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post #1 of 7 Old 06-17-2010, 01:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi everyone.

I've been reading this forum the last few weeks and picked up lots of useful information. This place is a great resource. It got me excited enough that I decided to make the plunge. We had some older Dell Optiplex desktops just gathering dust at work. My boss was kind enough to let me take one home when I asked. The specs are:

Intel Pentium D @ 3.8 ghz with hyperthreading Socket 755
40 Gig hard disk
1 gig of Ram
The video is Intel's integrated GMA 950with a whopping 8 mb of memory.
I bought a $6 miniplug to RCA adapter and plugged it in to my receiver's Aux input from the PC's integrated sound card.

The ram was upgraded to 2 GB and the disk to a terabyte. I loaded the latest Ubuntu 10.04 and I'm able to view all file formats, dvds. 1080p MKV files drop frames badly. They are mostly un-viewable.

So now I have been bitten by the upgrade and build bug. I would like a mini-itx solution. I am undecided if I should go with a Intel Atom and Nvidia Ion2 board or use my current CPU, RAM and get this board from Zotac.

It is Newegg item=N82E16813500041. I don't have enough posts to place a URL yet.


What are your recommendations?

BTW - Thank you RGB for your tutorials. They convinced me to use Ubuntu over Windows 7. I liked it so much I changed my main home machine to Ubuntu as well from Win7. It has come a long way since V5, which was the last version I had used. I can't remember why I went back to Windows.
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post #2 of 7 Old 06-17-2010, 02:17 PM
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Get a graphics card that supports VDPAU.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nvidia_..._.28HD.29_GPUs

Other than that you should be fine. That ION mobo is a good choice as its graphics chip supports VDPAU.
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post #3 of 7 Old 06-17-2010, 03:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkphoenix22 View Post

Get a graphics card that supports VDPAU.

Yeah, if the Dell has a PCIe x16 slot then the cheapest solution would be a Nvidia 210 graphics card.

Else that Zotac mobo would do too, but you might want to underclock that cpu if you use the Zotac mobo, as a 3.8GHz Pentium D will be hard to keep cool in a small ITX case (what's the TDP, 130W?)...

My Linux news / reviews / tips+tricks / downloads web site: http://www.linuxtech.net/
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post #4 of 7 Old 06-17-2010, 04:04 PM
 
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Welcome aboard!

I wouldn't try to do anything with that Optiplex other than putting it in a closet somewhere and using it as a fileserver and possibly mythbackend. I've worked on tons of those, and they have a proprietary motherboard and case. Plus, those Pentium D's run crazy hot and loud.

The IONs are awesome, but the only drawback is that the Atom CPU's (even the dual-core ones) aren't quite beefy enough to handle Flash video in Linux.
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post #5 of 7 Old 06-17-2010, 05:21 PM
 
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I forgot to mention that the Pentium D mobos are mounted to the wrong side of the case, too. So you wouldn't be able to replace it anyway -- even if it didn't have the proprietary front panel connector.
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post #6 of 7 Old 06-21-2010, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irod728 View Post

Hi everyone.

What are your recommendations?

BTW - Thank you RGB for your tutorials. They convinced me to use Ubuntu over Windows 7. I liked it so much I changed my main home machine to Ubuntu as well from Win7. It has come a long way since V5, which was the last version I had used. I can't remember why I went back to Windows.

You're welcome

Posts like that motivate me to continue contributing

re: recommendations-

If you want to minimize cost, you could silence the CPU cooler in the Optilex with an aftermarker cooler, though I don't know what would fit in the proprietary Optiplex case. I am partial to Arctic Cooling products.

It you want to go mini-ITX, I would get a miniITX AM2+/AM3 motherboard and put a low cost AMD 2.8+ GHz X2 CPU in there.

Just search Newegg for miniITX, socket AM2+/AM3 boards. Be sure it has a full PCIe slot and room for an Nivdia 210 card, passively cooled and with low profile brackets included if you want a low profile case.
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post #7 of 7 Old 06-21-2010, 01:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi RGB!

You must have been reading my mind. I noticed that going with a new AMD CPU and mobo combination was only going to be slightly more expensive than using the existing Intel CPU. So I just ordered a

- Gigabyte micro ATX motherboard.
- AMD 3 Ghz dual core CPU at 65 watts
- Asus Geforce 210 1 GB low pro file card. It's fanless!
- hec media center case with 300w power supply.

The whole thing came out to less than $240 from New Egg.

I'll be reusing the RAM and new hard drive.

I can't wait to put this together! Now I have to start looking for a new HDMI receiver. I got my eye on a Denon AVR-1910.
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