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Old 11-19-2005, 06:52 PM   #1
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Basic Hardware for Media PC?


I'm a high school student, so my resources are minimal. My question is, what are the minimum hardware requirements for DVD/CD playback? I want to set up a stereo/DVD player in my room. I want to set up a workstation that will double as a media PC. Would a P2 be good enough, or do I need something more? RAM capacity? Other suggestions? My budget is pretty much anything less than $100. Thanks
 
Old 11-20-2005, 08:02 AM   #2
Winno
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Video playback depends on a few factors. Most important are the CPU speed and video card. A P2 might work, if you have an MPEG decoder card or a video card with sufficient hardware assist. I've tried a P2 266 with an ATI Rage Pro and MPEG2 playback was jerky. However, my friend apparently managed with a GeForce4. Still, I'd suggest you go for a P3, or a 400Mhz+ P2 at the very least. Generally, the faster, the smoother. To give you a guide, I remember seeing DVD computers with P2 400/450. One person has told me he uses a P3 550. I use a 650 and it plays MPEG2 smoothly most of the time, but with low deinterlacer settings.

Get a video card with good Xvideo support. It doesn't have to be high end. Onboard video shouldn't be too bad (you can't go wrong with Intel graphics here). Be cautious of some older nVidia cards (my old TNT2 shows tearing on some video pans).

You shouldn't need too much RAM. I suggest 128Mb bare minimum. 192-256Mb would be better, especially if you run KDE, Openoffice.

Hard disk space is no biggie either. An old 3gb drive could do if you don't intend to store any media files on it. But don't be afraid to go for 6gb+ if you have large or lots of workstation apps. Add more again for any media storage, eg MP3 collection. You could have 2 drives - smaller one for apps and a bigger one for media.
 
Old 11-21-2005, 04:19 AM   #3
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Buy a used xbox and soft-mod it. Best deal you can get out of microsoft actually. In fact, I hear they loose money every time they sell one. If enough people were to buy them and not purchase any xbox accessories or games, MS would have to discontinue them.
 
Old 11-21-2005, 06:37 AM   #4
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I now have a living-room PC (newer hence faster), but I used to watch DVDs on my main PC, which is a PII 350. This is the extreme lower limit though, because I had to run Xine absolutely alone (with X, but no window manager, no service on boot except sound), and I still encountered some occasional saccades (barely worse than your average cheap living-room DVD player, however).

Yves.
 
Old 11-21-2005, 08:36 AM   #5
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aren't used Xboxen like $150? A little bit over my limit. So a P3 500 -800 Mhz would be enough? or not? Other thoughts?
 
Old 11-21-2005, 09:33 AM   #6
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you should be able to get a used Xbox for cheaper than 150 US, they sell them New for 200 canadian here, so Used should be cheaper.

in fact, here's one on ebay for 100

http://cgi.ebay.ca/Microsoft-Xbox-Ga...QQcmdZViewItem

shipping is 25, and DVD remote at a store is 25, so there you go, new linux capable DVD player for 150!

And i'm sure you could find one cheaper than that, with some good looking.

Last edited by purelithium; 11-21-2005 at 09:38 AM.
 
Old 11-21-2005, 09:53 AM   #7
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Actually, if your using linux, you don't need a dvd remote. Though it is handy, I must say.

Throw in a dvd burner and a compatible tv tuner and you got yourself a tivo! lol!

This is like penny candy.

Last edited by slantoflight; 11-21-2005 at 09:57 AM.
 
Old 11-21-2005, 11:21 AM   #8
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if your budget is under $150, then just buy a cheap DVD player set top and you will be golden. you can find them for as little as $30 and they will have all of the connections you need/want to get to your TV and stereo.

a computer media box is not cheap and yes an 1100 with 512 - 1G of ram and a nice Nvidia vid card will work well.

i have an AMD 1100 with 1G pc 2100 (may even be older 133) with an Nvidia GFx 5200 128M vid card and my only issue now is figuring out why my NFS server and the LAN tends to bog down with some of the movies i have for my kids like Madagascar and other animated shows, but things like M*A*S*H work just fine without a burp.

that has to be something in my LAN or my NFS server as everything local on my media box runs very smooth.

again that box when i built is (few years back) cost between $500 - $800, today it would still run you between $300- $500 so way more then your budget.

make a trip to walmart or target or any electrics store that sells set top DVD players and buy a cheap one.
 
Old 11-21-2005, 07:37 PM   #9
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But he does'nt want just a dvd player, he wants a workstation too.
 
Old 11-21-2005, 07:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by slantoflight
But he does'nt want just a dvd player, he wants a workstation too.
well then in that case, i think the sujestion of getting an older used Xbox and modding it to run linux will be his best bet.
 
Old 11-21-2005, 09:40 PM   #11
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AFAIK, the Xbox does not have a VGA port, and my parents won't let me have a TV in my room. Also, I believe the Xbox does not have a HD in it, correct? How would that work to install linux on it?
 
Old 11-21-2005, 10:27 PM   #12
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Xboxes have a 10gig hd in it? I'm not sure on that, might be 20. It's standard IDE, too so you'll have no problem upgrading it to a higher capacity if you feel you need to.

But that's more than enough to fit a lightweight distro like Vector linux on it. Plus some distros come specifically packaged for the Xbox.

That was the revolutionary feature of the xbox, the ability to rip CD's and store them on the hard drive, and you could save your games on the console itself, not on some little memory card.

Hmm... you're allowed to have a computer, but not a TV? That's weird.

I don't know how to get around that one. There's got to be some converter that goes from RCA video/svideo to VGA....

Last edited by purelithium; 11-21-2005 at 10:29 PM.
 
Old 11-21-2005, 10:32 PM   #13
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TV's rot your brain(or something like that). I'm doing something productive on my comps. I don't know, call 'em up and ask 'em urself
 
Old 11-21-2005, 11:51 PM   #14
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ok, now i am completely confused... you want a media box to push movies and what not out to a TV, but you dont have a TV in your room...

maybe cl earning things up will help.

as for older hardware running linux to play DVDs, any hardware that can handle a DVD player can handle playing DVDs to your monitor. that is a no brainier.
 
Old 11-22-2005, 12:35 AM   #15
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You can hook up the xbox to a monitor if you're feeling adventurous.

http://www.xbox-linux.org/wiki/Xbox_VGA_HOWTO
 
  


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