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[Plan] Semi-Modern Home/Dorm Theater (Ideas Welcome)

post #1 of 2
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So, I've got a $200 plus tax return coming in soon - yes, I know it's not much, but for working only about six months last year, and part time at that, it's not bad - and I want to convert my slightly ghetto TV/DVD setup into a whole home theater, complete with a receiver, etc. I've pretty much got everything I need, except for the receiver, and about a $250 budget to mod everything to make it work, look, and act better. Since the receiver is going to cost about $150, I believe I'm going to have about $100 to do the modding and building that I need to.

The PC I'm going to use is the one in my signature, the Shuttle, for now. I plan, someday, possibly over the summer or next school year at some point, getting a new media center PC. This is the build I'm thinking about right now. Let me know what you think about it.

  • Lian-Li PC-A01B
  • Antec Earthwatts EA430 PSU
  • Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H 780G Motherboard
  • AMD Phenom 9500
  • 2x1GB Value RAM
  • 250GB Hard Drive
  • SATA DVD Burner (maybe a Blu-ray reader)

I'm using my external for media storage right now. In the mean time, while I accrue money for a capable HTPC, I'm going to use the slightly less capable Shuttle, and it's going to need some work. I'll post pictures once I get back to my dorm, but right now the case is in pretty bad condition. I plan on hammering out the dents in the case, and possibly repainting it black. After that, I hope to be able to route the wires in there more efficiently, and maybe extend some of them slightly so they won't be hanging right in the middle of the case. I also want to sleeve the wires, too, so they look better, and remove wires from the power supply I don't need.

Also, I'm going to remove all of the hardware, including the motherboard and front panel USB stuff, and give it all a good dusting and cleaning. If I've got the time and the money, I might give the motherboard an acrylic cover so I won't have to look at the ugly brown PCB. Finally, I want to stealth the DVD drive and the empty 3.5" bay. Right now, it has no bay covers, so I either need to find the ones that go with the Shuttle G2 chassis, or make them. Either way, it's going to be some work. If anybody has bezels for a silver Shuttle G2 chassis, PM me. I need a 5.25" and a 3.5" bezel.

In addition to the stuff I'm doing with the Shuttle, I need to find an AV receiver so I can have enough connections for everything. Right now I'm looking at the because it has digital audio in - both Coaxial and Optical - and enough inputs for whatever I might add in the future. If anybody else has any recommendations on receivers in a similar price range, let me know.

The final major thing I want to do with the media center is to make stands for the front left and right speakers, because right now they're just sitting on the floor, which isn't entirely clean right now. I'm going to be making them out of some type of wood, I'm not sure what right now, and I'm going to see if there's a way I can make it so that the speaker wire travels down through the stand itself rather than hanging in the air. I'll have some concept drawings of this idea in a day or two.

As you might be able to notice, this is an extremely low budget project. If I had the receiver already, the whole budget for everything would be about $75. If anybody can find me those bezels, though, I would be ecstatic, because finding them is probably going to be the hardest part of the whole project.

Tell me what you think of my ideas, offer new ideas, just help me out with this while I wait to go back to college to get pictures.
Macbook
(17 items)
 
  
CPUGraphicsRAMHard Drive
Intel P8600 @ 2.4Ghz Geforce 9400M 6GB Crucial DDR3-1066 OCZ Vertex 2 128GB 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSOS
External 1TB Broken and Making Funny Noises OS X Lion Windows 8 Preview 
MonitorMonitorKeyboardPower
13.3" 1280x800 Dell 2407WFP-HC Backlit Lithium-Polymer Battery 
CaseMouseAudio
Unibody Multi-Touch Trackpad JVC Marshmallow's 
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Macbook
(17 items)
 
  
CPUGraphicsRAMHard Drive
Intel P8600 @ 2.4Ghz Geforce 9400M 6GB Crucial DDR3-1066 OCZ Vertex 2 128GB 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSOS
External 1TB Broken and Making Funny Noises OS X Lion Windows 8 Preview 
MonitorMonitorKeyboardPower
13.3" 1280x800 Dell 2407WFP-HC Backlit Lithium-Polymer Battery 
CaseMouseAudio
Unibody Multi-Touch Trackpad JVC Marshmallow's 
  hide details  
Reply
post #2 of 2
Well seeing how the speaker stands really didn't really materialize into anything but a gigantic waste of time (and a huge mess), my recommendation would be to drop that project for the moment.

In terms of your planned HTPC, it looks good but personally I would go with a low-voltage C2D processor paired with an Intel board or an Asus if you want the extra goodies that usually come packaged. I know you are using your external drive for media storage, but I'd boost the HDD space in the HTPC to 500GB. If you are looking to save some money, I'd stick with a SATA DVD +/- RW. You can find some Blu-Ray ROM drives for under $150 online, if you want a burner it's going to run you alot more.
Squawk 7700
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core 2 Duo T7250 Dell OXR148 GM965 ICH8-ME nVidia GeForce 8600M GT 256MB GDDR3 2GB DDR2 667Mhz Dual Channel 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Seagate 120GB SATA Slot-Load DVD +/- RW Windows Vista Ultimate 32bit 15.4" WXGA/BenQ 20.1" WSXGA+ 
KeyboardCaseMouseMouse Pad
Saitek Eclipse Dell XPS M1530 Razer Copperhead Razer Mantis 
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Squawk 7700
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core 2 Duo T7250 Dell OXR148 GM965 ICH8-ME nVidia GeForce 8600M GT 256MB GDDR3 2GB DDR2 667Mhz Dual Channel 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Seagate 120GB SATA Slot-Load DVD +/- RW Windows Vista Ultimate 32bit 15.4" WXGA/BenQ 20.1" WSXGA+ 
KeyboardCaseMouseMouse Pad
Saitek Eclipse Dell XPS M1530 Razer Copperhead Razer Mantis 
  hide details  
Reply
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