Looking to build out a small footprint PC

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swinkdaddy
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Looking to build out a small footprint PC

Postby swinkdaddy » Fri May 08, 2009 10:38 am

I am looking at building out a small footprint PC to hook up to my entertainment center. I am a mac guy (be nice), but this time I want to build a PC for surfin the net, watching netflx streaming. It need to be pretty small to fit into my cabinet. I would love some suggestions to some add-ons/configurations.

Here is where I'd like to start:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16856101039

and here is the CPU I think would be good:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115057

Am I heading in the right direction? I dont need a high performance machine, but I'd like it to not be obsolete in the next 3 years. :ugeek:
Have kilt, will travel...

meat_raffle
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Re: Looking to build out a small footprint PC

Postby meat_raffle » Fri May 08, 2009 11:02 am

swinkdaddy wrote:I am looking at building out a small footprint PC to hook up to my entertainment center. I am a mac guy. :ugeek:


So why not use a mac mini?
(I'm a mac guy too)

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Theo
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Re: Looking to build out a small footprint PC

Postby Theo » Fri May 08, 2009 11:33 am

Well, first off, if you don't need a high performance machine, you sure as heck don't need a quad-core CPU. The media PC at my place, which you've seen, has a very plain-vanilla single-core 32-bit Athlon XP in it, at least 3 years old, and that machine plays video just fine.

If you can go just a little larger than a Shuttle barebone on the chassis, 10.5"W x 7.75"H x 13"D, I have one of these I'd sell for $50 (used, good condition). Comes with 300W PFC power supply.

You'd need a mainboard (MicroATX size), a modest CPU (maybe dual-core) w/heatsink, some RAM to match the CPU and mainboard, hard drive, DVD drive, TV/video card(s), a quiet fan or two, keyboard/mouse, and operating system software (Linux with MythTV is free and do-able). You may also want to get a media remote, or upgrade to wireless keyboard/mouse.

What would you be hooking this up to? TV, monitor, projector...?

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swinkdaddy
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Re: Looking to build out a small footprint PC

Postby swinkdaddy » Fri May 08, 2009 1:31 pm

Hooking it up to a 40" HD lcd. I have all my devices hidden in a really cool wooden hutch.
I want to do 3 things with it:
1. surf the net with wireless keyboard/mouse.
2. offload all my tunes off my laptop and use itunes/other to drive my stereo. (current hooked to laptop with a signal booster in another room)
3. replace stand alone dvd player with computer.

was looking at quad core cuz the price point i'snt too far off from a dual.

Mac mini question - That was my plan, but thought it be more fun to build a custom pc.

Theo, sure i'd be interested in the used case. I'll email you off thread.
Have kilt, will travel...

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jtbarclay
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Re: Looking to build out a small footprint PC

Postby jtbarclay » Fri May 08, 2009 2:40 pm

Another reason to stay away from the mac mini is the integrated graphics, yuck. Build a hackintosh!

meat_raffle
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Re: Looking to build out a small footprint PC

Postby meat_raffle » Fri May 08, 2009 3:06 pm

The new mac mini has NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics. More than enough for the needed tasks:

1. surf the net with wireless keyboard/mouse.
2. offload all my tunes off my laptop and use itunes/other to drive my stereo. (current hooked to laptop with a signal booster in another room)
3. replace stand alone dvd player with computer.

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Theo
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Re: Looking to build out a small footprint PC

Postby Theo » Fri May 08, 2009 3:16 pm

Honestly, the Mac Mini really does look good for the price.

I just like to build 'em, y'know.

(I can also set Swink up with better audio & video in that MicroATX Aria case, plus it has a card reader; on top of this, he's leaning towards Windows due to some specific software requirements.)

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wammie
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Re: Looking to build out a small footprint PC

Postby wammie » Fri May 08, 2009 3:32 pm

Have you seen the $300 Neuros Link? Great features for an outstanding price. Out of the box it doesn't do recording, but it's an expected addition via software upgrade.
Image

Specifications
The Neuros LINK a disc-less PC designed to be connected to your TV comes with a wireless "Keymote"to control the unit from the comfort on your couch. Like a PC, it is customizable and expandable:
  • 2.8Ghz CPU
  • 1GB DDR SDRAM memory (expandable up to 8GB)
  • Up to 1080p H.264 video playback
  • Support an extensive list of video and audio formats: MPEG2, MPEG4, .vob, .mp4, .avi, .asf, .wmv, .mkv, .mp3, .aac, .ac3, Flac, Ogg, ...
  • HDMI (max resolution 1920x1200, 1080p), DVI, VGA outputs
  • High-definition 6-channel Audio output
  • Optical S/PDIF audio output
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • 802.11 g/b WiFi, up to 54Mbps
  • Software:
    • Linux Ubuntu 8.10 (intrepid ibex) operating system
    • Seamless integration with the free Neuros.TV= service
    • MythTV as a local media player (and, transitioning to XBMC)
    • Open-source video players (MPlayer, VLC, Totem). A comprehensive list of formats, containers and media can be found on the above websites.
    • Transmission BitTorrent client pre-installed with Ubuntu
  • 6 USB 2.0 High-speed Ports, 1 Firewire
  • Accessories included:
    • Controller: 2.4 GHz wireless keyboard trackball controller
    • Stand
  • Housing: 300mm x 90mm x 326mm (11.8" x 3.5" x 12.8")
  • Noise: under 27dB

meat_raffle
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Re: Looking to build out a small footprint PC

Postby meat_raffle » Fri May 08, 2009 3:34 pm

Theo wrote:
I just like to build 'em, y'know.


Sounds like you're a MAKER!

I agree. A stick built windows box will offer LOTS more flexibility than a mac mini.
But if all you ever want to do is surf, listen to tunes and play DVD's without getting your hands dirty it's a good choice.

When I get around to building my HTPC it will be a windows box.
For the games ya know!

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Theo
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Re: Looking to build out a small footprint PC

Postby Theo » Fri May 08, 2009 4:07 pm

wammie wrote:Have you seen the $300 Neuros Link? Great features for an outstanding price. Out of the box it doesn't do recording, but it's an expected addition via software upgrade.

Yeah... out of the box it doesn't have a hard drive, either. It runs what looks like a basic Ubuntu Linux OS from a bootable USB drive, with MythTV. (Swink already has a TiVo & won't need redundant PVR capabilities). Most of the line items in the feature list are things you can do on any internet-connected PC. The Ars Technica review gets into more detail; bottom line seems to be that it's a cool gadget if you're a linux hacker: "For experienced Linux users, it just takes a little bit of the usual tweaking to get everything working just right."


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