The Building of a HTPC – Part 2 – The Build

The build itself was an un-dramatic affair.

The processor slid into the socket and the heat sink and fan was placed over it making sure the slightly sticky conductive pad supplied was seated snugly between the two. Then the heat sink was clipped into place.

Next the memory was slotted into place and the board was placed into the case so I could find where to place the tiny riser bolts needed to secure it in place.

The little brass risers came from a bag of assorted screws and bolts that came with the case, far more than I’d actually need for the build and a welcome sight.

So after the back plate through which the boards’ rear connections could be accessed was popped into the open space at the cases rear the board itself was screwed onto the risers. This was over on the right hand side of the case, over on the left the power unit was slid in, leaving a comfortable three or four inch between board and power unit.

The hard drive was put in place and the Blu-ray drive followed. Then everything was cabled up, 24 pin and 4 pin connectors to the motherboard, and SATA power to the drive and HDD. Next the SATA data cables were put in for both drives and the top was popped back on the finished machine.

It was genuinely that simple, the whole process probably took less to accomplish than that took you to read.

What came next took considerably longer.

From a previous build, one I had cannibalised for the two drives, I had a copy of Windows 7 Professional that I installed on the small 340Gb hard rive I’d selected for my main drive.

I booted the machine up and started to install the various drivers and programs I would need, and suddenly things took a turn for the worse.

I did not know this at the time, though I should have guessed, but the 340 GB drive was faulty and though the installation of Windows should have picked this up it didn’t.

No matter what I did drivers were corrupted and programs took some effort to run. I reinstalled, I updated, I installed drives, and then the machine refused to boot and eventually insisted on auto-repairing… Then I turned full circle and had to reinstall once more.

This continued for the rest of the day, until at something like 3:00 in the morning I decided that enough was enough…

I went to bed.

The next morning I decided I’d buy a new drive and after some thought I took this as an opportunity to try out a Solid State Drive for the first time.

As quickly as things had turned bad they turned good again.

Solid State Drives (otherwise known as SSD’s) are essentially just large flash drives, memory sticks larger than average and designed to slot in where a normal laptop sized hard drive would go.

Installation of this was simplicity itself.

And reinstallation of the operating system, drivers and programs was little more than a chore, and certainly not the nightmare the previous night had been.

Using a mouse and keyboard from an old computer (the same one I had cannibalised for the drives) I updated the new computer, and downloaded the main programs I would need. These would be PowerDVD, for the Blu-ray, and KODI (previously known as XBMC) that would act as the main media library and player.

On a whim I also downloaded STEAM and set up a user account on it, not because I am a natural game player but rather because I have an interest in the forums STEAM uses and the politics on game playing they often contain.

The next step of the process would be the biggest, the hardware worked and the programs necessary to do what I wanted were installed but next I would have to create a database of the movies and music I had on various drives and configure the computer to properly display this media in the best way possible.

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