Sunday, April 01, 2007

HTPC Day 1

What's a HTPC? Home Theater Personal Computer. Think of it as a Tivo that you control your way - not theirs - hooked up to your wide screen high definition television. The HTPC should support DVD playback, TV time shifting, and Tivo features like pausing live TV. It should be easy to setup recordings and allow archiving of shows to DVD.

I've got a couple of different PCs with TV capture cards but they are in my home office. Nothing hooked up to the HD TV.

It would be easy to start with a HTPC case (but that would take the fun out of it :) ) so I looked at my collection of parts in the garage and came across an old Micron PC that was gathering dust. Stripped off most of the plastic and it looks like a usable case as it's the right size for the oak cabinet my TV is in. Note that the Micron in a mini-tower and my plan for the HTPC is horizontal...

It's a fairly spacious case


The default rear case fan is 90mm and uses a special mount. I plan to modify this such that two quiet 80mm fans go above the I/O pod

A close look at the case shows that the 5.25 inch bay can be turned 90 degrees. No tweaking needed here!

And a 120mm fan will fit up front. I'll mod the plastic card holder so that it will keep the switches in place. The speaker will move to the bottom of the case after I add a few holes

If you look closely you'll see some blue lines. Thats where I cut!

The plan for the actual PC is as follows:

  • AMD Athlon 64x2. 3800 or higher
  • 2GB RAM
  • 500GB SATA Drive
  • DVD Drive
  • Haupagge MCE 500 dual standard definition tuner
  • Haupagge HDTV tuner
  • Sound Blaster X-FI sound card
  • Windows XP
  • Beyond TV

Time to start modding!

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