Shopping List: HDD Caddy/PC Workstation+storage/DVI Cable/Speaker System/XBMC

    Ok, slightly frustrated with this, any help at all will be imeasurably appreciated. I've done ALOT of research and I just can't decide.

    What am I buying?

    1) Hard disk Caddy(s)
    2) PC Speaker System
    3) PC Workstation+Storage Unit
    4) DVI Cable
    5) Xbox Modchip for XBMC (Xbox Media Centre)

    Specific Details of each item(s)

    1) [u Hard disk caddy(s)…269 I have 2 x Western Digital 320gb SATAII HD's . I need a HDD Caddy for them. I'm clueless in this area, however through intense research it would seem I have alot of options. Problem is I'm unsure what options are ideal for myself. I also have a few old HDD's which I'd like a caddy for as well, ATA33 and possibly older generations.

    a) Internal/External
    b) USB/Firewire/SATA/IDE
    c) Fan/No Fan/Dual Fans
    d) Optical Display
    e) Hot Swappable

    What I want from my Caddy

    I'm leaning towards an external setup with USB/FIREWIRE. It has to be hot swappable with a single drive slot. I don't care for optical accessories such as temperature display. Cooling is obviously essential but I'm unsure on whether fan based or case based cooling is better, noise isn't really an issue baring extremes.

    I need either a single external caddy that can support my SATAII 320gb drives AND the older HDD's or 2 caddies which can individually support both types. All the drives are 3.5".

    Icybox seems to be the brand to go with, something like this seems ideal for the SATAii drives but I'm unsure if it would support older drives as well?…get External Icybox Caddy Example
    The above example also has unlimited capatcity, meaning it would accept larger size hard drives, so a 500gb drive would work if I ever upgraded for example.

    Prices seem to vary from £2x-£3x for these types of drives.
    An internal drive seems to price around £1x-£2x.

    I still think the external option is the best. I have no real preference on colour, although this could effect cooling ability, black or aluminium is fine.

    The drives will all be used for storage/backup purposes so I'm not worried about RAID which is out of my depth anyway.


    2) [u Speaker System

    I'm currently using a wired Cambridge works 2.1 setup with SUB and separate volume control. I'd like to upgrade to a 4/5 speaker 5.1 system. A wired system with 4/5 speakers/satellites/sub and remote is a bonus versus volume control on speaker.

    I was originally looking at a couple of deals suggested on these forums

    a)…752 Labtec Arena 685 5.1 Surround Sound Speakers - 26W RMS

    These were what I was originally going to get, problem was it didn't seem such a bargain when adding in the shipping from ebuyer.

    b)…853 Logitech X-530 5.1 Speaker System - 70W RMS

    These logitech 530 were then suggested to me and looked ideal. I then did a price check and found them cheapest at amazon for £39.

    The main reason I've held off buying them is because of the other items I'm trying to purchase, it maybe potentially cheaper to get them elsewhere if I'm buying something else from my shopping list.

    3) [u PC Workstation+Storage

    This one is my major headache. I'm very very picky and just can not find my ideal piece that's reasonably priced.

    Closest match was this:…esk with the over desk hutch. At the time it still seemed a little steep for me at £95. Having looked further it's probably somewhat of a bargain?

    I originally posted this here…147

    That's what I'm looking for. To update, I'm leaning more towards a corner unit or possibly a workstation+storage separately, one running along each wall towards the corner.

    The problem with the above unit, just to show how picky I am, the keyboard desk is too small, it'll hold a keyboard but not the mouse and I'd like for them to be on the same level, whereas there doesn't appear to be enough desk space for the keyboard+mouse if I didn't use the actual keyboard tray. And of course, the price. i'm setting £100 as my limit but I'd like to see if there's any bargains out there.

    Now something like this really is IDEAL…tem

    2 Problems with the above, it's retail price is £2xx-£3xx from what i've seen. Also I can do pickups, the locations for this particular piece is too far away. I'm south-east


    Again price is the major issue here, just giving you an idea.

    and this i really like but again price...…060

    Preferably in beech/pine effect but open to offers/suggestions.

    4) [u DVI Cable

    This is for the recent bargain purchase of…045

    I'm clueless on this purchase but this was suggested in the thread…y=0 DVI Cable Basically tells me I need an 18pin male to male DVI cable.

