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Old 01-23-2014, 01:08 PM   #1
Lionel1020
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Can you help me choose a “new” computer please?


I am trying to get a “Media Centre” computer for the salon, under the tele.
I started will an old computer and put a linux distro on it...with a lot of help from this forum!!
However lots of people in their replies mentioned the hardware...or the lack of it to be more precise!
Working out the cost of upgrading it as compared to just buying another....buying another wins hands down.
Fairly local to me is a shop that sells “end of lease” computers....very cheap. The link to their site is:
http://www.leasermarket.com/category.php?id_category=69
It's local to me so it's all in French but if you look at the specs under the photo anyone will understand.
This is a serious request...I'm not trying to get people to buy from here. It's cheap because I can go and collect it... for just about anyone else here the delivery charge would be astronomical.
The prices are mostly under 80 euros and if you take it without an O/S it's even cheaper. I'm retired so I don't want to spend much....
From what understood from the suggestions I've had we are after:
A small (desktop) form case. Duel core processor, minimum 2 gb ram with a reasonable video card (open GL 1.4 min) reasonable hard disk size (as this will hold the links to the media library). CD/DVD player, USB's, Wifi card and anything else you think necessary....Don't really want to spend more than 75 euros.
I am going to put say AntX plus XBMC or XBMCbuntu
If you have little time ...take a look..I'd love to have your input
Lionel
PS under the price it says “en stock” (in stock) or it says “Stock épuisé” (out of stock)....
 
Old 01-24-2014, 09:49 AM   #2
mariose
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Good evening,

Thank you for your information. What exactly is it that you are wanting to use the computer for? This is the big questions.

Regards
Marios
 
Old 01-24-2014, 09:57 AM   #3
snowpine
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Just a thought: Maybe the shop will let you bring a Linux Live CD so you can test drive it on the actual hardware you are considering?
 
Old 01-24-2014, 10:44 AM   #4
cascade9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lionel1020 View Post
Fairly local to me is a shop that sells “end of lease” computers....very cheap. The link to their site is:
http://www.leasermarket.com/category.php?id_category=69
It's local to me so it's all in French but if you look at the specs under the photo anyone will understand.
There is an option to translate to english (its at the very top of the site).

But I dont see any specs under the photo? :S

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lionel1020 View Post
I am trying to get a “Media Centre” computer for the salon, under the tele.
From what understood from the suggestions I've had we are after:
A small (desktop) form case. Duel core processor, minimum 2 gb ram with a reasonable video card (open GL 1.4 min) reasonable hard disk size (as this will hold the links to the media library). CD/DVD player, USB's, Wifi card and anything else you think necessary....Don't really want to spend more than 75 euros.
I am going to put say AntX plus XBMC or XBMCbuntu
So, you want a media center PC?

Small isnt really needed....nice, yes, but not 'needed'. Dual core, and 2GB RAM....nope, you dont 'need' that either.

Open GL 1.4?!? Wow, that is old, old, old. I'm pretty sure that the Gefroce 4 (2002!) was open GL 1.4 capable. Not a good way to think about video cards anyway, unless you want to play open GL 1.4+ games.

What you need as a IMO minimum for a media center PC is 512MB/1GB (depending on the desktop used) a single core CPU, and a video card that can use hardware video decoding.

I was using a AMD 3000+ (single core), 1GB, and an Vidia 8400GS video card for my media center. It would play 720p content, DVDs, etc. without stuttering at all, with low CPU use.

AMD/ATI cards can do hardware video decoding, but nVidia with the closed drivers using VDPAU (nVidia hardware video decoding) is better. You will need at least a nVidia 8XXX card to use VDPAU, and the 8XXX and newer cards are all PCIe.

Actually, I lie, there are nVidia PCI cards that will run VDPAU, but where a PCIe card is something you can find for under $35-40 US, a PCI version is going to be $75+, probably more like $100+, so its not worth getting a cheaper system without a PCIe slot.

