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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, I just won a new motherboard and processor through AMD's "Ultimate Digital Experience" contest :) So, now I'm trying to decide if I should turn my current machine, or the new motherboard+processor combo into an HTPC. Neither is a perfect fit, but I'd prefer to use what I have...

Current machine: (too slow?)

Asus P3B-F (440BX chipset)

Intel PIII 450 (Currently running at 560)


New machine: (too hot?)

MSI K7N420 PRO (NFORCE with onboard VGA and audio)

AMD Athlonâ„¢ XP 2100+

256, or 512MB DDR SDRAM

Other Parts I have already:

Radeon 8500 LE (awaiting gamma fixed driver)

ChainTech TheaterExcel CMI-8738 sound card with optical out (Passes DD and DTS)

Parts I still need:

Seagate Barracuda IV drive (newegg)

Avance ATX Black Low-Profile Desktop Case (from digitalconnection)

Lite-on LTD-163 DVD Drive (newegg)

Inland pro IR keyboard (directron)

TV Tuner/Input card for DScaler (I/OMagic?)

Samsung 50" DLP RPTV (hoping it's worth buying)


6,436 Posts
You don't need anything too esoteric or expensive for a good htpc, so all I'm running is an ECS K7S5A and a Duron 950. Should cost way under $100 including a fan. You could go a little faster and still keep under $100

I'm using a cheap 3rd part RadeonVE and an Aureal SQ1500. Only using 128meg of pc100 ram leftover from a previous machine, and I spent a little extra on a Seagate Barracuda drive to keep the noise down.

I replaced the psu fan with a Papst fan and the htpc is now very quiet. I've also got a Liteon 163 DVD which is very quiet .

DVDs look great with the ATI video drivers, and the only problems I ever get are Zoom Player issues, which are only sound problems, and quite rare. WinDVD plays everything perfectly, but of course picture quality isn't as good.

I don't get any dropped frames with DScaler either (Pinnacle PCTV Rave).

So, for less than £350, I have a fully working and stable htpc that is quiet too. :)



Premium Member
1,406 Posts
Hi, SmackBadger!

I'm using the MSI K7N420 Pro with an Athlon XP 1800+ with 1GB DDR266 SD-RAM. For HTPC use, I don't use the onboard peripherals (other than Ethernet). Instead, I use the Radeon 8500, and the Delta DiO 2496 sound card (I'm not familiar with the Chaintech card). Cooling the Athlon is obviously the key - I'm using the Alpha PAL 8045 heatsink, and four Panaflo 24 CFM/21 dB fans (CPU, P.S., two chassis). It isn't quite as quiet as I'd like it to be, but it's not bad at all. If you want to keep things quieter, you could always run with a 100 MHz FSB...

You've definitely made the right choice in going with the Seagate Barracuda. I started with W.D. 100 GB drives, and they're too noisy. I've just finished replacing the drive in one of my systems, and will be replacing the other one today!

This setup works superbly, and is rock solid.


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