...you drool over the chance to build a honkin' home theater computer.

Yep, that's me.  A few weeks ago, I ordered the parts for a new, beefy computer to use as a home theater PC. I'd had a spare Dell desktop hooked up to the plasma TV for a while, and while it worked okay, it really wasn't the caliber of hardware that I wanted.  My basic criteria was pretty simple.  I wanted a piece that looked like it belonged in a cabinet with other audio equipment, one that was quiet and had enough storage space, processing power and graphics capabilities to become the true digital hub for my house.

In the end I decided on the following hardware:

  • Zalman HD160 case with a Zalman 460 watt silent power supply
  • Asus P5B Deluxe Socket 775 motherboard
  • Intel 2.13GHz Core 2 Duo Processor
  • 2GB RAM
  • MSI GeForce 8600 GTS fanless graphics card
  • 250GB SATA internal hard drive (system and applications)
  • Hauppauge WinTV-PVR-150 TV Tuner card
  • Western Digital My Book 1GB external USB 2.0 drive (media)

The build went pretty well with only a few aggravations of getting screws back into some of the drive cages due to some REALLY tight spacing.  I installed Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 (because I had it on hand) and began to set up the machine.  I left it on overnight and the next morning it was locked up and required a hard reboot.  I thought I'd burned a processor judging by the (lack of) POST beeps when I powered the machine on and didn't get back to playing with it again until a couple days ago.  Thankfully I found out that it was a faulty RAM module so I'm operating on only 1GB of RAM at the moment, but it at least is back up and running.

I'm in the process of loading up the My Book drive with media from different machines around the house.  I have it set up in a RAID 1 configuration so the total disk space is somewhat under 500GB, but that should be plenty for now.

I'll post more after I get more of the system set up.  I'm thinking of trying out a piece of software called "Orb" that a friend of mine turned me on to a few months ago so I'll let you know how that goes.

Cheers (from a certified geek)....