People in my family have been asking me what I want for Christmas. I told my mom I wanted something that allowed me to wirelessly beam video content from my PC to my TV. I download torrents a lot, but I’m getting tired of watching stuff on my PC. Sometimes I’ll convert the video to DVD format and then burn it, but that is a hassle. After doing a little research, I couldn’t find anything that did what I want. Nothing out there supports all the codecs I want it to support, and they just don’t have the flexiblity I would like in a machine that does this. So I decided I would build a machine from the ground up.

After spending a couple of hours browsing on Newegg, I put together a wishlist with everything I would need to build this machine the way I want it:

  • Barebone PC (a case, motherboard, keyboard and mouse)
  • 3.0 GHz Pentium 4 processor
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 256MB Radeon 9600 graphics card with s-video and DVI outs
  • 250GB hard drive
  • Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS sound card
  • NEC DVD burner
  • D-Link 802.11g wireless router
  • Zonet USB 2.0 802.11g wireless adapter
  • Logitech Z-5500 5.1 speaker setup (505 watts)

All that for under $1000. A computer like that from Gateway or Dell would cost nearly twice as much. This is why I advise everybody to build their own rigs, or at least find someone who can and pay them a few bucks to do it. You’ll either get a better machine for the same money or the same machine for a lot less.

(In the interest of full disclosure, the computer I currently use is a Dell that I did not put together, but I got it for free. Never pass up free.)

This rig is somewhat overkill considering I don’t do any gaming, but I want this machine to last for some years without the requirement of upgrades. The only upgrade I can see having to do is another 1GB of RAM within the next two or three years, and by then that will probably only be about $60.

I settled for 5.1 speakers because the layout of this basement isn’t ideal for 6.1 or 7.1. Plus, with the Logitech Z-5500 setup I can do without a receiver. I can hook up both my media PC and my DVD player (as well as my Creative Zen Micro) and easily select one or the other. It also has great reviews all over the Internet. In fact, everything I picked is reviewed well.

Now my family members can pick pieces off of this list for my Christmas gifts. Anything left I can just buy myself.

I can’t wait to put together my bad ass media rig.