But I'd guess that store has many Intel core 2 duo (dual core) computers for cheap. You just need tofind one with a PCIe slot you can install a current or not that old nVidia video card into.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 01-24-2014, 11:37 AM   #5
snowpine
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The market is absolutely flooded right now with companies dumping their Windows XP hardware, since XP is going "end of life" in April. It is cheaper for a lot of organizations to simply lump their hardware and software upgrades together, rather than trying to upgrade-in-place XP to 7 or 8 on the same hardware. Point being, there are a lot of great deals out there right now.

I found cascade9's advice about video cards to be very helpful. Maybe you can find a computer for free that a company, friend, or relative is giving away because it has XP on it, and then purchase a nice graphics card for your free computer?
 
Old 01-25-2014, 04:16 PM   #6
floppy_stuttgart
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ODROID XU
I saw it last week.. in fact you dont see it nearby the TV because it is so small. Good thing for xmbc youtuve tv-stream.. etc. No cheap but impressive for the size.
 
Old 01-25-2014, 05:41 PM   #7
Lionel1020
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariose View Post
Good evening,

Thank you for your information. What exactly is it that you are wanting to use the computer for? This is the big questions.

Regards
Marios
Hi Marios,

I thought I covered that in the first line of my post...

"I am trying to get a “Media Centre” computer for the salon, under the tele."


Hi cascade9,

The specs I outlined were the suggestions I have received in another post.....I have already an old computer which I was trying to convert into a media centre....however most of the problems I was having were (according to the replies I received) due to the hardware...

The various sugestions I received added up to my outline....Dual core, and 2GB RAM etc..

I got the "open GL 1.4 capable" from the site of XBMCbuntu who said that was the minimum needed to run video with this software.

I think you are dead right regards the video.. "You just need to find one with a PCIe slot"

But this I think will be difficult to find....as Snowpine said " The market is absolutely flooded right now with companies dumping their Windows XP hardware". The majority of the stuff in this shop is XP.

I think in the end I will try to follow your advice.... and look to see if it has "a PCIe slot", it's true It opens up far more possibilities as regards the video card.

I am going to the shop this Monday (27th) I'll see what they have to say regarding the possibility of finding a PCIe slot in todays market.

Thanks to you and everybody for the observations.

Lionel

PS.. I will post the results of my shop visit Monday evening

Last edited by Lionel1020; 01-25-2014 at 05:43 PM.
 
Old 01-25-2014, 10:06 PM   #8
Firerat
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raspberry pi ?

that will play _*media*_
 
Old 01-26-2014, 07:50 AM   #9
cascade9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lionel1020 View Post
Hi cascade9,

The specs I outlined were the suggestions I have received in another post.....I have already an old computer which I was trying to convert into a media centre....however most of the problems I was having were (according to the replies I received) due to the hardware...

The various sugestions I received added up to my outline....Dual core, and 2GB RAM etc..

I got the "open GL 1.4 capable" from the site of XBMCbuntu who said that was the minimum needed to run video with this software.

I think you are dead right regards the video.. "You just need to find one with a PCIe slot"
I ddi see your other thread, but since you'd already got something installed I didnt hink it was worth saying much. But old Pentium 4s arent that quick, the really old models (like your 1.8Ghz) are very slow.....

Yes, in some ways what was suggesed is just fine. But you wont need it. All following quotes from this page-

http://wiki.xbmc.org/?title=Supported_hardware

Quote:
XBMC needs a 3D capable GPU graphics hardware controller for all rendering. The required 3D GPU chips are common today in most modern computers, and even some set-top boxes. XBMC runs well on what (by Intel ATOM standards) are relatively underpowered OpenGL 1.3 (with GLSL support)
You'll want at least OpenGL 1.3+ to get XBMC to run at all. Though IMO it should still run with older hardware, I've never tried it myself, and an OpenGL 1.3 video card is from 2001.

