Build A "High-Def" Media Centre for less than £370 (BLU-RAY,HD-DVD,HDMI,TV) - HotUKDeals
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Build A "High-Def" Media Centre for less than £370 (BLU-RAY,HD-DVD,HDMI,TV)

djfluff Avatar
8y, 7m agoPosted 8 years, 7 months ago
With the ever decreasing price of computer components, you can now put a quite beefy media centre PC together for not that mutch cash. Here is an example build that includes :
BLU-RAY HD-DVD , HDMI , 2GB RAM, 500GB HDD, TV-Tuner, 2.6Ghz AMD(Black Ed!)

(Prices are from Microdirect.co.uk at time of posting.)

Gigabyte motherboard GA-MA78GM-S2H AM2 Phenom AMD 780G Integrated ATI graphics DDR2 micro ATX £53.70
AMD CPU AM2 Athlon 64 Dual Core 5000 Retail Box NO Fan Socket AM2 940 PIN BLACK EDITION (3yr Manufacturer's Warranty) ADO5000OSWOF (CPUAM2D5000B)£46.99
Colors IT 2003-C34 Black/Silver Desktop micro ATX Case 450W (CASUNB2003C34)£23.45
Akasa AK-876 AMD COOLER 3U HeatPipe, Lo-Noise PWM Fan Socket 754, 939, 940 & AM2 (FANAKA876)£9.85
Geil Value DDR2 1.0GB PC6400 Memory RAM 800MHz £15.28 (MEMGEIVD2D641GB) x2
Samsung 500GB SATA II 300 Hard Disk Drive 16MB cache 7200rpm oem (HAR500SAMSA7216)£44.99
LG GGC-H20L Blu-Ray & HD Combi drive Black SATA Retail (Blu-Ray & HD player - DVD rewriter) +software fixings manual (DVDLGEGGCH20L)£91.30
Hauppauge WinTV Express PCI Soft PVR For DivX (PTVHAUWINEXP)£18.60
Standard Service (Despatch within 1-3 Days) £3.99

Total Price Including Vat
£369.01
djfluff Avatar
8y, 7m agoPosted 8 years, 7 months ago
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banned#1
Great post! Shows how much you can save building your own. Software also neede though, but you can pick up cheap OS on ebay.

Alternatively swap Blu-ray/HD-DVD drive with writeable Blu-ray:
http://www.play.com/PC/PCs/4-/5338496/Pioneer-BluRay-BD-DVD-CD-Writer-BDR-202bk/Product.html

there's probably a better price for that but haven't looked about
#2
are the components from the same store?
#3
Can't see the operating system in the list :whistling:
#5
Some_Bloke
Can't see the operating system in the list :whistling:


http://www.freeos.com/
#6
Components are from the same store, you may be able to get cheeper if you shop around, but you will have to take multiple postage into account.
OS, you could use LINUX ... Build does not include keybord / mouse either, but these are quite often 'recycled' from your old PC.. .
I will look for the best price for XP\Vista Mediacentre & post here :)
#7
mythbunutu or MCE would be suitable and free
#8
Ebuyer Have Windows Vista Home Premium for £58 (OEM for systembuilders)
#9
but (IMO) one of the real (/few!) benefits of Vista H.P over previous incarnations and other MC apps is the revamped Media Center interface -- really slick and useable, andfor £58 i would go for that over a linux distro
#10
dt_matthews
but (IMO) one of the real (/few!) benefits of Vista H.P over previous incarnations and other MC apps is the revamped Media Center interface -- really slick and useable, andfor £58 i would go for that over a linux distro


Me too.

Nof for another question, where's the best place to get a bightview monitor which doesn't have too much glare or trouble when viewing at angles? :)
#11
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7334123.stm

Oh dear it appears Vista could disappear like Windows Millennium.
#12
Alfonse;1854553
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7334123.stm

Oh dear it appears Vista could disappear like Windows Millennium.


Theyve since said that infact they are still looking at a 2010 for release. The next year he meant was for the first build
banned#13
Alfonse;1854553
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7334123.stm

Oh dear it appears Vista could disappear like Windows Millennium.


I thought the new version of Windows was due this year not next!
#14
Titchimp
Theyve since said that infact they are still looking at a 2010 for release. The next year he meant was for the first build


Still pretty quick -

XP 2001

Vista 2007

Windows 7 - 2010
#15
Alfonse;1854586
Still pretty quick -

XP 2001

Vista 2007

Windows 7 - 2010


Sure.. But they went 3.1 (92) Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000, XP (2001)

So if anything it just took them a long time to get vista done.
#16
Yeah I suppose but 95/98 were still DOS based whereas ME, 2000 and XP were are NT based but IMO only 98 and XP stood out as the platform that everyone was using, the others didn't really make the same impact.
#17
>whereas ME was NT based

Wrong, ME was still based on the old DOS 95/98 technology.

