Spec Me a MCE

Associate
Joined
18 Oct 2002
Posts
1,704
Location
Glasgow
Guys,

Will be getting an HDTV in the next 2-3 months,

Currently im going to be playing around with MCE on my desktop and hooking it up to my tv but when i get the HDTV i want a half decent box that can sit under my tv.

Looking for a sheek desktop style case(not tower, and perhaps not shuttle size)
Intel based mobo preferably
Intel chip
memory
graphics card (do we have ones that have HDMI output yet?)
2 tv cards (one freeview, the other to hook up to ntl box)
big hard drive

anything else i need?

i want this to be farley future proof, so i dont have to upgrade for up to 2 yrs

will be using my existing dual layer nec burner (i think)

ideas please ;)
 
Associate
Joined
30 Nov 2002
Posts
1,851
Location
Birmingham
in a word second hand...

an old Celeron 1gig or so, athlon XP ( I know you said intel but still ) etc. will be fine.

Card wise Hauppage are probably most popular, just make sure you can run a pair of cards in the OS you choose.

Hard drive - Samsung Spinpoints IMO, being very quiet, biggest is 250gig which, if you buy a second say 80gig for OS etc. compencates for the fact that 300gig are available from some companies.

RAM 1gig of anything will do.
 
Suspended
Joined
17 Mar 2006
Posts
9,055
I'm going to buy/build a new HTPC today, you don't need much, but what you do need is silence and cool running components. So passive or components with fans that are near silent. Digital audio outputs to a AV Amplifier. IR receiver and remote.

So a AMD Athlon 3000 or higher will be suitable stock cooler at 1800rpm is ok.
No videocards with HDMI out so just use DVI out. Nothing special is needed but make sure the card/drivers support per pixel mapping (exact resolution of the screen, and try to find passive graphics card. 1 GB is plenty, fit the extra to reduce any lagging (especially if recording)
HD- for reduced noise could use a 2.5" laptop hard disc, the 60GB are ok prices.

As for cases, the problem with desktop Micro ATX is that they've sacrificed vertical height and lowered them so much that risers are needed to fit additional cards (look at the Silverstone with the wood panel in the middle) Add a PCI -E GFX and PCI soundcard and it's impossible to do. And non standard PSU so stuck with stock supplied PSU (could be low quality/noisy and stuck with it) I've spent some timing looking and for the best amount of space/cooling/standard ATX and floorspace used the Silverstone TJ-08 looks ideal. A couple of the cubes are close second (Q Pack Aspire) but no front cooling fan. The desktop cases also use the smaller 6cm fans so will be louder, even if you replace them with quiet fans (still 23dB) Also if you're the type of person who looks VFD or front panel controls you'll need to look for a case with these.

High Definition is quite demanding so unsure of Celeron capability, someone said with a Sempron CPU with integrated GFX was 40% for 1080i. Add in recording, saving to disc and it's possible get TBC/missed frames/slowdown. :confused:
 
Associate
OP
Joined
18 Oct 2002
Posts
1,704
Location
Glasgow
i have the following pc i was thinking of getting rid of - would this be any good if i house it in a different case

abit it7-max2 board
p4 2.53
1gb crucial xms3200
 
Suspended
Joined
17 Mar 2006
Posts
9,055
Yup more than good enough, although you might want to use a more efficient/quieter HSF & fan if you just have stock HSF. What's the videocard? Check the optical output passes Dolby Digital & DTS. Since it's a full size ATX board will need a ATX case :p Something like the Silverstone LC20 (and not too expensive) decent airflow with large fans, standard ATX PSU
http://www.silverstone-usa.com/products-lc20.htm

Checkout thier other models
 
Soldato
Joined
8 Jun 2003
Posts
4,961
Location
NBO
Intel Pentium 4 930 Dual Core "LGA775 Presler" 3.0GHz (800FSB) - Retail (CP-112-IN) £124.95
Western Digital Caviar SE16 320GB 3200KS SATA-II 16MB Cache - OEM (HD-070-WD) £69.95
Leadtek GeForce 7600 GS SILENT 256MB GDDR3 TV-Out/Dual DVI (PCI-Express) - Retail (GX-082-LT) £74.95
Asus P5LD2-VM Intel 945G Micro ATX (LGA775) PCI-Express Motherboard (MB-110-AS) £69.95
Hauppauge WinTV PVR-500 Media Centre Edition Dual TV Tuner (GX-028-HA) £94.95
Antec Overture II Piano Black Quiet Media case - 450W Smart Power PSU (CA-038-AN) £66.95
Zalman CNPS7700-CU Ultra-Quiet CPU Cooler - Retail (HS-010-ZA) £19.95
Corsair 1GB DDR2 XMS2-5400 TwinX (2x512MB) (MY-059-CS) £64.95
Subtotal £586.60
Shipping (City Link Parcel Next Day (Delivered Mon-Fri)) £10.95
VAT £104.58
Total £702.13

