HTPC

It seems like I’ve started on the Home Theater PC bandwagon later than most people I’ve come across in doing some research for mine. My last desktop was a computer I got in college (maybe 2001 or 2002) that I propped up with upgrades until I broke down and built a new computer around August 2008. Before I started on the build I wanted to spec it with using it as a media center computer mostly and doing some light gaming on the HDTV with the surround sound. Since then it’s been a mad dash working on getting things set up, files organized and cleaned up, and deciding on software to use. Disclosure: “Buy” links are affiliate links

Hardware


In my research I liked the price-performance ratio of AMD’s 780G chipset and decided to base my motherboard purchase on that. The one small mistake I made was only getting 2GB (1GBx2) of ram when I first bought parts, so I picked up another 2GB (1GBx2) to fill the 4 ram slots on the motherboard. Another thing I can see that I might need soon is a larger Hard Drive, and a nice upgrade would be a Blu-ray disc drive. Anyhoo, here’s my current setup:

  • GIGABYTE GA-MA78GM-S2H AM2+/AM2 780G Micro ATX Motherboard
  • AMD Athlon X2 4450E 2.3 GHz Dual-Core
  • 4GB G. Skill DDR2 800 SDRAM (1GB x 4) dual channel
  • 160GB Western Digital 7200 RPM SATA HDD
  • Radeon HD 3450
    • I use this in a Hybrid Crossfire setup with the onboard graphics
  • Light-On Lightscribe DVD burner
  • Ultra Micro Fly BX6 Micro ATX
    • Not exactly the best looking HTPC case, but it works and was fairly cheap, also I haven’t seen it for sale anywhere recently.
  • Logitech Wireless Keyboard K400 with Built-In Touchpad, Black

Software


I’ve tried a number of software packages and narrowed a lot of them down one at a time. I built my new PC with the intention of using it as a Media Center. I had no intention of using it yet to record live TV, but might in the future. With the set of requirements I had, the two packages that seemed that would work best was Windows Media Center and XBMC. After working with the two of those for a while I decided on XBMC. I liked the look of it better and I usually try to make use of open source software when I can. That said, when I make the dive into recording and watching live TV on it, I think I’ll have to take another look at where I am and the state of all the software selection.

Upgrades


  • Finish cleaning music files
  • Find way to automatically download and delete video RSS feeds


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