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)