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Thread: Windows Media Center 2005 machine - advice/comments required!

  1. #1
    Senior Member Tobeman's Avatar
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    Windows Media Center 2005 machine - advice/comments required!

    I am quoting for one of our customers a Media Center PC with the following specifications, it should also double up as a fileserver for their new house.

    Silverstone "TEMJIN" TJ07B Black Aluminum Supertower Case (w/o PSU)
    600w Seasonic S12-600 SLi Ready Silent PSU 2xPCI-E 4xSATA 120mm Fan ATX1.3/2.01
    Intel Pentium® D 930 Dual core 2x3.0GHz 800FSB S775 2x2MB inc HSF
    Included HSF
    Abit AW8 Max PCI-E S775 i955
    2GB Corsair (2x1GB), DDR2 6400, 128Mx64, non-ECC, 2x240 DIMM
    Plextor PX-716A/T3UK Ivory & Black Bezels
    256Mb XFX PCI-E GF6600 TV/DVI *Passive Cooling*
    24" Dell Ultrasharp Midnight grey widescreen
    Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Music Sound Card
    Creative Gigaworks S750 7.1Ch THX Certified Speaker System
    4 x 500Gb (2x2 Mirrored) Seagate SATA2
    1.44Mb Sony Black Floppy Disk Drive
    Microsoft Windows Media Center Hardware Kit (Remote/Receiver) OEM
    Microsoft MCE Black Infrared Remote Keyboard Backlit use with Win MCE
    Microsoft Windows XP Media Centre 2005
    Hauppauge WinTV-Nova-T MCE Freeview receiver PCI
    Symantec Norton Internet Security 2006 OEM 1 Year

    Any comments/anything I have missed out that you guys can spot? Many thanks

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    Might want to add a second Nova-T for dual tuner goodness.

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    • dodgybob's system
      • Motherboard:
      • A8N-SLI Premium
      • CPU:
      • Opteron 170 @ 2.7 Ghz
      • Memory:
      • 2x 1GB OCZ Platinum Rev 2
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      • 1x 320GB WD & 1x 1TB Samsung F1
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    If it's going to be used as a media center pc you might want to change the hsf on the cpu to something quieter than the stock one. It's a pretty toasty cpu anyway so perhaps something with a slower turning 120mm to keep it cool and quiet?

    Also have a look at what fans the case comes with/you'll be using, I doubt your customer will want to hear too much fan noise when watching tv.

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    radix lecti dave87's Avatar
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    I personally would put a 6800 in there, as the 6600 looks poor in comparison to the rest of the components. Also if its a media center, wouldn't you want something like a desktop case, rather than a tower - if its going to be near theyre telly/audio stuff?

    Dave

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    that spec is way too high for a media center. MCE doesn't need anywhere near 2 gigs of ram. I would probably go for a pentium-m over the dual core cpu, as they run much cooler and threfore queter. Also, the money you save you can spend on another tv tuner. I also probably wouldn't bother with a 7.1 speaker system as there's not much around that will actually benefit from it. The logitech z-5500 5.1 kit is amazing

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    also, 1 terrabyte of storage??!!! is that really necessary?

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    Quote Originally Posted by chazt
    also, 1 terrabyte of storage??!!! is that really necessary?
    I know, I would at least stripe the drives and go for 2tb
    Chazt if you rip all your movies in hq and lossless encode your audio then 1tb will be about right.

