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Old 16-03-14   #1
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Need Help Build HTPC from My Old PC Parts


I have an old PC, which I want to convert into an HTPC. Basically to stream content from my NAS, want to run XBMC.

Current config:
MOBO: Intel D945GCCR
Processor : Intel Pentium D 3.0ghz
Ram: DDR2 1GB
HDD: 7200RPM 40GB
OS: None
Optical Drive: LG DVD RW


I want to upgrade the following:
1. A new HTPC Case
2. Graphics card, for 1080p, if possible 3D viewing.
3. Ethernet/wifi or combo, for gigabit ethernet

Budget: as cheap as possible that meets my requirements.

I can procure from USA, case might not be possible.

And any other recommendations to make it better.

TIA.

Last edited by blackscorpio; 16-03-14 at 09:59 PM.
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Old 17-03-14   #2
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Re: Need Help Build HTPC from My Old PC Parts

Get a used Graphics card from the sale section for 2~3k. There are good USB based Wi-Fi cards on eBay starting from 700 onwards.

But the most viable option is to use wired Ethernet. Hence try playing with your existing wired Ethernet before investing in a WiFi chip

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Old 17-03-14   #3
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Re: Need Help Build HTPC from My Old PC Parts

How do i know if a particular card is compatible with my mobo?

I would definitely use a wired connection but the on board network is only 10/100, i assume gigabit is required.

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Old 17-03-14   #4
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Re: Need Help Build HTPC from My Old PC Parts

If you have a Pcie x16 slot of v1.0 or more then you can pair any card with it.

I have a Pentium 4 system currently being used as HTPC which is paired with a Zotac GT430 1GB DDR3 doing the job pretty well.

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Old 17-03-14   #5
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Re: Need Help Build HTPC from My Old PC Parts

I'd rather suggest selling that old system, and totally upgrading it overall!
It's too old, have very less connectivity options, and there's no single reason to spend more on that. You can get a pretty good APU build within 15-20k, that would not only run cool, and silent but also perform much better.
So, yeah.

Do mention the minimum budget you can spend, we'll do the rest.
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Old 17-03-14   #6
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Re: Need Help Build HTPC from My Old PC Parts

Yes, I was also thinking on the same lines of selling this and build one NEW. But, how much can I sell this for? I have an working 17inch CRT Samsung. No OS though.

I want to finish it below 7.5K, with the existing parts or including the revenue I get from selling this.

The real motivation behind this project is, I have an unused desktop lying around which I want to put it to good use, since I won't gain much selling it.

As mentioned in OP, I can procure some parts from USA, soon a friend of mine is visiting India.
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Old 18-03-14   #7
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Re: Need Help Build HTPC from My Old PC Parts

Well, in that case i'll give you two options:

[Keeping them]
1. Getting a GPU like GT610 1GB. Should cost 2.5k, and there's no reason to spend more.

2. Get a mini tower case like the iBall Metallica 05 w/PSU (for your mATX mobo). Costs 2k

3. Add to that a Wifi card PCIE card, that would cost 1.5k like this. Total = 6.1k

[Selling them]
Get these:

A4 6300 = 3k
Gigabyte A55M-DS2 = 3k
Adata/Dynet/Corsair ValueSelect 2GB 1333mhz = 1.2k
Cabby: iBall Metallica 05 w/PSU = 2k

TOTAL = 9.2k
Add to that a Wifi card.

And here's the link to PC Part Picker system that i built, minus the cabby & WIFI card.
So, if you want to get them from the US, your path is open.
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Old 18-03-14   #8
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Re: Need Help Build HTPC from My Old PC Parts

Thanks for the recommendations, looks promising.

BTW, what are the old parts worth, just an approximate?
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Old 18-03-14   #9
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Originally Posted by blackscorpio View Post
BTW, what are the old parts worth, just an approximate?
Keep the HDD & DVDRW.
The rest with the CPU, mobo, & RAM, should be max 1.5-2k
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Old 18-03-14   #10
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Re: Need Help Build HTPC from My Old PC Parts

Where did you find the GT610 for 2.5k, its 2.8 on flipkart, am I missing anything?

For a little more could I get a nicer looking HTPC case, as this will go into a entertainment unit?

I should have mentioned in the OP, sorry about that, will a wired connection to my existing on board network work okay for streaming HD content, if it works, can I drop the network card? mostly MKV(1080p, AAC, 5.1 audio), mp4(home videos) content.
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Old 18-03-14   #11
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Originally Posted by blackscorpio View Post
Where did you find the GT610 for 2.5k, its 2.8 on flipkart, am I missing anything?
If it's 2.8k at FK, you can then get it under 2.4k locally. Component prices at FK are always higher.

