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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi !


I'm kinda new to the forums and the whole MCE world. I've been trying to make my own HTPC and already sunk a couple grand in it but I have yet to achieve a stable system.


In an effort to help others build their own stable HTPC, and mine, can all the HTPC members from AVS Forum post their exact configuration for a rock-solid, stable, MCE 2005 setup?


By stable, i mean your HTPC with MCE 2005 must be able to do all the following:


- Work for a full week without reboot or logoff

- Continuous TV playback for a full week (I like it ready when I turn it on!)

- Record many shows

- Use all other features of MCE (music, photos, etc.)

- No errors whatsoever (loss of signal, crashes, etc.)

- Switch back and forth to Windows to use some non MCE app. (MS Word or IE)


Please post you're exact configuration so it's easy for other people to use, you can cut and paste the following to get you started:


- Motherboard:

- CPU:

- Memory:

- Video Card and driver version:

- TV Tuner(s) and driver version:

- MPEG2 Decoder:

- Input type (analog/digital cable, sat, etc, set-top box):

- Other PCI (wireless, etc.):

- Hard Disk:

- Other tweaks (registry change, plug-ins, etc.)

- Other recommendations (no specific vendor bashing please!):


Thank you and please keep the thread on topic and post only if you have achieved a stable system !
 

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In my humble opinion and experience, the Media Center application in MCE 2005 isn't 100% stable yet, and there are often other issues related to the video subsystem and the video drivers. Given the large number of vid cards/driver versions available, it might be more productive to focus on those in your efforts to achieve a fully stable system, instead of surveying all possible components, most of which will not have any more impact on stability in MCE than in XP. In other words, if you're looking for a stable MCE system, you're in fact looking for a stable Media Center application, and compared to a regular XP system, that will depend mostly on the video card/drivers (besides the application itself).


Personally, despite much tweaking, I still have to reboot once to twice a week due to video card problems that occur when using Media Center and/or entering/exiting standby. For the record, this is with a GeForce FX 5200 and 72.14 drivers , which I have found to be the most stable for this particular card.
 

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I have yet to find a PVR program that was 100%. As mentioned above, since adding an nvidia to the system MCE has not been too stable. With the new drivers it is pretty good though. The update coming out this fall is listed as including many bug fixes so if 100% stability is important maybe you sould wait.
 

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Hmmmm.....mine's pretty stable. I put it in and out of standby a lot and do all the thinks you mention. Dunno if I've actually gone a week, though. Here's what I have fwiw:


- Motherboard: MSI K8N Neo platinum (nforce 3 chipset)

- CPU: Athlon XP64 3200+

- Memory: 512 meg....dunno the brand

- Video Card and driver version: ATI 9800 Pro (with fanless mod), v 6.14.10.6512 (1/19/05)

- TV Tuner(s) and driver version: HDTV wonder with Kram modified drivers

- MPEG2 Decoder: PowerDVD 6

- Input type (analog/digital cable, sat, etc, set-top box): ATSC antenna, cable

- Other PCI (wireless, etc.): Chaintech 710 sound card

- Hard Disk: Hitachi spinpoint 250gb (x2)

- Other tweaks (registry change, plug-ins, etc.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by crabnebula
In other words, if you're looking for a stable MCE system, you're in fact looking for a stable Media Center application, and compared to a regular XP system, that will depend mostly on the video card/drivers (besides the application itself).
Thanks crabnebula, this also have been my experience. I switched from Hauppauge, ATI and Nvidia but I never found a stable configuration. That is why I'm not sure what impact the other parts might have and I'm asking for almost the whole system information!


I'm also quite sold on MCE for all it's features and ease of use. For those wondering, "No I don't pray to Bill every morning!".

Quote:
Originally Posted by mlbdude
maybe you should wait.
I want it NOW!


So now over 200 people have read this, I'm sure there are some with a rock-solid stable MCE 2005 system! :p


Please help and post you're config!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yannik
So now over 200 people have read this, I'm sure there are some with a rock-solid stable MCE 2005 system! :p


Please help and post you're config!
:) I suspect that those with rock solid systems are off watching TV. It is those of us with less than 100% stable systems (I would call mine a 67.4% stable system) that come here in hopes of finding clues to help sort out our stability issues.


I heard that Sasquatch has a stable system... or was it Nessie? :D
 

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Yannik,


I've had an MCE-based htpc since last summer. Getting your system to a stable point is an iterative process.


I found the root cause for my video issues (bluescreens from Media Center early on, signal issues), usually was a bad combination of video and video capture card drivers. Performance (hitchiness during dvr-ms playback) was always due to hyperthreading and improper IRQ assignment. Then again - I am using an older processor and video card, so your situation may vary.


If you are serious about PC OS stability, then search for & read Mark Rehjon's FAQ - it's quite useful.


My HTPC:

Processor/Mobo: Pentium4 Northwood 3.06/MSI 875P NEO

Memory/HD: Non-boutique 1GB/2xSamsung SATA 160GB Spinpoints

Video Card/Video Capture Card: XFX Nvidia 6800/Hauppauge MCE-250

Drivers/Decoders: MCE-250: 1.18.21.22247, 6800: 71.84, Nvidia Ndvd Decoder


I only spent $1500 on my original system. If you have already spent $2k on yours, you probably have good components - spend some more time researching your drivers and decoders.


Good luck! HTPC requires patience and step-by-step tweaking. The payoff and satisfaction of getting a good platform is worth the effort, in my opinion. :)


- Steve O.
 
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