Hey guys! okay, SO! I'm an 18 year old who's going off to college next year, for starters--I want to build a Linux MCE box to use as a media center and as a file server for my dorm room. I have a Macbook Pro and I'm sure my roommate will have some sort of laptop, either Windows or Mac, so ideally, I'd like the file server to be accessable by either. After reading through these forums and the Wiki, I've figured out a hybrid will probably be the best option--Here's what I'd like the setup to be:
It's diagrammed so that the branches go above and below whatever components they connect to. ---MBP/Laptop
---Network security camera
Wired College Network-----(Cat5)----LMCE Box----(Cat5)----Network Switch
-----5.1 Surround Receiver
-----Room lights, discoball (yeah, I have one...) etc.
The rules of the college network are that no wireless boxes can be installed--that means I cant use wifi for anything, but bluetooth is an option for a remote control (I have an old Dell Axim I'd like to use as the universal remote) as is RF or IR. Also I was wondering about a gyro remote and what the pros and cons of that are.
I'm buying all of the components to this system new ranging from motherboard, processor, hard drive(s), a DVD drive, a case (I might build one out of wood?), the network switch, to the AV receiver and speaker system, insteon boxes, HDTV, etc. Basically everything. I'm looking to build the hybrid for between 250 and 500 dollars, get a sound system for about 350, and the TV for 200-300. Total system cost should definitely stay under 1000 or so. Also, all functionality doesnt need to be instantly avaliable--i.e. I might not get an insteon system right away or might add more network storage later on. Ideally, I'd like it to be user-friendly enough that any relatively competent person can use it.
Another aspect of the system I would like is that I'd like to use the LMCE box as a backup computer in case my laptop fails. I'd like the desktop to be easily accessible if possible (I dont know how to do that). It would also be nice if I could store my iTunes library on it, but I'm really not sure how to do that. It will also serve as a backup unit for my computer with two older 40 gig drives I'd like to install in it.
If you guys can give me any and all advice--What components to use, what additional software to use, how many cores my processor should have, how much RAM, what video card, etc. that would be AMAZING! I have all summer to work on this project--next september is when I need it to be functional and running.
If you can help me please do!
Thanks SO MUCH!
P.S. As far as my experience goes--I have worked with windows machines for most of my life, inside and out, so I'm confident I can put together any components (I've built machines before). I've been using a mac notebook for 2+ years so I know the mac environment quite well also. When it comes to linux though, I'm really quite a newbie.