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Would this setup work as a HTPC ?

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May 10, 2010 11:27:51 AM

Hey guys,
Well basically by upgrading my pc part by part I am left with parts for pretty much a full PC. Instead of throwing it away I was thinking could I use it as a HTPC in my living room hooked up to a TV ( not a HDTV, just a normal fat TV which would probably be connected by S-Video ). No games would be played from it, just movies and internet surfing.

The specs are :
CPU : Intel Celeron D 3.33GHz with stock cooling
Mobo: Asus P5L-MX I *think* its uATX format
GPU: Nvidia 7600GT
PSU: 400W - I dont think its branded , it came with a case, but I did use it for a while so it does work
RAM: 2GB DDR2 - not sure of speed


So yeah, would this machine be capable enough of the tasks ? I also would like to receive some recommendations on a small cheap and quiet case which would fit all of this and be hidden away. I will probably buy a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard for it.

I will be happy to hear any thoughts on this, as I am quite new to the whole HTPC idea.

More about : setup work htpc

May 10, 2010 12:09:45 PM

HTPC Link for information:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_theater_PC

A link to most HTPC and Media Center cases:

http://www.newegg.com/Store/SubCategory.aspx?SubCategor...

A couple I like:

A standard $50.00 HTPC case I don't know your price range so this one is cheap and alright for just something to watch movies and use the internet for:

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

Here are some with Power supplies:

case / w 275watt psu only $45.00

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

Well like I said I'm not sure what you want, your price, or even if your graphics card is a low-profile card.

Yes that computer will work for the basic tasks you are going to be using it for.
May 10, 2010 12:14:48 PM

1. You might have a bad overscan issue with hooking up to a CRT tv...

2. RE: cases....go to newegg they've got a lot of htpc cases. Top brands are Lian Li and Thermaltake

3. As long as you aren't planning on running blu-ray I'd say that's a decent minimal set up.

4. You might consider installing Ubuntu instead of a windows platform so it will be lighter on resources.

5. A cheap 400w PSU may not be the best in terms of sound nor would a stock cpu fan...think about getting a heatsink for the cpu and a better quality power supply.
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May 10, 2010 1:21:50 PM

Thank you both for the speedy replies. I will make sure to check out the links posted.

To answer shanemarines:

<$50 is probably a good price range. I wouldn't buy one with a PSU as I have one not being used anyway. I do not think my graphics card is low-profile, I think its just a reference 7600GT.
I am also not sure what size of case I should be looking for, obviously I am not going to upgrade the parts so the smallest case that can fit these parts will do the job. The ones you posted seem good, Ill look around for more.

To answer Hunter844:

I am not sure I undestand what you mean by #1. As I said I have no experience in HTPC, I connected the PC to that TV a while ago only to test it out, hated the low resolution and that was it.
No, I dont even have a blu-ray player. I will watch HD movies on it, if hardware allows , but if not thats ok too.
Very good idea on Ubuntu, never thought of that. I have never used it but I know how much lightweight it is compared to windows and Im sure it can play movies and surf the web just fine.
I do understand your point about noise, but I just want to try and re-use the old parts as best as I can so I dont really want to buy new ones and I will probably make due with the noise.

Just to make sure - it does seem reasonable what I am doing yeah ? :)  Especially with a small keyboard and mouse combo I think it could be a great use of old parts.

Again thanks both and more comments/suggestions are welcome.
May 10, 2010 5:50:21 PM

shotgunwinner said:
Thank you both for the speedy replies. I will make sure to check out the links posted.

To answer shanemarines:

<$50 is probably a good price range. I wouldn't buy one with a PSU as I have one not being used anyway. I do not think my graphics card is low-profile, I think its just a reference 7600GT.
I am also not sure what size of case I should be looking for, obviously I am not going to upgrade the parts so the smallest case that can fit these parts will do the job. The ones you posted seem good, Ill look around for more.

To answer Hunter844:

I am not sure I undestand what you mean by #1. As I said I have no experience in HTPC, I connected the PC to that TV a while ago only to test it out, hated the low resolution and that was it.
No, I dont even have a blu-ray player. I will watch HD movies on it, if hardware allows , but if not thats ok too.
Very good idea on Ubuntu, never thought of that. I have never used it but I know how much lightweight it is compared to windows and Im sure it can play movies and surf the web just fine.
I do understand your point about noise, but I just want to try and re-use the old parts as best as I can so I dont really want to buy new ones and I will probably make due with the noise.

Just to make sure - it does seem reasonable what I am doing yeah ? :)  Especially with a small keyboard and mouse combo I think it could be a great use of old parts.

