Old laptop for HTPC use...

Captain Jack

Novice Member

I have an old Dell E6510 laptop that has been left to me from work that I'd like to convert to HTPC use. As it's still technically a work laptop, I will remove the hard drive from there and put a SSD one in. The specs are Intel i7 CPU and 6GB RAM, so it's fairly beefy - though it's one of the earliest i7 incarnations. Onboard video is a lowly Intel HD, though it should work OK... It has VGA and DisplayPort outputs but no HDMI. Shouldn't be an issue as my TV has PC input on it.

Anyway - the question is what to install on it? Back in the old days I used to use MCE2005, which worked OK on a very old P4 machine, which has since been decommissioned. Clearly, there are better options.... I would like to use it for the following purposes:

1) Watch the usual movie files in mkv and avi containers encoded in DIVX, XVID, H264 etc.
2) Watch Russian Kartina IPTV (I believe it has plugins available for XMBC and Media Portal)
3) Preferably ability to watch iPlayer/ITV Player/Ch4 OD from the same interface
4) Run a couple of web severs and services (sabnzbd+, SickBeard etc.)

Currently, the first two are handled by Dune HD 101 box - tiny Apple TV sized box, which is actually quite good but I hate the tiny remote that's supplied with it and the interface can be a little awkward to navigate but it hasn't failed to play anything I throw at it. Handles subtitles files well too. I also have a 1.5TB drive attached to it via USB.

The last one is running on a very old D610 laptop (Pentium M?) in Debian 6 and it really struggles when repairing and extracting rar/par files - takes longer than it does to download! So, I want to merge the two and add web players to it (iPlayer etc.)

I know that XMBC is available for Linux, though I've never used it under it and using it in Windows seemed a little awkward - I preferred the look of Media Portal. Linux would be ideal for server apps but not sure how well it copes with media stuff - especially with iPlayers etc....

Or, I could run media stuff in Windows and run a small VM in the background for Linux stuff.



Well-known Member
As I just said on another post. Install both mediaportal & xbmc onto windows, see which you prefer.


Well-known Member
Hopefully someone else will offer opinions. I am not really into Linux.

With my limited experience, if I was installing xbmc on a laptop/pc I would run openelec.

There is a xbmcubuntu you could dual boot with windows. Or, you could try the xbmcubuntu live cd.

The latest video from AVForums

Podcast: Marantz SR7015 & NAD T 778 AVR + Mission LX2 MKII Speaker Reviews, AV & Film News and More
Top Bottom