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Small Media Center PC purchase question

Posted: Tue May 21, 2019 7:21 pm
by spkelly71
After trying and to do the work around to add Windows Media Center to Windows 10 and failing and also trying PLEX Pass (not nearly as smooth as WMC) I am looking at getting a small separate Windows 7 PC just to run WMC. I am looking at maybe getting a Dell Optiplex 790 (small form factor). I believe this will be adequate to run WMC and also compatible with a Hauppauge Quad HD tuner PCIe card. My question is has anyone else used this build or similar successfully? I read somewhere that the PCIe slot with these motherboards may not have enough power for the tuner card. Any suggestions or insight would be appreciated.
Thank you

Re: Small Media Center PC purchase question

Posted: Wed May 22, 2019 12:14 am
by DavidinCT
spkelly71 wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 7:21 pm
After trying and to do the work around to add Windows Media Center to Windows 10 and failing and also trying PLEX Pass (not nearly as smooth as WMC) I am looking at getting a small separate Windows 7 PC just to run WMC. I am looking at maybe getting a Dell Optiplex 790 (small form factor). I believe this will be adequate to run WMC and also compatible with a Hauppauge Quad HD tuner PCIe card. My question is has anyone else used this build or similar successfully? I read somewhere that the PCIe slot with these motherboards may not have enough power for the tuner card. Any suggestions or insight would be appreciated.
Thank you

Ah the Dell Optiplex 790, i3 or i5 ? Here is the thing. If you are going to got with Windows 7 as your OS, a machine like that would be fine. Windows 7 was released in October of 2009. When it came out, Single core processors were the norm. So running it on a 4-6 old machine (about the time frame) should be fine just not a top performer today.

The thing to keep in mind in these "small form factor" PCs and I do know the 790 fairly well, There is not a lot of expandable space. So if you are trying to upgrade the video card (maybe for HDMI or even 4K support) or tuner card, you would need a low height card and those can be tricky in some ways, depending on what your looking for. I also think the 790 has the space for 1 hard drive.

With this older machine, one of the mandatory things I would suggest is a SSD for the OS drive. You can pick up a 120gb for under $75 today, and use a spinning disk for your recordings. The SSD would be the best purchase when doing a older PC like this.

Re: Small Media Center PC purchase question

Posted: Mon May 27, 2019 7:26 pm
by chir
Why an old PC when a cheap newer Ryzen3 (for instance) would make WMC 7 fly (not to mention the H265 hardware playback and the 2160p@60Hz output) ?

Re: Small Media Center PC purchase question

Posted: Mon May 27, 2019 10:41 pm
by prouton
The newer the hardware, the greater the chance you'll find something on the motherboard doesn't have a Windows 7 compatible driver. You might also have to fiddle around in order to get Windows 7 to install in the first place.
Going with an SATA SSD is a good idea beyond speed, in that you can get creative about "mounting" it, reserving the actual 3.5" drive mounting point for a big (terabyte) hard drive for recordings. But Dave's pricing is off -- you can easily get 240GB for around $30.

Re: Small Media Center PC purchase question

Posted: Sat Jun 01, 2019 7:38 pm
by jlader
Microsoft has cut off support in Windows 7 for newer generation CPUs. Intel for sure, not sure about Ryzen. Win 7 MCE doesn't need that much CPU horsepower anyway. I have a Q6700 CPU been using for years that does everything I need it to do, including bein my Emby server. SSD is a must, at least 8G memory.

Re: Small Media Center PC purchase question

Posted: Sun Jun 02, 2019 12:05 am
by adam1991
bah. 4G memory is more than enough, then add a gig per extender.

Re: Small Media Center PC purchase question

Posted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 11:37 am
by Dkeyguy1
I have been running some of these for some time now. The only thing I would do is upgrade to SSD for system, 240-256 GB, and secondary for recorder storage;
https://www.newegg.com/hp-compaq-elite- ... AYZ91U9577

Re: Small Media Center PC purchase question

Posted: Fri Jun 14, 2019 5:02 pm
by mercalia
Mine is an old Core 2 Intel E8500 system with a Nvidea GTX 750ti video card. works well enough even ripping Blu - rays using DVDFab as it uses the video card very effectively