IntroductionIntroductionSo, you have the big 1080p Hi-Def TV, the awesome surround system and a DVD and music collection that puts HMV to shame.You could throw together some parts in a fancy case and make yourself a home theatre PC, but that's so 2008. Instead, let's spruce it up by getting your HTPC to copy your precious polycarbonates to a whopping big disk!With the introduction of 1TB+ HDDs over the last couple of years, the prices have undergone the usual jostling and competitive dropping and are now in the region of extremely affordable; so there's no excuse not to own one.The good folks at Western Digital have very kindly supplied a 1TB Green Edition drive for article and the specs alone are impressive for our storage needs.
Big things in small packagesBig things in small packagesI'm a fan of the small setups and that's why I've opted to use J&W's mini-ITX motherboard; a small system that packs the punch of an onboard AMD 780 chipset to give you the HD buzz through the onboard HDMI port.Add to that a dual core AMD rated to 2.5GHz per a core and a measly 45Watt power rating and this makes for an ideal low noise, cool running system. Top that all off with 4GB of Kingston DDR2-800 in those dinky SO-DIMM sockets and HDD thrashing is brought to a minimum.To make this bad boy look classy, we shoe horned it into a Silverstone SG05 mini-ITX case. A front mounted 120mm intake fan helps keep internal components cool.
300 watts is all you need300 watts is all you needAn included 300 watt power supply will power just about anything you can throw at this case.Inside the case there is plenty of room for an ITX board with a moderately slim heatsink/fan as well as room to shove excess cabling out of the way.
Rip my heart outRip my heart outNow, assuming you have knocked together a system of similar or better specification, let's turn it into a ripping machine!Breakout your favourite copy of Windows Vista 32-bit and load it up (Try it with 64-bit, but I cannot guarantee it will work). I'm not going to hold your hand all the way through the Windows install; you should know how to do this already. If not, find someone who does and pay them in tea and biccies to do it for you.Once Vista is installed, keep it clean and simple by installing only the necessary junk; wireless drivers and anti-virus (disable daily scanning) and make sure you have Windows Media Player 11, too.First we are going to get WMP11 to rip our music CDs automatically on input. So open up WMP and in library view right click in the bottom left hand section of the window.
Stack'em up and back'em upStack'em up and back'em upTo rip a DVD we will be using a nice piece of free software that will essentially create a backup of the essential folders on a DVD.Note: It will NOT re-encode the DVD into DivX or MP4 formats! This is a pure backup.this piece of software; it's called DVD Shrink. Once you have it installed, it's time to tweak the settings. Open up the program and click on Edit > Preferences...Now, you can choose to compress the video to a single writable DVD at 4.7GB or you can go for near perfect quality and sacrifice up to 9GB per a movie, which works out to over a hundred movies at near perfect quality for this hard drive.That is the only setting worth bothering with here, so you can click ok or go and explore the others at your own risk.Done tweaking? Good. Grab a DVD and load it in. Once the disc has been recognised, you can click Open Disc.
One click is all it takesOne click is all it takesOk, now it's time to really tweak something. We're going use a pre-written script program to automate the whole thing into one-click backups.For this you will need a very sexy tool called DVD Rip. What this does is tweak a small script based in an executable that will send all the commands required to DVD Shrink to rip a DVD to your specified location.Once you have it downloaded, put it somewhere you can easily get at it, on your desktop or a shortcut to it in your start menu or task bar. The first time you run it you will be asked to configure the location you want and a few other variables.DVD Shrink- DVD Rip.
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