Ongoing HTPC project from Sweden (1 Viewer)



Hi people

Im new to all this HTPC stuff but I have done a fair amount of research and now I thought that I would release the progress on my work on this sight because Media Portal has Proven the best Software for my HTPC.

What is my goals with this HTPC ?

-Well not much, I want it to play move files, DVD, sound files, CD, stuff like that, nothing fancy as TV-recording.
- Ok, I want it to be quiet, I hate fan noise!!
- I want it fairly compact, no midtower standing beside the TVset.
- It should look good so I will need to touch up whatever chassi Im going to use, I refuse to spend 100+ euro on a chassi.
- Cost, I don’t want to spend over 150 euro on the project.

So what have I done yet(software).

-I have tested out all main software I could get my hands on (WMC2005, myHTPC, sageTV, Meedio, and some outers) Im happy to say that Media Portal is far better application (for me at least) and it is free and ontop of that a grate forum AND weekly updates !!

-I have tested small software like Grider and Vobsub and gotten to know my way around the config in MP. I also have done research on codec’s (but I would need some help choosing them)

Image Link!

Hardware Choices

The base of this MediaCenter is a HP Vectra VL400 SF. It now has some new and old components in it.

CPU - Pentium III 733 MHz (passive cooling)
HDD – 10 gig (possible uppgrade on this item)
GPU – AGP ATI radeon 7000 (passive cooling)
Soundcard – Nightingale pro 6 optical
Remote – ATI remote wonder 1
DVD – Asus 16x dvd (leftover from when I brought a DVD burner)
Chassi - HP Vectra modified (L,D,H) 16” 14” 4” (fairly small)

As stated I do not wish for video recording as of yet for me money and noise keeps me away from that but in time I might find it tempting to make a more powerful HTPC.

I use passive cooling for the general noisemakers (CPU and GPU). So the box does not make and more noise than a 80mm fan on half speed… quite acceptable I think.
…Oh I forgot the 40mm fan on the power supply but I did not notice that fan until a saw it my self and I haven’t heard a buzz from it yet. =)

The soundcard had to have an optical in and out port, I hate lots of cables, this way I can connect the HTPC directly to my receiver whit one small cord. And most important, clean sound.

Im quite pleased whit the remote(that is, after I got the Grider issues worked out), I had bin expecting a little longer range but you cant get everything…

The motherboard has an intergraded graphics card, sound card and network card, but I will only be using the network card. I thought I could use the GPU but it did not support DVD. Bugger =/ it took some searching before I found a passive cooled gpu that could fit a 4” high chassi but the R7000 was Ideal. Im quite pleased whit the chassi I think (L,D,H) 16” 14” 4” is an acceptable size.

So I have covered the noise factor and the size factor I have exited my spend limit the total cost for all components was 160 euro. And I have not done the chassi beautification yet. =/ …oh well no biggi.

What is left to do?

-I have a few holes go cut in the chassi before I can access the GPUcard. (using a dremel), stabile mounting have to be achieved for the HDD and DVD, Ill solve that whit a couple of brackets.
-No software more then WinXP is installed on the machine. But I have sorted most of the software problems already.
- I have to make the chassi look good, do some soldering to fit a new on/off button on the new front and such.
- Im a little worried abut the noise of the DVD, Im currently searching for a app that could hold rotation speeds at a low level

That is it for now I will update you on my progress.


On the topic of the DVD, Ive seen hacked firmwares released to make Liteon drives run slower and quieter, so maybe theres some for your asus drive.

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