Need a media pc, but small

Member 402340

Standard Member
hi guys,

as the topic says, i'm looking for a media pc. I've just sold a HTPC as its too big and i'm kind of clueless what to do.

I currently have a laptop, an office pc. I'm thinking of the following two options:-

1. Get a Network Storage System and then get maybe a streamer to stream HD media and stuff from it

or

2. Get another HTPC and watch/store everything on there.


I don't have a big budget, in fact the cheaper the better.

What do you guys recommend?

Thank You
 

Uridium

Well-known Member
hi guys,

as the topic says, i'm looking for a media pc. I've just sold a HTPC as its too big and i'm kind of clueless what to do.

I currently have a laptop, an office pc. I'm thinking of the following two options:-

1. Get a Network Storage System and then get maybe a streamer to stream HD media and stuff from it

or

2. Get another HTPC and watch/store everything on there.


I don't have a big budget, in fact the cheaper the better.

What do you guys recommend?

Thank You
Most will tell you to buy a NAS....

Personally i like the flexibility of using a PC based media server. I've found small form factor Office desktops make a good base machine, designed with 24x7 usage in mind so run quiet and cool with lower power usage.

I'm currently using a Dell Optiplex 745 std desktop (Core2Duo cpu) as i can squeeze 3x HDD into one of these but if you want to go really small they do a smaller verison known as the SFF (small form factor which will take 2x HDD) and then an even smaller USFF (Ultra small form factor, 1x HDD).

you can pick up an E6600 C2D 745 for around £100 ex corp use on Ebay
 

Member 402340

Standard Member
hi uridium,

thanks for your reply.

will this be capable of playing full 1080p HD movies???

Also any ideas if i can expand the memory of the ultra small pc?
 

Uridium

Well-known Member
hi uridium,

thanks for your reply.

will this be capable of playing full 1080p HD movies???

Also any ideas if i can expand the memory of the ultra small pc?
Not sure on the 1080p stuff as mine is never actually used for playback. It's just used fro streaming media to other devices.

I know the 745 and 745 USFF will take 4Gb (2x2Gb) but any higher i don't know I'm afraid.
 

Member 402340

Standard Member
thanks uridium,

if i used the optiplex pc to stream media to other devices, then what device would i need to plug into my lcd tv to see the media from the optiplex?
 

anthony.s

Active Member
For 1080p playback I would avoid the USFF as there are no expansion slots at all. I would look for one that has a PCI-e slot for GPU decoding as a minimum.
4Gb is more than enough for a HTPC, 2Gb being adequate.
 

Scott_Mac

Distinguished Member
Last edited:

Member 402340

Standard Member
thank you scott. Thats what i meant...i want members on here to recommend eithier components for me to build from or ready-built pcs and nas devices.

May i add something though? ...i can build a much faster HD pc than the revo which is expandable too for the same price mate. The only good thing about the revo is its size.
 

Scott_Mac

Distinguished Member
thank you scott. Thats what i meant...i want members on here to recommend eithier components for me to build from or ready-built pcs and nas devices.

May i add something though? ...i can build a much faster HD pc than the revo which is expandable too for the same price mate. The only good thing about the revo is its size.
Indeed you can build something small and cheap... dialogue often starts with something ready to go as not everyone can build a PC!

In terms of a self build, any of the energy efficient processors from AMD are a great start Processor - 1 x AMD Athlon II X3 400e: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics & Photo, combined with a motherboard that has built in HDMI, audio processing etc... but then it opens out - do you want Full HD (e.g. DTS-MA etc) in which case save money on the motherboard and buy a Sapphire HD5450 512MB DDR3 Graphics Card: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics & Photo which will do Full HD audio over HDMI you can then get a cheaper motherboard ASUS AM3 M4A78LT-M LE Motherboard Intel Socket M-ATX: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics & Photo - personally i'd go this way as you have more flexibility in future with the better graphics card and the cost is very similar.

4Gb RAM is what i use, probably 2Gb is fine, but it's not crazy money...

A decent, small case - Silverstone Sugo SST-SG01B-F SFF Cube Case - No PSU

Cheap, silent PSU and off you go... CIT 450W Gold 12Cm Silent Atx Power Supply: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics & Photo

I se Western Digital Caviar Green hard discs in mine as i had a lot of issues with Seagate...

