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converting desktop to media pc


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#1 unnnies

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 07:40 PM

I currently have an Acer Aspire AX1301-U1312 that I'd like to tune up a bit and make into a great media PC. I envision plugging this computer straight into my TV, sitting back on my couch with a wireless keyboard, and watching stuff like streaming netflix/hulu/amazon vod/comedy central ect, over the air broadcasts, and media ripped from my own library. I am looking for opinions/suggestions on what would be worth upgrading/installing. Here are somethings I have begun to consider:

TV tuner
I'd love to have this mainly for recording. Besides that capability I am not really sure what to look for, or if I should install a card or get a usb dongle. I also only have to low profile slots. (PCI Express x1 and PCI Express x16)
After some looking around I settled on this guy: http://www.hauppauge.com/site/products/data_hvr1250.html

Blu-ray drive
A CD exploded in my optical drive, so I have to replace this anyway. I'm not sure how much I would really get into blu-ray, but this might be cool for a few movies.

Dedicated graphics card
I don't have the tv I'm gonna use for this yet, but it won't be bigger then 32'. Is it worth it to upgrade this, or is this something that is only needed by gamers. If I get the blu-ray drive, would this be a must? I have Integrated NVIDIA GeForce 9200 Graphics and it already has an hdmi port.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102874

So that's all I'm looking at right now. Honestly, this box works pretty well as a media pc right now. I was just considering some minor improvements. Let me know what your think.

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#2 Blaze413

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 09:26 PM

i think what u chose to add is great...the video card will help a ton...cant really go much into bigger cards cuz its a small case so i think that is the best option for a card but ya that card is where u r going to see the most improvement

another thing u could look into (i dont have experience with them personally) but a dedicated lan card since ure going to be steaming stuff with help a lot with smoothness from the web

remember u get what u pay for but u will see improvement even with a cheap card like this for $11 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833166017
http://www.newegg.com/store/SubCategory.aspx?SubCategory=27&Tpk=lan%20card

#3 dpunisher

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 11:56 PM

another thing u could look into (i dont have experience with them personally) but a dedicated lan card since ure going to be steaming stuff with help a lot with smoothness from the web


I don't know about that.

The integrated 9200 should do hardware Blu-ray decode. When you do decide to get a blu-ray drive, see if the system works OK without dropping frames, and see if visual quality is up to snuff. If it won't do what you need, grab another videocard. If you do use the HDMI out, double check to be sure the audio works. NVidia was a bit behind of AMD on that. If you can find a low profile 56XX series it would work better for Blu-ray playback (better post processing).

IMHO, a tuner card is worth it only if you are trying to receive HD signals over the air. Whats the point of running a cable box through your computer?

When you do find a really good wireless keyboard/mouse combo, with good range, let me know. I am still looking for one.

I am a retired Ford tech. Next to Fords, any computer is a piece of cake. (The cake, its not a lie)

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#4 the_patriot11

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 12:01 AM

I think he is thinking of turning it into a DVR dpunisher, at least thats the impression I got from it.

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#5 killerx525

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 12:36 AM

Blueray Combo Burner - Able to read and write blueray and CD/DVD disk

Your gonna need a new power supply to run the graphics card. The total power used in this system with the new graphics card and blueray combo is approx. 309W. I found a 300W Mini ITX power supply but no bigger then that.

>Michael 
System1: CPU- Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.4GHz, CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-D14, RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB Kit(4Gx4) DDR3 2133MHz, SSD/HDD- Samsung 850 EVO 250GB/Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/Seagate Barracuada 3TB, GPU- 2x EVGA GTX980 Superclocked @1360/MHz1900MHz, Motherboard- Asus X99 Deluxe, Case- Custom Mac G5, PSU- EVGA P2-1000W, Soundcard- Realtek High Definition Audio, OS- Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Games: APB: Reloaded, Hours played: 3100+  System2: Late 2011 Macbook Pro 15inch   OFw63FY.png


#6 unnnies

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 01:30 AM

Blaze413- as you mentioned, my machine is compact, so I have limited options for upgrading. I can't really consider a dedicated lan card because I only have two open slots.

dpunisher- the_patriot is correct in his assumptions that I would like to use the tv tuner for DVRing. Honestly I probably wouldn't record much, maybe some PBS stuff and some time shifting of a few shows. (and I don't have cable) What attracts me to installing the tv tuner is the idea of consolidating all functionality to one machine and not having superfluous remotes. Even so, maybe it's best if I hold off on the tv tuner.

