Recycling old PC into media center pc?

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Recycling old PC into media center pc?

Postby BIGMAN131307 » Sun Dec 11, 2016 7:10 am

I'll have my new PC up in running shortly. That will leave me with my old PC.

Would turning it into media center pc be a good option? Is there anything I would need to add?

Windows XP Home Edition Service Pack 3
MSI: MS-7181 2.0
AMD Athlon 64 3200+ 2.21 GHz
2GB RAM
NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GS
Maxtor 200GB HDD [int]
Maxtor 200GB HDD [int]
Maxtor 500GB HDD (can add) [int]
KB / M
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Re: Recycling old PC into media center pc?

Postby Mr T » Mon Dec 12, 2016 3:36 am

Yes, rid it of windows (XP is so old). Get a cheap SSD, anywhere from 8Gb to 30Gb. Install Openelec (basically a KODI based operating system) and from that you can run any media, music/films/photographs, using the other drives as storage.

Alternatively, get the SSD and install Openmediavault and run it as a NAS server. You can add a MediaServer (PLEX) and then through your new PC stream media from it (it can also stream media to smartTV's, XBox, PlayStation, phones etc..)..

Or install Ubuntu/SUSE or whatever flavour of linux (thats free) and use that as a media centre - it will give you an up to date operating system (did I say for free, ahem FREE), that you can learn new stuff on, break and reinstall in less time than windows, run up to date applications like Google Chrome, run a 64bit operating system and so on and so on..

There are endless thing you can turn that old PC into. Two things I would add, an SSD for the operating system (as I said earlier) and a wireless card if it hasn't already got one (which would have to be PCI or USB)..

( I bought 5 x 8Gb Kingston SSD's, all new in sealed boxes from Ebay for £40, I got 5 x 20Gb SSD's from Ebay used for £45, there are cheap ones out there and some of the unknown names work really well, like Kingspan or Zheino).

Hope this gives you some ideas...
I have been programming on computers since the ZX81.
I am an apprentice trained Electronics Engineer with qualifications to back it up.
I have been repairing computers since 1996.
Yet to some people I still know nothing...
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Re: Recycling old PC into media center pc?

Postby BIGMAN131307 » Tue Dec 13, 2016 9:34 pm

Thx, :)


So this is what this proposed setup could look like.

Some form a Linux
MSI: MS-7181 2.0
AMD Athlon 64 3200+ 2.21 GHz
2GB RAM
NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GS
8GB to 30GB SSD for new Linux OS
Maxtor 200GB HDD [int] Media Storage
Maxtor 200GB HDD [int] Media Storage
Maxtor 500GB HDD [int] Media Storage
KB / M


I would also like to watch DVD/CDs on this setup. My current standalone DVD player
is old and ready to be replaced. This system will be used to watch Netflix.

ATM I use a laptop (plugged into my HDTV) to connect to my internet via ethernet or wireless.
Wireless is a bit flakely because of all the competing signals in my building. :(

So this system will be hardwired to my internet (Netflix). But a reliable wireless would be great.
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Re: Recycling old PC into media center pc?

Postby Mr T » Wed Dec 14, 2016 12:30 pm

It will work fine.. BUT... (Yeah always a but) if you want to play HD content, your AGP 7800GS will limit that. If you really need HD to play out to TV, try a DVI-I to HDMI adaptor, cheap and do work, but may have to run a sound cable to the TV line in... Or, using Openmediavault, run it as a headless (no keyboard, mouse or monitor after you have set it up, you manipulate it through a web browser) server with DLNA or Plex, if your TV is smart it will pick it up. The added bonus is if set up correctly (fun learning curve, honestly it is a really goo learning curve) you can then get media on any device in the house.. If you opt for running Ubuntu, SUSE or any other Linux Distro latest version, I would err on getting a 16Gb or greater SSD.. If your TV isn't smart, run it through the laptop. I got moaned at by the missus for all the wires etc, so run the servers through Plex via an Amazon Fire Stick to the non smart TV (I could Chromecast it or airplay through a phone or tablet, but that would be easy).
If your wifi is poor in your building, always best to hardwire in, in my house I use homeplugs to extend the wired LAN (they plug directly into the socket, no extensions allowed). When I updated the router to dualband wifi (2.4Ghz and 5Ghz), wifi was a lot better on the 5Ghz band, but you need a dual band wifi card (wireless a/b/g/n/ac).
I have been programming on computers since the ZX81.
I am an apprentice trained Electronics Engineer with qualifications to back it up.
I have been repairing computers since 1996.
Yet to some people I still know nothing...
Mr T
Enlightened Master
Enlightened Master
 
Posts: 17091
Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2002 1:03 am
Location: England


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