Originally Posted by CDLehner
OK...I'm sold, and chomping at the bit to pull the trigger tonight
. Remember, it's my first foray into HTPC, so can someone help me find the "sweet spot" with this machine; which do you think are the worthwhile upgrades?
- 3250 dual-core processor for $60
- win7 for $30
- the BD drive for $100 (will it be easy enough to add a drive to this form?)
- 4330 graphics card for $75
Here are some things to consider...
How big is your TV? Anything under 50" does not really need BD IMO. BD really starts to look a lot better on screens larger than 50". Don't misunderstand me, BD looks better on any screen but upscaled DVD looks pretty darn good and I don't know that BD is really worth it unless your TV is larger than 50". Once cost parity for DVD/BD is nearly the same, then sure, but at $100, you really need to think on that one.
I am still waiting on the 4330 version of this system so I can test it out to see the real advantages. I would love to say spend more money here as that would certainly be good for me. However, until I test it, I can't really offer too much help. If you think you are going to game on the system then yes, upgrade the GPU. If this is going to be a streaming and DVD playback box, then you probably won't need the GPU upgrade.
Given the options here, more would be better. However, my testing with the 3250e has been pretty good for most HTPC tasks. I always like a little more processing power available, provide a little headroom. Some of this depends on what all you plan on doing with it. higher freq. might be more important than core count, or core count might be more imporant that freq. all depends on what you are doing. You could solve both of these by going to 6850e, but it depends then on what your budget is going to be.
2GB is pretty good for almost any HTPC task. I have systems with 2GB in them and others with 4GB, I can't see any real perforamce difference between the two.
Again, depends on what you are doing. Do you have other PCs in the house that will store the majority of content or will you be storing it on the Dell box? If the Dell box, then more is always better. If you have a home server, etc. that will store the content, then more may not be needed.
Add Ons to consider...
TV Tuner. Part of the HTPC experience can involve the DVR functions available. I have 1 or more tuners on all my HTPCs. However, keep in mind the comments on storage. If you DVR a lot of stuff, more storage is better.
USB Ir receiver and remote combos for about $20.00. HTPC is just not an HTPC if you are stuck using keyboard/mouse to operate. One with mouse functionality like the Gyration even better.
Dell box comes with wired keyboard/mouse. Not the best HTPC experience. a nice wireless solution is worth the investment. However, if you get your set up done right, you may rarely need a keyboard.
Maybe I should do a blog on building an HTPC experience around the Dell box and set a budget around it...hmm.