how iPlayer works (is it flash rubbish or not)

    My media centre PC is based on a ZOTAC IONITX motherboard http://www.zotacusa.com/zotac-ionitx...therboard.html with an Atom 330 dual core 1.6ghz, integrated 802.11n too. I chose this because it is small, low power and quiet. Given the ION chipset it can play 1080 HD contant smoothly and burns about 20w at full load. It will even easily decode h264 digital tv and runs Windows 7 fine.

    +1 on the recomendations for the green HDs, ideally you want a slower spinning drive, Seagate does a really nice 5900rpm 2TB one that is really quiet and low powered and the WD green series offer the same type in a 5200RPM form.

    If heavy games are in its future then this may not be the way to go. Also if iPlayer is Flash rubbish then the Atom may not manage until Adobe bring out GPU accelerated flash (scheduled for some time between now and the entropic death of the universe).
    Last edited by SYNACK; 13th January 2010 at 11:13 AM.

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  16. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by broc View Post
    If you want a super-cool keyboard, take a look at one of these, I bought mine from Amazon last year. It's a mad price to pay for a keyboard, but very nice :

    diNovo Edge?
    WOW! That looks lush! May mate has just recommended Boxee to me instead of Windows Media Centre. Aparently, they have an App on the iPhone/iTouch to turn it into a remote for Boxee on a media PC!

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    richardp's Avatar
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    I would recommend getting a case that can take full height pci cards as you will find it a lot easier to get what you want, I have spent ages in the past trying to find the right graphics card before to fit a half height slot, also getting new psu for small cases that are powerful enough can also be a pain.

    Also silence is the key, get a fanless heat sink based graphics card, I can also recommend the silverstone fanless power supplies (been running one now for about 3-4 years with no problems), also get a cpu cooler with a large fan or no fan at all, also lower powered versions of cpus are another good way of keeping heat down. Also a good automatic fan controller and the largest fans you can fit into the case are another good way of keeping the noise down. I have 3 spinpoint hard drives (2x250gb + 1x500gb) and can confirm they are very quiet and have given me no reliability problems. Also dont expect a low end cpu and graphics card to playback 1080p video smoothly, you need mid range stuff really to be able to do that and other things at the same time.

    You could always go the other way and have a big ugly, loud, powerful pc hidden away under the stairs or in the loft and just stream everything to the tv using an Xbox360 or PS3 or other media streaming appliances.


    PS: you can always run boxee as well as windows mce (windows7 mce is what I run now and I am happy with it)
    PPS: dlink boxeebox £126 spring 2010 (http://www.dlink.com/boxeebox)



    Richard
    Last edited by richardp; 13th January 2010 at 02:12 PM.

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    Rawns (14th January 2010)

  19. #13

    plexer's Avatar
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    Yeah Boxee does look good, there is a boxee box being released by D-Link this year as well.

    Ben

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