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View Full Version : Help me build a MCE PC...


brady
12-20-05, 07:34 AM
Currently my wife and I have two computers; The one you see in my sig and a two year old HP laptop that has done pretty well. I use to have a nice gaming rig, but got rid of it and got a 360 to keep myself from expensive upgrades every year.

Anyways, the lappy just isn't cutting it. My wife wants to start using a computer to do digital scrapbooking (photoshop program) and burn CD's ect and the laptop cdr-drive crapped out a few months ago. Anyways, she says it's time to build a new computer and I can't argue with that.

I'd like to build a well rounded MC computer because of this new media extender we have (xbox 360). Please post here if you have any suggestions for parts. Remember, this computer will not be playing games!!!

brady
12-20-05, 09:59 AM
So far I've decided that I'd like to go with an X2 3800, 250GB SATA HD, 1GB 3200 Ram and a mobo that costs less than $100. My budget is no more than $1200.

I'm having a hard time deciding whether to go with the AIW X1800XL (http://shop.ati.com/product.asp?sku=2784494) or the WinTV-PVR-500 MC (http://www.hauppauge.com/pages/products/data_pvr500mce.html)E and a Geforce 6200.

I know that with the 1800 I'll also get nice game performance; although, I don't really want or need it. It's kindof a nice bonus. However, it seems that I'll get better tuner performance with the Hauppauge, in which case gaming performance is sacrificed. Any thoughts?

brady
12-21-05, 03:46 PM
Ok, I think I'll be going with the 6200 + wintv 500 (xmassign)

six_storm
12-22-05, 11:00 AM
Wow thats some impressive hardware to use for a MCE PC. I was looking into building something cheap for my home theater but I really need to get a better TV more than anything right now. Hope all goes well for ya building and all!

ynnek
12-22-05, 11:47 AM
I'm waiting just a bit longer to replace my current HTPC... (xmasgrin)

brady
12-22-05, 05:11 PM
I just placed the order with newegg. Here's what it looks like:

ASPIRE X-QPACK-NW-AL/420 Black/Silver Computer Case (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16811144160)

Foxconn 6150K8MA-8EKRS Socket 939 NVIDIA GeForce 6150 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813186086)

AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ Manchester 1GHz FSB 2 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket 939 Dual Core Processor (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16819103547)

Patriot Signature Series 1GB (2 x 512MB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM Unbuffered DDR 400 (PC 3200) Dual Channel Kit System Memory (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820220037)

Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 6Y250M0 250GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache Serial ATA150 Hard Drive (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16822144338)

NEC Black 16X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 16X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2M Cache IDE/ATAPI DVD Burner (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16827152058)

Hauppauge WinTV-PVR 500 MCE White box PCI Interface Tuner Card (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16815116628)

Logitech X-230 32 Watts RMS 2.1 Speaker (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16836121123)

Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 w/Update Rollup Release 2 OEM 1 Pack (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16832102357)

And the total with overnight shipping?... $1,128.17 :cool:

six_storm
12-23-05, 12:40 AM
Wow, nice list there man. I prolly wouldn't get that meaty of a CPU but nice though. Also, I didn't know that they made mobos with NVIDIA 6 series onboard! Guess you learn something everyday.

brady
12-23-05, 06:50 AM
Wow, nice list there man. I prolly wouldn't get that meaty of a CPU but nice though. Also, I didn't know that they made mobos with NVIDIA 6 series onboard! Guess you learn something everyday.

