For the last five years or so, I haven’t had cable, and instead use a computer (AKA HTPC) to stream everything off of the internet. I use a graphics card with no fan, which has generally worked well for me, but some streaming services* seem to cause the CPU to heat up, causing my main cooling fan to go crazy.
I’m not sure if it’s because it was getting old, but the fan that I had sounded like a jet engine. After doing a little research, I found out that I needed an 80mm fan. This is apparently normally measured by what the height and width of the square fan box is, but my fan was round for whatever reason. You can also infer this width by the distance between the holes. There is a handy chart here, so I made my best guess after taking the measurements.
After looking at reviews, I finally settled on this “ARCTIC F8 PWM PST” fan (Amazon) for under $8 as of this writing. It is seriously the most Read more »
In previous articles I’ve both talked about my HTPC setup and how I mounted a Roku LT player on another TV. The following is a breakdown of the advantages and disadvantages of each streaming device. If you’re considering “cutting the cord” as I did, you may find this useful.
In the same order as the above comparison table, here’s a breakdown of what I like and dislike about both:
- Upfront Cost – In this department the Roku LT has a definite advantage. One will most likely spend $300 + on a new HTPC, while the Roku LT comes in at a paltry $49.99. Advantage: Roku
- Monthly Cost – Although there is no fee associated with the Roku directly, if you want to watch almost anything worthwhile, you have to pay for it. Standard Hulu as well as ESPN3 are available on your computer without cost, even if you probably want to get Netflix and/or Hulu Plus anyway. Advantage: HTPC
- Size – There’s really no comparison here. The Roku player at 3.3 x 3.3 x .9 inches is tiny. Even the smallest PCs are much bigger. Advantage: Roku
- Interface – This is a tough call. On the one hand, Read more »
Here’s the specs and comparison of my old and new HTPC. After this I’ll list the rest of my setup.
Old HTPC: Compac Presario model SR1834NX (full specs). This computer had an AMD athalon 64 Processor and an aftermarket video card.
New HTPC: Acer model AX1420G-U5832. This computer features an AMD Athalon II x4 quad core processor running at 3.1 GHz. It also has a 1terabyte HDD and 4 Gigs of RAM.
Comparison: With a fresh Windows XP install and aftemarket video card, the original Compac PC performed well considering it’s age (over five years old). However, Read more »