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HTPC Building Series: Laying out all the components

Check out our HTPC on a Budget series and join us in building a great HTPC for under $1,000.

In our quest to build the ultimate inexpensive hoome theater computer, we’ve walked you through selecting all the major components that will power our labor of love PC. I’m talking about things like why we picked our chosen motherboard, the MSI MS-7411, a look at how we will drive 7.1 sound from the HTPC to our receiver, and the smart way that we will move content to the HTPC so it’s displayed on our television.

But what about the rest? The pieces that, although not major, are still required to have a - you know - functioning HTPC? Well, that’s where this article comes in. We are going to be giving you a quick rundown of the smaller components that you will need in order to get this thing built, before we do our wrap-up in our next article.

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HTPC Building Series: The ATI TV Wonder 650

Check out our HTPC on a Budget series and join us in building a great HTPC for under $1,000.

We’re starting to wind down the layout of all the parts that are going into our Home Theater PC. First, let’s recap some of the main components that we’ve thrown into this project this far:

We’ve come a long way to far. In this article, though, I wanted to talk about the TV card that we’ve chosen. Since we are doing this on a budget, we are hoping for a nice balance of good performance at an inexpensive price. This is why we’ve chosen the TV Wonder 650. Amazon has it for 43% off of the retail price. This card supports both over the air HD broadcasts, as well as ClearQAM cable TV.

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HTPC Building Series: Driving multimedia content to the HTPC

Check out our HTPC on a Budget series and join us in building a great HTPC for under $1,000.

Continuing our quest to build the ultimate, while inexpensive, home theater PC, the one thing you need to consider when talking about media is how you are going to actually get the media to the computer. After covering the main mission, carefully going through our selection of hardware, giving you a first hand look at the MSI motherboard we chose (and explaining exactly why we chose that one,) and then bringing you up to speed on how we are going to drive 7.1 surround sound from this thing, you were probably thinking that the brunt of the thinking was done, right? Well, while that may be the case, there are still some important considerations that need to be taken into account.

Click to continue reading HTPC Building Series: Driving multimedia content to the HTPC

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HTPC Building Series: Achieving great 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound

Check out our HTPC on a Budget series and join us in building a great HTPC for under $1,000.

In previous posts, while talking about building up our Home Theater PC, from the ground up, and on a budget, we’ve focused on a few goals. Things like what we want to see the system, as a whole, do for our home entertainment experience. We’ve talked, in general, about some of the hardware we plan on ordering to put into this bad boy. We’ve even gone into detail on the one essential piece that is going to drive everything - that being the motherboard. Today we want to focus on how we are going to get amazing sound out of this system.

Click to continue reading HTPC Building Series: Achieving great 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound

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HTPC Building Series: Choosing the MSI 7411 motherboard

MSI 7411

Check out our HTPC on a Budget series and join us in building a great HTPC for under $1,000.

In this installment of the Home Theater PC building log, we wanted to focus on the core of our system. Previously, we took a look at the process of selecting hardware along with a look at the overall mission to build the best HTPC we can, on a budget. To understand what we are aiming to do, though, I thought it would be best if we were able to take a look at what’s going to be at the center of everything: the MSI MS-7411 Media Live DIVA 7.1 motherboard.

That’s a mouthful, we know - but it’s also an amazing centerpiece for our system. The foundation is MSI’s MS-7411 micro-ATX motherboard featuring AMD’s 780M chipset with UVD support and side-port memory for smooth 1080p playback. This motherboard can be ordered with either pre-amp or amp audio card solutions (one purchase package) directly from your distributor of choice. Note that this motherboard uses the mobile variant of the 780 for additional power savings features that are useful in a home theater environment. It pulls less power, and it doesn’t get as hot, which means much less fan noise. Nothing kills a movie experience like fan noise, seriously.

Click to continue reading HTPC Building Series: Choosing the MSI 7411 motherboard


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