Windows Media Center – Ceton Prime Part Five (Start Up and Windows Installation)

Ceton Prime

This is the fifth of five articles about my Windows Media Center build in anticipation of the new Ceton CableCARD tuner release. Tonight I will be talking briefly about the Startup and Windows installation in the Alienware P2 Chassis.

Background

The plan is to have this system replace my Moxi Charter Cable DVR AND my WMC PC.

The four previous articles can be found at:

http://connecteddigitalworld.com/2009/12/08/windows-media-center-ceton-prime-part-one-case-and-power-supply/

http://connecteddigitalworld.com/2009/12/17/windows-media-center-ceton-prime-part-two-motherboard-cpu-and-cooling-fan/

http://connecteddigitalworld.com/2009/12/29/windows-media-center-ceton-prime-part-three-drives-memory-and-os/

http://connecteddigitalworld.com/2010/01/24/windows-media-center-ceton-prime-part-four-assembly-and-video-cards/

The Rig

The chassis is a Alienware P2 case with light kit.

Ceton Prime

Timeframe

I get paid every two weeks and get a few items each paycheck. This paycheck was free since I already had the OS. I am actually now done with this build, well before the March Ceton release.

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Ceton Prime?

I am naming her Ceton Prime in honor of the Ceton Multi-Channel Cable TV Card scheduled for release on March 31, 2010.

http://www.cetoncorp.com/buy.php

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This Paycheck – $0

The amount spent so far is $260+$434+$355+$225 for a subtotal of $1,274 (no tax). Not too bad for a Windows Media Center.

Add in the $399 for Ceton card and I am at $1,673.

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Why Video Cards on this Windows Media Center?

Those two EVGA 9800 cards I bought will drive my Dell monitors. I currently have a Dell Studio 540 with two 4350 video cards feeding my four monitors. Everything actually works well but I get stutter if I am watching video, recording TV and running other applications at the same time. I knew that adding a Ceton card would tax the system and needed to upgrade.

Office - Dec 2009

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Upgrade Rationale

  • EVGA motherboard has TWO gigabit Ethernet ports for increased video transfer to WHS
  • i5 Core 750 quad-core processor will handle the encoding/compression load
  • Two non-RAID Black Caviar drives will allow one to read OS and one to store/write video
  • 64-bit will allow for increased memory as funding permits
  • Increased motherboard slots for two video cards, Ceton 1X slot and “eventually” USB 3.0

Ceton Prime

Ceton Prime

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First Start

I am very impressed with the EVGA board and how easy it was to set up. You definitely get the quality you pay for with this level of motherboard.

 

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Power Consumption

Per your request welchworks…

 

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Sit and Wait

I will now wait for the Ceton card to be released. This is so exciting. Seriously.

See you at the end of March, Ceton!

Tim

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  • welchwerks

    Hi Tim,

    I must say it looks great,

    and as for as the ceton card wait, doesnt it remind you of when you were 6 waiting for christmas morning

    would you be willing to report the power usage idle and load , with a Kill A Watt,

    p.s. your psu will suprise you as to how well it proforms as a single rail unit

  • http://fasthair.blogspot.com/2009/03/youve-been-served.html fasthair

    HI Timothy,

    Agree with welchwerks that a single rail PSU is the only way to go. Several reasons for this but mostly it eliminates the need to try and figure out the balance on each rail and there for leaves no power not being used. All the power all the time.

    Build looks good. When is the light show going to start? :) I'm surprised at the low power consumption. But again that is what a good power supply will get you.

    Have you consider adding the new SiliconDust cable card network tuner to the mix too? This would give you six tuners (the max Media Canter can deal with, some OEM can use eight). This would give you the option to use it with other systems in the house if you wanted and not be tied to just the Ceton for TV.

    The build turned out nice. Did you get your dads PC to work yet?

    fasthair

  • Timothy Daleo

    I figure I will be around 330 watts under encoding load when all is said and done. I am not going to move it to the office until March since I have so much other equipment to move.

    I am actually starting to write an article on dual HDHomeRun tuners right now for the garage set up. Mounted behind the TV and will look sweet. No one has done a video or screenshots on four tuners that I could find.

    Once the beta starts with the SD HD CableCARD (I hope I am a part of it!) I will use that unit in the living room next to my Dell Hybrid for every day use.

    No joy on the 56 build yet. I have not touched it since you saw it last week. It is not due until Fathers Day so I need to just walk away from it for a while. Also, I just ordered the 9750 chip today from TigerDirect so I can play around with that other ECS board!

    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtoo

    Tim

  • Dallas Knox

    Mr Daleo,

    Great write up. I read (I believe on Engadget HD) that the Ceton tuners will be network capable as well.

    I found the Link.

    http://hd.engadget.com/2010/02/02/cetons-cablecar

  • Timothy Daleo

    Yeah, we had been hoping for confirmation of that. This build with its dual gigabit should stream it well. I stream the ati to xbox fine so if is any indication of similar quality then we are in for some good times!

