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Discussion Starter #1
So my brother traded his 89 Camaro (it was just taking up space since it didn't run and needed a lot of work) for a custom built PC. The OS wasn't booting so I reformatted the hard drive for him and reinstalled XP. He gave me his old computer which was my parents then mine then his and now mine again lol. It is a Dell Dimension 3000 with a 3.0 GHz P4, 512mb RAM and an 80gb hard drive. Since it was my brothers and he isn't the best with computers (better than the rest of my family) it had a virus that was doing a lot of crazy things. So I reformated that drive while I was working on the other computer fro him. Im wondering what I should do with this thing I was thinking of making it into a really cheap HTPC with either an ATI All in Wonder PCI card or a new PCI graphics card (mainly for the connection to my tv) and a separate tuner then adding a wireless card so I can stream movies from my computer. Right now I don't have a high def tv but I plan to upgrade to a 32" HDTV once I get the money.

So since you guys are more knowledgeable about computers than I am what do you think I should do with this thing and what tips do you have for me? Thanks.
 

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I got a dimension 4500 and its not that loud. 2.40 ghz p4 1gb ram and its not bad I got it free with a 17 inch dell flat screen with white speakers painted black to match I love free stuff
 

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First before anything i'd throw more memory in that thing. Id max out the memory that thing can handle you can never have to much memory oh but don't buy it from dell unless you like being bent over.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
So I have been looking into everything and am kind of wondering if I should just add a tuner card to my current PC and just stream it to my xbox 360 when I want to watch it on a TV. I found an ATI TV Wonder 650 for $65 and after a long search I was able to find the drivers for XP 64 from one of the card manufacturers. The only reason I didn't do this before was that not many cards wok with XP 64. If I were to turn the dell into a cheap HTPC I would need a All In Wonder VE which is the only PCI card I found that was a graphics and tuner card. This card was $36 and to upgrade the ram to 2gb would be about $45 so my two options are close in price.

The advantage to adding the card to my current PC is that I can get over the air HD with an antenna but im not sure how many channels I can actually get. I would also be able to stream HD to my Xbox once I get new TV. The only thing that I am worried about is how it will affect my system performance my current setup is a P4 3.4ghz overclocked to 3.75 with 2gb RAM with about 400GB between 2 hard drives and i am probably going to add a 1TB drive soon so that my girlfriend can start editing videos from her MiniDV camera without worrying about space. It also has a Nvidia 6200 which is good enough since I don't play any games. So what do you guys think?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So I picked up the ATI TV Wonder Card $72 shipped was too cheap to pass up when the cheapest anywhere else was $120. So I just have to wait and see how it works and figure out what to do with the spare computer I have now.
 

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not to bad. I would definatly upgreade the memory to at least 1G. Memory is cheap enough now days anyway. Will need a bigger hard drive probably if you are going to do any recording. I saw a 1TB hard drive on sale for $120 I think on tigerdirect.
 

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If the motherboard has a PCI-E slot then get a nice card that has VGA, S-Video and HDMI. This way when you finally get that HD you don't have to go out and buy another card.

All you need really for HTPC use is 1GB of ram. You can live with 512MB. Toss in a cheap 120GB hard drive with a 16mb cashe and it should be good to go.

When I give tips to people when they build a HTPC from scratch I tell them to drop most of the money into the CPU and hard drive. Blueray still costs too much so stick with DVD. Memory is cheap and you don't need a top of a line video card to render video.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
I just stuck with putting a tuner card into my current computer since the dell doesn't have PCI-E and that would really limit me. My computer was built in 2005 or 2006 so I figure once I get tired of it I can add a video card that has HDMI and at least one more tuner then maybe put it all into a better case since the current one is huge. I installed the program the card came with but I didn't like it too much so I installed GBPVR but for some reason the video quality sucks even though it was really good when I first installed the card and was only using the program it came with. But GBPVR seems to have a lot more options so I will probably keep using this program.

Also my friend called me yesterday and he has an old dell server from work I think it has a P3 and his brothers old computer but I don't know what it has in it so I guess I can see what I can do with these two computers.
 

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if it has a dvi port, you can also buy a dvi to hdmi converter. My current htpc is hooked up that way.
 

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Wow..........I can't believe you're spending money upgrading that piece of junk.

My uncle has a P4 3.0GHz, has issues with it. I advised him to upgrade, and we picked up a AMD Athlon 4200 X2 with 2GB DDR800 RAM, 250GB SATA HDD, a RAID compatible mobo, case, and 450W PSU. Bill came to $195 + $1.99 shipping + tax + $20 for a CPU cooling fan.

Blows his P4 out of the water :)



$4.84 + ship for a 6ft DVI to HDMI cable
http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10231&cs_id=1023104&p_id=2404&seq=1&format=2
 
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