Can you rate/give advice on this HTPC please

Stampax

Active Member
I'm looking at a particular pc on the mediapc.tv website -
this one:

Hopefully that linked if not it's the cheapest one on the media pc and home theatre section - £350 plus vat.

MCE2005
nVidia 'Gold' CODEC wilth DD5.1 support.
AMD 3000
512MB RAM
ATI nVidia 6150 Graphics with VGA/DVI and Composite out
250GB SATA Hard drive
Single Freeview TV Tuner
DVD-RW
MCE Remote control and keyboard
13 in one card reader
2 x Firewire ports (1 Front, 1 Rear)
7 x USB Ports (3 Front, 4 Rear)
5.1 Audio.
 

MacBurp

Active Member
Get the dual freeview card, MCE really comes into its own with 2+ tuners.

The trick with this is to get a case that will keep everythnig cool, do it quietly, and look good. I hadn't heard of the Enlight case, but found a couple of good reviews - no problems there.

I would suggest 1GB RAM minimum.

How are you connecting this to your TV?

The spec is a bit 'old', but should work fine.

regards,
Paul
 

Stampax

Active Member
Thanks for the reply.
I have sky plus and don't live in a freeview area, so that side of things isn't important to me. I have been told that I can use the card to capture video (in not great quality) from sky plus via s video though which I want to do.

I was thinking of upgrading to a gig of ram as thats pretty cheap to do.

Would connect to my TV via VGA - my TVis a Panasonic 37 inch plasma - PV500 (guy told me that would be better than using the DVI)

Guy on the phone told me that the spec would be fine for playing HD stuff (downloaded off the net) - all apart form 1080p which it might struggle with - which sounds good to me.
 

MacBurp

Active Member
I have been told that I can use the card to capture video (in not great quality) from sky plus via s video though which I want to do.

You need an analogue TV capture card then, not Freeview. I have a Hauppauge PVR-150, the PVR-500 offers dual tuner.

Would connect to my TV via VGA - my TVis a Panasonic 37 inch plasma - PV500 (guy told me that would be better than using the DVI)

If you only have DVI on your plasma, then VGA would do just as well. If you have HDMI you should think about using that. No need to have this from day 1 though, particularly as your source is only s-video.

Guy on the phone told me that the spec would be fine for playing HD stuff (downloaded off the net) - all apart form 1080p which it might struggle with - which sounds good to me.

Wrong. You need at least an AMD AM2 4200 for HD, a dual-core Conroe would be better. The rig you propose is for SD only.

regards,
Paul
 

Stampax

Active Member
You need an analogue TV capture card then, not Freeview. I have a Hauppauge PVR-150, the PVR-500 offers dual tuner.

So you're saying the guy is wrong - that I will not be able to capture video (ie transfer sky recordings) using this PC?

Wrong. You need at least an AMD AM2 4200 for HD, a dual-core Conroe would be better. The rig you propose is for SD only.

Are you sure - lots of other people have suggested far less power is needed. MS certainly list less - http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/musicandvideo/hdvideo/contentshowcase.aspx#sysreq

This system spec meets all these criteria that MS list doesn't it?
Optimum Configuration
(to play 1080p video with 5.1 surround sound)
# Windows XP
# Windows Media Player 10
# DirectX 9.0
# 3.0 GHz processor or equivalent
# 512 MB of RAM
# 128 MB video card
# 1920 x 1440 screen resolution
# 24-bit 96 kHz multichannel sound card
# 5.1 surround sound speaker system
 

Stampax

Active Member
Any other views on this? Am i wrong in my previous post? Would love some more expert opinions before I order..... (or to stop me ordering)
 

nigelbb

Distinguished Member
So you're saying the guy is wrong - that I will not be able to capture video (ie transfer sky recordings) using this PC?
Well the specification says "Single Freeview TV Tuner" doesn't it? If so you cannot capture video. However if it were a hybrid digital/analogue tuner like a Hauppauge WinTV-HVR1300 then you could reconfigure MCE to stop using DVB-T (Freeview) & instead to use the analogue TV capture portion of the card. If you just want to capture from Sky+ & not have the option of DVB-T then as suggested a Hauppauge WinTV PVR150 would be OK. The picture quality via s-video from a Sky+ box is pretty decent.

As regards how powerful a system you have then it all depends what you mean by HDTV. US HDTV is MPEG2 & if you are downloading .TS files from the net of US HDTV shows & movies then your system will be fine. If you want to play captures from BBC HD or Sky or rips of BluRay or HD-DVD which are all MPEG4 then as suggested you need a dual core Athlon 64 X2. In my experience a 3800+ is just fast enough but really the faster the better & a better graphics card than the on-board Nvidia 6150 would also help.
 

Stampax

Active Member
Thanks for that. Not really sure how common blueray and HD rips are going to be over the next few months or so, so thats a tough thing to consider.

Perhaps i'll ask them how much it would cost to upgrade and processor to a 4000 then, or ask if the motherboard can take a better processor for upgrading in the future.

Is that a good solution?
 

Stampax

Active Member
Incidentally - why is it that the spec needed for running HD material downloaded off the web (ie from MS website) is different to that needed to play blue ray disc rips?
Surely the spec that MS list should just cover all HD material shouldnt it?
 

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