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Just thinking, I don't need too much just to drive a Barco BG800 at 1280x720 to play DVD and SVCDs or divx. I mean, a DVD drive, enough power to play the DVD (AMD XP1500, 20 gig, 128 meg, onboard graphics), and a SPDIF out (I already have a sound card with that in it I can put in into the new PC) to send sound to the receiver, and that's it right? I mean what do I REALLY need to make a HTPC? I'm sure I could run D-scaler (have a cheap capture card) and powerstrip just fine. I have the VGA to 5 BNC cable already. See, the wife is balking on tying up the "family computer" and I want to keep costs down, way down. I've seen bare bones systems for $200 shipped at pricewatch. I thought about a modded X-box but there are too many hassles there. Anyone have any suggestions on good values? And where to get them? Thanks!


Don
 

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Bare bones systems are probably OK for light duty HTPC. I am not sure how a AMD XP1500 compares to Intel, but I have seen some members using P3-500s with success.


The main problem with bare bones systems is how much of the system is throw away. The ony you quote comes with on board graphics - can you turn it off, does it even have an AGP slot? On board graphics generally SUCK - plan on at least $50-100 for a decent video card (radeon 7200 or 9000).


Depending upon your OS (bare bones don't usually come with one) I doubt that 128 MB ram is enough. Some vendors will sell you XP Home for ~$100 with the purchase of any hardware (consider it with video card purchase if that is all you are going to buy for this system).


I doubt that a $200 computer is going to have a very good Power Supply either. It may be even like some of the Dell's and be a custom job to boot. (forget about repairing it if it smokes).


Rather than one of these "Here it is" bare bones, I would first try one of the custom configuration vendors on the net. They usually can build you a more reasonable "bare bones" with far less throw away for ~$400.
 

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Hey,


My system is pretty low end but has a number of components that are recommended for HTPC.


Low Profile Black ATX Case (the most expensive component by far ~$80)

(The case was white or beige but i painted the metal and dyed the plastic)

Toshiba DVD Rom Drive (Slow, Quiet, Currently Region Free) (~$40)

Radeon LE (Passively Cooled) ($39 forgot the store)

C-Media Sound Card With DD and DTS via SPDIF ($9 Shipped Ubid)

IO Magic Capture Card ($25 CompUSA)

Seagate 20 GB Hard Drive (Liquid Bearings for quiet operation) ($50 Ebay)

Intel Mainboard (no fan for chipset)

Intel Celeron 850 Passively Cooled ($40 NewEgg)

256MB Ram

Creative IR receiver ($11 shipped)

250 Watt Quiet Power Supply

NO Floppy (XP can be installed right from the CD)


Point being that you can build a low end HTPC cheap and use recommended stuff. The low end boxes sold these days often have some or all undesireable components. My system is quiet and works well. I'm sure it's not worth much these days as it's low end to be sure but it's all good stuff many of which are featured in the HTPC buyers Guide.


Good Luck, (and watch out for Via Chipsets if you go with low end AMD systems)


Brian
 

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I'm using an old pc as my htpc for divx/dvds


It's a p3 500, 256ram, 4 gig 4500rpm laptop drive, matrox g450..


The entire system is cooled by the power supply fan, and the laptop harddrive is really quiet.

It's too underpowered to do any ffdshow post processing, but it's good enough for now.. When I upgrade another computer somewhere, I'll use the old parts to upgrade the htpc..
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by jkaiser
I am not sure how a AMD XP1500 compares to Intel, but I have seen some members using P3-500s with success.
My experience with the AMD XP line generally "translates" to about a decimal point down. That didn't make sense. Let's try this.


AMD XP----------Intel

2000-------------1.9

2100-------------2.0

2200-------------2.1


and so on.......



Again, I stated "generally" translates.


Mike
 

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Walmart.com has a 1.1Ghz Duron for like $199. Linux installed, so B.Y.O.W. (Windows). NIC on the mobo! No DVD drive though. Not sure about the graphics, but if you're using a hardware decoder/tuner (like a MyHD card) it should work fine.
 
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