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Thread: Build a MCE PC - help me fill in the blanks!

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    Build a MCE PC - help me fill in the blanks!

    Howdy - i've decided to build a Media Centre 2005 (WinXP) PC after seeing one in action last weekend..

    Here's what i've got so far:

    - MSI nForce 4 MS-7125 Std (skt939) PCI-E Motherboard (25 quid new)
    - 512mb of DDR RAM (freebie)
    - 64MB PCI-E NVIDIA NVS280 VGA (ULGA) (had this lying around might need to change?) (freebie)
    - Athlon 64 3700+ (25 quid new)
    - 550Watt el-cheapo PSU (18 quid new) [yes it will probably burn down my house]

    Here's what I think I need:

    - A case - i'd like a HTPC style case but i don't want to spend buttloads on it (look at my other costs!). I don't need fancy-pants displays but I would like a box to fix the motherboard and sit under the telly on my (large) AV rack. Quiet would be a good thing..
    - TV tuners - this is the one confusing me (a lot). I want to be able to record at least 2 channels from freeview (digital). I don't think I need MPEG encoding therefore? I'd like the cards to work with Vista MC too if possible. Can I have more than 2 channel recording? Dual tuner card or two single tuner cards?
    - A MCE remote/reciever (suggestions?).

    And now to throw a real spanner into the works - I have a SD TV, it's a CRT and it only has RGB Scart or component input.. I do plan to get a new telly (HD LCD) later on though. I can imagine it's really good fun trying to get the telly bit setup with my current set..

    Any help appreciated - i've never built a MCE PC before
    Last edited by dangel; 17-04-2007 at 01:52 PM.
    System 001: Maximus VII Formula, 4790k i7, RTX 2080ti FE (incoming), 16GIG Corsair Vengence DDR3 RAM CL9, Corsair HX1000, ROG SWIFT PG278Q , SSDs, Antec 1200 case, All watercooled. [main]
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    System 003: AsRock MB, APU, 8 GIG Corsair, Silverstone HTPC case, stock cooler, GT220 1gbDDR3, WD Green 3TB, Kingston 40gb SSD, MCE Remote, Panasonic 50" LCD (87BDX) via HDMI Windows 8.1.1 (32) [media centre]
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    System 006: Dell Optiplex 9010, i7, 8gb, 128gb Samsung 830 x 2 (boot and VM drive), 1TB WD HDD, ATI something, Windows 8.1.1 x64 RTM [work]


  2. #2
    Lovely chap dangel's Avatar
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    Oh yes - I forgot - i've got a Yamaha AV amp - can I feed surround into that is some useful way? Do I need a soundcard that does optical/coax digital out (and encodes?)? Or will I get Pro logic via stereo as per usual?
    Last edited by dangel; 17-04-2007 at 01:55 PM.
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  3. #3
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    Case - can't think of ant htpc style cases that are cheap, the akasa zen is a good budget case though.

    TV Tuners - something like the terratec cinergy card would do. It takes a freeview signal and splits it in 2 allowing you to watch 1 channel and record another.

    MCE Receiver - you don't really get better than the microsoft one. It's ~£20 from scan and comes with receiver.


    What outputs does your gfx card have?

  4. #4
    Lovely chap dangel's Avatar
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    Case - zen looks alright actually - seems darn good for the money and I could always sling it behind the TV anyway.. Nice.

    I want to be able to record 2 channels whist watching a pre-recorded show.

    I do like the MS remote.. well laid out.

    Gfx - here's the problem -it's got a single high density connector with an adaptor cable that splits it into 2 x vga. This isn't going to be useful so I probably need a new VGA card..

    Should I worry about auto-sleep/wake for the PC (sleep when idle, wake when needing to record) etc?
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    Quote Originally Posted by dangel View Post
    I want to be able to record 2 channels whist watching a pre-recorded show.
    I'd imagine you'd be able to do that. The card has two separate tuners on it.

    Quote Originally Posted by dangel View Post
    Gfx - here's the problem -it's got a single high density connector with an adaptor cable that splits it into 2 x vga. This isn't going to be useful so I probably need a new VGA card..
    Yeah I'd say so tbh, if you only have an SD TV though all you need is something cheap with a tv out. Shouldn't be too hard to find, I'm sure someone will have one lying around that they could give you.

    Quote Originally Posted by dangel View Post
    Should I worry about auto-sleep/wake for the PC (sleep when idle, wake when needing to record) etc?
    Not too sure tbh, my media centre used to wake up from suspend to record things. I can't remember configuring anything for it though.

  6. #6
    Lovely chap dangel's Avatar
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    Cool - many thanks for that!

    Not really sure how i'll handle output to my SDTV (widescreen) yet - it has RGB Scart, component and possibly S-Video inputs. It'll be interesting to see if I can get anything near useful Picture Quality with it. My XBOX (running XBMC) works very well tho (via Scart).. Life would be easier if I could sort a HDTV out!

    I think this TV card looks the biz:

    Hauppauge WinTV Nova-T 500 Dual digital DVB-T PCI TV Tuner card (http://www.ebuyer.com/customer/produ...uct_uid=113946)
    System 001: Maximus VII Formula, 4790k i7, RTX 2080ti FE (incoming), 16GIG Corsair Vengence DDR3 RAM CL9, Corsair HX1000, ROG SWIFT PG278Q , SSDs, Antec 1200 case, All watercooled. [main]
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  7. #7
    A. Nother
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    Quote Originally Posted by dangel View Post
    I want to be able to record 2 channels whist watching a pre-recorded show.