Quote:
Hardware decoding support in XBMC is likely a must for HD video playback (720+).
Quote:
Fast modern dual-core processor is required to decode H.264 videos in FullHD (1080p) unless you have hardware video decoding (see GPU requirements below).

ATI/AMD, Intel, or NVIDIA (recommended) graphic controller which supports OpenGL 2.0 or later.

ATI Radeon R420 (X800) or newer supported, ATI Radeon R700 (HD 4000) or newer recommended.
Intel GMA 950 (945G) or newer supported, Intel GMA X4500HD (G45) or newer recommended.
NVIDIA GeForce 6-Series and newer supported, GeForce 8-Series and newer recommended.
While you might get XBMC running with an OpenGL 1.3 video card, to play HD ('720p', 1280x720) you probably need _either_ a 'fast dual core' or hardware video decoding. For '1080p', 1920x1080, while it might work..just..with a fast dual core, you will likely get stuttering and/or dropped frames.

If you only want to play old XviD .avis, or x264 ,mp4s (etc.) in small formats, CPU decoding is OK. Older/very slow CPUs may still stutter. If yuo want to play modern .mkvs, or 720p/1080p x264s, etc., you really want hardware video decoding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lionel1020 View Post
I think in the end I will try to follow your advice.... and look to see if it has "a PCIe slot", it's true It opens up far more possibilities as regards the video card.

I am going to the shop this Monday (27th) I'll see what they have to say regarding the possibility of finding a PCIe slot in todays market.
What you really want is a PCIe x16 slot which is capable of being used with a video card. Just be careful, I've found that many of those sorts of 'old stock', 'refurbished' and 'ex-business machine' shops will outright lie.

You really dont want to get caught with a x1/x4 PCIe slot. A video card will not fit into one of those slots without modification, and the mod needed isnt fun, or safe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lionel1020 View Post
But this I think will be difficult to find....as Snowpine said " The market is absolutely flooded right now with companies dumping their Windows XP hardware". The majority of the stuff in this shop is XP.
Just because its XP doesnt mean it wont have a PCIe slot, or have a decent/fast dual core.

just make sure you dont buy a single core P4, or a Pentium D (they are dual core, but rather awful, and really bad for media centre use). An AMD athlon x2 or Intel Core2Duo system should be avaible, cheap and fast, and in most cases they will have a PCIe x16 slot in which you can install a video card.

But you really want to check that, many of the SFF (small form factor) computers and even some 'ful sized' systems from manufacturers like dell and acer will not have a PCIe slot.
 
Old 01-26-2014, 08:29 AM   #10
snowpine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Firerat View Post
raspberry pi ?

that will play _*media*_
Great suggestion! I personally would purchase a raspberry pi over an aging Windows XP machine any day.
 
Old 01-26-2014, 09:09 AM   #11
rokytnji
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I got this email advertisement today. Not much more than a rasberry pi if you factor in all the extra stuff you got to buy for the pi to make it actually work.

HP Core Duo 2GB 80GB HDD Capacity Desktop PC Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit DC7800


I have no ties with this company other than that I have bought certain parts from them.
You asked and I answered. It's small form factor pc and should fit under the tv.

Edit: I need to wakeup before I post. I missed again you are in Paris France. So never mind. Sorry.

Question now is. Is it a Smart TV that will take a linux usb media center.

Last edited by rokytnji; 01-26-2014 at 09:17 AM.
 
Old 01-26-2014, 09:12 AM   #12
TroN-0074
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Raspberry Pi are great, if you are a thinkerer. But if you just want something that you are more familiar with it just find a dual core computer with a least 2GB of RAM, make sure it comes with a optical drive so you can be able to play the DVD collection you have been acquired over the years.

Also make sure the OS you are planning on using is newest with a 3.1X.X kernel, OpenSUSE 11.X is way old and there is not even support for it anymore.

