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post #1 of 52 Old 01-26-2012, 12:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi guys,

I've been reading on the forum for a while, but I'm still essentially a newbie. I've never built a pc before, but I have (very recently) installed RAM and PCI-express cardsso it is not simply a magic box to me any more. ;-)

I'm new to the HTPC world, and have limited though varied knowledge of the technology involved. I recently installed a Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 to my old home office HP Pavillion desktop (HP Pavilion a6300f) which runs Windows Vista Home Premium (32-bit) and have been playing around with it (very satisfactorily) as a teaser/taste of what the future holds.

This old home office system (HP Pavilion a6300f), however, is slow and lacks oomph. I've been looking at either upgrading it (adding an SSD and switching to Windows 7) or replacing it with a new build. At the same time, I've been thinking about getting an HTPC seeing another post on the forum about an HTPC doubling as a home PC/desktop, however, got me thinking that maybe I should kill two birds with one stone.

At various points, I've chatted with veteran and professional PC/HTPC builders and other techies (mostly with an eye, at the time, for paying someone to build it for me), but the more I research/learn, the more I'm confident I can do it myself and save money, or at least spend it more optimally.

I am NOT a gamer, and so will NOT be overclocking. The PC will be used by for:
(a) HTPC (sending recorded and live cable programming, movies, music, etc., to any wired and wireless computer in my network;
(b) media storage and accessibility (my digital media library of movies, music, and pictures, is around 600GB, so farand I have many hundreds of DVDs);
(c) heavy home office pc/desktop use: internet browsing, word processing, power point and other Microsoft Office programs, creating documents in adobe, general home networking and the like.

Further, the system needs to be able to handle having multiple memory heavy programs open and in use at the same time without slowing down appreciably. I like speed/performance, durability, and (theoretically) upgradeability. Also, of course, as an HTPC is needs to run super quiet.

Having done extensive/exhausting research, here is the build I'm thinking of (though, again, I'm open to suggestions and am NOT wedded to any part of this):
---
MOBO:
ASUS P8Z68-V PRO LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS

CPU:
Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 3000 BX80623I52500K

RAM:
Crucial 16GB kit (8GBx2), 240-pin DIMM, DDR3 PC3-10600

GPU:
DIAMOND 6670PE32G Radeon HD 6670 2GB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card

PSU:
OCZ ZX Series 850W Fully-Modular 80PLUS Gold High Performance Power Supply

SSD:
128GB Crucial m4 2.5-inch SATA 6GB/s (or possibly Crucial 256GB m4 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive SATA 6Gb/s CT256M4SSD2)

HDD:
Western Digital Caviar Green WD20EARX 2TB SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

ODD:
SAMSUNG Black Blu-ray Combo SATA Model SH-B123L/RSBP LightScribe Support

OS:
Windows 7 Professional (64-bit)

Additional hardware (PCI and PCI-Express):
Ceton InfiniTV 4 Quad-tuner Card for Watching Digital Cable TV on the PC, PCI-Express x1 Interface
Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 Media Center Kit Dual TV Tuner 1213 PCI-Express x1 Interface (for when/if I finally cut the Cable)
Linksys WMP600N PCI Wireless Adapter with Dual-Band

Chassis:
Antec Three Hundred Two Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
---

My thinking is either to plug this directly into our HDTV in our main TV viewing area, or leave it in the home office and use media extenders (wired and wireless) for the other TVs around the house.

So, what do folks think? I'm totally open to ideas, constructive criticism, and any and all advice.
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post #2 of 52 Old 01-26-2012, 10:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Anybody have any thoughts to share?
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post #3 of 52 Old 01-26-2012, 11:15 PM
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Everything looks really good except for the 850W power supply. Unless you plan on doing SLI/XFire setups for gaming then that's a waste for the computer you are planning.
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post #4 of 52 Old 01-27-2012, 06:33 AM
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You might not need the graphics card for your use and could probably go 500w on PSU. If you use media extenders your system basically becomes an NAS.
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post #5 of 52 Old 01-27-2012, 06:51 AM
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I don't see anything in this list that would require more than the HD3000 integrated graphics that's in the 2500K. A 300-400W PSU would then be fine, even if you later decided to drop a HD6670 into it. The 6670 uses PCI-e bus power (75W max) so even 500W PSU is still overkill.

(a) HTPC (sending recorded and live cable programming, movies, music, etc., to any wired and wireless computer in my network;
(b) media storage and accessibility (my digital media library of movies, music, and pictures, is around 600GB, so far—and I have many hundreds of DVDs);
(c) heavy home office pc/desktop use: internet browsing, word processing, power point and other Microsoft Office programs, creating documents in adobe, general home networking and the like.

