Home Theatre PC Configuration

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January 21, 2009 at 12:35:47
Specs: XP Service Pack 3, Intel Core2Duo 4600
Hi everybody,

A friend of mine asked me to help him assemble Home Theatre PC which should also be able to play some games. I suggested the following configuration. Could anyone suggest or improve on it? Thanks in advance.

The config is:

Core2Duo E7300 2.66 GHz 1066MHz,3 MB,LGA,45n
P5N7A-VM Nvidia 9300
800 MHz Transcend 2x1GB 800 Mhz
Seagate 500 GB SGT 16MB
LG DVD-Writer 22xD
Samsung 19'' LCD 943NWX Wide Screen
Cooler Master extreme Power 500W
Mouse&Keyboard multimedia USB

Ignorance Is Bliss!

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January 21, 2009 at 13:11:19
Is your friend going to view on the 19" monitor?

You didn't mention any operating system, TV tuner card or blueray optical drive. Look at the link below for an example of what is available. The drive I am linking READS blueray and reads and writes CD & DVD media.


I might add that none of the PC solutions work seamlessly.

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January 21, 2009 at 13:28:58
Ah, the HTPC: my favourite kind of computer. :)

Skip the UPS...a $15 surge protector will provide enough protection. I know I'll get "flamed" for that comment, but I've never used a UPS and still don't regret it.

Using the money saved, buy a cheaper motherboard without integrated graphics + a videocard. You'll need more than the integrated 9300 chipset to play games. There are some Asus P45 boards (open box) over at newegg for $69.99. Here's an example.

Then add a GeForce 9600GT or Radeon HD 4670:
Asus GeForce 9600GT (open box) - $78.75
Asus Radeon HD 4670 - $79.99

And what's an HTPC without high definition? Here's some other stuff you may wanna look at:

HDTV tuner with Windows Media Center remote
I personally don't like HDTV tuners--they're just too limited. Don't even have one in my HTPC anymore. Now, I have my satellite box connected to the receiver and just switch the input source whenever the urge to watch TV strikes. However, a lot of HTPC owners seem to like 'em, which is why I gave you the link above.

Blu-Ray drive
This guy also burns DVDs, so if you decide to purchase it, you can obviously save some money by not purchasing the LG burner listed in your original post.

Note that if you plan to watch all of your movies on that 19" LCD, purchasing a Blu-Ray drive may not be the best idea. Plain ol' DVD still looks fine on displays smaller than 24".

Homebuilt projector:
Samsung 1080p panel
Pixelworks controller
2 HDMI, 2 Component, 1 VGA
Homebuilt enclosure
120" 16:9 screen
Connected to: HTPC w/ BD, satellite receiver, XB360.

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January 22, 2009 at 08:41:12
Thank you both for the suggestions.

I have looked at the links you both provided and found it very helpful.

So, I understand that you both would prefer a dedicated GPU to an onboard one? The reason I chose that particular model of ASUS was because of its impressive audio output.

Could you suggest a configuration that would be budget concious but fast and reliable at the same time?

Thanks in anticipation.

Ignorance Is Bliss!

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Related Solutions

January 25, 2009 at 13:26:28
There is nothing wrong with buying a board with integrated graphics. If you find that you need to upgrade to a dedicated card you can do that in the future.

Weather or not you will need an add in card depends on what you do with the computer.

You may get movies to play OK but games may not play satisfactorily.

You didn't reply on what your main display screen will be. The 19" or a TV?

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January 26, 2009 at 09:08:08
Sorry for not responding sooner, and yet again thanks for the reply.

Yes, my friend will be using the 19" as his display screen, and he is planning on using Vista as his OS and he is not planning on connecting it to a TV.

And he also wishes to use it to to play a little game and also wants to do some video converting.

As for the audio, he is planning on using the SPDIF connection to connect with to a digital speaker for the best possible audio.

Ignorance Is Bliss!

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January 26, 2009 at 10:01:23
Then what you asked about originally doesn't apply here. That setup wouldn't classify as a home theater, IMO. Your friend will probably need an add in card. If you or your friend post a list of games that will be played someone can recommend a suitable graphics card.

Asking about a gaming card should probably be done in a new post.

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January 26, 2009 at 10:01:53
As jackbomb said, dump the UPS & get a decent surge protector instead.

With RAM as cheap as it is these days, go for 4GB (2 x 2GB) of DDR2-800:


Consider a different power supply. This 400W Corsair is a better unit & it ships for free. Plus with the promo code & rebate, it's cheaper:


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January 26, 2009 at 10:31:25
Thank you jam, othehill and jackbomb.

I appreciate your informative suggestions and welcome them. While a little gaming with an addin card is always an option, with the budget constrain, I think I will slightly modify my original configuration as jackbomb suggested and dump the UPS.

The focus however is a home theathre setup.

And of course 2+2=4GB RAM setup as @Jam said is an attractive option. And as for the power supply if the above configuration would be okay with 400W then I am all for it.

Once again thank you guys for as I am quite an ignoramus with these things. I've followed the links you've provided and found them quite helpful. Now I almost feel like calling myself a geek! LOL!

Ignorance Is Bliss!

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January 26, 2009 at 14:11:49
A decent gaming card for slightly older games shouldn't break the bank. However, going with integrated for now is OK too. Your friend may find out that the games won't play satisfactorily and then get an add in card. No harm in waiting.

I will say that watching movies on a 19" monitor may be less than satisfactory.

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