Building a media center out of my friends’ largesse

My computer has been broken for quite some time,  crashing randomly, especially when under load due to graphic processing.   It had originally looked like the video card was overheating.  Swapped with a spare card of Jon’s to no avail.  Checked a bunch of other things, and replaced the power supply, still no luck.

Turns out it was bad RAM.

Anyways, the point I suppose is that many friends donated parts to make a spare computer, and I now have a bunch of leftover parts. Since my modded Xbox finally died a couple months ago, why not make an XMBC box?

I went with a Core 2 Duo board from Jon, and an 80GB HDD from Ezra’s old computer.  It needed DDR2 RAM and I didn’t have any, but after hitting some stores I found a 1GB stick at Office Max for $20 (roughly the Newegg price)

I downloaded the XBMC ISO and installed.

The first thing I’d point out is that installing XBMC Live (or really any version of Linux) without the internet is NOT recommended.   The install program couldn’t configure my ethernet card without being attached to the network.  And if it was attached to the network it would try to connect to the apt repositories and never time out. 

Next bit of advice: before installing, have your box connected exactly the way you want it.   My card has a TV out that I wanted to use (as I still have a rather old SD TV)  I had originally installed XBMC hooked to a monitor and then when hooked to the TV, the TV out wasn’t enabled.   When I reinstalled, the installer set the TV out as the output to use.

The other hurdle was that I couldn’t get the audio to work.   Tried a bunch of things, but long story short is that the audio device was disabled in the BIOS, so make sure to check that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *