The Electrician's Work bench

The mindless ramblings of a savage drunk with a screwdriver.

Archive for March, 2010

Linux Media Centre PC (HTPC)

Posted by 0ldrunk on March 31, 2010

Some computer stuff again, have not had the time to play around with PIC’s lately but there is always so much to do and so little time.

How to turn a HP Pavilion Elite into a l33t HTPC (Home Theatre PC)

I recently got a HP Pavilion Elite m9080n from some one who had switch to MAC. The HP would be a good media centre PC if it was not the fact it was built by HP. The HP case design is horrible and cramped so its doomed to thermal brake down so this needs to be changed so I had a old rack mount server case to transplant to which would give it much more room and far better cooling. After I got it transplanted I tried to boot it up and install XBMC (Xbox Media Centre) which started out as Xbox hack and now has been ported to linux and currently works off Ubuntu 9.10 distro. I had quite the issue getting this going and not because of linux but the HP hardware mainly HP put cheap crap in their computers. When I first opened up the HP I was surprised to find a Asus mobo then it turned out be a model that is built just for HP and it came with a really crappy butchered BIOS and there was Nvidia Geforce 8800GTS video card, now I’m going to rant so cover your eyes if your blind stupid fanboy. Nvidia here is where the problem was with this system and why I don’t buy Nvidia any more because I’ve been burned twice now. Nvidia will let any one build hardware for them and I mean any one so even though on the outside it looks like a quality piece of hardware because of the flashy looking heat sink glued on top but when you strip that away its total crap under the hood and I mean Crap. Every now again you’ll think your getting a good deal on a Nvidia card or in this case HP being cheap and looking to crank out a few extra bucks but your getting hardware that is overpriced garbage. The Nvidia card that HP sold will only work with one default HP windows Vista 32bit driver version that it was shipped with, forget about update drivers or 64 bit or running another OS, a card that is suppose to be powerful will only work with one outdated driver build and thats it! and I’ve had this happen before, get a Nvidia card thinking you got somthing good until you go to update the drivers and you lose hardware video. So any way I got my HTPC working no problems after I pulled out the Nvidia card and tossed it in the trash since I don’t use Vista and don’t know any one who is dumb enough to use Vista, I pulled the plastic cap off that covered the onboard Intel video on the butchered HP Asus motherboard luckily XBMC has drivers for Intel, ATI and Nvidia.

Gotta say XBMC is really sweet!


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