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Building a media center


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#1 speckledapple

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 10:00 PM

Hello,

I want to start building a media center for my home. But I want it to do a few extra things other than just media. Below are the capabilities I want it to do:
  • Stream media to any set top box anywhere in the home (pictures, video, etc)
  • Store pictures, video, etc for my entire family that would be accessible anywhere the internet is
  • Some pretty solid security so people would be reluctant to hack in
  • Download torrents from the internet and automatically share them through the system
  • I want it to be quiet
  • I dont want to treat it like a regular computer so low maintenance is preferred
  • Ample storage space for backups and the media itself
  • Allows me to remotely manage it if it requires any service
  • Record movies, videos, etc from the internet and share it automatically
This list is flexible for instance if I cannot get all of these capabilities that is ok at least I can have the main ideas. Any thoughts on what or how I can accomplish this build?

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#2 outdoor

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 10:35 PM

Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16811154091
Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16813500041
Procesor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16819116093
Ram
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16820227124
Harddrive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16822136358
DVD Burner
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16827136180
These are the parts Ive order for the exact same thing you want. I would go with a bigger hard drive for your media though. Maybe 4gigs of ram. The motherboard has onboard Nvidia 9300 graphics. You can set the video memory from 128 to 512. Its great!!!! It would be easier if you have windows 7 on all of your computers you want to share you media with. Just use Windows 7 MediaCenter and it will setup sharing autmaticly.
You will need some good thermal grease since you want low mantience. Might be best if you get hard drive fan to keep the temp down. It would be easy to get a different case with side fans built in to cool the whole motherboard but that would cost you $70 or more. The motherboard is good since it has tje PCI Express *16. So if you ever want to upgrade something you can.
Since you will be using it for media I would get a better Dvd/cd burner.
The processor is really fast and has more than enough power/speed for a media center PC.
The computer parts list was created by another member

#3 DJBPace07

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 12:15 AM

Outdoor's PC is designed as a low-power set-top box and not intended for intensive applications as that CPU is low-end. Given what you want to do, I suggest going with a better build.

Case: COOLER MASTER Elite 330 RC-330-KKN1-GP - An inexpensive case with decent shipping, nothing too special. However, the NZXT WHISPER WHI - 001BK is quieter, but more expensive and large. If you're wanting a micro-ATX case, which fits somewhere in between a Mid-ATX case and the Mini-ITX case Outdoor suggested, the Rosewill R102-P-BK is worth a look. $39

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-880GA-UD3H AM3 AMD 880G - As this PC is not going to be treated like a standard PC, a motherboard with an on-board graphics card would be best. This motherboard takes AMD's AM3 CPU's, uses DDR3, allows for Crossfire (If you later want to turn this into a gaming rig), comes with USB 3.0, and SATA 6. This is part of AMD's new 8xx series of chipsets. If you are going to go with the Micro-ATX case above, you must get a motherboard designed to fit into such a case, like the MSI 880GMA-E45 which has the exact same features as its larger counterpart. $104

CPU: AMD Athlon II X4 635 Propus 2.9GHz - This is an excellent $100 processor. It runs at a decent clock speed and it has quad core, and, thus, is far more powerful than a Pentium dual core. The included stock heatsink and fan should be quiet enough not to be bothersome. $100

Power Supply: OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ500MXSP 500W - This is a bit overkill for your needs, but if you decide to upgrade to a dedicated graphics card, the extra power will come in handy. $59 (Before $20 mail-in rebate)

RAM: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 - This is basic DDR3 RAM. You need a 64-bit operating system to use 4GB or more of it. $81

Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Blue WD3200AAKS 320GB - Since you will be using this as a media server, I suggest a small-ish main drive, and add larger secondary drives to store your movies and music on. A good secondary drive is the Western Digital Caviar Blue WD10EALS 1TB. $49

Optical Drive: LITE-ON CD/DVD Burner - Bulk Black SATA Model iHAS124-04 - If you will be watching standard definition DVD's and nothing else, this will work. However, if you want Blu-Ray playback, you should get a Samsung Combo Drive with both Blu-Ray and DVD functionality. $19

Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit - You need this. As for your specific points, security is handled by Windows and, if you want, a second program. I use Microsoft Security Essentials. If you're worried about people hacking into your system, get a router and turn on the firewall for extra protection. All versions of Windows 7 come with Media Center, which is excellent. You will also have to setup your Torrents using your favorite torrenting program. $99

(Optional) TV Tuner - AVerMedia AVerTV Combo G2 - This is a full kit that comes with everything you need to get started recording TV. This accepts ATSC, NTSC, and QAM (Digital). If you want to record premium channels, you will need CableCARD access to get to them, which few, if any, PC-based tuners have. $99

Grand Total: $556 (Before rebates, shipping, taxes, and optional equipment)

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#4 outdoor

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 08:59 AM

Stay away from AMD. Its cheaper and it shows it in its performance. Go to google and type Intel vs AMD and see what comes up.

Edited by outdoor, 03 August 2010 - 09:59 AM.


#5 DJBPace07

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 10:09 PM

I do hope you aren't telling me an Intel Pentium Dual Core is better, performance wise, than an Athlon II X4 635. Both AMD and Intel are similar, they run the same software. In the mid-level CPU market, which is the sub $200 processor bracket, AMD and Intel compete very well on performance. At the high-end, Intel wins with the i7 950 CPU models and up. Searching "Intel vs AMD" will only get you flame bait and responses from fanboys on either side.

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#6 outdoor

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 10:49 PM

Im not saying the Intel Dual Core is faster than a AMD. I know its not but I'm getting it because of its price/performance. But when you get to the Core 2 Duos and the new i3 i5 i7 processors you are beating AMD into the ground.

#7 DJBPace07

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 11:12 PM

Really? I got my information from a number of reviews: Guru3D, Bit-tech, and PC Perspective, all of which seems to have similarly ranked benchmarks. Against the Athlon X4 635 specifcally, the reviews from Legitreviews, FiringSquad, and Tom's Hardware all indicate that the Athlon II X4 works well in general purpose PC's or light gaming, which is exactly what the OP intends.

Edited by DJBPace07, 04 August 2010 - 11:12 PM.

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#8 outdoor

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Posted 05 August 2010 - 08:37 AM

Then he should AMD. But later down the road if he decides he needs a little more perfomrance or power than he will be stuck in the AMD products. But if he goes with intel then he wants a upgrade he will have a lot more options to work with.

#9 RainbowSix

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Posted 05 August 2010 - 12:10 PM

I only have an Athlon II dual-core and it has performed much better than I expected. You get more than what you pay for with AMD.
[ Antec 1200 v3 | Gigabyte GA-890FXA-UD5 rev. 3.1 | AMD Phenom II x6 1090T (overclocked to 4GHz) | Corsair XMS3 4x4GB DDR3 1600 | COOLER MASTER Silent Pro 600W & Visiontek Juice Box 450W | SAMSUNG 470 Series 64GB SSD | WD Caviar Black 640GB & Samsung Spinpoint 2TB HDD | 2x XFX Radeon HD 5770 in Crossfire | SAMSUNG 22X DVD±RW | Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit]

CompTIA A+ certified
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#10 outdoor

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Posted 05 August 2010 - 01:00 PM

Then thats not much

#11 DJBPace07

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Posted 05 August 2010 - 11:22 PM

In your opinion it is not much, but then again, opinions based on hearsay and emotion which fly in the face of evidence are typically not valid. It has been said in this thread and others, that AMD and Intel are similar and will do the same thing. It all comes down to the application, money, and performance requirements. In mainstream situations, the i3, i5, Athlon II, and Phenom II all compete at varying price levels. At the ultra-high-end enthusiast i7 CPU's, those are designed for people who really push their systems and have the cash and are willing to spend a premium to get those CPU's and platforms. We should be helping the poster, not stoking the fires of a flame war over something as trivial as whether or not AMD is as good as Intel. The OP hasn't responded, therefore, we cannot say what he or she might want.

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