Few questions

sideout

Weaksauce
Joined
Sep 24, 2006
Messages
104
Trying to build a small media center computer and don't know much about it.

Are shuttle type things the way to go?

Is it better to buy it piece by piece or try a barebone system off newegg then add the memory/cpu/video card?

If I want HDMI will http://www.msicomputer.com/product/p_spec.asp?model=NX7600GT_Diamond_Plus&class=vga
be a good choice? it's a video card w/ hdmi


CompUSA had a sony media computer for 900$ it was something XL1

Intel Pentium D Processor 820, 2.8GHz, 512MB RAM, 200GB Hard Drive, 16X DVD+/-RW and 8X DVD/24X24X24 CD-RW Combo Drives, Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005

also had a 200 disk cd changer and a boatload of connections.


Is it possible to make a shuttle better than that for a relatively similar price?
 

Mohonri

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jul 29, 2005
Messages
5,765
You don't have to go specifically with Shuttle, or with any particular brand for that matter. The desire for a small system is purely aesthetic--there's no functional reason to require it. I'd suggest building your own, as you'll get a much lower price and better features than with a Shuttle.

If you're looking small, there are plenty of cases on Newegg and other sites that are nice and small and take uATX motherboards. They might not be as small as a Shuttle system, but the end result will be a whole lot cheaper. You can also get DVI to HDMI cables, so you can use normal video cards or even a a motherboard with on-board DVI (both very good boards for cheap).

Keep in mind that unless you're doing super-heavy-duty post-processing and multi-pass transcoding, you don't need an expensive processor. And that means you can get a CPU that's easier to cool--heck, you'd probably do fine with the $40 Sempron 2800+ (Socket 754) and the Jetway board linked above.
 

D-Three

Weaksauce
Joined
Apr 26, 2006
Messages
85
sideout said:
Trying to build a small media center computer and don't know much about it.

Are shuttle type things the way to go?

Is it better to buy it piece by piece or try a barebone system off newegg then add the memory/cpu/video card?
It's your choice of course. If you buy a barebone, most of the times the motherboard, case and power supply are designed as "one piece". That could be a disadvantage because if the mb or psu fail, you cannot replace it by something else. You need to buy the same psu or mb again. But on the other hand, barebones are most of the times much smaller than most mATX cases.
The big advantage of buying piece by piece is that you can choose the case, power supply and mainboard that you want.
So like I said, it's your choice. If you don't want to search for a case, mb and psu and if you want to be sure everything fits, buy a barebone. If you want to learn something, have fun searching and building and want "total control" then don't buy a barebone ;)
This is a very good card. But maybe a bit overkill for a HTPC?
I'm sure you want a very silent system. So maybe it's better to search for a card with passive cooling. And like Mohonri said, if you can find a MB with good on-board graphics, you don't need a card.
CompUSA had a sony media computer for 900$ it was something XL1

Intel Pentium D Processor 820, 2.8GHz, 512MB RAM, 200GB Hard Drive, 16X DVD+/-RW and 8X DVD/24X24X24 CD-RW Combo Drives, Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005

also had a 200 disk cd changer and a boatload of connections.


Is it possible to make a shuttle better than that for a relatively similar price?
The 200 disk CD-changer could be a problem if you want to make your own system :)
But like Mohonri said, you don't need a much better system. A HTPC doesn't require extreme graphic and cpu power.

The board I like for a HTPC, is the Abit IL-90MV. It has 7.1 HD audio, optical in and out and HDMI (a HDM to DVI converter is included) and great cooling! But the price is a bit high for a board with only two SATA ports and one PCI-Ex1 slot. So maybe a cheaper MB with a videocard with HDMI is a better option. The IL-90MV is not bad though. It's very good for a very small system with HDMI.
And finally; Silverstone, Enlight, Ahanix, HFX, DIGN, ... make great HTPC/media center PC cases.
 

Mohonri

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jul 29, 2005
Messages
5,765
Yeah, building your own is probably the best option. I'd suggest:

A small case (I like In-Win ones)
A motherboard with on-board DVI (Socket 754, Socket 939)
Get a lower-power CPU (Socket 754 , heck you could even stick a 25W Turion in there, or Socket 939)
512MB RAM
300 or 400 GB hard drive
A DVD drive of some sort (just make sure it's quiet, or rip the DVD beforehand)
A copy of WinXP and some PVR app (or, if you're feeling adventurous, MythTV)
A DVI to HDMI cable

Total cost of everything would probably be in the $450 range. If you have your own hardware to recycle, even better!
 