As for the graphics card, there are a few low profile 56XX series, but they all have massive fans on them and occupy at least two PCI slots. I think I'll take the wait and see approach with this as you suggested.

killerx525- the power supply was the last thing on my mind, thanks for the heads up! the built in power supply is only 220W. Do you think if I just started with the blu-ray player, the current power supply would be enough?

You all gave me something to think about. I was really excited about this and got a little ahead of myself. I think I'll start by adding the blu-ray drive and upgrade one thing at a time as wanted/needed.

#7 killerx525

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 02:27 AM

You might as well buy a new Mid-ATX case with a 450W power supply then you could get any graphics card you like also you can get tv tuner.

>Michael 
System1: CPU- Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.4GHz, CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-D14, RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB Kit(4Gx4) DDR3 2133MHz, SSD/HDD- Samsung 850 EVO 250GB/Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/Seagate Barracuada 3TB, GPU- 2x EVGA GTX980 Superclocked @1360/MHz1900MHz, Motherboard- Asus X99 Deluxe, Case- Custom Mac G5, PSU- EVGA P2-1000W, Soundcard- Realtek High Definition Audio, OS- Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Games: APB: Reloaded, Hours played: 3100+  System2: Late 2011 Macbook Pro 15inch   OFw63FY.png


#8 unnnies

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 04:59 PM

A whole new case? That's crazy?!?!

Naw, actually the more I think about it the more awesome it sounds. However, more time energy and money than I want to invest at this point. I think I try my luck with just the blu-ray drive first.

dpunisher - btw I'm currently using this mouse and keyboard http://www.amazon.com/Gyration-GYM1100CKNA-Mouse-Compact-Keyboard/dp/tech-data/B001LDKO60

I got the keyboard and mouse from my workplace, they was missing their adapter and were going to be thrown out. They are pretty sweet, but I have never used them in a "lean back situation" so I'll update this post after I try it out. These little guys look really cool to http://www.amazon.com/Portable-Wireless-Keyboard-Rechargeable-Notebooks/dp/B003UE52ME. In all honesty I would probably just end up using an app on my phone.

#9 hamluis

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 06:16 PM

Well...I have that Hauppauge card.

I use mine primarily to capture movies and sports events to my computer for further editing (I eliminate the commercials). But, if you are one of those persons who don't edit such captures, you may want to rethink. Lots of capture devices/alternatives these days.

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#10 unnnies

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 12:02 AM

I would like to clip commercials out, what software do you use?

#11 killerx525

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 12:41 AM

A whole new case? That's crazy?!?!

Naw, actually the more I think about it the more awesome it sounds. However, more time energy and money than I want to invest at this point. I think I try my luck with just the blu-ray drive first.

dpunisher - btw I'm currently using this mouse and keyboard http://www.amazon.com/Gyration-GYM1100CKNA-Mouse-Compact-Keyboard/dp/tech-data/B001LDKO60

I got the keyboard and mouse from my workplace, they was missing their adapter and were going to be thrown out. They are pretty sweet, but I have never used them in a "lean back situation" so I'll update this post after I try it out. These little guys look really cool to http://www.amazon.com/Portable-Wireless-Keyboard-Rechargeable-Notebooks/dp/B003UE52ME. In all honesty I would probably just end up using an app on my phone.

I'm just a bit worried about the lack of power.You could buy a simple case like this.

>Michael 
System1: CPU- Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.4GHz, CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-D14, RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB Kit(4Gx4) DDR3 2133MHz, SSD/HDD- Samsung 850 EVO 250GB/Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/Seagate Barracuada 3TB, GPU- 2x EVGA GTX980 Superclocked @1360/MHz1900MHz, Motherboard- Asus X99 Deluxe, Case- Custom Mac G5, PSU- EVGA P2-1000W, Soundcard- Realtek High Definition Audio, OS- Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Games: APB: Reloaded, Hours played: 3100+  System2: Late 2011 Macbook Pro 15inch   OFw63FY.png


#12 hamluis

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 09:42 AM

<<...what software do you use?>>

I will use either Pinnacle Studio 12 or Corel Video Studio 12...I like each for what I do.

The Pinnacle program does not allow TV capture but the Corel program does, I don't really need either for captures because the Hauppauge card has capture software...so I have options :).

Louis

Edited by hamluis, 13 February 2011 - 09:47 AM.





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