    I know what I want but I'm posting this here in the hopes I can perhaps tie it into a package deal along with something else from my shopping list. Also any links to other options here, price wise (especially postage costs) appreciated.

    5) [u Xbox modchip for XBMC

    The XBMC has been discussed in good detail a few times, I've looked into it and have a few handy guides and my xbox, now I need the components. First up is the modchip.

    I'm following this particular guide…/3/

    However I can't find any pointers as to where to actually get a modchip, I need a non-soldering option. So if anyone here has done this before and can point me to a seller, I'd be indebted.

    That's about it.
    The NOTE was that, as well as all this, if any of it can be tied in, e.g. buy 2 or more items from an individual store to cut cost/delivery etc.. again, appreciated.

    I'll keep digging away but I really am in need of a few pointers. I rarely shop for myself but when I do I tend to be very picky (:

    Many thanks!


    You can softmod your Xbox to get XBMC, it's pretty dang easy too Just need a certain game, memory card (and a way to transfer to it via PC if you don't have a friend that has a modded Xbox) and a DVD

    Original Poster

    I did briefly read about soft modding but it's always nice to speak directly to someone with experience.

    Question though, is it really easier? and what about cheaper? Game+memory card+(cable for xbox->pc(or modifcation required)), is that easier and cheapr than buying and installing a modchip, assuming it's a non-soldering chip?

    Well for the solderless mod it will be about £30 - £35 excluding postage and you will also have to buy a set of screwdrivers for it for another £5 that will put it at about £45ish. There is the risk of the solderless mod falling away from the connections which you won't get with the softmod

    The softmod is about £5 for the game, £5 for the memory card and 12p for the DVD I don't know about the price of a PC - Xbox thing though but I'm sure you could find someone to put the files necessary on the memory card for the cost of postage, only a 1 minute job

    Installation is pretty simple, load up the game, select the save, select a few options then install XBMC with another option, restart and bob's your uncle.

    Oh and about the DVI cable...

    You will currently be using a VGA cable for the TFT, this is analog so for the image to go from your computer to your monitor you are converting from Digital - Analog - Digital, this will not be a true representation of what the computer wants to show, different colours etc.

    A DVI cable is digital so you get an exact representation of what the computer wants to show Can get them for quite cheap from computer parts websites, probably could get one when you order the speakers.

    Original Poster

    Many thanks Robotochan. I had a further look into the modchip/softchip. A question about that I couldn't find exactly amongst other places, is a softmod something you need to keep doing at certain stages whereas a hardmod is just a one off? Basically the difference technically wise.

    Yes i'll get the DVI along with atleast the speakers (:

    It's a 1 time thing, it's just like a modchip without the hassle. We have 2 in our house which start up with XBMC, my parents love it

    Original Poster

    Thanks, I managed to order a few things finally after much window shopping, incase anyone else happens to be looking

    Softmod game from Gamestation - Splinter Cell £3.99 (inc. del). Pre-owned £1 cheaper!

    XBox Action Replay £17.99 from Play. CreativeConsoles do it £1 cheaper but out of stock for awhile now.

    DVI cables Amazon have Belkin DVI cables for seemingly reasonable prices. I opted for the DVI-D male to DVI-D male 24pin. The link shows single and dual layer for DVI-D and DVI-I types.

    Speaker system. I opted for the cheaper Labtech in the end as it was a great bargain, I also got some 1gb DDR2 kingston memory x 2 for my Dell Dimension system, a needed upgrade and the best price about £49.xx per stick which also qualified me for free delivery.

    I got a caddy from it supports both IDE and SATA. SATAII is backward compatible so i'll have no problems using my HDD's. It's also the seemingly best price around at around £4x inc. vat. My only concern was no mention of capacity limits. Having researched indepth, it shouldn't be a problem. Most tests I could find were with a max drive of 250gb. My drives are 320gb.

    If anyone needs more details on anything feel free to ask. I have looked at everything in good detail although in every area I was initially clueless.

    All I need to find know is the furniture. I tried in vain to find something locally. Homebase, focus, argos, DFS, various office furniture stores and a multitude of online stores as well as ebay. NOTHING! Still looking.

    Edit: Finally got my corner workstation from Homebase and a workstation+hutch from Argos.
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