Discussion in 'Home Entertainment Computers' started by JFRTDI, Jan 2, 2012.
Is it possible to build a htpc off a budget of around £180
You could build a car for £180 if you wanted, but the chassis would be timber and it would have four oil drums as wheels.
Give us a clue - what do you want from it? Freeview? HD? How much recording space? Blu Ray? HDMI? etc, etc...
Kikatek.com | (92.G1DYZ.U10) Acer Aspire Revo R3600L Ultra Small Form Factor PC Atom (230) 1.6GHz 1024MB 160GB WLAN Linux (GeForce 9400) Revo Multimedia Keyboard and Optical Mouse
haha very true!!!
Right, I want something that pretty much will play most of my media content flawlessly if such a thing can be said, off either an external hdd or some form of internal storage.
Most will be mkv format with dts variants.
Freeview i am not too bothered about, its more the add ons and streaming stuff im after.
Must be able to connect to my tv hdmi and also sound to my amp out put 5.1 if poss.
I was just looking at them machines bubblegum, the 3610 and 3700 seeing if their was much difference. About 1 week ago i was happy to purchase the er1401 until i found out it was discontinued so now i am looking for alternative but within a similar price range which i doubt im going to get now, but kinda gives you an idea what i was after.
I got a Zotac ID11 built for under £100. I had an unused 40GB 2.5" disk available and my media is on a NAS.
All you need is a Atom/ION or AMD E350 system, 2GB memory, 128MB USB stick and xbmclive
did u build it urself? If so was it relatively easy? I can do all the pc builds/install from scratch etc so cant see something like this being much different.
With regards to all i need, what about graphics and what not, pretty sure i read somewhere before about issues with some machines being able to handle 1080p and stuff like that?
Intel Celeron G530 £35, H61 scocket 1155 motherboard £40, 2GB DDR3 £12 would be a good base
The zotac is a barebones nettop, just needs memory and boot device, so very easy to setup. I got it a month ago from Maplins for £75. My goal was to get a media player better and cheaper than the likes of Dune tv101. It also had to be small. A g530 celeron is ok but I prefer the nettop/itx solution. I hope this year we'll see some cheap,small and low powered tetra2 based nettops.
So in theory, i could build one myself for that price, while its not high end, it will do what i want it too?
You shouldn't have any trouble depending on what extras you need. I just priced a system on Ebuyer for £145 (E350 motherboard, case and 2GB memory). You can install xbmc onto a small USB flash drive (£5), MCE IR remote £15 ebay or if you already have an android or iphone £0. You will also need another flash drive and a KB/mouse for the initial install.
I suggest you download xbmclive and try it on you PC or laptop to see if this is what you are after.
If you already have a copy of Windows/Your chosen O/S you can build an I3 for a smidge over £200. I3 has far more power than Atom's but may well be overkill (And therefore budget you don't need to spend). If you are interested I can post a build for you with price links etc.
edit: Excluding the O/S and DVB-S2 cards, I built my I3, 8gb with 500bg drive for this - although HD's were FAR cheaper then. It can encode 2 HD channels whilst playing/streaming a third.
By all means as previous reply. Post recommendations or suggestions as I always look into it an take other ppls opinions and knowledge on board as in certain things it out weighs mine
Ideally I want it for around 175ish but if need be 200 I would push too only if necessary, if not then chraper the better.
I have a harmony one so a remote I assume I wouldnt need? I also have two old pcs in the shed.... whether the work or not is a diff story with it being cold/damp outside.
Its not neccassery, its just if you wanted to overspec a little bit. As you don't want to spend more than you need to, go with the cheaper options recommended.
Gave up on Logitech remotes myself, really struggled with them when it comes to devices that have one button for on and off - it kept sending "on" signals to my projector when it was already on .... VERY annoying as PJs have cool down and warm up cycles.
The other kit might be ok. Bring it into a warm environment and leave it for a day or so to acclimatise. Do NOT plug it in until you have done this or you may find water droplets forming which may cause something to pop.
Will dig it out tomorrow. I know what u mean bout the remote, pain at times. So is the generally feeling that a amd e350 or similar level is the budget one to go for....