You can then get into better coolers, such as the Scythe Ninja, better fans... but build it first and then see is my philosophy!
 

Member 402340

Standard Member
thank u very much scott.

The htpc i sold had 2gb ram and ran absolutely like a dream.

I need:-

1. full 1080p hd support

2. optical dts/5.1 surround (most mobos have that nowadays), but whats the difference between optical dts and hdmi hd sound?

3. the odd web browsing or watching movies online

4. smaller size case than the one u've shown if possible.
 

Scott_Mac

Distinguished Member
1. Above will do it

2. Slight issue then, you'll probably need to opt for an 'all in one' motherboard.. the separate card will not do optical audio, only HDMI (HDMI audio will give you Full HD such as TrueHD, DTS-MA etc - basically the latest standards as seen on Blu-ray - if you don't have an HDMI enabled AV amp that can decode these formats though, you should stick with optical) Something such as this - ASUS AM2+ M4A785D-M PRO Motherboard Intel Socket M-ATX 5200MT/S

3. No issues at all

4. Could be a challenge... but i'll have a look around. Does it need to be narrower or not as tall?
 
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Uridium

Well-known Member
For 1080p playback I would avoid the USFF as there are no expansion slots at all. I would look for one that has a PCI-e slot for GPU decoding as a minimum.
4Gb is more than enough for a HTPC, 2Gb being adequate.
I agree if you are using it as a HTPC.

But for a Media Server (OP's question was originally posted in the Streamers section but subsequently moved to HTPC's) then The hardware spec is much less important. Especially the GPU (OnBoard video is more than enough for a Media server.
 

Member 402340

Standard Member
well thank u very much guys. Sorry that i posted in the wrong section. I was looking more at a HTPC solution.

@ scott - 4. Prefer it to be narrower height-wise, although then am i right in thinking that i'll have limited options in expanding at a later stage?

@ uridium - The PlayOnHD can't allow you to browse internet can it?


Do you guys think i made a mistake in selling my HTPC?
 

Uridium

Well-known Member
well thank u very much guys. Sorry that i posted in the wrong section. I was looking more at a HTPC solution.

@ scott - 4. Prefer it to be narrower height-wise, although then am i right in thinking that i'll have limited options in expanding at a later stage?

@ uridium - The PlayOnHD can't allow you to browse internet can it?


Do you guys think i made a mistake in selling my HTPC?
No. the only streamer that has a web browser is the Sony PS3.

PS3 does make a good streamer unless you need MKV support though.
 

Member 402340

Standard Member
i definately need mkv support and internet browsing capability.

Seems like the only option for me is to buy another HTPC...DAMN! i shouldn't have sold the previous one.
Have i been stupid in selling the following HTPC which i built and spent many weeks tweaking it,for £280???? :eek:

Specifications with CURRENT price:-
AMD Athlon X2 4850e Dual Core CPU - £50
gigabyte ga-ma78gm-s2h (built-in hdmi etc) - £70
2GB Kingston ValueRAM 800MHz DDR2 Dual Channel Memory Kit - £40
500GB Samsung SpinPoint EcoGreen F2 3.5" Hard Disk Drive - £33
DVD-RW Drive - £15
Opera HTPC Case with 500w psu - £37
Two 8cm fans - £10

TOTAL = £255


Can i make a better spec than this for £300 or maybe cheaper HTPC that does the job for 1080p movies and internet browsing? :confused:
 
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anthony.s

Active Member
Have you thought about something like a Popcorn hour or WD media?
With the PCH you can put a big HDD in it and connect it diectly to your TV via HDMI or stream from a NAS. A bit limited but small, quiet and low powered.

You already have a laptop etc so if you could forego the browsing on TV if could be OK for you.
 

articulateape

Standard Member
a fast and highly scalable setup would be a Zotac Mag (ION) and Synology NAS system. It is expensive, but the job can be done in a day and you are able to upgrade from there.

However, OPs prospective spec is cool too. I think the AMD CPU is probably more efficient and can crunch through heavier stuff.

I would change the fan and get 120mm or larger fans instead, less noise/headache when the thing is running.

you could also skimp on the Ram and get more when they're a bit cheaper. But that's only if you want to save as much as you can.
 

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