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Building a MCE 2005 system

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by Vanilla_Ice, 5 Mar 2006.

  1. Vanilla_Ice

    Hitman

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 967

    Location: Ipswich

    Hi,

    I am playing with the idea of building a media PC. Curretnly I have a spare AMD 1700+ (that can be oc'd to 3200), Abit NF7S v2 motherboard and Gefore 4200 128mb graphics card. To this im thinking of adding 1gb RAM, hard disk, case, keyboard and mouse etc.

    I like the idea of being able to record TV and the way MCE can present digital media etc. How will the AMD 1700+ cope with this? I currently have a freeview box for my telly. I would like to be able to view freeview through the media PC, can my current set top box be used to do this? Or would I need a tuner card? If so which one? Does the Hauppauge WinTV HVR-1300 Media Centre Edition Freeview TV Tuner perform well?

    Also, does anyone know how MCE performs streaming videos from a wifi networked file server? Does wifi have enough bandwidth?

    Cheers,

    ICE
     
  2. pcoltrane

    Hitman

    Joined: 18 Sep 2005

    Posts: 945

    The 1700+ will do the job nicely if you are only using a single tuner - and overclocked will cope with 2 tuners. (I'm currently running a 2500+ barton in my dual tuner setup)

    The Ti4200 will not be good enough however. You need a card that supports hardware DX9. Doesn't have to be anything special power wise, I use a 9550 radeon as long as it supports dx9 in hardware.

    Yes you can use your current set top box with an analogue TV card, but for £40 your best bet is a Digital TV card like the Compro T200. The picture quality etc will be better.

    The wifi will probably just about be enough bandwidth - but don't quote me on that as i haven't tried it. With my wired 10/100 network recording/watching to/from a file server etc is no problem.

    Marc
     
  3. BigDom

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 30 Nov 2002

    Posts: 1,852

    Location: Birmingham

    Wifi has plenty of bandwidth, the cheaper version runs at 54Mbs whilst a wired network will either be 10 or 100 depending on the hub used (in a home environment - ignoring gigabit). Basically even 10Mbs is probably enough for streaming video like that so Wifi will be fine.
     
  4. HEADRAT

    Capodecina

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 21,055

    Location: Cambridge, UK

    Depends what you want to stream, dvr-ms and DVD will be < 8/9 Mbps, I'm using a Pre-N network which I can get 30/35 Mbps (real world) performance out of but it was problamatic streaming DVD's etc over the network, moving to wired really soon.

    HEADRAT
     
  5. Vanilla_Ice

    Hitman

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 967

    Location: Ipswich

    Excellent, I thought that my XP1700+ was off to the bay. I take it the sound storm on the NF7S v2 will be adequate - hoping to utilise a 5.1 AV amp (via optical) and speakers my brother gave me when he moved house :D

    I will be streaming mostly DIVX's and MP3's, so I guess that the Mbps doesn't need to be hooj.

    Now all I'm looking for is a suitable off the shelf quiet case - would the Antec Overture II Piano Black Quiet Media case - 450W Smart Power PSU (CA-038-AN) do the job?

    Getting excited :D

    ICE
     
  6. Energize

    Caporegime

    Joined: 12 Mar 2004

    Posts: 28,956

    Location: England

    Will be fine, what are you streaming the media to?
     
  7. Vanilla_Ice

    Hitman

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 967

    Location: Ipswich

    Erm... not sure what you mean? As is what will I be watching it on? To start with my 20" CRT telly (for testing), then hopefully onto a widescreen TFT, but ultimately a projector.

    ICE
     
  8. At The Gates

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 1,401

    I have the following setup:

    Shuttle SN45G2V2
    Sempron 1400+
    448Mb (64Mb for VGA)
    On board GF4MX
    Hauppage Nova T Freeview DTV card
    On board Nvidia Soundstorm sound (optical 5.1 to my amp)
    MCE 2005
    Nvidia PureVideo MPEG decoder

    And it runs really well. I can record / timeshift etc and no problems at all. The onboard GF4 even has hardware assist for MPEG2 (DTV / DVD) decoding.

    Wifi might not be enough to stream DVDs and DVR-MS. In fact i'd say unless you have awesome signal strength it definitely wont be enough for anyting encoded at an avg of 8Mbps + Will be ok for DivX / XviD / MP3s.
     
  9. Vanilla_Ice

    Hitman

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 967

    Location: Ipswich

    Does the Nvidia PureVideo MPEG decoder make much of a difference? I've just seen that you have to pay for it! :eek: Will ffdshow not work with MCE 2005? :confused:

    EDIT: At The Gates - marc mercer said my GF4 wouldn't cut the mustard as it not DX9 hardware compatible, do you have any issues? Also, does the Hauppage Nova T Freeview DTV card use the tuner controls built in to MCE or do you need the bundled software? It looks a bit naff, going by the website.