Yeah, I thought about sticking with single core, but I want to use the 360's media extender functionality. So I figured that it would be nice to be able to watch tv or record a show from the 360 and yet still be able to use the computer for web browsing or my wife may even want to do her scrapbooking thing. That's how I arrived at dual core. Then, I was originally going to go with the 3800 but the 4200 was only $80 more so it was worth it to me.

six_storm
12-23-05, 02:33 PM
What kind of display are you going to use with your new system? You know you gotta post up some pics right? Haha. Good luck with your stuff man.

brady
12-23-05, 06:10 PM
Well the primary display for the system is my old Mag 17" LCD display. However, I suppose I could also say that it will be hooked into a 27" LCDTV via the media extender; erm, I mean Xbox 360, we have. I'll post some pics once all the stuff gets here. Newegg.com indicates that I'm in stage 4 of the whole shipping process. I paid for overnight shipping but it wasn't packaged till today. It will probably be shipped tomorrow and I'll recieve it all on monday.

brady
12-28-05, 11:59 AM
Yesterday I finished putting the computer together. It's the most lengthy build I have ever done. I've never built a SFF PC and the cramped space caused me to have to redo things a time or two. It was worth it though! I'm very glad I went with the X2. I can have the 360 getting live video streamed to it and be surfing the web and using photoshop elements without even a hitch!

The media extender capabilities of the 360 are impressive to me. It's very fun to sit in the other room and have all the content on this computer available to me, including the WinTV PVR 500's dual tuners!

The only thing I'm trying to work out now is that I'm having trouble playing my 720p WMV files on the 360. They show up just fine in the 360's interface, however when I try to play (the gears of war 720p video from Microsoft) the videos the 360 tells me there is an error and the system needs to be restarted.

I don't think it's a bandwidth issue, although I know that GOW video is pretty high quality. I'm also running all of this on a wired network with a linksys 10/100 hub managing it all. I've run the media center pc's performance tuner and the graph shows that my network performance is extremely good. Any ideas? I havn't found anything that says you cant stream WMVHD files to the 360, but maybe I'm wrong and you can't?...

brady
12-28-05, 08:37 PM
Ok, So I figured out the WMV HD thing. Now the problem is that I'm noticing pauses and stuttering during live tv. It occurs on both the 360 and the actual computer. Also, it happens after watching tv for about 5-10 minutes. I noticed this little gem on hauppauge.com:

Can I use the WinTV-PVR on a dual CPU system?

The stability of the WinTV operation or hardware functioning correctly may be impaired on dual CPU systems.


WTF? So I've emailed the haup tech support to get more information. I guess I should have done more research before going the haup route, but cmon, who woulda thought there'd be a problem?..If anything you would think a dual core would be good for a tuner card.

If you have a haup tuner and a dual core setup let me know if you've had any problems. Specifically with the WinTV MCE500.

nV`andrew
12-29-05, 10:31 AM
Hey it would be nice if someone would help this kind, young man out :)

brady
12-29-05, 11:11 AM
Hey it would be nice if someone would help this kind, young man out :)

QFT!

nV`andrew
12-29-05, 11:29 AM
rofl i searched on yahoo:

Entry: What does QFT mean?

1st Link: To nvnews forum

Thread Title: What the heck do QFT and IIRC mean? by DiscipleDOC

lol it was made last march, kinda funny imo

Yes, i stated the truth and only the truth (xmassign)

six_storm
12-29-05, 11:32 AM
Well I don't have a TV Tuner so I can't help ya out on that one. I wanna build a MCPC but I have no money to spend on one right now. Hope you get your problem fixed!

brady
12-29-05, 12:29 PM
Well I don't have a TV Tuner so I can't help ya out on that one. I wanna build a MCPC but I have no money to spend on one right now. Hope you get your problem fixed!

Thanks for the sympathy six. (xmassign)

brady
12-29-05, 01:41 PM
Problem solved. I just needed to download the latest cpu drivers from AMD. After installing the driver everything works perfectly. Windows media center edition is really pretty fun. Especially when coupled with the 360.

Right now from the 360 I'm recording one show while watching live TV. I've been doing that for the last 30 minutes and havn't noticed a single hickup. I love technology!

brady
01-03-06, 06:03 PM
I just had to gloat a little...Right now I am surfing the web, ripping and encoding a DVD to Divx, recording a tv show, and my wife is watching live tv in the other room which is being streamed to the 360s media center.

The funcionality of dual core is simply amazing!!!