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Media Centre build- guidance needed!

Last response: in Systems
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March 1, 2007 7:04:01 PM

Okay, been thinking about a new system for some time now, some components i think i've sorted but grey areas remain as do questions:

-Windows Vista Home Premium (for Media Centre)
-AMD Athlon 64x2 3800+ 2.00Ghz or 4200+ 2.20Ghz (it's only like £20 more on Overclockers) Socket AM2
-Antec Nine Hundred gaming case- this i've definitely made my mind up for, it looks like a beast.
-Gigabyte GA M55 S3G Plus AM2
-Crucial Raedon x1600xt 256mb
-Terratec Cinergy 2400i DT MCE TV Card
And that's as far as i got.

I could go for a Raptor hard drive wise, the case would keep it ice cool hopefully, but recording TV would require a large drive and Raptors are dear. Any thoughts?
Memory wise i'd say Crucial 2Gb but certainly not DDR2-800 because it's ridiculously dear. Again ideas? The lines between Vista and Media Centre are a bit blurry to me to be honest so advice and recommendations are always welcome. For example is MC included in Vista the full version that you get when you buy Windows MC OS? I can free up much space in my room by doing away with the TV and good ol' VCR.
Experiencing media centre will require a fairly decent computer so i'm hoping 2Gb memory is enough. Will the Graphics Card be suffice for the purpose (i'll also be playing games but not in major high resolutions) or am i having a laugh?

Absolutely any advice or anything that may help is more than welcome because i want to get this right, i'm going from a P4 Northwood@ 2.66Ghz, 768Mb RAM and 120Gb Barracuda IDE Hard Drive so i want as much of a performance gain as i can but for the most reasonable price. Thanks in advance.
March 1, 2007 8:15:53 PM

Go for the 4200+ as it will clock higher.Also exchange the x1600xt for a 7600gt instead.I have found the x1600xt to be lacking severely in performance,hence why I never recommend it to my friends.But if you are stuck on the ATI thing then I would suggest getting an X1900xt or pro.The reason I don't like the 1600 chip is that it is an experimental design that ATI tried out but does not use anymore.They do use a similar design for the faster cards,but it is only similar not the same.Make sure the tv card you buy is fully media centre compatible.Some cards say they are but do not fully enjoy the benefits of the media centre edition.The case looks good.Go for the crucial ddr2 performance memory.Also does the case you want come with an antec psu??If not I suggest getting a THERMALTAKE TOUGHPOWER 700-850watt psu.They can be a bit expensive,but well worth the money.You can go for the raptor hard drive as they are always good performers.Other than that though,I think you have a good machine.Just my take on it.Goodluck.

Dahak

AMD X2-4400+@2.6 S-939
EVGA NF4 SLI MB
2X EVGA 7950GT KO IN SLI
2X 512MB CRUCIAL BALLISTIX DDR500
WD300GIG HD
ACER 22IN WIDESCREEN LCD 1600X1200
THERMALTAKE TOUGHPOWER 850WATT PSU
COOLERMASTER MINI R120
3DMARK05 13,442
March 1, 2007 9:24:19 PM

Dahak, cheers for your advice.

The Nine Hundred doesn't come with a PSU which is a shame because it's extra expense. Is that high a wattage PSU really necessary, i was thinking more along a 500 watt max would do the job? I've been looking at 7600GTs and i was keen but the Crucial was cheaper lol, though i'll buy one if it means a decent performance gain.

If the system can last me around 6 years then i'll be happy to spend about £600 (not including the monitor).

Anyone else got any advice?

Thanks
March 1, 2007 10:17:17 PM

I was thinking more along the lines of future proofing your system a bit.If you want to at a later date,purchase an 8800 gtx or 2 of them for that matter,a higher wattage psu is a definate must.I like to suggest the thermaltake toughpower psu's as they have built in safety features like over voltage and overcurrent protection,as well as being made from high quality components.Industrial grade cpacitors and what have you.I prefer high quality to affordable,as you can never be too careful for an investment such as a new computer.I hope this helps in some way.I know i had to build my system a bit at a time.Computer components are fairly expensive still and I just think it makes more sense to help prevent any break downs so to speak.Kind of like using regular gas in your car to using high octane gas.The regular can cause your engine to knock and ping and give lousy mileage,whereas high octane fuel gets rid of the knocks and pings and gives you more performance and better gas mileage.Just my opinion though.Goodluck.

Dahak

AMD X2-4400+@2.6 S-939
EVGA NF4 SLI MB
2X EVGA 7950GT KO IN SLI
2X 512MB CRUCIAL BALLISTIX DDR500
WD300GIG HD
ACER 22IN WIDESCREEN LCD 1600X1200
THERMALTAKE TOUGHPOWER 850WATT PSU
COOLERMASTER MINI R120
3DMARK05 13,442
!