MSI Mega 180 as modern HTPC? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 06-12-2013, 09:53 AM - Thread Starter
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So, I have MSI Mega 180 that I was using in the early mid 2000's, but digital cable killed, since nVidia nForce2 was not HDCP compliant. I really liked the Organic LED in the machine, but it could not be updated at the time, so I retired it.

http://www.msi.com/product/desktop/MEGA-180.html

I came across an AGP video card that is HDCP complaint and has HDMI output.

So, my plan is to replace the Duron that is already in the HTPC, with Athlon, just to get a little bit of oomph. Plop in the AGP HDCP compliant card, and install WMC on it.

I believe RAM maxes out at 2 Gb, which should be just eeking by Win7 minimum requirements.

I will most likely add a Hauppauge CableCard tuner.

Thoughts?

Yes, it is an old processor, old computer, but if it works with Atoms, Athlon should work too, right?

6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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post #2 of 6 Old 06-12-2013, 10:35 AM
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I would try first with the AGP graphics card with HDMI and only replace the processor if there is a performance issue.

My good guess is that graphics processing and most likely audio will already be getting off loaded to the graphics card, so the processor might not have much to do...

A trial will convince you anyway...
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post #3 of 6 Old 06-13-2013, 09:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by balky View Post

I would try first with the AGP graphics card with HDMI and only replace the processor if there is a performance issue.

My good guess is that graphics processing and most likely audio will already be getting off loaded to the graphics card, so the processor might not have much to do...

A trial will convince you anyway...

Thanks! I was actually thinking the same. It worked fine with Duron when I ran XP MCE, and using analog tuner would have been a lot more CPU intensive than just taking digital feed from tuner and routing to video card.

I am little concerned with Flash, I am not certain whethere the card supports hardware flash acceleration.

Another concern is the AGP port badwidth to uspport both video and audio. I was going to try just video first, and use on-board analog sound card. IF it worked smoothly, I would try and switch audio to video card too.

6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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post #4 of 6 Old 06-13-2013, 09:33 AM
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AFAIK, HDMI is designed to carry audio and video at the same time, you might be stressing the system more by using onboard audio...
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post #5 of 6 Old 06-14-2013, 10:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by balky View Post

AFAIK, HDMI is designed to carry audio and video at the same time, you might be stressing the system more by using onboard audio...

I should be able to tell Windows which device to use for sound without much stress. Current system uses on-board SPDIF to send sound to the amp, and HDMI to send video to the TV. But, current system has a 6-core CPU, which may or may not have a factor in it.

6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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post #6 of 6 Old 01-13-2014, 10:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Here is the update:

Win 7 loads and works fine. GeForce 4 does not pass DCA, neither does 2 GB of RAM, nor the single core Sempron processor.

Adding Radeon 4350 AGP card freed up 512 MB of RAM and made it pass DCA in terms of Video and RAM. CPU still does not pass.

DCA override allowed me to connect to Hauppauge 2650, and get it working, sort of. It records, and plays back just fine, but watching live TV is un-watchable; lots of pixelation, tearing, skipping and jumping: 100% CPU utilization, and really really sluggish response to any commands.

Next step is to purchase AMD Athlon XP 3000+ (fastest CPU supported by the motherboard) and repeat the experiment. Luckily, those processors are so obsolete, they are $13 on Amazon!

I dread dealing with PlayReady not updating, which is most likely to be triggered by CPU swap.

6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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