Again thanks both and more comments/suggestions are welcome.


Because it's a fat tv (CRT Standard Def) most of those products did not support computer graphic cards very well. It will leave a very fuzzy image in a lot of cases. Without getting overly technical that's most typically referred to as "overscan" as I understand it.

Watching HD on it won't fly most likely or at best would look horrible. Are you planning on using a digital tuner with it? I'm just not sure how that's going to pass by the HDCP protocols, it may not matter with getting it via an antenna. I would imagine most digital tuners now have a Standard Def setting as well so you may at least get that sort of quality. Other than that your content options come down to DivX movies, streaming online, or playing dvd's. Since most HD content is widescreen...you may run into an issue with that as well.

To make a long story short, the computer is likely not going to be the pitfall...I'm worried about the tv more so than the computer. Should you decide to get a flat panel in the future...you might again need to consider a more robust power supply because LCD's and Plasma's are much more taxing on a computer in order to reproduce the graphics most people like to run their computer at. Just some things to think about.

I've never used Ubuntu either but I know that is what a lot of HTPC people use. If you want to really dive into that I recommend going to the AVS forum and asking some questions there. http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forumdisplay.php?f=76
May 10, 2010 9:33:32 PM

Well I hope you figure out what you want I mean you should get the specifics about the size of Motherboard and graphics card and possibly PSU.

Thanx...
May 11, 2010 1:49:46 AM

Thanks a lot to both, I will try hooking it up to see how it looks, if its bearable Ill leave it that way. Hopefully Ill get a LCD sometime soon so it should work out :) 

Thanks
May 11, 2010 5:58:27 AM

If you need to find great deals on LCD or monitors in general we can find you great deals!
May 11, 2010 7:01:43 AM

Thanks for the offer, but it wouldn't happen in some time, I'm ok for now :) 
May 11, 2010 7:26:22 AM

If you could just tell me how to select best answer thingy would be cool. I think it gives you guys points or something ;) 
May 11, 2010 7:29:07 AM

shotgunwinner said:
If you could just tell me how to select best answer thingy would be cool. I think it gives you guys points or something ;) 


All you have to do is go to the thread and find the best post I'm pretty sure and the post you found most use-full you can select that one as a best answer. *CHEERS*
a b B Homebuilt system
May 11, 2010 7:35:20 AM

Do you already have a case? I suggest a cooler master elite 360. That's what I'm using for my HTPC case and it's doing an excellent job.

Two other things that people have talked about.

1. Using ubuntu or some other specific HTPC distro of linux (there are some out there)
It's an okay idea, I ran it on my original HTPC. You won't be able to do netflix because of the lack of silverlight, hulu desktop should run fine (it runs on my laptop which I'm running 10.04 dual-booted right now). But the hulu site does not run correctly. You may have problems with "tearing" in the actual avi's and whatnot. It looks kind of like what some games do if you don't have v-sync on. It can be pretty difficult to get to look normal if this happens. Keep in mind that the specific HTPC distros weren't out or at least I didn't use them while I was using it on that computer so YMMV with those, you may want to look them up. (I don't know any of the names offhand)

2. overscan. This has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with image quality. Icons and whatnot might look like crap but that's because of the relatively low resolution. Videos should look just about the same; I hope that card has actual s-video out though. Overscan is basically the unviewable/offscreen edges of the actual image that's being sent to the TV. So you might miss being able to see some stuff. If you were using a ATI card in that I know for a fact that there is a overscan section in the driver that allows you to adjust where the border is for the viewable image; similar to using the adjustment controls on a CRT monitor. I'd hope that nvidia has something similar.
May 11, 2010 8:01:59 AM

I dont usually watch netflix so thats fine. I would mostly probably only watch movies and I am sure they will work fine on Ubuntu. I wouldn't be able to notice the low resolution in movies Im sure and I doubt overscaning would be a problem, I think there are different settings to change the size anyway so that should be fine too :) 

SHANEMARINES said:
All you have to do is go to the thread and find the best post I'm pretty sure and the post you found most use-full you can select that one as a best answer. *CHEERS*


Yeah I undestand that, its just that I cant see any button on other people's posts which makes them best answer :) 
May 11, 2010 8:11:24 AM

Oh man I havn't had a question on here in sometime...

Well I thought it was up top and it says select best answer and then it will have you click which post was the most helpfull or something I'm sorry if I'm not right havn't done it in a while.
May 11, 2010 9:50:46 AM

I thought it would be obvious too :)  Maybe I'm blind and its obvious
!