slightly overwhelmed...advice sought

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slightly overwhelmed...advice sought

Postposted on Wed Jan 04, 2006 4:52 pm

Hi folks,
I have decided to set up a SFF in my living room which I intend to have three purposes:

Act as a dvd player
Act as a CD player
Use HD to store ripped cd collection
Basic web stuff, particularly Napster :oops:

I can use the main tv in the room as monitor so wont need to bother about that. I had intended setting up sound either through an amp then on to normal hi-fi speakers or via a 5.1 or 3.1 home theatre set up. Can anyone suggest a suitable shopping list for this pc? I have built bigger pc's but dont know where to start in terms of SFF stuff. As a starting point I had thought that a shuttle barebones may be appropriate?

Suggestions and advice very much appreciated.

In terms of expenditure I dont need to shell out big bucks for the latest stuff, just enough to serve the purpose decently.

edit: found a good resource guide at arstechnica, seems I can do a lot more with a home theatre set up in a small machine than I was aware of.
stephenb
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Postposted on Fri Jan 13, 2006 5:08 am

If you feel pretty technically comfortable, you might think about loading linux up and using <a href="http://www.mythtv.org/">MythTV</a>.
I don't know if you've ever heard of this software, but it's really impressive what it can do. Basically it takes the place of a TiVo unit, but it does a bit more than that from what I've heard. I was just hearing the other day at my local linux users group that it can cut out commercials automatically. It's pretty impressive.
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Postposted on Fri Jan 13, 2006 12:51 pm

I had envisioned using win media centre, but thank you for the link I will certainly have alook.

Cheers.
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Postposted on Fri Jan 13, 2006 1:02 pm

For what you want it to do, you could easily build a system pretty cheap.

The hard part is just finding a case or bare bones system that would look good with your setup.

I would say get an Intel setup (tend to run cooler) with a passive cooled 6600\6600GT to take advantage of Purevideo and NVIEW.
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Postposted on Fri Jan 13, 2006 1:10 pm

Please note that a MythTV setup... well, if it goes well, it's not easy, but not too hard, from what I've heard.

If it goes wrong, from what I've heard, it can cause you to pull all of your hair out 20 times over.

As much as I like open source alternatives to MS stuff, sometimes the MS stuff is the better alternative. Also, I think Napster requires Windows Media Player, meaning that XP MCE is your best bet.

If you DO go with MythTV, make sure you get a nVidia graphics card. ATI's Linux drivers SUCK.
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Postposted on Fri Jan 13, 2006 1:22 pm

Ive been debating on doing the same thing myself and have recently been looking for some options in the SFF world. I was really starting to like the look of the Aspire X-Pack. There is a pretty glowing review on AnandTech.
I like that it fits full height cards(some small antec cases like the minuet or overture can't), and you can put in whatever mobo brand you want, rather then taking the shuttle(which could very well be good, ive just noticed that getting an Aspire and choice of Mobo isnt that different of a price and can even be less).

Myself, i would get the Aspire, a 754 mATX mobo and a sempron cpu. Possibly one that supported Cool & Quiet for the extra temperature control(though I dont know if C&C is even an option in win media center).
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Postposted on Fri Jan 13, 2006 1:35 pm

Lian Li has a really nice toaster box if that's the route you want to go. I prefer a box that looks more like a piece of hi-fi gear myself. Silverstone and Ahanix make some really nice ones. Lian Li has one. And believe it or not, Thermaltake has a couple of rather subdued looking home theater boxes that look pretty good.

You might check out CoolerGuys.com to get a look at some of the boxes.
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Postposted on Fri Jan 13, 2006 1:41 pm

Just wanted to mention, I just built a HTPC box. I'm using a an Antec Aria case, an MSI K8NGM2-FID MiniATX (DVI) board, an Athlon 64 3500+, a gig of Patriot RAM, 300GB SATA drive, DVD Burner, Hauppauge
WinTV PVR500 MCE (dual tuner), and Windows Media Edition. I've been pretty happy with this set up, but I think the PSU may be struggling a bit. I will probably wind up getting a new case since the PSU in the Aria is not replaceable.
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