If other peoples experience prove that a small AMD will work then I would go with it. I personaly would steer very clear of Atoms, not worth the money imo.
Right, so if u was to start from scratch what would u get.... if u had an OS, hd and remote......
To be honest, go with the AMD recommendations above. You might want to think about 2.5" disk (laptop) as they work in a normal pc but usually much quiter with only a slight drop in performance (but still more than enough to show your ripped DVD's etc). The I3 solution is more like a "Rolls Royce" and it sounds like you don't need it.
Remote? I've given up with all in ones, no matter how smart they are they all seem to fail in my experience one way or another. I've gone back to a Windows Media Center remote from Ebay.... it just works - although I do need to turn on my PJ/amp with there own. After that, the only reason I might need the Amp is turn DTS up/down as 7MC doesn't seem to control that. The only reason I might need the PJ remote is to turn the PJ to 3D. So, rarely need them.
If you do intend to use xbmc live try and use nvidia graphics, amd or intel can work in Linux, but it adds extra hassle factor.
Ok guys, nice one.
When u day NVIDIA gfx, do u mean somethin along the lines of NVIDIA 9200 as found in the e machine for example....
Yep, pretty much any nvidia card or integrated graphics will do vdpau - which is required for full hd playback in Linux/xbmclive.
Any nvidia graphics will work with xbmclive straight away.
Righto, well when I get in from work I'm gonna do some searching an see what I can get together. Putting something together in budget is a lot more fun then just buying somethin within budget imo.
Right, tell me if im along the right path or if im going backwards....
Novatech Media Centre case comes with psu
E3400 2.6Ghz Dual Core
Gigabyte G41MT-S2P Motherboard or ASUS M4A88T-M - motherboard - micro ATX - Socket AM3 - AMD 880G (which i assume gets rid of the gfx card unless not powerful enuff for full 1080p playback
4GB Patriot DDR3 1333 Memory
GIGABYTE GV-N84S-512I HDMI GE FORCE 8400 GS 512 MB OR nvidia geforce 9800gt 512mb
crikey, there is that many different combinations people use after looking at various forums / builds
Does anyone have any opinions on the below mobo/cpu combo
Asus E35M1-M, AMD® M1, Dual-core Zacate™ EE 18W CPU,2DDR3, DSUB DVI HDMI, DX11, SATA6, mATX
Add 4GB ram to it such as the below although 8GB may be more then i need?
Crucial / Kingston / Patriot all do 1 x 4GB sticks or 2 x 4GB sticks
and a case and thats pretty much it right? of course a HDD but thats not a problem.
Ram / Mobo / CPU is coming in at approx £128
Atom is perfectly OK. It is the ION GPU that you are paying for not the processor. VDPAU is free
Xbmc runs perfectly with 2GB memory, no need for more. Is there a reason you chose mATX rather than ITX form factor?
If you can hang fire a few weeks it seems that the xbmc devs have got xbmc running on a raspberry pi unit - 35 dollars for a media player...!!!!
Re the Zacate board above, it may be worth either adding windows license on top or checking out some of the threads about running xbmc live with and fusion - it was a bugger to get h/w decoding working, though a think it may be a bit easier now.
Yes your right but why pay almost as much as an I3 (£220) for an Atom (£220) box when clearly they don't compare in CPU power. And then obviously, you can go cheaper with AMD.
Uses less energy?
Been using my revo on a power monitor for the last few days.
Uses approx 20w at idle, 28w when browsing xbmc and 30w max when watching full 1080p
And thats about the ONLY advantage! But then, if your worried about running a light bulb (60watts) then your seriously skint and probably shouldnt be investing in "luxury" IT equipment.
My revo is on 24/7 as it acts as a media server and literally delivers my paper in the morning
I wouldn't leave a light bulb on all the time.
Apparently the raspberry pi will use 1w, now that's good.
I would never pay £220 for an Atom/ION motherboard, you can get a Acer Revo PC for that price. I buy cheapest platform that will do the job an i3 is not cheap enough.
Funnily enough my Atom based NAS also delivers my morning paper
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