Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I had a 1 GB RAM which seemed sufficient for a HTPC. The Windows Experience Index gave my memory a decent score of 3.9. My machine, however, performed poorly. My CPU was always pegged and I thought of upgrading the processor.

I found that Win 64-bit OS has a minimum requirement of 2GB RAM to function properly. I got two 1-GB DIMMs from Newegg:

I also used a 4 GB Sandisk Cruzer flash driver for ReadyBoost.

After the upgrade, my machine is very responsive.

Cost: $64.99 with coupon

Windows Experience Index: 4.5

Realtek High Definition Audio Codec

One of the hardware issues I had in migrating from Win XP MCE 2005 to Win 7 64-bit was that my SPDIF out didn’t work anymore and I had to resort to using the analog cable to connect to my audio receiver.

A High Definition Audio Codec for Realtek AC’97 Audio is now available that enables SPDIF again so you can now get the Dolby 5.1 experience.;pop

The AC’97 Audio Configuration has a Speaker Test which I haven’t been able to work although I get the Dolby experience when I listen to the music.

AC97 Audio Configuration

Monday, October 05, 2009

FTC Guidance - Testimonial

FTC released guidelines for bloggers regarding endorsements, et al.

This blog is a personal blog, documenting my work on my assembled HTPC. I have purchased all the items listed in the blog and have received no freebies. I have provided the costs of the items I purchased. I have no affiliations with any of the software or hardware companies so I am not a mouthpiece of any of their advertising machinery.

I hope this blog is useful to you!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

New Video Card for Aero Experience

The old nVidia 5200 graphics card on my HTPC produced a poor Aero experience. Video playback was shaky as also indicated in the low Windows Experience Index of 2.0. I decided to get a nVidia Geforce 6200 AGP card as it was the only of the series that didn't have a fan.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Moving to Windows 7

Its been almost 4 years now that I have been running my Windows XP MCE on my HTPC. I switched from using it for watching/recording TV shows from cable to simply watching Netflix on-demand movies, Hulu and listening to music. A lot of new MCE plug-ins like MyNetflix, MyMovies are now available on Vista+ OS, thereby limiting my options.

I also wanted to unveil the true computing power of the AMD Athlon 64bit processor, so I decided to give Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit a try. The Windows Experience Index gave a low 2.0 score mainly due to the graphics card, but it looks satisfactory otherwise.

I installed the RC which went through very smoothly. I have turned Aero off to conserve the graphics processing and also to make my machine run cooler and quieter.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Bigger Faster Quieter Hardrive

I have two issues with the hard-drive on my HTPC. It is running out of space - 250 GB can only hold so much. It is also very noisy. It makes this whirring, clicking sound that makes me turn off the system to retain my sanity. Oh it was also really slow, because it used the ATA/EIDE interface for data transfer.

I needed a disk that was a TB in size and quiet in operation. I got the Western Digital Caviar Green 750 GB drive. Its 'Green' because it has lower power consumption and also very quiet to use. My computer supports the 1.5 Gbits/s SATA interface which makes it a good fit.

Cost: $59.99 with coupon
Windows Experience Index: 5.9 (pretty good)

Friday, May 29, 2009


The entertainment world has changed so much in just a few years. Gone are the days of recording TV shows using a DVR/Tivo/MCE. Now, its possible to watch everything online. Netflix and Amazon stream movies and shows, Hulu, Joost, ABC and Comedy Central host shows that you can view instantly at the click of a button. At the same time, Comcast continues to raise the rates for watching cable, requiring you to get PPV or a premium set of channels, which are simply exorbitant. Comcast didn't broadcast the NBA playoffs on regular cable, luckily, there was and Ustream!

So, I still have my Shuttle XPC as my media center. I need to move beyond the MCE interface to watch the shows online.

Hulu recently launched their desktop, which is accessible via the Microsoft remote. Boxee too is lining up its beta for Windows in summer. I am preparing to test them out.

In the meantime, check out this nifty tutorial on building a streaming, entertainment PC

Sunday, August 10, 2008


I found a nifty tool to sync my photos and music from my laptop to the Media Center.

Posted by Picasa