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Windows 7: Windows 7 - Media Center Questions

18 Dec 2011   #1
choliscott

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit
 
 
Windows 7 - Media Center Questions

Hi Everyone,

I recent purchased a Ceton Infinitv4 card & put together a dedicated HTPC. I have it hooked up the office tv & have a XB360 connected as an extender to watch recorded shows & live tv thru the Ceton card. Also to stream videos & music to these extenders also

I have a few plans. The first one is to get 2 more extenders (for the other 2 bedrooms). The plan is to eventually convert from my current DVR setup (Replaytv's) to Using extenders to watch live tv & record shows all on the same HTPC.

My question is would I need more then 4 gigs of ram to be able to handle any possible combination (from recording 4 hd shows at the same time, to streaming 3 hd shows (live or recorded) to the extenders & recording 1 hd show (there are only 3 people that live here). Also is my pc "strong" enough to do this?

Thanks


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

20 Dec 2011   #2
dsperber

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by choliscott View Post
I recent purchased a Ceton Infinitv4 card & put together a dedicated HTPC. I have it hooked up the office tv & have a XB360 connected as an extender to watch recorded shows & live tv thru the Ceton card. Also to stream videos & music to these extenders also

I have a few plans. The first one is to get 2 more extenders (for the other 2 bedrooms). The plan is to eventually convert from my current DVR setup (Replaytv's) to Using extenders to watch live tv & record shows all on the same HTPC.

My question is would I need more then 4 gigs of ram to be able to handle any possible combination (from recording 4 hd shows at the same time, to streaming 3 hd shows (live or recorded) to the extenders & recording 1 hd show (there are only 3 people that live here).
4GB is perfectly acceptable for running Win7 with WMC in an HTPC driving a 4-tuner Ceton card.

Your only concerns are hard drive capacity for recording all that your family is going to record and then watch. A 1TB drive should be adequate, but I don't know what your TV habits are. Go with a 2TB drive if you want to be future-safe. The larger the drive the larger the cache generally, which is also a good thing for performance.

Also hard drive speed is of concern. But any modern 7200RPM SATA drive should work fine, and many people run machines with 5400RPM drives (but I myself would not opt for that).

Of some concern might be your router, if you only have a 10/100 router. If you have a 10/100/1000 router and your HTPC has a gigabyte NIC then you have no worries. Each 1080i program streams to your extender at about 25Mbps, so three at once would require at least 75Mbps through the router. I recommend NOT going wireless to an extender, but only wired if you want optimal problem-free video.


Quote:
Also is my pc "strong" enough to do this?
You didn't mention your CPU, but WMC is honestly not terribly demanding. I have an older E6850 DualCore 2.0Ghz CPU with 4GB in my own HTPC machine, and even with all tuners in use and recordings going on it doesn't use more than 40% CPU or so.

A newer i3 CPU should be perfectly adequate. You don't need a very strong CPU for an HTPC.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Dec 2011   #3
choliscott

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit
 
 

Thanks for the response. I thought I added specs about the computer, but I guess I didn't. The cpu is a Athlon X6 1090T & currently using 4 gigs of ram, which I am probably going to increase to 8 gigs. I do have a gigabit ethernet setup. For some reason, wireless around my residence, doesn't work too well. For drives, I have a 1.5gig 7200rpm drive (OS Drive) & a 2gig 5900rpm drive.

Can I ask what version of Windows your using? Also if you need to run updates, etc on the media pc, do you have a physical keyboard or do you remote into it? If so, are you using Remote desktop, or another program?


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by dsperber View Post
4GB is perfectly acceptable for running Win7 with WMC in an HTPC driving a 4-tuner Ceton card.

Your only concerns are hard drive capacity for recording all that your family is going to record and then watch. A 1TB drive should be adequate, but I don't know what your TV habits are. Go with a 2TB drive if you want to be future-safe. The larger the drive the larger the cache generally, which is also a good thing for performance.

Also hard drive speed is of concern. But any modern 7200RPM SATA drive should work fine, and many people run machines with 5400RPM drives (but I myself would not opt for that).

Of some concern might be your router, if you only have a 10/100 router. If you have a 10/100/1000 router and your HTPC has a gigabyte NIC then you have no worries. Each 1080i program streams to your extender at about 25Mbps, so three at once would require at least 75Mbps through the router. I recommend NOT going wireless to an extender, but only wired if you want optimal problem-free video.


Quote:
Also is my pc "strong" enough to do this?
You didn't mention your CPU, but WMC is honestly not terribly demanding. I have an older E6850 DualCore 2.0Ghz CPU with 4GB in my own HTPC machine, and even with all tuners in use and recordings going on it doesn't use more than 40% CPU or so.

A newer i3 CPU should be perfectly adequate. You don't need a very strong CPU for an HTPC.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


20 Dec 2011   #4
dsperber

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by choliscott View Post
Thanks for the response. I thought I added specs about the computer, but I guess I didn't. The cpu is a Athlon X6 1090T & currently using 4 gigs of ram, which I am probably going to increase to 8 gigs.
I'm not literate on AMD processors, but the specs on yours seem that it is far more than capable for your planned use.

And while I am not against additional memory I wouldn't say you need any more than 4GB. For my own personal computer usage on this machine (and I work on it as well as using it for my HTPC/DVR) I have honestly never ever exceeded about 70% memory usage (from my 4GB) that I can recall. And right after boot it's using about 40%, with nothing running (other than what's automatically started).

Your usage of course may be different, but WMC itself is not going to be a memory hog. If you're not already monitoring memory usage (with either a 3rd-party product, or Task Manager) it would probably be informative to do so.


Quote:
Can I ask what version of Windows your using?
Win7 Pro x64.


Quote:
Also if you need to run updates, etc on the media pc, do you have a physical keyboard or do you remote into it? If so, are you using Remote desktop, or another program?
Physical keyboard, I work on this machine (as I am right now) and have two monitors ((a) Eizo HD2441W LCD 1920x1200, (b) IBM P275 CRT 1280x960).

The Eizo monitor (on my left) is used for watching recorded HDTV through WMC (in a window) while I work (generally using the IBM monitor which is straight ahead). Otherwise I have two Linksys DMA2100 extenders elsewhere in the house feeding my other two HDTV's.

Now as it turns out I DO make use of "remote connection" capability, so that if I'm out of town I can always check in on WMC to perhaps schedule some new recordings or whatever. I use RealVNC for this remote connectivity, with VNC Server running on this machine (along with DynDNS Updater for handling the DHCP IP address "leased" to my cable modem by TWC/LA), and VNC Viewer running on my client machine wherever I am. I MUCH PREFER RealVNC over "Remote Desktop" from Windows for a number of reasons.

One thing I do before I go away is to re-configure my 2-monitor extended desktop to only use 1-monitor (the 1920x1200 Eizo). First I open every program I might want to use remotely while I'm away and move its window over from monitor 2 (where it would normally open) to monitor 1, and then close that program. When all such programs and windows are relocated over to monitor 1 I then disable monitor 2. This makes it much easier to remote in from a one-monitor client machine while I'm away, as the connected-to desktop is also just one monitor large and thus won't have to be scaled radically as a 2-monitor host setup would have to be in order to display on a 1-monitor client. This way the remote 1920x1200 desktop presented on the client machine is very readable, even if the client desktop is smaller than 1920x1200.

But as far as normal use and maintenance of my machine, well it's really just an ordinary "big boy" machine with keyboard, mouse, two monitors, lots of hard drive, and WMC/HTPC/Ceton/ATI functionality also running on it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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