Building a Media PC

    Has anyone had any experience in building a Media PC? I'm looking at building one, so that not only can I loose some boxes from my tv stand, by integrating a freeview/freesat tuner into it, but also giving me access to a 2nd pc, so my girlfriend can happily play the sims or whatever whilst i use the main computer.

    I'm wondering what sort of components you can comfortably fit into one.
    I am aiming to build one which will be able to run a few games (like the Sims 3), as well as view and record tv and play dvds (possibly Bluray if I can get a decent drive cheap)

    I've plenty of experience building full size pc's, but never seen, let alone opened a small media pc case in my life! So any insight into the do's and don't's will be appreciated!


    I'm looking at one of these at the moment; one of the best chipsets seems to be the AMD 780G motherboards that come with the HD3200 Onboard graphics. I might well couple it with an AMD 5050e 45W processor as they better when it comes to heat output over the 95W X2's and the 125W Phenoms etc. Cases need to carefully researched because you must decide between low profile and full height PCI cards that you might need / not need.

    That said.. I found today a low profile 9800GT for sale... nice.

    With the TV Tuners make sure you do a lot of research into the one you get e.g. search google & the manufacturers forums to see if anyone is having issues with it & make sure that it works with the the type of system you're building - 32/64 bit & amount of ram. I've had issues with usb tuners that only work after you've restarted the computer and pci-e tuners that don't work on x64 systems with more than x amount of ram.

    Good suppliers for this type of stuff are ]Specialtech and ]LinITX, both do a lot of M-ATX and smaller stuff that is perfect for Media Center Computers.

    Original Poster

    Thanks for the input and help, will leave rep.

    Anything else to consider would be of great use! has a very busy media centre PC section.

    If you go for an mATX case (about the size of a DVD player but thicker) then it's the same format as most small tower cases and you can stick whatever components you like in within reason (a pair of GTX 295s may have problems, but a quad-core and a 4770 is perfectly reasonable, or a 9600GT if you go for a half height case). The smaller mini-ITX motherboards tend to have only one slot instead of the 3-4 of mATX so you may have to compromise on the graphics card to fit a TV tuner in there but the sims will probably run fine on integrated graphics anyway.

    emasu, thought the 5050 was 65watt?
    With freeview tuners the key is BDA drivers, that is foremost thing to check for compatibility with most front ends such as media centre or media portal.
    As suggested it's a big subject take a while, probably with a GF using it the key factor will be WAF( woman acceptance factor) so it needs to fit in and not be too complex, noisy and indestructable..
    Also as pointed out avforums is becoming a hot spot for HTPC/Media centre discussion.


    emasu, thought the 5050 was 65watt?

    45W :thumbsup:


    45W :thumbsup:

    dammit i bought a 4850 last year because the amd web site had the 5050 listed as 65watt, see they have changed it now peasants lol
    Post a comment
      Top Discussions
      1. Tv choice magazine Issue 3966
      2. Win a Free minion usb stick22
      3. Win 1 of 3 x £1000 Selfridges vouchers with Virgin Trains66
      4. Magazine competitions - Issue 37 @

      See more discussions