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Tips on HTPC Components/Build

Tags:
  • Homebuilt
  • Components
  • Systems
Last response: in Systems
November 23, 2007 1:56:30 PM

Hey all,

I was in mid process of upgrading my PC when I realized that I was replacing almost all of my components. A though occured to me that I could make an HTPC with the extra parts. I started to like the idea more and more to the point that now I am considering keeping my old computer as my desktop, where I would use it for general web browsing, financial management, email, etc. and buy a new htpc case for my new components. I have two caveats to this plan. One is that I am still using an old tube TV, so the resolution would be crap. I do plan on upgrading to an HDTV in about a month, so that's not a huge issue, but could be annoying at first. The other caveat is that I have a xbox 360, so depending on how well it works as a media extender, an htpc may not be necessary. In addition, I do not have any tuners, so I am a little confused on what tuners work with Vista, if they work with digital cable, if each input needs a cable box in front of it, and other items that could conflict of which I am not aware. Here is my current hardware list:

Old Computer:

Pentium 4, 2 GHz
Abit P4b-533e mobo (ATX form factor)
1 Gig DDR ram
Radeon 9800 All-in-Wonder
500 GB storage (two UDMA-133 250 BG drives)
DVD/CD disc player
12x CD Burner
Antec Sonata 1 with included 450w PS
20" flat screen Samsung
Creative Soundblaster Live! soundcard
Currently running Windows XP Pro SP2

New Components:

Pentium Core 2 Quad 6600
2 Gig DDR2 800 MHz Corsair Ram
MSI P6N SLI Platinum mobo (ATX form factor)
xfx GeForce 8800GT 512mb
no storage yet (will either use one old hard drive or pick up a new SATA drive if the gain is worth it)
Sony 7170 DVD/CD burner
No case yet (need ATX HTPC case recommendations, close to $100 preferred)
Old ass Sony Trinitron TV (will upgrade to some 1080p flat screen, need to do a lot of research first)
Soundblaster X-Fi Xtreme Gamer soundcard
Zerodba 620w PS
For software, I bought Vista Upgrade, which may have been a mistake, since I would need to buy another OS now for the old computer

So, that is my situation. A thought also occured to me that I could take the old computer, buy a copy of XP MCE and make that the HTPC, but I think that might be a waste of the HDTV capabilities of my upcoming TV.

So anyways, this post is a bit of a multi-part question, which reflects the level of uncertainty I am currently facing. What I really need to know is the capability of the current tuners with HDTV and their compatibility with Vista. In addition, tips on a good HTPC case (has to be black in color) would be extremely appreciated as well. If you have any strong opinions on whether I should use the old or new computer as the HTPC, those recommendations would be appreciated as well. Thanks!

More about : tips htpc components build

November 24, 2007 1:58:29 AM

Well, I did some reading on the site and was able to come to a conclusion. I just ordered up a Silverstone LC14 case in black and the MCE 2005 / PVR-500MCE / NVDVD Decoder Bundle from PC Alchemy to use with my old system. This system will be my htpc until I upgrade my TV to an HDTV display. It also gives me another XP license to work with so I can be running my vista upgrade on one computer, and MCE on the other. When I do make my eventual TV upgrade, I can shift the components between the cases, and still be able to access files on my old computer via the xbox 360 media extender. All together I think this plan works out nicely, and I can't wait to get my shipments next week!