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Media Center PC Part II


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The DVR box that I built consists of the following parts.

  • MSI P35 Platinum Motherboard
  • Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 2.4 GHz
  • XFX GeForce 8400 GS PCIe Graphics Card
  • A-Data 2GB (2 x 1GB) PC6400 RAM
  • Western Digital 500 GB Hard Drive
  • Lite-On 20X DVD Burner
  • Vantec 510 Watt Power Supply
  • Logitech EX110 Wireless Desktop Mouse and Keyboard
  • Microsoft Media Center Remote
  • ATI TV Wonder 650 Pro TV Tuner Card
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • DVI to HDMI cable
  • Optical Audio Cable
  • 1/8" Mini plug to RCA Stereo Jacks

 

I didn’t include the computer case in the listing as I just used a spare one I had.  There are cases made specifically for Media Center boxes.  They have the same footprint as your average AV/Stereo receive, they’re just taller.  I may get one of these later, but for now the mid-tower case works fine.

The power supply listed was one I already had.  510 watts is more than you’ll need, but I wouldn’t recommend going under maybe 350 watts.

For such a cheap wireless keyboard and mouse, the Logitech EX110 has remarkably good range.

There are Media Center remotes made by other companies available.  I can’t tell you how they work, but I can tell you they’re usually more expensive.  Media Center is by Microsoft.  Might as well use the Microsoft remote.

I haven’t tried any of the other brands of TV tuner cards so I can’t recommend any others.  I can tell you though that the ATI TV Wonder 650 Pro is one of the best if not the best TV tuner card available and I can guarantee it will work with Vista.

You definitely want to go with Vista on this one.  Window XP Media Center just isn’t as polished.  You have two choices though for your Vista edition: Home Premium and Ultimate.  Other editions do not include Media Center.  You probably have no really good reason to select Ultimate over Home Premium for your Media Center box so do like I did and save some money.  Go with Home Premium.

The DVI to HDMI cable is what you’ll use to connect the box to the TV.  The DVI side connects to the box and the HDMI side to the TV.  Do not buy this cable from regular store as you’ll get ripped off.  You can get one cheap on Newegg.

The optical audio cable is for connecting the box to an AV/stereo receiver to take advantage of 5.1 audio.

The mini plug to RCA cable is used for sound if you don’t have an AV/stereo receiver or don’t want to use it.  You can connect this cable from the standard audio out jack on the box to the audio inputs on the TV.

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