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Stubby December 11, 2010 06:52 AM

Recycling old computer for HTPC?
Good day!

Having just upgraded to a new build (AMD unlocked X3) I have a Dell 4700 P4 that I can use for an HTPC system. But is it a good idea?

The idea is to be able to surf the internet, netflix and watch dvd movies in 1080p. No gaming! Although it has been used for the last 5 years for BF2, HL2 and TF2 although 800x600 res. :biggrin:

I plan on wiping the hard drive and reinstalling the Dell software but keeping the extraneous BS to a minimum.

Every thing is stock except the GPU and it has 4GB RAM. It runs 32 bit XP. (Yes I Know)
GPU Sapphire HD 4670 with HDMI

I am thinking I need a mammoth HD for recording and a tuner card.
Caviar Green and anything you care to recommend for the tuner? For over the air signals?
Cable has, as Bruce says, 57 channels and nothing on.

Thanks for the help


MAK December 11, 2010 10:07 AM

I still use the Hauppauge series of TV tuners and I'm happy with the new generation of cards (I had some issues with the older ones).

Your Dell has 4 slots, 2 PCI, one PCIExpress X16, and one PCI Express X1. The GPU takes the X16 slot, so you may have either one PCI and one PCIe-X1 slot available for a tuner.

For the PCIeX1 slot I'd recommend the Hauppauge Win-TV HVR 1250. It has both NTSC (cable or off the air analog) and ATSC (off the air digital) tuners. This will give you one tuner at a time, so you can either record a show or watch live TV but not both.

Another one for PCIeX1 (and I use this one too) is the Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 MC Kit. More expensive, but has double tuners, so you can watch live TV while it is recording, or record two shows at once.

If you don't have any PCIe slots available for some reason, you can always get the Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-1600 PCI card or media center kit.

And you will need a mammoth HD. One hour of analog recorded show will be about 3.5 Gigabytes, HD shows will be about 6-7 GB in size.

Hope it works out...one note: the PC will be very slow if you are recording two shows at once and try to watch a recorded show. Other than that, it can be done!

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