Ubuntu Studio would be a great choice for that because it has a nice themed Xfce and all the Stuff that makes Ubuntu great without Unity. To top that you would install XBMC and all the codec to play media files
http://ubuntustudio.org/
Installing Codecs for media files and encrypted DVDs is an important step when creating a media center for entertaining, make sure you know how that is done.
https://help.ubuntu.com/13.10/ubuntu...estricted.html

You mentioned before that you are trying to save as much as you can because you could use that retirement money in something else, so I would advice against the Raspberry Pi.

Dont get me wrong, I love the raspberry Pi. But to make it work with all the different projects one has in mind you need a lots of cables and adapters that quickly would put you out of your budget, maybe request a Pi for your birthday or for next holiday gif.

Good luck to you.

Last edited by TroN-0074; 01-26-2014 at 09:23 AM.
 
Old 01-27-2014, 03:46 AM   #13
cascade9
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Raspberry Pis are nice....but I doubt they are more cost effective than a used business machine. The Pi itself isnt that much, but you'll need a case, a 5v PSU, an SD card, external DVD drive (if you want to play DVDs) and a USB flash drive/HDD.

Its also far less flexable than a traditional x86 computer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TroN-0074 View Post
Also make sure the OS you are planning on using is newest with a 3.1X.X kernel, OpenSUSE 11.X is way old and there is not even support for it anymore.
If its a media box for offline use, support doesnt matter much. I often let my debian 'sid' media box get out of date. If its going to be use online then, yeah, get a supported OS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TroN-0074 View Post
Ubuntu Studio would be a great choice for that because it has a nice themed Xfce and all the Stuff that makes Ubuntu great without Unity. To top that you would install XBMC and all the codec to play media files
http://ubuntustudio.org/
Installing Codecs for media files and encrypted DVDs is an important step when creating a media center for entertaining, make sure you know how that is done.
https://help.ubuntu.com/13.10/ubuntu...estricted.html
What the? Why would a media box use ubuntu studio? Its just a blaoted xubuntu designed for 'multimedia creation'.....made more complicated by the non-standard stuff used in it.
 
Old 01-27-2014, 06:52 AM   #14
TroN-0074
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I think Ubuntu Studio is great. I guess it all comes down to personal choice.
 
Old 01-29-2014, 07:46 AM   #15
mariose
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lionel1020 View Post
Hi Marios,

I thought I covered that in the first line of my post...

"I am trying to get a “Media Centre” computer for the salon, under the tele."


Hi cascade9,

The specs I outlined were the suggestions I have received in another post.....I have already an old computer which I was trying to convert into a media centre....however most of the problems I was having were (according to the replies I received) due to the hardware...

The various sugestions I received added up to my outline....Dual core, and 2GB RAM etc..

I got the "open GL 1.4 capable" from the site of XBMCbuntu who said that was the minimum needed to run video with this software.

I think you are dead right regards the video.. "You just need to find one with a PCIe slot"

But this I think will be difficult to find....as Snowpine said " The market is absolutely flooded right now with companies dumping their Windows XP hardware". The majority of the stuff in this shop is XP.

I think in the end I will try to follow your advice.... and look to see if it has "a PCIe slot", it's true It opens up far more possibilities as regards the video card.

I am going to the shop this Monday (27th) I'll see what they have to say regarding the possibility of finding a PCIe slot in todays market.

Thanks to you and everybody for the observations.

Lionel

PS.. I will post the results of my shop visit Monday evening
You don't need to go all out. Get yourself a top of the range Pentium dual core (minimum) at least 4GB or memory (RAM). Graphics card is entirely up to you. If you are gaming I would recommend at least a Shader Model of at least 4 or above but that is just my preference.

You can spend R600 or R6000. Check the programs that you will be using and stick to the recommended requirements. If its a Media Centre PC than it would most certainly need lots of STORAGE and HDMI


Please don't hesitate to let me know of you have more questions. The other members on the site a very wise also.

Kind Regards
Marios
 
  


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