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Suggested Specs for a HTPC/SERVER?

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March 2, 2006 2:03:08 PM

Can Suggest Specs for a HTPC/SERVER? I want to build a HTPC that can also function as a file server. What do you think? SHould I build one using a case or a barebones?

My budget is anything below $750.
It doesn't need a fancy Graphics card as it will use the tv as a monitor.

I was thinking something like a Athlon 64 3000+ or 3200+ on socket 939.

AS for the hdd, nothing larger than 160gb for now.

I really do not know what to choose for the hard ware. Could you help ,e pick?

Thanks. :trophy:
March 3, 2006 12:09:18 AM

What OS are we talking about here? I currently run 9 servers; 4 2003, 4 2000 and 1 Linux all on Dell PowerEdge servers and at home one 2000 Enterprise server. Each has its own characteristics and hardware requirements depending on the job its doing. Obviously it will be powered on most of the time and in close proximity to your main entertainment center, right? That means it has to be quiet, not a power hog and run cool. That would mean, in combination with it being a HTPC that it would run well with an AMD CPU of the Venice variety (second stepping with slightly lower power consumption). The cool and quiet feature would be nice. I typically would say a mobile version would be better, but as an HTPC you probably want to play HD stuff, maybe some WMVHD and Quicktime HD. Quicktime HD content is REALLY CPU intensive and would require a 3200+ minimum IME.

The key things to remember are, quite, cool and unobtrusive as possible. An example of the latter would be many modern (current) DVD-ROMs. Slower is actually better because the fastest ones are really noisy (they sound like little jet engines). There’s nothing worse than a key moment in a movie when all is silent and you hear your ROM whooshing along as it reads ahead!

Give us an idea of what you want to accomplish with this HTPC/Server – i.e. the jobs that it will be doing as well as your expectations of its performance (what you want it to do for you) and we’ll give you some ideas in the direction to go. Perhaps even give you some ideas you may not have already thought of.
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March 3, 2006 6:53:07 PM

Quote:
What OS are we talking about here? I currently run 9 servers; 4 2003, 4 2000 and 1 Linux all on Dell PowerEdge servers and at home one 2000 Enterprise server. Each has its own characteristics and hardware requirements depending on the job its doing. Obviously it will be powered on most of the time and in close proximity to your main entertainment center, right? That means it has to be quiet, not a power hog and run cool. That would mean, in combination with it being a HTPC that it would run well with an AMD CPU of the Venice variety (second stepping with slightly lower power consumption). The cool and quiet feature would be nice. I typically would say a mobile version would be better, but as an HTPC you probably want to play HD stuff, maybe some WMVHD and Quicktime HD. Quicktime HD content is REALLY CPU intensive and would require a 3200+ minimum IME.

The key things to remember are, quite, cool and unobtrusive as possible. An example of the latter would be many modern (current) DVD-ROMs. Slower is actually better because the fastest ones are really noisy (they sound like little jet engines). There’s nothing worse than a key moment in a movie when all is silent and you hear your ROM whooshing along as it reads ahead!

Give us an idea of what you want to accomplish with this HTPC/Server – i.e. the jobs that it will be doing as well as your expectations of its performance (what you want it to do for you) and we’ll give you some ideas in the direction to go. Perhaps even give you some ideas you may not have already thought of.


Well for the usage:

Allowing my family and I to access files such as family photos on a network, and also if used as a HTPC, accessing recorded video or other things.

I take alot of photos with my digital camera and my family likes to be able to see them without having to use my computer. I would also like it
to be a second or third location to back school work and my digital photos.

Overall, I would say it will not be used to hard, but I will be used mostly as a file server more than an application server.

Would something like a AMD Athlon 64 3000+ be ok?
Also, could Windows XP Professional be suitable for this type of usage.

THank you very much for the help.
Can't wait for you guys or gals to give me some specs :) 
March 3, 2006 7:56:05 PM

Sorry, I don’t have the time to do the research for ya, but I can lead you in the right direction.

First, it sounds like you won’t need much in the way of a major system, just enough to get by.

If you don’t want to go past 720p then a 3000+ will be fine but if you want to push the envelope up to 1080p or 1080i then a 3200+ is minimum.

Motherboard, whatever you like really, but a mini is best. And as for case, do a search on Google for “Silent PC Case”. It will turn up all sorts of options.

Minimum memory would be 512MB, but I would go with 1GB because you’ll be less likely to see things swapping in and out of memory that way no skipping or freezing while viewing media.

As for hard drives, just about anything SATA will do and it should be more than 100GB if you plan on keeping a lot of media there. I would try to get over 160 but 200 would be optimal, especially over the long run as stuff starts to pile up.

Video card will probably be the most difficult to choose but minimum should be a 1300 ATI or 6600GT nVidia either with VIVO. Both are optimized for better HD playback. I personally went with the Gigabyte 6600GT VIVO for my HTPC because it doesn’t have a fan.

Other things to consider:

I went with no TV tuner and just use a rented box from my cable company. This means I get HD video for around $5 a month. There are up and downs to this method though.

Get a keyboard and mouse with a really long range (RF).

Don’t get a sound blaster. Find a board with good digital SPDIF (coaxial opposed to optical since optical is just way overpriced and coax is just as good) and good reviews. Great alternatives to sound blasters are M-Audio and Prodigy 7.1 – both of which sample at better rates than SB and are better suited to a HTPC. SB are great for games and that’s about it.

Also, look into www.orb.com, it might do some things you want (I use it and LOVE it). Also, do a search on Google for Meedio Center; their free package is a great starter ( I use their full package btw).
!