 

 

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post #6 of 52 Old 01-27-2012, 09:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StardogChampion View Post

I don't see anything in this list that would require more than the HD3000 integrated graphics that's in the 2500K. A 300-400W PSU would then be fine, even if you later decided to drop a HD6670 into it. The 6670 uses PCI-e bus power (75W max) so even 500W PSU is still overkill.

+1

Looking at what you have, my suggestion would be to build whatever PC you want for your category (c) uses, and take your current Core 2 Duo PC, put in a inexpensive NVidia 430 or a Radeon 6450, put in an SSD for your OS and upgrade to W7, and you have yourself a dedicated HTPC that will do everything you want, and you'll be happier with it than trying to use one pc for everything.

Put in an SSD and replace Vista with W7 and you'll think you have a brand new computer.
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post #7 of 52 Old 01-27-2012, 09:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys. This is all very helpful.
OK, so I'll drop the GPU. As for PSU, I can get that PSU for $99 (after mail in rebate). Should i still shop around for a less powerful unit? I figured the quality was worth it? Though I can easily be persuaded otherwise.
Also, for what I'm doing, is there any sense in jumping from the i5-2500k to the i7-2600k? Locally I can get the i5 for $180 and the i7 for $280. What do folks think?
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post #8 of 52 Old 01-27-2012, 09:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

+1

Looking at what you have, my suggestion would be to build whatever PC you want for your category (c) uses, and take your current Core 2 Duo PC, put in a inexpensive NVidia 430 or a Radeon 6450, put in an SSD for your OS and upgrade to W7, and you have yourself a dedicated HTPC that will do everything you want, and you'll be happier with it than trying to use one pc for everything.

Put in an SSD and replace Vista with W7 and you'll think you have a brand new computer.

Basically this. He's right.

You can make a nice new main pc. Use the money you save from no video card and smaller power supply to go ssd in your current pc.

It will work fine as htpc with a cheap video card as suggested.


Your asus z68 motherboard and 2500kI cpu is a solid choice!!!!

You might want 1600mhz ddr3. I like ripjawz and corsair.

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post #9 of 52 Old 01-27-2012, 10:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

+1

Looking at what you have, my suggestion would be to build whatever PC you want for your category (c) uses, and take your current Core 2 Duo PC, put in a inexpensive NVidia 430 or a Radeon 6450, put in an SSD for your OS and upgrade to W7, and you have yourself a dedicated HTPC that will do everything you want, and you'll be happier with it than trying to use one pc for everything.

Put in an SSD and replace Vista with W7 and you'll think you have a brand new computer.

So you really think I can make a solid HTPC out of the HP Pavilion a6300f with simply installing an SSD, Win 7 and a graphics card?

Hmm very interesting idea. Hadn't thought of that. I figured the old HP was too old to bother with...serious food for thought!
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post #10 of 52 Old 01-27-2012, 10:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

Basically this. He's right.

You can make a nice new main pc. Use the money you save from no video card and smaller power supply to go ssd in your current pc.

It will work fine as htpc with a cheap video card as suggested.


Your asus z68 motherboard and 2500kI cpu is a solid choice!!!!

You might want 1600mhz ddr3. I like ripjawz and corsair.

Very interesting. For the new PC, I found a good deal on "CORSAIR Vengeance 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory."

Would the "DIAMOND 6670PE32G Radeon HD 6670 2GB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card" suffice for the HP? I found that online at a decent price (I guess I should double check compatibility with the HP's mobo).
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post #11 of 52 Old 01-27-2012, 10:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlondon75 View Post

Very interesting. For the new PC, I found a good deal on "CORSAIR Vengeance 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory."

Would the "DIAMOND 6670PE32G Radeon HD 6670 2GB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card" suffice for the HP? I found that online at a decent price (I guess I should double check compatibility with the HP's mobo).

Its probably more video card than you need. But assuming you get a good price sure it will work.

You can probably game with that card. If your going to game then go for it.


If no gaming then save the $$$.

How much is it?

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post #12 of 52 Old 01-27-2012, 10:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlondon75 View Post

So you really think I can make a solid HTPC out of the HP Pavilion a6300f with simply installing an SSD, Win 7 and a graphics card?

Hmm very interesting idea. Hadn't thought of that. I figured the old HP was too old to bother with...serious food for thought!

Depends in part what you want to do with it. As a media server, internet streaming content player, media player, it should be fine. If you want to do transcoding and the like or use extenders, that may be a different story. Also, what specific processor does your Pavilion have?

For the price of a W7 upgrade license and a $30 video card, you can try it, use it, and always build what you want later. The SSD you can always re-use in a new system if you decide you want to build something newer or fancier later.

I have an old Pentium D machine I use as an HTPC on a secondary system. It's not my main htpc, but it works fine with what I ask it to do. Lots of people here still use C2D and Athlon based machines as htpcs. Your pc is almost certainly stronger than a brand new Atom or E-350 system that people buy today.
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post #13 of 52 Old 01-27-2012, 10:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

Its probably more video card than you need. But assuming you get a good price sure it will work.

