Originally Posted by the crane
I have an older Toshiba Satelite A205 laptop that I wanted to use as a simple HTPC. It has an Intel Core 2 Duo T25250 @1.5ghz and 2GB of ram. It is currently running Vista 32bit home version.
My goal is to have something I can use to stream Netflix, Hulu and HBOgo. Also store some of my kids shows and movies for playback and that's about it.
I have TONS of questions, but at first is this an adequate base to start with? I would of course upgrade the ram and most likely get a newer copy of Windows.
Any thoughts, comments, concerns or general advice? Any help would be EXTREMELY helpful.
I would grab Assassin guides as a start and skip the building part and configure of BIOS.
Pick up from the installation of Windows and follow the intelligent walk through about how to set it up.
There is even a link for downloads of 64bit windows HOME, PRO and Utimate you can download the ISO.
You will need a key code to register it as legit- but you get 30 days and 3 resets for a total of 120 days to do that.
I am not suggesting you don't pay Microsoft- because I think you should. I am a big MS supporter and feel that Windows 7 is a great OS and certainly worth the cost.
What I am really suggesting is you buy yourself a couple months with almost no costs to play around and learn about HTPC, how it works, what it can and can not do and such.
What ends up happening in most cases is you realize your LAPTOP is not a perfect solution and for about $300 you can make a really nice kick ass purpose built HTPC that will work better. The difference is you kind of know more at the time you do it- so you set it up even better and pick out the parts intelligently- maximizing your enjoyment and minimizing your costs and frustration.
So my advice-
Grab Assassin Guides. Download the version of windows you want. (probably just 64bit Home)
YES- upgrade the DDR RAM to 4GB or more if you can do it cheap.
You might even want to consider replacing your HDD with an SSD before installing. You can get a 120GB model for under $100 bucks that would breathe new life into your laptop. The difference is more than night and day. It is very extreme. I can not imagine you would not be happy doing this- and if you build a purpose built HTPC like your thinking you can use it so it is not money lost or wasted- you can even add back your old stock HDD now and keep the laptop as a spare laptop too. Seems solid option for you.
Follow the guides from the installation of windows forward- Set up your Laptop to work like a HTPC and learn the software and set up process.
Install MEDIABROWSER and MEDIAMASTER- use them. learn about the cool features of browsing media and cover art.
Install the SHARK007 codecs and learn how you can play all kinds of video files in high quality audio and video.
You can use your TV as monitor I bet and close the lid. Buy a wireless remote like the LENOVO for $35 (I like mine)
You can really get your feet wet with HTPC with very little cost- and no costs wasted.