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  1. #1

    First time HTPC/file server out of old junk... need some input

    Ok so i want to build an htpc/media server/emulator. My main reasons for this is so i can watch podcasts, downloaded hd content, netflix, hulu, and youtube. So i need a front end that can do this and looking around at some linux and windows interfaces it seems to me that windows media center is the only one that can do netflix and hulu is windows media center am i wrong?

    Here is the issue i want to spend no money atm, eventually id like to add a blu ray burner but thats it.

    heres what i have laying around.

    Entertainment stuff...

    32 inch 720p lcd, with cable input, component, hdmi, vga, audio.

    xbox 360, dont really wanna use this thing as an extender just not so convient and not enough codecs cant serve files. I know TV versity is good to get around codecs but not quite what i want in the end no file serving or nintendo emulation.

    a scientific altanta dvr from time warner never looked into this pos but it has some firewire or usb ports and stuff im sure time warner locked them down maybe theres some hacks to copy the show off it with the seemingly useless porsts.
    PC Stuff

    Old Dell

    Ok first of all pc id like to use Dell deminsion e310 pos (i like the way the case will fit the htpc look). This PC has a p4 3ghz 64bit HT cpu, seems pretty damn good for encoding. Has one gig of ddr2 ram which is the one thing id have to upgrade to 2 gig, willing to shell that out if i can get this pc working.

    This thing is also layed out in the BTX format wich seems kinda quiet cooling for an htpc. Heres the problem It has a built in video card blegh, intel gma900. I put windows 7 ultimate 64 bit on this puppy and there are absolutely no windows 7 drivers i can find for this video card at dell or elsewhere. The thing only has two pci slots also no agp or pci-e.. So im not even sure if it can do hd playback well if i could find a driver. My only options here seems to be install xp media center if i can... or spend way to much money on an hi end pci video card which doesnt get to great of new egg review. Honestly dropping this cash on pci card is just dumb... I could also suck it up and buy the 30 dollar BTX board with a pci-e slot but im not sure i wanna do that either.

    Other parts i have

    2.5gb of ddr1

    media center remote

    ATI tv tuner card, dont think it does hd, but hoping i could hack the dvr to transfer the content onto the pc somehow.

    I also have an athlon socket A mobo with xp 2300+ 32 bit or something and agp slot, problem is theres no sata ports, all my ide hds are small and 5400 rpm.

    I have a socket 939 athlon san deigo 64bit with an msi board and pci e slot. problem is i think the mobo maybe shot the computer acts really funny and takes a **** all the time. 939 mobos seeme rare and pricey for options offered.

    i have a bunch of agp cards from fx series to nvidia 6400gt. I also have a pci-e 7800gtx pro, card i think would be best to use im not sure if thats over kill or what but i know itll even push some wow if i want it too.

    win xp home no media center dunno if i can obtain decent media center software that will work with wmc remote and play hulu and netflix though.

    Vista ultimate 32 and 64

    win 7 ult 32 and 64
    I guess the problem is most of my hardwares are all incompatible in someway crappy posistion. I also reall want to use the dell case becuase its sharp for an htpc. I have lots of other cases for the athlons but there like all old ****ee missing sides or something, or a stacker or cosmos which is just way to bulky and doesnt mach my entertainment center stuff one bit. Ive almost thought about trying to mod the micro BTX case to fit a a full size ATX board so i can use the geforce 7800 gtx. Im not to sure if it will fit in the end though and i also dont get the nice hyper threading of the P4 for encoding and ripping and stuff.

    Im hopin maybe someone can give me some help with spending the least amount possible so far buying a 30 dollar btx board seems to be the wa to go but then i have to buy more dd2 becuase im sure a windows 7 64 bit based htpc will suck on the gig of dd2 i have.

    The functions i listed above are there bair minimal playing netflix and hulu along with hd and hopefully being able to use my dvr to get hd content onto the computer or figuring out what i can do with my standard def ati tuner. And using my wmc remote even if it is with another front end. But in reality besides nes stuff id like to play wow and maybe some other older not to intense pc games.

    My thought is maybe id have better luck with linux and another front end but all the ones ive seen dont do netflix of hulu.

    PS sorry for grammar spelling im super tired and took some muscle relaxer due to a very rough day with alot of back pain so im a bit looped.
    CPU: Qx9650 C1 @ 4ghz daily
    Mobo: Gigabyte EP45-UD3P
    Ram: 8gb gSkill ddr2 1000 5-5-5-15
    GPU: 2x ATI 4850's Crossfire
    PSU: Tagan BZ 1100 Watt
    HDD: 150gb Raptor, 4xWD160 raid 0
    Case: Antec 900
    Cooling: Swiftech Apogee Gtz, Swiftech 320 Rad w/hi speed yates, D4 Pump.
    OS: Vista Ultimate x64


  2. #2
    I once overclocked an Intel
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    Mar 2008
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    Hopefully I can help with this one, since I've been helping with a couple HTPCs recently.

    For my personal HTPC, I have Windows Home Server 2003 running (did this mainly for the easy to setup RAID). After that I installed BOXEE. Its a free media center program. It will let you use Netflix, Youtube (maybe HULU, I'm not sure). Runs great on my server hardware (refer to sig).

    I suggest running XP with your type of hardware, and getting BOXEE to run everything you want.

    As for your hardware, it may be the best investment to get the $30 upgrade for the BTX board. That way you can spend ~$50 on a PCI-E card that plays back HD videos. 1gig of Ram is ok for now, just as long as your only playing back movies. If your streaming media to multiple computers, or file sharing through this one computer, the additional gig will help out.

    Hope this helps.
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