MSI Mega Pc - A good choice???

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by NIGGY, Oct 15, 2003.

  1. NIGGY


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    Hi all - My first Post!!!!!

    ....and I'm afraid its a big question (or 2)

    The other week "my better half" amazed me with 2 extraordinary comments in the space of a weekend....

    1) "I (we) really need a new PC" (she won't touch the old piece of rubbish I'm using now)
    2) Lets go and have a look at some new T.V's/DVD players!!!!

    ..... to say I was suprised would be a vast understatement but it got me thinking that combining the lot would be pretty cool, that we (I) would get a better PC and TV/DVD system and we would (maybe) save some money to boot. (Thats what I told my girlfriend, anyway) Though I've since realised that this concept wasn't quite as revolutionary as I first thought.

    I must confess now that my knowledge of PC's is fairly limited though I'm quickly trying to get the lingo and I hope you will all help me to fill in the blanks.

    Anyway, here's.......

    The Big Idea

    What I am after is a PC that I can use to play DVDs through A TV (looking at 28" CRT's) but I would also like to connect it to a TFT monitor for close-up work such as internet and word-processing (silmultaneously if possible).

    I am also attracted to some of the other advantages of a HTPC over a standard TV/DVD/VCR set-up such as; PVR, Dolby 5.1 and using the system as a HI-Fi.

    I may, either now or at a later date, want to add recordable DVD to take full advatntage of the PVR system.

    The Solution

    I'm toying with getting the Msi mega pc based Systemax Encore 3602 does anyone have any opinions on this system, its components and whether it will fit my needs.

    As I have mentioned before I am grateful for any help, advice or suggestions that you can give. Please feel free to offer any alternatives to the above as my ideas are not set in stone.

    It may help if I give you some more of my thoughts.

    Given the specs of the above system (MSI SiS 651 Motherboard, Intel Pentium 4 2.66GHz Processor 533FSB, 512MB PC2700 333DDR Memory,120GB Hard Drive,Videologic ZXR-500 5.1 Speakers,MSI NVIDIA GeForce FX5200 Personal Cinema 128MB AGP8X) - is it up to the job?

    I understand the card has dual monitor support but will the system allow me to use the PC as a PC and watch a movie uninterupted - Is the the Video card and software any good or does it try to do too much at once - would I be better off with a seperate TV tuner and graphics card and then use something like Showshifter as the TV interface. (by the way, I would quite like to use the PC to play games but i'm not after anything with blistering performance)

    I am also concerned with the audio quality as i understand the on-board sound of the above system may not be up to scratch - would it be worth my while upgrading to a dedicated sound card and is it possible given the constraints and size of the system (I believe the case is fairly cramped inside). I was thinknig of ugrading the speakers to the Videologic 6.1 system and pairing them with the appropiate Creative Audigy Card??????

    On the subject of sound I see that the Encore has a SPDIF in port - does this enable me to connect an external device (such as an x-box) with an optical cable to achieve 5.1 surround for that also???

    Lastly (honestly), given my ignorance, would it be best to buy a complete system, like the one above, or should I try and build something that better suits my needs and wallet.

    Sorry that this post is so long - I hope that you can all help me in some way to achieve the front-room of my (and my super-tolerant girlfriends) dreams.
  2. malcolm

    Novice Member

    Jun 25, 2003
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    I have the power pc 651 model.

    Generally its very good, fairly quiet. The noisiest part of the system is the GFX card i've put in it.

    Its not a spacious interior and if you plan to you both expansion bays, AGP and PCI you will need to choose your cards very carefully.

    I have a radeon 9600 128 pro in mine. Well almost in!
    It doesn't really fit as the fan screws snag on the PSU and the DVD rom sits on the memory heat sink.
    I have a FX5600 which i'll be swapping with the 9600 as its a flatter card.

    Remember the Hi-fi part of the machine doesn't work when the pc is on, you'll need to run an app on the pc get the radio/cd etc.

    And if you want to use the remote for DVD or Radio/cd play back while the pc is on you'll need to buy some of MSI's software to do this.
    I can't tell what the software is as MSI haven't told me what it is. When i find out i'll you know.

    I'd speak to them first to make sure it will function as you want it to.

    I'm not down on the machine, i think its good over all but you should know its limitations before you buy. I didn't.

    Hope this helps ?
  3. NIGGY


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    Thanks Malcolm

    Saw a review for the Mega Pc in T3 and they touched on the CD playback issue you refer to - I believe that you cant search through a CD track in CD mode either - which would be a little annoying.

    Any luck with the MSI software yet???


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