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Building Media PC

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August 24, 2008 3:39:48 AM

Well, my mother has been left behind in the dust as technology advances and has been looking into buying a computer. She was looking to buy from HP, Dell, or Gateway but I suggested letting me build her computer. She was hesitant at first but she's letting me go through with it. Now at first she told me she wanted a high quality computer, top of the line performance, can play any movie and so on. Now I know she doesn't now hot to utilize a computer to its full effect, so for now I'm just going for a rig that will let her watch TV, email, watch movies (Blu-Ray), and most importantly listen to music. Here is what I have right now.

Antec Sonata III 500 Black 0.8mm cold rolled steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 500W Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129024

EVGA 512-P3-N861-AR GeForce 9600 GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130334

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136073

Logitech EX 110 Black USB + PS/2 Standard Cordless Desktop Keyboard & Mouse Kit - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16823126174

Acer AL2216Wbd Black 22" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor with HDCP support 300 cd/m2 700:1 - Retail
[/url]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...[/url]

Pioneer Black 12X DVD+R 5X DVD-RAM 5X Blu-ray DVD-ROM 4MB Cache SATA Internal Blu-Ray Combo Model BDC-202BK - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827129015

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit English for System Builders 1pk DSP OEI DVD - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116488

Logitech X-530 70 watts RMS 5.1 Black Speaker System - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16836121126

What I still need...

A motherboard. Intel preferred. I'm looking for a motherboard that can support 45nm architecture. No need for overclocking or anything. Something that gets the job done.

RAM, I'm still debating if I should go with Vista 32 or 64, both are the same price but if I do go with 64 won't 2GB slow the system down? Main reason why I haven't chosen RAM yet is because I'm kind of confused with the timing, and what would be a better value for a media computer.

CPU, planning on buying an e5200 but I dunno if it is worth the wait so I might just go with an e7200...

Other than that can I get some comments on how it looks? Main concern is the speakers. Mother's deskspace isn't large and she absolutely HATES wires. Other concerns, how does a 22' inch LCD look from about 10 feet away while eye level is about 1 ft above the middle of the screen. I have a 26' myself and it looks great watching movies and TV while laying on my bed. Also need a good multimedia remote to top things off. Also, this computer most likely won't need to be upgraded as I said, its just movies, music, internet, so is there anyway I can save more money? Is the 9600 GT overkill for Blu-Ray? Should I buy an Antec w/ 380W and get an 8600GT? Is 500GB overkill considering most of the music will be transferred from my father's HD and he only has about 80G of music? I'd like to keep everything under 1,000 USD if possible. Thank you :) .

More about : building media

August 24, 2008 4:25:24 AM

She would likely be just as happy with a 2.1 speaker set.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2GB of 800Mhz RAM is enough. Go ahead and get 4 though because it's cheap and she won't load down the system with junk in the system tray quite as fast. No reason to not get Vista 64 Premium, it will work well for this.

P43 chipset with firewire and eSATA. The platform is well proven now and the price is great:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
August 24, 2008 4:43:23 AM

AMD's new 780G Chipset Article on Tom's Hardware

I know you said you wanted to go with Intel, but having read this article, I'd ask you to rethink it. The 780G chipset with it's onboard HD3200 GPU; paired with an X2 BE-2350 CPU is more than sufficient to play Blu-Ray discs. Give the article a read through and give it some thought.

As you can see on page three of the article, while playing a blu-ray disc, memory usage is still under 1 GB, so you should be just fine with 2GB of RAM and Vista Home Premium.

Concerning the speakers, I actually have the X-530s and I love them. They give great sound, but even in a small bedroom, they can't give you that "whole room" sound quality. Since Mom doesn't like wires, I don't think she'd even consider the surround speakers, but even in a 2.1 configuration, they do sound good.

Personally, I would think the 22" monitor would be too small from 10' away, but my mother seems to think her old 19" TV is just fine for her. If she has the space (and you have the money), look into getting her a 26" LCD TV.

Of course, if she's going to watch TV, she's going to need a TV Tuner card, so I might recommend this one which comes with a remote.

Just some food for thought.

-Wolf sends

Edit:

That's just too weird! I also have the speaker set Proximon suggests (bedroom media center) and yes. They do give good sound as well.
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August 24, 2008 4:54:05 AM

I would skip the wireless mouse/keyboard combo myself. The mice in the logitech cheap combos generally devour batteries. Just get a good cheap corded laser mouse.
August 24, 2008 5:23:10 AM

If it's a media PC you really don't need a high end 3D card like a 9600GT. Look at reviews for HD decoding first, but something in the range of a HD3650/8600GT should be plenty.

-mcg
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