Good guide here :D
 
Associate
OP
Joined
18 Oct 2002
Posts
1,704
Location
Glasgow
squiffy said:
Yup more than good enough, although you might want to use a more efficient/quieter HSF & fan if you just have stock HSF. What's the videocard? Check the optical output passes Dolby Digital & DTS. Since it's a full size ATX board will need a ATX case :p Something like the Silverstone LC20 (and not too expensive) decent airflow with large fans, standard ATX PSU
http://www.silverstone-usa.com/products-lc20.htm

Checkout thier other models

The machine is currently running on the stock HSF, its currently in a coolermaster acs ally tower case with really noisy fans, 500w qtec psu which is on the way out, how will i check if the output passes dolby digital & dts? graphics card is a nvidia GForce 3 ti200 golden sample 128mb,
 
Suspended
Joined
17 Mar 2006
Posts
9,055
ok for your machine, if you're happy with the case.

Replace HSF
Replace PSU
Replace all case fans with quiet ones.
Are you going to connect the PC into a AV amp? If you are then installl AC-3 filter, Power DVD and insert a DVD-Video, select the AC-3 or DTS track. Your amp should light up on both AC-3 (Dolby Digital) and DTS logos. If you don't have a AV amp you don't need to bother with this, as standard stereo audio will just be sent to your TV.
I would replace the GFX card, but you can always do that later. Since you have everything now download some HD material and see if your machine keeps up. If it does no need to replace GFX card, can buy anytime when you buy a new screen- at least your HTPC will be up and running. I have a P3 933mhz but I think it'll be a bit slow for HD so decided not to use it (P4 2.4ghz with Trident GFX and P4 1.6ghz SIS GFX were incapable of 720p)

Download HD trailers here.

http://www.highdefforum.com/showthread.php?t=6537
 
Associate
OP
Joined
18 Oct 2002
Posts
1,704
Location
Glasgow
ok, forget the idea of a new pc, i can save myself a whole load of money using the one i already have,

i have a denon adv-m71 which i think i could use as an amp, but if not, how would the sound get from the pc to the telly?

would i need a different sound card? as the one ive got is 5.1 onboard.....
 
Suspended
Joined
17 Mar 2006
Posts
9,055
Easiest would be to send audio to the Denon, then from tape out from the Denon into the TV. So any source connected to the Denon will also be sent to the TV. IMO I wouldn't bother send cable/audio to the TV, just send cable from the PC to the Denon and use for all the time. I've done a quick search for that Denon, but can't find I/O back panel of the Denon. As long as it's got one analogue or digital input, and a analogue output you'll be fine. You don't need a new soundcard, but a higher quality one will offer better sound quality. Again this can be purchased anytime if you already have onboard can use that for now whilst you sort out case/noise issues.

Perhaps buy new soundcard and videocard at the same time later :) Something like a M-Audio. So really if you want to keep the case £50 for quiet PSU- look for one with 12cm ie Seasonic S12 or Enermax Liberty, £30 or so for fans, £20 for new HSF. If you have a old 2.5" hard disc lying around can use that for boot drive, just so it's a bit quieter (and can always have a 3.5" for mass storage) oh and £20 for media centre remote.
 
Last edited:
Associate
OP
Joined
18 Oct 2002
Posts
1,704
Location
Glasgow
thanks for all your help guys, this is going to be a good project and should keep it failry cheap...

what tv card do you guys reccomend, dont need freeview as i have all the cable chanells but would perhaps consider a freeview tuner as a secondary tuner........

whats you opinions...
 
Soldato
Joined
20 Jun 2005
Posts
3,825
Location
London..
Hmm, the PVR-150 is a very popular and good card, but you could get a dual tuner PVR-500 which is basically two PVR-150's.

One of these two, depending on what you really want :).
 
Back
Top Bottom