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Seeking advice on a new-build htpc

Discussion in 'Home Theater PCs' started by jlondon75, Dec 3, 2018.

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  1. jlondon75

    jlondon75 Extra

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    Joshua London
    Hey Folks,


    It has been a long while since my last foray into building PCs, so I'm simply out of touch with options... I'm now needing to replace an ancient PC (circa 2004 big-box-store; the last time I bought rather than built one) that just died. I was using it simply as a way to access my Plex Server -- and to play streaming content from YoutTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime; and also to play exactly one very low-tech game -- on an old TV (circa 2007). I’ve not had to think about this setup for about 5 years now, so I’m way behind on options. This old PC was really NOTHING MORE THAN an access point to the internet for my otherwise non-smart tv, and to play that one low-tech game.

    My tv has the following open inputs available: HDMI, RGB (I was using this with my old PC), “Component”, and AV.

    The "minimum requirements for my one low-tech game (a dance/exercise game that my wife loves) are the following:

    - Windows XP/Vista/7/8/8.1/10 [I was given to understand that Windows 10 can be loaded onto Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+].
    -2 MB RAM (4 GB+ is recommended if you want all background movies to load successfully)
    -2 GB free disk space
    -1.66 Ghz or above processor
    -Video card that supports High Color (16-bit color) and has 64MB video RAM (128 or more is best) and OpenGL or Direct3D drivers
    -DirectX 8.0 (or above) compatible sound card with drivers

    In terms of a replacement/new build, I am Ideally looking to spend up to about $500 -- but cheaper is DEFINITELY better. So, any thoughts on how best to proceed?

    I was kind of leaning towards maybe a “single board computer” route, like a Raspberry Pi, or an ODROID base, or a Tinker Board, but I'm not entirely certain I can easily make those work. I also started looking at the Intel NUC and the like...but I am totally open to ideas and suggestions.

    What do folks here think? I'm all ears.
     
  2. Chris Strnad

    Chris Strnad Stunt Coordinator

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    You can shelve the Pi/10 idea as it isn't what you think.
    In general, I'd shy away from Windows on ARM in any form just because it it has such a poor performance track record. This also includes anything that might do x86 emulation (so no linux/android devices.)

    A NUC would be a nice choice, but last I looked, they were still a BYO affair (RAM, HD, power cord) so that puts it outside your budget.

    If you went with a full DIY pc build, resist the urge to settle for a system that uses an i3 (or lesser) CPU. It will run out of steam quickly even with mundane tasks (buy cheap and replace twice as often, or buy mid-grade and get some longevity.) Anything less than 8gb RAM in Win10 is asking for performance issues, and having the OS on an SSD is almost a requirement. Intel's current-gen on-chip graphics should be more than adequate for 1080p video playback and the game.

    Here's a "budget build" I whipped up at Newegg
     

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