Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Don't Hate the Noob.. Building a Media Center Comp, need help!

  • New Build
  • Media Center
  • Windows Vista
  • Systems
  • Product
Last response: in Systems
March 2, 2008 11:20:36 PM

I'm going to build a system specifically for MS Media Center and plan on running Vista Ultimate on it. I've built a computer before but am WAY out of the loop when it comes to new technology.

Long story short, I've been reading about recent builds on this forum and am still pretty much clueless as to what's out there. Would someone be so kind as to recommend me some good starting points?

I will not be running Photoshop or doing any major A/V editing on this system. I will probably not be running very many games, if any at all. I'm not interested in overclocking it. For the purposes of this system, it just needs to be able to store and playback DVD files, music, and photos and handle streaming video well. I want it to run very smoothly and I would like to build it to last. I already have the monitor (my TV) and a case... the case is old but it should work.. its this one:

I don't have a specific price in mind... I'll spend what I have to to get a quality system but I don't need cutting edge performance. TIA to anyone who helps!

More about : hate noob building media center comp

March 3, 2008 1:14:04 AM


Additionally, I plan on running two Seagate 750Gb HDs and probably an additional HD for the OS.

My main questions are:

1. Duo-core processor vs. Dual Processors (what do I need)
2. AMD vs. Intel (this was inevitable, but I'm sure one is better for the money for my purposes)
3. Video Card (completely lost here)

I have an Audigy sound card that should work fine... and I'd like to use the case I have, although I'm not opposed to getting the new Antec 900.
March 3, 2008 2:15:32 AM

I think for your money, since you don't want to OC, look at AMD, because for bargain starter system, it'll do what you want for less. Video card, maybe something like an ATI radeon 2600xt ought to be sufficient if you don't want to game, also I reccomend at least 2gb of memory.
March 3, 2008 2:26:23 AM

How big is your TV, and will you be watching High Def things on it?

1. Duo-core processor vs. Dual Processors (what do I need)
- I think you have the terminology messed up a little here, the Intel processors are called Core2Duo, and dual just means 2 processors. You can get a good Core2Duo processor for cheap.

2. AMD vs. Intel (this was inevitable, but I'm sure one is better for the money for my purposes)
- Kind of like I said above, you could get C2D processor for cheap that is able to handle the stuff you need. I know you said you have no intentions of overclocking, but these things overclock like mad. You don't have to do it, but if you did it certainly wouldn't hurt.

3. Video Card (completely lost here)
- Nvidia GeForce 8600GT might not be bad for you.

I'm sure people here have better ideas and opinions, just hope I helped a little.
March 3, 2008 2:32:24 AM


TV is 46"... Hopefully, almost everything will be viewed in hi def..

I've been putting things together in the Newegg cart for the last several hours and I'm starting to get a little loopy. However, I'm leaning towards Intel. I also like MSI mobos... used one before, everything was great. So maybe I can narrow it down to an MSI Core2Duo board and that video card you mentioned sounds fine.
March 3, 2008 2:35:11 AM

Yeah, agree with ohiou, you don't need best GPU for your need, ATI 2600 is enough for your need ...

OK, back to your question:
1. Duo-core vs Dual processor?
IMO you don't need dual processor, since it will boost your budget up to the sky. I mean for dual processor you will have to buy mobo that has two CPU socket (not many available on the market I think). Duo-core (I prefer to use dual core term) is enough for the moment since not many applications are really using the benefit of x-core processors. You may think to consider quad core one, like Intel Q6600 since it's on about the same price with Intel E8xxx (one of the latest Intel procs). Honestly I don't see much benefit of Q6600 at the moment, but it seems that for the coming future it will get more and more software support.

2. AMD vs Intel
At point no.1 I'm referring for Intel's processors, but it doesn't mean that I'm recommending Intel. From my point of view, Intel nowadays seems to have better products. And for the pricing I'm saying that AMD & Intel currently at nearly the same level. So I'm favoring Intel. One thing that I will consider AMD, is that with it's AM2+ they are promising for future compatibility, which means less budget for upgrade in the future. However I'm clouded by mist of doubt in this promise. Since if we're looking at the AM2 socket, they said that it will compatible with the new Phenom series, but many cases show that it is more complicated than the paper tells. So in the conclusion, I'm not favoring anyone, it will be much depend on your favor. One thing to consider IMO: since for image/video editing the processor will play a crusial role, perhaps Intel processor is better for this purpose.

3. Video card
Yup, ATI 2600 will be sufficient for your need. Or perhas the 3xxx series (3450 or 3650 or even 3850, depend on your budget). What about NVIDIA? NVIDIA is fine, but since you're not intended for gaming, the 3xxx radeon series will serve you better, esp. it has least idle power consumption.

EDIT: Gosh, 46". Wow ... Just read while I'm typing. What is the resolution for 46"? 2500 or more? Then you'll need a serious video card for such a big resolutions, although you're not actually need the best performances. Just see at what resolutions supported at the video card .. .
March 3, 2008 2:52:10 AM

Preliminary picks:

MSI P35 Neo2-FR

Core 2 Duo E6750


Any ideas on RAM for this thing? Also, I'm thinking a Corsair 520 PSU.
March 3, 2008 4:17:39 PM

Low end HTPC video card: 3450
Mid end card that can actually game somewhat: 3650
Both cards cooling solutions may take up some extra space in your case.

RAM: 2x1 GB Corsair
You may want to get 2x2 GB RAM, but the stuff I linked to above is guaranteed by newegg to work with your motherboard.
PSU looks good.

If you don't already have a DVI to HMDI cable you may want to check here for one.
March 3, 2008 5:01:50 PM

This corsair 2x1 GB DDR2 set is $34 AR:

I like the P160 case, I myself am still rocking it. It has pretty good airflow if you put two good 120mm fans in there, probably superior to most HTPC cases, and its nice having the removable motherboard tray.