simon-may.com

March 11, 2008

Media Center – The Hardware

Filed under: Geek cool,Media Center,Technology — Simon May @ 3:09 pm

Well I’ve already posted about my software setup, but just what do I use in hardware terms on my Media Center Rig?

The Basics
The basic PC is actually quite old, I bought it to replace something stole during a break in over 4 years ago!  It’s a Compaq Presario 6000.  It’s got an AMD Athlon 2100 XP in it and an NVidia MoBo.  It’s been a very sound box over the years.  It’s currently got 1.25gb of RAM, I think it’s PC2300, from memory.  And a 40gb Hard Drive…wooooo.  It’s got a basic graphics card.

What makes it a Media Center or HTPC?
That’s where the hardware gets mildly more interesting.  I’ve also got a 300gb HDD in it.  Simply put it’s partitioned into two, a 60gb partition used for recorded TV and the remainder for “media”, be that music, Archived TV, Archived DVDs, or photos.

The next important addition is the tuners.  I have two, both over USB2.  I have a Hauppage USB2 DVB-T Diversity Stick, which has the potential to be great but doesn’t work that well for me, it’s a dual tuner stick with Diversity (that’s two aerials to give a better quality signal).  It should work as dual tuner, but as soon as I do that it starts to conflict with my Media Center IR blaster (bean bag).  The second is a Hauppage USB2 DVB-T unit.  This unit’s great, its the rock of the system, I wish I had two.

Next is that bean bag thing.  That came with the Hauppage USB2 DVB-T unit as it was an MCE unit, does what it says on the tin.  Which leads me on to the remote…which is quite cool.

The remote is a Logitech Harmony 525, highly recommended.  Its programmed over USB from some really cool Logitech software.  I love this thing, but I want the top end version…other things to buy first!

To enable the USB I’ve got a USB2 card, I had to shop around and find one with an ALi chip set, I had a VIA chip set card and it SUCKED!!!

Sound comes courtesy of a X-Fi Audio card and some Altec Lancing Speakers.  Currently in a cut down 5.1 setup – no back speakers.  Again I’m not happy with the support of this card, it’s OEM but come on Creative are usually quite good, support on Vista has sucked and it doesn’t do half of what it should.

Finally there is the Tesco Value Webcam.  See this post for what it does.  Note to self – play with that more.

So that’s the hardware setup, oh display is courtesy of a cheap Beko LCD TV which we will be upgrading when we actually have a lounge!

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1 Comment »

  1. […] https://sigeeksout.wordpress.com/2008/03/11/media-center-the-hardware/  I have a Hauppage USB2 DVB-T Diversity Stick, which has the potential to be great but doesn’t work that well for me, it’sa dual tuner stick with Diversity (that’s two aerials to give a better quality signal). … […]

    Pingback by Chip Tuners and how it relates to me » Blog Archive » ‘chip tuner’ on the web — March 12, 2008 @ 10:39 pm | Reply


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