Need help with HTPC/Home Media Server**NOOB**


I've got a pc that will no longer be in use after the holidays so I was thinking of turning it into an htpc/media server for my house. The problem is, I'm a complete noob as far as servers go and RAID & all that stuff. Here are the specs:

AMD 4400+ dual core cpu
Asus A8N 32 SLI deluxe mobo
2 gb ddr kingston value ram
Windows xp
antec 600w psu

I'd like to use these parts to store/stream media throughout the house, and I'm thinking of slapping in a blu ray player/burner to watch movies etc on my main tv @ HD settings. Couple of questions though:

1. I already have a home theater setup (receiver, 5.1 speakers and a PS3 for blu ray playback), so should I even bother with the htpc portion or do you guys think this is redundant?
2. Do I need specific software to set-up server functionality. Meaning, just having xp loaded and connecting to my wireless home network doesn't mean this box is a "server"? What software/programs would you need?
3. If I do use this as an htpc, won't I need specific software for blu-ray playback? Powerdvd or something similar? What about all the other files, like mkv orb etc? Would I need more programs to play those types of files?
4. prob. most importantly, how these specs look for either an htpc or media server? They're very old parts.

What do you guys think?
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  1. Best answer
    I don't think I would put blu-ray on the computer. My experience is it ends up being more trouble then it is worth. And you don't really gain anything if your PS3 plays Blu-rays fine..

    I don't have any experience with PS3 so I don't know how well it will work for playing media files.

    If you do go for the HTPC I would look in to media centers like xbmc, or windows media center so you can run the computer with a remote control and give a friendly UI so less technical people can run it :)

    I personally use windows media center with media browser and shark007 codecs to add almost any file type you and think of mkv AVI etc play back supported in media center. But the catch is on media center is you will need to get win 7 to get media center :(
    The reason I picked windows media center is media center support recording tv and has a free tv guide so if you have a digital tv card you can make your own dvr . And I was already running win 7 so it was free for me to use.

    With making a media server I just share the folders with my media using windows share. That will give all windows linux and mac computers access. For portable divides I use Air video for iOS and Emit for Android . I don't know how the ps3 access stuff but maybe tversity would work
  2. Best answer selected by Thestrangebrew.
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