I've Started Digging Myself Into a Hole

TV Guide DVRNot content with turning my laptop into a home media center, I made the foolish decision to build my own video|music streamer for fun. Not being the brightest bulb, I thought I would just use an old hard drive I had left over from my Ubuntu Server experiment. I wanted to hedge my bets and have a computer with guts to do video editing and transcoding if it proved awkward as an htpc. So instead of the ubiquitous ion nvidia approach, I went with a Phenom II x3 on an Asus motherboard with GPU. The ASUS M4A785TD-M EVO AM3 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard has the 785G chipset for easy jujitsu on any high definition graphics. I plan to stuff this into a hecCompucase HTPC case.

I also bought a Sabrent multi-card reader and four gigs of DDR3 RAM.

So, anywho, I say to my buddy, “I’ve never built a computer before but how long can it take to put a few components together?” Well the case arrives yesterday and I go to install the old hdd and card reader. Only six screws are involved (the power supply has to be removed to get the hdd in its rack). About forty-five minutes later I’m “done.” But I’m looking at that hdd and realize. Crimony, that bugger is an IDE and I bet the mobo only has SATA. (Remarks about my intelligence go in the comments section below.) Sure enough I’m screwed.

So after I take that out (an adapter cost about $12 bucks and I can buy a little drive for less than $40) I will be driveless. A smarter man would wait to install the mobo and cpu until the new hdd arrives right? Not my plan. I’m going to stick a Class 6 SD card in the reader and try installing an operating system right onto it!

Well, I’ve never done this before and who knows how it will turn out but according to my tracking numbers the mobo and cpu are out for delivery and I am going to get something going today if I can. As suggested above, tips and mockery may be placed in the comments.

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2 Responses to I've Started Digging Myself Into a Hole

  1. avatar Tom says:

    It all went together and I was able to boot a live Mint USB. I used the DVI port and an old monitor. I was able to install Mint on a flash Class 6 SDHC. I should point out to anyone wanting to use this case that it would have been better to pull the PSU and save it until the last thing that goes in. It has to come out to put in a hard drive if you’re using that bay anyway. There are connectors on the motherboard under the bay that are nearly impossible to access with a hard drive in place so installing that drive should be your penultimate operation.

    I was too excited to sleep this morning so I moved it into the entertainment center. When I hooked up the HDMI to the TV (kind of the point of the project) it would start to open Mint and then go to a terminal saying something about an abnormal termination and then it just hangs there. Then employment called me from the TV room, so I’ll have to puzzle it out tonight.

  2. avatar Tom says:

    I like Mint, but ultimately installed Windows 7. I am loving the new Media Center. I did have to make adjustments to the HDMI display. The SVGA to TV connection worked in a perfect, beautifully scaled picture. With HDMI, there was a black bar around the display. I finally found out how to fix this at this forum. My main stumbling block was not paying attention to detail. The Catalyst Control Center shows two display icons. The large one does you no good. You must right click on the small one in the lower left corner to get to the menu that lets you correct the underscan issue. I now a beautiful 1080p display on my 50″ TV. The picture is at least as good as through my TivoHD or direct from cable.

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