[WINDOWS] Just scored a free PC!
#1
Question 
Hey guys.

My IT guy had an old computer at home and gave it to me as I had mentioned to him I was looking at building a Media Centre PC.

Its a Pentium 4 running at 1.8GHz
Has 512MB of RAM
200GB HDD
Intel Onboard Graphics.

The output format wont even have to be HD, its just an old TV screen for the kids room.

I do have a home file server so nothing will be stored on the HTPC except the OS and XBMC.

Now I'm looking to do this on the cheap,
I'm wondering if those specs alone will be enough to run XBMC on XP?
If not what do I need to grab to make it run at least half decent (:


Thanks!
Callum
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#2
I'm pretty sure you need to add something. check the motherboard and see what expansion slots you have, ie. AGP, PCI, PCIE. It sounds like it may have AGP or PCI.

Either way, if there is no AGP slot, you will probably have to get http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.as...-_-Product

That comes in PCIE and PCI. So you're looking around 50 bucks max.

If its AGP,http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.as...6814133328
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#3
well since you mention no HD files, i would only get a new SSD.... ~$75
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#4
Spartan - will installing a video card make my menus faster?
I installed XBMC and it was slow to load photos and videos etc
The menu wasn't so bad but when you click into a file it takes a while to open.
Like it was lagging trying to open the file

Eskro - I don't need any storage mate. Everything is going to be accessed frommy network file server (:
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#5
callumogrady Wrote:will installing a video card make my menus faster?

Install your Operating System on an SSD and your menus will fly!!!
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#6
First, are you running windows or live? And does your media play fine right now?

If your media plays fine right now, then you DO NOT need an additional card.

If your menu's are SLOW on Windows, try XBMC Live, with enabled DDS fanart.

And if all of that does not give you the performance you need, then your SOL. Because I'm 99% sure that the old computer does not have a SATA port. And you need a SATA port for an SSD.
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#7
IDE to SATA-II Port Adapter Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.as...6812240012
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.as...-_-Product
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.as...-_-Product
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#8
Hm I forgot about adapters. You would have to do research about the performance of SSD's over an adapter. Normally though, there will be some performance loss, and if Live with DDS fanart isn't enough for you, I'm not sure an SSD over an adapter will be either.
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#9
I have a P4 @ 2.4ghz, with 1gb of ram, an 8800GT vid card and a 500gb IDE HDD. I have XBMC installed on top of Ubuntu 10.04.

Menu speed is decent (the speed doesn't distract me at all) and video playback is fine on a 27" CRT tv. The only time it lags is occasionally during FF and RW. Before I added the GPU, everything was slow as molasses, so from my experience a GPU can make a big difference to the GUI speed.

I'd say your best bet is to pickup a decent nvidia GPU (like the one spartan linked to) and give it another whirl. If you find the menu speed slow, then you can consider adding an SSD.
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#10
Spartan - I am running on Windows, but will be giving the LIVE CD that you mentioned a shot! Thanks

The files seem to playing fine at the moment, and then menu isn't too bad but it is lagging quite some, the real problem occurs when I click on a file, it can take around 5 seconds to open a simple .jpeg


Rbrohman - Does your problem sound a lot like mine?


I don't need any of the SATA adapters but thanks anyway guys, as all my files are stored on my home file server, so all I have on the tower is XP and XBMC.


Also my Mobo is an Intel D845GLLY
If I was to get a GPU it would have to be PCI only, I dont think my Mobo will support PCI-E?
Can anyone just double check that for me please (:


Thanks for the responses so far guys
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#11
If its taking that long to open up a jpeg, then the problem isn't the computer, its your network. SAMBA is finicky with windows ( in my experience) I would definitely try with live.

Again, the point of having a SSD is to make the software cache fanart SUPER fast. This improves the experience greatly ( or so people have said. Don't have one). It has absolutely nothing to do with the files being stored on the server.

Your mobo has 4 PCI slots. That's all. So a video card would fit perfectly.
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#12
Hm... thats weird. I thought I replied to this.

If it takes 5 seconds to open up a jpeg, thats weird. Try opening it in windows explorer normally and see. If there's a substantial difference, something's up.

The SSD drive will speed up your menu interaction, has nothing to do with your files being stored on the NAS.

You have 4 PCI ports. the Nvidia 8400 GS would work nicely.
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#13
All the video cards I am looking are PCI-Express
I can pick up a used GeForce 8400GS 512MB for $37 delivered! (:
But if it is PCI-Express will it still be compatible with my PCI Mobo?

Not looking at SSD at this point in time.
Maybe later when I build my system for the living room

If I use the Live CD, will that support my Graphics Card and Onboard Network etc?
Like drivers being compatible to run and so forth

Cheers
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#14
I would wager that you have an AGP slot in that computer and that a PCI-E card won't work. Here's a picture:

Image
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#15
Thanks for the photo mate

No AGP on this board, just PCI

I take it a PCI-E card will not work on my PCI slots ?
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