Chrome’s Setup

Hi, my name is Chromium and I’m a Gadget Whore.  I was asked earlier today how many computers I have at home and I realized that not many of you have had the chance to see or know my setup.  So here’s a breakdown of my current systems and a brief explanation of their purpose.  <Update – I have added pics!> This is the side view of my wife and I’s work stations.

The backbone of my system is an HP MediaSmart EX 485 server with 3 1.5TB drives in addition to the 750GB drive built in.  This is running Windows Home Server.  This serves up all of my Video/Movies, Music, Photos, eBooks, Comic Books & ROMs.  The important things are duplicated using the built in capabilities of WHS.  WHS also backs up all of the computers on the network that need it over the network automatically.  I chose the HP over a custom build of WHS due to it’s added plugins and Mac Time Machine support.  I can stream music to my iPhone over 3G using the HP app and I can stream video if I’m on Wifi.

My main machine is a Core i7 920 on an Asus P6T Deluxe OC Edition motherboard running 6 GB of RAM.  The main Windows drive is a 64 GB SSD, the gaming drive is a WD Raptor, and I have a 1TB and a 1.5TB set of data drives.  It’s using a Diamond ATI Radeon 4890 with a GB of RAM.  I’ve also got a Blu-Ray/DVD burner all in an Antec 900 case.  It’s connected to dual 28″ I-Inc monitors over DVI.

The second monitor is running through an HDMI switch which can select between the PC, the home theater’s main video feed and a FyreTV. This machine is my main gaming machine and it also serves as a staging server for all of my newsgroup downloads.

I also have a Dell Mini 9 with a 64 GB SSD, Bluetooth & Webcam running OS X.  I use this for messing around with Mac software and also as a portable media player running Boxee.  I’m constantly refining what this machine does though. I also connect remotely over my new Verizon Mifi and I can’t say enough about it.

My wife also has a Dell Mini 9 also running OS X.  She has a desktop machine as well also running dual 24″ Acer monitors from which she plays WoW and does general web browsing stuff.

My daughter has a desktop machine which defaults into XBMC to play kids appropriate videos.  I have to manually start her into her software/games, but I am looking at several front ends. It sits next to the Berkline theater chairs which I got a really decent deal on at Costco. It’s on an antique shoe container made by Goodyear which I have had since childhood as a toy box.  Here is another view of her hand painted chair and ginormous Crayola keyboard.

My mom also has a netbook running Windows which she does who knows what on, and I also have an additional PC by the theater chairs which can be used to play MAME roms or whatever else.  I honestly don’t use that machine, it was just a proof of concept.

The home theater has a PS3, an X-Box 360, a Wii, an HD DVR and an upscaling DVD player which I realize is redundant, but it uses a lot less power than the PS3 and is a lot quieter than the 360.  The whole system is controlled by a Harmony 880 and this includes the overhead lights using an IR light switch and also a wall mounted A/C unit for extra cooling.  This all feeds into a 50″ Panasonic Plasma which can do up to 1080p.  I have an SVS sub, Boston Acoustic mains and Cambridge SoundWorks center and surrounds.  The receiver is a Kenwood but I’m considering upgrading for something which supports HDMI.  Currently the high def audio is all optical.

I pay for business class cable internet which gets me 7 Megabits/sec down and 2 Mb/sec up.  This is the fastest possible connection in my area.  This goes through a Netgear Wireless N router into a Dell Gigabit Switch.  The Master Bedroom has a Linksys Wireless G router running DD-WRT in bridge mode connected to another 360, an HD DVR and an upscaling DVD player all out through a noname 42″ 1080p LCD I got on Black Friday.

Here is a close up of some of my Transformers collection.

I am still considering very highly the implementation of a home theater PC.  I am anxiously awaiting the announcement of an Apple tablet which could possibly fill this void.  I currently serve all movies to the theater through the 360 off of a share on the WHS.  The PS3 can also do it, but it consumes more power which in turn makes the room hotter, so I don’t do that as often.  I very much like the interface of XBMC and am looking for something similar for the Home Theater,  I think it enhances the appeal of having your movies on a server a thousand fold.

That’s the rundown with pics.  I hope you enjoyed your tour.

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