Which is the Best Media Centre to go for?

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by pwb1969, Mar 27, 2006.

  1. pwb1969

    pwb1969
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Can anyone recommend the best system out there please, based on the following criteria? I'm looking to buy one but realise it's a mine field out there! :confused: I've been told I need some of the specificaitons below, based on connectivity to my multi room system, but thats about all I know!

    1. Will be in an enclosed cabinet, so can be in a normal PC case (and hopefully thereby giving me future flexibility in upgrading). I do have an air vent to an outside wall so cooling shouldn't be a problem.
    2. Mouse and keyboard ideally being RF instead of IR (such as the Gyration mouse).
    3. Good graphics card for gaming when required.
    4. Two analogue tuners.
    5. Video card with a composite out connection.
    6. SP Diff or optical connections.
    7. P4 or AMD equivalent chip (not sure which is best)
    8. Min 1gb of RAM (not sure which type of RAM to go for)
    9. As large a hard drive as possible, in order to keep audio and video on.

    I assume this is the standard spec list for a Windows MCE PC?

    Having read a number of threads on here, I thought I'd ask since there are so many knowledgeable people that frequent and help out noobs like me :)
     
  2. Rambles

    Rambles
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    Messages:
    10,319
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    167
    Location:
    UK
    Ratings:
    +2,086
    If you are not too bothered about looks you can pretty much go for any PC that matche your spec and has MCE installed on it - either buy it yourself or get it from a retailer that can build to your specs.

    You want a 3ghz to 3.5ghz CPU or equivalent, 1GB RAM - anything reputable will do (Crucial for example) I would recommend a 6 or 7 series nvidia graphics card, two Hauppauge 150MCE tuners, onboard sound may be good enough with analogue and digital outputs, and stuff it full of as many hard drives as possible.

    Take a look at the forum sponsors site for ideas - www.mediapc.tv.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2017
  3. triplea4uk

    triplea4uk
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2002
    Messages:
    2,018
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Northants
    Ratings:
    +85
    You could build yourself one using the shuttle type cases you can get really good ones that support sli sata2 them sort of features.

    What budget you got?
     
  4. pwb1969

    pwb1969
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Thanks for the feedback.

    I'm looking to spend around £1,000 but wanted to go for a Tower system primarily because of being able to upgrade it easier in the future (in theory). As it's hidden away I'm not that bothered with looks, just performance. The problem is, many of the media players look like a DVD player for obvious reasons as it's on show.

    As for trying to put one together myself, I'm not skilled enough when it comes to PC's nor do I have the time. Hence why I'd like to buy something off the shelf with the warranty support that comes with it, or go to a reputable retailer to ask them if they can build me one. Problem is, I don't know anyone! :suicide:
     
  5. Media-Man

    Media-Man
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2005
    Messages:
    486
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Location:
    Oxfordshire
    Ratings:
    +56
    HP and Dell do tower HTPC's. Personally I'd avoid Dell though....
    If you ask any of the smaller retailer who build their own I'm sure they'd also be happy to build you something specific to your exact spec and back it up with a warranty and support
     
  6. pwb1969

    pwb1969
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Thanks everyone for your advice, I'll be progressing this according to your advice.

    Cheers :thumbsup:
     
  7. WheresMyArtisan

    WheresMyArtisan
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Messages:
    1,100
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Ratings:
    +71
    I've got three Dells, two of which are running Media Center. No problems at all, and very very cheap. My last P4-3GHz PC cost £148+VAT, not much more than the processor chip alone would have cost from a parts supplier.

    The build quality is average and very easy to upgrade. They use a custom motherboard and power supply, but standard everything else. Very quiet too.

    Dell gets my vote, just don't buy directly from Dell. There are other outlets of their factory surplus. Let me know if you want the details.
     
  8. baldrick

    baldrick
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Messages:
    3,370
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Providence, Rhode Island
    Ratings:
    +246
    I've just built an HTPC in a 4u rackmount case with a similar spec to yours:

    GigaByte Intel 945p mobo (on board SP-DIF audio out)
    P4 3.2GHz
    Crucial 1GB RAM
    Seagate 200GB HDD
    2 x Hauppauge WinTV Nova T freeview tuners
    Gigabyte NVIDIA 6600GT 128MB GPU (DVI, VGA & Component output)
    Tagan 380W PSU

    The whole lot came in around £700ish
     
  9. pwb1969

    pwb1969
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Yes please, I'd be interested to look at this further, thanks:smashin:
     
  10. Stiggy

    Stiggy
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Messages:
    6,727
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Sandy Heath
    Ratings:
    +1,043
  11. WheresMyArtisan

    WheresMyArtisan
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Messages:
    1,100
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Ratings:
    +71
    I've had two from www.itcsales.co.uk (£148 and £149 + VAT + delivery). They were very cheap just before christmas, but their stock varies. One of those to keep an eye on.

    I've also bought an Optiplex on Ebay from Dell Scratched and Dented. Moderately cheap - just over £300 delivered.

    However, the offers on the Dell website are pretty amazing at the moment (cheaper than their outlet!). I've ordered a Dimension 5150, with a 19" ultrasharp LCD, 2.8GHz dual core, 1024MB RAM, 160GB hard disk, free delivery, free printer, Media Center preinstalled. This cost £485.99 including VAT and delivery. The offers have changed since, but still pretty good. The monitor alone would be £262 delivered, after 20% off. I didn't want a monitor, so I'm selling it - either to a work colleague or on Ebay. I have two of these monitors at work - they are brilliant.

    I've never seen any bargains in the Dell Outlet myself, but I guess it depends on what you're after and what they have.

    Good luck - let us know what you buy...
     
  12. mrm3

    mrm3
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2004
    Messages:
    2,034
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Cobham
    Ratings:
    +95
    If you go through quidco.com you can get a further 4.5% of Dell. If you are part of a company scheme (Employee Partnership Program, EPP) a further 7%.

    I got the same system 5150 for about £400.

    Then bought a silverstone case from mediapc.tv...
     
  13. WheresMyArtisan

    WheresMyArtisan
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Messages:
    1,100
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Ratings:
    +71
    Didn't know about that one, thanks. What route did you buy yours through? Quidco looks too good to be true, and it does say "up to" 4.5%.

    I like the case idea - these Dells are much cheaper than the bits they're made out of.

    I'm going for a tower, hidden behind the screen, on the floor. Don't really care what it looks like, the blander the better!

    Edit: Quidco looks great, had never heard of it before. Thanks.
     
  14. b0rked

    b0rked
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2006
    Messages:
    31
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Ratings:
    +1
    Okay yep just trying to help out :)
     
  15. WheresMyArtisan

    WheresMyArtisan
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Messages:
    1,100
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Ratings:
    +71

Share This Page

Loading...