Saturday, December 29, 2012

Lessons Learned: Media Center PC

A few years ago I built a media center PC. Yesterday I replaced it with a new one, and in the time between I made notes.

The biggest mistake, and the root of almost every issue with the first media PC, was buying into the small form factor hype. I will say it is interesting, a little fun, and in some geeky way ITX is cute (those little DC-DC power supplies mashed into the 24-pin ATX plug get me every time). Like everyone else building a media PC I wanted small, powerful, and quiet--and maybe cheap. For some unknown reason the VCR set the standard for media appliance size.

I believe the focus on a small form factor misses the spirit of do-it-yourself. It limits options, and standard size parts yield standard size repair costs. If I was really focusing on size I'd get a Roku or buy a smart TV. I'll list component by component my frustrations with my old media PC and how it affected the parts chosen for version 2.0.

Part List for Media Center PC 2.0

Case: SILVERSTONE Grandia Series GD05B-USB3.0
Power Supply: PC Power and Cooling Silencer MK III
Motherboard: ASUS Maximus V Gene
Memory: 2x CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB)
Storage Drive: Western Digital WD Green WD20EARX 2TB*
Optical Drive: LITE-ON Black 4X BD-ROM
Tuner: SiliconDust HDHomeRun DUAL HDHR3-US

These parts worked well for me, and they were chosen after many years and many frustrations  Hope this helps someone. Details and reasonings below.

*not new, from old media center pc
**network device, also not new