After a recent conversation with a certain Austrian Otaku about Home Theater stuffs, I decided it was about time to do an update of what I’m using at home. Since my last overview, I’ve made a couple changes and upgrades through the house. Some have already been talked about (like the TV upgrade) but others haven’t. Here we go…
The biggest change of late has been that I’ve finally retired Belldandy from service. After nearly 7 years of duties ranging from gaming machine to media PC to home server, it was time for her to be sent to greener pastures. The day I parted with her was pretty emotional, though I know someone will put her to good use.
In her place, I welcome Tsukasa into my home network as the bedroom HTPC. Sporting the same case used by Konata, her beginnings were conceived when I bought an Athlon x2 7750BE from someone at the office for $20.
In addition to adding Tsukasa, I’d also decided to mount the TV to the wall and add an XBOX360 to the bedroom. The wall mount allowed me a bit extra space on the dresser to put things and generally tidy things up. I also have a wire management plate, however I’ve yet to install that and neaten things up.
I think the next step here will be to drop some CAT 5e to the bedroom. Currently, the XBOX is not connected to the network (PC is 802.11n), but I’m thinking it will be cheaper and better in the long run to have it hard wired.
On the Windows Home Server front, Kagami got a slight upgrade in drive space, now sporting 3 1.5TB hard drives and 1 750GB drive. At this point, I’ll probably wait for the 2TB drives to come down in price before adding any more.
Microsoft had also released Power Pack 3 for Windows Home Server. This update introduces a couple nice new features, some of which were previously handled by 3rd party add-ins.
Windows Home Server Power Pack 3 improves the Windows Home Server experience with Windows 7 and Windows Media Center by providing the following features: Backup and restore of computers running Windows 7, Windows 7 Libraries integration, enhancements for Windows Media Center, and better support for netbook computers.
I particularly like the integration with recorded TV, as Media Center will now automatically move recordings over to the Home Server, making it easier for all PCs in the house to access them. The integration of the console into Media Center is nice as well, however it isn’t a feature I use much.
So to take stock, here’s what I have on my home network…
|Chikane||Intel C2Quad Q6600, 2.4 GHz||8GB||300GB WD Velociraptor, 750GB SpinPoint F1||Primary|
|Kagami||Intel Pentium E2180, 2.0 GHz||2GB||5.25TB (4 drives)||Home Server|
|Konata||AMD Athlon x2 4850e, 2.5GHz||2GB||36GB WD Raptor||HTPC, BD/HD-DVD player|
|Tsukasa||AMD Athlon x2 7750BE, 2.7GHz||2GB||750GB SpintPoint F1||HTPC, BD player|
|Freya||Intel Atom N270, 1.6GHz||2GB||250GB||Netbook|
Everything (with the exception of Kagami) is running some flavor of Windows 7 (either Ultimate or Home Premium). For media integration, I’m also using Media Browser and Arcsoft’s Total Media 3 Platinum. For anyone looking to use a Windows-based PC as a Blu-Ray player, I’d highly recommend paying for TMT3. Compared to PowerDVD (which is typically bundled with drives), it is a much better product and also features decent integration with Windows Media Center. It also comes with the SimHD plugin, which does a decent job upscaling standard definition DVDs.