Upgrading old rig to a HTPC, please advise

New to PC silencing? Read & post your questions here. Dedicated to rosy_toes.

Moderators: NeilBlanchard, Ralf Hutter, sthayashi, Lawrence Lee

Post Reply
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Feb 02, 2007 10:42 am
Location: SG

Upgrading old rig to a HTPC, please advise

Post by s4ik0tic » Fri Feb 02, 2007 11:08 am

Hello, first time poster and have some questions regarding an upgrade that I am currently planning.

Currently on an old amd xp system, 2400xp 1gb ram. Wish to convert it to an HTPC in the near future to experiment around with however I am not too clear with what are required for it to function (really sucky with display ports the new hi-def stuff, barely got my xbox360 to display on my lcd monitor).

Also there are some parts which I wish to recycle from my current system, 2x IDE hdds: a WD 100GB & Seagate 320GB. PSU if possible, an antec truepower 480w, sound card, x-fi xtrememusic and my optical drives.

I came up with these parts, please advise:

CPU: AMD x2 3800+ (Want to go dual core, is there a need to get the higher end chips for a HTPC?)

HSF: Thermalright SI-128 (can it be run passively?)

Motherboard: Abit NF-M2 Nview (Mainly because it supports more than 2 IDE devices, was recommended the Asus M2NPV-VM its cheaper, however I read a couple of complaints about compatibility issues.)

Ram: 2gb or is it overkill, are there any specific clock speeds or brands that I should be looking for?

Graphics: Asus 7600 GS Silent (I still plan to game a little on this system before I build my primary gaming rig, also I think adding a graphics card over the integrated one won't hurt right, or is it just plain redundant.)

TV Tuner: This is where I start to blur out, any recommendations?

Casing: Currently using a Lian-Li, but since its going to sit beside my TV sooner or later I am looking at the Antec NSK2400, are there any dimension restrictions?

Hope that there isn't anything I missed out, greatly appreciate the suggestions and advice I can get.

Posts: 2131
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2005 10:00 am
Location: Grand Rapids, MI

Post by jhhoffma » Fri Feb 02, 2007 2:35 pm

First rule of HTPC building:

Don't buy ANYTHING until you figure out what you want to do with it!!! It looks like you have a very decent system right there. Most of the Antec HTPC cases are MicroATX so your board should fit. For reference, check my sig for my HTPC specs. I don't have a tuner yet; I mainly use it as a movie server for viewing DVDs and DIVX movies. I've run plenty of HD material through it without a problem, though, it's all a matter of configuration and what (if any) type of post-processing you want to do to the source media.

I would put those pieces together, see how loud it is, and go from there. Obviously you can upgrade your CPU HSF, do a fan swap on your case and PSU. By then you'll have the bug for a quieter HDD, and all that. But starting with a passive GPU is a good start, integrated GPU is better if you decide you don't need the extra power.

As for your display, I know of plenty of people who are using 6150 integrated graphics in their HTPC and tuning/viewing HDTV with it. CPU is most important if using ffdshow for post-processing. GPU is more important if using VMR9 with hardware acceleration. Depending on your monitor/HDTV/EDTV/SDTV you will have a multitude of options: DVI and/or component being the most prolific. It can be hard to get the settings just right. Check out HTPCNews and AVSForum for more specific help with custom resolutions and configuration. HTPCNews has some great guides for setting up video players and whatnot.

Also, don't forget to look into frontend software for making it easy to navigate your HTPC with a more consumer friendly interface.

Hope that helps.

Post Reply