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 Post subject: my "Living Room Computer"
PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2004 9:47 pm 
Patron of SPCR

Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2003 7:47 pm
Posts: 321
Location: St. Louis, USA
that's what I call it. I figured why not post this. It was my first computer, my folks were nice enough to buy it for me summer after freshman year 1999. They said it was because I had been a cheap kid :) Originally it was a Gateway PIII slot-1 550 mhz and with minimal modifications it is a great silent living room computer.

Here are the stats now:
PIII slot-1 550 mhz
Jabil BX something mobo
384mb Micron RAM
Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 ATA 80gb 8mb cache on a Promise Ultra IDE hard drive controller card
ATI Radeon 9000 Pro 64mb
Philips 4x4x24 burner - only useful for reading now
Matsushita 6x DVD drive
US Robotics 56K modem
3COM EtherLink 10/100 PCI NIC
200watt Astec power supply with intake shroud halfway down CPU directing air over HS (yeah astec, dunno but it's really quiet)
Gateway 15" viewable LCD DFP (early OEM LCD, great little monitor, selling for <$300 now)
running XP Pro SP1 - originally Win98 SE

early mods:
-original RAM was 192mb, removed a 64, added 2 sticks 128mb RAM for 384
-replaced CPU cooler with similar HS but larger fan, 60mm (lot quieter, first success yay)
-My original hard drive was a 20GB DeathStar, I specifically remember the moment that it's noise changed, the second year into it's use. It got worse and the spinup noise when I started the computer was ridiculous. I bought a 40GB WD because I was afraid the IBM would die soon, it was better but still not good. (the IBM still works by the way, now employed in off-site storage)
-a bit later, replaced ATI 8mb SGRAM DFP vidcard (I played Quake 3 on it quite successfully I might add:) with ATI Radeon 9000 Pro 64mb. Bought little adapter to convert DVI to DFP. Put away scan converter and just used RCA cable for aux video output.

post SPCR mods:
-cover little holes in side of case with a cardboard piece
-bought 80GB 7200.7 - went to best buy, saw discount and planned on buying a cuda IV or V but discovered that the model was actually the 7200.7 8MB cache, great deal. Huge improvement over the screaming headache-inducers I had before.
-cut extra rear case hole, use wire grill and rubber molding
-removed the 60mm CPU fan completely
-put 80mm panaflo as case fan - mount with blue things - in series with...
-put 80mm panaflo on Zalman bracket pointed at cpu heatsink just under PSU shroud, the two panaflos are in series for 6v.
-replace the 92mm fan in PSU with panaflo
-Ralfed the IDE cables (cablegami)

Well I guess that was more than I thought. I is extremely quiet now and I'm really happy about it. You can only hear it in like 3am silence, the Radeon's fan is the loudest part. It doesn't handle stress testing but it does everything I want it to do, played quake, played movies, etc. Most of the time the Living Room Computer is just sitting there serving up photos and my start page. The thing is always on.


Now you might ask what does a Living Room computer do. Well you'll notice by the audio and video cables along with the ground loop isolator coming out of the back that it can export a fair amount of media. It's on the network of course so it can access anything on my "big" computer it needs to and remote desktop lets me control it - do things like change the song playlist playing in the living room at a party- from the computer in my room. Here are the Living Room Computer's functions:
-internet access in living room, for guests, easy access from the couch :) - look up tv listings, web, instant message, etc. (TV webpolls are strictly forbidden out of principle :)
-24 hour webserver for my startpage, webpages, forum pictures even :) (has IIS, Tomcat, MySQL, Java in use)
-play CDs, mp3s through sound system (which is currently just the VCR and big stereo TV, I have big speakers, need to buy some kind of amp)
-play videos on the TV from any computer on network (Space Ghost and Sealab 2021 :)
-play movies on DVD or varying formats through VCR and TV
-never tried but could record virtually anything onto VCR tape, and could record sound from the TV/VCR which I have done

my roommate also started using it as a movie rack as you can see in the picture. It definitely gets a work out.


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