Home Theatre Makeover Project 1

Apart from bikes I’ve always been a big fan of Microsoft Media Center and have been using it for years and years, in fact I’m still running MCE 2005, having avoided Vista Media Center at all costs. Technology improves however, particularly hardware and this year its time to totally rebuild my Media Center box with some serious horsepower

Currently I have an old Pentium IV with 2gb RAM, 160gb system disk for the OS and 4 x 1TB drives for media content (1Tb for Recorded TV (700 hours capacity), 1TB for DiVX/AVI movies, 1TB for TV Caps and 1TB for Music and Pictures), 1 DVD ROM, 1 X Plextor DVDRW, Card Reader, Gigabit Ethernet, Hauppauge TV-Nova PCI TV card and a 512MB HDMI out graphics card. This is hooked directly into a Samsung Series 9 46″ LCD TV and the sound runs into a fairly low rent 5.1 Surround Sound.

The stuff that’s gonna get changed is as follows:

MotherboardGigabyte GA-EX58-EXTREME which is an Intel Core-i7 X58-Express board with DDR3 RAM.
CPU – Intel® Core i7-920 Processor (8M Cache, 2.66 GHz)
RAM – Kingston KHX16000D3T1K3/6GX DDR3
TV TunerHauppauge PCI Express Dual Tuner WinTV-HVR-2200 MC
AMPOnkyo TX-SR 607 AV Receiver (Full 7.1 HD Audio/HDMI Outputs)
SpeakersKef 3005SE K2’s in gloss black

Acquisition wise I already have the mobo and RAM and hopefully next week will have the KEF’s and Onkyo. Most likely I’ll use the Onky and KEF’s immediately on my current system until I splash for the i7 CPU, at which point I can rebuild my Media Center and reload it with Windows 7 Ultimate. I’ll post up some more pix when there’s a bit more progress but below is some of the kit that’s either coming or already in use at Billy Goat Towers.

KEF ‘Eggs’

Samsung Series 9 46″ LCD (LE46A956D1MXXU)

Onkyo TX-SR 607 – Front

Onkyo TX-SR 607 – Rear

The ‘Onk’ has plenty of future proofing built in, I can add two more satellite speakers and turn it into a 7.1 system or I could add these, plus a second sub and have a full 7.2 system (my neighbours would hate me though ). There’s several extra HDMI inputs here that could be used for Games Consoles, Blu-Ray players etc, it also handles Sirius Satellite Radio too and has fill support for all of the current HD Audio standards!

Feel free to comment :-)

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