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Converting an older games machine into a HTPC

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July 4, 2008 9:40:01 AM

Due to unexpected but nice circumstances (my wife is expecting) I need to remove an older computer from the spare room.
Rather than just mothball this machine I thought I could convert it into a HTPC for my living room for playback on my 42" LCD TV.

Current Specs are :

AMD x2 4000 CPU (skt939)
1gig Ram
7800GTX
SBLive
80gig HD ( i know a larger HD will be required)
Win xp

So i am pretty sure that this setup can handle pretty much anything audio/video wise. Not so sure about the HDCP tho, so the 7800gtx may have to go.

My question is this. What components would you recommend to fullfill my requirements. (my knowledge mainly encompasses high performance components I.e. noisey).

I want the system to sit under my T.V. so the tower the system sits in atm is out. Dont need anything particularly fancy here.
I want it to be quiet/silent as possible, so preferably a passive cpu/gpu cooler and PSU.

Any suggestions and explainations of components would be gratefully recieved.
a b ) Power supply
July 4, 2008 11:39:07 AM

Probably a 3850 would be a safe bet as it will give HDMI with audio whilst being cheap, and running cool.
July 4, 2008 11:55:24 AM

What OS will you be using ? Because if you want this comp to work as an HTPC you'll need an OS that as in integrated Media centre. Such as Vista Premium or If you are into Linux I know that there is something called MythTV that would do the Job. You'll also need a TV tuner card. I am using an ATI 650 Pro but I know there's quite a bit of choice out there. It worth looking around and read about it. In any case, I would get one able to process digital signal. You don't need a super powerful GPU to run an HTPC, something like HD 3470 or the bit more powerful HD 3650 would do. Like you mentionned, a good seize HDD for recording because it can eat up quite a bit of space rapidly when you start recording a few programs/series. Keep you 80 gig HHD for OS and other programs you might need and record on the bigger HHD.
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a b ) Power supply
July 4, 2008 12:21:50 PM

fatcat said:
You don't need a super powerful GPU to run an HTPC, something like HD 3470 or the bit more powerful HD 3650 would do.


Good shout. I was thinking a 3xxx series over the 2xxx series but thought hadn't crossed my mind to think lower than 3850. The 34xx and 36xx would be ideal with their lower price and power consumption. They're still more than capable of HD viewing and will ease the strain on the processor, even if they're not up to gaming.
July 4, 2008 8:17:05 PM

HDCP?
are you getting a blu-ray drive?
if not 7800GTX will be fine for Xvid's, WMv's, MKV's, DVD's etc etc
a b ) Power supply
July 4, 2008 9:38:14 PM

HDCP is only required for copy righted high definition video like Blu-Ray or HD-DVD (now dead). This applies to both the TV/monitor and the video card.

If you do not intend on installing a Blu-Ray drive and build a Blu-Ray DVD library, then it is not necessary to upgrade your video card right now.
a b ) Power supply
July 4, 2008 9:41:32 PM

Adding an extra 1GB of RAM is generally a good idea.

Can't recommend a quiet CPU or GPU HSF since I don't know what size case you have.

July 4, 2008 10:06:05 PM

Hey guys thanks for the feedback.
I was thinking about putting ablueray player in there yea.
I wan tto keep xp...dontmind using a keyboard to get things running and was hoping someone could sugest a decent case.
!