    Cheers,

    ICE
     
    Last edited: 7 Mar 2006
  10. At The Gates

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 1,401

    I doubt it has full DX9 3D hardware capabilities but it certainly supports DX9c as i have it installed. I have DirectDraw, 3D and AGP acceleration enabled. It definitely supports all the mandatory MCE2005 DX9 Caps required, as my machine passes the Media Centre Diagnostic Check. Plus it supports de-interlacing, DeIVTC, decombing, hardware overlay and has hardware MPEG2 decode acceleration.

    Yes, you have to pay for the decoder but i think its worth it, especially with an Nvidia card. You'll have to buy an MPEG decoder of some sort anyway, as MCE doesn't come with one. You could use PowerDVD or something similar but i would recommend the Nvidia one to be honest.

    Well i have ffdshow installed, its not listed by MCE as supported and MCE doesn't even enumerate it so i'm not sure if it can be used for DTV / DVD MPEG decoding in MCE.

    The Hauppage card is fully supported by MCE including the EPG. I didnt even bother with the CD or any of their software. Just installed the MCE driver of their website and it worked straight away. It's fully supported by MCE so fits right in. All the TV functions can be controlled by the standard Microsoft MCE remote.
     
    Last edited: 7 Mar 2006
  11. Vanilla_Ice

    Hitman

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 967

    Location: Ipswich

    Ok, thanks for that.

    You may have missed my second edit so I'll repeat it.

    "Also, does the Hauppage Nova T Freeview DTV card use the tuner controls built in to MCE or do you need the bundled software? It looks a bit naff, going by the website."

    Cheers,

    ICE

    EDIT: Just seen your edit - thanks! Sorry for any confusion.
     
    Last edited: 7 Mar 2006
  12. Vanilla_Ice

    Hitman

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 967

    Location: Ipswich

    So to clarify, a Ti4200 will work ok, although it will need an MPEG decoder?

    Can anyone answer why the Hauppage Nova T Freeview DTV can only receive upto 30 freeview channels? Are there any ways around this? Or do they just mean 30 favourite channels?

    Cheers,

    ICE
     
  13. At The Gates

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 1,401

    Probably just old info. I get 60+ channels on mine.

    A Ti4200 should work yes, and you will need an MPEG2 decoder of some description!
     
  14. pcoltrane

    Hitman

    Joined: 18 Sep 2005

    Posts: 945

    Microsoft specifies a DX9 compliant card as a requirement for MCE. However - it does seem that people have had some sucess using GF4 based cards including the ti4200. The only way to know for sure is to try it. Be prepared to upgrade though as there is no guarantee it will work properly. It will certainly lack hardware acceleration features etc that higher end cards have.

    I did see the nvidia decoder being sold for as little as £5. I haven't been able to use it since roll up 2 was released as it causes my picture to jump/stutter on certain channels. The latest version fixed this for most people but not me sadly. Instead I use the powerdvd decoder and the difference is barely noticable - and a lot better than putting up with the jumping!
     
  15. Vanilla_Ice

    Hitman

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 967

    Location: Ipswich

    Have been playing with my system and all seems ok so far :) No problems with video playback in terms of system spec and network bandwidth :cool:

    I have just been looking through this weeks special deals and saw Hauppauge WinTV HVR-1300 Media Centre Edition Freeview TV Tuner is on offer - I presume its the daddy (2 tuners and bundled remote). Does anyone have one? What does the remote look like? There aren't any pictures of it on the Hauppauge site.

    marc mercer - may I ask where your saw the Nvidia Decoder for £5?

    As a side note - the fan on my Ti4200 is driving me crazy, may have to down grade to a fanless MX400 :eek:

    Cheers,

    ICE
     
  16. pcoltrane

    Hitman

    Joined: 18 Sep 2005

    Posts: 945

    I can't tell you where to buy it as it is strictly against the forum rules (it's even against the rules to ask! :eek: )

    I think it's fair enough however to point out that it is sold under the name of 'Nvidia DVD decoder bronze' for the cheapest version however rather than Purevideo. Searching the uk only pages of a search engine will hopefully get some hits.

    Marc
     
  17. Vanilla_Ice

    Hitman

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 967

    Location: Ipswich

    Cheers,

    I think I will probably stetch to the gold edition when I do though. I think my setup will make use of the 5.1 :confused:

    Thanks again,

    ICE
     
  18. Vanilla_Ice

    Hitman

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 967

    Location: Ipswich

    And just to confirm, am I correct in thinking these cards DO NOT require a set top box to view freeview?

    Cheers,

    ICE
     
  19. Energize

    Caporegime

    Joined: 12 Mar 2004

    Posts: 28,956

    Location: England

    No they dont.
     
  20. Snow-Munki

    Capodecina

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 10,054

    Location: At home

    guys just to double check, as my MCE box, i only have the radeon 9000.

    after a quick check it's only a dx 8.1 card.

    Does that mena i should upgrade my card, it seems 'ok' so far, tad slow on most things but it isn't a beefy machine at all.