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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I've researched hardware like crazy, and read 1000 reviews on everything, but now I submit my final creation to the gods at avs forum. :D


My scheduled use is primarily to record and watch HDTV from an OTA signal using MCE. I won't be upscaling DVD's, playing games, and post-processing. With that in mind, here is my planned setup:


Case - Thermaltake Tenor VB2000

CPU - AMD Sempron 3000+ Palermo

Mobo - ECS NFORCE4-A754 Socket 754 NVIDIA nForce4

RAM - CORSAIR XMS 512MB

Tuner - AVerMedia MTVHDA18

Video - CHAINTECH SE6600/128-64bit

HD - Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 ST3250823AS 250GB

P/S - SeaSonic SUPER SILENCER-350W ATX12V 350W Power Supply

Remote - Microsoft A9O-00007 WinXP Media Center Infrared Remote


Think that's all the major components...plus a dvd drive, and wireless mouse/keyboard. I originally wanted a passively cooled 6600...but the space requirements sounded like a huge pain. I'm open to suggestions. Priced that out at newegg and it was about $830 shipped. Thanks guys, avs rocks.
 

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Did I miss something...or are you missing an analog tuner card? You can't use (from what I have learned at AVS) a OTA HD or QAM HD card alone with MCE 2005. There is a hack for the ATI HD card which has an analog tuner along with it's OTA HD tuner but the results are spotty. Some claim it works some say it didn't.


Also, the QAM HD cards can't be controlled by MCE 2005 either...MCE does not support, right now, QAM HD cards so you would have to use the provided HDTV application and not MCE.


Also...with HD, just my opinion...don't go TOO cheap with the video card. I hear the 6600 is a great card for HTPC's.


And...here is my shameless plug: (here is my system so far) LOL....not so much a hijack, as a fellow AVS person needed some opinion.


Forgive me...lol


OK, just an update on how my first HTPC is looking like as of today:


Besides the lack of HD space...what do you all think?


(Note: I'm not getting a HD card for now and I will be using my DVD burner to store recorded TV so HD space does not concern me much at this time)


Intel Pent 4 800 FSB 1MB Cache 2.8Ghz Prescott

1GB 2.5 Cas PC3200 memory

BFG nVidia 6800 OC AGP 8X 128MB (unlocked to 16 pipes and 6 shader AKA 6800 Ultra/GT)

AverMedia PVR150 analog TV/Capture card

2 Western Digital SATA 150 80gig 7200rpm in RAID 0 (Total 160GB)

BenQ DVD Burner (dual layer, cdrw, etc)

Logitech MX3100 combo wireless mouse/keyboard

Aspire MicroATX (SFF case)

Biostar MicroATX motherboard


Sound card is still up in the air (Audigy 2 ZS, Cmedia 7.1, and the X-Mystque card). I like the Audigy simply because it will allow my front connections on my SFF case (audio, firewire, etc) to function and give me a firewire connection in the back of the PC also. I won't be listening to alot of music on it...but while it states it has SPDIF...it does not look like the normal square SPDIF I see on other cards. Time will tell what happens here...but spending $100 on a sound card is something I'm trying to avoid.


Later on I'll add a HD card and remote. One thing is for sure...I already have run out of PCI slots because later on it will be taken by the analog and HD TV cards and a sound card. My BFG card is bulky so I just hope MCE gets updated so you can use a dual analog/HD card.


I know you are all on pins and needles waiting for me to build this....LOL , so I thought I'd share the spec's on my first HTPC.


Let me know what you think and keep in mind that while some of this stuff is overkill I'll be gamming on my HTPC also so I'll need some horsepower.
 

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Also...I almost forgot, just my opinion...ECS...SUCKS really bad. I tried them once and let's just say it was nasty.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
From what I can read it does appear it needs a separate analog tuner card...what's good and cheap? I can get everything I want via digital, so analog is simply to make it work. Once I supply the analog card, the AverMedia A180 should work fine in MCE correct?


As for ECS quality...that board has received quite a few good reviews at newegg, so I'm not too worried for $65.


Any other good cases out there that don't cost an arm and a leg? Thanks for the help .
 

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I believe the analog tuner requirement has been overcome.
 

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might be different for the Avermedia card, but 3 weeks ago I still need a analog to make my Fusion work.


Also I've used ECS a couple times. One good, one bad experience. Kinda of a crap toss I suppose but they are cheap:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
your fusion isn't on that list...maybe that's why?


and I'm looking into possible alternatives for the ecs. Thinking a microatx case might suit me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The more I read it sounds like there are other viable options besides MCE. Meedio looks interesting.


As far as two tuners go....two A180s could be nice in case two shows I want to record are on at the same time...but that still wouldn't solve the MCE analog tuner problem. Arg.
 

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Yeah...as far as I know (it seems me and you can't get a review on our systems here...lol)...


MCE 2005 requires an analog card. With that said, apparently there is a hacked KRAM driver for the ATI HDTV Wonder which has a analog tuner and OTA (ASTC) tuner but I'm scared of going that route since it seems it's a hit or miss situation.


Also, with that hack...can you do it with a clean install of MCE2005?


Anyway, to make things easy (and since I'm a newb) I just went with an analog tuner card for now (AVerMedia PVR 150) and hopefully with the next MCE update they will fix this ANNOYING and STUPID "analog" requirement and support QAM.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'm not sure why you keep mentioning QAM....is that cable only hdtv or what?


It seems like a purely atsc card should have no problems picking up and decoding the atsc ota signals all by itself. Throwing cable and encryption into the mix is a whole different bag. I just want OTA hdtv via one card, that should be doable.
 

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Why be limited to OTA only? But...you don't care about QAM, so let's get back to your questions.


As far as I know you HAVE TO HAVE a analog tuner unless you get that KRAM ATI driver.


AV180....you still need a analog tuner, just go check out the requirements of the card on newegg.com
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yah, you're right about that...it does say that on newegg.


So now the question is, what analog tuner! haha. more researching. :)
 

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If you got the AVermedia OTA HD card just pick up one of their analog tuner cards. BUT...there are ALOT of them out there so good luck. Check out the one I got...not the best, but pretty good quality at a pretty good price.
 
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