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Software Queries for a Home Media Box

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by sapper, Aug 17, 2004.

  1. sapper

    sapper
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    I have just built a new PC, basically an Asus Motherbaord with a 3000+ AMD CPU and a gig of DDR RAM and currently 80 MB IDE hard drive.

    It is intended to be used as a media box.

    Currently it has a copy of XP Home but, despite me 'owning' the software with a valid key, it is not allowing me to activate as the software has been activated too many times. I have reinstalled XP on my MESH machine about 3 or 4 times due to hardware failures etc.

    Technically I am aware that this is a copy right breakage!

    When you budding "bulid your own enthusiasts" build a PC, what Windows operating system do you install? Do you purchase copies or do you multiple install.

    Any help assitance in this matter would be gratefullt appreciated.

    In addition to an operating system, I also need to install media componments such as a DVD player, etc.

    What software packages do you recomend that I purchase to enhance my pleasure of this box.

    I intensd to use it to watch DVD's on a plasma screen, rip CD's for general listening etc. I will probably purchase a freeview card as well.

    i would also like to be able to archive video recordings on to hard drive/DVD. Again what is the best software for this?

    Adrian

    Adrian
     
  2. groovyclam

    groovyclam
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    If it is true you own the valid WindowsXP key then you will be able to register it properly using the freephone 0800 number if doing it via the internet fails.

    ZoomPlayer is the most configurable software for DVD and media file playback. You have to register the shareware fee if you want it to play DVDs.

    You will possibly need PowerStrip to get a "proper" widescreen resolution working under Windows. This is also shareware.

    I also use Girder to react to remote control keys and automate software sequences/operate software. Also shareware.

    The best TV card is the Nebula DigiTV card although the software that comes with it could be a bit better ( but they are always releasing updates fairly regularly )
     
  3. David PluggedIn

    David PluggedIn
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    Hi Sapper

    groovyclam has given you pretty much everything that you need - the only addition is a mechanism to archive from your Laserdisc/VCR/Pace set top box - see this faq for options.

    http://www.pluggedin.tv/sweetspot/support/faq.html#2a


    oh and you will need a bigger hard drive ! ;-)
     
  4. sapper

    sapper
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    I am on the market for another hard drive. Wanting to set up a RAID with two large drives. Do yohave any suggestions. May aLso purchase a silly size slave drive as well.

    Adrian
     
  5. David PluggedIn

    David PluggedIn
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    yes, sorry, i was actually poking fun at your 80mb/80gb typo!!

    This bound to start some Holy war amongst the storage guys but if you want RAID then RAID5 is a good way to go, you need n+1 drives, so whatever 'n' is you need 1 extra drive that is used to hold the parity data. Ideally they should all be the same size, so if you are buying 2 x 160gig units then you need a third to give you RAID5. Therefore, the more drives you have in your setup, the less the cost of the 'useless' +1 drive as a proportion of the overall costs.
    hope that sort of makes sense.
     
  6. sapper

    sapper
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    I am now confused.

    If I want to set up a mirror raid drive, so one hard drive is a back up of the other, I need three drives? I have obviously mis read complty my source on this topic.

    My plan is to use the 80 GB (not MB) drive for software, and unimportant docs so it that fails then im ****** off, but just annoyed.

    On the RAID setup, I was under the impression that I keep info on one drive (digital photos, ripped CD's etc) which would be backed up onto the second drive.

    Have I got this completly wrong?

    Any advice for an Operating system. Contemplating purchasing an OEM XP-prof if I cannot get my XP MEDIA EDITION TOWORK>

    any advice or links most appreciated>

    adrian
     
  7. SeaneyC

    SeaneyC
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    Hi Adrian,

    Raid 5 is much more efficient than Mirroring (raid1), instead of the data being copied onto both drives so each one is identical, (and therefore wasting the same amount of storage on backup as held, eg needing 250GB backup for 250Gb of storage) with a basic Raid5 array, you have 3 drives.

    Just say for examples sake that each drive is 80Gb, your storage capacity will be 160Gb. "Where has the other 80Gb gone?" i hear you say, well that is used to store the "parity bit". In its simplist terms, if any of the drives fail, you still have a complete set of data out of the 160Gb, and you can put in a new drive, and your PC will sit there for a while and re-build the data onto the new drive, at which point the system is now pretty much failure proof again. I say pretty much, because it won't be able to re-build if 2 drives fail at the same time. Not very likely though.....

    But where raid 5 really comes into its own is you can keep adding these 80Gb drives to the array (collection of drives) and you still only need the extra 80Gb to effectively keep the data on all of the drives secure. Eg if you had 14x80gb in an enclosure (1.1TeraBytes) then you would only need a 15th to keep that data secure. Awesome!

    Problem with raid 5 though is afaik you need quite a special controller card to do it without noticable slowdown to you system. I am by no means an expert in this field, the last time i dealt with a Raid5 array was in an old twin pentium pro server at work, with a massive 16GB array! :laugh:

    I wouldn't like to say anything about XP media centre, i've never seen or used it on a fresh install, i just run XP pro for everything.
     

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