Mohonri

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
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Messages
5,765
D-Three said:
And a TV tuner card? The ABIT NF-M2 nView is also a great mobo: HD audio and optical in/out, ideal for a HTPC! But maybe you don't need that. We don't know what your demands are ;)
Heh, I forgot that one :) That Asus board offers a lot! It does cost nearly double the Jetway board, but you get the optical in/out, HD audio, and 4 DIMM slots, which may or may not be useful in this application. You can also get a SPDIF bracket for the jetway board if you need optical.
 

sideout

Weaksauce
Joined
Sep 24, 2006
Messages
104
what is a PVR and what is MythTV?

and how do you plug sound from your computer to your TV or cable box?
 

Mohonri

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jul 29, 2005
Messages
5,765
PVR = Personal Video Recorder (or some such) Pretty much the same thing as DVR or TiVo.

MythTV is a software package for Linux that includes oodles of TV recording/playback, media, streaming, and all sorts of other funtionality. It's free (no Microsoft tax!), and extremely powerful and configurable, but has a reputation for being...quirky to set up.
 

o0akoni0o

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Aug 31, 2004
Messages
1,301
Mohonri said:
Yeah, building your own is probably the best option. I'd suggest:

A small case (I like In-Win ones)
A motherboard with on-board DVI (Socket 754, Socket 939)
Get a lower-power CPU (Socket 754 , heck you could even stick a 25W Turion in there, or Socket 939)
512MB RAM
300 or 400 GB hard drive
A DVD drive of some sort (just make sure it's quiet, or rip the DVD beforehand)
A copy of WinXP and some PVR app (or, if you're feeling adventurous, MythTV)
A DVI to HDMI cable

Total cost of everything would probably be in the $450 range. If you have your own hardware to recycle, even better!
how are the psu's in those In-Wins?
 

Mohonri

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jul 29, 2005
Messages
5,765
o0akoni0o said:
how are the psu's in those In-Wins?
I built a machine for my niece in one of them (with the suggested motherboard, a Sempron 3100, and Corsair ValueSelect RAM), and it handled the load just fine, even when the CPU was running at 100% (Folding@Home) for over a week. In general, people tend to ridiculously overestimate the amount of power they need. I'd be surprised if the entire system listed draws more than 100W. Don't forget that the motherboard has tons of overclocking features, so you'll have the option of undervolting the CPU to lower the power further. I took the aforementioned Sempron 3100+ from 1.45V down to 1.15 (or was it 1.05) with no stability problems. I didn't try overclocking, but had zero stability problems, even under load.
 

cmv

n00b
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
63
sideout said:
I'm ending up with basically the same system after a round about try of a bunch of different components. I just ordered the Jetway last night. My current HTPC is a Celeron D 340 with an Asrock P4Dual-915GL. This setup works great except the AGP card goes over the PCI bus which is also used by the TV tuners (in this case, 2 ATSC Air2PC cards from eBay -- $40/pop shipped -- that record HDTV). The CPU load is high and the PCI bus gets over utilized with this setup. I'd like to try a PCI Express 5300/6200/6600 card in the P4Dual-915GLs PCIe slot to see if that works properly. But that would be at least another $30 and now power consumption is a concern so I'm going to go with a Sempron 3100+ (for cool 'n quiet and the 256k L2 cache or the amd 64 venice 3000+). Testing it first with an old clawhammer AMD 64 3200+.

Have you ordered this setup yet? Any feedback? I'll be sure to post in a few.

edit: I used to use a Hauppauge PVR-500 which worked very well with cable. But now I'm over the air and 30+ miles from the towers with snowy reception. So I switched to ATSC. The PVR-500 is great as it's two PVR-150s in a single PCI card. Well worth the space savings.
 

msny

2[H]4U
Joined
Sep 5, 2001
Messages
2,197
To build or not to build?

Your choices for building look fine.

If you did go the Shuttle route it would generally
cost more but you would do a minimum of
hands on work. Just add CPU, drives, video and memory.
This gives lots of experience to a first time builder and
Shuttle usually gives you some basic directions for
mounting everthing..

If you build from scratch you decide ALL the parts
involved. Add to the above case, PSU and the work
of mounting everything.
You may make some mistakes but in the
end you get what you want.

I thought I'd make a clear difference in the process
for any nOObs that want to know. Sometimes
oldtimers like us forget being the new kid on
the block and assume a lot.
 

Zoogle

Gawd
Joined
Oct 11, 2005
Messages
752
You'll prolly want to go with some ordinary RAM instead of XMS and just bump it up to 1GB instead. You'll probably appreciate more RAM rather than slightly faster and more overclockable RAM.
 
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