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Discrete PC for living room

post #1 of 53
Thread Starter 
Hi folks. I'm trying to move my music listening from my home office to my living room but I can't get my head around all the options. I've been intending to do this for a while but have always been thwarted because my PC is way too loud for the living room. Well that problem has kinda sorted itself because my PC died this morning. I'm guessing at the moment but I think it's probably the PSU that's at fault.

Never mind, it's spurred me on to finally do something about this situation. Since march I've been using my new iPad almost exclusively for the Internet and to be honest my PC has just become a glorified jukebox. So at the moment I have a huge collection of music sitting on three hard drives with no way to access it. What's the best and/or cheapest option for me that will allow me to access this music and play it back through my amp? I was thinking of getting one of those tiny desktop PC's which would presumably be quiet enough but I'm guessing the sound output options are limited. I've also toyed with the idea of going for a Mac Mini but the vast majority of my music files are in FLAC format so that won't really work. Or will it? If I could find a small form factor PC with an optical audio output then I could easily buy a stand-alone DAC. This would be good for my headphones and it would also allow me to pass through the audio to my amp.

It's all so confusing. Any suggestions?

Gordon.
post #2 of 53

Firstly do you only have music/FLAC files on those hdds or HD movies as well? I ask because for the latter you can have a great solution with the more current integrated graphics like Llano but if you just have music you can just fish out used PC parts on the cheap and slap one up if you are DIY PC savvy? If you need 3D Blu Ray playback then the A6-3500 is currently the best bang for buck for that as tested by the peeps @ AVS' HTPC subforums


Edited by trog - 6/17/12 at 6:18am
post #3 of 53
Thread Starter 
Wow, that was fast. Thanks for taking the time to respond. You make a good point as I do also have some movies on other drives. I've actually moved almost all my kit through to the living room and I'm finding I can actually live with my monitor as a tv. My own tv is only 720p and to be honest I don't really watch much tv anyway. I just need some way to pipe the music out to the amp and I'm set. I'll maybe look into getting a 27" monitor though as my Samsung is only 24" and it s just a bit too wee for my old eyes. Do most motherboards these days have optical outputs?

Gordon.
post #4 of 53
just quickly are you pc savvy as in tech ifso are you looking at getting an entertainment box or just at getting access to those hdds ? if its the former chuck up what parts case etc you have now and a budget im sure some one will be able to help i might even all though im much better at budget gaming rigs.

sorry for grammar etc typing from the phonr.
post #5 of 53

Look at the program Splashtop to run your music PC with your iPad.

post #6 of 53

If you wish to rebuild a cheap box that could be used as a big music player the amount you are willing to spend to fix your issue will be required.

 

and no, a lot of motherboard may come with an optical out but some doesnt and quality will also be questioned if its integrated into the MOBO.

post #7 of 53
Thread Starter 
I've rebuilt my main rig four times over so I'm capable but lazy. I've got an old laptop with a duff battery but I think I'll press it into service and find a cheap optical DAC to place in-line to the amp. My music files are on external WD drives so they're no problem but my videos are all on internal drives so I'll need to figure out some way to access those. Any ideas?

Gordon.
post #8 of 53

Does your laptop have a external sata connector? if so you could connect your drive directly to it.

 

If not : http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817388021

 

This is a cheap way to interface all your drive to usb or Esata.

 

Im sure you can find a USB dac thread on the forum and compare them to find something in your price range.


Edited by deathzero34 - 6/18/12 at 1:00am
post #9 of 53

This is a slight variation of typical 3B Blu ray capable HTPCs that i suggest for peeps with either an older coax/optical AVR capable of DD/DTS or more current HDMI AVRs capable of DTS-HD/Dolby TrueHD as the motherboard has both optical and hdmi out ^^ In view of your 3 hdds though i'd go with the smallest case capable of slotting in 3 hdds (usually go with smaller mATX casings hehe)

Untitled-2056.jpg


Edited by trog - 6/18/12 at 2:01am
post #10 of 53
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by deathzero34 View Post

Does your laptop have a external sata connector? if so you could connect your drive directly to it.

If not : http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817388021

This is a cheap way to interface all your drive to usb or Esata.

