View Poll Results: How would you like your Media Center, Sir?

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  • Integrated graphics are fine for me, I only want to watch TV

    5 23.81%
  • Hell, I want to play CS:Source too, stick an X600 in there

    8 38.10%
  • I wouldn't buy a Media Center PC

    8 38.10%
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Thread: Media Center - integrated or discrete?

  1. #1
    MV R&D
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    Media Center - integrated or discrete?

    Hi guys,

    We're currently planning our MV Media Center product range. We're split on whether to offer discrete graphics (add in boards, 6800GT etc) or integrated graphics on the motherboard. Either way, we'll have digital TV option in there as well as plain old analogue.

    I know that integrated doesn't have a good rep but remember when you answer the poll that we are designing these systems to be plugged into TV so any games you play would only need to be run at 640 by 480 'cos that's the res of your TV. Integrated is also a whole lot cheaper!

    Kind regards,
    Alasdair

  2. #2
    Senior Member skuzgib's Avatar
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    I'd say intergrated coz I have a PC for playing games on already, as will most of the people on this forum.

    Probably best to give customers the option

  3. #3
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    If use the recent motherboard chipsets like rs480 integreated would be fine as they are dx9 and can play games decently, but you will have to get 939 proc which can be expensive, else you can buy a cheap mobo and stick a 9250 in.

  4. #4
    Gentoo Ricer
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    • aidanjt's system
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    Intergrated is fine for simple playback of media, but then again you can pick up cheap Radeon 7000 cards for very little and they don't have the problem of eating into system ram.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Betty_Swallocks's Avatar
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    Why not have integrated graphics as standard, but have an AGP port so that those who want to can fit a better card?

    Your point about TVs only showing 640x480 is a fair one, but the new generation of TVs coming onto the market (especially Plasma screens which are becoming much more poular as the prices drop) will have much higher resolution.

    It would be a shame to limit your market to people with last generation TVs.
    "Free speech includes not only the inoffensive but the irritating, the contentious, the eccentric, the heretical, the unwelcome and the provocative provided it does not tend to provoke violence. Freedom only to speak inoffensively is not worth having."

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    • Butcher's system
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    I wouldn't buy a media center PC - an xbox is a cheaper way to do that same thing.

  7. #7
    Senior Member skuzgib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Butcher
    I wouldn't buy a media center PC - an xbox is a cheaper way to do that same thing.
    BUt xboxes are fugly...

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    I'd say use an integrated solution only in an entry level media pc, and by entry level I basically mean budget, as I seriously doubt you'll get the quality of tv out from an integrated solution as you would from a well chosen entry level discrete card. It's one thing to scrimp on a video card because the 3d performance isn't required, but how good is the tv out quality on integrated solutions?

    I read an article regarding one of the passively cooled XGI Volaris that had full mpeg-2 decode support / hdtv output as standard and a price somewhere around £40 that might be a good option for a quality output at entry level price.

    A bit higher up I'd start looking at the Geforce 6 series, as they have the "purevideo" marchitecture, as well as mpeg-2 acceleration (and wmv too, when they fix it). 6200 should be ok for now and again gamers, and 6600GT/6800nu should be more than enough power to satisfy most of the others.

  9. #9
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    You get less purevideo acceleration on the low end cards than on a 6800, I'm not sure if that's a marketing gimick by nvidia or differences in the silicon though.

  10. #10
    Goron goron Kumagoro's Avatar
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    I still dont think the time is right for me to get one yet. I need to wait until HDTV gets
    going in this country.

  11. #11
    MV R&D
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    Quote Originally Posted by Butcher
    I wouldn't buy a media center PC - an xbox is a cheaper way to do that same thing.
    but you can't timeshift and record live TV with an XBox

  12. #12
    MV R&D
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    Quote Originally Posted by Betty_Swallocks
    Why not have integrated graphics as standard, but have an AGP port so that those who want to can fit a better card?
    the trouble is that the case we're looking at only has space for either an AGP graphics card or a PCI board (TV tuner). It has the boards mounted sideways off a riser to make the case slimiline. Good thing is that this approach doens't leave you limited to using only half height cards. I think the best graphics you can get in half height are around ATI 9600.

  13. #13
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    • Butcher's system
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    If it's just for recording/playback of TV/video then you don't need a decent card - anything that you can throw 2d images out of will do fine. The only thing you need a decent card for is gaming, if that's not something you're aiming to support then go with onboard.

  14. #14
    DR
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    I think you need to be careful - remember it is not a computer. It is being aimed at consumer market.

    This product must be:

    - Reliable
    - Easy to use
    - Quiet
    - Work properly, first time

    At the end of the day there is teething problems with all these sort of things, please do not follow some of your competitors and just build a PC. It has to be something different.

  15. #15
    DR
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    Also remember to work out what your USPs are and stick to it - support, warranty are all very important in consumer products.

    I have so far seen 2 media centre PCs which have impressed me - most of them end up being a slim line system which is not a custom chassis or a shuttle system with a badge on the front

  16. #16
    DR
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    Also surely since the media centre system is for video playback maybe the use of an NVIDIA 6600 series card would be a smart move with their video processor? Or are you bound by ATi?

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