Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Home Theatre

I've decided that my lounge may well be served by a Home Theatre PC. Having given the matter some thought I have also arranged it so that I can buy the initial parts, build the system and then add other features as parts and funds allow.

Initially I need a case, motherboard with most devices built in (saves cost), CPU and memory. Hard disk and DVD can be "recycled" from elsewhere and I also have a dual tuner DVB-T PCI card doing nothing. My choices come under a £200 budget (£186):

Antec NSK1300 - £56 - this is a small case but also a quiet one with plastic and metal sandwiching providing sound deadening plus a single 120mm fan exhausting all hot air (not just from the PSU). Reviewed here

Gigabyte GA-73PVM-S2H - £46 - this is based on Nvidia's Nforce 630i chipset and the ideal board because it has all the bits I need - HDMI connector for HDTV, gigabit LAN, built in graphics that can cope (just) with HDTV resolutions, HD capable audio.

Intel "Pentium Dual Core" E2180 - £50 - this CPU is badged as a Pentium Dual Core but it's a Core2Duo with slightly less cache. I have one already and it overclocks easily from 2ghz to 3ghz at default voltage. The mobo above is also overclock friendly. I may also play with Speedstep and a few other power saving features.

Zalman CNPS7000 heatsink - £0 - I had this lying around for some while. It happens to be the best heatsink that also fits into the Antec case and also is nice and quiet.

Corsair PC6400 (2gb) - £33 - DDR2 memory. What else matters?

The extras that can be added later are:

AMD/ATI HD3450 VGA card - £27 - supports HDCP/HDTV and some low end gaming if I can be bothered

Pioneer BDC-202BK Blu-Ray Reader/DVD±DL Writer - £86 - Would allow Blu Ray playback.

500 GB WD5000AACS Caviar "Green" hard disk - £63 - claims to be lower power usage, therefore less heat produced.