Reader How Tos: Build a PC for TV


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Reader How Tos: A System To Convert VHS and 8 mm Tape To DVD
Reader How Tos: Building For Stability

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How To Build A PC For TV

My girlfriend and I recently purchased a larger place, which means we now have a living room spacious enough for a large television and surround sound system for audio and video. Now, the question is, what do I buy? The market is flooded with audio video receivers of every kind for nearly every budget. But they are also limited as to the type of sound they can produce: film/ video sound and music/ audio.

I could purchase an AudioTron to play MP3s, but that would mean I would need to spend another $270. (THG took an in-depth look at the Turtle Beach AudioTron in their article entitled Music Across Your Home Network? - AudioTron . And it would only play MP3s. Or, I could shell out another $299 for a Tivo player so that I could also get a digital VCR. But then, what about web surfing and games? For another $300, I could get a Web-enabled X-box, GameCube or PS2. These compact boxes would look great in my stereo rack, but after spending my money on all of these neat toys, I probably wouldn't be able to afford a television.

So, I set out looking for an affordable, compact, quiet and good looking PC case that would fit into the configuration of my living room. My favorite retailer had a large selection of cases, many of which were good looking, including the Cooler Master ATC-201 and the Globalwin GAT001. However, these wonderful boxes were much too large. I wanted something in the Micro-ATX form factor, which quickly limited my options. But there are a few...

The Chieftech Flex-Net is good looking, but it only has a 145W PSU, and it looked too much like a standard PC. The In-Wins Micro-ATX IW-T515 is fairly ornate, but a bit too strange looking for my living room. Then, there are the Shuttle SS40 and SS51G, and after seeing these two cases, the choice was simple. They are very similar in functionality. The SS40 has a built-in TV-out (800x600), and runs DDR266 memory with an Athlon CPU. The SS51G, in addition to the foregoing, has USB 2.0 and an AGP slot, but no TV-out (optional add-on card), and runs DDR333 memory. Both sport a 100Mbit LAN connection. The AGP slot appealed to me, so I chose the SS51G. Check the THG article listed below, as well as, "Whoohoo! A Mini PC That Goes To The Max," Whoohoo! A Mini PC That Goes To The Max .