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"Converting" a regular desktop into a HTPC, have a few questions

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
hello Friends,

I've convinced my parents to let me use the computer I built for them last year and turn it into an HTPC. Parts worth noting are:


I've read through all of the HTPC guides and threads, and while they give a lot of info on recommended software and hardware, I'm still confused on some things. My questions:
  1. Is HTPC software installed in an OS, or is it essentially the OS. I.e., Do I log into Windows and then open up software such as XBMC or XBMCbuntu, or does it boot straight into those programs?
  2. I have an external HDD full of rips. After I install the HTPC software, how do I get the software to recognize my rips? Can I just put it on the 500GB HDD that I'm going to be building it with?
  3. Will an SSD make a difference? I don't have any SSDs laying around to test with the HTPC, but I'm willing to go out and buy one if it helps.
  4. If an SSD WILL help, can I get away with having a small one (less than 40GB)?


I have other questions too, but they're more to do with (1) sound cards and (2) making my HTPC available wirelessly, so I'll save those questions for another thread.
Edited by onoz - 4/10/12 at 3:51pm
 
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dm1z
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post #2 of 14
yes you can use windows if you got it, i use vlc its free for wating movies. install os on a small ssd if you got one will start your htpc faster thats about it if your using a external hhd. if you have a hd tv with hdmi connect it to your video card and your good to good.
post #3 of 14
Based on your OP, i would just go with W7 and use XBMC for playbaCk. I saw your 760G (not 780G at least) mobo and went "oh dear" but luckily u have a HD 3450 which has DXVA2 in W7/XBMC biggrin.gif I would rather hit a nice audio set up rather than SSD as the former adds far more enjoyment to the HTPC experience that a few secs faster boot up IMO wink.gif Even a cheap/simple 2-channel set up with floor standers that hit low is a worthwhile addition to any HTPC!
Edited by trog - 4/11/12 at 1:32am
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El Pinguis Cattus
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post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks you two! Looks like sound is something I should be concerned about, and not boot-up time? And it looks like I need to install Windows before I can install any media center software. mad.gif Is there any software that I can install so that it acts as the "OS"? I don't want to have to wait for the long boot-up times if I have guests over tongue.gif.

I guess I could just always leave it on?
 
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post #5 of 14
I'll try to help you out here as much as possible.

1- You can install the something like XMBC on top of Windows or you can have it run by itself as the media OS (XBMC Live CD/XBMCbuntu) to your hdd or a thumb drive.And all though I've never done it I sure you can configure it to boot straight to XBMC.I would have to do some checking to be sure.
http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=HOW-TO:Install_XBMCbuntu_from_a_USB_thumbdrive
http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=XBMCbuntu

2- Once you installed XBMC you'd just have to point it towards you media storage place,whether they be folders anywhere on your network or internal/external hdd's.
http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=XBMC_Quick_Start_Guide

3- I agree with what others,a SSD will give you faster boot times,but this only a benefit if your turning it ON/OFF,imo a regular hdd or thumb-drive is good enough.


4- If you do happen to purchase a SSD,40GB or 32GB would be sufficient for the OS + updates and add-ons.

There are other OS that my be more to your liking also such as Myth TV,MediaPortal,Openelec(very good imo) ect....
Edited by reezin14 - 4/11/12 at 9:29am
 
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post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks reezin14, really helpful response. I'll look more into those programs. I guess all I can do now is put it together and hope for the best huh?

I'll come back to post my results, and more questions if I have any.

Thanks all!
 
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post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by onoz View Post

Thanks reezin14, really helpful response. I'll look more into those programs. I guess all I can do now is put it together and hope for the best huh?
I'll come back to post my results, and more questions if I have any.
Thanks all!

Indeed,and just as a side note if your looking for more gpu power,and it's feasible (xfire) the 5450 is an excellent htpc card for cheap.GL
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102882
 
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post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Yes, I've heard the 5450 is the perfect HTPC gpu all over these forums (and a few others too). I'm gonna try and see if the 3450 is good enough for now, but if not, I'll definitely get a 5450. The one you linked is a good one too because it's passively cooled and low-profile ready. Thanks! biggrin.gif
 
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dm1z
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post #9 of 14
OP definitely check out the XBMC forums, there's a lot of info there and like said before you can load XBMCbuntu onto your computer to have it boot to XBMC. If you want to keep Windows, or have the option to boot to it in the future, you should be able to add a partition for both on the HDD as if you had a dual OS setup normally. Definitely your best resource is the forums over at XBMC. Good luck and let us know how it works out for you.

http://forum.xbmc.org/
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the link! I didn't realize that they have a forum too. doh.gif
 
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dm1z
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