Suggestions for MP3 & DVD box



Student Scumbag
I have the following part-system sitting around, and I'm thinking of moving it into my bedroom (my main box is in my converted loft, lest you wonder) for the purpose of playing MP3s and DVDs:

AMD K6-2 500
VIA Apollo-based mini-ATX mobo
128mb SDRAM
S3 Trio 2x AGP
6 GB Fujitsu HDD
4 GB Fujitsy HDD
Dodgy midi tower in beige :rolleyes:

No display, no USB ( i think the header is fried) and no CD-ROM drive - it's in my machine along with my CDRW.

Suggestions for upgrading as cheaply as possible! No SB-Live's either please; the mobo has the annoying hissing and crackling bug.

As for display, a TV is probably my best bet, wouldn't you say?

See what you think,


Super Moderator
I have a similar machine which I'm going to use as a router, and a DVD box.

similar specs -

128Mb RAM
Voodoo3 3500 (tv-out)
3Gb hard drive
Aureal Monster Sound card.
DVD drive

Most of the hardware is woefully outdated (sound card in particular), so I'm having to run Win98se on it, which is fine for the purpose of the box - it seems happy with 2k, but I don't have 2k sound drivers...

Anyway, I reckon you should buy a new ATi vid card with TV-out (Radeon 7000's are incredibly cheap). If you can't stretch to the Radeon, a Rage128 should suffice, just make sure it has tv-out.

Not sure about soundcards...maybe a cheap 5.1 card would be good - you could buy the 5.1 speaker setup at a later date if you wanted to.

...and of course a DVD drive.

Size of the HD is irrelavent, and the 128mb RAM should be enough on a Win98 box.

If you find the K6-2 too slow, you could ditch the board and Chip, and pick up a microATX and Duron or something. I'd personally try the setup with just a new vid card, then get the sound card later, just in case you have to pick up a new board.


i've got a similar machine that I use for mp3 playing, dvd, vcd in the den/shed/games room

Its networked to the main machine to share mp3 files and has a 2gb harddrive.
500mhz k62 with huge passively cooled heatsink
64mb ram
5x? slot load dvd
rage128 vo
huge old soundblaster 16 plug and play with dsp
no floppy or keyboard, just a mouse

plays dvd fine on a tv screen - which doubles as monitor, also used for internet via shared connection through network
the sound quality is OK, dvd playback took a little tweaking to get the best out of the rage card using rtweaker from and dvd genie

so if you want it all done as cheaply as possible then an ati rage128 or rage128 pro for about £20, a network card to connect to the other machine and dvd drive would provide you with everything you need. If you need a new sound card get a soundblaster 4.1 or 5.1 for £20 or so, alternatively a phillips prehaps but no point in spending bucket loads as the rest of the machine would be far behind it in specs!

only other thing might be to invest in decent cooling to eliminate fan noise


Super Moderator
hey weebol, what OS are you using? I'm on Win98se, it seems fine, except the codec I'm using for divx' crashes the machine a lot, do you have any suggestions?


Computer Newbie
k62-500 is ok for DVD, as long as you use a hardware decoder. the radeon/rage video cards mentioned above are good for that. some even have remote controls so you dont need mouse/keyboard input.

and unless you are using a decent component stereo for audio output, theres no need to go overboard on a sound card either. you can run L/R channels out to the TV at the very least.

a TV will be cheaper than a monitor, and is perfectly fine for DVD output. but remember TV resolution is poor and regular windows apps will be difficult to read. dont expect to do web browsing or office applications on a tv output.


I'm using win98 lite - which is win98 with a shareware utility to strip out all the rubbish and making it a bit nippier especially since I don't use office, embeded internet explorer yada yada

The ati rage cards are excellant for dvd with hardware acceleration and superb picture quality - floors most cheapo dvd players. Recommend using the Ati dvd player tho version 3 or 4, its much better with old systems, makes full use of the cards features and better quality picture than powerdvd 3.x (dunno about 4, tend to stick to older versions for this machine) and dvdgenie has a few tricks to ease the load + make playing other region dvd's a doodle.

nb the machine was originally a 350 o/c'd to 400 and was fine then too so a 500 will have a reasonable amount of grunt left over after dvd. The bigger problem is the refresh rate of a tv being 50Hz which slows down the card considerably compared with the normal 85Hz and can cause occansional jerkiness. My sony tv can be forced to run at 60Hz which eliminates this pretty much altogether.

Browsing is pretty poor but doable, I only really use it for internet radio thro winamp... another very good reason for having it networked.

I'd buy a decent case too, ideally as small as possible to conceal the system behind, under or in the tv(cabinet)! and it only needs a relatively low (200) watt powersupply. I have mine with a super silent fan in it and no fan on the psu but a hefty copper psu and two large holes in the top of the case for extra cooling. not that it needs it, the cpu's never under full load.

Thinking about investing in an iatx motherboard and case as next project or moving the components I have into an old hifi case but other projects prevail.


Student Scumbag
Thanks for all the suggestions =) I have a few more ideas now, and I'll see if I can come up with something in the next month or so.

And yes, those miniITX systems look extremely tasty.