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Two systems, comments?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by ab1385, 30 Apr 2006.

  1. ab1385

    ab1385 What's a Dremel?

    29 Aug 2004
    Likes Received:
    Not sure if this is the right place to post this, but... :)

    Overall Scheme

    Basically, my Dad wants a new PC, and wants me to build him an HTPC for the lounge. There isn't really a budget as such, but he just wants best bang for buck, not latest technology. His computer he wants to be able to play some decent games, but not the latest at high resolution. He wants it basically to be stable and able to run 2 or 3 monitors at once for share trading and stuff whilst browsing the net.

    The HTPC is basically designed to be a box that will output movies, music, and TV series from DivX/MP3, as well as play games a bit. We'll be having sky HD in 3 weeks with the Sky+ thingamibob, so I very much doubt we'll need any ability to record to the PC. Basically, will only want to record if there's an easy way to do so from component video input. This HTPC will also act as a file server for the house, running two 250GB HDDs in RAID 1 (is it 1 where they are mirrored to keep data extra safe?)

    Anyway, these are the systems as I have them at the moment. If anyone has any suggestions as to what might be done differently, then please feel free to comment. :)

    Dad's System

    Asus A8N SLi-SE £69.22
    AMD Athlon 64 3500+ S939 OEM £114.39
    9cm Ultra Quiet Amber Heat Sink Fan £8.70
    1GB Corsair Value Select DDR £56.04
    256MB XFX 6600GT £105.74 - Perhaps x2 if he wants 3-4 screens instead of 2 - either at build or at a later date.
    500W Xclio SLi 12cm £39.89
    Coolermaster Centurion RC-532 £42.99
    17" Hyundai B71A Black TFT £137.93 - x2 or x3
    Windows XP Home OEM £58.61
    We still have an HDD, CDRW, and DVD for this one, as well as keyboard, mouse, speakers etc.

    The Windows MCE system

    Asus A8N5X £50.87
    AMD Athlon 64 3500+ S939 OEM £114.39
    9cm Ultra Quiet Amber Heat Sink Fan £8.70
    1GB Corsair Value Select DDR £56.04
    256MB XFX 6600GT £105.74
    500W Xclio SLi 12cm £39.89
    SilverStone "LASCALA" LC17S (Silver) £71.68 - this is the one bit I think I'm most unsure on - just because I'm not quite sure what will fit in here in terms of CPU cooling, 3x HDDs, etc. I think it will all fit - but I don't want to get it wrong!
    Samsung Spinpoint P120 250GB HDD £58.15 - x2 in RAID 1 (I think it's RAID 1 - the one where they mirror each other for data safety)
    Pioneer Silver DVD-RW £28.45
    Windows XP MCE OEM £76.23

    There is another HDD lying around here somewhere which would be used for the installation of windows MCE and a few programs. The 250GB HDDs would be data only, no programs.

    As to the remote - I was looking at the MCE remote but I wasn't clear on what it was. Presumably RF, but here an IR remote would actually be preferable, so that I could program it into my Logitech Harmony remote and have that do all the jobs. Is there a reasonable RF MCE-compatible remote out there? Would make life a lot easier!

    Alas Scan don't seem to have a very wide range of bluetooth keyboard/mouse combos - the DiNovo seems much overpriced and the other logitech one is bulky and annoying. Any suggestions for keyboard/mouse combo that will work at 5m comfortably, costs around £70 or under, and isn't too bulked out with unnecessary buttons?

    All of this would put outputting to a Denon 7.1 receiver (by optical) and a Toshiba 32" HD LCD (by DVI), both of which we already have.

    Thanks for any help anyone wants to provide!

  2. cysus

    cysus What's a Dremel?

    14 Apr 2004
    Likes Received:
    Unless money more an issue than it seems I'd stick with the reliable brands.
    For starters that HSF isn't really better than the stock AMD HSF, unless you're getting it for the fan controller, don't bother. If you have the cash go for a Zalman HSF.
    Also, you don't need a 500watt PSU, and you don't want a Xclio. Go for Enermax, Antec, PC Power & Cooling or on the lower end Tegan; stay above 400watts.
    Don't get a cheap monitor, it doesn't matter how good you're system is if the input/output devices can't measure up. I'd go for a good Viewsonic, Samsung or my favorite NEC. Note: I haven't seen a review on the Hyundai B71A so I'm speaking from a general impression of Hyundai (and that price range).

    Concerning the HTPC,
    For the video card, ATI has better media acceleration, which is valuable in a HTPC environment, I’d get a well cooled X1600 but the 6600gt will work fine.
    Same issue with the PSU as before, and just because it says it's quiet doesn't mean it. Also you won't be able to use a modular PSU in that case because of space issues (Here is a review of the SilverStone LC17)
    Get Seagate hard drives, they're more reliable, quieter and cooler.
    Other than those issues, I'd just make sure to get the quietest components possible for the HTPC(yes, they cost more)

    IMO, that’s a good case choice in both cases (pun not intended).

    Edit: regarding BT KB/M I haven't found anything that compares to the DiNovo set from logitech. It's the onlything I want to use for HTPC (that I've seen). Also, you are correct Raid 1 is data redundancy, Raid 0 is stripping for pontential speed
    Last edited: 30 Apr 2006
  3. Ramble

    Ramble Ginger Nut

    5 Dec 2005
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    "For the video card, ATI has better media acceleration, which is valuable in a HTPC environment, I’d get a well cooled X1600 but the 6600gt will work fine."

    I'd have to argue that, the nVidia PureVideo MPEG decoder (what you'll want for a media center system) is like having media fairies working their magic inside of my video card, the quality it can provide from a simple Freeview signal is pretty amazing, easily a few times better than a TV (It handles upscaling amazingly well).

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