Im sure you can find a USB dac thread on the forum and compare them to find something in your price range.

Unfortunately my laptop doesn't have an eSATA port but as per your second suggestion I've found this below which looks like the same thing...

http://www.amazon.co.uk/SHARKOON-QuickPort-Combo-SATA-Device/dp/B00327HTD4/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1340036798&sr=8-7

Thanks for the input. I never knew devices such as these existed.

Gordon.
post #11 of 53
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input and ideas trog but I think I'm going to go with the laptop for now. It's not ideal to be honest but funds are a bit tight at the moment.

I'm going to go with the Fiio D3 DAC as its cheap and will do the business until I free up some funds. Now I need to find a decent USB hub, preferably one with USB3 functionality as I intend to upgrade the external drives in the near future. Anyone got any ideas on USB hubs?

Can I also just say how much I appreciate all the help you guys are providing? This is precisely why I love this forum.

Gordon.
post #12 of 53
Thread Starter 
Having stated above that I would like to stick with the laptop I've also been looking at this...

http://www.zotac.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage_images-SRW.tpl&product_id=442&category_id=157&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=100285&lang=en

I like the size and having an SSD also appeals. What do you guys think?

Maybe not. From reviews I gather it's pretty noisy which of course is a no-no for my intended purpose. There's also this one...

http://www.asrock.com/nettop/Intel/CoreHT%20Series/#Specifications

Of course it costs quite a bit more but it's a pretty impressive spec all the same.

Gordon.
Edited by Zorrofox - 6/18/12 at 10:25am
post #13 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorrofox View Post

Hi folks. I'm trying to move my music listening from my home office to my living room but I can't get my head around all the options. I've been intending to do this for a while but have always been thwarted because my PC is way too loud for the living room. Well that problem has kinda sorted itself because my PC died this morning. I'm guessing at the moment but I think it's probably the PSU that's at fault.
Never mind, it's spurred me on to finally do something about this situation. Since march I've been using my new iPad almost exclusively for the Internet and to be honest my PC has just become a glorified jukebox. So at the moment I have a huge collection of music sitting on three hard drives with no way to access it. What's the best and/or cheapest option for me that will allow me to access this music and play it back through my amp? I was thinking of getting one of those tiny desktop PC's which would presumably be quiet enough but I'm guessing the sound output options are limited. I've also toyed with the idea of going for a Mac Mini but the vast majority of my music files are in FLAC format so that won't really work. Or will it? If I could find a small form factor PC with an optical audio output then I could easily buy a stand-alone DAC. This would be good for my headphones and it would also allow me to pass through the audio to my amp.
It's all so confusing. Any suggestions?
Gordon.


It sounds like the Oppo 95 would fit the bill in your case. Connect your HDDs to your NAS, PC or w/e you have lying around. The Oppo 95 is basically your music player and DAC. This allows you to completely forego a new PC just for music, on top of buying a USB/SPDIF converter. You will access your music collection via DLNA, or using an external HDD via eSATA/USB. The price of $1k surely beats out buying a dedicated PC, converter, and a quality standalone DAC when you combine those 3 by far. Plus, you get additional spiffy options such as SACD and BluRay audio playback and balanced output capabilities! The Oppo 95 really is a steal when you use it to its fullest. Hope that helps :)


Edited by brunk - 6/18/12 at 10:34am
post #14 of 53
Thread Starter 
I don't really watch many videos to be honest so I cant really see any benefit to using the Oppo. I listen to music all the time and it's my passion and so that's my focus for now. I do have a PS3 for games and the occasional BD and that's enough for video to be honest. Thanks for the suggestion though, all input is appreciated.

Gordon.
post #15 of 53

Do not be fool by USB3, even though it look neat on paper nothing use it and can use it to its optimal performance. its like building a 5 line hightway with a line reserved for 200 km/h cars yet they dont exist. ( I know the exemple is silly but it's a simple concept)

 

usb hub? like this : http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817111976

 

most hub are good quality and reliable, just make sure it actually is powered by its own adapter.

 

 

I tend to shy away from prebuild computer because they are usually less dependable. difficult to troubleshoot or repair, usually un upgraedable and also more expensive then usually building it yourself.

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