: little help for a newbie?

2010-03-17, 08:23 AM
Right now I've got an old (very old) pc hooked up to my nice new plasma screen in the living room. I'd like to get a simple HTPC-type unit to replace it - primarily for playing movies (dvd & files on computer) and music - not worried about using it for TV. I had settled on the Asrock ION 330, but have two questions:

1) Should I go for just the the 330 or go up $70 to the 330HT? (330 is just $370 right now.) 5.1 vs. 7.1 isn't going to make a difference for me and is the remote worth that? Are there other differences I'm missing? (Not worried about BluRay - don't need to go higher...) Can I just get another remote to run windows media centre (or other software for movies/music, like XMBC, which I've read about but haven't used...) Okay, that was more than one question. Just wondering if the HT is worth the extra?

2) Should I get the ION330 or would a PC like this one:
Acer Aspire AX1301-E9202 (Refurbished) AMD Athlon X2 240 2.8GHz, 3GB DDR2 Memory, 320GB HDD, 9 in 1 Card Reader, nVIDIA GeForce 9200 Graphics, DVD-RW, GigaLAN, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit, Keyboard & Mouse

work just as well (and/or better) for my general HTPC usage and maybe a little web surfing - and it costs the same (and has a USB in the front!

Just wondering if anyone sees a big difference with the ION vs. the Aspire for showing movies and general usage.

Appreciate the input - interesting reading on these forums...I've a lot to learn...


2010-03-17, 11:56 PM
just to give you a bit of an idea hardware wise what you need

I've got 2 HTPC

both are AMD athlon x2 2.0 ghz (1 is a socket 939 other is am2/am2+)
both have 3gb ram (s939 has ddr, am2 ddr2)

both have onboard nvidia geforce 6150

both will play anything 720p or less with no issues at all

I added a $45 ati 4350 card to the upstairs machine, and now it'll play all 1080p content with no issues at all

I still keep most stuff at 720p for storage consideration, and the fact that both tv are 42" and I just can't really see the difference between 1080 and 720 from the couch

you do NOT need a huge amount of horsepower in the HTPC if you get a decent video card (and a decent htpc card is 50 bucks or less)