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Old 09-20-2007, 01:19 PM   #1
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Default I need to build a Media Center PC

Okay I was up at one of my friends last week and I had been nagging him to get a computer. So we started talking about it the one night and started checking prices. I went over a basic build in my head and gave him the price around $600-$800 to build his own. We did look at Circuit City and Best buy most of those were running on AMD's and the core2duo's were overloaded with junk and overpriced. So he said come up with a build and i'm going to put it together for him. Now for his needs.

Must be Intel based. A lower end model is fine he won't be doing much gaming if any just mainly recording TV and downloading music, browsing the web etc.

The reason I want Intel is after we build it I think he may get into the whole building thing and want to do some upgrades later. Basically I think the best way to future proof would be a 775 socket with 1066 and 1333fsb support.

So that brings me to the board and case. He won't need SLI so a standard PCI-E slot is fine. It must have room for a TV tuner card and probally a soundcard. I'd like to find a board that has decent intergrated sound to keep the budget down. If he feels like upgrading to a dedicated card I want him to have the expandability for that. I was thinking of a micro atx board but I guess a mid tower is fine as well. Maybe a minor overclock just to get a bit more out of what were buying. So a highly overclockable board isn't a must. So i'm thinking the stock HSF shoud be fine for a minor system overclock I just can't see spending on a aftermarket HSF when he isn't really going to need it.

If you guys could maybe provide some insight on a micro atx case/board and a mid tower case/board that would be helpful.

The build is going to have 2 gigs of Ram since will be running Vista Home Premium. Have a disc already not needed in the build.

No monitor needed either since its hooked up to his TV.

Also suggestions on a TV tuner card would be helpful. I want something that can record HD quality in 1080I. I believe his cable is through road runner now if that matters.

HD's, I was thinking 2 would be better. One little 80gig dedicated for his OS then a 500gig drive to target his documents folder to and save all his recorded TV. Whats a estimate on how much TV he can record in HD with a 500gig drive?

He will want to burn movies so he will need a single DVD-RW drive. Floppy really isn't important.

PSU you can see the GPU used below roughly so i'm thinking a decent 550W that way if he decides to upgrade GPU's down the road he will have that option.

And finally graphics card I was thinking of a baseline 8600GT. Since were going Vista I want him to have a DX10 card but nothing special. Just basic gaming so it doesn't have to be anything special.

Then finally a good wireless keyboard/mouse combo to finish it out. Like I said he has surround sound so I may need some conversion cables or something to get his surround sound to work on the PC.

Okay I think thats everything of the top of my head if I think of some other stuff he will need i'll edit in.

Edit In first build Idea. Build subject to change everything look compatible? Didn't put in a TV tuner yet needs to be Vista compatable.


Thermaltake Bach Media Lab $136.10 Shipped

Thermaltake Purepower 500watt $59.99 -$25 rebate


EVGA 650I Ultra
$106.32 - $20 Rebate

Core 2 Duo E6320 $176.99

G.SKILL 2X1GB $104.98

EVGA 8600GT $120.83

Asus DVD 18x dvd-rw $33.83

WD 80GIG OS harddrive $48.28


WD 500GIG media storage
$114.99

Total with shipping at $902.31 then $45 in rebates so I'm at $857.31 built right now.
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Old 09-20-2007, 01:28 PM   #2
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Default Re: I need to build a Media Center PC

lol, that might run you a little more than just 600$ :P

Then you have to buy media center for it too which is like 100$

You need to get a god NIC, sound card, speakers.. all the extra stuff too. USB pci card.. maybe a firewire 800 The monitor...
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Old 09-20-2007, 01:32 PM   #3
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Default Re: I need to build a Media Center PC

Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Pooka View Post
lol, that might run you a little more than just 600$ :P

Then you have to buy media center for it too which is like 100$

You need to get a god NIC, sound card, speakers.. all the extra stuff too. USB pci card.. maybe a firewire 800 The monitor...
Well I was a bit drunk when I quoted him the price. Its fine if its $800 he doesn't really have a budget but I'd like to keep him a bit closer to what I told him. He doesn't need a monitor its a media PC getting hooked to his 56inch Plasma.

I just said I wanted intergrated sound and he has surround sound speakers that I'd use for speakers. Why does he need a USB PCI card the board should have external USB ports and most likely 2 front mounted depending on the case selection.

What would the firewire be needed for?

Also I should edit in i've got a Vista spare so I don't need that either.
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Old 09-20-2007, 02:39 PM   #4
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Default Re: I need to build a Media Center PC

Sounds good. $800 is more than enough for a relatively simple build like this.

C2D E6420: $200
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819115016

Asus P5K: $135
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813131180

2 GB G.Skill RAM: $70
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820231098

Hauppauge TV Tuner: $70
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16815116620
Best TV Tuner for the price from what I hear.

I think one 500 gig would be fine...if you compress the video into DivX, it'll only be about 700 MB for a full length movie.
500 gig Seagate hard drive: $120
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822148136

550 watt Rosewill PSU: $60
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817182030
Yeah, I know, Rosewill...but this one is a great PSU for the price.

Superclocked 8600GT: $95
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814130088


That leaves about $50 left in the budget for everything else. So with that, you'll go over, but it's a nice build.
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Old 09-20-2007, 02:53 PM   #5
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Default Re: I need to build a Media Center PC

That looks like a good build there as well only missing a case and a few small things. Just curious do the Hauppauge tv cards support vista. I was just browsing the TV tuner cards and most only say MCE only found one ATI card that said it supports Vista and some comments said the drivers are bad for Vista.

So your thinking skip 2 drives and just use on big one then. That would shave off $48 off the build I had edited in.

So do you think it would be better to just go mid tower freestyler. He's got the space but I was trying to get something that would fit in his cabinet.
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Old 09-21-2007, 02:38 AM   #6
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Default Re: I need to build a Media Center PC

If you're planning on going with that Asus motherboard, you really can't go wrong with an mid tower case because of it's spacious design. It's easy to work with, unless you want to go with a mini tower which will still support your ATX motherboard. But just a warning that not all mini tower case will support ATX motherboards though.
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