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View Full Version : Building a small, cheap media PC?



AlexC_
October 12th, 2006, 04:14 PM
Hey,

I do a lot of 3D computer graphics and when ever I am on the PC I _always_ have my music on. The only problem is I have to turn my Music off while rendering because it's 100% CPU intensive, my music will just grind to a halt and will slow the render down.

Basically, I want to build a small _CHEAP_ pc that will run Xubuntu, and I'd like to be able to have my Monitor, Keyboard and Speakers on both of the PC's ( Main PC and small media Pc ) so that I can leave my Main PC rendering then just flip a switch and I can then control my small media PC.

How much rougly would this cost?

AlexC_
October 12th, 2006, 04:16 PM
Awwwww crap I thought I was in the Cafe! sorry! could someone move this?

John.Michael.Kane
October 12th, 2006, 05:32 PM
Your good to go now. your threads in the cafe.

dannyboy79
October 12th, 2006, 05:47 PM
i can tell you that i run Dapper Drake xubuntu on a Pentium MMX 266mhz with 128mb ram. Running XMMS (a music player) works fine. I can also suggest the kvm switch i use, it actually has audio as well. So I have 1 keyboard, 1 flat panel, 1 mouse, 1 speaker system, 2 computers. I don't use the kvm for video though, i am lucky that my flat panel has a dvi input as well as the old analog. so i just hit scroll lock twice on my keyboard, and the input button on the front of the monitor and i can go back and forth from winxp to ubnuntu. the laptop that's running xubuntu was just to give you an idea of what the min computer requirements would be for ya. just go to a used comp store and get 1 similar or a little better than the spec I gave you and you should be fine! oh, i had to use the alternate cd to install, it basically goes thru the install in text mode. if you want to know what the exact model of my kvm is, i'll repost it when i get home but I think it's a iogear? i'll let you know for sure IF you want to know.

Michael_aust
October 12th, 2006, 05:53 PM
Have you considered using one of those Via C3 mini itx mainboards. They are small, quiet, everything is on board. They have an extremely lower power usage and are low heat producing, the 800hz models dont even need fans, just a heatsink.

They have a number of models with varying specs etc. They seem to be ideal for this type of use.

Here is one of there boards:

http://www.via.com.tw/en/products/mainboards/motherboards.jsp?motherboard_id=399

dannyboy79
October 12th, 2006, 06:20 PM
Have you considered using one of those Via C3 mini itx mainboards. They are small, quiet, everything is on board. They have an extremely lower power usage and are low heat producing, the 800hz models dont even need fans, just a heatsink.

They have a number of models with varying specs etc. They seem to be ideal for this type of use.

Here is one of there boards:

http://www.via.com.tw/en/products/mainboards/motherboards.jsp?motherboard_id=399

I don't know how the support is for the VIA chipset. So I would strongly suggest gogling this before you buy one. I can tell you that if you're gonna buy a new motherboard and not get a used one, this is the one i bought. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16856110031, it's basically a North Bridge SiS 661FX South Bridge SiS 964 Asus motherboard along with a case, a 300 watt psu, and Intel Pentium 4/Celeron
CPU Socket Intel Socket T(LGA775)
FSB 533/800MHz
for $98 plus shipping how can you go wrong? everything works out of the box. i ended up buying a geforce 6200 due to me wanting better graphics. oh, i bought a 512 mb ram for this cause that isn't included.

hkgonra
October 12th, 2006, 06:33 PM
I don't know how the support is for the VIA chipset. So I would strongly suggest gogling this before you buy one. I can tell you that if you're gonna buy a new motherboard and not get a used one, this is the one i bought. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16856110031, it's basically a North Bridge SiS 661FX South Bridge SiS 964 Asus motherboard along with a case, a 300 watt psu, and Intel Pentium 4/Celeron
CPU Socket Intel Socket T(LGA775)
FSB 533/800MHz
for $98 plus shipping how can you go wrong? everything works out of the box. i ended up buying a geforce 6200 due to me wanting better graphics. oh, i bought a 512 mb ram for this cause that isn't included.

I take it that everyhting worked with this system and Ubuntu out of the box ?

maniacmusician
October 12th, 2006, 06:41 PM
I take it that everyhting worked with this system and Ubuntu out of the box ?
well yes, i would think so, seeing as that's exactly what he said in his post.

dannyboy79
October 12th, 2006, 06:54 PM
I take it that everyhting worked with this system and Ubuntu out of the box ?

Just to repost a snippet from what I wrote, "plus shipping how can you go wrong? "EVERYTHING WORKS OUT OF THE BOX". i ended up buying a geforce 6200" I am just giving you a hard time, just relax.

hkgonra
October 12th, 2006, 07:36 PM
I thought that was what you meant but it could have meant you have a box that is almost completely built for you when you get it. Not necessarily works with ubuntu. Just getting clarification. Thanks.

dannyboy79
October 12th, 2006, 07:52 PM
I thought that was what you meant but it could have meant you have a box that is almost completely built for you when you get it. Not necessarily works with ubuntu. Just getting clarification. Thanks.

I guess I can see why you might have thought that. Good idea to clarify!

