XBMC Media Centre

Antec-NSK2480

Antec-NSK2480 Media Centre Case

So you’ve got some computer equipment lying around, a fancy case from a project from days gone by, so what do you do with it?  I’ve tried selling older kit but it’s generally too much hassle in this day and age.

With electricity costs rising I don’t really want to leave an 800 watt powered computer on all day as it does its thing, so I thought I’d use left over computer parts to build myself a low power media centre.  I had to buy the keyboard and graphics card as I wanted audio over HDMI to save faffing around with leads to the amp and the keyboard is ideal as its not bulky and designed for a HTPC/remote.

– E6420 Dual Core

– 4gb DDR2 Ram

1gb Radeon 5450 graphics card – £25

– 500gb SATA Hard Disk

– 180W PSU

– Antec NSK2480 Case

Xenta keyboard

 Xenta multimedia keyboard – £13

Its a big-boy case but in a TV cabinet next to my amp it looks the part.

Anyhow, as this was a media centre set up and me generally not having much time to fiddle with unfamiliar set ups I stuck to an operating system I was familiar with, i.e. Windows 7.

I tried the built-in Media Centre but whilst its great for live tv its not so hot for media libraries of any kind without a whole load of 3rd party addons.  That of course leads to problems as we all know Microsoft don’t really like people manipulating their products. That left me with old faithful, XBMC which I used to use back in ye olde days on the original Xbox and to be fair its still looking pretty cool.

XBMC Home Page

I’ve now got a Media Centre PC with uTorrent, Apache, Orb Media Streamer, I can use it for streaming video from my NAS box, do all my internet based  stuff without having to turn on my mega gaming computer all from the comfort of my arm chair.  Awesome!

Edit : I’ve now configured XBMC to work with my Harmony 525 remote which I’ll write about soon as the config is a little fiddly.

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