Home-made PVR


posted 10/10/2002 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
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Popping it open, I saw that it had a 200W ATX power supply. I would’ve liked to change it with one of my spare 300W ones but the case didn’t allow for it to fit. So, I stuck with the 200W and hoped for the best.

What’s nice about the Gateway case was the CD-Rom and floppy drive were in a removable cage that was held on by two screws. The hard drive was also in a cage that was also easily removed by unscrewing a few screws. Pulling the two out, I had easy access to all the motherboard screws.

Like I said, the beige color had to go so I went out to Home Depot to pick up a $3 can of satin black spray paint. The side panels, front panel, and top of the case came off easily. There was one screw holding the power button in place and the LED tubes were easily snapped out. After taking the two out of the front panel, I placed all the pieces on the ground and proceeded to spray paint it black.

Most software I see that does real time encoding suggests at least a 700Mhz processor. With AMD processors dropping in prices, I snatched up a good ole Duron 1.2Ghz for $45. The Duron 1.2Ghz should provide more than enough power to record shows, play some ole MAME games, and play MP3’s. If I need more power, I can pick up an Athlon XP 1600+ for a very cheap price of $56 at this time of writing. The Duron I had from a few months ago so I decided to stick with it rather than upgrade the CPU. Attached to it is a Dragon Orb 3, which I picked up from a local computer show for $25. The motherboard is the ECS K7S5A featuring the SIS chipset and allows for both DDR and SDRAM. Given volatile ram prices, I chose the motherboard with both slots just so that I can get the cheapest ram available. Being a PVR and not a game machine, I didn’t need the fastest motherboard or ram out there but just something stable. I’ve had the K7S5A as my main board for a few months and it ran really well. My local Microcenter had a sale on PC133 ram at $40 for a 256 meg stick so rather than go through online and maybe save a few bucks I decided to just pony up the dough for the memory. Oh the motherboard was $55.

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