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Old November 23, 2008, 12:15 AM
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Hello guys,
I need some help because I have some plans for the holiday season. Prices might be cheaper at that time to order up stuff.

I need 2 new computers at home:

-First one is an HTPC , a very basic one. All I need to do is to play some mkv files on my 32inch TV. No more than 720p content.

-The second one is a file server, which will store so data and media files which will be accessed by my HTPC aswell.

I already have a computer which I dont use anymore and I plan on using parts from it or as a whole but dont know for which task I should use it for. I dont really know the requirements for HTPC nor a server. I would really like both computers to be power efficient because I have 2 gaming rigs at home that consume quite a lot. Noise is not an issue.

The computer has the following parts:
-HP comp
-AMD 3200+ 64 (S 754)
-512 DDR RAM
-NVIDIA FX5200 GPU
-200GB IDE HDD

Also, its my first time ill be building a server, so if someone could point me towards a guide maybe. Google shows some stuff but nothing recent.

edit: I will buy stuff from Canadian retailers. Ready to purchase some parts right now aswell, b/c DC has a good shipping deal. I would also like to spend the less possible.

Last edited by NoobLordSpud; November 23, 2008 at 12:30 AM.
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Old November 23, 2008, 11:16 AM
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Your build could work for a HTPC. I would recommend increaing the ram to 1-2GB.
You would want to get a better graphics card. If I remember correctly your board is AGP. Maybe a ATI Radeon X1600XT or a 2400XT or if you can swing it a 3850.

What is your PSU?
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Old November 23, 2008, 11:24 AM
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well, I'm guessing a server needs to meet the following requirement:

GBit Ethernet/Wifi to connect to your other computers...or both. GBit ethernet would allow for faster file transfer, so keep that in mind...as well as a consistent transfer rates...so if you don't need portability it would be the way to go in my books, even if you have to run some wires through your house.

lots of storage, the more the merrier...and backup of that storage so you don't have to redo everything if a hard drive dies on you. either RAID(I forget which number) or a drobo (I think the other option is called a NAS? you'll have to look into these yourself, there is plenty of info of them online, none of which I know since I don't have large amounts of massively sized files to store)

those would be the two biggest tickets I imagine, access and storage, make sure it can do these well.

as for the HTPC, it would need to abide by the following requirements:

HDCP capable (ie components allow for HD playback) kinda pointless to make a HTPC that can't do this. This means the following components need to comply with the standards: video card, mobo(?). Most do these days, but double check just to be sure.

Low noise output, so this means relying on efficient tech to cool your system as well as using parts that don't use a lot of power/create a lot of noise either. It kinda sucks if your HTPC is making more noise than your WWII movie is. I mention noise and power consumption together because usually for fans it means the same thing, as well as components that only move when needed (like a HDD, if you're streaming the video from your server, then it won't really matter seeing as the HDD won't be utilized then, so make sure you get one that only spins when you're accessing files.) Also, this brings integrated video cards to our attention as they (should) create less heat the the massive dedicated brothers do.

small form factor. the bigger it is, the bigger the shelf it stays on has to be (or compartment its in,etc...). It doesn't need to necessarily need to be micro atx, just plan around size when making the blueprints (ie, either size of the computer or the shelf you're building for it. If the area you're going to place it in has restricted airflow, even more proof as to why low heat creation is a major point to consider.

Blu-Ray? TV Tuner? It's doing the rest, why not consider these components for your build as well? After all, having them all in one box can be...what's the word I'm looking for...convenient!

so yeah, a lot of this may only be found in reviews (which you should consult for your reviews anyway, make sure to consult HTPC build reviews as well) a big give away factor, if it's labelled ECO-friendly, or GREEN, then it probably meets the low power consumption point (actually, there is this one hard drive, IIRC 1TB storage that is "green" product that is very popular ATM in HTPC builds...). just remember, you might not be able to stick to company loyalties (ie be a fanboy) as they may or may not meet certain of these requirements...

oh...and don't overclock either of these, you want maximum performance stability...
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Old November 23, 2008, 12:04 PM
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@ jak3 dude , thanks for the reply, very informative.
I ve looked into those little boxes with networked HDD(NAS or Drobo not sure, just read some reviews last night anyways) but I dont feel like getting those. I want to build or use an actual computer for the task. I might get a TV tuner card also. But I dont understand one thing. Why does the GPU has to be HDCP capable? I know this might be important if im putting in a blueray player but I just want to play some video files on the TV. So will playing 720p mkv files really require a HDCP GPU?

@BALISTX, thanks for the reply. The PSU in my HP comp is around2 250watt. I know I would need to replace if I put a new video card in there.
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Old November 23, 2008, 12:37 PM
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NCIX.com - Buy HP Mediasmart Server EX470 Windows Home Server PC AMD 1.8GHZ 512MB 500GB GBLAN - GG795AA#ABA In Canada.

Add a little ram and 2 1TB HD's done and done...though I am not a huge fan of prebuilt boxes this little bugger is pretty impressive..my boss picked this up for his house and it's really impressive..and the included copy of windows home server is nice you can then access your home media website/server anywhere in the world it's pretty sweet. and it's crazy small ....really small.
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Old November 23, 2008, 12:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwestwell View Post
NCIX.com - Buy HP Mediasmart Server EX470 Windows Home Server PC AMD 1.8GHZ 512MB 500GB GBLAN - GG795AA#ABA In Canada.

Add a little ram and 2 1TB HD's done and done...though I am not a huge fan of prebuilt boxes this little bugger is pretty impressive..my boss picked this up for his house and it's really impressive..and the included copy of windows home server is nice you can then access your home media website/server anywhere in the world it's pretty sweet. and it's crazy small ....really small.
Hi, I want to honest with you that I havent really looked into it in details, but it looks kinda expensive for the features it has.
Someone posted a link in a question at the bottom:
Home Server Hacks: Build a Green $400 Windows Home Server - Part 1: Getting started

Last edited by NoobLordSpud; November 23, 2008 at 12:50 PM.
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Old November 23, 2008, 02:42 PM
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Like I said I am not a fan of prebuilts but if you can find the parts for less and can build it then right on....cheapest I could build it for was $485 CDN the Home Server can be had for $549.99 and you get a smaller quieter chassis with hot swap drive capability. The XPC Chassis only has 1 IDE and 2 sata ports. With a max of three drives and no raid function without a card....add another $90 and you still don't have an equivalent unit..

I personally would not buy the HP server I am kinda a big box fan.....but it's something to consider depending on you skills and pocket depth.
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Old November 23, 2008, 02:55 PM
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I see what you mean,I might build it myself for about the same price but still not get all the features, but... its also that I hate HP now and would like to build something myself.
And hell no im not using that little case in the link that I posted. I want to use a mid tower, maybe a coolermaster case because it will be easier to work with and my parts will be less likely to overheat. I dont like little cases.
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Old November 23, 2008, 03:27 PM
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Oh cool then..I too am a big case kinda guy..I am partial to Lian Li on all my builds but they can be pricey.
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Old November 23, 2008, 04:02 PM
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The case in your sig says it all.

But im less likely to spend big money on cases. A 900 suits me well. Maybe for my next gaming rig, ill get Lian Li because I like simple, black neat stuff. Like my jacket, shoes, hats... getting here now.
Anyway, ill built the server myself in mid ower so I have room to work.

For the HTPC, im not quite sure yet.
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