Machine Retrofit: Haruna

Quick post, because sleep is catching up to me, but I’ll edit this tomorrow.

You may recall in my last post about Project Hyuga and my plans to re-use most of the parts from my old machine, Nanoha, to rebuild a better media PC in the front room. The major swap was the motherboards. Previously Nanoha used a Gigabyte board that came from my old school PC back in 2009. It wasn’t a bad board, but it had a RAM limitation of 4GB total on four slots. When I put together the first media PC, Reinforce, I used all of the old school machine parts, the Core2 1.8 and GeForce 7000 series card, on an MSI board I bought on the cheap from Newegg as an open-box. It has a maximum (I think, need to check) of 8GB on two slots. Mind you we’re talking older DDR2 RAM, so not super-fast, but 8GB would be nicer than 4GB. I never sought to swap the boards before when Nanoha was on because it didn’t matter much when the new machine was pending. Otherwise, the rest of the parts are from Nanoha, using the Thermaltake case I bought to swap all of that stuff into because I was reusing my god-tier case for Hyuga. Plus the old shitty case that actually used to be on the old P4, Azmaria, nicknamed “The Hamster Cage” by my wife when we met, had non-functioning front USB ports. I need working ones for this new media PC for the vidya.

Haruna, also from Arpeggio of Blue Steel, was chosen because for this project I decided to install Windows 7 Ultimate on it instead of XBMCbuntu like before. However, I did install XBMC for Windows on it and set up a dedicated user account for XBMC to auto-launch when you logon to it. I named this instance “Kirishima” because in the manga/anime after Haruna and her ships are sank by the I-401, Haruna retains her model but Kirishima loses hers, retaining only her core, which is stuffed into a stuffed animal. Model within a model. I know, I’m fucking brilliant at this shit.

Aside from XBMC configured for use by all, I’ve also configured the box to use Media Player Classic HC with LAV and Haali codecs for media playback. XBMC often struggles with anime subs from groups other than Horriblesubs, due to their use of stylized subs. So what XBMC cannot handle, I have backup for to. I’d like to find a neat front end to use for this though.

Lastly, Steam has been installed and configured for controllers and Big Picture Mode. Currently, I have two 80GB SATA drives installed, one for the OS and programs and another for Steam games. I will probably want to bump the size of that drive up at some point, but for now I am starting with what I have on hand. I’m looking to probably try some big-screen gaming, both controller and KB+M or N52+M depending on how I set that up. Games won’t run as smooth as they do on my primary PC, but it will be for when I want to sit on the couch and not on my lousy chair. I also plan to work on putting ROM games, emulators, and MAME games in, for expanded gaming. This will likely require a larger drive, either a 500GB or a 1TB. I may buy a 2TB drive for Hyuga soon, so I might use one of the 1TB from there to replace the 80GB and divide it up for Steam and other games.

Pending projects for this box may also include a auto-downloading solution for grabbing anime and TV shows. This kind of depends on if I want to expand this box’s ability to do more things, like become a pseudo-file server or media storage. At this point though, a faster machine might be prudent. We’ll see how this rolls for now.

More later.

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