geek(n): An intelligent, eccentric person with an interest in the perceptibly useless and esoteric.
asylum(n): 1) A place offering protection and safety; a shelter.
2) An institution for the care of those requiring organized supervision.

Friday, October 06, 2006

HTPC Shopping List

I've saved up a bit more money, and spent this week making a shopping list for the next lot of HTPC parts. It took me a while to settle on a motherboard, but the list is finally finished, and I'll be buying as much as I can on Monday.

Im going with an AMD64 X2 dual core 4600+ CPU in a Gigabyte M55SLI-S4 motherboard. I was originally drawn to the M59SLI-S5, but didnt need the dual gigabit ethernet, so I quickly downgraded it to an S4. Then I started tossing up whether I needed SLI or not, but the clincher was the 3 USB connectors on the SLI motherboards, as opposed to only two on the non-SLI models. I finally settled on the slightly older M55 board, which is about half the price of the other two. I may still buy the M59SLI-S4.

Having 3 internal USB connectors means that the board will integrate with the LC20M case, which has 4 USB ports on the front panel (requiring 2 internal connectors) and a USB VFD which also needs an internal USB connector. I dont want to have a couple of dead USB ports on the front panel, and I really dont want to run the VFD cable out of the case and plug it into one of the 4 external USB ports on the back (which Ive seen done before in some LC20M reviews). Going that little extra for the SLI motherboard solves the problem, and choosing the older board keeps the price about the same as a current non-SLI board.

I wont be using the SLI features to begin with, so Ive chosen a Nvidia 7300GS based video card without SLI. Its cheap and will do the job, and later I can replace it with a pair of SLI capable cards. One reason for this choice is that I couldnt find many SLI cards around, and the ones I did find were all expensive. This way I can wait a while until there are more around and the price comes down a bit.

Im adding 1Gb (2 x 512Mb) of 533Mhz generic DDR2 memory, which will take advantage of the dual channel DDR2 slots, a Silverstone ST60F 600W modular power supply, with SLI outlets, and a pair of Liteon SHM-165P6S DVD-RW Dual Layer drives. These drives were highly recommended in the reviews I read, and have the bonus of being easily flashed.

So thats the list. I cant wait until Monday. I'll be cashing in my Tomoko bucks to add to my savings. I should be able to pick up most of it, but if I have to wait a few days for something to be ordered, it wont really be a problem, as I still have to save up for the hard drives and TV cards.

On that front I will probably go with a pair of 400Gb SATAII drives (as raid-1) and at least one Haupage PVR-350 - probably with a DVICO dual tuner card in the other slot, for a total of 3 tuners in the box, with an encoder on the 350.

Anyway, I'll add links to all the gear when I get a bit more time later today. (Done).

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