HP Pavilion Slimline s3431 as Blu-ray Media Center?

ngchol

Novice Member
I've just been looking at the specs for this - at £490 including VAT it looks like a bargain considering its tiny size. As I have a GGW-H20L combo HD-DVD/Blu-Ray drive, I should just be able to replace the exisiting drive and have an ideal HD system - are there any better prebuilt systems out there for a similar price?

http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/uk/en/ho/WF06b/35123-35527-39847-39847-39847-81669832-81875752.html

Processor, operating system and memory
Processor type
AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 processor 5000+
Operating system installed
Genuine Windows Vista® Home Premium 32-bit
Platform
With AMD Live!™
Chipset
NVIDIA® nForce™ 430 chipset
Standard memory
3 GB
Memory type
DDR2-SDRAM
Memory slots
2 DIMM sockets
Internal drives
Internal hard disk drive
500 GB
Hard disk controller
SATA 3G Hard Disk Drive
Hard disk drive speed
(7200 rpm)
External hard disk drive
160 GB Pocket Media Drive
Optical drive type
DVD writer SATA DVD RAM and Double Layer supporting LightScribe technology
System features
Memory card device
15in1 memory card reader
Network interface
Ethernet 10/100BT integrated network interface
Video capture interface
IEEE 1394 FireWire® Interface
Wireless technologies
Wireless LAN 802.11 b/g
Video adapter
ATI Radeon® HD 3450, with Avivo
Video RAM
256 MB dedicated memory, up to 1535 MB total available graphics memory as allocated by Windows Vista®
TV tuner
TV (analog and DVB-T) tuner card, (DVB-T service not available in Ireland)
Internal audio
High Definition Audio 5.1
Audio connectors
1 front audio port, 3 rear analog audio ports & 1 rear digital audio port
Keyboard
Wireless keyboard and optical mouse
Remote control
HP Vista Media Center Remote Control
External drive bays
1 external optical drive bay, 1 internal HDD bay, 1 Pocket Media Drive bay
External I/O ports
6 USB 2.0 ports (2 in front); 1 FireWire®-IEEE-1394 ports
Expansion slots
1 PCI low profile
Software
Software - Productivity & finance
Microsoft® Works and Microsoft® Office Home and Student 2007 60-Day Trial Version
Pre-installed software
Microsoft® Internet Explorer 7.0; Windows Mail; Adobe® Reader 8.0
Optical drive driver software
HP Total Care Advisor ; Photosmart Essential, Windows Photo Gallery ; Windows Media Player ; Windows Movie Maker, Windows DVD Maker ; CyberLink Power2Go 5.5 ; Muvee AutoProducer
Software - education / reference / entertainment
Windows Media Center
Software included
Recovery partition (including possibility to recover system, applications and drivers separately); Optional re-allocation of recovery partition; Recovery CD/DVD creation tool; Symantec™ Norton Internet Security™ 2008 (60 days live update)
Dimensions / weight / warranty
Weight
8.50 kg
Package weight
9 kg
Dimensions (W x D x H)
107 x 352 x 276 mm
 

ngchol

Novice Member
<BUMP> Someone must have an opinion on this, surely. A small form-factor Blu-Ray media center for under £500 - too good to be true or not?
 

ngchol

Novice Member
OK - I picked one up yesterday from Comet for £446, replaced the DVD drive with the GGW-H20L (£150), and can confirm that it is a perfect small form factor HD Media Center - it runs completely silent and plays Blu-ray and HD-DVD discs at 1920*[email protected] flawlessly. If you were thinking of building your own, this could well end up saving you a lot of time and hassle.
 

jtfab75

Novice Member
i've had my hp pc for 11 months.wish i had waited and done what you have done. (got to add a tv tuner and blu-ray to mine)
it's a shame it can't be layed flat.
 

ngchol

Novice Member
The s3431 can be laid flat - I asked one of the presales guys at HP the other day before buying it. Which model have you got?
 
Has it got 3Gb of RAM in only 2 slots? What are the Hard drive upgrade options like?

Also, it may have been a bargin at £500, but you added a £120 drive, so could have had £600 of component parts to put together (like going 780G with no GPU for instance)

Admitidley, if people do not want to build, seems a good price..
 

ngchol

Novice Member
DVI - the card is an ATI HD3450. I run a DVI - HDMI cable into a Sony STR-DG910 amp and it does 1080p/24 passthrough with no problems. The digital audio out from the PC is a coaxial socket.
 

dekoded

Novice Member
This is interesting, I've been searching for a decent HTPC for a while, I'm still unsure if I want to risk getting a windows PC again after having a nightmare with previous HTPC's.

I'm really looking for something that is reliable and wife friendly, I'm considering using a Mac or maybe even a PS3 with PlayTV so if you can put an end to my doubts and tell me (honestly:)) that this solution is stable then I may be tempted!

PS I'm really interested to know just how quiet it is and what PSU it has (watts) and if it possible to enter and resume from standby/hibernate reliably.

PPS What tuner card does it have?
 

ngchol

Novice Member
I'd say it was pretty much silent (the video card is fanless). The surface of the case over the power supply is quite hot to the touch, but it works fine in an enclosed cabinet - it comes with an external IR box which has two extender sockets with one IR extender provided. The TV tuner is a single combo Asus Tiger analogue/DVB-T internal card, and I've added another USB one (a Hauppauge Nova-T stick) - there are 6 USB ports - they work together with no problems. It has a 180W PSU. Last night I put it in standby as a test, and it woke up to record a programme between 1 and 2 am, went back to sleep, woke up again at 3am to run a scheduled backup of my data to an Apple Time Capsule, and went back to sleep again afterwards. I know this hardly constitutes an exhaustive test! but it worked fine on this occasion.
 

David_W

Standard Member
I've been looking at the same range.

In the States they 've had one with built in Blu-ray and HDMI since Christmas. Model number 3400t with a blu-ray /HDDVD option - $499 plus the upgrade for the drive. It gets good reviews.

HP in the UK couldn't say when an equivalent model will be available here but said "we're usually six months behind the states" so it should be soon.

The HDMI comes via a Geforce 8500.

I don't know if it's HDMI 1.3 compliant or if it can do Dolby TrueHD / DTSHD but I suspect not?? Does anyone know?

Cheers
David
 

harry66

Member
OK - I picked one up yesterday from Comet for £446, replaced the DVD drive with the GGW-H20L (£150), and can confirm that it is a perfect small form factor HD Media Center - it runs completely silent and plays Blu-ray and HD-DVD discs at 1920*[email protected] flawlessly. If you were thinking of building your own, this could well end up saving you a lot of time and hassle.

Hi,
Can you confirm if you can play 1080p media files e.g. H264 or X264 without any issues? What kind of CPU usage does it report?
Do you think it would overheat if it was kept inside close door at the side of my TV cabinet (with a hole cut out the back of the cabinet?)

Also, do you think a Compro S350 satellite card would fit OK? (I can remove the TV Tuner card if need be as I already have a Freeview recorder)
Scan.co.uk: Compro VideoMate S350 Digital Satellite TV Analog Tuner + Video/Audio Capture Card

I am still thinking of building my own HTPC but if I can get refurb one these cheap it would save me the hassle.
Thanks
 
Last edited:

zarathrustra

Novice Member
John Lewis have one with Blueray - I think its priced at £550, including 4g of ram and a 500g hard drive. I have been looking at it for some time now - and can't think of another model with roughly the same specs and form factor.
 

harry66

Member
yes - seen that - looks great.
But the price between a self build and that is too great to justify - despite the amazing small size of the box
 

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