… I still have a heap of parts left from my old Windows PC so I am making my first Media Centre!
Well they’re not really ‘old’ parts because the cpu is actually the same model and speed as is in my beloved Mac and the ram and hard drive are pretty much the same too. So even though it is running Windows (gulp!), it should be a pretty fast media centre computer.
I’ve had many desktop cases over the years and am aware of the Mac mini, but the case is what I was initially attracted to and am really loving! Check it out…
That empty/black section above the dvd drive (or blu-ray drive if I so desire… something I’m surprised the Mac’s haven’t added yet) is actually a cool LED display. Apparently it can do fancy stuff like display the current app or window name and even music and video tracks! Sweet!!
I’ve installed the power supply, hard drive and dvd drive so far. The motherboard comes next, which should be fairly simple but I’m not so confident on connecting the many different power cables. I’ll have a read of the manuals and maybe have a crack over the weekend. I’m really eager to get it all up and running!
This is sort of what it looks like inside (note: images from Google, I’m a bit lazy to get it all out and take my own photo’s right now. I feel the same about the computer too…)
The only thing I’m really worried about relates back to the reason I bought a Mac in the first place…
My PC died nearly a year ago. I’m pretty good with PC problems, especially hardware and couldn’t for the life of me figure out which part actually failed. So I’m pretty sure either the power supply or the CPU itself carked it back then and depending on which, means I have to buy at least one new part. Either way, it still equates to a cheapish PC in the end (I paid $200 for the cool case), but I am hoping I don’t need to spend much more.
So why do all this when I have a perfectly good (correction: great!) iMac and the world’s best gaming and media console in the PS3?
Hmmm…. is, ‘I like gadgets’ a decent enough answer?
Well it’s also because the PS3 doesn’t play ALL file formats perfectly at the moment and I’d rather wear out the laser on a $60 dvd drive in the PC (or $160 blu-ray) than the drive in the PS3 for watching movies we own on disc.
But another key thing for me is the gaming side of it. No, not WoW, Halo, Gears of War, Crysis and all those other PC games that require you to buy a $700 graphics card every 6 months just to run the game on medium settings, then when a card finally comes out that can run the game in the highest settings, it’s a year later and you don’t care about the game any more and have spent over a $1000 just to play 2 games a year (yes, I hate PC gaming that much!).
I’m talking about the classic games! NES, SNES, Megadrive, N64, Gameboy, GBA and all of the classic arcade games. I’ve owned nearly every system over the years so it’s cool to be able to have them all digitally in the one place. All of those systems mentioned are pretty much at 95-100% compatibility on their respective emulators these days too (something you don’t see programmed for Macs unfortunately) plus, what you don’t get with the original consoles is the ability to upscale and output in HD or add all sorts of various filters if the original pixels and scanlines are not your thing on your flash big screen TV. Here’s a basic example…
Add the bonus features such as wireless controllers, netplay for some emu’s and even custom textures and you’ve got a pretty kick-ass system.
Oh and even Dreamcast emulation is progessing extremely well and I’ve recently been reading about decent Gamecube compatibility too. Hmm…
Ohh… and I nearly forgot, we’ve got two DDR usb mats too! Which was, now that I think of it, the first and main reason I even got thinking about putting my PC back together again!
My beautiful, other half is a Dance Dance Revolution queen from back in the day and I suck (even though I was a decent ‘real’ dancer back in ‘my’ day) but this game is so much fun! Check out Stepmania (the open-source PC version of the game) for more info!
(All of this emulation talk is OBVIOUSLY done legally and for testing purposes only…)
So to all who know how much I love my Apple iMac and have sworn to never use Windows again, at least there is a good reason for me to go back!