    I do like the MS remote.. well laid out. The Hauppauge Win TV Nova-T 500 MCE has dual tuners and comes with the Ms remote. Ive used it in both MCE 2005 and Vista MC with no problems, comes at £65 on scan but its worth it.

    Gfx - here's the problem -it's got a single high density connector with an adaptor cable that splits it into 2 x vga. This isn't going to be useful so I probably need a new VGA card.. Id say so, as most cards output to HDTV over the S-video port for when you upgrade but realy nothing special is needed

    Should I worry about auto-sleep/wake for the PC (sleep when idle, wake when needing to record) etc? Not sure
    hope it all goes well, i think ill be doing something similar in the near future

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    Quote Originally Posted by dangel View Post
    Cool - many thanks for that!

    Not really sure how i'll handle output to my SDTV (widescreen) yet - it has RGB Scart, component and possibly S-Video inputs. It'll be interesting to see if I can get anything near useful Picture Quality with it. My XBOX (running XBMC) works very well tho (via Scart).. Life would be easier if I could sort a HDTV out!

    I think this TV card looks the biz:

    Hauppauge WinTV Nova-T 500 Dual digital DVB-T PCI TV Tuner card (http://www.ebuyer.com/customer/produ...uct_uid=113946)


    ha! thats what i get for not reloading the page before i reply

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    Yeah that card looks pretty good.

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    I've been looking at these for a HTPC im thinking of building so ill b interested to no what people think and opinions from any1 that owns one?

    Quote Originally Posted by dangel View Post

    Hauppauge WinTV Nova-T 500 Dual digital DVB-T PCI TV Tuner card (http://www.ebuyer.com/customer/produ...uct_uid=113946)

  11. #11
    Lovely chap dangel's Avatar
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    What's really throwing me atm is which darn video card to get - althought my panasonic PD50 telly supports component I don't think it likes >480p..

    Apparently it has 833lines believe it or not.. Still, i'm not sure which video card to get which has component out to try it with..
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    Component will give you a picture far superior to any of the other input modes that TV supports.

    I believe ATI have the biggest choice of cards that support component.
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  13. #13
    Lovely chap dangel's Avatar
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    Yeah - I thought pretty much the same thing (on quality) - any suggestions for cards???

    (thanks!)
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  14. #14
    I've got a bad feeling about this
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    Well I had my htpc connected from s-video to scart and it looked pretty good. The main thing that let mine down was the composite connection that I used from my sky box to my tv card.

    I'd honestly say pretty much any card with a tv out would do you just now. Then you could upgrade to one with an hdmi port when you get a hdtv.

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    A. Nother
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    Quote Originally Posted by doddsy View Post
    ...you could upgrade to one with an hdmi port when you get a hdtv.
    iv been looking for something with a hdmi port on it to little success, the only that ive seen is a 7300GT with dvi/hdmi/s-video. although this would do the job i was thinking there must be something else out there atm...

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    Lovely chap dangel's Avatar
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    • dangel's system
      • Motherboard:
      • See My Sig
      • CPU:
      • See My Sig
      • Memory:
      • See My Sig
      • Storage:
      • See My Sig
      • Graphics card(s):
      • See My Sig
      • PSU:
      • See My Sig
      • Case:
      • See My Sig
      • Operating System:
      • Windows 10
      • Monitor(s):
      • See My Sig
      • Internet:
      • 60mbit Sky LLU
    I came across this - http://www.mediapc.tv/?gclid=CKnf4tORyosCFRMOZwodkBtVAw - hdmi equipped card if that's any good to you


    This also looks rather interesting (and is well regarded) - http://www.crescendo-systems.com/transcoder.html (the TCP2200) which does look as though it will convert any VGA signal into component without stuffing it up.. Could be an answer to my own problem.
    Last edited by dangel; 18-04-2007 at 01:40 PM.
    System 001: Maximus VII Formula, 4790k i7, RTX 2080ti FE (incoming), 16GIG Corsair Vengence DDR3 RAM CL9, Corsair HX1000, ROG SWIFT PG278Q , SSDs, Antec 1200 case, All watercooled. [main]
    System 002: A8 3850 APU, ASUS uATX FM1A75 MB, 4GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3, Corsair psu, OCZ Agility 3, 1TB F3, Dell 2001FP 20" LCD, £7's worth of 5.1 speakers (they rock) Windows 7 x64[wife/server]
    System 003: AsRock MB, APU, 8 GIG Corsair, Silverstone HTPC case, stock cooler, GT220 1gbDDR3, WD Green 3TB, Kingston 40gb SSD, MCE Remote, Panasonic 50" LCD (87BDX) via HDMI Windows 8.1.1 (32) [media centre]
    System 004: Asus UL50AT Intel Core 2 Duo,4GB, Intel Gen 2 80GB SSD, Win 8.1.1 x64 [no justification]
    System 005: HP Proliant N40L Microserver, 4x2TB drives, fan mod, Pico PSU mod, Win7 x86 [file server]
    System 006: Dell Optiplex 9010, i7, 8gb, 128gb Samsung 830 x 2 (boot and VM drive), 1TB WD HDD, ATI something, Windows 8.1.1 x64 RTM [work]


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