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Help finding a basic internet/media box for living room

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December 5, 2009 10:54:43 PM

Hi all,

I need help finding a suitably sized small box appropriate for a living room that will allow me to use the internet and playback my collection of audio and video media to my TV.

I doesn't need to be fancy, It just needs an ethernet port, dvi/hdmi output and a couple of usb ports. I have no need to do any recording as I have a Sky HD box.

I don't mind building, but if there's anything you can recommend off the shelf then that's good too.

Cheers
Dean

P.S.
I'm OS agnostic so as long as it does the job I'll be happy.
December 5, 2009 11:20:07 PM

Case:
nMEDIAPC Red Wood Wood/Steel HTPC 8000 - $109.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard:
Gigabyte GA-G41M-ES2H - $64.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU:
Intel Core 2 Duo E7400 Wolfdale 2.8GHz - $115.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM:
Corsair XMS2 1GB DDR2 800 - $29.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU:
Corsair CMPSU-400CX 400W - $39.99 after rebate ($49.99 before rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU:
Gigabyte Radeon HD 4350 - $32.99 after rebate ($37.99 before rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hard Drive:
Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKS 500GB - $55.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total - $449.93 after rebates ($464.93 before rebates)


I know you said nothing fancy but I saw that case and couldn't bring myself to pass it up.
December 5, 2009 11:40:04 PM

thanks for the response, but I looking for something a bit more...umm...unassuming.

The simple requirements should mean I can get away with low power/grunt hardware and also less cost. All my video is currently SD and my TV is a 720p if that helps.
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December 5, 2009 11:53:06 PM

ImagineTek said:
Hi all,

I need help finding a suitably sized small box appropriate for a living room that will allow me to use the internet and playback my collection of audio and video media to my TV.

I doesn't need to be fancy, It just needs an ethernet port, dvi/hdmi output and a couple of usb ports. I have no need to do any recording as I have a Sky HD box.

I don't mind building, but if there's anything you can recommend off the shelf then that's good too.

Cheers
Dean

P.S.
I'm OS agnostic so as long as it does the job I'll be happy.


Here try this:

SAMSUNG STORY Station 1TB USB 2.0 External Hard Drive HX-DU010EB - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$100 -Samsung is a great brand, and the hdd inside is fantastic.

Western Digital WD TV HD Media Player WDAVN00BN - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$100

Total = $200

This setup is pain free. Simply plug and play. The WD TV HD Media player will detect all the video files on your hdd, and allow you to navigate them with a visual interface. This is a pretty good deal, much cheaper than a full HTPC.
December 6, 2009 12:38:59 AM

ImagineTek said:
thanks for the response, but I looking for something a bit more...umm...unassuming.

The simple requirements should mean I can get away with low power/grunt hardware and also less cost. All my video is currently SD and my TV is a 720p if that helps.



Try this:

MSI 785GTM-E45 AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$70 -Intergrated Radeon HD 4200, can easily play Blu-rays.

HITACHI Deskstar 7K1000.B HD31000 IDK/7K (0S00163) 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$80 -Freeshipping

Antec earthwatts EA430 430W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.0 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$45 -Freeshipping

Rosewill Black / Silver SECC Steel FE-H010 ATX Media Center / HTPC Case - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$50

AMD Sempron 140 Sargas 2.7GHz 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM3 45W Single-Core Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$40 -Freeshipping

G.SKILL 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory Model F2-6400PHU1-1GBNR - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$23

LITE-ON Black 18X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA DVD-ROM Drive Model iHDS118-04 - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$20 -Freeshipping

AVS Gear HA-IR01SV Infrared Certified MCE VISTA Remote Control
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$23

Total = $351

Is this what you wanted? More storage + Lower price + dvd player looking case + remote = What you asked for?

Oh, and with the low price you can add an extra 1tb drive or two also.
December 6, 2009 12:54:07 AM

TheViper said:
Case:
nMEDIAPC Red Wood Wood/Steel HTPC 8000 - $109.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard:
Gigabyte GA-G41M-ES2H - $64.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU:
Intel Core 2 Duo E7400 Wolfdale 2.8GHz - $115.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM:
Corsair XMS2 1GB DDR2 800 - $29.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU:
Corsair CMPSU-400CX 400W - $39.99 after rebate ($49.99 before rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU:
Gigabyte Radeon HD 4350 - $32.99 after rebate ($37.99 before rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hard Drive:
Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKS 500GB - $55.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total - $449.93 after rebates ($464.93 before rebates)


I know you said nothing fancy but I saw that case and couldn't bring myself to pass it up.


Where is the disk drive?

December 6, 2009 1:03:57 AM

ImagineTek said:
Hi all,

I need help finding a suitably sized small box appropriate for a living room that will allow me to use the internet and playback my collection of audio and video media to my TV.