The two technology paths were

"DOS" based Windows -> Windows 1,2,3, 95 then 98 then ME - end of platform

"NT" based Windows -> Windows NT 3.5, 4.0, Windows 2000

Then it split into client (XP, then Vista) and server (Server 2003, Server 2008)
#18
For those that want to see the Windows history in all its detail go here:

http://www.levenez.com/windows/

Click on the strange white "bar" near the top of the screen and it expands in a very detailed timeline of the history of Windows

And for those that want to know why Vista took so long to come out, AND why it perhaps has had a less than enthusiastic reception go here (read the section headed "Development")

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Vista
#19
guilbert53
>whereas ME was NT based

Wrong, ME was still based on the old DOS 95/98 technology.

The two technology paths were

"DOS" based Windows -> Windows 1,2,3, 95 then 98 then ME - end of platform

"NT" based Windows -> Windows NT 3.5, 4.0, Windows 2000

Then it split into client (XP, then Vista) and server (Server 2003, Server 2008)


I do apologise I'm not a Windows Engineer, I'm a CCNP sorry.
#20
Titchimp
Sure.. But they went 3.1 (92) Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000, XP (2001)

So if anything it just took them a long time to get vista done.


There's a saying in the software industry: "Cheap, good, quick. Pick any two.". In this case cheap is a given, even a company as large as microsoft can't afford to build the perfect OS from the ground up. So you can either have good or quick. That is, either windows 7 comes out in 2009/2010 and it's just an improved version of vista, or microsoft do a lot of work on it and give us all the things we want like a scalable interface, low system requirements, and transparent workings but we have to stay with vista for several years.

Anyway, back to the topic of this thread:

1. The specs for the motherboard has this in the video section:

Supports HDMI™ Technology with HDCP compliant with max. resolution 1920 x 1080p*
*Due to the chipset limitation, only MPEG 2 & WMV Offload can support HD format 1920 x 1080p.
*When playing HD DVD and Blu-ray disc the suggested system configuration above: DDR2 800 1GB*2 /Althon 64 X2 4400+/Graphic shared memory 256MB/Purevideo HD support.

Does this mean it's only got limited 1080p support? If that's the case it's rather a major issue in a media centre. Also, will using slower ram then they suggested make any difference.

2. Case and PSU for under £20? I'd be reluctant to spend that little on a PSU for a normal PC, but I guess for a media centre the consequences of PSU failure aren't as serious since failure won't cause you to miss a deadline or destroy important files.
#21
I have a similar system myself, and I used DDR2 667 mhz ram. I did have problems playing High definition Files (WMV-HD & .MKV), but found the cause was the CPU. After overclocking it to 2.4GHz I have had no problems with any High def media.

Ram is so cheep now, Personally I would spend the extra £12 And go for some 800mhz Geil ram
(http://www.microdirect.co.uk/(17746)Geil-Value-DDR2-10GB-PC6400-Memory-RAM-800MHz.aspx)

I agree about the PSU too. Personaly I would buy energy efficient iGreen PSU, or a Seasonic S12 if I was feeling plush. A very efficient PSU will pay for itself over it's lifetime in energy savings, especially with a mediacentre.

The cheepness of the components was to show just how cheeply you could build a system like this, obviously if you can afford to spend a bit more I would buy a nice antec\silverstone\thermaltake mediacentre case too :)
#22
Favourable review of this motherbord here http://www.ocworkbench.com/2007/asus/m2a-vm-hdmi/b13.htm
#23
I have updated the spec to include 800mhz ram, still come in under £350 :)
#24
Well apart from missing an os (myth aint yet up to it really), theres a few small matters
that board runs bloody hot and will really be far too noisy for a htpc
i've had two abit versions (690=ati1250) and they dont do that all important 1360*768 over the vga port
Reason i had two abits was first was faulty, actually so was the replacement i got from abit so really cant recommend them at all best bet is nforce 630 boards
If using on board video u'll need 2gb ram as the vga will swipe some of it, cant recommend the geil either as it uses a higher voltage and runs hotter than other 800mhz ram
but ur getting close, it all depends on whether ur mrs will take one luck and say "that ugly beast is not going in my lounge"
#25
maddogb
Well apart from missing an os (myth aint yet up to it really), theres a few small matters
that board runs bloody hot and will really be far too noisy for a htpc
i've had two abit versions (690=ati1250) and they dont do that all important 1360*768 over the vga port
Reason i had two abits was first was faulty, actually so was the replacement i got from abit so really cant recommend them at all best bet is nforce 630 boards
If using on board video u'll need 2gb ram as the vga will swipe some of it, cant recommend the geil either as it uses a higher voltage and runs hotter than other 800mhz ram
but ur getting close, it all depends on whether ur mrs will take one luck and say "that ugly beast is not going in my lounge"


