My Media PC

So, I’ve given up ever finding a micro-ATX computer case that meets my
requirements for my media center PC. Those requirements include an
industry standard ATX power supply and two 5.25-inch and one 3.5-inch external drive slots (DVD/CD,
VFD, and floppy/multi-media cards).

You wouldn’t think a case like this would be hard to find, but it is. At least it is if I want
something with decent quality or sane price. So I broke down and bought
an Antec NSK
4400
. It is a “mini”-tower case, includes a standard ATX power supply and has more than enough
externally accessible drive slots. But, it’s bigger than I wanted and, of course,
I wasted some money by buying a micro-ATX motherboard when I could have
bought just about any other standard ATX size.

Into the case is a 7200.9 Seagate 250GB hard drive and a NEC 3550A DVD/CD burner. The NEC has a
story to it. I had intended on installing it in the bottom of three
open slots but found that it was a little too long to fit there. It
seems the back of the drive hits part of the motherboard so I have to
move the burner up to the middle slot of three. I could
have ordered another shorter drive (Benq makes one that would have been short
enough) but not wanting to waste any money, I just moved the drive up. But be
aware that some drives are longer than others and if things are tight
in your case, you may wish to check on the dimensions available for
what you want to install.

For analog TV tuners, I went for the ATI T550Pro because it has gotten good reviews. The down side
is it is relatively expensive, but at $90USD, not decidedly so. I
haven’t yet decided on which HD tuner to get. What I want is something
that has a CableCard slot built in. But, as far as I can see, none seem
to be available. What we do have is rather expensive and still beta
level when it comes to decoding Quadrature Amplitude Modulation
(QAM) digital cable signals (I don’t want to spend all this money only
to get over-the-air HD, which there is very little of out here in the
middle of the Pacific). So digital cable it has to be.

I’ll be spending my time this weekend installing this stuff and seeing if I can get everything
configured and working. I am not optimistic that it will all
JustWork(tm), but, I guess, it will make for good reading, what ever
happens.

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