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Windows 7: Planning a Media Centre / Local Server

02 Oct 2012   #1

Win 10 x64 Pro x64 / Ubuntu 15.10 x64
Planning a Media Centre / Local Server (Possible Underclocking Test)

So, time to take a couple steps back and slow things down a bit here... I'm currently in the planning stages of a low-budget media centre / network storage setup and I'm hoping to glean some knowledge from some of you more experienced overclockers before I go wasting money on things I don't need..

The reason I decided to post here and not in the general or media sub-forums is because of how I want to go about this. Part of my plan involves taking a decent spec system and underclock the **** out of it.... Or, at least just underclock it enough for a fanless setup. So insight and experience with setting custom clock speeds on various different components will be the greatest help.

Software Side
Since the goal here is not power or speed, but rather usability, I'll start with the software side. This should ultimately help me decide what hardware I will need in order to achieve my end goal.

Firstly, the media centre itself is a low-cost project... So the obvious OS choice here is Linux. But, which one...? It doesn't need to have any fancy GUI or "user friendly" features. At boot, the OS itself will go straight into whichever media centre software I settle on (XBMC, MythBuntu, etc. etc.), with other services starting up silently in the background (nginx / Apache, MySQL, Samba, Webmin, etc. etc.).

Everybody in my household are avid Android users (yay), so the box will most likely be controlled directly from our phones or tablets. I mean, seriously, can you name one true computer geek that wouldn't grin from ear to ear while they tell their friends how their TV remote is actually a 7" multitouch, dual-core, Android tablet...?

Hardware Side
Now for the fun part... What sort of hardware would I need for this setup? Here's the first idea that comes to mind:
  • 1.4 to 1.8GHz dual core
  • 1 to 2GB DDR2-PC6400
  • 40 to 80GB OS drive
  • Multiple 1 or 2TB 'green' drives
  • Low profile GPU (s-video for now, HDMI can come later)
  • Either completely fanless, or mostly fanless with a single 200mm fan at low speed for good airflow
  • I may possibly build my own case from the ground up

I'm hoping to get this all running from the start with nothing larger than a 300w to 350w PSU if possible, perhaps even one of those funny L-shaped midget PSUs from an old Dell desktop? I'm sure many of you here are old enough to know which ones I'm talking about.. Heck, those things came with nothing more than a 40mm or 50mm fan if I remember correctly.

So, any thoughts on this? Are there any important points that I need to keep in mind while doing this? Any danger-zones I should avoid..? What hardware would you guys use for a system like this? Fire away, I like constructive criticism.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Oct 2012   #2

Win 10 x64 Pro x64 / Ubuntu 15.10 x64

So, I updated the OP title to try make my goals slightly clearer... Has nobody got any suggestions? I thought there would be quite a few opinions on this topic...

Anyway, I got my hands on some hardware for free the today, most of it is untested (I need to organise a few more basic parts before I can test them myself though). So it looks like I might be playing around with the hardware before I get to the software side after all..

Hardware to test:
[1] - The board has absolutely no branding on it, and I can't find any part number or serial number.. It does have a single yellow DDR1 slot and a single blue DDR2 slot, along with a PCI-e 16x, two PCI, one SATA (not sure what speed), with onboard graphics, LAN and audio though.. So for a bottom-of-the-barrel unbranded board, it's not too bad. I'm told the included CPU is a 3.0GHz HT, but I have no thermal paste or container to store it in, so I'll check that later on.

[2] - Here again, not sure.. The sticker on the back says it's a "X300SE 512M HM", it looks like the one in the link above, but it has DVI where that has VGA, with a grey ribbon cable going to the VGA connector on the backplate, and s-video in between them. Came with the 478 board, and I was told the whole socket 478 setup is in perfect running condition, however the rest I'm not sure of yet.

And now that I've typed all this, if nobody has any suggestions for a fellow computer geek, I suspect this thread will be slowly digested by the monstrosity that is 'The Internet', never to be seen again... I guess only time will tell.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Planning a Media Centre / Local Server

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