Never Knew that about Geil RAM. Is that true for most Geil RAM or just the budget stuff ??
Can you reccomend a good AM2 Mobo with onboard VGA ? I built my mediacentre using a ABIT Fatal1ty F-I90HD, which is awsome, but socket 775.

Might need to chenge the thread to " build a HD-Media centre for less than £500" =)
#26
dunno, the stuff i got came with a leaflet explaining the need to up voltage in the bios, don't think it was exactly budget.
any n'force based board does the job nicely but i really like to leave my options and get the extra's just in case. like Gb ethernet and Esata, unfort aint found an am2 board with the second.
I've used asus and asrock boards as htpc builds and both quite good.
Also the 4400 am2 runs as quick as the c2d 4300,4500 and costs a bit less but would like to get a bigger one and try some "underclocking" to keep the heat down
#27
What about noise? I've noticed intel processors and fans are quiter, pretty important in a medi acentre pc. Has the gfx got a fan or is it a copper based plate thing?

Everyone is pleasently shocked at how quiet my Dell E520 is, because of it i notice how loud other PC's are now, especially AMD Athlon.
#28
Im thinking of doing this but in the summer probably be cheaper then and also is it hard to do this?
#29
For a high-def media PC I'd be looking at a dedicated graphics card, a fairly low end one from the current range will be able to help the CPU in decoding high-def video and it will also have its own memory rather than an integrated card having to share resources on the motherboard.

John
#30
Johnmcl7
For a high-def media PC I'd be looking at a dedicated graphics card, a fairly low end one from the current range will be able to help the CPU in decoding high-def video and it will also have its own memory rather than an integrated card having to share resources on the motherboard.

John


not really necess as an extra gig of ram is cheaper than a dedicated gfx and will generate even more heat, does add a bit of sharpness on my 720p set tho
and i found no difference in heat/noiseperfomance levels between the intel 4300 and the amd 4400 even when i over clocked the 4300 to a 4500 equiv, was a lot cheaper tho
what exactly are you saving processor cycles for? they are there to be used lol, most modern dual cores can handle hd video no prob
#31
Will any PC play HD content through a DVI cable if it has been "downloaded" to the hard drive? (On an HD Ready TV of course)
#32
Yeh it should do but wont through the monitor i think as it needs a more powerful graphics card? not entirely sure on that im not an expert.
#33
Reddwarfposse5
Will any PC play HD content through a DVI cable if it has been "downloaded" to the hard drive? (On an HD Ready TV of course)


depends on so many other things like processor ability/amount of memory/configuration of os/codecs/ source etc
#34
Reddwarfposse5
Will any PC play HD content through a DVI cable if it has been "downloaded" to the hard drive? (On an HD Ready TV of course)


Provided the CPU can handle the decoding and it has a DVI port yes (can't send through a DVI cable without one :) )

As to whether the CPU can handle the decoding that depends on how it was encoded, I think some of the more demanding ones need quite a modern processor.
#35
Read a review of this mobo.
http://www.microdirect.co.uk/(33573)Gigabyte-motherboard-GAMA78GMS2H-AM2-Phenom.aspx

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/AMD-780G-HDTV-Blu-Ray,review-30420.html
Says it's a great mediacentre . (dx10 & everything =) Overclocks really well to. Have updated the main spec. Thoughts ?
#36
Yea it 78G series is suppose to be great for media centres because you don't need additional gfx cards to play HD content BUT they suppose to suck at games so maybe 79 series is a better choice unless you have no interest in games
#37
Acording to Tom's you can overclock the GPU by 90% via a hidden menu :)
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/AMD-780G-HDTV-Blu-Ray,review-30420-8.html

Rates higher that my media centre for playing games ( I can play games like WOW, Worms , C&C) , so would probably be OK for most casual gamers...
#38
4Site
Yea it 78G series is suppose to be great for media centres because you don't need additional gfx cards to play HD content BUT they suppose to suck at games so maybe 79 series is a better choice unless you have no interest in games


Can't see any 790G's for sale on a uk site.. . .are they 'coming soon?'

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