  • welchwerks

    sorry for the late reply,

    That looks great, very impresssed

    p.s. your videos are looking great with your new recording device :)

  • themachine

    I'd hate to piss in your conflakes buddy…but wtf were you thinking with the components you chose to use. You mentioned a few times how you picked stuff with good ratings on newegg. Do you realize that to get to 900+ reviews/comments on newegg for that video card, you bought old and overpriced crap? And you want to game maybe? With Nvidia?? You could have spent $800 and done better (or $1200 and made sense). Better luck next time and hey, newegg, great place TO buy…for WHAT to buy? not so much. Like the saying: don't crap where you eat.

    • Timothy Daleo

      The cornflakes are fine. I am always open to criticism. My system and my choices suit my purposes well. I would have loved to buy all high-end components (i7 and 5870

  • themachine

    …Assuming you're the moderator for the article, thanks for letting my 2nd post turn out to be a waste of my time…what was that about being open to criticism and asking what I'd suggest…definitely a result of being slighted but 3-1/2 stars is now 1 star buddy…and btw did forget to mention: not an ATI fanboy, just aware that lately Nvidia's bang for your buck and innovation factors pale in comparison to ATI's…constantly playing catch-up…not that this post will be approved ;>

    • http://usingwindowshomeserver.com Andrew Edney

      This is actually my fault, not Tim's. You actually posted your comment at the very same time I was moving the site to its new home and so its actually on the old site rather than here on the new one. I was waiting for the nameserver changes to settle down overnight before manually moving your comment over, which I am doing now.

      So in future would you please give Tim, and UWHS the benefit of the doubt, especially as your comment was posted less than 10 hours ago and because you used swear words in your comment it was automatically blocked for moderation – we dont usually moderate anything on the site.

      thank you for your understanding

      Andrew

  • themachine

    Tough skin, I respect that. Don't be so hard on yourself, 3-1/2 maybe, ha. I'm guessing you're not much unlike myself in that I just build shit because I get another great idea. The last couple of years it's gotten to the point where I've been giving away systems as I build new ones because I'd rather someone else put something I'm not using to good use than watch it collect dust, and still I keep 5 pc's running in my house. The wife loves seeing the UPS/FedEx truck so often, but I order it all in one shot usually. (Not necessarily all from the same vendor.) A real suggestion I'd make is next time just wait until you can do it all in one shot as something you ordered 1-2+ months ago may contradict with a decision you make down the road with other components. Also looking forward to the Ceton card myself then possibly the HDHomerun Cablecard down the road.

    Here's the deal, in making suggestions I always keep the other person's ideals in mind. I could easily get a similar build down to $800 if your ideals didn't include gaming (IMHO use a XB360 or PS3 for that) and I sort of added one out of logic: encoding HD video (Blu-ray or .WTV into .MKV and/or .MKV into .WTV). Because if you're not already, you most likely will start, seeing how you're looking to have a media hub of sorts. The encoding you mentioned isn't very CPU intensive if you've got the right graphics HW setup.

    So without those things factored, $800 would be easy, yet still a respectable system. To get there in difference to my recommended changes below, I'd substitute the CPU/mobo with an AMD setup (ie. Phenom II X3 720BE), the graphics card to a single ATI HD5450 (would drop it for onboard graphics if you weren't driving 4 monitors locally for that one tower, and scrap the separate DVD burner unless you're doing a lot of cd/dvd copying on-the-fly. Now for my changes to your system, which nets you $998 with any component I don't mention, keep what you already have…

    -case & p/s: Antec 900 w/EA650 ($180 bundled)

    -mobo: ASRock H55M Pro LGA 1156 ($90)

    -cpu fan: ZALMAN CNPS9700 LED ($49)

    -OS: Win7-HP-Family-Pack ($50ea.=$150/3 not available now but was back in Dec.)

    -video: MSI R5770-PM2D1G-OC Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX ($155)

    One thing I did come across was your Transformers reference in naming you're rig is, Sunbeam actually makes a case called "Transformer" and has the design to match ($80 then add $80 for the Antec EA650 p/s separately). Also, below are a few of the info sources I use when designing a system.

    Articles/Reviews:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ http://www.anandtech.com/

    Charts:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/

    Product Review links (Top menu databases tab):
    http://www.techpowerup.com/reviewdb/

    Gotta run, but will look for any posts later.

    -John

  • Setabs138

    What happened to this rig? I noticed that you quit writing articles about it and didn’t document your ceton install? Have you gotten it yet?

    I was curious about recording content and playing games at the same time.

    • Timothy Daleo

      Due to the cost, lengthy Ceton hardware delays and support of the Ceton card, I switched to HDHomeRuns last year. The HDHomeRuns are heavily documented on this site and I now plan to get the HDHomeRun PRIME CableCARD tuner once the prices settle down. I guess I could always easily change the article titles from “Ceton” to “HDHomeRun” ;-)

      This PC has been my daily driver now for a year and a half. I have since changed out the two video cards for a single 6870 running Eyefinity and upgraded the HD to an SSD. I have never had an issue recording and playing games at the same time.