Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Media PC here we come



Finally took the plunge and bought the kit to build a Home Theater PC, Media Center PC or whatever you want to call it. In my case, the prime mover was building a low power consumption PC that I could leave on 24/7 and not feel guilty about my CO2 production. I've bought different components to my earlier proposed machine, these with a view to keeping it green and quiet.

So, that's an AMD 780G chipset motherboard, AMD X2 4450e CPU and some Samsung 1Tb drives.

The 780G is a great chipset with the best integrated graphics you can currently get (by some margin). It's equivalent to a Radeon HD3450 onboard and will play games at 1024*768 (hopefully 1366*768 too since that's the resolution of my HDTV). The Gigabyte board is probably the best out there - it's the most feature filled and also overclocks both CPU and graphics if you want (I will want!).

The AMD X4 4450e is a low power usage processor - with a ceiling of 45W which is quite a bit lower than Intel's Core2Duo (65W) and Quad (95W). It also uses Cool n Quiet to downclock when not being used. The combination of chipset and processor is sufficient to play Blu-ray and HD-DVD (if I fit an optical drive!).

Samsung 1Tb drives are amongst the lowest power consumption drives as well as quick and quiet. Two terabytes should be plenty for now and with a gigabit ethernet connection to my other machines it should act as a decent server too.

Software? Based on XP with Service Pack 3, SABnzbd & Azureus (as uTorrent web interface didn’t work for me) for remote web-controllable downloads,and Media Portal for recording and playback (it's better than MS's MediaCenter and more expandable). I've got some TV capture cards sorted too so this will be a Freeview and Freesat PVR as well. Yummy!

I bought an Antec NSK1300 case but the PSU was faulty and in any case I found it too cramped with the hard disk fouling on the TV card. So, case is not yet sorted.

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