HTPC & Server New Build & Upgrade - CHEAP!

Approximate Purchase Date: within next week or two
Budget Range: <$400 after rebates and shipping, may be able to stretch to $500 if justifiable
System Usage from Most to Least Important: streaming media from home server, preferably 1080p HD content, wirelessly if possible (unknown ETA on running cable for wired network). Surfing internet, streaming HD content from internet if possible.

Are you buying a monitor: No

Parts to Upgrade: HTPC - new build, server - see below
Do you need to buy OS: No - Linux
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: No preference
Location: York, PA, USA
Parts Preferences: No preference

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Your Monitor Resolution: 47"-55" 1080p HDTV (not yet purchased, currently using a 34" 540p/1080i with HDMI input)

Additional Comments: Prefer to keep HTPC low power and quiet. DVR capabilities not necessary at this time, but would like to keep option to upgrade to TV Tuner if desired without having to rebuild or reconfigure too much. Need wireless keyboard for HTPC. Need Digital Optical audio output to connect HTPC to receiver.

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: Tired of plugging laptop to TV via HDMI, would like to free up laptop for actual use instead of pseudo-htpc use. Would like to set up "proper" home server/file storage, get all media in one location.

OK, here's my current setup:

Computer #1/main desktop (was an HP Pavilion a6152n that blew motherboard and cpu, so I upgraded some parts) - this one has Ubuntu 10.04 on an unpartitioned 1TB HDD, and is pretty much full already with media files. (stupid, I know...)
ASUS P5G41C-M LX LGA 775 Intel G41 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 (K) 2.4 GHz
2GB RAM DDR2 PC2-5300 (mobo does have DDR3 capability, but used original HP RAM)
1TB Samsung 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
400W Corsair PSU
Integrated graphics

Computer #2/secondary desktop - this is the one I hope to use as the server.
ABIT IC7-G motherboard
Intel P-4 3.0GHz
2.5GB DDR RAM (2X256MB (from original build) + 2X1GB purchased when rebuilt Computer #1)
80 GB Western Digital Sata 3.0Gb/s HDD - OS drive with Ubuntu 10.04 installed
400GB Hitachi HDD Sata 3.0Gb/s - was a storage drive in this computer, now empty, original HDD from Computer #1
BFG MX-400 128MB graphics card
Thermaltake XaserIII 480W PSU

Laptop - gets used mostly as a pseudo-HTPC currently, 500GB HDD mostly full.

My thoughts were to build a new HTPC, and pick up a 2TB drive or something for the server. Maybe keep the 80GB in the server and load Ubuntu Server onto it. Move the 1TB from Computer #1 into the server since it already has most of my current media on it and add the new 2TB HDD for a total of 3TB. Move the empty 400GB HDD from Computer #2 back to Computer #1 and load it with LinuxMint 13. Probably load LM 13 onto the HTPC, also - may consider Myth, XBMC, etc... but I'm fine with bare OS and loading straight from folders using VLC without all the fluff of a special media center app/OS. I'm open to either, though. Am I thinking in the right direction?

Sorry for the long post....
5 answers Last reply
More about htpc server build upgrade cheap
  1. Emerald said:

    And use computer #2 as the htpc then? Everything else in that system would suffice? What about the server?
  2. here is a better idea

    use Desktop 2 as a server the way you proposed and get a system like this

    for extra $50 you could make it blue-ray DVD

    How would this build compare to the one linked above? It's considerably more expensive, but the one linked above doesn't have a HDD, and this build is adding in a HDD for the server, too. Since I need the digital audio out (S/PDIF), I'm limited on motherboards. The 500GB HDD would be for the HTPC, the 1TB HDD would be for the Computer #2/Server. On the advice of a friend, I opted for a 5400rpm HDD to be more quiet in the HTPC. Is a 7200rpm drive noticeably louder?
  4. the A6 system should do the job no problem
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