You can probably game with that card. If your going to game then go for it.


If no gaming then save the $$$.

How much is it?

I can get it $90
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post #14 of 52 Old 01-27-2012, 10:29 AM
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Quote:


Also, what specific processor does your Pavilion have?

Your pc is almost certainly stronger than a brand new Atom or E-350 system that people buy today.

Agree.

Do you know the specific cpu you have?

You can google and run cpuid program quick and post results with validate button.

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post #15 of 52 Old 01-27-2012, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlondon75 View Post

Thanks guys. This is all very helpful.
OK, so I'll drop the GPU. As for PSU, I can get that PSU for $99 (after mail in rebate). Should i still shop around for a less powerful unit? I figured the quality was worth it? Though I can easily be persuaded otherwise.
Also, for what I'm doing, is there any sense in jumping from the i5-2500k to the i7-2600k? Locally I can get the i5 for $180 and the i7 for $280. What do folks think?

Absolutely yes. I see posts all the time that "there's a great buy on this great big PSU." That ignores that bigger is not better with PSUs. There is an efficiency curve for PSUs and if you are only using a small portion of the capacity, it's not ever going to operate efficiently. The goal is to buy an appropriate size for the need, not the largest affordable.

You want quality? Buy a nice Seasonic S12ii, like the 380 or 430.

And I can think of no normal use that warrants an i7 today. The i5-2500k is significantly stronger than the i7-880 Lynnfield or i7-960 Bloomfield were. The Sandy Bridge architecture is really a significant step up.

Just as a point of reference, if your Pavilion is an E-2180, its Passmark score is 1,126. The Passmark score of an i5-2500k is 7,484. I think you'll see a difference. BTW, I readily admit that with the lower and more compressed prices of this generation of processors, it's tempting to spend another $100, but I think you are totally wasting your money.
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post #16 of 52 Old 01-27-2012, 10:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

Depends in part what you want to do with it. As a media server, internet streaming content player, media player, it should be fine. If you want to do transcoding and the like or use extenders, that may be a different story. Also, what specific processor does your Pavilion have?

For the price of a W7 upgrade license and a $30 video card, you can try it, use it, and always build what you want later. The SSD you can always re-use in a new system if you decide you want to build something newer or fancier later.

I have an old Pentium D machine I use as an HTPC on a secondary system. It's not my main htpc, but it works fine with what I ask it to do. Lots of people here still use C2D and Athlon based machines as htpcs. Your pc is almost certainly stronger than a brand new Atom or E-350 system that people buy today.

My old system is this: http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/d...t=3644689#N340 with the RAM upgraded to the max 4GB, the CPU is the Intel Pentium Dual-Core CPU E2180.
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post #17 of 52 Old 01-27-2012, 10:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

Its probably more video card than you need. But assuming you get a good price sure it will work.

You can probably game with that card. If your going to game then go for it.


If no gaming then save the $$$.

How much is it?

It also produces more heat than a nice Nvidia 430 or Radeon 6450, and heat means cooling means noise. Again, there's no advantage to buying more than you need.
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post #18 of 52 Old 01-27-2012, 10:33 AM
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I recently grabbed a 2600k for $284 with $20 gift card.

I wanted 2500k but is was 225$

Seemed worth it.

But.. he's totally right. 2500k is more than you need.

At 100$ difference its not worth it

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post #19 of 52 Old 01-27-2012, 10:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

It also produces more heat than a nice Nvidia 430 or Radeon 6450, and heat means cooling means noise. Again, there's no advantage to buying more than you need.

Very helpful. Thanks!
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post #20 of 52 Old 01-27-2012, 10:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

I recently grabbed a 2600k for $284 with $20 gift card.

I wanted 2500k but is was 225$

Seemed worth it.

But.. he's totally right. 2500k is more than you need.

At 100$ difference its not worth it

Cool, also very helpful. Thanks.
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post #21 of 52 Old 01-27-2012, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

It also produces more heat than a nice Nvidia 430 or Radeon 6450, and heat means cooling means noise. Again, there's no advantage to buying more than you need.

Yup. Bigger card only makes sense if he wants to do some gaming

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post #22 of 52 Old 01-27-2012, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by jlondon75 View Post

I can get it $90

You can do a 5770 for 49$

Save the $$

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post #23 of 52 Old 01-27-2012, 10:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlondon75 View Post

Very helpful. Thanks!

BTW, when I say don't buy more than you need, I'm not promoting buying the "cheapest". I'm not worried necessarily about saving you money (although that's not a bad thing either). I just think that generally overbuilding has negative implications that have to be considered too and are far-too-often overlooked or ignored. Buying too big a power supply is actually a bad thing, regardless of cost. I don't care if you want to spend $200 on a PSU, just make sure that its capacity is appropriate for the usage. And buying a cheap PSU is also a bad thing, regardless of size. Buying more cpu and especially graphics card than you need means you're unnecessarily generating heat, and that means you have to cool it, and that means more or faster fans and more noise. So when I suggest buying less, that's what I'm worrying about. If you want to spend more, spend the money on a nicer case or higher quality components of the appropriate size.
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post #24 of 52 Old 01-27-2012, 10:47 AM
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http://promotions.newegg.com/NEemail...anner-_-Mobile

You can do a nvidia 8400 for like $29 if u want go cheap.

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post #25 of 52 Old 01-27-2012, 10:50 AM
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By the way, if you later tire of using your C2D machine as an HTPC and decide to move up, stick in a couple of big disks, stick it in your basement hooked up to your network, and it will still work fine as a dedicated NAS or media server. It's not dead yet.
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post #26 of 52 Old 01-27-2012, 12:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all of the advice guys. This has been very helpful.
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post #27 of 52 Old 01-27-2012, 01:37 PM
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jlondon75,

I have a similar HP a6528p w/ an E2200 processor. I upgraded to Win7 home premium 32 bit when it was released. Made a big difference and enable the recording of QAM channels from cable. I now have added a Ceton InfiniTV 4 tuner and think I could use a little more umph. Wish I had installed 64 bit so I could up my RAM to 4GB(effective).

Here is what I would like to do and may this summer. Just replace the Motherboard, processor and RAM and reload Win7 64 bit. If I were to do this now I would have downtime of my DVR which is not a good thing. My computer is basically a DVR that serves 3 media center extenders.

As always, this is the place to get some good advice and you have gotten some here. If you want to "upgrade" to a more modern, powerful and efficient system you may want to consider what I am considering. Purchase a Pentium G620 or i3-2100, a motherboard of your choice and some compatible RAM. Install in your current box and Install Windows 7 Home Premium.

I have Win7 and if I lived closer to Microcenter I could upgrade for less than $150.00.

Food for thought. Good luck, what ever you decide.
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post #28 of 52 Old 01-27-2012, 02:37 PM
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I think that is way overkill for an HTPC. You don't need more than 4GB of memory and you don't need more than an i3-2125 and you don't need a dedicated graphics card. All those will do is add extra heat and suck up some extra power.

For power supply, you don't need more than a 400 watt power supply. Even in my i5-2500k gaming rig with 1 GTX-560 Ti it pulls under 300 watts at full load and it idles around 70 watts.

My HTPC has a G530 in it and runs everything perfectly fine. Even for the office apps that you talked about, you don't need more than a G530. If you need support for 3D tv then you should go with the i3-2125.

My HTPC idles under 30watts and max load is under 60 watts. That is with 2 hard drives and an Avermedia duet tuner card, antec 380 watt 80 plus bronze power supply.

Everything else looks ok for an HTPC build. I have the m-atx version of that MB in mine and it works great.
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post #29 of 52 Old 01-27-2012, 03:04 PM
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Quote:
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jlondon75,

I have a similar HP a6528p w/ an E2200 processor. I upgraded to Win7 home premium 32 bit when it was released. Made a big difference and enable the recording of QAM channels from cable. I now have added a Ceton InfiniTV 4 tuner and think I could use a little more umph. Wish I had installed 64 bit so I could up my RAM to 4GB(effective).

Here is what I would like to do and may this summer. Just replace the Motherboard, processor and RAM and reload Win7 64 bit. If I were to do this now I would have downtime of my DVR which is not a good thing. My computer is basically a DVR that serves 3 media center extenders.

As always, this is the place to get some good advice and you have gotten some here. If you want to "upgrade" to a more modern, powerful and efficient system you may want to consider what I am considering. Purchase a Pentium G620 or i3-2100, a motherboard of your choice and some compatible RAM. Install in your current box and Install Windows 7 Home Premium.

I have Win7 and if I lived closer to Microcenter I could upgrade for less than $150.00.

Food for thought. Good luck, what ever you decide.

You might try installing a solid state drive in your current system as an OS/programs disk, and doing a fresh install of 64bit W7. You might well find there's plenty of life in that box yet. You can always reuse the SSD in the new build if you decide you still need to do it.

It's amazing how much new life an SSD can breath into an old system.
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post #30 of 52 Old 01-27-2012, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

You might try installing a solid state drive in your current system as an OS/programs disk, and doing a fresh install of 64bit W7. You might well find there's plenty of life in that box yet. You can always reuse the SSD in the new build if you decide you still need to do it.

It's amazing how much new life an SSD can breath into an old system.

I have an LGA775 Core2 Duo system with SSD and it's perfectly usable for any PC task.

It's more than capable.

It's pleasantly quick actually.

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"Too much is almost enough. Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."
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