I doesn't need to be fancy, It just needs an ethernet port, dvi/hdmi output and a couple of usb ports. I have no need to do any recording as I have a Sky HD box.

I don't mind building, but if there's anything you can recommend off the shelf then that's good too.

Cheers
Dean

P.S.
I'm OS agnostic so as long as it does the job I'll be happy.


For a HTPC OS, take a look at this: http://www.mythtv.org/ and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MythTV
December 6, 2009 1:07:32 AM

MothMusic said:
Where is the disk drive?


Those are so cheap and ubiquitous I didn't bother to list one.

December 6, 2009 1:12:03 AM

TheViper said:
Those are so cheap and ubiquitous I didn't bother to list one.


They go as low as twenty bucks, but they are necessary for HTPCs so you should have included one. But I know what you mean, I hate including disk drives because they inflate the cost of the system. :) 
a b B Homebuilt system
December 6, 2009 4:55:43 AM

Best go with DDR3 platforms- even for a basic el cheapo rig hehe This one has SPDIF out/HDMI
December 6, 2009 5:09:37 AM

Try this:

MSI 785GTM-E45 AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$70

HITACHI Deskstar 7K1000.B HD31000 IDK/7K (0S00163) 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$80 -Freeshipping

Antec earthwatts EA430 430W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.0 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$45 -Freeshipping

Rosewill Black / Silver SECC Steel FE-H010 ATX Media Center / HTPC Case - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$50

AMD Sempron 140 Sargas 2.7GHz 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM3 45W Single-Core Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$40 -Freeshipping

Crucial 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 (PC2 5300) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model CT2KIT12864AA667 - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$46

LITE-ON Black 18X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA DVD-ROM Drive Model iHDS118-04 - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6827106276
$20 -Freeshipping


Total = $351

This build has two gigs of ram.
December 6, 2009 5:11:00 AM

batuchka said:
Best go with DDR3 platforms- even for a basic el cheapo rig hehe This one has SPDIF out/HDMI
http://i137.photobucket.com/albums/q205/batuchka/jjka.jpg


Asrock isn't a good brand, that mobo may die on you right?

And that case isn't sexy at all! HTPC, not desktop! :na:  But it is cheaper though. :) 

Oh and that hdd is waaay smaller...

And whats the point of the of the dual core? If the mobo doesn't have a intergrated gpu that can handle hd video, then I guess it makes sense.

The MSi board has hdmi too.

And ddr3 wont make a difference in a htpc. It simply won't use it all up, even when running hd video.
a b B Homebuilt system
December 6, 2009 7:39:39 AM

Nope Asrock has a rep for value for money mobos and the point of going cheaper is one is cool compromising for less performance and your config is about as bad as it gets i.e - worse performance, DDR2 at higher price @@ TS may also need to burn DVDs so thats another aspect to think about. Lastly in the case TS just happens to use a player for media that does not support GPU acceleration an entry level X2 proc is a failsafe hehe
December 6, 2009 7:44:08 AM

batuchka said:
Nope Asrock has a rep for value for money mobos and the point of going cheaper is compromising less performance and your config is about as bad as it gets i.e - worse performance, DDR2 at higher price @@ TS may also need to burn DVDs so thats another aspect to think about.


*Sigh* I guess your right. Oh well, you learn something new everyday I guess.

But why not just go with the WD HD Tv + Samsung 1tb hdd?

When you say worse performance, the spempron 140 + 4200 can play hd videos. Are talking about the ram instead?

I just thought he would want something that looks like a dvd player with a huge hdd. I guess not. *waves white flag*
a b B Homebuilt system
December 6, 2009 7:48:58 AM

I am referring to cases GPU acceleration isn't supported via a player - judder/stutter may occur with a single core and why risk it? Well TS has not stated a need for big storage but ya i would go with a Samsung F3 1TB if he/she needs hehe
December 6, 2009 7:51:13 AM

batuchka said:
I am referring to cases GPU acceleration isn't supported via a player - judder/stutter may occur with a single core and why risk it? Well TS has not stated a need for big storage but ya i would go with a Samsung F3 1TB if he/she needs hehe


But still, why not go with a Western Digital HD TV + Samsung 1tb? It looks like a great value.
a b B Homebuilt system
December 6, 2009 7:53:46 AM

That would be up to TS i guess ^^
December 6, 2009 9:17:16 AM

MothMusic said:
But still, why not go with a Western Digital HD TV + Samsung 1tb? It looks like a great value.



OP mentions using the internet in his living room. Not just play movies.
December 6, 2009 9:20:43 AM

notty22 said:
OP mentions using the internet in his living room. Not just play movies.


