[mythtv-users] System upgrade - 150 (200) to spend

Damian damian at gingermagic.co.uk
Mon Jun 9 08:39:38 UTC 2008

Gordon McCrae wrote:
> Damian wrote:
>> Hello all,
>> It's a LONG time since I built a machine and I'm completely out of touch 
>> with recent technology so I'd really appreciate some advice on upgrading 
>> my Myth system.
>> Current system:
>> 1.2 Gig Athlon CPU
>> 512 mb memory
>> Abit KT7-raid motherboard
>> Nvidia 5200 graphics card with DVI out
>> 300Gb IDE hard drive
>> A nice powerful PSU (due to old one needing replacing earlier in the year)
>> A BenQ W100 projector (native 16:9 resolution - 854x480 - I feed it a 
>> 1280x720 signal)
>> Reason for upgrade:
>> Computer can't cope with the latest version of Ubuntu and I want to 
>> stick with Ubuntu/Mythbuntu to provide me with an easy(ish) path to 
>> keeping up to date with MythTV.
>> What needs upgrading:
>> CPU (+fan)
>> Motherboard
>> Memory (2 gig?)
>> Graphics card? (I understand many motherboards come with graphics on 
>> board these days .. not sure if that's what I want)
>> Hard drive? (I'd rather not change hard drives unless I have to, but 
>> I've been told that many motherboards these days don't have IDE so maybe 
>> it's time to change?)
>> System use:
>> -Main network server for the house which lives in the garage (so it 
>> doesn't have to be 'silent')
>> -Main FE/BE for mythtv. Several frontends are on the network, but not 
>> used much when this system is working well.
>> -Connected to a projector via DVI.
>> -The projector has native res of 854x480 so HD is not an issue at the 
>> moment. I'm not sure when I will get around to upgrading my projector. 
>> It would be good to have a system capable of HD when I get the projector 
>> for it, but I don't really want to pay extra for a feature that I don't 
>> need for the foreseeable future.
>> Funds:
>> As ever, I'd like to spend as little as possible. I'm hoping that 150 
>> will get me a decent upgrade, but can stretch to 200 if needed.
>> Notes:
>> -Setting up the correct resolution with my projector was a nightmare, 
>> however I did get there in the end with this nvidia card (before the 
>> ubuntu update broke everything). So, if I buy a motherboard with 
>> graphics on board, I feel like sticking with nvidia unless someone has a 
>> really good reason not to.
>> -As I'm spending on an upgrade, I'd like to really feel the benefit if 
>> possible. Compis spinny cubes don't mean much, but I like them. Those 
>> effects are lovely on my laptop. They worked on this current system, but 
>> it was a struggle so I turned them off.
>> -The machine is generally left on all of the time, but I'd like the 
>> option of setting turn on and turn off times and letting Myth control 
>> this sometimes. Does that narrow down my motherboard choices significantly?
>> -I used to be a big gamer. I'm not any more, but I like to at least look 
>> at games from time to time to see how pretty things look these days. 
>> Don't want to be spending extra money for that though.
>> -I don't know what Linux/Ubuntu is like when upgrading hardware, but if 
>> possible, I'd like to not have to reinstall the entire OS from scratch 
>> if I can avoid it. I'm not sure if that's possible or not or if it just 
>> means avoid x64.
>> -I have an old ATX (I think that's what they were called) called which 
>> is a brick but fine for something hidden away. I'd like to avoid the 
>> expense of buying a new case if I can but I don't know if standards have 
>> moved on and that would not be possible.
>> -I'm based in the UK if that makes any difference to anything.
>> I think that's about everything. Hope I've not put everyone off by 
>> writing too much. Just wanted to give as full a picture as I could.
>> Thanks for your time!
>> Damian
>> _______________________________________________
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>> mythtv-users at mythtv.org
>> http://mythtv.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/mythtv-users
> You could do worse than checking out Novatech 
> (http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/barebones.html), for 150 you'll get 
> Core2 Duo E2180 / 2Gb built and tested, all you need to do is add 
> optical and storage drives. Alternatively for 200, you could get a Dual 
> Core E4600 / 2Gb. You can get cheaper again from overclockers, but then 
> the onus is more on you to ensure you've matched components etc., and 
> you've already said it's been a while .....
> Gordon

Thanks for that Gordon,

I'll take a look.

The main thing I think when I look at those is that within the 150/200 
I'm buying a case and PSU that I don't need. Surely I would get more for 
my money just buying the CPU, motherboard and memory?

However, the page you sent me does give me a good quick glance look at 
the 'rank' of new systems, so I could buy the bits I need from 
Overclockers. I used them last time I built a machine.

Thanks for your help!


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