Michael_aust
October 12th, 2006, 09:21 PM
Via stuff has very goos support with Linux. The CPU's are 486. The chipsets are Sis and things. Graphics support is good, xorg has the drivers already. I dont know wether the drivers via put out will give you Opengl though. The sound stuff works fine. Has normal Acpi stuff.

Via's open source section is here:
http://www.viaarena.com/default.aspx?PageID=5&ArticleID=376

AlexC_
October 12th, 2006, 09:25 PM
Thanks for the response, I'll look into those Via boards - that Asus is ok but idealy I'd like a smaller case, pretty much like a Shuttle SFF PC as there wont be much room for it,

dannyboy79
October 12th, 2006, 09:37 PM
Thanks for the response, I'll look into those Via boards - that Asus is ok but idealy I'd like a smaller case, pretty much like a Shuttle SFF PC as there wont be much room for it,

newegg has shuttle barebones systems as well, probably for around the same price. newegg is the bomb, i either shop there, buy.com or tigetdirect for all my comp needs. like check this out, a seagate 750gb hdd for $379. you can't beat .50/gb. http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=2203982&Sku=TSD-750AS. sata 300 and w/ a 5 year warrenty!

or Seagate 750GB HD
Seagate / Barracuda 7200.10 / 750GB / 7200 / 16MB / ATA-100 / EIDE / OEM / Hard Drive with NEC 16X DVD Burner
Only $399.99

i need to stop telling everyone about my great deals. HA HA

Albi
October 12th, 2006, 09:38 PM
Isn't this what an mp3 player is for?

AlexC_
October 12th, 2006, 09:39 PM
newegg has shuttle barebones systems as well, probably for around the same price. newegg is the bomb, i either shop there, buy.com or tigetdirect for all my comp needs. like check this out, a seagate 750gb hdd for $379. you can't beat .50/gb. http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=2203982&Sku=TSD-750AS. sata 300 and w/ a 5 year warrenty!

or Seagate 750GB HD
Seagate / Barracuda 7200.10 / 750GB / 7200 / 16MB / ATA-100 / EIDE / OEM / Hard Drive with NEC 16X DVD Burner
Only $399.99

i need to stop telling everyone about my great deals. HA HA

Hehe, if only Shuttles were cheaper - then I would get one.

Albi, if there is any way to link an MP3 player up to 5.1 surround sound, then please share with me!

Edit: But it's not just for Music - just general PC use while my main PC is rendering, basicaly Instant Messenger, Music and Internet - that's it.

dannyboy79
October 12th, 2006, 09:41 PM
Via stuff has very goos support with Linux. The CPU's are 486. The chipsets are Sis and things.
Um, i think VIA is the chipset and SIS is a totally different chipset. I think what you just said is like saying Intel chips are cool. They're made by AMD. You probably meant to say that the company viaarena has good linux support.

dannyboy79
October 12th, 2006, 09:45 PM
Hehe, if only Shuttles were cheaper - then I would get one.

Albi, if there is any way to link an MP3 player up to 5.1 surround sound, then please share with me!

Edit: But it's not just for Music - just general PC use while my main PC is rendering, basicaly Instant Messenger, Music and Internet - that's it.

Well, you would need an mp3 player to have an audio out and then just hook it to a receiver! that would be cool

AlexC_
October 12th, 2006, 09:47 PM
Well, you would need an mp3 player to have an audio out and then just hook it to a receiver! that would be cool

Don't _all_ MP3 players have an Audio Out feature!! - no idea what a reciever is, do you have a link to one?

dannyboy79
October 12th, 2006, 09:57 PM
Don't _all_ MP3 players have an Audio Out feature!! - no idea what a reciever is, do you have a link to one?


I am sure you know what an A/V reciever is. Audio/Video receiver? Here is a link to a really nice one, http://www.hometheatermag.com/receivers/74/. It's $3,400.00. Basically you router everything thru this and you'll have 5.1, 7.1, Pro Logic, Dolby Digital and Surround EX, DTS and DTS ES (only the matrixed version, but a DTS ES Discrete upgrade should be available very soon), and THX Ultra audio for everything that has audio, tv, dvd, etc, etc. I have a $300 receiver in my family room that i have a line going from my computer into it so i can listen to all my mp3's thru it!!! then i use my wireless laptop with a remote connection to the computer that has all the mp3's on it and can listen to my collection from my living room without ever having to get up. don't have to let untrustworthy friendz in my room either to pick what they want to play during parties! it's awesome

AlexC_
October 12th, 2006, 09:59 PM
*faints at the price* did I mention the word Cheap lol, hum it's a good idea but seems like it will cost to much.

John.Michael.Kane
October 12th, 2006, 10:20 PM
AlexC_ you could just get an nvidia based 939 matx board with on board video some ddr400mem a 3000+ chip,and add your hdd,and your golden. it would also allow you to move to a X2 chip should want.

Michael_aust
October 12th, 2006, 10:31 PM
Um, i think VIA is the chipset and SIS is a totally different chipset. I think what you just said is like saying Intel chips are cool. They're made by AMD. You probably meant to say that the company viaarena has good linux support.

Some of the mobo's use via graphocs chips, while some of them use Sis components for the video and ethernet.

Viaarena is Via Technologies, its just what they have named there section where they keep Opensource stuff and drivers etc.