Yea missed that. But the advantage would be its $100 dollars cheaper than a htpc, and he doesn't have to get a remote or deal with software troubles though.
December 6, 2009 11:53:39 AM

Ok, I'll risk being bashed here, but would a PS3/XBox360 be enough (250-300$)? Ok, but might not be as "flexible" as a HTPC, but they are also rather simple. Personally, since the new "Slim" release, I would tend to go toward a PS3, but that is a personal choice. Both devices will be able to stream media from any kind of media server (just a reminder for people who don't know it, but Windows Media Player has a built-in "share" capability), play movies from USB sticks (and perhaps even USB HDD, not sure, never tried), they all have built-in browser (not sure of the quality tho), both are ethernet ready and wireless capable (if not built-in like PS3).

Just an idea, I know people here (me included) love PCs, but I think consoles can have their use too :) .
December 6, 2009 12:09:21 PM
December 6, 2009 2:46:25 PM

Zenthar said:
they all have built-in browser .

X360 does not have an Internet browser. PS3 and Wii do.

Quality is limited for both, though.
December 6, 2009 3:13:46 PM

TheViper said:
X360 does not have an Internet browser. PS3 and Wii do.
That sucks :-/
TheViper said:
Quality is limited for both, though.
That much I guessed, the experience can only be limited when you don't have mouse+keyboard. Moreover, I don't know how good the web browsing is on a 720p screen (my concern is mostly for text).
December 6, 2009 3:42:22 PM

Ok, thanks again for all the feedback. The more I've been thinking about it, the more I want to keep things as small and simple as possible. With that in mind, I was thinking about going down the mini-itx route with an N330 cpu.

I've come across a company called Zotac who although I knew they made graphics cards, I wasn't aware they were also into motherboards. They seem to have something out which fits my requirements as I don't really need an optical drive either. It's called the Zotac MAG HD-ND01, here's the link:

http://www.zotacusa.com/zotac-mag-hd-nd01.html

Appreciate any feedback about it.

I can buy it for £240/$360 and I don't see that a component build for an equivalent spec is going to save me much.



December 6, 2009 3:46:12 PM

Zenthar said:
That sucks :-/
That much I guessed, the experience can only be limited when you don't have mouse+keyboard. Moreover, I don't know how good the web browsing is on a 720p screen (my concern is mostly for text).

You can hook up a keyboard and mouse on the Wii and PS3 (though I like mixing the keyboard and Wii remote for Wii Internet browsing).

Their limitations come from execution, lack of features (and for the Wii's case lower resolution though the built in zoom feature is impressive).

I've used them as substitutes when I had my PC down for repairs or upgrades but don't advise them as your sole browser.
February 15, 2010 5:41:13 PM

ImagineTek said:
Ok, thanks again for all the feedback. The more I've been thinking about it, the more I want to keep things as small and simple as possible. With that in mind, I was thinking about going down the mini-itx route with an N330 cpu.

I've come across a company called Zotac who although I knew they made graphics cards, I wasn't aware they were also into motherboards. They seem to have something out which fits my requirements as I don't really need an optical drive either. It's called the Zotac MAG HD-ND01, here's the link:

http://www.zotacusa.com/zotac-mag-hd-nd01.html

Appreciate any feedback about it.

I can buy it for £240/$360 and I don't see that a component build for an equivalent spec is going to save me much.



Did you ever buy the Mag?

I'm looking into buying one and was curious if you are happy with it.
February 15, 2010 5:58:49 PM

I love the shuttle case. It's basic and easy to customize down the road with simple inexpensive computer parts. I just purchased this one for christmas to replace my old one:

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

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

and have had absolutely no problems. Dell also sells a hybrid for around 300$-400$ refurb:

http://www.dell.com/us/en/dfh/desktops/desktop-studio-h...

Theres a deal on woot that reports that there is a hybrid available for 300$ flat that I wish would have been around at christmas:

http://deals.woot.com/deals/details/74ca156c-8c93-4267-...

I almost got one of these instead but really like to be able to work on mine.
February 15, 2010 10:31:23 PM

y-aji said:
I love the shuttle case. It's basic and easy to customize down the road with simple inexpensive computer parts. I just purchased this one for christmas to replace my old one:

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

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

and have had absolutely no problems. Dell also sells a hybrid for around 300$-400$ refurb:

http://www.dell.com/us/en/dfh/desktops/desktop-studio-h...

Theres a deal on woot that reports that there is a hybrid available for 300$ flat that I wish would have been around at christmas:

http://deals.woot.com/deals/details/74ca156c-8c93-4267-...

I almost got one of these instead but really like to be able to work on mine.


You do realize that this thread is over two months old right?
February 15, 2010 11:33:02 PM

MothMusic said:
You do realize that this thread is over two months old right?


i did not.
!