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    Intel Pentium® D 930 Dual core 2x3.0GHz 800FSB S775 2x2MB inc HSF - Way way overspecced, single core low heat processor would be much better.
    Included HSF - Not good enough, a silent cooler is a requirement for a media center.
    2GB Corsair (2x1GB), DDR2 6400, 128Mx64, non-ECC, 2x240 DIMM - Way overspecced, 512MB will almost certainly be enough but 1GB would definitely do it.
    256Mb XFX PCI-E GF6600 TV/DVI *Passive Cooling* - 6600 is fine, in all honesty my old FX5700 did the job fine. It's not like a media center makes heavy use of pixel shaders or anything.
    24" Dell Ultrasharp Midnight grey widescreen - *Drool*
    4 x 500Gb (2x2 Mirrored) Seagate SATA2 - Consider a Buffalo TeraStation NAS (£552 at Dabs) and RAID 5 it (assuming external storage isn't a problem, either way I'd recommend RAID 5 over RAID 1 but that's no good with 4 disks).
    1.44Mb Sony Black Floppy Disk Drive - Bin it.
    Hauppauge WinTV-Nova-T MCE Freeview receiver PCI - Get 2, a media center with 1 is crippled.
    Last edited by GDVS; 22-01-2006 at 01:47 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Tobeman's Avatar
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    Im surprised you guys are saying this is going to be overspecced, the customer has asked for something that will last, and money is no object. We're building all the other 8 PCs for his house, as well as splitting high-gain antenna to the crazy number of TVs he has to provide freview, but I'd like to know how a media extender would work here?

    Acting as a fileserver for that many PCs is surely going to put it under some load, and the fact that they will be wanting to backup his movie collection, probably losslessly as stated above, will sure require alot of number crunching hence the fast processor. The latest 9xx series Intels had much better thermal waste output, and being used for Media/Entertainment purposes I went for nVidia. I had looked at the AOpen Pentium-M board but couldn't find it on any of our suppliers, those that did have it, were out of stock.

    I will be wanting to find replacement HSF for the CPU, but at the moment I'm looking at cases so I can find out whether it'll fit or not! If ANYONE can find a Silverstone or Silverstone-esque HTPC case with room for 4 HDs, please let me know of it That new Silverstone was one of the most expensive cases about, so put that down just to cater for all cases we finally pick

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobeman
    Acting as a fileserver for that many PCs is surely going to put it under some load,
    I refer you to my recommendation for a NAS, if money is no object then I'd point out that TeraStations can be daisy chained.
    and the fact that they will be wanting to backup his movie collection, probably losslessly as stated above, will sure require alot of number crunching hence the fast processor.
    It's heavily compressed lossy encoding that really takes the processing power, lossless is comparatively easy. Either way I'd recommend not using the media center itself for ripping but one of the ancillary PCs instead. Presumably there's a main PC for the house? Make that a DVD ripping beast and let the media center be a media center.

  11. #11
    Does he need a reason? Funkstar's Avatar
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    how are you with Linux?

    Have you thought about MythTV instead of MediaCentre? It might not be right for you as far as support is concerned, i'm just throwing the idea in there.

    With MythTV you can build a beefy server as a backend and then use fanless diskless silent (perhaps Epia based) frontends connected to TVs so you have a centralised PVR. Everything that is recorded on the backend server can be viewed on any of the frontends around the house. You can also extend it with multiple backends to spread load and increas you tuners and storage.

    But even if you don't go that route i would also recomend going with a NAS box instead of piling everything into the PC.

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    Some guidlines ;

    As a HTPC/fileserver the 6600 is fine. It's passive and perfectly capable of handling anything you throw at it HTPC wise.

    Plenty of HD space is a must, esp. if your client gets an itch for HD stuff. I could easily fill a 250Gb drive just with HD stuff alone.

    I have an Opty 144 o/c to 2.6 running my HTPC. At it's default speed (1.8) it played anything I threw at it up to 1080i without a hitch. If you want a dual core CPU, consider an Opty 170 or 175 - if you can find them Failing that an X2

    You don't need 2Gb of ram - a gig will be ample.

    Another TV card would be nice.

    7.1 system is a waste, esp. at that kind of price range - go for a decent 5.1 instead.

    Do you really need a FDD in there? It will spoil the look

    If the monitor is going to be used purely for viewing films/media, get a TV instead - they are better equipped to display films etc than monitors are. The only time I would recommend a monitor like the Dell for viewing TV is if you are going to be watching a lot of 1080i/p stuff and don't want it downscaled.

    Of course, just my opinions

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