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htpc for parents

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
parents called and said their dish contract is up next month and they want a htpc. i have my old p4 rig that i was going to atleast try before building new. it does need a new gpu as they want hd capabilities and the old card cant handle it. main purpose of the rig is to eliminate cable/dish altogether and just use cheap online services for movies and tv (netflix and hulu come to mind).

budget for this is $400. i would prefer to just use the p4 and give it an overhaul. so far whats needed is a gpu (preferably with hdmi or a dvi that ill get a converter for hdmi). a keyboard mouse combo (logitech dinovo/rii. open to suggestions as the dinovo is expensive and the rii is small, my mom needs reading glasses). their not into storing much content so im just going to use the old hdds it came with. they want wifi but ive got that covered with a d-link wireless n card and also no need for an optical drive as they have a blu ray player already.

last ran it on xp (possibly upgrade it to win7 32bit?) but i was cleaning it out, bumped the heatsink just right and broke one of the clips that holds it down on one end. (can take a pic if needed) do they still make mounts/retention brackets for the stock heatsink and if so links would be great. i could also put an aftermarket cooler in but they are trying to keep noise low. (when the dish updates in the middle of the night the fans blast full cycle and can wake them up) isp is qwest. been trying to get them to switch forever and still trying

they also say they want it to possible be a pvr. but theyre going back to over the air broadcasts so i cant imagine they would want to record much


questions:
- can a p4 handle hd video with an appropriate gpu? (3.2 ghz model)
- any agp/pci cards that can handle 1080i/720p? tv max is 1080i. preferably pci if i do need to build new
- im assuming p4 has the juice to handle hulu/netflix
- dad wants live sports if possible. is there any internet services that provide this?
- the budget is for everything needed. so is it better to use the p4 and get what it needs or build from scratch?
- software recommendations? i was going to put itunes on for music, browser and any plugins for internet streaming. no need to stream music/video locally
Edited by Pyro_Teknic - 4/7/11 at 10:39pm
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post #2 of 14
Radeon hd 5450/5550 will do.

As for sports, there is espn3. That's all I know of.

You mention PVR functionality, do you have a tv tuner for them?

As for software, I'd say Windows Media Center for the recording. That can also have netflix, hulu, and espn3 integrated.
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post #3 of 14
    
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post #4 of 14
You live 20 mins away from a Microcenter!

Check out a combo deal: http://www.microcenter.com/specials/...ndlePROMO.html
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post #5 of 14
heres a combo from newegg, the board will perform well enough with onboard video.

stick some ram, a decent antec psu, a tv tuner card (higher end hauppauge), and as much hdd space as you can afford. also, a case of your choosing.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboD...t=Combo.624990

also, with that combo, ram, and a psu, it comes to 200 bucks. so that leaves you 200 for case, hdd, disc drive, and tuner. not bad.
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post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pyro_Teknic View Post
- im assuming p4 has the juice to handle hulu/netflix
Netflix 720p HD @ 3800 Kbps? Nope. Too slow.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pyro_Teknic View Post
- dad wants live sports if possible. is there any internet services that provide this?
For most live sports (locals - ABC, etc), get a TV tuner and antenna. For ESPN, there's ESPN 360 but I think that ones has restrictions.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pyro_Teknic View Post
- the budget is for everything needed. so is it better to use the p4 and get what it needs or build from scratch?
Start from scratch. P4 has around the processing power of the Atom or Zacate while consuming much more electricity. I would recommend 785G/880G motherboard + Athlon II X2 (around $120 total). The MicroCenter combos DuckieHo linked to are great. Phenom II's are quite a bit more expensive than Athlon II's.
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post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greensystemsgo View Post
heres a combo from newegg, the board will perform well enough with onboard video.
No it won't. That onboard video is pretty bad and doesn't support any hardware acceleration. It's just around Intel G41 level.
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post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
thanks for all the replies! sorry work has been busy but talked to my dad and told him ill just build him a new rig. thinkin one of the amd dual core combos from microcenter (had no clue there was one near by ) and i liked the passive cooled geforce 210 that got linked. is there any passive coolers for the cpu as well? lowest possible noise is key
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post #9 of 14
theirs reports of people running the noctua dh14's passively, but on a short term basis. I wouldnt passivly cool that x2, or any REAL processor. invest in a decent, silent cooler.
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15.6" 1920x1080 IPS BenQ GL2460HM 24" LED BenQ GL2460HM 24" LED Lenovo 170w Power adapter 
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MX-580 or Razor bluetooth something or other Docking station 40A50230US 
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i7 3770k BIOSTAR TH67+ 32gb 4x8 Corsair Vengence 1600 1x 256gb m2 
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post #10 of 14
My mom's $7 P4 with HT from Ebay handles 720p youtube video just fine. Although it does throw CPU usage up to about 65%. You are better off going with a new combo though. Since you already have a 775 board a nice e2140 and up will handle those applications with ease.
    
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