Newbie on the path to building or buying a Media PC


Standard Member
Hi There,
I have recently moved over to Dubai from the UK and have found the availability local TV services for English channels to be very limited. I was then thinking of setting up some media streaming facility at home so that I could stream my music and movies from my 500G NAS box (Buffalo Linkstation Live) via my PS3. However the PS3 couldn’t see more than half of my movies on the NAS and after googling around I discovered it doesn’t support a lot of these video formats that I have. I then found ‘PS3mediaserver’ which is able to transcode the video formats from their native to whatever PS3 likes (MP4 I think) and downloaded that on my spare laptop to which I connected a HDD via USB that also has all my content. I was then able to view this HDD from PS3 and I could stream content to me TV....problem solved I thought.

However this worked only the once and now PS3 doesn’t see the PS3 media server running on my pc so will need to spend time to see why etc. I am now thinking that maybe a dedicated media PC might be better for me as also need to VPN in to a UK proxy server to get iPlayer/Sky Go to work.
It is in this regard I turned to avforums to get some advice on how and what to do this as am a newbie to this. I see there are some off the shelf Media servers and there is the option to get one purpose built. I guess I am willing to spend around £600-£700 s would like your advice on which way to go.
My requirements are:
1. I am not in to gaming so it is purely for storing/streaming/watching my movies, pictures, music etc.
2. I would like a blu-ray player as the one in PS3 went faulty some months back.
3. I need to be able to run VPN clients to connect to UK servers to use iPlayer type services.
4. I would like it to be as quiet as possible as would be placing it in the av stand under the Panny HD tv (2010 model so not a smart tv)

I would love to get your advise on any off the shelf pc that would work for my requirements above. Alternatively if building my own is the way forward, what H/w components should I get and what OS and media application would I run?

Thank you in advance for your help.



Standard Member
Hi, anyone out there that can give me some advice on the way forward with home media PC? Tempted to get a new PS3 as kids been hounding me to play their DVDs but holding back as maybe getting a Media PC built might be the better way long term. Really would benefit from some advice from some of the experts on this forum....


Distinguished Member
I'd advise you to build you own, in which case spend 10 mins or so trawling through the threads here for build advice. Sounds like you'll be using XBMC (and Windows?).

Bear in mind that a cheap, low-powered CPU will do you. I run a Celeron and it doesn't break a sweat handling 1080p. I'd recommend an SSD too for the OS, sounds like you wouldn't need an HDD.

Good luck!


Standard Member
Thanks richardb70. Looking though some of the threads I put together the list below. About using XBMC and or Windows, I don't yet know what XBMC is so was planning to have Windows 8 as the OS (64bit) and just use Windows media player. Would that not be Ok for my requirements? What is XBMC adn what functionality/features does that add?

CPU: Intel Core i3-3225 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor
Motherboard: ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard
Memory: Mushkin Blackline 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
Storage: A-Data Premier Pro SP900 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk
Case: Silverstone ML03B HTPC Case
Power Supply: FSP Group 300W 80 PLUS Certified Micro ATX Power Supply
Optical Drive: LG WH14NS40 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer


Distinguished Member
Hi - sounds like you have some reading to do! XBMC is a free impressive front-end which will allow you to browse your photos, TV episodes, films etc with a remote and nifty artwork. There's a sticky thread in this forum explaining how to set it up with pics, I'd have a look at that.

As for your specs, some of it could be overkill. 4Gb RAM is more than enough. You could probably go less than an i3 as well. Do you need a hefty HDD in there - I thought you were using a NAS box for storage? Not sure how much the H77 motherboard is, I use a Gigabyte B75 as it ticked all the HTPC boxes and was around the £50 mark. Can't comment on the PSU, Silverstone cases are nice though. :smashin:

Don't forget to allow for a remote control as well if that appeals. I use a Logitech Harmony, so all I needed for mine was a USB receiver, RC6 type from eBay for a tenner.


Standard Member
Hi Richardb70, read through the sticky on XBMC and so will probably download that and use it as my front end on the HTPC. Also I went down to Computer Street in down town Dubai where there are hundreds of shops selling all these components. Of the 6 shops I went in to, no one had the i3-3225 processor, only the i3-3220 which I read somewhere didn't have the HD Graphics 4000 (I think it's 2500). They offered me an i5 3570K which has this and was £40 more than the i3-3220 processor. I know it sounds like an over kill, but maybe it's more future proofing myself if I start using the HTPC for gaming etc. Also with the motherboard, they had the ASRock H77M but were suggesting I go for the ASUS Maximus V Gene. This is about £80 more expensive. Not sure I need to go for that so I thought I'd ask here your opinion. Finally, they didn't have the PSU in my list above, instead offered FSP Raider PSU 450W. Is this OK for my HTPC build, is it any more noisier?

Wrt to the 2 TB HDD, my existing NAS is only 500GBb and four year old Linkstation Live. I plan to have all my content on the HTPC HDD and only back up the most important home movies pics etc on the NAS. So what my HTPC would look like if I go ahead with what I was offered is as below. Would really love to hear any comments before placing an order for all these parts. Once again thank you in advance.

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.8GHz Quad-Core Processor
Motherboard: ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (OR ASUS Maximus V Gene)
Memory: Mushkin Blackline 8GB DDR3-1600 Memory
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
Storage: Kingston HyperX 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk
Case: Silverstone ML03B HTPC Case
Power Supply: FSP Raider 450W Power Supply
Optical Drive: Pioneer Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer


Standard Member
Richardb70, I also looked at your mobo (Gigabyte B75). It sounds like it would be better for humid environments. Apparently it hit 90% humidity in the height of summer here. Maybe I should go for that but reading a thread on a comparison between the H77M and B75, it sounded like the H77M was better for a Micro ATX system, by which I infer better for small HTPC case such as Silvertone ML03B. Do I understand that correct or could I go for the B75 with the rest of my setup above?


Distinguished Member
Id have a look at an AMD fm2 build, i3 or i5 is way over the top for an htpc, and eg a 65w A6 fm2 has more then enough CPU and better graphics, for only £50.

Btw I run an i3 in my main pc and a4 in my htpc, both itx builds and nice and quiet. I only run the 300w bequiet Atx psu in the i3 (2 ssd, 1 hdd, 1 optical) and a 60w pico in the a4 (one ssd no optical) if no extra gpu required 450w is well over specced. I think you could build a suitable htpc for half your budget.
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