Originally Posted by blackscorpio View Post
For a little more could I get a nicer looking HTPC case, as this will go into a entertainment unit?
Yes. You most certainly can. But your tight budget avoided me.
There's CM N200 for 3.1k

Originally Posted by blackscorpio View Post
I should have mentioned in the OP, sorry about that, will a wired connection to my existing on board network work okay for streaming HD content, if it works, can I drop the network card? mostly MKV(1080p, AAC, 5.1 audio), mp4(home videos) content.
Yes.
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Old 18-03-14   #12
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Re: Need Help Build HTPC from My Old PC Parts

Drop the idea. Just buy an Android dongle.

I have a Minix Neo G4. Have XBMC on it (You get XBMC for Android too)

It plays all my high bitrate 1080p content and can stream stuff over wifi with ease. Cost me only 4.5k more than an year back.
More powerful Android dongles and set top boxes are available now.

Best thing about it is the ridiculously low power consumption (I use my plasma's usb port to run it!),
no moving parts so no noise and
portability (Its the size of a match box, can carry for watching a quick tv show at work ),
can use any android phone, wireless keyboard or mouse as remote.

HTPCs are dead!
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Last edited by Free Radical; 30-03-14 at 01:55 AM. Reason: I correct meself
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Old 29-03-14   #13
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Need Help Build HTPC from My Old PC Parts

The performance of Minix is not acceptable..
Android dongles are worse

Also no point spending on building a new system..
Best is to buy a zotac zbox but since they are expensive get this one:

http://m.aliexpress.com/item/1574498102.html

It's got enough juice to run xbmc. Just buy one with the bare minimum ram and ssd/hdd.

The likes of minix don't have enough power plus with the coming in of XBMC Gotham they will be even more useless. HTPC has to be smooth, you can't be just fiddling around trying to fix things all the time.

Best setup:
1. Get the N2800 box - it's the cheapest and best option out there (and small and pretty)

2. Get it with bare minimum ram (2G) and hdd/sdd (cheapest option that you get)

3. Instal OpenElec


4. Enjoy!!





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Last edited by djlaksh; 29-03-14 at 11:42 AM.
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Old 29-03-14   #14
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Re: Need Help Build HTPC from My Old PC Parts

whoa! repped.
That minipc does look appealing btw but I don't trust AliExpress enough and do factor in import duties. Plus, you'll need additional wifi and ram.

But don't dismiss the minix neo g4 outright as underpowered. It plays all my bluray rips flawlessly with hardware decoding in both xbmc (minix version, and this is with heavy skinning like Aeon Nox) and third party players like mxplayer.
Just flash it with the latest firmware.
Haven't even bothered to change anything since I have set it up. Its awesome and its a dongle.

Last edited by Free Radical; 29-03-14 at 05:36 PM.
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Old 29-03-14   #15
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Re: Need Help Build HTPC from My Old PC Parts

Originally Posted by Free Radical View Post
whoa! repped.
That minipc does look appealing btw but I don't trust AliExpress enough and do factor in import duties. Plus, you'll need additional wifi and ram.

But don't dismiss the minix neo g4 outright as underpowered. It plays all my bluray rips flawlessly with hardware decoding in both xbmc (minix version, and this is with heavy skinning like Aeon Nox) and third party players like mxplayer.
Just flash it with the latest firmware.
Haven't even bothered to change anything since I have set it up. Its awesome and its a dongle.

Haha.. Thanks
The link above includes wifi, just get 2gb ram and use a pen drive with OpenElec.

So the minix version is xbmc live (Linux based distro) - the same that is available on pivos xios

I just sold my 2 xios, tested the minix (x5 which is slightly superior to g4) and it was marginally better so I went ahead to test the quad core Ouya (SBMC) which was significantly better but I wanted to future proof my investment.. (They stream just fine with hardware decoding et al but overall menus etc are not smooth enough for use on a "family tv" - you get what I mean..)

So I looked at 1037u (better than n2800) based mini pcs from eBay.com and aliexpress. Did a lot of research - they are pretty safe bets (you can buy the same from eBay.com if you have guarantee concerns). There are many happy users on XBMC and XBMCHub forums.

Just when I was about to purchase a 1037u box, I bumped into a good deal for an i3 based intel NUC and just went ahead with it. I've loaded it with 2x2g 1600 HyperX, Samsung 32gb msata SSD and Intel Wireless 7260 AC.
It's a mean machine to be used with OpenElec but it's buttery smooth (1037u would have been good enough)

Conclusion:
For low budget (6k in the US and 7.5k in India): Ouya
For a budget around 10k: n2800 box or 1037u box

Btw Aeon Nox is awesome

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Last edited by djlaksh; 30-03-14 at 01:26 AM.
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